‘It’s about balancing things’: A day in the life of Bar Geron, CEO and co-founder of Balance
- Bar Geron is the CEO and co-founder of Balance, a B2B payments platform that brings a consumer-like checkout experience to businesses.
- From practicing meditation to learning how to play piano, Geron has found his own way of keeping his day structured.
Balance is a payments platform in the B2B ecommerce space that facilitates digital payments specifically for business transactions.
The company is spearheaded by CEO and co-founder Bar Geron.
Geron is no stranger to entrepreneurial life. In 2018, he co-founded a company called Q.AI, which aimed to use behavioral economics and machine learning to make physicians’ workdays more efficient.
“My father had cancer and it took a lot of time to see an oncologist. I decided to leave everything that I knew to build a healthcare company,” said Geron. “25% of people in the US and Israel that book medical appointments are no-shows in the end. [Our goal was to] leverage data science tools to predict no-show probability and optimal appointment length.”
Geron isn’t new to the payments space, either. His previous experience includes working as a senior decision scientist at PayPal. That’s where he met the future co-founder and CTO of Balance, Yoni Shuster. In 2020, the two went on to found the company.
“This has been a passion of ours for a long time,” said Geron. “We’re building around the notion that B2B payments don’t have to suck.”
In addition to being in the midst of growing a new company, Geron also just became a dad.
Juggling being a new parent with being the CEO of a new company is, to say the least, challenging. But with a balanced lifestyle and a solid approach to time-management, Geron makes it work.
Here’s a day in his life:
Starting the day: Just your classic meditating, yoga-practicing, piano-playing, dog-walking morning
I start my day with a meditation practice. I’ve been doing that for over six years.
After the army, I found that I would have a lot of panic attacks and I didn’t know what to do. I learned that meditation can be a powerful tool. It’s really changed my life.
In essence, meditation enables me to have more control of my thoughts. It sounds weird, but when you don’t practice, your thoughts can take over, eat at your brain and start running their own path – without you even noticing.
Just as an example, let’s say you’re sitting in an interview room, waiting for a person to arrive, then someone walks by, and he has a funny look in his eyes, you can easily start to panic. And you can find yourself unable to stop thinking about it – it’s this loop you can’t control.
Meditation is a way to stop that loop. It’s the ability to look at thoughts and be a part of them. And it’s really helpful in an environment where everything is super intense, surprising, and new all at the same time.
So meditation is the first thing I do. The second thing I do in the morning is some stretches – I like to do a quick, 15-minute yoga session. I really think there’s nothing more important than taking care of your flexibility in terms of what it does for your health and body – really, you can’t stress it enough.
I’ve also started training myself on the piano recently. I do 15 minutes a day with this great app – JoyTunes is the name of the company, I believe. The app makes it easier to get better and better at playing an instrument in a short period of time.
And then I just walk my dog and go straight to work at around 9:30. I basically set myself up for a very long day, since I work from Israel and the company is very US-focused – which means lots of contact with US investors, customers and employees.
Diving into the work day: meetings on meetings on meetings
A lot of my day is really packed with just talking to people – there are a lot of meetings. It’s just part of the job – connecting dots between different functions, talking with investors, hiring, etc.
Morning is the only time that is really yours, in my opinion. So I try to keep my mornings to myself. Just having that hour-and-a-half or two hours of doing the things I mentioned.
After that, the day gets really busy and there’s no real way to differentiate the midday and evening. But I don’t mind – at the end, what we’re building is so overwhelmingly powerful that it really doesn’t feel like work. Even though it’s intense, in some ways it really feels like a dream come true – I get to do the things that I feel bring out the best in me.
The meetings I have can be divided into three categories. One is meetings in general, just to make sure everyone’s on track and leadership is synched, so that we can connect the dots across the board and do damage control when needed.
The second aspect is around investors – that’s just part of being a startup. And our investors are very famous in the ecosystem, like Lightspeed and Stripe and Forerunner, for example. A lot of these investors are interested to hear what we’re doing and how we’re making progress – that’s what most of these meetings are focused on.
The third is hiring. In the end, technology companies are all about people. So finding the right talent, interviewing, making reference calls, and building a strong team really is a main thing for me. I think that’s it in the general sense.
While it isn’t very easy to find a free block in my schedule, I am trying to cultivate a culture where we aren’t too meeting-oriented at Balance. We’re more into using Slack, communicating on the go, and being effective with how we write emails.
On my part, that means keeping an open calendar to focus on the things that I need the most brain power for. I think people respect that balance – more than anything else, it goes hand in hand with the culture we’ve built.
Evening: Balancing Balance with life
I’ve been looking forward to being a father for a very long time. So all I think about is just the excitement for me and my wife about finally being in the place where we wanted to be for a long time.
The challenge of balancing being a father with being a founder is the same as juggling other things – marriage, friends, family – you just need to learn how to balance things. You need to communicate well with the people who love you and, parallel to that, you need to know how to be effective with your time. In the end, there is no magic to it. It’s just practicing being present and being communicative – it ties back to what I said earlier about meditation.
I don’t do anything fancy to wind down – long walks with my wife, meeting friends from time to time, maybe rock climbing. It’s less about what I’m doing and more about being in the moment – so that when I’m spending time with my family, or when I’m doing my work, I’m fully present.