Updated :: Trickle-down workaholism in startups

Some twitter gold here – challenging the folks in this article to a debate:

This is always a controversial subject and one I have various opinions on.

DHH wrote this up, on medium which is strange, but anyways here is the post: https://www.signalvnoise.com/trickle-down-workaholism-in-startups-a90ceac76426

Personally, I think each person will experience a different pull at various stages of their startups and their lives. I don’t think there is a rule for all of this and I think DHH is making too big a deal out of it.

I have worked at big corporations when I was single and traveling for work – I tended to work a ton of hours. Worked hard and played hard.

I also did some startups and they all were different. Some I worked a ton of hours and loved it but I had the time for it. At a later point in life, once I had kids, I also did a startup and managed to work as needed and do the family thing as needed. I kept weird hours and worked around my family. It was not ideal so to speak but life is usually not ideal. However, the founders were family guys and they also felt that work/life could just be dealt with as needed and there were no hard and fast rules. I appreciated that role a lot due to the timing of when I had a new kid.

Fast forward to today and I am sitting on the other side looking for companies to invest in and helping the companies in my portfolio. At work, I am again blessed to be at a family friendly place where the hours are normal but again employees do what is needed for different periods of time. Basically, the demand is project based and most of us march to our own drums. However, it is difficult to ascertain how the startups we talk to value work/life demands. Of course, we want founders to build a great company and most of the time we don’t know a lot about their personal lives but we do try to learn about them as much as we can without prying. Mostly though I assume founders want to do the right thing and will deal with their time management appropriately but I assume there will be times that one might think a founder is working too much and risks burning out. In that case, I might say something since I generally feel the journey is more of a marathon than a sprint and one has to manage for being in the game a while.

Other times we might have to deal with someone who doesn’t seem to be pulling their weight or is not focusing on their startup which may or may not a function of time spent. All in all, I think each human and each startup is different which is something that needs to be factored.

It is a tough debate.

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