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Balancing the Grind with Seb Poole, Co-Founder at Frankie Health

Seb Poole is the co-founder at Frankie Health, a B2B mental health platform that delivers personalised mental healthcare to modern teams.

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

I’ve been programming since I was in my early teens (a very different environment to build in back then), however, I wound up studying Law/Commerce at university in Melbourne as that was one of the go-to’s when you get the marks.

Where possible, I selected subjects that were purely assessed on the final exam and managed to work in tech full-time concurrently which ended up taking me all over China and Hong Kong. 

I entered the world of startups in 2016 with an e-commerce venture in Hong Kong that raised just north of 20m AUD over a few rounds from the likes of Alibaba. Left to start a new startup in the recycled economy space, building a platform transforming how refurbished devices are traded between wholesalers and delivered to consumers globally.

We sold the venture in 2020 and I co-founded Frankie Health later that year (amongst the Covid chaos) to build the future of mental health in the workplace; reducing turnover and uniting global teams through burnout prediction using AI, digitising wellbeing movements, engaging activities/content, and access to 500+ coaches and therapists across the globe.

We raised a seed round from the amazing team at E15 VC who are fantastic supporters in our vision. Frankie blows away the competition and is without a doubt the future of what we need in the workplace to manage remote teams.

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

I’m an early riser and fitness fanatic so I am up at 5 and into the gym by 5:30. I have a call at 7 am with the team in Europe before taking the dog out for a quick walk and then heading into the office.

I lead the engineering, product, design, marketing/brand teams so will spend the beginning of the day with the engineering team aligning on priorities and any technical issues, before moving on to internal/external meetings with the other teams, calls with new sales leads in the pipeline, tasks on the to-do list, and programming on the side (I still love getting on the tools and try to most days).

Home around 7 pm, dinner with the family and often will have a call between 8 and 9 with Europe before getting that needed beauty sleep.

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

Absolutely. Post-COVID we support both working remotely and working in the office – it’s up to the individual. The office is close to where I live (convenience fanatic here) so I have a preference for being in the office to ensure home feels just like that, home.

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

We’re in the business of helping people all over the world reach their potential by tackling burnout so I’m heavily invested in discovering how we can make work fit more effectively into the lives of all.

I love what I do, I love the team I work with, the mission we’re on and supporting the startup ecosystem in Australia, so I, by most standards, spend more time “working” than usual.

I’ve discovered over time that for me to apply myself the best I can I need to take some time off each quarter, an adventure holiday each year (I love climbing mountains/outdoors), spending time mentoring new up-and-comers in the space (Blackbird Giants do a great job here), and time with my beautiful wife & family.

Daily, if I don’t get to the gym in the morning and eat well, I’ll be operating at less than desirable. Recent studies have identified that time working and burnout may not directly correlate as one might expect, at the core of burnout, how you relate to the company in terms of values plays an essential role – I find this is very true in my line of work and hunt for work-life balance.

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

I often change my fitness program and diet up to work towards short-term goals. Currently, I’m helping my wife train for a fitness competition early next year so I am doing so likewise myself – helping her keep on track if we’re both strict.

Always been an early riser and enjoy those hours in the morning to establish a focus for the day and quiet time to think. Meditating prior to bed has been great to calm the mind and find tranquility.

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

In my free time, I’m a philosophy buff so lots in that space to recommend – Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil, Aristotle’s Metaphysics, Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. I’m big on community-curated content sources for tech/business/science such as Reddit, hckrnews, lobste.rs, etc.

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

My M1 Pro Max Macbook is another limb, Obsidian for interrelated note-taking, VS Code for simplifying programming, Spotify for non-stop entertainment.

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

I’d be interested to hear how Obama now manages his day post-presidency.

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

“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” Continually seek and follow opportunities to explore pursuing a life that is centred around your core values.

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About Author

Balance the Grind is a work-life balance publication on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.