Interviews / Operations

Balancing the Grind with Jules Flynn, Chief Operating Officer at Zoomo

Jules Flynn is the COO at Zoomo, an e-bike start-up based in Australia and operating across the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia.

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

I started out as a consultant with McKinsey first out of Melbourne and later out of Brussels and then moved into the world of transportation and technology. I did stints at the NYC subway and with bike share in the US and before returning to Australia at the start of 2022 I was leading the operations of Lyft’s shared bike and scooter business out of NYC. 

Earlier this year I started a new position as COO of Zoomo. Our mission is to transition last mile urban logistics to Light Electric Vehicles. Zoomo operates in 7 countries around the world, with headquarters in Australia. 

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

With our global operations I travel quite a lot, as a result I have my Melbourne routine and my travel routine which are quite different. In Melbourne the day starts sometimes with a run but more often not, and then it’s the whirlwind of getting the 3 kids off to 3 different schools with my wife.

In Melbourne I mostly work from home and the day tends to be morning and evening heavy with calls to pick up the time zone overlap with the North American and European teams. The middle of the day is often where I get time to go deeper on a topic or catch up on the flow of asynchronous work and also make a point of getting outside with or without the pretext of an errand to run. 

When I’m on the road the routine is hardly stable but normally starts or ends with a video call to home (depending on the timezone) and is more focused on spending time with our teams and customers. Our business is all about bikes and so I make a point of trying to experience the cities we operate in on bike as much as possible too which is actually quite a lot given how well lots of major cities are now served with ebike share.

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

My role is a mixture of both extended international travel (I chain visits to Europe and US/Canada together into several week trips) and working from home, so the range of how I work is really very large.

We have 3 school age kids and my wife does a formidable job of balancing her own demanding work with supporting them always and particularly when I am on the road. She is impressively efficient and when we work from home together she definitely helps set the pace. 

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

I think that hours worked is a very important measure of balance and I definitely think about that.  For me balance also means that the challenges and stresses of work are something that get your full attention when you are on but that don’t creep into your thoughts or distract you when you are not.

With the constant flow of communication that can be hard. I think it’s also about being comfortable doing absolutely nothing sometimes which so much technology pushes against.

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

The phone no longer sleeps in the bedroom when I’m at home and when I’m on the road I stay away from the bedside charging socket. I try to get through breakfast before messages as much as I can and it’s just too tempting when it’s right there.

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

The Daily from the New York Times is my current favourite. The quality is always high and from a trailing week of episodes I think there is always a good variety of topics to suit any particular mood you might be in.

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

My overade collapsible bike helmet is my favourite travel gadget. It’s small enough to keep in a shoulder bag and helps me get on the bike share wherever I may be and I love showing off its industrial origami magic when I unfold it.

At home my favourite gadget is of course a bike, specifically a longtail cargo bike. It’s our family’s minivan and is the school drop off vehicle of choice. When the kids were younger all 3 could fit on the back but now it’s only 2 and the hills are getting harder and harder, but it’s a great way to get around and build some exercise into the daily routine. Seeing how much we can cart back from Bunnings on it on the weekend is also a favourite activity with the kids.

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

I think a real seven up style lifetime longitudinal study of attitudes and practices related to work life balance and their correlates would be very interesting. I think it’s really hard to think about your own arc objectively and that everyone’s particular memories are an unreliable guide for life advice, especially if coloured by professional success or failure of some kind.

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

Life is better on a bike.

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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.