Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Alex Roggero, CMO & Co-Founder at Crono

Alex Roggero is the CMO & Co-Founder at Crono, a simple AI-powered tool used to help sales team build strong pipelines.

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Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to?

Sure! But to tell it I have to start from my university days. Yes, this is going to be a long answer, but hopefully interesting. I attended two different courses of study at the same time: I graduated in computer science and in the meantime I graduated in music.

For many years, one part of my life was behind the strings of an electric bass and another one at the office. Here I will only talk about my “business” life, but I wanted to start this way because I think that this part of my professional life has always been greatly influenced by my artistic soul as well. 

My first work experience was in a shopping centre, as a LG salesman. I did this job for about 4 years (it allowed me to pay for my studies) and this is where I learned how to sell to people. An experience that no school can ever teach you. Then, I moved on to the world of consultancy, working on sustainability reports for banks and insurance companies.

Here I started building my network of contacts in the enterprise world. We created an Award to reward the most sustainable bank in Italy and it immediately became the national most important award in this sector. We are talking about 2015.

Then I moved on to work in a communication agency. To differentiate us from the other hundreds of agencies, we created two magazines / communities, one dedicated to Customer Experience, the other to Human Resources.

In just a few months, we were able to close contracts with all the major technology companies globally. Any examples? Salesforce, Oracle, Zendesk, Zoho, Freshworks, Nuance, Medallia, ecc. I literally exploded my professional network during those years.

At that time, I started collaborating with startups. I started by helping them with communication, networking and events. Then I started working in a more structured way with the Italian Startup Association (InnovUp). And yes, I fell in love with the startup world and its way of working.

In the following years I became Manager and C-Level of tech vendors, but I kept the dream of creating my own startup. And yes, I succeeded.

In the next few years I founded startups, I became a partner in others, I have founded associations, I have been incubated in important startup accelerators. All in all, I had fun. Today I am the CMO & Co-Founder of Crono, the most important project of my entire professional career. I have put all the experience gathered in those years of work into Crono. Also, I’m lucky enough to have an incredible team of Co-Founders. With Crono we are trying to revolutionise the outbound sales market. Not a small challenge.

We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a recent workday?

I’m a nocturnal animal, as I’m writing this answer it’s 2am. I know what you’re thinking right now, but I work better this way. Trust me.

So, my days don’t start very early, I would say around 7.30 in the morning. I start by doing some physical activity, often a jog through the streets of the city (Milan or London). When I get home, I have breakfast and read some newspapers. Every day at 9 am I have an alignment meeting with my Co-Founders.

Two days a week we go to the office, the other we work remotely. Currently I take care of all the Marketing, Communication, Brand and Sales activities of Crono, so during the day I talk a lot with prospects and customers. On average I have between 5 and 8 meetings a day. I also try to attend events, at least 2 each month (the next two will be SaaS & Sales B2B in Milan and South Summit in Madrid).

After work, I try to “disconnect” from business. I write novels (my latest novel is called Non Farlo, but currently it’s only in Italian, sorry) and I often go out with friends. I am a big fan of music, films, arts, sports and beers.

Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach in maintaining it?

Uh, that’s a tough question. I always try to give 200% when I’m working and, similarly, not work at all when I’m not working. But when you run a new startup like Crono, this is really difficult. Work thoughts always follow you, even while reading a book or having a beer with friends. Those are not easy to get rid of.

But I’m trying not to work at least on weekends. In those days I try to dedicate 100% of my time to friends, family and all the other important things in my life. Yes, I would still say that it is not easy to keep the balance.

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Change is constant, and it’s essential for growth. Have you made any lifestyle changes in the past year to improve your work-life balance?

I set up my days better, managing to find the right time to play sports during the day and eat healthy. These two things have improved my balance a lot. Working 3 days out of 5 remotely helps a lot to do that of course.

We’re always on the lookout for new resources! Can you recommend any books, podcasts, or newsletters that have helped you in your journey towards balance?

Podcast: A Wild Mind
Books: Non Farlo – Alex Roggero (I’m joking haha)

Before we wrap up, do you have any final words of wisdom or insights on work, life, or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Always do what we like. Always. If we don’t like something, we must at least understand why we are doing it. Why are we doing this? What is our goal? In the short, medium and long term. I just launched a new project, it’s called FounderSwap, where Startup Founders can talk about various issues with other Founders. This could be one of those. How important is it to discuss these issues with other people? For me it is fundamental.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.