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Balancing the Grind with Darren Winterford, Founder & CEO at EdApp

Darren Winterford is the founder & CEO at EdApp, a mobile learning management system designed for today’s digital habits,

Interested in talking about how you balance the grind? Get in touch with us here!

1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I started my career working in marketing both in Australia and abroad. Working with a variety of FMCG brands, I was able to see the impact of great digital products on employee and customer experiences. 

I saw an opportunity to help create these products and started a digital agency based in Manly to do just that. From there, we couldn’t help but see a huge gap that existed in workplace education. 

That led me to my current role, founder and CEO of EdApp. We’ve created a training platform that’s built for mobile.

It’s a tool for everyone, from small business owners through to large L&D teams that helps make the tedious process of creating and delivering training easier. It also delivers a consumer-grade experience for learners that they’ll actually enjoy.

2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

Being a global company, my days tend to start early with a call to our customer and engineering teams in the US.

I’ll usually jump on the ferry with a coffee after these calls and head into the office to spend some time with our centralised teams there in product, engineering and marketing. I love that morning commute and there’s been more than a few clients we’ve been able to bring on board after a friendly chat there.

Depending on the day, I try to squeeze in an afternoon run to refresh and stay focused. We’re based in Circular Quay which means it’s an easy jog through the Botanical Gardens taking in the harbour.

After a few afternoon meetings, I’ll get back on the ferry to head home to dinner with my wife and daughters. Then, it’s generally logging back on again to catch the UK team as they’re waking up.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

We’ve always had great remote working principles at EdApp. Having a growing global team means that it’s not always possible to be in an office together. This left us in great standing when restrictions started coming in here in Australia early in 2020. 

Being able to take my early and late calls from home is really important, and sometimes there are days when there’s not a break big enough to make it into the office. That being said, I love being in the office. We’re a very collaborative team who genuinely have fun together, so it never feels like a chore to be there. 

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

I’m lucky enough to live in a beautiful part of Sydney on the Northern Beaches. For me, a huge part of balance is tied to being able to take the time when I need to get out there and enjoy it. Whether it’s going for a swim at lunch, or a jog in the afternoon, I always make sure I prioritise this. 

At EdApp, a huge part of work-life balance is also about loving being at work. It’s not rare to see a team at a coffee shop having a general catch up, spending time in the office into the evening socialising, or even going on a trip together for a run or a triathlon.

I’m biased of course, but most of the time, work doesn’t feel like work at EdApp, and that really does help to promote the balance. 

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

The biggest impact for me personally has been to travel. With our team and clients based all around the world, finding the time to interact with them in person was important to me. It helped build the great culture that we have today. 

Not having these regular in-person catch-ups has been a challenge that I’ve needed to adapt to. That means more virtual check-ins with our team members to make sure they’ve got what they need to do great work, and that they’re still enjoying what they’re doing. 

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

On a recent trip to Lorne with the EdApp team for a half-marathon, we stumbled into an amazing Fishing club affectionately known as the ‘A-team’.

Funnily enough, one of the members there was featured in a documentary podcast about Australia’s largest ever heroin bust called Pong Su. It’s a great program and I highly recommend it. 

I’ve also been spending a lot of time listening to Prof G, a podcast from Scott Galloway. He has a refreshing take on technology and coming from a marketing background, I often find myself associating with his content. 

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

To cope with lockdown, I loved using Zwift – a fantastic way to gamify indoor cycling. I absolutely love being outdoors, so anything that helps me keep on top of that and collect data is a winner for me. Things like my Garmin watch and Strava are certainly close to my heart. 

I also love watching sport, but many of the events I’m passionate about are overseas in another timezone. Both Kayo and Optus have worked hard to create great apps to help me keep on top of them in recent years.

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

Bob Iger, Executive Chairman at Disney, has such a fantastic legacy. I read his biography recently and was enamoured by everything that he has achieved. 

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Try and enjoy the journey! 

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About Author

Balance The Grind gives me a platform to talk to these people about how they're achieving their ideal lifestyle. I'm inspired by the passion, the work ethic, the hustle; and these conversations motivate me to live life the way I want to live it.