Beknazar Abdikamalov is the co-founder and CTO at Hupo, a Singapore-based startup on a mission to empower managers in Asia to be the best version of themselves.
To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I am originally from a remote city called Nukus in Uzbekistan. I have always been passionate about technology and started coding at a young age, when I fell in love with computers and the Internet.
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to study computer science in Korea and have worked at several startups in the country. I also had the chance to work as a software engineer at Amazon, which was a great experience.
Currently, I am a co-founder and CTO of a startup called Hupo in Singapore. Our mission is to empower managers in Asia to be the best version of themselves. We have created a leadership coaching platform that provides personalized support and guidance to help individuals achieve their goals.
What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
A typical day for me starts with waking up, taking a cold shower and fueling my body with a nutritious breakfast. Upon waking up, I prioritize any pressing issues on Slack and attend to them immediately. To ensure a clear and focused mind, I take a 10-minute meditation session before starting the workday, if I have time.
I greet my team and share my plans for the day by reviewing my to-do list. To recharge and refocus, I take a 15-20 minute power nap after lunch. As we have a fully remote team, I have regular video meetings with my colleagues to stay in sync.
In the evening, I prioritize my physical and mental health by either working out in the gym for an hour or taking a long walk. To unwind after a long day, I make plans to meet with friends and enjoy a nice dinner.
Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Yes, our company operates on a remote working model, with a distributed team across the world. We have a flexible approach to working hours, as long as we are available during customer hours in Singapore, ensuring that we are able to provide support and resolve any issues that may arise.
The most important aspect of our role is to consistently complete our tasks and ship features on a regular basis. This flexible work arrangement allows us to balance our work and personal life effectively, as we can structure our schedules in a way that works best for us.
What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I prefer to refer to work-life balance as work-life synergy, as this concept implies that work and life are not in competition, but rather are working together to support a high quality of life. Instead of separating my time into traditional categories such as weekdays and weekends or work time and vacation time, I take time off only when I feel I need it in order to maintain productivity.
To achieve this goal, I continuously reassess and innovate my approach to work-life balance, constantly seeking to find a harmonious balance between my professional and personal life. I believe that work-life synergy is not a one-time fix, but an ongoing process of reflection and adaptation.
In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
In the past year, I have made a conscious effort to prioritize my health by adopting a few new routines and habits. I started tracking my daily steps to ensure I am getting enough physical activity and I use my phone as a tool to help me stay on track.
Additionally, I have been making a conscious effort to limit my screen time and only use digital devices for work purposes. Instead of using them for leisure, I have been trying to engage in physical activities and spend time outdoors. These changes have allowed me to prioritize my health and wellbeing while balancing my work and life.
Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I love reading books that focus on developing one’s soft skills and personal growth, such as Dale Carnegie’s works and other self-improvement literature. Additionally, I am an avid listener of podcasts and have a few favorites that I highly recommend.
These include Lenny Rachitsky’s podcast on product development, Lex Fridman’s podcast, as well as some comedy podcasts such as Tigerbelly and Bad friends to help me unwind and relax my mind.
Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
I have a few essential tools and apps that make my work and life easier. For work, Visual Studio Code is a must-have for me. The integration of AI tools and ChatGPT has made it even more powerful for handling text-related tasks. I also rely on simple apps like Notes for keeping track of my daily tasks and Slack for staying connected with my team.
In my personal life, I can’t go without my podcast and music apps like YouTube Music and Spotify. They keep me entertained and help me unwind after a long day.
If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I would be interested in reading an interview about work-life balance by either Yaron Lavi, the CTO of Deel, or Paul English, the co-founder of Kayak. Both of these CTOs have made significant achievements to their companies while maintaining a good work-life balance.
Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
I believe it’s important to regularly assess the balance in your life to ensure that you are living optimally and feeling fulfilled in your job.
More importantly, as Steve Jobs famously said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” If you find a job that you love, balancing your work-life will come naturally. So, it’s important to keep searching for that fulfilling career that brings joy to both your work and personal life.
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