Down Time

The Gotham Gal and I took this weekend off and flew down to the Bahamas to see some friends who have a house down here. From the time we landed on friday to the time we return to NYC later today, I have largely been off email. With the exception of writing this post and posting the video yesterday, I have been off of my laptop. I used my phone to text/kik with my kids and use the golf course's android app to figure out distances.

Down time is great. I should figure out how to make it a bigger part of my life. My friend Brad Feld and his wife Amy take regular weeks off the grid. I can see why that works for them.

For the past twenty years, I have been in a zone where I work all the time. It has allowed me to stay on top of things and help build two venture capital firms. While I don't take meetings or go to the office or travel on the weekends, I work a lot on saturday and sunday. The same is true of our family vacations. I find a few hours every morning and in the afternoons where I can do calls, do email, and stay on top of things.

Taking a couple days off and a view like this certainly makee me wonder how much longer I can and should keep up that kind of lifestyle.

Bahamas photo

#Blogging On The Road

Comments (Archived):

  1. Richard

    Chances are that you will live another 50 years, if subtract your first 25 years of life, you’ve been at this for 25 years. Stay the course for another 25 years. You’ll be doing the world a lot of good.

    1. fredwilson

      Do you think life expectancy is now 100 years for my generation?

      1. Richard

        If you look at life expectancy probability and control for variables and look at the rate of increase of life expectancy, Id count on it. Not sure where you are at with dieting, but subsrcibe to life extention magazine which does a good job at reporting on ongoing research, take your resveratrol, and keep improving your diet. And invite me to your 100th bday party.

      2. ShanaC

        no, if they got poorer, then no. Plus too much meat πŸ™‚

    2. Matt A. Myers

      I think you need to make sure you can find a balance to be able to maintain that time though. If feeling burnt out or needing a change I am quite sure there are ways that can work where you’re not ‘always on.’

      1. Richard

        For sure! What i took in after living with my grandmother for three years was that, as you age, you have to push through the pains of FAILURE and SUCCESS in life. Strangely they have similar effects on mental outlook.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          I could see there being a lingering feeling of “what next” after failure and success. I am trying to focus on the successes I’ve had and letting them go during yoga practices and meditation – the failures naturally come up and filter out, perhaps easier or faster as the more pleasant successes are easier to allow to come up into view – and then you’re left at ‘neutral’ – with your own energy, and for me, that energy gets more and more pleasant and peaceful every day/week as I continue to deepen my own self-practice; It’s pretty neat!

  2. David Hirsch

    Classic Forrest through the trees my friend. This is where perspective and the big ideas comes from anyway. Sort of like googs 20 percent time where big ideas are Bourn out of your element . From a fw roi standpoint your lp’s and portfolio most likely benefit from the fw disconnect . Not to mention you health and family get more of u πŸ™‚

  3. kirklove

    “It’s good for your soul”You’re learning. I’m proud of you.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      Your soul is always good – it’s reconnecting with your soul that’s good for you, your heart, all of your energies. πŸ™‚

      1. kirklove

        Sadly I’ve met more than a few bad souls here in NYC. Maybe they just forgot how to reconnect. πŸ˜‰

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Yup – those are the ones who are very disconnected, usually caused by coping mechanisms from unsupportive / bad environments as a child.

  4. Jayadev Gopalakrishn

    Chances are you are beginning to become more aware of ‘you’. Increased self-awareness gives perspective on why we do what we do.

    1. jerrycolonna

      Amen. Exactly right.

    2. fredwilson


    3. takingpitches

      “Be still. Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity.”

  5. jerrycolonna

    I’m proud of you buddy.

    1. fredwilson

      Actions speak louder than words. Let’s see if I can do it

  6. pointsnfigures

    All depends on your mental health. When I was trading, I never had downtime. When the trade went electronic, it was even more consuming.One of the real hard problems is being self employed. Working for yourself has different challenges-because when you don’t work you don’t move ahead. Without moving ahead you don’t have opportunities to make money.In the old days before a wired world, it was easier to break away. Tougher these days because the expectation on the other end is that they can reach for you and get a response.

    1. William Mougayar

      “Working for yourself has different challenges-because when you don’t work you don’t move ahead.” Very true also for startups in the early stages.

    2. fredwilson


    3. Matt A. Myers

      If I’m not working on business projects, then I am “working on” and moving ahead relationships, social interactions, etc.. and that’s how I can always feel productive and be driven. This morning I wasn’t really feeling in the mood for yoga, but went because I knew a good friend would also be going – and she was there, and we had laughs as we always end up having when seeing eachother. πŸ™‚

    4. ShanaC

      I think it extremely important because of insta-response that we start setting limits and expectations. People are much quicker to anger, and much less flexible – ironic because they are in the same position as you.*sigh*

      1. pointsnfigures

        yes, agree.

        1. ShanaC

          to me this is just a very strange version of the prisoner’s dilemma via email.oh well.

