Back To Work

I took the past two weeks off. I turned on my out of office notification, checked email less, stayed on top of things but reacted to less, did zero meetings, did fewer calls, and didn’t go to the office at all. I slept eight hours most nights and a bit longer on a few. It was great. I’m relaxed and rested.

To celebrate the new year, going back to work, and to put an exclamation point on the rested and relaxed thing, I am going to archive all email in my inbox. If you sent me something and did not get a reply, please send it again if it is still important.

My oldest daughter asked me yesterday if I was excited to go back to work, expecting a resounding yes. I told her I was going to miss vacation. I’ve read a few books and I have a bunch more I want to read that I probably won’t get to until my next time off. I’ve been enjoying rolling over and going back to sleep at 5am/6am even 7am. I’ve been very happy working in my home office withΒ a nice view, the music cranked, and no time pressure.

So I’ve got mixed feelings about going back to the grind. A lot less than my son who starts school again today, but a few nonetheless. Like all things, the VC business has its good and bad. The good is working with incredible partners and entrepreneurs and getting to see the future imagined every day. The bad is the firehose of hopes and dreams that comes at you relentlessly every day which results in a crazy schedule, time pressures all around, and never enough time to think and breathe.

Maybe I will figure out how to manage it better this year. Maybe that can be my new year’s resolution. But I’ve been trying and failing for over twenty five years. Hopes and dreams are a hard thing to resist. And that’s a good thing.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. Julien

    Welcome back πŸ™‚ I had the same feeling early this morning as well. But I also remembered that we’re closing in on the most depressing week of the year, so maybe there’s that!Also, I quickly remembered that I love what I do and that I’d rather be forced to do it than not doing it at all!

    1. fredwilson

      why is it the most depressing week of the year?

      1. Julien

        I don’t remember where I read that, but I think it has something to do with the lack of sunlight, the end of the holliday excitment of gifts and food, as well as the realization that resolutions will be harder to follow than expected. I doubt it’s science, but it resonnates quite well with me πŸ™‚

        1. fredwilson

          aha. well then i am going to be extra happy this week to compensate!

        2. Brandon G. Donnelly

          On the plus side, the days are only getting longer (in terms of sunshine) at this point! πŸ™‚

      2. LIAD

        piece in today’s London Metro.Today is Blue Monday – Most Depressing Day of Year.Buzz of holiday season over.People back at grind of work.People realise spent too muh money over holidays & hate their jobs.Most New Year Resolutions already failed etc.Today also dubbed ‘Divorce Monday’ – according to lawyers busiest day of year for people to file for divorces. Rationale being all the time couples had to spent together over holidays reminded them they hate each other. Excessive alcohol/in-law visits over holidays said to contribute too.

        1. ShanaC

          Really… Didn’t know this

          1. LIAD

            for what it’s worth…I think it’s all bullshit.Happiness is a choice. Not a bunch of external circumstances.

          2. William Mougayar


          3. Tereza

            I agree, @liad:disqus. In this day and age, we have the power to design our external factors. The question is, one must one do to make it easier — almost effortless — to move in the right direction.

          4. JamesHRH

            Most people not willing to take responsibility for that issue, amongst others.

        2. John Fazzolari

          Anybody feeling “Blue Monday” should probably rethink whatever they’re doing with their life. If you’re building things and generally enjoy what you’re doing you won’t feel like you’re “back on the grind”. #TGIM

          1. Tereza

            Totally agree. Inventory your last year’s calendar for what you’ve been doing that you hate, and make a “NOT DO” list. And find the things that bring you joy and schedule one…on a Monday.

        3. fredwilson

          well that explains my blog post, doesn’t it?

        4. Tereza

          @liad:disqus I also learned from my lawyer that the first day back in January is a flood of parents calling in to change their guardians in their wills. After oodles of family events they realize — whoah nellie, if I get hit by a bus, I DO NOT WANT this person raising my kids.True!

        5. LE

          – according to lawyers busiest day of year for people to file for divorces. Rationale being all the time couples had to spent together over holidays reminded them they hate each other.More likely because it’s a demarcation point many people will wait until after the holidays and all business tends to stop as you get into December.Obviously in order to file for divorce (you did say “busiest day of the year for people to file”) you would have to have had meetings with the lawyer prior to the day you were going to file. Unless you are talking about those $395 divorce places but I don’t think you are.Also busy because no doubt the lawyers are scheduling appointments in the first week of January that people (and perhaps they) have put off in December.

      3. JamesHRH

        It is the third week of February.Weather sucks almost everywhere.

