Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Christian Lee, Co-Founder & COO at AuMBER

Christian Lee is the Co-Founder & COO at AuMBER, a mobile cloud testing platform that helps developers, testers, and SMBs to test their mobile applications and website on real mobile devices from anywhere in the world.

Learn about the daily routines from the most successful people in the world by signing up to our newsletter

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

My career started at Microsoft. I became a data analyst while I was in university and spent all my time either studying or working for them. Then I left Microsoft and started working at Intel as a data analyst. It was the same schedule, always either studying or working.

Then as soon as I graduated I went to Vietnam to found a startup, but I wanted to get hands-on experience first, so I worked at a mobile app startup for two and half years to educate myself before I felt ready to try it myself. I’m now the cofounder and COO of a startup called AuMBER.

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

My workdays vary quite widely. Sometimes I work with my cofounder at his house. Sometimes I work in a coworking space. Sometimes I work from home. Sometimes all three are on the same day. I wake up and typically answer any emails or messages I got during the night.

There are usually quite a few since my contacts are located all over the world. Then I go to meet my cofounder if needed and we discuss whatever needs to be done and work together on things for about 2-3 hours before we separate and work the rest of the day independently.

The work includes giving tasks to employees, planning, recording and analysing data, meeting with customers and partners, and testing our platform. Between 6pm-9pm, I try to take a break to spend time with my family.

Then at 9pm every night, all team members get on a call and discuss the progress we made that day and what our plans are for the next day, as well as sharing anything holding us back and asking for help from others if needed. Sometimes I continue to work on certain tasks after the nightly call. Other times, I relax for a couple more hours before going to bed.

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

Work-life balance to me is less about how much time I spend working and more about how stressed I feel and how much time I get to spend with my family without my mind being occupied by work. It is difficult to achieve in perpetuity.

Sometimes I’m able to achieve what I consider to be a healthy work-life balance for a few weeks or months and then all of a sudden I get swamped with important things to do and don’t have as much time to spend with my family or relax.

I think this cycle is natural and I don’t try to fight it much. I just work until my schedule becomes less chaotic and try to make it up to myself and my family by spending more time with them. During a more typical time, I’m in a privileged position where I can say to myself ‘I feel stressed right now.

I’m going to stop working for a couple hours and play with my daughter or go see a movie with my wife.’ And then when I’m done with that, I can go back to work feeling much less stressed, be more efficient with my work, and never have to worry about anybody criticising me.

Elon Musk, Kobe Bryant, Naomi Osaka, Simone Biles, receive a new daily routine each week about some of the most successful people in the world.

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

My daughter was born about 14 months ago, so within the last 12 months I moved into a new house with my wife and her family so that my mother-in-law could help to take care of her while I am busy with work.

I think it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. It allows me to fully focus on my work without having to worry about how my daughter is doing or if my wife is too stressed. It’s also a huge stress reliever.

To answer the question, when I work from home, I’ve intentionally created the habit of playing with my daughter while I’m making a new cup of coffee or doing some other mundane task. I used to be listening to music with headphones in while I worked to limit distractions, but now I intentionally don’t so that I can hear her laugh downstairs while I’m making spreadsheets or writing emails.

It keeps my mood lifted and acts as a constant reminder of why I’m working so hard. I don’t recommend that anyone have a child or move in with their spouse’s parents just to create a healthier work-life balance of course, but it worked for me.

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

Most of my reading comes from free online resources and articles. But I recently read a book called Powerful Leadership: How to build dream teams by Loan Tran. It gives great advice, especially for people in my position who are first-time leaders or entrepreneurs building teams from scratch.

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

The first thing that comes to mind would be a world leader. We’ve all seen how stress can make a president go from looking young and handsome to old and weary within just 4-8 years.

But I imagine there are a few world leaders who have been able to somehow maintain a healthy work-life balance without letting the stress destroy them. I would really like to know how they manage to do that.

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

My philosophy is similar to the saying “If you enjoy what you do, You’ll never work a day in your life.” Enjoying your career is essential to a healthy work-life balance. If your work doesn’t feel like work, then you never feel like it’s taking away from your life. They are one in the same.

Before you go…

If you’d like to sponsor or advertise with Balance the Grind, let’s talk here

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.