  7. btrautsc


  8. JimHirshfield


  9. mikenolan99

    I just returned from 10 days in Ecuador – no laptop, no iPad, and no AVC.Just my wife and 17 year old daughter who we haven’t seen since she started her Rotary Exchange year abroad seven months ago.My wife has an “Anna” shaped tan line – the two were inseparable.I did sneak a peek at email and some headlines, but was largely off the grid. It is important every now and again to unplug.My longest time away was a 6 month trip around the world with the kids. Very little internet time, just enough to update my wife’s travel blog.It is always humbling to return to my projects to find that my partners can really survive without me!

    1. Anne Libby

      That’s the essence of competence.

  10. Anne Libby

    World class athletes don’t train every day. Neither should world class business people.(And these are aspirational words from me! It has been a while since I’ve shut down for more than a day or two. When you run your own shop, there’s always something you *can* do…)

  11. Allen Lau

    3 weeks ago I took a week off and was completely disconnected. While the down time helped me to recharge and to clear my mind, the 2 weeks after was very painful as I felt like I was playing catch up all the time. I think working at a much slower pace during vacation works better for me than completely off the grid.

    1. leigh

      but still a few days off, totally necessary.

      1. Allen Lau

        I agree. The 2-week X’mas break every year is the best because I can go completely off the grid and knowing I wouldn’t come back with 500 emails waiting for me. Hard to do it at other times though.

    2. fredwilson

      That’s how I have done it too Allen

      1. PhilipSugar

        Me too. I definitely don’t take enough vacation, but I’m not sure I need to be totally off the grid. I don’t mind checking in on my time. I refuse however to take calls, texts or scheduled meetings. That is not vacation. If you call me from the office or say we have to have a meeting I make a point of coming back and putting a big red x through that marked vacation day on our calendar. It sets and example and we do it for everyone.I agree with Charlie you can’t be grinding out 80hr weeks and think you are productive, but I think that’s a daily pace thing, I’m in by 9 out by 6 and take the weekends pretty much off.There are many times I take the afternoon off and go out on the Bay with my kids. Totally ignore the phone. Everybody is different, every job is different. I definitely am not a slave to my phone. When I’m eating lunch out (which I do every day) it drives my partner crazy if my phone rings I silence it and don’t even look at the number. So maybe I have better control in this area.But I guess that is a long winded rationalization of why I don’t think I need to be totally off the grid for a week at a time. Seriously, I want to check on things while my wife takes an hour and a half to get ready to go out to a fancy dinner (that is her luxury when we don’t have the kids) what else am I going to do?

        1. JamesHRH

          Going off the grid works for Feld because of his personality – he’s full on full off by nature. All good.Self knowledge is the key to these decisions.

    3. Matt A. Myers

      You’d need to give yourself the re-integration time, learning to pace yourself.

      1. Allen Lau

        I agree. I need to learn to pace myself and I am not very good at that.This is the first time I go completely off the grid since the beginning of the smartphone era. I actually found myself more stressful when I came back. I am having a lot of fun at work, so it does not really feel like working if I am checking emails during vacation. But I usually keep it to the very minimal – only reply urgent emails, no calls etc. Pretty much in read-only mode and typically only check emails before going to bed or waiting in line. I think it works best for me personally.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          I doubt you are more stressful, you’re just not conditioned to the same level of feelings – it’s likely the same level you’re normally under but that you get used to — but still isn’t good for your body.I definitely think you’d need to keep your mind occupied, read-only mode can do that, though not sure it’d have to be business-related.

        2. JamesHRH

          Do what works for you and don’t listen to people who tell you that you need extended time away. It doesn’t sound like you do.@fredwilson:disqus might need to take a little more down time. That likely means retiring from VC and finding something to do that consumes his energy but lightens his responsibilities. My first thought on that is: ‘good luck pardner’. My second is: Gates, Bill, (post-sticking SteveB with captaincy HMS DeadintheWater ).Remember: most advice is given poorly.People tell you what they would do in your shoes….not what you should do.Why is this so?No one actually stops and thinks about your personality type or nature, let alone your life priorities, ambitions and needs.They just think about themselves and project their needs onto your issue.Or worse, they project what they believe to be society’s current accepted wisdom on the topic. YIKES!Short answer to this is the same answer that you get for all grown up quesitons – your are on your own to figure out what you should do.

          1. Allen Lau

            Can’t argue with what you said …

        3. JamesHRH

          One other thought Allen – ask @fredwilson:disqus about the statement ‘normal behaviour generates normal returns’………

  12. William Mougayar

    That’s a good thing. I’m sure this is also making the GG very happy. I have felt guilty previously emailing you & getting quick responses during your holidays.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      It’s Fred’s decision if you checks or looks at email, so you shouldn’t feel guilty – he’s responsible for checking and responding; If he really deeper peace during those times he could send out a mass message saying only very urgent emails.

  13. Denim


  14. jason wright

    3000 islands

    1. fredwilson

      We only visited one of them

      1. Matt A. Myers

        2999 more reasons to go back πŸ˜‰

        1. jason wright

          going to such a picturesque place knowing that I’ve got to leave in only 48 hours would be a tough one for me. 2999 not to leave.