  2. William Mougayar

    You probably saw that Brad Feld said he’s decided to start his first meetings at 11am instead of 9am in order to slow down his daily grind.But being in the position you’re in, the hustle will come to you where ever you are. You can turn the dial and adjust filters on the hustle any way you’d like.Knowing you a bit, you do a great job at compartmentalizing the various sectors of work and life, such that you can focus on one thing, then the other, then the other, etc. That’s something I’m learning to get better at. I’m guilty of too much parallel multi-tasking and sometimes it’s not a great thing for making progress.I have been working a lot from home in the last few months, and this is the current view from my office window.

    1. fredwilson

      ooh, that is lovely

    2. awaldstein

      So nice William.Your dog at your side as well.

    3. Aaron Klein

      I love how you put that, and I’ve been turning those dials myself. I’m up at 5 and get into the office at 7, so I’ve been pushing my first meeting back to 8:30 (allows for one morning meeting with the east coast).And I’ve been learning to pace myself. Finding that the total progress attained is higher if I completely turn off work on Sundays and sleep in both weekend days.I couldn’t be more excited to tackle 2014, as a result. New customers, new partners and a new headquarters a week from today. 2014 is gonna rock and I hope it does for every AVCer.

      1. William Mougayar

        I like your optimism Aaron. Rooting for you to kill it in 2014.

        1. pointsnfigures

          Working from home is okay. I have found that normal people are more productive in a different place, like a their office.

          1. Tereza

            I’m finding I’m most productive when I mix it up; but not randomly — it’s very deliberate. I have a long commute so I block out Mondays and Fridays to work from home and schedule quiet/admin tasks for those days (my butt barely leaves my seat). This way I can see my kids. Tues-Thurs are NYC days where I pump it, tons of meetings, and I walk between them all so I get exercise too. Since I live in the woods, by Tuesday I am dying to get into the city, see people, and have the kinds of important conversations you can only have in person. By Friday morning I’m a bit hung over and need to process it all. (And get the kids on the school bus.) It forces me to be pretty surgical with my time and I have to say No to a lot (e.g. no NYC evening events on a Monday) but I’ve come to decide it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

          2. Aaron Klein

            Love it. That’s a great structure.I do a lot of travel, which I try REALLY hard to keep from Wed to Fri. I need Mondays in the office. I’ll compromise and go Tues to Thurs if need be, but my goal for 2014 is no Saturday morning flights home. Friday night social events at conferences are pretty much out.

          3. Tereza

            Frisky Neflix Fridays are with my husband, after the kids are in bed.

          4. pointsnfigures

            My wife and I didn’t have Netflix when our kids were small. We actually had to go to Blockbuster to rent movies…

          5. JimHirshfield

            Yeah, and at least Blockbuster had movies we wanted to watch, right?!!

          6. pointsnfigures

            Ha. They did, but they were always out of stock. Other couples planned better than we did.

          7. ShanaC

            I remember doing that with my dad.!

          8. JimHirshfield


          9. leigh


          10. ShanaC

            What made for the change. I love the structure and I am tempted to copy parts of it πŸ™‚

          11. Tereza

            Copy away! Honestly, a few things. Did a lot of analysis of my calendar and realized with all the commuting time, I lose work time. The consolidation gives me back literally 6 hours a week, plus I get to tuck in my kids. And when my NYC slots are limited, it gives me opportunity to be very surgical about which meetings I take. The downside is sometimes it means scheduling something a few weeks out. Obviously pros/cons to that but more often than not the filter is useful and has really elevated the quality of the meetings (and calls) that make it onto my schedule. And I leave a few slots for serendipity. πŸ™‚

          12. Mark Essel

            I <3 walking around NY as well, every subway ride is a stolen moment to feel the city.This time of year with temp in the single digits, I don’t mind yielding to Michelle’s desire to ride up in the evening.I head into NY primarily Monday only, and work out of the house the rest of the week (weekend work being mostly on call or get ahead times).

          13. William Mougayar

            Yes. A change of paradigm helps.

      2. awaldstein

        What a difference a year can make my friend!

        1. Aaron Klein

          Boy, how true that is. πŸ™‚

      3. Tereza

        Way to go, Aaron. I know you’ll make it happen!

        1. Aaron Klein

          Thanks my friend. πŸ™‚

      4. Timothy Meade

        Perhaps ironically, my ENY goal is to wake up earlier, giving me the opportunity to participate in these threads, organize my thoughts and make my commute less hurried.

        1. Aaron Klein

          I usually get to see the AVC post with 10-15 comments on it, around 5:40 or so Pacific Time, after I’ve settled in at the gym.

