Franko Ali is the Marketing Manager at Investible, a specialist early-stage venture capital group that provides high-potential founders the financial and human capital needed to scale.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I began my career while completing my degree in design and marketing, assembling a team of young creatives to energize our university’s culture. The volunteer-turned-full time role was a lesson in navigating bureaucracy, and that forgiveness is a better pursuit than permission.
I then made my way into digital media, working at the intersection of editorial, content and audience development for major YouTubers and brands in the Discovery Communications portfolio.
This led to my next role building and launching of Seeker in a creative and brand management role, which helped hone my skills in strategy, production and sales enablement.
When my partner (an Aussie) and I relocated to Sydney—after a blissful mini-sabbatical—I joined the comparison platform and emergent fintech Finder as the lead for creative marketing.
In this role, I led a newly-forged team dedicated to bringing Finder’s brand to life through video, podcasts, integrated digital and ATL marketing campaigns, as well as product launches.
My current role employs every tool of the marketing swiss-army-knife I’ve sharpened over the years. Investible is an early-stage venture capital firm, dedicated to backing visionary tech founders to build lasting companies.
As marketing manager, I look after every component of the Investible brand, and help to build the back-end operations of our platform. Through comms, content, consulting and the building of tools and processes, I’m doubly focused on building a community of passionate investors and supporting our portfolio of startups in their growth journeys.
2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
Though we invest in startups, we are one in our own right. I enjoy the dynamism, pace and creativity that any given week brings, as we drive our lofty ambitions into reality. Here’s a recent day’s happenings…
- 6:00 am — The day begins with either a wander through the neighborhood with my trusty canine companion Ernesto, or the chasing of a sunrise on my bicycle. There’s usually some coffee in there as well.
- 8:00 am — I’m most focused in the morning. Today I’ve hammered out a project plan and built assets for a webinar for our current fundraise, and began an audit of the automations underneath our marcomms tech stack.
- 11:00 am — Operations cross-team unit standup. Making our ways of working better.
- 1:00 pm — Tough to make this one sound sexy. A headfirst dive into powerpoint to get an important presentation across the line.
- 2:00 pm — A working meeting with the climate tech-focussed investment team, honing in on strategy, delivery and moving the pieces forward with key partnerships.
- 3:00 pm — An onboarding call with the founders of a startup we’ve recently backed, detailing how our team and network can help support their overseas expansion, and sharing insight on media/press best practices.
- 4:00 pm — Some quick website updates, plus a blitz toward inbox, notification & desktop zero.
- 6:00 pm — You’d better believe it’s taco night. I’ve got tortillas to make.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
I much preferred the time when remote working was an option, not a pandemic-driven mandate. As one who thrives off collaboration and strong relationships I do love the energy of an office (and the rituals of a short commute).
At the same time, the flexibility and focus that working remotely brings are incredibly valuable. If I need to pursue focussed deep work, the solitude of a remote environment can be a game changer. I’m grateful to work with a business where output matters more than where you happen to be sitting.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I find that balance comes from staying in tune with where I’m at mentally, physically and emotionally.
There will be days where the music hits just right, I accomplish task after task, or move that boulder that’s been standing in your path for a week. Of course, there will be days that fall on the other end of that spectrum. Accepting the ebbs and flows of productivity, and learning to channel the flow when it comes is key. I’ve learned how to tap into these days, and build an environment conducive to them.
For me, balance and productivity bloom from starting my day early, making sure I feel both sun and sweat on my skin, and finding time to sit in silence. It’s far better to get stuck into work refreshed than to force yourself through it.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Though it’s not a new habit, I’ve doubled down in my love for gardening in the past year.
I’ve taken over the verge outside my house with flowers and herbs, cut down household food waste to near zero through composting, and grown enough of a harvest that I (usually) don’t mind when the birds help themselves. The world is noticeably better when you’re in touch with nature—even in the city.
A few other routines I’ve committed to this year include cycling 100km each week, writing full reviews of every book I read, and doing fifteen pushups for every quarter of sport I watch (if you like the NBA as much as I do, this really adds up).
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
Like every generic white guy in tech, I enjoy a good Tim Ferriss episode, I resonate with stoicism, and Sapiens was 5 stars on my Goodreads. That said, I’m particularly fond of media that pulls me out of the hustle and noise of the now.
Writers and thinkers I admire include Michael Lewis, Rebecca Solnit, Simon Sarris, Balaji Srinivasan, Kevin Kelly, Naomi Klein and Alan Watts. People who challenge, ponder and push culture forward with gentle strength.
Conversations with Tyler has long been my favourite podcast. I’ve listened to every single episode. With such an abundance of interview-based shows out there, the host has become the principal selling point for me. Tyler Cowen’s breadth of knowledge in every subject and pure enthusiasm for life put him in a league of his own.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
I really benefit from the combination of Readwise, Pocket and Kindle for highlighting, reviewing and unpacking what I consume. This combination—and my Notion-based second brain—has helped my memory immensely.
On that note, I encourage everyone to use 1SE (1 Second Everyday) to record their life. Videos (even one second clips) transport you like no photo ever could. Looking back at each year of your life in 6 minute videos is magical. Pro-tip: don’t just film the exciting stuff. Mundanity matters.
I’ve got to nod to my bicycle here too. It’s a joy machine.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
A collection of insights from single working immigrant mothers would undoubtedly have something to teach us all.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Never let any one slice of your pie get too big. Make sure to check in on the other portions of your life, outside of what you own or earn. How much of your energy is devoted to your relationships, to self-reflection, your creative passions and professional ambitions?
Striving to stay in touch with my whole self drives me to leave the world better than I found it.
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