CEOs / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Ben Kennedy, Founder & CEO of Gecko

Ben Kennedy is the founder & CEO of Gecko, a marketplace that allows users to hire event items easily and securely.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I’m the founder & CEO of Gecko – a marketplace to hire event items like speakers, chairs and party lights easily and securely.

2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

It may sound cliché but no two days are the same.

I usually get up at 6:30, get ready for work, eat a light breakfast and leave the house around 7:45.

I walk 20 minutes and catch the train which is about 15 minutes, which gets me to work somewhere between 8:15 and 8:30. I could get there quicker if I wanted to but the walk is healthy, I’ve learned to enjoy it.

I’ll usually put my bag down, boil a cup of jasmine tea and while it’s heating up go and meditate for 10-15 minutes.

Once I get to work I always do a daily standup with my team on our internal messaging channels. It’s pretty much my checklist for what I need to do for the day.

During the day I’m usually talking to customers, mentors, investors or the team before I go to lunch where I’ll eat for about 15 minutes and play a few cheeky games of ping pong.

I get the 3pm fuzzies quite frequently so I go for a walk down to Darling Square or to Woolworths to grab a snack before getting back into work for another 3 hours.

On my way to head home I usually take this time to get out of work mode and relax. Relaxation time is important, it’s often my best ideas come when I’m away on holiday or spending time with my girlfriend.

I try to get to bed around 9:30-10 because I’m a big believer in sleep.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine? 

The cool thing about running your own company is being able to do whatever you like but I prefer being in the co-working space as does most of the team. Knowledge comes from different places so it’s nice to get feedback from other founders going through it with you.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

I’m still unsure if I’ve cracked the whole work-life balance thing but to me it’s about working towards a goal while ensuring you’re taking care of yourself. Work should be treated as a journey and I think it’s important to enjoy the lows, the highs and everything in-between.

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life? 

I have tried waking up a little earlier, which has been particularly useful for the Euros (go Italy) and limit phone usage before bed but haven’t quite mastered that yet.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

Lenny Rachitsky’s newsletter is amazing, it’s the only newsletter I’ve ever paid for but it’s worth it, if you’re not convinced he’s also got a freebie version. The Secular Buddhism Podcast is the podcast I listen to most, Time Management by Randy Pausch is amazing as is the How To Start a Startup Series by Sam Altman.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

I love football (soccer) so FotMob and Optus Sport are brilliant, I use Twitter for business believe it or not and it’s quite a great learning tool if you follow the right people.

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?   

Melanie Perkins from Canva and Brian Chesky from Airbnb (my third on this list would be Tim Fung from Airtasker but I’ve already read one on him). Three seriously inspiring founders.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

If you love the journey it’s going to make your life so much easier on the days that pile on and remember that happiness is attainable everyday if you wish to access it. It’s not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain. 

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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.