          1. Matt A. Myers

            I want to do 3 months somewhere, Travel Thailand, etc.. I’m sure I still would want to stay longer if I had the opportunity. I think the best way to go about it is plan regular intervals so you have it to look forward to.

  15. leigh

    I struggle with giving myself the permission. We have a fishing camp 6 hrs outside of Toronto where we go in the summer. Only generator power and you can only get cell access if you stand on a rock and hold your hand out. It’s always the best vacations. It’s not about permission there — I have no choice but to not work. Swimming. Canoeing. Fishing. Peace.

  16. CJ

    I work with guys who never stop. Ever. Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc they’re online closing deals, doing research, etc. They keep it up well into their 70s, retirement never being an option for them, a vacation is just somewhere with a nice view and great golf where they can continue to conduct business. It’s crazy to me but they are incredibly more successful than I am. I’m wondering if I’m the one who has it wrong.

    1. ShanaC

      I have a ton of family members like that – I’ve found that because it is family, I get to see that success really is varied, especially if you include “emotionally successful”Just because they are closing deals doesn’t mean their kids know them well.

      1. CJ

        Balance is the key. Like most keys it can be hard to find at times.

        1. ShanaC

          Yes, but I am make sure to temper your jealousy

    2. JamesHRH

      Depends on your definition of success.

  17. Elie Seidman

    A week in Africa (I rec Botswana’s Okavango delta) will refresh your brain like nothing else can. I’m pretty certain you’ll come away feeling that the investment was worth it.

    1. fredwilson

      I’ve been once but need to do it again

    2. kenberger

      but it also tends to batter the body and produce a re-entry problem that takes weeks to get over, including the likelihood of getting sick either there or when you return.I had a fantastic trip to thailand, burma, and tokyo a few months ago. And last month worked by laptop from Mexico. Mexico was far less exotic, but far more refreshing.I still have tons more exotic travel in front of me, but the above realizations help my planning.

    3. ShanaC

      or if he wants to stay local, most of the national parks in the US are stunning and off the grid. πŸ™‚

  18. Tom Labus

    In the Fall, I hope to take six weeks and walk the Camino is Spain.You’ve had an incredible run and deserve time to reflect.Who knows what awaits next.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      That’s key, Tom. Reflecting. I think I once heard a quote that the ability to reflect is what separates us from the animals. Not sure this is wholly true but I get the gist of it.Walking is a great way to reflect. It is one of my sanity practices.

  19. Boris Wertz

    That’s why I love the 10 days or so between Christmas and New Year’s – the world just shuts down and there is no need for answering emails or setting up calls.

    1. ShanaC

      depends on what world you are from – when I was growing up I went to school on christmas, nd all the businesses were open as well. (it was an all jewish area). For me that time was rosh hashannah to succos growing up. Also better timing, something about running around in the fall with no school as a kid still makes me smile πŸ™‚

  20. LIAD

    Dude. You got it all wrong. We don’t work all week for downtime. We work all week for uptime. Working for downtime is the tail wagging the dog. Working for downtime means the work is the pinnacle. Working for downtime is living to work.We work to live. The challenge is to discover what we are living for.

    1. PhilipSugar

      The ultimate is when you love what you do so much that the two blend and you realize its just a balance of both.

      1. Aaron Klein

        I feel like I’m largely there right now. I love my marriage, my kids, my work, my board service and my giving back project. It all flows together.Rather than feel like I have to find some rigid balance between these things, the best discipline I’ve found is compartmentalizing the problems in each one for dedicated time on that issue.So life is pretty well integrated about those five, but I’m not going to worry about how we’re going to implement a new deal during my son’s tee ball game or dinner with my wife.And that’s way better than “work-life balance” for me.

      2. LE

        Agree. It would be like when you did your house restoration/renovation considering that work.

    2. Matt A. Myers

      Yay! Yup, and then fill your life more of what you enjoy, and when work can integrate with that – then perfect.

    3. Guesty McGuesterson

      Also, this showed up in my feed reader, coincidentally, next to another post on another blog titled β€œdowntime”, a post-mortem on an unfortunate outage πŸ™‚

      1. ShanaC


      2. Matt A. Myers

        That would be so confusing – and hilarious.

    4. LE

      “Dude.”Liad – not speaking for Fred here but would like to point out that there are people from his age group (me for example) that might find the use of that word disrespectful.This is totally FWIW meaning even if it doesn’t bother Fred it will bother someone. Similar to calling someone who is young “junior”.

      1. guest

        Just as the b-word might offend some of the women who read here, too.Good point.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Not at all the same.Besides, one of my all time favorite quotes from Fred is “Be your own bitch.”

      2. JamesHRH

        Wow, I would have never seen that coming.I think Liad is totally in context – he is tight enough with Fred that the implied smiley face is apparent, IMO.

      3. Donna Brewington White

        Oops. I’ve thrown a few dudes around. I’ve even been guilty of duding Fred. I only call people I like “Dude”, Dude.

