CEOs / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with John Tan, CEO & Founder of Doyobi

John Tan is the CEO & Founder of Doyobi, an edtech startup that nurtures transferable skills in kids through group quests set in a closed, safe metaverse.

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

I started in management consulting, and hated it. I did a couple of F&B ventures, got into tech sitting on both sides of the table as a founder and investor. Still doing both. Currently focusing on Doyobi, an edtech startup that nurtures transferable skills in kids through group quests set in a closed, safe metaverse.

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

Doyobi is mostly remote because we have people all over the world. I work out of a coworking space by myself, but spend a lot of time on Slack talking to my colleagues.

My work is focused on two areas – creating amazing learning experiences for kids, and educating parents on the importance of skills and mindset over grades and academic achievements. I spend a lot of time writing about the future of work and learning – via my newsletter Education & Catastrophe, but also on social media.

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

I don’t believe in work-life balance. I believe in finding work that is personally meaningful to you, so that work is not a grind. And that is one of the things we do at Doyobi – helping kids discover their interests and talents, and developing greater self-awareness. Ethan Hawke gave a great TED talk about giving yourself permission to be creative. It starts with knowing yourself and following your love.

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

I started writing more. I did an online cohort-based course called Ship 30 for 30, which led me to publishing on Twitter and LinkedIn. About six months ago I started writing my newsletter Education & Catastrophe because there’s so much great content about the future of work and learning I come across which I think is worth sharing. I really enjoy writing.

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

I love the FT Weekend. Still my favourite publication after 20+ years. Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard’s book I Let My People Go Surfing is one of the best books about entrepreneurship for a cause.

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

Elon Musk. I’d love to know how he manages Tesla, SpaceX and finds time to tweet.

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

I’d like to share this Ethan Hawke quote: “We know this — the time of our life is so short, and how we spend it — are we spending it doing what’s important to us? Most of us do not.”

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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.