Florian Jacques is the Co-Founder & CEO at Midstay, a company paving the way for a future where professionals can live and work anywhere, by helping individuals & companies get the best work-from-abroad experience, worry-free.
From Team Retreats in curated villas to individual relocation — enabling productivity from dreamy locations.
To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
My name is Florian, I’m a Belgian Product UX/UI Designer.
At the age of 15, I was starting off my entrepreneurial journey by organising a Music Festival that I brought a few years later at 20k festival goers (2019)
At the age of 18, I also created a Design / Marketing Agency, which allowed me to travel the world to help startups — mostly in San Francisco and New York but also in Australia.
Then in early 2020 I decided to take my clients with me, and (to avoid the Belgium winter) I jumped on a plane to go work remotely for a few months from Bali.
One month later, COVID hit and I got “stuck” in Bali. I actually decided to not take my repatriation flight back and I stayed in a beautiful villa with friends during the time the pandemic will be over. It took much longer than expected, but I eventually came back to Belgium for the Summer of 2021 and quickly came back to Bali since the business of Midstay was already on its way.
A bit of a step back, during the time I was stuck on the island of gods, I met Magnus, who is now my co-founder and CTO at Midstay.
We shared a common experience of travelling and working, and we really felt many frictions that could be solved with a tailor-made platform for remote workers.
Allowing this new (booming) target to relocate easily without losing any time of work and productivity when arriving in a new place AND connecting them to a community of like-minded people to avoid a recurring pain: loneliness.
It’s now been one year since we incorporated Midstay, we are proving the concept in Bali with a team of 12 gifted minds.
We are looking to expand by 2023 to more hubs around the world.
My current role is multi-functional. I’m operating as a CEO but I touch Figma with the hat of Product Owner, I work with Hubspot with the hat of SDR, I manage campaigns with the hat of Growth Marketer. Currently I’m a true swissknife yes, but this is only to know best who to recruit next in order to remove myself time by time.
What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
Early wake up when the sunrise appears.
I’m surfing from 6 to 7:30 am, and at 8 am I start my management check-in for about an hour with a cup of coffee.
Then, I intentionally create “focus time blocks” in my agenda to refuse calls in the morning, and focus on tasks that need to be done. This is important to keep moving on, and give some guidance to my team.
When lunchtime comes, I’m heading off for 30 min to venues called “Warung Nasi Campur”. These are small Indonesian restaurants where you can grab local food from a buffet.
This is cheap, fast, and super healthy! Can’t live without it!
Once back to our villa-office, the marathon of calls is starting, either to gather user feedback, to speak with some of our advisors, investors or clients.
Approaching sunset time, I like to take a 30 min break to refresh my brain and watch the spectacular sun going down on the Indian ocean.
Afterwards, I’m back for an hour or two to answer comments my team left on Slack, Figma or Notion.
Ending the day with a simple but tasty restaurant with friends. Yes, I have the luck to live in Indonesia where we can afford this luxury of eating outside almost every day. Which is by the way a deal breaker when speaking about saving working time and productivity.
What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I think it really depends where people find happiness. But to me, this is the right amount of work, social life, and sports.
I also strongly believe in async work, which allows much more flexibility to anyone and which helps to reach the perfect work-life balance.
I also really enjoy working from different places (such as cafes, coworking spaces, a friend’s villa, etc.) This nomadic way of working allows me to always adapt myself and make me feel outside of my comfort zone.
I would also add that outside adventures are essential for a good balance, taking time to reset is much necessary and being close to nature for a few hours helps me very much.
In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Yes! I used to not do any sports activity when the surf forecast wasn’t suitable to get into the water.
But I recently started to run on the beach when the surf isn’t feasible, nice feeling as well for an early activity!Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I’m a big fan of Lenny Rachitsky, he was previously working as a Product lead at Airbnb, and he is now providing a gold mine of weekly advice on product and growth, via his newsletter and podcast.
If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I’d love to know the one of Barack Obama, being a President seems almost like you can’t allow yourself to have the work-life balance you’d personally wish, and a lot of sacrifices should most probably be accepted. Understanding how he managed his personal/work life would be super interesting.
Do you have any last thoughts on work, life, or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
I would end this by saying that in the end everyone has a different way of finding their inner balance.
I believe the key is the same as all the things I’m starting: test, learn, repeat and double down once your gut feeling is sending positive signals.
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