      4. James Ferguson @kWIQly

        Offense is only ever taken.It can be given and received.It may be taken, but not intended.It may be offered and rejected.Otherwise it does not exist.It is clear that options three and four are the only sensible way to handle your life.It is clear that options two and four are the only sensible way to handle others.It is therefore clear that those that find offense where none was given areunnecessarily harming themselves and the people around them.However LE I note this was a constructive note and not intended to rebuke.BTW and FWIW I had no idea some people took offense by being regarded as “Dudes” – clearly those that do are foolish – in light not only of my admonition but of what the word means !Per wiki Dude is an old term, recognized by multiple generations although potentially with slightly different meanings.[2] From the 1870s to the 1960s, dude primarily meant a person who dressed in an extremely fashion-forward manner (a dandy) or a citified person who was visiting a rural location but stuck out (a city slicker). In the 1960s, dude evolved to mean companion, a meaning that slipped into mainstream American slang in the 1970s. Current slang retains at least some use of all three of these common meanings.

        1. fredwilson

          i am not easily offended. certainly not by calling me dude. i have been called way worse. on this blog, probably in this thread.

          1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            Hi Fred – Yup – I expected you might be able to “roll with the punches”. Heck if only handling being called dude WAS my biggest worry ! πŸ™‚

          2. markslater

            exactly bro. ;

          3. Vasudev Ram


        2. Vasudev Ram

          Being a former heavy reader of Western novels, as a kid (i.e. about cowboys, etc.), I think I remember that “dude” was a cowboy / ranchers term to refer to newbies (to the Western style of life) from the Eastern parts of the USA, as in, for example, “dude ranch”, meaning a toy ranch set up to cater to Eastern visitors – something like a zoo where can safely view wild animals, versus actually experiencing them in the wild.Ever read the Sudden (name of the hero) novels by Oliver Strange? Or novels by Louis L’Amour? Zane Grey? Some of them are pretty good as “time pass” (a way to spend idle hours), as we say here in India.I’m getting more off-topic now, but Georgette Heyer novels of the Regency period (or thereabouts) in England, are good fun too (if you have a sense of humor).

  21. howardlindzon

    the foot shot is an addicting thing Fred. I do think though that I should be linked to any foot shot on the web.

    1. PhilipSugar

      I boat a bunch and everybody loves the foot shot. I always thought that was weird.

    2. fredwilson

      Had to do it Howard. It was a moment.

      1. howardlindzon

        I am sorry, Max handles my commenting every Sunday morning and he’s too young to understand the bad use of context and timing. I of course would have refrained.

  22. howardlindzon

    I feel a little guilty because all my workdays look like that on Coronado

    1. pointsnfigures

      I am personally getting sick of your Instagram feed. Enjoy your high taxes too! Heh.

  23. William Mougayar

    Curious if you had planned to disconnect intentionally the minute you took off, or that it dawned on you after you landed.

    1. fredwilson

      The setting demanded it.

  24. campryenwater

    Would it be possible for you to share your time management secrets or tools that you used to do everything you do? I am amazed at how you do it all. Making time for the wonderful and informative blog, running the firm, time for golf, managing various homes, (last count was 2, Utah and NYC), family activities and then the other life activities, i.e. paying bills, dining out, and trips to the Bahams!

    1. fredwilson

      Its all effort and no organization. But the gotham gal is very organized

  25. andyswan

    Resonates with me….actually clicks with my latest post:…You’ve got the keys…. Enjoy.

  26. Matt A. Myers

    Tim Ferriss likes to take himself totally off the grid for 1 month for every 2 months of work (though in recent article mentioned he hadn’t done it much the past while). Main purpose is to let things go on autopilot to see if things break. I wonder if being in a VC position, where the main function is research and absorbing, and being at the right place at the right time would afford that lifestyle, or if you could just pickup conversation, learning, engaging where you left off.

  27. Simon Rogers

    Weird bit of synchronicity reading your post while listening to Biffy Clyro’s ‘Machines’: I’ve started falling apart/I’m not savouring life/I’ve forgotten how good it could be to feel alive. Enjoy following your blog Fred – you’re blog’s often very insightful and I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here – you need time to decompress to come back to things with full energy.Check out Tony Schwartz’s blog http://www.theenergyproject… where he argues that science shows we are not meant to run continuously like machines, but are made to pulse between short bursts of activity and rest.

  28. Holger Luedorf

    I have a very similar way to taking vacations and living my wkds. If I don’t do an hour or two of work on vacations for example it actually stresses me out because I know I will be coming home to 100s of threads that I need to catch up on, so I’d rather manage these a bit every day while on vacation.Another supposedly fun activity that gets consumed by work: My regular work-outs. I run about 3-4 times a week for just over an hour and these slots are actually my thinking time. I frequently pull out my phone and take notes, jot down to-dos, etc. For example, I collected all the main themes from my January guest-post… during 2-3 runs last year. I am not sure if this is a healthy habit since I should really be tuning out during those times, but it is hard to find real thinking time in the office with all the distractions.Lastly, I find it difficult to juggle the fact that I am not just working online (emails, scheduling, reviewing docs, etc.) but I also do a lot of recreational stuff like researching and playing music, reading up on German sports, connecting with friends back in Europe etc. when on my laptop, too, but to my family it must feel like I am working nonstop. Maybe I should have a little “at work” flag on my laptop to indicate to them when I am working and when not…;-) I wonder if there is a better way to split and message whether I work or have fun when online?

