Andrew Boyd is the Co-Founder at Credit Card Compare, Australia’s leading credit card comparison website, where he heads up product and development.
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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your background and career?
I started off building websites more than 15 years ago. I moved on to work at a digital agency, then started Credit Card Compare with my brother. Many of my “skills”, if you could call them that, have been self-taught over the years since my formal education was in the humanities.
2) What is your current role and what does it entail on a day to day basis?
I am a co-founder at Credit Card Compare, Australia’s leading credit card comparison website, where I head up product and development. As well as that, I am involved in development at Finty, the Singaporean financial comparison startup we acquired in 2018.
Day to day I:
- oversee development of our web and mobile apps;
- work with our remotely distributed team of backend and frontend developers;
- develop our product roadmap, monitor, and report on our progress towards milestones.
It is a varied role and I do get to work with some great people doing interesting things. For example, we recently released Australia’s first credit score monitoring app, Credit Health, which is available for iOS and Android phones.
3) What does a typical day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I usually have at a call with my co-founder in the morning and catch up with our Head of Sales and Partnerships to get briefed in on all the usual things: what’s happening in the business, any problems that may have arisen, etc. I’ll check in with the development team and make sure that there are no blockers to deal with, and if there are, get them fixed.
One of the best things about being remote from the team in Australia is that my afternoons are relatively free to actually get things done without interruption. I’ll use that time to get through email, spec up work, have meetings, plan with the development team, do code reviews and quality assurance, etc.
I usually put in a few hours after the normal workday ends and we’ve shipped the kids off to sleep. Sunday through to Thursday evenings tend to have a meeting of some sort, usually starting around 8:30pm or 10:30pm depending on the time of year.
These can range from internal company meetings or talking with our banking partners. They don’t happen every night of the week, which is great since it is not unusual for me to finish up some time after midnight.
4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you prioritise your workload?
If it can be automated, then I’ll automate it. For example, we run standups in Slack using a bot. This means you get the benefit of knowing what everyone else is working on without having to be present in a meeting.
Having said that, a good cadence for meetings is important. We run a development call at the same time every Monday where the whole team meets and talks about what they are doing and share ideas and solutions for any problems we may be facing.
Meetings have a bad reputation and many consider them to an inherent waste of time, but I strongly disagree so long as the purpose is meaningful.
One of the best things I advocate for is to take a minimalist approach and declutter your life, both personally and financially. Do you need to be subscribed to all those newsletters? Probably not. You won’t miss much without them.
Is social media really worth it? I deleted all my social media accounts except Facebook (only because I needed it for an API token) and have not missed them at all.
Are all the apps on your phone necessary? Probably not. And worse still, they interrupt you with meaningless notifications throughout the day.
Must you be in every meeting you’re invited to? If you have a competent team who you trust, then just let them do their job.
The same principle applies to your physical surroundings too. If it doesn’t need to be there, I’d rather it wasn’t!
Another thing that will make a huge difference is to just get out of the way and let your team get on with their work. It’s tempting to raise questions and chase for answers since it’s “just a message”, but in doing so you are actually slowing things down by constantly distracting everyone else. Plan your work, communicate regularly but not sporadically, and trust the process.
5) In between your job, life and all your other responsibilities, how do you ensure you find some sort of balance in your life?
I enjoy really simple things: a good coffee and a walk along the beach or by the river do wonders. It’s not hard to do either where I live—we have some of the best beaches you’ll find anywhere—but even so, I have to force myself to put aside work and take a break.
6) What are some of the things you do to take time out and recharge?
I would like to say travel, but with three kids in tow, you don’t get to relax and recharge. A good session in the gym does wonders for body and mind.
7) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?
Perhaps the biggest change I’ve made has been incorporating physical exercise into my week. Up until the start of last year, I was your typical office worker living a largely sedentary life. But after picking up a knee injury, and in an attempt to recuperate, my wife set me up with a personal trainer.
I’ve been training several times a week since then. I find that whilst there are definite physical benefits, the mental benefit is even more noticeable. I have much better clarity of mind when exercising regularly.
Another thing I constantly struggle with is maintaining a decent sleeping pattern. Being part of a distributed company has many advantages, but one of the biggest drawbacks are the irregular hours. And by irregular, what I really mean is a meeting starting at 10:30pm being considered early in the night.
You’ve got to unlearn some of the bad habits you’ve probably picked up over the years and fight your own corner when it comes to attending meetings, otherwise it will not be long before you find yourself burned out and ineffective.
8) Are there any books you’ve read that have helped you with work-life balance?
I’ve been reading Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business by Paul Jarvis. In his book he equates growth with the hungry ghost, a being whose needs can never be satisfied.
There’s a tendency to always go for growth, even if it comes at the cost of your physical and mental health. This really resonates with me.
9) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
Start it off the right way. And to me, the best way to achieve that is to leave my phone alone. Every morning I am greeted with a backlog of email and Slack messages to catch up on.
Whilst it is very tempting to start reading through everything I’ve missed out on overnight, consuming that amount of work-related stuff first thing in the morning is guaranteed to get things off to a bad start.
Over the years, and having listened to guys like Chase Jarvis, Tim Ferriss, and Jocko Willink talking about their morning routines, I’ve developed a basic routine that works for me: breakfast, coffee, school run, workout, shower, work.
You can read an interesting article on credit cards on Fintly.
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