My name is Michele and I am one of three co-founders at StashAway.
I spent half of my career in and around financial institutions, and the other half building consumer internet companies.
I am originally from Italy and spent the last 7 years in Singapore with my wonderful family; my wife Ludo works 24/7 for our family, while our son Matteo (5) and out daughter Agnese (3) make sure nobody is ever bored. I love sports, but I do not have time to do much these days; I used to play soccer (and I am an avid AC Milan fan!), and I even ran the New York marathon 12 years ago (and 8 Kilos ago…).
Professionally, I started my career at McKinsey, where I advised large banks and insurance companies, before moving on to be a private equity investor.
Six years ago, I founded the Italian and Pakistani office of Rocket Internet, where I was responsible for launching and scaling the leading regional e-commerce companies.
In my last role before founding StashAway, I was the Group CEO of ZALORA and I do wonder sometimes when I will stop being known as the ex-ZALORA CEO.
As the CEO of StashAway, my daily activities largely revolve around people.
This was something I’ve always been passionate about (in fact, my MBA application essay was about the importance of people in my decision making) and I feel lucky that what I do now allows me to build relationships every day, not just with our clients, but with my incredibly talented team at StashAway. I see my job as making sure that (i) we hire the best talent available and that (ii) the people that join are in the best position to succeed and have fun in the process.
6:30 am: Wake up
6:30am-7am: I spend time with my kids before my wife takes them to their schools.
If we have time, Matteo, my son, may want to briefly play lego or he might want me to read him a book. At 5, he loves books, but can’t read yet!
Agnese, my daughter, loves to pretend she’s cooking me breakfast. I need to order something from her and taste it. Before she leaves, we always do a “hugging contest” to see who can hug more forcefully; she usually tells me I won…
7am-8am: Finally understand that I am awake and get breakfast. My wife Ludo is amazing and she prepares handmade croissants for me (yes!) and I drink tea… I’m an unusual Italian, I stopped (99%) drinking coffee a couple of years ago…
8 am: Ride my bicycle to the MRT station
8:05 am: (yes, I’m fast! or maybe it’s just a few hundred meters) MRT to the office
8:45 am: I’m in the office!
I start my workday by clearing up my email and Slack (the application we use for internal communications) backlog.
I really like Slack because you can create multiple channels to manage projects and for us to share interesting thoughts and ideas! We have channels like “reading compilation” and “fin-market articles” where we share general interest and financial articles with the team.
Also, as part of my slack backlog, I read all customers comments in our “NPS Survey” Slack Channel. In fact, this is a channel that every member of the company is in.
We make it a point to have everyone, from the technology to the product and marketing teams, read customer feedback and comments.
We do this to ensure that we are always aware of customer pain points and feedback. It’s also good for everyone to read comments that praise the product and service!
I always have a cup of warm water with me throughout the day. 10 years ago it was coffee, then it became green tea after I moved to Asia, now it’s warm water. Not sure what could be next!
10 am: I interview a candidate for our Client Engagement Team
We pay a lot of attention to hiring, and all full-time hires are interviewed by 2 Co-Founders, while interns are interviewed by at least 1 Co-Founder. I spend a few hours a week interviewing candidates (we are planning to hire 29 more team members in the next 6 months), and I enjoy very much understanding people’s motivations and building a point of view on their potential!
1030am: Send monthly investor update to StashAway’s shareholders
This is an email with a deck attached. The slides are mostly prepared by a few of my colleagues, and it only takes me less than 30 minutes to review, edit some of the commentaries and send it to our shareholders.
11 am: Meet with the team to discuss the details of a new investment product we have been working on and what we plan on launching soon.
This meeting will probably have 5-6 participants, including my 2 co-founders, a member from the product team, and a representative from the marketing team.
12:30 pm: Team Lunch! Every Thursday, the StashAway team has lunch together in our office’s pantry. I would usually get a mixed bowl of salad that may have something around brown rice, chicken, avocado (i love it! But why do they charge an extra dollar??), tomatoes and the flavour of the day.
During team lunch, I usually have multiple conversations with various groups. It’s now 35 of us in Singapore, so I do not manage to engage with everyone but I do my best to make sure I know what are a few people’s plans for the upcoming weekend!
2 pm: This is the 2 hours of blocked time for me to work independently. Today, I am working on the filing for the license in a new country. This means reviewing (and responding where necessary) the comments from the lawyers and making sure the material is all ready for filing ASAP.
I don’t work on new countries every day, but I do block off 2 hours of independent work slots in my schedule 3 times a week.
4 pm: Meeting with the Business Intelligence team to review the latest KPIs, including client acquisition number, cohort behaviour and the results of the latest tests.
5 pm: Call with our Malaysia’s Country Manager Wai Ken, to catch up on how things have been going and brainstorm new ideas to serve our Malaysia clients better
6 pm: Coffee with one of our new joiners
I meet all new joiners for a 30-minute coffee chat during their first 2 weeks at StashAway. This is something I do to make sure I get to know everyone even as the company scales. There is no agenda to the meeting, just to get to know each other.
You guessed it right: during coffee meetings, I actually drink warm water ;)
6:30 pm: Prepare for my StashAway Academy Seminar later. StashAway Academy is the educational arm of StashAway where we host free seminars every week on topics ranging from personal finance to investing.
7 pm: Today’s seminar is on How to Plan for your Retirement. I talk about Central Provident Fund (CPF), Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) and how you should go about saving for your retirement.
9 pm: Take the MRT back home and cycle uphill for the last hundred metres
930pm: Dinner. My wife is usually asleep by the time I get home (she wakes up at 5 am to cook breakfast for everyone!) and she would have left me a (fabulous) dinner ready for me. I usually watch Netflix as I eat it. I’m watching Narcos on Netflix right now. Comment below if you have any good Netflix recommendations!
When I do not have seminars or late meetings, I try to be home by 8 pm so that I can chat a bit with my wife before the day is over.
My day is pretty much non-stop from the moment I get into the office.
So, when I get home, I try to unwind by either chatting with my wife or, if she is asleep, watching Netflix or YouTube. It’s my way to take a “mental break” before the next workday allows me to look at things with a fresh perspective when I do jump back in.
1030pm: Typically, I work on emails, Slack backlog and other ad hoc work.
Today, I am making some edits to StashAway Workplace’s Financial Wellness Presentation we have at a global technology firm at lunchtime tomorrow.
1130pm: Time to sleep. Goodnight! I am a very good sleeper, and I sleep like a rock until the alarm goes off tomorrow!
Also Read: A peek inside the culture at Stashaway
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