How This Entrepreneur Leaves the Office at 3:15pm

Dom Pym

Dom Pym, the co-founder of Up, the first neobank to launch in Australia, gets to bed at midnight. He’d rather stay up.

Every morning I’m woken up by my two children jumping on the bed. When they run off to breakfast I go through my to-do list. It’s infinite. I’ve used different apps over the years and I like a piece of paper but now I use Notes. I prioritise six things then make the bed. I’ve done that for 20 years. It starts the day on a positive note.

I’m either allergic or intolerant to egg, tomato, dairy, gluten, vinegar and garlic so breakfast is boring: oats with oat milk, steamed rice crackers and a couple of bananas. I don’t drink tea, coffee or alcohol. If I want to jazz things up, I’ll have some fizzy water.

Dom Pym

I walk the kids to school. My 10-year-old son rides his BMX bike. His school is the same school my wife and I went to 35 years ago. The first time I met her was at my cousin’s sixth birthday party at a McDonald’s. We got married at 21.

My business partner, Thomo [Grant Thomas], phones as I’m jumping in the Tesla. I listen to podcasts: Movie Crush, Dr Karl’s Great Moments in Science, Stuff You Should Know and The Infinite Monkey Cage. I have no interest in the news. I have Australia’s first digital bank to run, the fifth largest banking platform, and a family. If something’s important, someone will tell me and I’ll Google it.

On a Tuesday we have what we call Thomo Time. He used to be an AFL coach [at St Kilda] and talks about what it means to be a high-performance team and what we stand for ethically. We do exercises like Stop, Start, Keep – what we should stop, start and keep doing – and the Triple H: Hero, Highlight, Hardship. The “hero” is what you aspire to be or do in your personal or professional life. When people share the biggest hardship in their life with the team, it’s a very emotional and bonding experience. All three provide an insight into how we can support each other.

Dom Pym

An all-hands stand-up. Up is a collaboration between Bendigo and Adelaide Bank and my company, Ferocia. We have a stand-up meeting at Ferocia every day but we also get everybody who’s working on Up to come together for seven minutes and say what they did yesterday, what they’re doing today and what they need help with. That’s it. One way to be high-performing is not to waste time in meetings.

My workday is back-to-back meetings. We introduced a new way of doing the daily leadership meeting, from Xavier Shay, who’s rejoined our team after time as the global head of engineering for payments and analytics at Square in San Francisco. It’s a game changer. We put together notes fleshing out the discussion topics and share the Google Doc. The meeting starts with 10 minutes of quiet time where senior leaders read the document and flag when they get to the end. Ten or 15 minutes into the meeting, no-one’s actually spoken. Everybody has an opportunity to comment and we finish the meeting five minutes later. 

I pick up some grilled salmon, a carrot and some mineral water from the shops and head to the lunch table for a chat. We have a full-time chef but I don’t eat that fancy food.

Dom Pym

Our fitness trainer, Babs, taps me on the shoulder and asks if I’ve done any exercise. We do boxercise. Normally I’d rather have a massage but it was amazing.

More meetings. When there’s a moment I engage with customers on Twitter, LinkedIn and sometimes Facebook and Instagram.

I normally rush to leave the office because my son has footy training and I’m assistant coach but the season’s over. So we head home and play Two Square before I jump on the phone.

Take the kids for a ride. I’ve got this crazy BMC super-light bike with electric gears. My three-and-a-half-year-old daughter sits in a WeeRide between my seat and the handlebars so I’m kind of cuddling her.

Read The Cat in the Hat with my daughter then The Lord of the Rings with my son.

I chat with my wife then we watch The Crown. We spent seven years all over the world – Singapore, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, South Korea – but came back to East Bentleigh, where we grew up, and bought the house her grandpa built.

I eat osso bucco, one of the meals my wife prepares for me in huge batches because of my allergies, and look at my to-do list. Reallocate or try to finish tasks, with Remember the Titans on in the background.

It doesn’t feel late because I’ve had breaks but Thomo set me a rule to go to bed before midnight. I stack the dishwasher, brush my teeth, turn off the lights, kiss the kids and then I’m out. I don’t wake up until they jump on me in the morning.    

SEE ALSO: Should You Take a Sabbatical in 2019?

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