    1. Ana Milicevic

      I schedule thinking time every week and block it off on my calendar – usually in the mornings when things tend to be quieter. Frequency varies depending on what I’m working on. It helps to have some discipline and scheduled intervals of hyper-focus. I borrowed this idea from sports training and so far it seems to be working well for me.Love the idea of a work/fun flag.

  29. panterosa,

    I am really over the competitive attitude in NYC where how much you work equates with your importance factor. Especially as a parent, I find this overachiever mentality so damaging for kids. And especially as a woman, I find this breeds women’s competitiveness to a nasty edge where there are a lot of judgmental conclusions. And also as an entrepreneur where time logged somehow is equated to quality of output.We do ourselves a huge disservice by engaging in the above activities of constant ON. We could gain some valuable perspective by disengaging more and remembering who we are, without the external voices measuring us in a continuous loop. We need to develop our OFF switch, use it more, and learn from where it takes us.

    1. laurie kalmanson

      more != better

      1. ShanaC

        more often actually equals worse.

        1. laurie kalmanson

          yes, exactly. the 90 hour week ethic is just so bogus. it means you’re doing it wrong.

          1. panterosa,

            EXACTLY. But we built in a measuring device requiring more work somehow and people feel obliged to keep up.

          2. laurie kalmanson

            smarter teams are smarter. also, ROWE…

          3. laurie kalmanson

            not more work; smarter work. i love working with smart fast teams that make decisions and go; adjust/adapt as needed. it’s less fun when things take longer than they should because of channels/processes, etc. i’ve worked with giant companies that are light on their feet and small companies that can’t get out of their own way and everything inbetween … fast and light is better.

    2. Ana Milicevic

      Well said – if only time put in equaled quality of output then startups would be easy-peasy!

      1. panterosa,

        right, but chicken run around minus head seems to be in fashion. i’m getting super tired of it.

    3. ShanaC

      people are scared. New York magazine had an article about designer drugs in the entrepreneurial community as a brain booster in order to more work. I’m drug free (unless you include the occasional sleeping pill to ward off nightmare that wake me occasionally and a glass of wine at dinner for health) but still, that this would be ok worries me.

      1. pointsnfigures

        Ish da. Haven’t heard of that yet. Just thought they were “using” Red Bull.

        1. ShanaC

…Off labeled use. Up there with adderall.It is funny, I used to be on similar drugs (I’m really unfocused, and I can sometimes tends towards self medicating with coffee if I stress too much) The reason I went off of it was when they wore off, the depression and axiety was extremely bad. It was worth it to go to therapy to learn to be a tad more focused and to accept myself than to deal with the drugs. Those things could really kill you with the “coming off process”at the end of the day. I would be wary of someone taking them that regularly unless they really did have narcolepsy.

          1. pointsnfigures

            True narcolepsy story coming on my blog…it’s a really funny one.

      2. Jorge M. Torres

        I saw that article. Worried me too….

        1. ShanaC

          I don’t think people realize the anxiety hangover isn’t worth it. That sort of anxiety/depression can kill you if you aren’t careful.I rather be a tad slower and a tad unfocused and alive at the end….

      3. panterosa,

        Like Provigil? In some industries like emergency room shift work it’s fine, otherwise its just like coke for entrepreneurs.

        1. ShanaC

…Modafinil. I’m not surprised – this sort of attitude has been on elite college campuses for a while (lots of stress towards doing too much) and as the students graduate, the idea of lifehack drugs (some lifehack) probably would spread to upper middle class jobs and industries

          1. David Petersen

            We are all playing the long game. Taking stimulants and other productivity pills is playing the short game. In the long run, people will be happier, healthier, and more productive if they stay off the stimulants and teach themselves to focus naturally.Good luck getting that message through, though πŸ™‚ It’s right up there with telling people they shouldn’t be eating sugar.

          2. CThomps

            agree with this about the “long game”. its not true/sustainable focus or energy.I’ve been working for months with UCLA Neuroscientists (and one from the University of Geneva) to come up with a monthly brain fitness solution that is a better alternative to all these things–excess caffeine, Adderall, Modafinil. We know there is a better way without physiological side effects.We have curated a supplement mix that is stimulant free, drug free, and caffeine free. An everyday formula for the “long game” of cognitive optimization. Its called truBrain and we are launching our alpha soon. We are backed by Paul Kessler and Howard Marks out of the Start Engine accelerator program in LA.If anyone has a personal interest in a “long game” solution and would like to speak with one of our Neuroscientists let me know and I’ll work to arrange it.

    4. Matt A. Myers

      If you visit the East Coast of Canada – to Halifax or farther, you’ll find people are more relaxed, much friendly, happier, etc. because of this attitude. It seems to be similar to the teachings that Tim Ferriss gained his following from.

