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Balancing the Grind with Gordon Tan, Non-Executive Director at Alii

Gordon Tan is an investor in early-stage tech companies and non-executive director on a number of a boards.

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

I started my first company in IT when I was 18 and over the last 20 years have been fortunate to work with some very talented people and helped lead a couple of technology businesses to successful exits.

These days, I invest in early stage tech companies and like to take a hands-on approach working with the founders. I’m on a few Boards and split my time between my portfolio companies. I try to stay in tech as that’s my wheelhouse and I am still a massive IT nerd at heart. 

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

In the past, I spent a lot of time working excessively long hours 7 days a week, but now I’ve been fortunate to have the freedom to do more of the things I really enjoy on my own schedule. 

This morning I woke up, meditated for 20 minutes, walked downstairs to the cafe for a coffee and continued reading my favorite books, Fooled by Randomness.

I then came back upstairs and had calls with the CEOs of two of my portfolio companies Alii, a SaaS startup that has just completed a $1.6m capital raise and Tattooing 101 which has become the largest tattoo education platform in the world and is about to open an office in Malaysia. Looking back on this week I’ve spent most of my free time working with Alii as we’re scaling the team and building momentum. It’s been really exciting.

This evening is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class and then seeing a friend. We’ve decided to do a late night gym session as Melbourne gyms get out of lockdown at 6PM today!

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

I value my freedom and as such my schedule is quite flexible. I don’t really have fixed commitments aside from board meetings and a few people that I mentor and I like to keep it that way.

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

Work-life balance means everything to me at this point in my life, however my learning has been if you love what you do then it isn’t really work! 

It did take me quite a long time to get to this point having zero work life balance for a decade but I’m grateful I put in the effort to have that choice now.

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

I’ve started doing a 2-3 day fast every month and the results have been positive. 

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

Anything by Naseem Taleb. I’m re-reading The Incerto for the third time right now.

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

My massage roller.

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

Naval Ravikant 

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

Finding what you love has been a better solution to me than work life balance. When it doesn’t feel like work, it truly is win-win.

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About Author

Balance the Grind is a work-life balance publication on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.