CEOs / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Richard Favero, Founder & CEO at Soprano Design

Richard Favero is the founder & CEO at Soprano Design, a leading provider of mobile messaging technology for mobile network carriers and enterprise customers worldwide.

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

My area of specialty is mobile technology, software engineering, and speech recognition technology. After starting my career in software engineering at some of Australia’s leading technology and telecommunications organisations, I founded Soprano Design in 1994—a software consulting firm specialising in the emerging industry of object-oriented software development.

After starting out small in Sydney, we quickly realised the finite opportunities for growth in Australia which led us to expand into Singapore in 1998, followed by Europe and the UK in 2001. Now, 25 years later, Soprano Design is an award-winning leader in the Communications Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS) space and has regional operations across five continents.

Based on my experience building Soprano Design into the company it is today, I still act as a strategic consultant to blue-chip Australian companies and advise early-stage technology companies on commercialisation.

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

I’m an early riser and like to clear my inbox of most items first off. It lets me feel like I have been productive straight off and sets up the priorities for the day.

I have a lot of structure around my day, week, month, quarter, and year. For some, that might create a Groundhog Day effect, but I find it allows me to focus on what needs doing rather than having to find time, schedule, and coordinate individual tasks on the go. I am sure it gives me an extra two hours of productivity! Mondays are finance and sales catch up. Tuesdays are global operations, Wednesdays are customer focused, Thursday are executive focused, and Friday is my admin day.

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

Sure, I can work from anywhere. Strategy, resourcing, and problem solving are concurrent thinking threads which are often resolved while taking a walk, in front of a whiteboard or sleeping. As for a life routine, I do what I love, so this is my life. Work fits around family, sport, and holidays. I can’t say a day goes by without having some thought about work.

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

I believe the concept is misguided and only applies when you are doing something you don’t love or from which you find meaning. The balance is in the joy of doing beautiful work that is elegant, rewarding and satisfying to the team and, in my case, provides huge relief to our customers.

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

Yes, I’ve started a habit of reflection. I used to manage my personal time on the edges of the day. Now, spending so much time at home, my days are longer but more interspersed with personal time during the day. In some ways it is less structured but more effective.

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

I am not a big reader but The Art of War and Who Moved My Cheese really changed my thinking to realise there is very little that is so complicated that a simple answer can’t fix.

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

My phone is never far away!

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

I am fascinated by those that seem to have the time to achieve a great deal yet appear to be sane. Richard Branson would be a good candidate. I don’t think there are many that have done quite so much, fought so hard, yet maintain a Cheshire grin at the end of it all.

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

Don’t underestimate the power and control that structuring your day/week can bring. Knowing what is ahead is empowering.

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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.