      1. panterosa,

        Met piles of people from Vancouver on break in Mexico. They were quite chill.

        1. William Mougayar

          Lala land πŸ™‚

        2. Matt A. Myers

          It’s the outdoor sports available and possibly related to B.C. being the pot capital of the world.

          1. panterosa,

            Amsterdam move over.

    5. Matt A. Myers

      And to add, the base of this is fear of survival because if we ‘fail’ then we can’t pay bills and our world will very quickly become terrible. If societies had proper base living needs provided for everyone, and incentivized to do more with yourself and contribute to society, then the quality of life and quality of product, etc. would go up; GPI vs. GDP.

      1. panterosa,

        Life is unnecessarily complicated at the moment.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Lots of noise and distractions to complicate it.

  30. kenberger

    Firefox, not Chrome?Pants, not shorts?

    1. fredwilson

      I blog in Firefox, listen to music in safari, and do everything else in Chrome. Don’t ask me why. I was dressed to head to the airport

      1. kenberger

        Makes total sense now!

  31. Donna Brewington White

    You’ve built a lot of momentum, Fred. Given the investment you’ve already made my guess is that downtime would actually be quite productive for you in the long run.Big chunks of downtime are just not an option at this stage of my life and career. I have to build it into my lifestyle in smaller bits …so walks on the beach…driving without any media playing …solitude …trying to take one full day off from anything business related (trying)… little disciplines that give me time and space to just “be” and to reflect, wonder and ponder rather than just fix, solve and scheme (although that’s fun)… help to keep this driven person who can be quite intense at times …sane and even somewhat joyful.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      Yup, his hamster wheel will continue spinning the gears if he gets off of it just for a bit.And you’re always wonderful Donna! πŸ™‚

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Thank you, Matt, that’s sweet. Tell that to the people I live with. Haha!

        1. Matt A. Myers

          I’ll get right on that! πŸ˜›

      2. Donna Brewington White

        I’m seeing less of a hamster wheel for Fred and more of a well that he has poured into…and let’s say this well has lots of aqueducts. I’m thinking that there are some possibilities that he has created that are hard to see when you are in the thick of it.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          You should see all of the gears attached/linked into this hamster wheel I’m envisioning! πŸ˜›

        2. JamesHRH

          I think that most of us carry 10% of the pressure Fred does. When you ask a group of LPs to give you several 100M (and you are not a typical AAA borderline sociopath finance person) you feel the responsibility of making the returns.Responsibility is a heavy burden – effort is not.Most people who say do what you love don’t have responsibilities to stakeholders outside of their immediate family.

          1. Richard

            Spot on.

          2. Donna Brewington White

            “I think that most of us carry 10% of the pressure Fred does.”So true, James.”Responsibility is a heavy burden – effort is not.” Great soundbite.

    2. Philip Brown

      Wow, I feel exactly the same. I feel like I’m no where near close to having momentum so taking a day off makes me feel incredibly guilty.I think the small increments of progress towards momentum are also very addictive.

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Ahhh… so you have the achievement-addiction gene too?

        1. Philip Brown

          Absolutely! I think it’s both a blessing and a curse!

    3. awaldstein

      Nicely said Donna.I think just getting to the point finally to realize that productivity has nothing to do with freneticism is a big accomplishment for myself.I don’t dream of down time honestly. Productive poise suits me better.

      1. Donna Brewington White

        “Productive poise”Okay, you are so going to have to write something about this.

        1. panterosa,

          I second that!

      2. LE

        Yeah but that’s a statement made after the fact when you’ve gotten to a particular point in life by working hard and being (frenetic?) where you can say that. Similar to the way that Fred, visiting with friends who have a house in the Bahamas, can look back and say something that sounds like “gee I’ve been working so hard and maybe I should slow down”. The hard work got him to the point where he can say that. Without the hard work and that attitude he could have ended up in a position where he wouldn’t be able to enjoy life the way it is and basically nobody would read or care about anything that he wrote or said.

        1. awaldstein

          Agree with the last part.Success breeds street cred. As it should.Failure may bring self awareness and knowledge but success is what breeds heroes.

  32. Pete Griffiths

    I can’t believe you maintain this blog the way you do. It’s a huge commitment.

  33. laurie kalmanson

    those people whose obits say, 99 and still went to the office every day — why? there are other things to do: build a house for people who don’t have one; build a foundation to build houses for people who don’t have one, etc. drinking straws to filter out killing things from rivers. family, friends. etc.

    1. FlavioGomes


  34. JLM

    .An artisan works her art.A craftsman works his craft.A manager works to ensure that the artisan and craftsman have the resources necessary to undertake their art and craft.A leader ensures that the artisans, craftsmen and managers know the direction and vision of things — where they are going.An owner hires great artisans, craftsmen, managers and leaders (may be the leader himself) and directs things from wherever he feels most comfortable.The owner only does as much work as is necessary to ensure that things are going to suit them.You can be as effective owning and running a business whether you are in the Bahamas or Utah or the Hamptons.Get over the unnecessary guilt and enjoy the Hell out of life. You are already quite good at it and who knows — you just might be an Olympic champ. Get some practice.In the end, nobody is going to carve your IRR on your tombstone. Trust me on this one.JLM.

