Be Present to Make the Greatest Impact: D.K. Smith

The Gated Team
February 10, 2022
photo of Gated user D.K. Smith

Two years ago, D.K. Smith left Boston Consulting Group to found D.K. Smith & Co., where he offers private equity independent sponsorships, acquires middle-market business, and advises startups. Needless to say, he gets a lot of emails. 

“I sign up for a lot of subscriptions to stay on top of different topics,” says D.K. “When I see a notification or feel my phone vibrate, I’m pulled into my inbox…only to see an email that’s like, ‘Hey, come back to the gym!’ Then I’m like, ‘great, I just wasted another 10 seconds of my life.’”

“Those distractions add up. Pretty soon you’re spending hours a week and hundreds of hours a year just clicking on emails. That’s time I could be spending with my family.”

A few months ago, D.K. met someone through Lunchclub who recommended he check out Gated. He figured it was worth a shot, so he signed up and created his list of allowed senders. 

The results were immediate: before Gated, D.K. would receive around 200 emails a day. Now, he’s only seeing a third of that number appear in his curated Gated inbox.

“I can use my inbox as a to-do list, rather than just sorting through a huge amount of inbounds,” he explains. “I check my Gated folder a couple times a day just in case I’ve missed something important, especially if I know I’m expecting to hear from someone.”

Plus, D.K. no longer has to worry about obsessively unsubscribing to emails just to cut through the noise. “I can still hear from lists I’ve signed up for even if I don’t want to hear from them right now. Having Gated is the closest I can get to getting rid of my email but still stay connected.” 

D.K’s renewed relationship with his inbox has impacted the way he approaches his work, allowing him to carve out more time for deep work. “I get paid to think and to connect dots no one else can see, which requires a lot of focus. So the deeper I can get into thought, it directly translates into my ability to add value to my clients. Gated helps me do that.” 

“It sounds cheesy, but I actually feel like I’m more present. Because every time my phone doesn’t light up or vibrate, I get to spend that time living in the moment versus stopping what I’m doing to check my phone.”

Beyond the benefit to his productivity, D.K. appreciates that Gated creates more good in the world. When unknown senders want to reach a Gated user, they have to make a donation to the person's nonprofit of choice. In D.K.'s case, it’s his own nonprofit, Champions for Life, which empowers underserved youth through sports programs and mentorship. “Gated not only helps drive money to my organization, but also helps drive awareness to it,” he says. 

One unexpected benefit of Gated for D.K. has been connecting to a new community. “Trust is a big thing for me, and I thought it would be weird letting someone in my inbox at first, but after building a relationship with the Gated team, I know I’m in good hands,” he says. “There’s a network effect of trust that’s implicit in this community. We’re all productivity nerds!”