Balancing the grind with Telecare's Michael Wang

14 March 2022

Michael Wang is the co-founder & CEO at Telecare, one of the fastest growing, ethically-driven, health tech startups in Australia.

1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

After completing a double degree in science and music at the University of Melbourne, I went in a completely different direction and pursued a career in sales and marketing. I was a senior accounts manager with DDB in Beijing for a few years, promoting tourism, automotive brands and SAAS platforms.

This is where I met my wife Lina, and we shortly moved back to Melbourne to start a family. During this time I was talking with some friends who are doctors and realised there were a lot of inefficiencies in Australia’s healthcare system, especially for rural patients and underserved communities trying to access specialist care. This is where the idea for Telecare first started, and it just grew  from there.

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

Well my co-founder is my wife, and we spend every single waking moment together, raising our two children and looking after what we jokingly refer to as our third child, Telecare.

My day starts early – we get the kids ready and off to primary school and daycare, and then head to the office. Lina leads our operations team, and currently I’m working on product and software development, as well as following up with some new business partnerships. Honestly, each day is often completely different to the next, with its own unique challenges and rewards, but my main priority is ensuring Telecare runs smoothly.

One of us picks the kids up at 5pm, then we make dinner and have family time until the kids go to bed at 8-8.30pm. Then Lina and I will usually continue working until around 10-10.30pm.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

At the moment, my role doesn’t allow for it. Flexible and remote working makes a lot of sense for larger organisations that have mature systems in place, but we’re still a small organisation with a lot of different moving pieces.

We’re rolling out new products and new systems very rapidly, training new staff and renovating a new office, so the business benefits from me being there in-person. But it is  something I hope to do in the future.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

For me, work-life balance means prioritisation of family. Working in a start-up and building a business from the ground up is undeniably hard and requires a lot of sacrifice, and I’m lucky that Lina founded this business with me.  It’s a partnership in every sense.

After a fairly hectic few years of trying to balance our business and family, I think we have found ourselves a good rhythm. I understand when Lina needs time to focus on work and vice-versa, and we both know when it’s time to switch off and prioritise the time we have together as a family – when we can say, okay, let’s go to the beach, or, let’s go raspberry picking.

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

In the last 12-months? Not really – my routine has stayed relatively similar. I try to fit in an early morning swim every so often now the pools are open again, but this is definitely sporadic at best. We opened  our new offices in Blackburn in April last year, and are currently expanding our premises as the team grows, so instead of working from home I now make the commute each day.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

I recently read Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss, which gives some really wonderful examples of negotiation tactics from a former FBI hostage negotiator. Also The Messy Middle: Finding Your Way Through the Hardest and Most Crucial Part of Any Bold Venture by Scott Belsky, highly recommended for anyone starting out. I’ve always been a fan of Malcom Gladwell butI feel like maybe his formula is getting a bit tired. What the Health is a great, local newsletter that keeps me informed and up to date with all the latest developments in the health-tech sphere.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

I recently got some underwater headphones for Christmas, which I use to listen to music when I swim. Also a big fan of Audible. I also use Uber Eats to order lunch for the office most Fridays.

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

I think work-life balance is a very personal thing, and means different things to different people. For me, it’s family. Bill Gates seems to be someone who has maintained an incredibly successful career and home-life – so I think that would be very interesting.

My parents are entrepreneurs and they have worked together for years while maintaining a great work-life balance. They’re a big inspiration and have shown me first-hand how to achieve a good balance.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Just that it’s very personal, and means different things to different people. I think for me,  a lot of it boils down to trusting yourself and your team, and setting boundaries. Time is only one of the elements that builds a strong company – trust, teamwork and unity are key to creating a successful business and a robust culture.