Almog Koren is the CEO & Founder at DogBase, a company redefining working dogs’ interactions and training through artificial intelligence.
Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to?
I’d be happy to share a bit about my journey. I have a diverse background that’s taken me through various experiences. I initially served in the military special forces, gaining invaluable discipline, teamwork, and adaptability skills. After my military service, I transitioned into software development, which has been my professional focus for over 18 years.
Throughout my career, I’ve had the privilege of founding two startup ventures backed by funding. These experiences taught me the importance of innovation, perseverance, and the ability to navigate the dynamic landscape of the business world.
Currently, I’m deeply engrossed in my latest venture, DogBase. This endeavour holds a special place in my heart as it brings together my passion for technology and my appreciation for animals. DogBase is about leveraging artificial intelligence to revolutionise how we interact with and train working dogs.
I’m excited to mention that we’ve been selected as a part of Techstars Tech Central Sydney, an initiative supported by the NSW Government. This opportunity has further fueled our drive to create meaningful change in the field.
Reflecting on my journey, I am incredibly fortunate to be engaged in work that aligns with my passions. Every moment spent on DogBase is an absolute joy, and I’m eagerly looking forward to the positive impact we’re set to make in the world of technology and beyond.
We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a recent workday?
Running a startup, I don’t have a typical day. Much depends on what’s happening, but I generally wake up early and go to the gym or do a beach run. Then I head to the office and grab my coffee and water. I start with emails, reviewing my calendar, and reviewing my team’s workload.
From there, it’s either meetings or knocking off my task on my to-do list.
Recently it has varied a bit. My team is remote. Our startup is entirely remote, so I have been working late for team meetings, and our current customers are in the United States, which adds more complications. Still, I work from home a couple of days a week, which is excellent as I can take breaks and head to the gym or the local coffee shop and clear my head, but this is only sometimes possible.
Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach to maintaining it?
This is one of the most important things and was one of the reasons we applied for Techstars in Sydney. I define it as being healthy, and everyone has a different approach to that, but I look at it from the perspective that it is ok to work hard, especially if you’re working on a startup but understand your limits and when you need to take a break.
So, I’ve got this approach – work hard, absolutely, but know when to slam on the brakes. If that means hunkering at home and grinding away for just a few hours, so be it.
Beyond that, I eat healthily, go to the gym, and, more importantly, spend time with friends, such as an evening dinner or doing something active like a coastal walk. Having that social aspect really makes the difference. Even when I overwork, I’m really enjoying myself. I found something I’m passionate about, so I’m less concerned about work-life balance and more about being healthy.
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?
Coming to Sydney is a really big one, but even before that, I have been focusing on finding the correct balance. Before Sydney, I volunteered as a K9 search and rescue dog handler; with my dog Echo we would train twice a week and go on search missions. I also did dog sports with his IGP, which helped me maintain a good work-life balance. I’m also very active and keep that up, whether it’s a new hike or just taking the weekend to scuba dive at an excellent spot.
We’re always on the lookout for new resources! Can you recommend any books, podcasts, or newsletters that have helped you navigate your balance?
There are so many things out. I’m a big fan of reading and art so I suggest going to art shows, galleries, and museums, make sure to do something active and for reading, I recommend the following. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life. It’s one of my favourite books, and it puts things into perspective
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?
For work, my biggest suggestion is only ever to do a startup. If you are passionate about it and willing to risk everything, don’t do it for the press, hype, or money. For life, work on yourself, always be learning, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and you need to find the work-life balance that is for you and no one else.