CEOs / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Robyn Cowie, Founder & CEO at Revisit

Robyn Cowie is the founder & CEO at Revisit, a tool that automatically curates your information and makes it easy to find.

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

For the last five months, I’ve been CEO of Revisit. Revisit helps you find what you want when you need it by automatically collating all the information you view on your devices and making it searchable in the tools you already use.

Last January, I joined the Antler Australia program and met the other two founders of Revisit, Suvam and Daniel. We recently received pre-seed funding from Antler and will release our Beta software next month.

Revisit is my second funded start-up. I was the non-technical co-founder of a retail analytics company. After leaving that company to start a family, I worked in product management, growth, portfolio management, and strategy in the financial services and intelligent transport industries.

I transitioned to corporate when I became a mum searching for a better work-life balance, and continued due to my husband’s health issues which made it difficult to risk starting a new venture.

It’s taken me nearly ten years to get back to a start-up. It’s easily the best career decision I’ve made. I am grateful every day for the challenge, the freedom, and the opportunity to build out our vision of managing information and sharing it with your family, friends, teams and community effortlessly.

I’ve learned you can find balance in a start-up, and managing the risk is worth it to be doing what I love.

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

The best bit of a start-up is that every day is about solving different things. 

We started Revisit in August, had a prototype three weeks later and worked on Alpha software in eight weeks. Everything at the moment is about reaching product market fit.

I get my daughter up in the morning, and we have breakfast together before she gets ready for school. Next, I spend a couple of hours in the morning on whatever will move us forward the fastest.

Then the day fills up with talking to potential customers to understand their needs, discussing the upcoming Beta release with the team, preparing decks for pitch nights or investors, and time with mentors.

From 6.00 pm to 10.00 pm, I spend time with my family, except when I have to attend events or my Thursday night volleyball game. But I will get back online after 10.00 pm for international calls or if something needs doing.

We recently won office space at Creative Cubes on a pitch night. I work from there two to three days a week because of its vibrant atmosphere.

In the quiet time since Christmas, I’ve been building marketing content. I’m also giving myself time for bike rides with my daughter and extra coffee out with my husband.

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

Work-life balance means being present and having the energy to focus on what you are doing at the time. Either in the business or at home with the family.

I meditate and practise gratitude daily. Kickboxing, volleyball or walking and sufficient sleep are essential. As is making connections with my family, friends, team and even new people.

My first time as a founder, I made the mistake of thinking that longer hours meant more progress and went months at a time with no days off, but the reality is that you can waste a lot of energy doing things that don’t make a difference and being tired all the time makes you think less clearly.

I’ve learned to be ruthless about prioritising so that more of my time is quality time. 

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

I’m building intentional productivity by testing new tools and techniques to find what fits my working style.

I review weekly to decide what stays, goes or deserves a bit more time, and I’ve started actively talking to other people about how they stay in flow.

Each positive change helps to free my brain to focus on making better connections and decisions.

Everyone works differently, and we all need to find things that enhance who we are rather than constantly working against our natural behaviour and losing our strengths. That’s why our core design principle for Revisit is to minimise the interruption to existing workflow. 

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

One of my favourite books is Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. It’s a deep dive into how our brains make decisions and what drives human behaviour. I recommend Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith for fans of quirky science fiction and cats.

In terms of podcasts, I recently started listening to Managing the Future of Work by Joe Fuller and enjoy it. I’m building a new understanding of China and its people through the ChinaMicMac podcast with Chris Kong.

I’ve also been a subscriber to the CBInsights newsletter for many years and find it a valuable source of insights on start-ups globally.

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

I learn best from people I can relate to and aspire to, for example, start-up founders, mums, carers and female professionals, such as Dr. Catriona Wallace, founder of Flamingo AI and the second woman ever to run an ASX-listed company.

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

 I believe in enjoying your journey, not just your destination, and that experiences and connections with people are ultimately the most valuable things in life.

If you are not enjoying your life at least more times than not, it may be worth the question of whether you are on the right path.

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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.