Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Norbert Herrmann, Founder at Liively

Norbert Herrmann is the founder at Liively, a contactless event ordering platform bringing food delivery to the seats at stadiums and events.

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

I started my career with the plan to be a Graphic Designer but found myself gravitating towards the blossoming world of the Internet, which at the time, most people had only heard about (yes, I’m that old).

That let me into my first full time job as a Web Designer which opened up the door to many new opportunities but I focussed principally on product, operations and CX/UX across most sectors and industries before moving back into the startup ecosystem.

More recently I was part of the LIFX executive team which was a global Smart Lighting/IOT business for the better part of 5 years before the pandemic motivated me to make a change which led me to Antler’s accelerator program and the formation of my business as a Founder of Liively “The cure for queuing”, which is bringing food delivery to the seats at stadiums and events

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

Liively is a pre-seed funded, pre-revenue business so a big portion of my day until recently was getting the MVP platform ready to go to market, loads of back and forth with engineering to flesh out requirements, UX and UI refinements and loads of testing.

As of November, it is launch ready, so now my focus has shifted to securing the right launch partner and reaching out to investors. A big part of this at the moment is really about getting out there and talking to people about Liively, pitching the business and deep diving on the details with potential investors and partners as they arise.

As we have just started 2023, many investors and partners have been offline so there is a lot of reconnecting and follow-on conversations to do as well in January and February. The other side of the business is keeping on top of the reporting obligations for investors and ASIC which can be time consuming, partially as some of it is learning as you go. 

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

Part of my motivation for starting my own business is to establish a business that values work life balance. From day-one the focus is on working smarter and continual improvement.

This is where my background working in UX is valuable as a big part of it is identifying friction and understanding if it can be solved with people, processes and/or systems which is a portable philosophy to any given situation.

It also has to be a core value of the business, something that the business commits to and works on. I have experienced the inverse of this and the impact it has to every part of your life, missing out on time with family and friends, eating poorly, perpetually getting sick. The pandemic has motivated many of us to rethink the norm and seek the possibility of doing something we love.

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

In the last year I have introduced some more stringent boundaries between my work and family life. Not huge things on paper but important to me and the family… for example, dropping the kids off at the school bus each morning.

I always used to be working in my previous job so was never around to do that. Cooking dinner for the family more too, I find that very Zen and a great way to turn your brain off work. I always struggled to turn my mind off come bedtime so one final brain hack I discovered more recently was to listen to a TV show I have watched before.

Yes, it sounds odd but it forces your brain to fill in the images which keeps it from thinking about the list of ‘to-dos’ we all have. Shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine or Rick and Morty are great as they’re very dialogue heavy but light hearted so makes for a good alternative to a sleeping pill.

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

As I split my time between Melbourne and regional Victoria, the drive is a great place to listen to a podcast. I love Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History and more recently, discovered The Dollop which is a comedy-history podcast.

Both have episodes that are a couple of hours long and both do an amazing job at painting a picture of the past’s sometimes amazing and sometimes horrific but always educational history.

Whilst I never picked myself for a history buff, I do find it fascinating to see the parallels between what was and what is (and hopefully the learnings). Book-wise, I enjoy reading to the kids. We just recently finished the Bad Guys books by Aaron Blabey (I enjoy doing the voices a little too much).

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

I’d like to read an interview from my future self on work-life balance, say 20 years from now. It would be great to hear what didn’t work and what did.

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

Make time for your passion instead of excuses for why you can’t.

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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.