CEOs / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Rob Ranieri, Co-Founder & CEO at Ranieri & Co.

Rob Ranieri is the co-founder and CEO of Ranieri & Co., which exclusively represents the world’s largest independent podcast publisher, Wondery, in Australia and New Zealand.

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

Over the past 8 years in Australia (I’ve clocked a few more hours in the US before ever coming overseas), I’ve worked in media.

More specifically, my Australian career began in social media, building a book of clients for myself, while simultaneously joining OMD to learn programmatic and later TRIBE to dabble in influencer marketing.

I then learned four of five Aussie podcast listeners were consuming entire episodes that averaged 43 minutes, when in social media we were counting 3 seconds of attention as a valid Facebook video view.

Those are much different levels of immersion and engagement, so I decided that I wanted to transition to podcasting.

Fast forward a bit to Nick Randall and I co-founding Ranieri & Co. We’re incredibly fortunate to create original series, work on branded content, and represent Wondery (the largest independent podcast publisher) exclusively in Australia and New Zealand.

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

I wake up to the cool ocean bree–honking of Melbourne traffic. Then I enjoy a coffee and a 10-15 minute meditation, followed by a workout before heading to our office. I look at my to-do list, have a mental breakdown and am forced to meditate one more time in our boardroom.

The past year has had two main focuses: getting Ranieri & Co. to market, and educating that market on podcasting as a marketing medium.

Pre-pandemic this meant much of my day was spent with my co-founder visiting agencies and brands. During the pandemic and subsequent quarantine, this translated to many Zoom calls. A LOT of Zoom calls. One might even say, a plethora.

Now that the team is growing, I’m responsible for the really fun stuff, like employee superannuation and meetings around cash flow. Ever prepare a quarterly BAS statement? You wouldn’t believe the stories a couple of numbers can weave.

I kid about these responsibilities, but it’s actually quite rewarding as my day-to-day is around the big picture and much more forward-looking. I’m so proud to see our baby grow.

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

Quarantine has shown us that yes, we can work remotely. That said, it’s so much more ideal to work with a team and see clients in person.

During quarantine, my co-founder and I would often call each other because we weren’t clear around something said on Slack–little things that just don’t happen as often when you’re in the same office and can chat face-to-face.

On the flip side, over Zoom I’ve enjoyed witnessing family feuds in the background and dogs in the foreground.

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

I’m going to be a bit blunt. There were years of freelancing that enabled me to travel while working from my laptop. Now I’m building something with a vision and purpose.

Ranieri & Co. is not just about paying bills, but providing a workplace for others, including mums re-entering the workforce, and elevating podcasting as a medium here in Australia. The scale and vision is different, and so there’s not a heap of work-life balance.

But I’m passionate about this company and so I’m not necessarily looking for a ton of work-life balance at the moment. I’m not working every second of the day, but this is definitely not an exercise in the Tim Ferriss lifestyle design.

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

Because of quarantine, there’s been a whole lot less travel and, consequently, I haven’t been able to visit family in a long time. My grandma passed and I wasn’t able to go home for the funeral. It was incredibly heartbreaking and I dedicate this honour of being interviewed to her memory.

It’s why I’ve chosen to include a picture of us (below). It’s a way I can commemorate her from afar.

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

If you haven’t listened to the Fear & Greed podcast, you must! The team (Sean Aylmer, Michael Thompson and Adam Lang) is absolutely stellar and they have created an amazing business podcast that sets you up for an informed day.

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

Gadgets? What am I, an inspector? I love UberEats because I can’t cook.

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

Trixie Mattel. She has taken an unsuccessful first appearance to the world, somehow made it memorable, and come back with a very successful bang (albums, tours, makeup line, YouTube channels – it’s incredible). I want to know what the work-life balance of making that climb looks like.

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

Yes! This is super important to me coming from years of working in social media. I would come across quotes online all the time that people spread simply because the quips sounded good.

“If you want to know where your heart is, look where your mind goes when it wanders.” When my mind wanders, it goes to pizza bagels. This is in no way helpful to me.

Or, “What if I fall? But oh darling, what if you fly?” No one ever said this to an inexperienced pilot and just threw him the keys.

“Don’t be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart.” Fear was developed as a survival mechanism. Man sees a tiger in the wilderness and fear causes him to flee and see another day. Unless you are ONE HUNDRED PERCENT certain it’s Tony the Tiger and not a sabertooth tiger, sometimes you just gotta trust the fear!

My point is there’s no overarching advice any one person can give. You need to find what works for you and what’s relevant. Don’t get caught up in what sounds good and don’t always look to others. Be your own hero.

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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.