Stop working 20 hours a day

I was having a coffee this morning with a friend who was telling me about his last startup job. The one line I remember was this:

“…he [the CEO] required us to be in the office til 7pm. Anyone who left early just felt guilty. I got fired.”

Listen, I believe in hard work. I grew up in the midwest, my mother and father have worked the same job for over 30 years. Hard work is at the core of everything they do. I also have been apart of a startup where we slept on the floors, never stopped working, and ultimately failed (on our first product, not the company) and had to start over 3 years later.

The overworking led to a rushing culture and a bad passive aggressiveness amongst the team.

As I sit here thinking about this startup game we are all playing, my least favorite part about it is the feeling of short-sightedness.

The feeling that if we don’t go faster, we will miss out. I actually believe that many startups fail by rushing and not thinking through everything.

Maybe the short term lens is actually the curse.

Then, years in, you discover you missed key insights. A rush to nothing. Let alone the fact that no human can truly focus for 12 hours a day. Or even 8.

I believe overworking, when done consistently, is actually a sign of inefficiency. I don’t believe people need more time to get things done, they just need to decide and get it done. I subscribe 100% to Parkinson’s Law.

So ya, we don’t work 20 hours a day forever. We’re going to be at this for awhile, so let’s make sure we pace ourselves. For us, our families, and our investors who need a long-term company if they want to win anyways.

Cheers to the climb.

I’m inspired by the companies that think long and create that culture. These come to mind: Basecamp, Treehouse, Asana, Quip, SurveyMonkey, and there’s so many more.

*This is post 4 of 30 days of writing. Read more here.

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