  35. ShanaC

    This reminds me of Rabbi AJ Heschel’s the Sabbath. Not for religious reasons, but because he makes the point that time as a physical element can only be understood by making time away from work.( http://www.myjewishlearning… ignore the point about religious sanctity and you’ll realize that he has a point that time has a physical essence that we divide, and that rest is an important part)The other thought is something that I remember from grade school:technically speaking, the days of the week in hebrew in religious literature are supposed to be called one day of the sabbath, two day of the sabbath, ect, until you just have the sabbath (day 7). My elementary teachers told me the reason is that you should have the essence of the preparation of the rest in every day – you should be taking part a little bit of a sabbaths rest and joy.And there is something not great to be said that we don’t do that. I don’t think I know anyone who spends an hour a day completely away from work when awake. And we should – the mind needs a sabbath.Probably the reason I enjoy baking is it impossible to do much work when your fingers are sticky with dough πŸ™‚ it something short I can do in the middle of the week – so I try to make the time every other week to get my hands in dough and not be part of the world at large

  36. FlavioGomes

    Understand the difference between smart work, hard work and lots of work.

  37. vruz

    You probably can’t and shouldn’t. Take notice of not just the quantity, but also the quality of the things you get done after a couple of days off. I’m pretty sure the results will be self-evident after a few weeks if you manage to make it an habit, and you make an habit of ignoring the feeling of guilt that often comes attached to it.Once you become aware that your output is better served by taking some downtime, it becomes a moral duty, and a fulfilling one for you and those around you.I know this sounds like newagey bullshit but it isn’t, it’s the reality of biology: as we age, our metabolism changes. We can make a more optimal use of our energies and focus, which becomes the actual scarce resource, even more scarce than time.

  38. awaldstein

    Been on my mind.I reject the idea of a balanced life for myself. Just doesn’t work.I embrace the idea of integrating life into my personal obsessions which I have a quite few, including my clients and businesses.But I do reject the often too easily bandied idea that work and life are the same. Just not true and while fun exists in both they couldn’t be more different to me.It’s fun building something out of nothing and making room in the market for the something completely new. It’s fun digging your toes into the beach with a bottle of Poulsard open and refreshing or jumping off a snow cat and the excitement of working your way down a really big hill. Not the same. Each wonderful.

  39. FlavioGomes

    I know I’m getting maximum recharge when I forget what day it is, and the movement of the sun syncs with my internal clock. Takes about three days in…and about 2 weeks to reach full charge…I once did it for a full 6 months and the physiological transformation was so positive and profound…I let my hair grow long, exercised more, naturally just ate better when I had time to think about it… .it felt as if I added 10 years to my lifespan.If you can afford an extended sabbatical… it!



  41. Jamyn

    Makes you wonder if VCs can now be more tolerant, before they write off ‘lifestyle businesses’. πŸ™‚

    1. fredwilson

      VCs should not invest in lifestyle businessesThey ruin them for everyone

      1. PhilipSugar

        That Fred is a great quote. It is so true. I really like it, I’m glad I came back to surf the comments while waiting for people to get on a conference call.I am going to steal that one.

  42. Gary Chou

    Well done!

    1. fredwilson

      Thanks Gary

  43. David Petersen

    I didn’t realize that Corona had become an AVC sponsor.

    1. fredwilson


      1. David Petersen

        This is something that I think about all the time.I’ve been working hard enough for long enough that it has become the thing I enjoy most. It’s hard to figure out whether I should force myself to take downtime against my own instincts and wishes. After all, if running a business is more fun than anything else, why do I really need to take time off?People will argue that regular downtime is healthy, or that the break gives you clarity of thought, but I haven’t seen any real evidence of this.Note: There is a different between downtime and taking care of yourself on a day-to-day basis. No matter how hard you work it is extremely important to exercise daily, sleep properly, eat nutritiously, and get a regular dose of sunlight to balance your circadian rhythms πŸ™‚

  44. george

    If you’re geared too tight on work, you’ll eventually flameout. Keep your optics fresh! I find travel and weekend getaways invaluable for refreshing thought and refilling the creative gas tank. Skip a post next time…

  45. LE

    “Taking a couple days off and a view like this certainly makee me wonder how much longer I can and should keep up that kind of lifestyle.”I think you have to understand that it is entirely possible that the pleasure that you get when you travel now (“the view”) and take time off won’t be the same pleasure that you get if you don’t work as hard. While there are some people that operate at a different speed (or have really dull jobs) that would love to never work (postal workers?) for some reason I don’t think that you would be very happy if you did much much less.One of the things that people don’t realize about being an entrepreneur or dialing it back is that you are not a wage earner. You can’t just decide to work less hours and expect to have the same result and pleasure from your work. Your dad may have been a professor and it would have been fairly easy for him to work 3 days a week rather than 5 days and not fall back but that is not the case with business or what you do.The only reason I can see that you would stop working is to go out at the top of your game similar to the same reason Seinfeld ended the series before it got bad. In other works you don’t want to work another 15 years and have the last big hit be Twitter.

