Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Solo Kombani, Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer at Aiculus

Solo Kombani is Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer at Aiculus, a company helping organisations fully utilise technology in a secure manner.

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

The bulk of my career was forged in the Finance world, first starting at Citi for 3 years and then 8.5 years at Vanguard, spanning operations, business optimisation, change management, corporate finance and product management.

Today I am co-founder and COO at Aiculus, the last 4 and half years have been an absolute privilege. Being able to transfer my learnings into the cybersecurity domain, continue to learn and contribute towards our vision has been a rewarding challenge.

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

As COO, I have some core responsibilities but it’s very rare that two days are alike in my portfolio. The average workday could include a discussion with a distributor in Taiwan, working on our employee engagement and development initiatives with the team, taking client calls with companies across Singapore, Australia, the Middle East and different parts of Africa. Of course, in between these are some project deliverables and other emergent tasks. As cliche as it sounds, no two days have been alike at Aiculus.

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

Yes, I’ve worked from home, different countries, time zones. We are firm on deadlines and key meetings but otherwise trust our team to manage their work and life schedules.

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

For me it’s all about life and life is all encompassing. Family, friends, work, and leisure are all integral aspects of life. I try to seek a healthy integration of all these areas of life and have learnt to focus on whichever area that needs attention at the time.

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

Trying to cook more, appreciate nature, and relationships and find meaning in each stage of life as I enter it. 

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

There’s a gentleman named Monish Pabrai on YouTube. I enjoy his perspectives on life first and foremost and investing (his main topic of conversation).

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

My mobile phone – the gift and the curse! To totally violate the premise of the question, I am also learning to live without it, although it does have multiple other uses even when I am camping in remote places without signal.

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

Dissecting life’s elements can be useful in helping us focus and assess different aspects. I’ve also been learning how to experience and look at it as a whole. The sweet satisfaction of achievement can’t fully be appreciated without having tasted the bitterness of failure. 

So, I try to not look at work and rest as two opposing forces but as elements of the same thing. So it helps to work in an area that one loves, with people they get along with and where there is generally a shared vision which contributes to an overall better quality of life.

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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.