Last week, a well known silicon valley entrepreneur, Jason Calacanis, wrote a blog post about a few tips for start up companies on how to save money. There were some good things in there. There was one thing in particular however that set the whole blogosphere on fire.
Below is what he said on one particular issue (he later went back and struck out a few things to re-word the point he was trying to make):
“Fire people who are not workaholics. don’t love their work… come on folks, this is startup life, it’s not a game. don’t work at a startup if you’re not into it–go work at the post office or stabucks if you’re not into it or if you want balance in your life. For realz.“
It triggered responses all over the blogosphere like here, here, here and here. These responses have a lot of good points (about how to treat employees, etc) that I agree with. There’s other stuff, however, that I totally disagree with (mainly the “workaholic” concept).
Most people think Calacanis is an idiot for saying what said, believing in what he believes, and doing what he does. However, to his credit, I think he comes out with a very good follow up post about working hard and still being able to “have a life.”
Anyway….this whole storm of controversy got me thinking about how hard i’m working….why i’m doing it…..what it all means….
These last couple months (especially in recent weeks) have been more intense than ever. Intense in the sense that we have A LOT going on with the company. March Madness has kept us super busy (and will continue to keep us super busy during the next month or so). Investors and potential investors always have new questions to ask, conference calls to schedule, travel plans to arrange, and checks they’re begging to give us. Biz dev & partnership opportunities never go away and always seem to be knocking on our door (thank goodness). But above all right now for me….our product development is going 100mph. We have a bunch of big features we are releasing these next couple weeks….and it’s certainly been a lot of work to put it together in the time given. Hopefully it’ll all pay off. A lot of hours and sweat have been shed to make it happen….
I’ve found myself putting in 14 hour work-days during these last couple weeks. I see no sign of that slowing down anytime soon. I’ll usually be at the offices till around 6-7pm. When I get home, II try to exercise, spend some time with my wife, watch a few of my tivo’d shows every once in a while, and do a few personal things….but other than that it’s work for the rest of the night until 1 to 2 in the morning (all this with the only exception being Sunday). Yes, I work most of Saturday…
Yup, i’m exhausted. Doesn’t seem like a super balanced life does it?
Usually all this would imply that i’m not enjoying myself. The reality is that it’s quite the contrary. Would I like to get a few more hours of sleep each day? Certainly. Would I like to spend a few more hours chillin’ with my wife. Yup. Would i like to have a bit more “balance.” Probably.
So why am I doing what i’m doing then, putting in crazy hours? Two reasons.
1) Because I love it. I’m passionate about what we’re doing and i’m enjoying every second of it.
2) I’m perfectly willing to sacrifice (or in better terms: invest) most of my time, most of my resources and most of my brain power TODAY……so that TOMORROW I can have 10x as much of it (referring to time, resources, etc). It’s called an investment.
It’s so that I can sleep a few more hours each day (on a nicer mattress or on a nicer bed or in a nicer home) some day. It’s so that I can spend a few more hours(or a lot more hours) with my wife (perhaps backpacking through Europe or simply just playing board games at home WHENEVER we wanted). It’s so that I can spend more time doing the things I love with the people I love (golfing at Riverside with my family, playing crossfire whenever I wanted with JP, or watching cheesy movies like Enchanted with my wife). It’s so that I can be in a better position to give of myself (talents, time and resources) to those in need; to serve more and not be so stressed about paying next month’s bills. It’s so that me and my wife can get off to a sound financial start early on in our marriage, and invest invest invest….be it in our future kids’ education, future business ventures, or through “teaching men to fish” & philanthropic work.
I’ll probably be doing this (sacrificing a lot and putting in insane hours to start/grow a company) maybe 10 more times in my life. Hopefully with each go at it, i’ll be accumulating more experience, knowledge and more digits in the bank account.
Yup, i’m exhausted. No question about that. It’s fine though…cuz I see the bigger picture. Hopefully there’s a pot of you know what at the end of this rainbow. But more importantly, I love doing what i’m doing!
In my opinion, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with Calacanis’ point of view on working hard and the essential component of enjoying what you do. Nothing wrong at all. I wrote about something similar a while back about Passion.