Prashant Murali is the co-founder & CEO at EZiD, a start-up building authentication for faster user onboarding.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’ve always been passionate about Maths and Physics from a young age. Engineering seemed like a good way to use my passion to do useful things in the world. So, I did a double degree in Aerospace Engineering and Computer Science at Adelaide University, where I’m originally from.
After graduating, for the next six and a half years, I went to the corporate world of technology consulting. Prior to starting EZiD, I’d worked with Deloitte in their digital practice. I worked with enterprises on end-to-end digital transformations and learnt a lot about technology architecture, specifically on CRMs (Customer relationship Management).
I also realised the importance of customer identity and authentication and the role that plays in delivering great customer experiences. Websites with passwords are simply a pain! I wanted to start EZiD to solve this, but knew that doing it part time would not work, as my consulting job was already relatively long and sometimes unpredictable hours.
On a personal level, my wife and I were expecting a baby at this time. So, I actually took a sabbatical for 3 months to spend some time with my wife and family. I also used this time to think about what would be the right decision for my career at this time and weighed up risks. I ended up deciding that I wanted to pursue EZiD full time!
I was lucky enough firstly to get accepted into the Antler program, and then luckier still to meet my now co-founders Dhruv and Jason, who shared a similar passion for frictionless authentication. The three of us have been working full time on EZiD ever since then, which was around 10 months ago, and we are going strong.
2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I wake up sometime between 5am and 6:30am and I immediately have a shower, then meditate (guided) for about 10-20 minutes. After this, some days I will do a quick home workout for about 10-20 minutes. I then proceed to make myself some coffee before commencing my day at work. I do childcare drop offs 2 days a week before starting work.
My workday is very varied, depending on the day and also the stage of the startup. During the MVP days I was basically coding the entire day and tried to avoid having meetings as much as possible to get into deep work mode.
These days it varies a bit. Some days it is predominantly meeting and talking to customer prospects as well as existing customers. Some days it is coding improvements for the product. Some days it is writing content pieces for our website. Some days it is planning and discussing strategy with my co-founders. I do try to reduce the amount of context switching that I need to do during the day to increase productivity.
I work from home the majority of the week, but I do try to go into the city once or twice a week to break the week up a bit. I also try to get in at least a half an hour brisk walk each day at some point.
I have an early dinner, at around 6/6:30pm, and then spend some time with my 1-year old and my wife after work. I would log in for a bit after my son sleeps and then head to bed around 11pm, although this tends to vary quite a bit.
3) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
For me, work-life balance means that they are so well integrated that you cannot tell work and life apart. Instead, there are simply certain responsibilities to be handled. This could be that I have to proactively reach out and understand customer pain points.
This could be that I have to fix a critical bug in the code. This could be playing with my son. This could be allowing my wife to get more sleep while I look after our son. This could be doing the dishes. This could be simply just relaxing and having coffee. Work-life balance for me is having the flexibility to do what is important at a moment in time, without the feeling of guilt.
4) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Yes. I started doing intermittent fasting from the start of this year. It’s just a 16 hour fast each day; so I eat approximately between 11am-7pm. It was easier to do than I expected but I feel way more energetic both physically and mentally since I started it.
5) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
Zero to One by Peter Thiel is a classic and a must read for any founder. I also would recommend The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli. Even though it is a physics book, I think anyone can read it and get fascinated by probably the most important asset we all have; time.
6) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Hmm, Barack Obama while he was in the office- just curious. Also, any founder of a tech startup who is also a new father.
7) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Everyone comes from a different background, with different experiences and with different work and life situations. There are a lot of opinions on this topic, but I believe we should be bold enough to form our own view on it, and act on it.
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