Srijan Shetty | CTO & Co-Founder - Fuze

Srijan Shetty is the CTO and co-founder of Fuze. Fuze is a B2B SaaS company which is building API for digital assets. Previously he was the co-founder of Allround. Allround was a company that taught kids extracurriculars. Prior to that, he was trading and doing portfolio management. He spent some time in London and Bangalore. He is an alumni of IIT Kanpur. He believes working 24/7 and working smartly are very different. 

What does your morning routine like?

So I'm a creature of habit. The way I work is I have a set schedule every morning.

As soon as I get up, I tend to go and do my chai. It's a weird formula with Irani Chai which only I can make ☕

While the chai brews, I end up writing a small story of one or two lines. I call it the story-worthy routine. It's just remembering something interesting that happened yesterday or maybe even any part of your life. After that, I spend roughly half an hour just writing anything. It's kind of journaling, but not journaling.

I want to write about things which have been troubling me. It could be something I'm anxious about. It could be something I'm happy about 😄

Sometimes I post that story on LinkedIn. I do some e-mail work. Remove all the important emails on the table and do deep work for around three hours.

What do you do in the evenings?

In the evening, I have a very set schedule with three things that I do every day.

One, I play badminton from 8:30 to 11:30 PM. I have a bunch of friends in my society from different age groups. It's called the Goldilocks rule, wherein if you have people where working at the same level, you have a very intensively competitive environment 🏸 

I'm a very competitive person, and I try to not bring that competitive spirit to other parts of my life and restrict it to badminton.

Two, I spend some time with my wife after having dinner. We watch a movie together, it doesn't have to be some great movie, but we want just to spend some time talking to each other, watching a movie.

Finally, just before going to sleep, I read some pages on my Kindle 📚

How do you manage your workload?

Fuze is a remote-first company, so it comes with its pros and cons.

The pros are I don't have to travel at all. I stay at home, which allows me more extra time for myself.

The cons are it becomes difficult to differentiate between when you're working at home. I have a dedicated office when I work out of home. That gives me a mental division of where I'm supposed to work. I'm also not a believer in working long hours. 👨‍💻 

Throughout the day, I have time, and I'm working for 2-3 hours, and I take small pics, talk to my wife, just play around with the pets, and watch some TV for a while. This is how my work-life balance usually pans out.

I tend not to have meetings every day, so meetings are reserved for Tuesdays and Thursdays. Every day I'm just working or writing ✒

There was a lot of intentionality in the way we built Fuse. I was in the B2C company when I was working 24/7. That was what I thought was supposed to happen at a startup. We tried to make sure that every effort that we put is up to the mark. But it can burn you out very quickly.

How do you Identify areas to improve?

Two major ways in which I get to identify this.

● I believe I'm self-aware, and I write a lot.

This helps me keep myself accountable. It also helps me identify different areas. If I'm writing about work, I tend to write about things which are working well and not working well.

At the end of every week or month, I just look at things which I need to improve for the next week or month.

The things which have worked really well, I try to continue with that.

● My wife.

We dated for eight years before getting married. she gives me really good feedback. So if, at times, I am not giving enough time at home and she will understand and let me know. We are very honest with each other. This will work really well and help me identify areas of growth 👫

What do you do for your mental health?

So again, two things.

The first thing is I tend to write it out.

Writing helps me just channel a lot of my energies into identifying the reason I might be anxious or I might not be feeling great.

The second thing is competitive sports 😆

I've been playing sports for the last decade or so. That helps me channel a lot of at least anger, frustration, and all the emotions of one thing. When you get consistently better at one single sport, the endorphin and the dopamine are real.


Any advice to other entrepreneurs?

The sad thing about mental health is you have to get burnt out. It happened to me at one point wherein I gave it everything, and it was only when it shut down that I realised that I was burnt up.

First-time founders have this fantasy of thinking that their startups should be their everything. I don't think that's true. 

Second, don't romanticise startups. I know a lot of young founders who are just starting up because startups are cool. But honestly, there are multiple aspects of starting up.

You should be financially secure. You should have a sound support system with your friend or family because it gets really lonely when you're starting out, or your Co-founders should be really helpful. 

Third, sometimes startups make calculated decisions. I took the decision to start up because I knew I was financially secure. I knew that my wife was backing me up 💸

So just make sure that when you want to start up, don't do it just out of passion. Have different support systems to support and be open to talking to other founders.

One constant piece of advice that I can give every founder out there is always to give yourself a salary 📆

If you are not financially secure at your home, it will reflect on your job, and that is where your company will start drowning. Talk to people, and make sure you get advice from people who have done this before.