Alexander Baigent is the CTO & Co-Founder at Fluidity Money, a startup building a novel blockchain protocol that earns yield as you use your crypto assets on-chain in any transaction.
To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’m a programmer, but studied corporate finance in another life. In the past I’ve consulted and implemented with small companies.
Today I’m the CTO and a co-founder of Fluidity Money. Fluidity is building a novel blockchain protocol that earns yield as you use your crypto assets on-chain in any transaction – sort of like cashback rewards without any overhead.
We’re disrupting the narrative that money has to be held “idle” to generate returns with it – with Fluidity the act of spending like normal is the act of creating yield. We’re solving the problem of financial inclusion for people who can’t afford to have enough to participate in finance in the first place.
What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I wake up around 8:30 and take a quick shower, then begin my working day at 9. I fast from 9 until noon, as I’ve found this is my most productive. We work from home and remote, so I find my sitting table in another room and work on the floor as we take our first round of standups.
At this point I optionally take another call to chase up how people are feeling about our current state of affairs or speak with an external. I then review data about any product features/fixes in the pipeline, our kanban software and statistics for our pages/marketing to understand how people could be feeling about any experimentation we’re currently doing.
At this point, having clearly defined goals for the day and identifying any blockers, myself and the team switch off their communication apps and begin a period of uninterrupted work until 11:30. We practise a chunking method to encourage the flow state with our team – it’s never made us more productive and the team happier.
We have enough reporting infra that if anything breaks, we’ll know immediately via phone call, so it’s not important we’re available all the time to be responsive to on-the-fly communication. As a remote-first company, we’re experienced in running asynchronous teams and have internally tested and iterated on the format for doing so.
I work split between two working spaces, the first a messy environment that I feel works for solving issues that require a level of creativity. Working on the floor without furniture (save for a small floor desk) encourages my body to remain active. Sometimes I work on a large cushion or floor chair to provide support.
Other times, I shift to another room with a normal chair and desk that looks at a wall without any stimulation that I find suits for solving boring and tedious tasks I’d rather not do. Sometimes during a research day I move around the house and work squatting against walls to provide my brain with additional stimulation.
My computing environment is optimised for productivity, with an almost fully custom visual environment without any bells and whistle. I find a ritual of listening to specific monotonous music (barber beats/downtempo) with earphones with a program that automates and aggregates what plays non-interactively keeps me on the ball.
At 11:30 we begin the first check-in for the day, and encourage an everyone-available period of discussion to identify anything blocking the team. At this point I begin to cook my meals for the day and optionally step out to have lunch with a friend. Following my lunch break, we begin another round of uninterrupted work until 4pm. Throughout the remaining day I eat cooked food for chunks of hours.
Following work, I have a 20-40 minute nap and head to hit weights at the gym if it’s not a rest day. I then spend time with a friend, or recently, boxing. Following this, I usually spend time with my partner until late if possible. I then read until falling asleep and rinse repeatedly.
What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I live a fulfilling life and am happy. To me, leading a meaningful work-life balance is having the opportunity to recharge following an engaging day where I feel passionate about the task at hand. Outside work hours I use a Light Phone while with my partner to remain focused and to keep me present. This remains my personal cell.
In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
- Taking up boxing
- Owning a Light Phone
- Less of an emphasis on external hardware to make me more productive (previously had a dripped out custom keyboard, vertical mouse – now I just use my laptop)
Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
Three non-fiction books that come to mind:
- The Dream Machine
- The Goal
- The Plausibility of Life
- ZK podcast
- Week in Ethereum News
- ASPI Tech Digest
If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
- Ted Chiang
- Oleg Kiselyo
- Rob Pike
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