Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Dave McLaughlin, Co-Founder & CTO at Bodd

Dave McLaughlin is the Co-Founder & CTO at Bodd, an Australian technology company that has developed 3D body scanning technology which captures ultra rich body data, enabling brands to deliver highly personalised consumer experiences.

Discover the daily routines of top performers like Whitney Wolfe Herd, Lewis Hamilton, Sara Blakely, and Gary Vaynerchuk by subscribing to our weekly newsletter!

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

My background and career has always been in software and technology. I’m now approaching 20 years in the space.

I originally studied at Swinburne University of Technology and then went straight into my working career while I was completing my studies.

I worked for a number of digital /advertising agencies and also software studios, then founded my own product design studio which still operates today.

About 10 years ago my business partner Rob and I started dabbling in our first real start-up – a custom menswear business. This was a technology driven business that we built from the ground up into one of Australia’s most successful tailoring businesses (still currently the #1 reviewed tailoring Google Business in the country). 

We became infatuated with the challenges of sizing / fit and the role that accurate measurements and body shape played in accurate apparel sizing. We commenced a series of R&D projects in that business to develop technology solutions for capturing measurements accurately and dealing with body shapes.

We worked on sizing guides, predictive calculators, mobile phone sizing tools and then started to experiment with 3D body scanning. Developing our own 3D body scanning tech was the catalyst for Bodd – we knew we had developed something that had applications that could go well beyond just solving the challenges for tailoring and menswear.

Fast forward to today and Bodd is now a leader in the 3D body scanning and human body data space and growing rapidly. We have customers in all parts of the world and service uniform, military, retail and now the health / pharmacy markets which is super exciting.

We capture more data across the human body in a sub 60 second scan than any other product – Everything from measurements right through to health, wellness and vitals information – so it’s certainly come a long way from just a sizing tech solution.

My current role is CTO – I work closely with our technology teams that are delivering across two key streams of work – hardware and device technologies for our 3D scanner units, along with our cloud services platform. I’m pretty lucky to have such an awesome group of people that are constantly pushing the needle and delivering outstanding work.

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

My alarm goes off at 5:30am every morning and I’m straight into the gym (I have to tippee-toe out of the house so as not to wake our 8 month old son)

I alternate my mornings between heavy weights and cardio – I’m right into Boxing – No better way to clear the mind than a boxing session. After the gym it’s home for breakfast with my fiance and breakfast with our baby boy. Every morning we do a family walk and take our dog to the park – I cherish that regular family morning time and use this to clear my mind and prepare for the day.

I’ll digest the daily news from various sources and also scan LinkedIn. We are doing a lot of work in the US right now so most mornings I will have a call with our clients or sales teams. I’ll get those calls done before I get into the working day here in Aus.

My work day kicks off around 8:30 am. I like to start the day by speaking to everyone in the team and getting a read on the temperature within the business. We are currently working from wherever the team prefers, but I am finding myself enjoying being in the office more, being able to interact with the team directly vs. video calls.

Rob and I usually have a management meeting most days to go through our respective tasks and issues for the day / week and recap on the bigger picture strategic goals – using those strategic goal posts as a filter for prioritising work.

I try to cap my email inbox time to 30 minute blocks and only do this 2-3 times a day. So 30 mins of email to get as much cleared out as possible and then it’s into big tasks. If I am tackling 1-2 big ticket, high impact items a day that’s good – most of the time all the other stuff is just noise that can take you away from the big stuff. 

In between the big ticket items, I’m usually jumping from meeting to meeting with the team to get updates on various projects, clients and pipeline opportunities. Limiting meetings is key and Rob and I apply the ‘divide and conquer’ approach to attending meetings where possible. My meeting time is split between managing the technical teams and also working on new business.

I’ll tools down in the afternoon from about 5pm to help with Angus if I can.  Then it’s early dinner in our household and I’ll get back into more work after dinner and potentially a call with US / Europe to close out the day.

To wrap up the day the phone goes away once I step into the bedroom and I am reading, winding down for the day.

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

For me right now it’s about maximising the time I can spend with my family while still delivering on my own KPIs / OKRs. 

I really want to be present when I am at home, so having the tools and processes and discipline in place to ensure I can compartmentalise my work mind and personal mind is more important than ever.

We have just re-written our culture code at Bodd and one of the key pillars is: “Love work, love life”. This means we are proud of the work we do – we’re excited to tell our friends about it at a BBQ on the weekend. We know when to put in the extra hours, but know that it’s not always sustainable. We manage this carefully to ensure we don’t burn out. We prioritise our happiness, physical and mental wellbeing. It’s always OK to make room for the people and things we love.

Step up your corporate retreat game with Midstay! Our packages offer working-ready venues, perfect for goal-setting, brainstorming and team-building. Book now and let Midstay handle the rest, while you focus on valuable bonding time with your team.

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

Having a baby in the last 12 months has been the biggest change for me – it certainly helps with prioritisation that’s for sure! I think not being so hard on yourself when “life happens” – I knew that my schedules and routines were going to be thrown out and would have to change, so I accepted it and rolled with it instead of getting frustrated or despondent. Slowly, I have built up new routines around the changes in my personal / family life.

I’ve recently implemented “inbox pause” which has been really helpful in keeping to my 30 min email inbox chunks.. I block out emails and then only allow them into my inbox when I am sitting down that 30 min window. If something is critical, the team or customers will call me or message me – nothing urgent should be sent on email.

I was probably overtraining 12 months ago and not putting enough fuel in the tank food wise – I was intermittent fasting which I think is great for someone trying to lose weight but I was simply not getting enough energy to keep me firing on all cylinders. I have found a nice blend of exercise / eating that keeps me feeling good.

I’m reading more than ever – I’ve set myself a goal to read a certain number of books this year. This goal gives me focus and gets me into gear at night to read instead of being on my phone – reading also helps me unwind and get me into sleep mode. I’ve also started taking a dose of magnesium before bed which seems to put me into a much deeper sleep. As I get older with more work / life pressures, the value of good sleep increases exponentially.

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

I am currently reading Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention by Johann Hari which is super interesting and relatable. As a society, our ability to maintain focus and concentrate is diminishing thanks to a range of factors. A big focus for me this year is to cut the noise and continue to work on my focus, listen more and try to maintain concentration when working on larger tasks – easier said than done!

I also just read What the Three Little Pigs Have to Teach Us: How to Go from Faulty to Faultless by Hay Lam Yau and Deirdre Wilson – a great, quick read to help any business owner quickly and methodically implement a system to eradicate repeating business issues. 

Traction by Gino Wickman is also a must read for anyone running their own business. A lot of the processes in the Bodd business are derived from some of the concepts in this book.

On the podcast front I am really enjoying the Huberman Lab. Huberman is a Health & Fitness podcast which discusses neuroscience: how our brain and its connections with the organs of our body control our perceptions, our behaviours, and health.

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

I have read stacks of business / entrepreneur biographies. Funnily enough most of the people I admire most have had terrible work life balances – Musk, Gates, Jobs!

I’m keen to read Obama’s biography – apparently he was the master at compartmentalising and “time-boxing” – whether it was a work issue or family time.

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

I watched a documentary the other day that went into detail on “Work life blend” as an alternate concept to “work life balance” which I found interesting. Work Life Balance infers countering one with another, also suggesting that work could be seen as a negative force. 

The concept of “work / life blend” instead means you don’t always have to designate time, energy, or focus for just work or just life, but that you can ultimately find fulfilment in a healthy, steady incorporation of both. I like that and I feel it links in nicely with the “love work / Love life” value pillar at Bodd.

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.