Balance The Grind
Nick Morgan is the Co-Founder & CEO of Vudoo, which specialises in pioneering interactive video for marketing use. Their clients include Westpac, the AFL, the ATO and more.
1. To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
Prior to Vudoo, I had worked my way up to partner level at a digital agency, and had turned my hand at running a couple of other agencies too. Before that, I ran restaurants and nightclubs in Europe and Vietnam!
In my current role as co-Founder and CEO of Vudoo, I spend a lot of time on the product with my UX team and stay on top of roadmapping. I also support the sales and marketing side of things. Our ambition is to produce the best interactive product on the market, so I’m making sure we stay ahead of the curve.
2. What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I’m still living in isolation with my wife and son (thanks COVID-19!) so I wake up most mornings to my son screaming “Dad! Wee!” – since he’s just three and a half years old and needs a hand getting to the bathroom.
From there I usually get stuck into some Lego with him until about 7.30am, when I gulp down two espressos and get on with the day.
My wife and I both work full-time, so we have had to quickly learn how to juggle our jobs and parenthood together during the day. Generally we tag-team throughout the day, depending on whose meetings fall when, and when I hop online I’m usually on call for my team, supporting and answering questions as we go.
From about 5-7pm we eat together and pop our son in bed, then head back online to get more done before bed.
It’s not an exact science but we’ve managed to cobble together a routine which works for us. I’m sure I can express many parents’ feelings in lockdown when I say we’re doing the best we can, and that’s good enough for now!
3. Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Absolutely, it’s something which is integral to our work at Vudoo. We trust our employees to get on with their projects in a way which works for them.
We trust them to manage themselves – and if that means doing the school run at 3pm or logging on at 10am after a morning of working out, that works for us.
4. What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
For me, it’s about creating certain boundaries and keeping some time offline as sacred. My phone lives in the other room rather than by my bed and weekends are for fun, friends and family – not work.
During the week I like to go hard in order to maintain that balance. Monday to Friday I’ll tend to work late into the evenings. At the weekend, I keep my mind off work until Sunday evening, when I have a catch up with my co-founder, Andrew Spalding, who is based in the UK, and we set our priorities for the week.
5. In the past 12 months, have you started/stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I realised I needed more thinking time – something which would be best achieved through walking. I sold my car to get myself into gear and walk to and from work each day. That’s about an hour and a half mental time – something which I know I couldn’t live without now.
6. Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I love Scott Galloway’s podcast, Pivot. He’s a Professor of Marketing at NYU and his podcast covers really interesting topics across tech, business and politics.
I’m currently re-reading Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialist World by David Epstein. I find it insightful, particularly as I haven’t had the normal route into a career in tech, having initially started out in local vineyards! It gave me context and confidence.
7. Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
The aforementioned espresso machine has a good workout most days! From a business perspective, Slack is critical to our teams. I also love LinkedIn, I use it so much more than other social media channels and find it really powerful.
Finally, I can’t go a day without my Bose headphones. I love the sound quality, and doing everything handsfree is a boon.
8. If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I would probably read one by Gary Vaynerchuk, who is well-known for working hard during the week but properly switches off at the weekend.
9. Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
I think it’s really important to recognise that reality nowadays isn’t a perfect on/off balance between work and life. Work will always be on our phones, in our pockets, it’s all about what you choose to engage with and when. The sooner you can realise this is the way things are now, the sooner you can be at peace with it and work out your own rhythm.