David Haisha Chen is the co-founder and CEO at Strikingly, a Y Combinator-backed startup that allows users to build a website in minutes, without any coding or design work.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
When I was in college, I co-founded a tech startup called Strikingly, which allows people to launch websites or online stores without needing to write code. I’ve been CEO of this startup ever since then, from our dorm room to more than 4 million entrepreneur users now.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I wake up and do 60 push ups, two sets of sit-ups, then have breakfast. After breakfast, I have the 1st meeting of the day with our HR team to go over team building progress and if there are any issues that need to be addressed.
Then I usually start with a day of interviews (we’re in a process of hiring now), and this usually takes up most of my day. In between interviews in the morning, I’ll respond to emails and meet with relevant teams that need me to make decisions; and in between interviews in the afternoon, I usually work on projects that I personally champion.
I usually have one or two important projects that I personally work on. After dinner, I usually have concluded my daily interviews. I’ll finish up the work I’ve started today, and list out things that need to be done tomorrow.
If I can get home before 10, I usually do a 20-40 minutes workout at night. And if I get home after 10pm, I’ll read a bit and go to bed. That’s a standard day for me.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Not much. My days are pretty standard.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
It means I can have a balance between things that I have to work on and things I want to work on. Interviews, addressing issues in the team, making decisions are some of the things that I have to work on.
Besides these, I usually pick on a few projects I really want to champion, from product, to fine-tuning the organization, to growth. I leave ample amount of time aside when I schedule for things that I have to attend to, and I’ve achieved a pretty good balance between them.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Morning pushups and sit-ups is a routine that I added in the past few months. It used to take an Americano or my first interview for me to feel fully awakened. After this routine, my morning gets an immediate kickstart and I feel much more energy in the early parts of the day.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
The Hard Thing About Hard Things is pretty good. I’d highly recommend it to any entrepreneurs. A few other books that I’d recommend are Creativity, Inc, Zero to One, and Winning.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
Gmail, Google Doc, Google Sheet are what I use every day, and I can’t imagine my day without them. These all make collaboration so much easier.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I think Elon Musk has done an unimaginably good job in running multiple companies yet living a very interesting life. Would love to hear how he manages to do all that in 24 hours.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Find job, career or calling that you’re passionate about. Then all of a sudden, your life became the 100% of time you have, and you’d never need to think about how to keep work limited so that you leave enough time to enjoy “life”. Instead, you’ll be living your dream life.
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