CEOs / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Vivien Bresson, Co-Founder & CEO of Scarlett Panda

Vivien Bresson is the Co-Founder & CEO of Scarlett Panda, an application to create magical, personalised reading experiences for children using AI.

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Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to?

I have a digital marketing background. I’ve started working in paid advertising in 2010 and since then worked my way up to CMO in ten years after which I’ve launched a consulting agency and also an app to engage children with reading more called Scarlett Panda with my husband. 

We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a recent workday?

I currently work in the Asia time zone which makes my life way easier as our consulting clients are in Europe. I wake up whenever the baby wakes up (my daughter is one year old), usually we wait for the sitter or take her to a daycare and after that we enjoy a very focused morning where we work essentially on the application. We have 0 meetings as all of our consulting clients are in Europe and for Scarlett Panda we are trying an asynchronous method of working with our devs and marketing teams. I try to have lunch with my husband every day when possible and to squeeze in a workout after. Mid to end afternoons are usually dedicated to consulting. We then enjoy some family time where we usually eat out and if necessary, we add a couple of hours of work during the evening after putting our daughter to bed.

Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach in maintaining it?

I try to not think about it as work life balance but more as life all together. The lines are very blurred in our case as I am working with my husband and we also named our app after our daughter. I am trying to be productive, mindful of what work time matters and what is unnecessary. I avoid pointless meetings, unnecessary commute and I try to not depriotise some physical activity or sleep against work. I also try to disconnect on week-ends even though to be honest, it is quite rare that I do not work at least a couple of hours.

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Change is constant, and it’s essential for growth. Have you made any lifestyle changes in the past year to improve your work-life balance?

We took the initiative and started transitioning into a full digital nomadic lifestyle last fall and also gave up on a permanent physical location. Being in control of the timezone helps a lot for organisation which then frees up time for the family. I have worked 70 hours a week for many years of my life and that was never the solution. I don’t think I was ever close to burnout but I think I probably missed out on a lot of things. Last year, I also took 3 weeks fully off to enjoy our first big holiday as a family. This is something I haven’t done in 7 years and really contributed to doing a hard reset on my mindscape.

We’re always on the lookout for new resources! Can you recommend any books, podcasts, or newsletters that have helped you in your journey towards balance?

I think Chris Hemsworth’s app (yes Thor) called Centr has been very useful for me. Initially I’ve downloaded it for the workouts but the app has a strong focus on meditation. Chris is a family guy and the way everything is structured has this balance and family feel to it. There are also meditations for kids etc. 

Before we wrap up, do you have any final words of wisdom or insights on work, life, or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

People think entrepreneurship is the killer for work life balance, I can’t think of something more wrong as entrepreneurship is the freedom to do things your way. The enemy is the structure put in place in the world that forces you to choose every single day between life and work. Unfortunately this is slowly changing, I have seen coworking spaces with childcare starting to popup, better conditions for working mums, more equality between men and women being instituted. As entrepreneurs as always we should lead by example and create these spaces.

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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.