Pushpinder Bagga is the Chief Product Officer at FreightExchange, a logistics automation platform helping wholesalers, marketplaces, distributors & manufacturers reduce manual labor costs, ship faster, gain visibility and as a result reduce clunkiness in their shipping operations.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
Being an Electrical Engineer, my journey in the digital product space started when my friend Sidhu showed me how to trigger an alert on a button click in 2004’ish and then gave me a DHTML CD to study from; have been finding ways to share happiness with users, one alert at a time ever since.
Currently, I head up the product and technology at FreightExchange with the vision of becoming the backbone of global trade by making shipping technology accessible to businesses in ways that are good for the planet.
I am stoked to have had the opportunity to work with the most talented people in the digital, start-up, scale-up and enterprise space with whom I partnered to co-create successful global teams, products and businesses that grew from $0 to $100mm in turnover.
2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I have two kinds of days aka “On the Road” and “At my Desk”. For when I am on the road, I wake up around 7 am, plan my day and visit customers/carrier partners across the country.
Collecting intel and opportunities (and attending product & customer service standups remotely), I mostly get back to my desk later in the evening and ensure I have actioned/documented/prioritised/shared everything that was discussed with relevant people the same day; which is followed up by going through whatever happened with the squads in the day.
Most on-the-road days end around 7:30 pm. When I am at my desk, I try to prioritise activities that are going to help me achieve my 3 key product objectives. This involves finding, prioritising and solving the right problems with the squads in terms of business growth, product development and customer-centricity. This sometimes goes on from 8 am to 8 pm and then from 10 pm to midnight.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
I work from home and we huddle in the office every Wednesday. At the moment it fits well as my wife is on maternity leave and I get to spend time with her and take care of my newborn daughter at irregular intervals.
The thing I love about working from home is that I can lock myself in my home office and get stuff done-done without the hustle and bustle of home; yet have the freedom to walk away and take a break with my family and get back to work almost instantly.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
For me, work-life balance is where disruption in one doesn’t affect the other.
When I have slots between meetings, when possible I try to walk away from my desk to think from a different perspective on a problem I am trying to solve, call a customer from my list of “need some love”, or call someone randomly (be a millennial), go for a walk, finish a chore, play with my daughter and spend time with my family.
At times, I walk away and don’t get to my desk for 2 hours and I still manage to have achieved more for work than I could’ve done punching keys on my laptop.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
In the last 12 months, my role demands me to be involved with a number of things; hence there is a lot of unavoidable multi-tasking and context-switching. I’ve been learning to compartmentalise and ensure that one thing doesn’t disrupt the other things I do and that I learn to respond to disruption more gracefully.
Routine/habit-wise, I have started to lay more focus and thought on activities like DIY, Gaming, Workshops, Flying and Consulting to help me learn aspects/perspectives that are going to help me both at work and personally.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I am a fan of online content, I’d recommend checking out content creators in the likes of Seth Godin and content on Blinkist, Big Think, HackerNews, HBR, The Atlantic, Mckinsey/Bain/BCG Opinion, and Dribbble.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
I cannot live without apps for Google Maps, Bunnings PowerPass, Google Calendar, Amazon, Miro and most recently ReTool. I also cannot live without smart home automation gadgets like SwitchBot, Eufy, DeeBot, HomeKit et al.
On the lighter side of life, I cannot live without content from DarkRoastedBlend, Carl Baron, Reddit, IMDB, PlayStation and buying vinyl records on Discogs.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I’d personally love it if you’d interview someone who doesn’t live or is connected to the digital world, is a really great operator and is leading a high-growth business.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
There is no one definition of work-life balance, whatever suits you. For me, as long as I can trigger or co-create at least 1 “happy” moment every day for myself, my team and my family, it feels balanced.
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