  46. Stephen Alfris

    I think Downtime is important. Done right, it can help you come up with new ideas and be more creative. It is also a good opportunity to take stock of things and rethink the broader picture.However, it is important that if you are thinking of having downtime all the time, there is a good chance that you are doing the wrong thing during your “uptime”.

  47. JamesHRH

    Cannot believe, in any way shape or form, that Melo & JR got by the Thunder, FWIW. That’s what you really miss in the Bahamas.

    1. fredwilson

      i got home to watch the second half with Josh. that slip, then slap, from Felton to JR was the dagger. the Knicks are on quite a run right now. i just hope they can keep it going.

  48. Dasher

    Thanks for the postcard Fred. Glad to hear you had fun in Bahamas.

  49. Michael R. Lane

    I rerouted my entire life and relocated to Puerto Rico – downtime balances very nicely here. It seemed like a strange idea at the time, but 1.5 yrs later – BOY, am I glad I did it…

  50. Chris Phenner

    Roger Ebert passed in near-mid-sentence (says his wife, below), so I wonder if some of these behaviors can be un-learned (or should be).To quote Ebert’s wife in the local, Chicago media on Ebert’s last days:β€œI want people to know that Roger was still vibrant right up to the end. He was lucid β€” completely lucid β€” writing notes right up to before the moment of death,” she said. Only later did it occur to Chaz that Roger had begun signing his initials and dating many of the notes he wrote at the end. β€œNow I wish I had saved them all,” she said.

  51. Steven Kane

    few people lay on their deathbeds thinking, i wish i had worked more

  52. Daman Bahner

    Great to hear you’re enjoying some down time – as said in the classic Rhinoceros Success book, even a hard charging Rhino has to take a few weeks a year to recharge in the mud pit.

  53. William Mougayar

    I understand. But it’s tough sometimes to totally disconnect when you are driven & want to keep pushing the ball forward when time is critical. A good night sleep & a lazy Sunday/Saturday afternoon also count as down time, don’t they?

  54. panterosa,

    Charlie, don’t you feel that reaching this point of exhaustion has become a sort of badge of honor for some people? I find it a backwards way to live.

  55. CJ

    When you truly enjoy your job, working all the time isn’t work. It’s how you unwind.

  56. William Mougayar

    Funny, this daily quote landed in my inbox just now:”To the truly engaged, work and play are one and the same.” Bill TaiBut I do like to reflect during time-off. The mind never sleeps.

  57. PhilipSugar

    I agree with you on that. I really do feel lucky because I know that for many people that is not the case.

  58. CJ

    Nothing is more satisfying to me than solving problems and I’m lucky to have a job where I do that everyday. I’m at my best when I’m working to solve problems and listless and drifting when there aren’t any obvious problems in need of a solution.I say that as preface to your statement about the mind never sleeping, I’ve routinely come up with solutions in the shower, lying awake in bed, walking to the car, etc for problems that have haunted me for days at work. I agree with you, the mind never sleeps, if it did I wouldn’t be half as productive as I am.

  59. awaldstein

    Don’t agree with that statement at all.Curious from Bill Tai who I’ve known for a long time and I would bet that since he discovered his obsession with kite boarding, he couldn’t hold it being true any longer.

  60. Richard

    i agree. Oddly enough it may be water, to much of it in some areas, to little of it in others that causes the havoc.

  61. PhilipSugar

    Totally agree. Here is when you know you love your job. You wake up and have solved a problem. You are in the shower and work through the details. You can’t wait to get out and get going. If this happens to you several times a week you are happy, if you are in the shower with your head hung low, then you are not. That is my simple life test of happiness.

  62. Matt A. Myers

    Noticing habits is important. Habits mean you’re stuck in patterns. It’s okay to do things repeatedly of course, though I find it’s very healthy to switch up routines to then see and let patterns / habits break.

  63. pointsnfigures

    you are right. sleeping is great-and you look at the problem with fresh focus sometimes. Unfortunately trading wasn’t like that….

  64. JamesHRH

    My wife’s company is waaaaay ahead of this –… .They started scenario planning 40 years ago and are really good at it.

  65. Richard

    Awesome stuff. Innovation in this area, because of the high profile of the web/mobile, gets lost in the shuffle. I am working on a sustainable nonprofit to encourage innovation in the space. Would love to attend a future summit.

  66. William Mougayar

    You could read it one way & not the other, i.e. work is play, but not all play is work.

  67. fredwilson

    i said what i meant. ruin it.

  68. awaldstein

    Which way to you read it?On a rampage against easy lines that leave you unsatisfied through ambiguity.

  69. panterosa,

    Some people think that is the only kool aid to drink, only to find it doesn’t work. Maybe because they are first timers. What is the new kool aid do you think? Or are we still brewing it?

  70. panterosa,

    I totally agree he should be the brewmaster for the new kool aid 2.0! Question is if works from the outset, or just as a remedy post kool aid 1.0.