    4. Tereza

      Here’s mine. πŸ™‚

      1. fredwilson

        that looks almost identical to the backyard the gotham gal and i had when we lived in chappaqua NY

        1. Tereza

          You hated Chappaqua. πŸ˜‰

          1. fredwilson

            mostly. gotham gal more than me.

          2. Tereza

            My husband would move back to the city in a NY minute, if we could afford it. And I’d go with him!

          3. fredwilson

            you’ve heard the story no doubti came home and said “yahoo bought geocities for $3.5bn”gotham gal said “that means we can move back, right?”

          4. Tereza

            Yup! I’m still waiting for that to happen to me!! LOL

          5. William Mougayar

            For Yahoo to buy Microsoft ? I thought the other way around almost happened one day πŸ™‚

          6. Tereza

            HA. Nope not happening.

          7. Tereza

            This is a reason why the work you’re doing around CSNYC is so important. We want families to be able to stay in NYC without so much expense/friction.

          8. Aaron Klein

            You waited until you came home? Now that is patience. πŸ˜‰

          9. Matt Zagaja

            Geocities? That brings me back. I made my first website, and first blog on Geocities. It did not make me 3.5bn but it was a worthwhile experience that did lead to some profit down the road.

          10. daryn

            I have a worry we’ll be living the same experience one day. We’ve lived in the heart of the city; well, not THE city, but our city, for 15+ years. We’re moving to a suburb at the end of the year. Gorgeous place with great schools, but a ferry commute to the city everyday for work, super quiet, and we’ll need to hop in the car for most everything.Guess I should start trying to find my Geocities just in case… πŸ™‚

      2. William Mougayar

        Nice! Difference is our snow will not melt til April prob, judging by the amounts so far.

        1. Tereza

          Yesterday it was Winter Wonderland. It rained all last night! Tomorrow the commute will be a skating rink.

          1. pointsnfigures

            My old one when I lived in Geneva, IL.

          2. pointsnfigures

            And the one after we moved to the city in 2003.

          3. LE

            My view when I was learning about the internet (1996) while my wife (at the time) was whining why I wasn’t down at the pool with her and the kids. I would only be down 1 day then drive back to the city. (Still have the place but hardly ever go there). Sunset is the morning. There’s a boardwalk and a beach obviously.

          4. William Mougayar

            pic missing?

          5. LE

            Are you seeing anything at all?You might have to reload.Also if you click “see more” the 2nd picture will come up.I don’t know if disqus loads new post attachments without a reload (interesting would seem that the correct behavior is that it should). (In other words when it says “reply” or “new comment” will attachements also show.)

          6. William Mougayar

            Yes, it appeared later. Maybe there’s a delay. Nice sunset!

          7. LE

            That’s east coast so it’s actually a sunrise.

          8. William Mougayar

            Ah…i like it when you can’t tell a sunrise from a sunset.

          9. ShanaC

            You’re on lakeshore?

          10. William Mougayar

            Oy…you live in Canada?Actually, the last storm hit NY, Wash DC, New England, Montreal but not Toronto. We had the ice storm over Christmas, and stayed 6 days without power. It was tough.

          11. Tereza

            AWESOME. Was that Saturday, or this morning? You live 15 min from me!!

          12. ShanaC

            Just work it out so you don’t – the wind will be brutal.

        2. Frank Traylor

          Here’s mine. A tranquil place to be. I’ve added a job as a part time ski instructor to my busy schedule. I’ll let you know if adding responsibilities of a different sort is productive or destructive. AVCers welcome to join me in recreating when out in CO.

    5. leigh

      You have a nice view too πŸ™‚

      1. William Mougayar

        Not that difficult, being in Caledon as you well know…It’s all like that πŸ™‚

        1. leigh

          that’s true. Here’s mine but it’s the view from the dining room bc when i’m up north wherever the kids aren’t, is my office :)ps. my gravity office is not as pretty but i can see a park if i focus beyond the parking lot

          1. William Mougayar

            Gorgeous and soothing.

  3. Brandon G. Donnelly

    Love these posts. Really genuine.

    1. fredwilson

      no editor!

      1. Anne Libby

        Or advertisers you’re beholden to…

        1. pointsnfigures

          Stocktwits puts advertising on my blog, but I don’t pay attention to them. If they deserve to be called out, I’d do it. If they deserve praise, I don’t care that they are advertising on my blog or not. I don’t control it so don’t feel connected to them.

  4. JimHirshfield

    I share your sentiment and had a similar enjoyable break. Now I’m eager to get to work and excited about what 2014 will bring.

    1. William Mougayar

      Will 2014 bring a native Disqus Mobile App?

      1. JimHirshfield

        If you had your druthers, would that be the #1 product priority?

