CEOs / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Radek Kaczyński, Founder & CEO of Bouncer

Radek Kaczyński is the founder & CEO of Bouncer, a Poland-based company that provides powerful and affordable email list verification and email validation.

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

Together with an amazing team we’ve created  Bouncer – an email validation solution that helps humans to keep the communication via email flowing.

Prior to this adventure, I’ve spent over a decade working for Volvo Group, firstly in Poland and then in the U.S. Since the beginning of my so called career I was involved in software development and managing complex IT solutions.

First as a developer, then playing with different leadership roles, and finally managing big portfolios of IT solutions and business critical IT systems.

It was a great company to work for, with great core values and with a lot of focus put towards work-life balance. I believe it had a great impact on my personality.

While feeling great there, at some point I started dreaming about entrepreneurship, and at some point when the itch was strong and I felt I was almost ready, I decided to move back to Poland and start Bouncer.

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

My days are nothing like the ones of truly successful people you can find in different magazines, and I need to admit, on a high level they look a bit chaotic, like my recent workday.

I wake up around 8:30am (after 8:30 hours of sleep), and I do my morning routine, have breakfast and a coffee at my own pace, until around 9:00.

First thing I do every morning is an analysis of my schedule to see what kind of energy blocks there will be during my day. When will there be some activities that will be draining my energy, and when will be those that will be creating it? With this assessment I’m able to plan my day and prioritise the activities.

Usually before noon I have a couple of meetings with prospect customers, partners or potential investors, from Asia and Europe. These interactions definitely boost my energy levels. This good energy helps me to go through my emails and reach or get close to inbox zero soon after that.

After a short lunch break, I usually have a meeting with my teammates, and after I’m again able to get back to some alone activities. Then I take a short break to cook dinner, and as my fiancé ends her workday then, we usually eat and spend some time together.

After that 2 hours break, I take a meeting or two with customers from America, and for an hour I finish the day by dealing with some tasks and emails.

Then, if I need to unwind, meditate for 19 minutes or go for a walk. I do my best to spend the rest of my day with my family and close ones.

Lately, since the elections in Poland and then in the U.S. I’ve been finishing the day watching the news for an hour, to go to bed before midnight.

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

Actually, for my whole work life,  I’ve been able to work remotely and had a lot of flexibility.

However in the early days of Bouncer I decided I want to build a core of the Team by being co-located, especially as we’ve been learning a lot back then.

Of course at the same time I was trying to build an environment where my teammates could have as much flexibility as possible, but wanted for us to spend at least half of the time during a week together.

And then COVID-19 stimulated us to switch to fully work remotely. When the situation stabilises, we most likely will try to get togethers, but I think we will be spending much less time in the office than we used to. 

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

I’ve been seeking work-life balance for over a decade, but a solution of strict separation never worked for me.

At some point I read an article in HBR that was talking about work-life imbalance, and this concept of work being a part of life was resonating with me much better especially when I was working in corporate. 

Running a start-up though showed me my inabilities to keep it healthy, when there has been so much work to do. And then, I started seeking my harmony. This is what I try to cultivate – keeping the harmony of my work life, my personal life and the life of my close ones.

I start with the basics: 8+ hours of sleep, drinking water, and managing my energy during the day. Then I try to make sure to have time for relationships with my family and the close ones. I’m also making sure to have time for my own things.

My favourite is traveling on a motorcycle. It’s like a meditation, you are in the moment, it’s just you, machine and the road. You have to predict your future a bit, and take advantage of your past experiences, but you are in the moment. Plus being exposed to all sorts of the risks, your vulnerability makes the interactions with humans on your route much deeper.

On the other hand I make sure to maximise the impact that I can do utilising my skills, talents, experience, time and energy.

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

I think I have been much better with sleeping 8+ hours, and drinking water. I have also been spending much more time hiking in the mountains where I’m able to relax the best.

However I’m not good at morning exercising and afternoon meditation. But it looks like with some other practices in place I feel good enough without those two, but I plan to introduce them back to my life.

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

If it comes to business books I love Stategyzer’s publications and recently liked a lot Obviously Awesome by April Dunford. From the non-business  category, I love books of Yuval Noah Harari, novels of Alice Munro and work of Olga Tokarczuk.

I’m not really into podcasts, recently ran across CultureLab with Aga Bajer, and am listening to every episode of hers since then.

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

I think that the only thing I could not live without anymore is Superhuman. It helped me tremendously to harmonise my emails and tasks.

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

I’d love to read one with Olga Tokarczuk, the energy that she emits is unbelievable, so I bet there has to be  a lot of harmony involved there.

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

I used to try plenty of things, to find a perfect work-life balance, and for some time was trying to copy practises of other people without even listening to my inner voice, and it did not work for me, obviously.

When I finally started to listen to my-true-self, learn about who I am and what works for me – I started to feel moments of harmony. I’m still on my journey, but the difference is tremendous.

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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.