Interviews / Operations

Balancing the Grind with Kimia Marzban, Strategy & Operations Manager at Carted

Kimia Marzban is the Strategy & Operations Manager at Carted, an e-commerce startup enabling developers to make commerce seamless by connecting them to millions of merchants and billions of products with a single API.

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

I somewhat accidentally fell into a sales role at UberEats in my last year of university. After hearing that they had an office in Brisbane, I looked online and applied for a super vague job advertisement, which turned out to be a contract sales role, before the sales function was officially created.

Joining the team ended up being one of the best things that happened to my career. I spent the next ~4 years working across a variety of functions, interesting projects, and also watched Uber grow into a public company.  

In early 2020, I had the opportunity to move to San Francisco to work in the global Uber team. However, Covid had different plans. Instead of going overseas, I stayed back and spent my spare time in lockdown to start a clothing brand on the side. With the amount of educational resources (i.e. youtube videos) and no-code tools out there, I was able to design, manufacture, and launch my clothing brand noël in under 6 months. 

This inspired my next move into the startup world. I had discovered a new passion for building businesses from the ground up, and probably learned more in those 6 months than I did during my entire business degree. 

I left Uber shortly after, and went through the Antler program, which served as an introduction into startups and the VC world. My interest in ecommerce landed me a role at Carted, where I currently work. 

It was a Thursday when I went into the Carted office to speak with Holly & Mike, the Carted founders. They had no open roles available at the time, but we had an amazing conversation about the future of commerce and their vision. The next day, I received a call from Holly, asking when I could start!

It’s now been nearly 6 months since I joined Carted, as the first Operations hire. I work closely with our CEO, Holly, to build out the non-technical side of the business. Working at Carted has only reinforced my deep passion for ecommerce and the innovation that can happen in this space. Very excited for what’s to come! 

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

My days typically start with early morning calls with our customers and stakeholders in the US, which usually wraps up by around 8:30am. I then take a break to make my morning coffee, and write a to-do list of what I need to get done for the day. 

Inspired by Daniel Pink’s book ‘When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing’, I like to split my time based on my chronotype. As a morning person, I dedicate the first half of my day to analytical work that requires focus and deep thinking.

I feel less productive in the afternoon so I use this time to smash out admin tasks (emails), then go for a walk, an ocean swim, or yoga to reset. I then continue to finish off the tasks in my to do list and spend time in internal meetings. 

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

Acceptance of flexible hours and remote work is one of the best things about my role. Half of our team is distributed across the globe, and we’ve learnt to stay connected and communicate well. I believe it’s integral for companies to put flexible policies in place, as it encourages employees to be intrinsically motivated, and perform at their best. 

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

To me, work life balance is all about being productive with my time to achieve the best business outcomes, while also making time for my own developmental goals and aspirations, as well as my social life. 

It’s easy to spend 8+ hours a day doing work, and then sit on the couch for the rest of the night doing nothing (which is perfectly fine). However, I find that blocking time in my calendar to spend my spare time working towards my personal goals, is the only way I can get closer to my desired outcomes. These goals include self development (reading, learning), as well as creative projects (my clothing label, writing, painting).  

It doesn’t always work out perfectly, and that’s okay! I often throw myself in the deep end and overcommit, but it’s something that I’m working on.   

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

I started practicing yoga more regularly, and also moved closer to the ocean – it’s completely changed my mental state. I’m calmer and happier. 

I’m on a journey to become more of a minimalist. Inspired by Elon Musk, I’m making an effort to stop spending money on tangible things, and invest more in experiences and digital assets. As a former shopaholic, this has been a challenge – especially during lockdown – but I feel a lot better for it. 

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

Favourite podcasts: Acquired & the A16z podcast

Favourite blogs: Tomasz Tunguz and Ameet Ranadive’s Medium articles 

Favourite books: Nourishing Wisdom, The Secret, Who Moved My Cheese?, Outliers

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

Notion is great, but my absolute favourite tool is I don’t know if I could ever live without it. It’s perfect for taking notes, organising your thoughts, and turning them into actionable tasks. I’ve also been recommended ClickUp but am yet to use it! 

I use AnyPicker as a no-code web indexing tool when I need to gather data efficiently. 

I also learn so much from Medium, and recently published my first article. Shameless plug –  check it out here.

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

Ryan Breslow, founder of Bolt’s one-click checkout. He’s working on multiple really interesting projects and I’d be intrigued to find out how he does it!

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

Time is not the essence. We have so much time. It’s about finding what makes the most impact in our work, and what brings us the most joy in life. The rest will come! 

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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.