Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Maleakhi Wijaya, Co-Founder & Founding Engineer at Tenyks

Maleakhi Wijaya is the Co-Founder & Founding Engineer at Tenyks, a startup building an MLOps monitoring and validation platform that helps AI developers working with computer vision data to build more reliable software faster.

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

I am one of the co-founders at Tenyks, a University of Cambridge and Y Combinator start-up based in Cambridge, UK. We started Tenyks to invent the way humanity interacts with AI.

In particular, we are developing a “Doctor for AI” platform that enables domain experts, such as doctors, to converse with AI algorithms in order to assess whether its behaviour is aligned with their expectations or diagnose whether it relied on incorrect biases.

A real-world example of this is when our technology is used to diagnose and identify instances where AI-based pneumonia detectors make predictions based on incorrect biases, such as when it places more emphasis on scan metadata, such as hospital name, rather than clinical markings on the x-ray.

Prior to Tenyks, I had the opportunity to pursue my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in both Australia and the UK. I studied Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Melbourne for my BSc. Subsequently, I moved to the UK to complete my Masters in Artificial Intelligence at Imperial College London and University of Cambridge.

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

When I work from Indonesia, I usually wake up at around 7 am in the morning before exercising for 1-2 hours. Afterwards, I work until our daily stand-up meeting in the afternoon at around 4:30 pm.

There, we talked about what we did yesterday, plans for today, and wins for the day. Following the scrum meetings, I usually have several meetings and pair-programming sessions with my team members from Bulgaria and the UK until evening.

My daily tasks varied greatly. I am responsible for all aspects of engineering, including frontend, backend, and machine learning. I also interact with customers. This is what I enjoy about working in a startup since I get to learn and master numerous skills that will help me to become a better entrepreneur and engineer in the future.

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

Yes, we are a remote-first company. Our team is spread across the UK, Bulgaria, Ecuador, Canada, and Indonesia. 

I really enjoy the flexibility that our company provides. It allows me to work from Indonesia, where I can see my parents, and from the UK/ Bulgaria together with my team members.

Despite the perks of remote working, I believe it is necessary to meet our team in person on a regular basis in order to bond with them. As a result, we host corporate gatherings every 3/4 months every year, where we get to stay in an Airbnb together, to cook, work, and have fun together.

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

Work-life balance is where I can focus and grind at work to work on our mission while still having downtime to spend with my family and loved ones.

I strive to achieve a balance by becoming super efficient and flexible. For example, when I need to meet my family in the morning, I can ask my driver to drive me and shift my work schedule to the evening. Therefore, I can spend time with my family and loved ones while simultaneously meeting my goal of working 10 hours per day, 6 days per week.

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

I have been exercising six times a week since last year. I alternate between going to the gym and running five kilometres. So far, I have lost 30 kg! Throughout the day, I feel more confident, focused, and productive because of the dopamine surge.

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

My favourite technical books are:

My favourite start-up books are:

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

My laptop, iPad and iPhone – they are all connected. All of my reading lists, notes, friend contacts, and e-books are there.

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

I would love to read an interview with two of my start-up heroes, Elon Musk and Alexandr Wang.

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

Our journey is a lifetime journey. So treat this like a marathon rather than a sprint. Keep learning and growing every year, but don’t forget to take a break every now and then to stay refreshed and sharp.

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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.