        1. William Mougayar

          As a user, yup! And you can monetize natively by inserting YieldMo ads in that App. Are you talking to YieldMo?

          1. JimHirshfield

            Thanks for input @wmoug:disqus @awaldstein:disqus @aaronklein:disqus

        2. Aaron Klein

          Yes. Without a question, yes.That would be a market-leapfrogging leadership move that would have me refusing to engage on other sites until they install Disqus.

          1. bernardlunn

            me too

        3. awaldstein

          Loaded question.You don’t need a native Disqus mobile app, you need to solve long form commenting on the mobile screen.No one has even come close to addressing this, including you guys as far as I know.

          1. William Mougayar

            Arnold- It would be a lot easier to enter comments on a native mobile app, no? Like foursquare, even Facebook’s is not too bad.I would suggest they integrate the Dashboard part as an Inbox, so in one App, you could: a) check your Replies, b) follow friends comments, c) discover sites/posts where they are commenting, d) open threads natively and participate in the discussions. You could swipe laterally to comment, and swipe back to read the post for e.g.My 2 cents…

          2. awaldstein

            You are absolutely correct.This is a non trivial fast and word-to-the-wise, is that they enlist some power commenters out of Disqus itself as part of the development team. No–not me, but someone-as this is truly a make or not make it development.

        4. ShanaC

          No it would be a data science ad placement tool

  5. Rohan

    Ah. Life is good Fred. As I like to remind myself – there are probably 4-5 billion people who’d like to have these problems.Happy new year to everyone. Here’s to using our privilege to do some good!

    1. fredwilson

      i did not say they were problemsthese are feelings i am talking aboutbig difference

      1. Rohan

        Oh. Absolutely. I didn’t think they were. Sorry if it came across that way!

      2. Rohan

        Ah. As I re-look at it, I see it doesn’t reflect my mood (my intention) and comes across as if I’m wisely preaching.. haha. Not at all the intention.

    2. LE

      The way humans are there is no way in the world to just wake up in the morning and feel good just because you don’t have it as bad as someone else. You know in high school we were shown movies of car crashes. And those movies were quickly forgotten and people continue to drive fast.That’s a “built in” to being human. If humans were all content with what they had because they compared themselves to what others didn’t have society would have never gotten to this point.If people were able to effectively remind themselves that they were lucky they might stop striving to be luckier and we wouldn’t have half the prosperity we have.

  6. panterosa,

    We all drank someone else’s kool-aid somewhere down the line on what work is supposed to look like. How many people, what type of work, how many hours. We have this model in mind and we try to match it.The question really is what do You want the model to look like? In a realistic way, we can build in the pieces we do best, keep a portion of those we must do or outsource, and make space for new things and places for growth.If we don’t feel a little off balance from the extra thing we fit in or the hope or the dream that caught us, we’d be complacent, bored or not up to potential. Growing is a messy business, and the more we do it the bigger we get and the less fits until we expand our horizons to fit the new perspectives we gain.

    1. LE

      We all drank someone else’s kool-aid somewhere down the line on what work is supposed to look like. How many people, what type of work, how many hours. We have this model in mind and we try to match it.Well unless someone comes from money and they don’t have to work I see it more like “if you don’t work hard and make money you will end up having no money and living most likely the life of what would commonly be referred to as a loser”.The “keeping up with the Jones” part is a separate issue. That’s going above and beyond perhaps to achieve things simply because you see others have those things.But some of the “keeping up” is necessary. If others are working hard and the school districts that they send their kids to are the good ones (that you want your kids to go to) then you have to keep up with them so you can buy into that neighborhood. Or send your kids to private school.Or you will end up living in a crappy section of whatever city you are in and your kids will associate with perhaps the wrong people.None of this is absolute of course. And many are able to rise above it. But it is by no means easy and low hanging fruit.So in summary working hard and making a certain amount of money is a way to insure survival when others are doing that.Of course after someone gets to that “death bed wow I shouldn’t have worked so hard” perhaps they forget why they worked hard in the first place.

      1. panterosa,

        Trying to avoid any deathbed “wows” actively.

        1. LE

          I have a relative who is very sick in the hospital. They will have to go home (and then back) for a constant medical problem.Luckily they have money and they can afford to get all sorts of services at the house instead of suffering in a nursing or rehab place (or more time in the hospital) where they would be exposed to more infection (this is a big problem by the way).When they pass away the surviving spouse has enough money to get setup in a nice community with good services and on site medical care (one of those places you have to buy into).You could say this is a version of suffer now enjoy (if you want to call it that) later. If they hadn’t worked as hard as they did they would probably be suffering much more now.

  7. awaldstein

    The fact that we have these choices is a gift and an indicator of how the world has changed–and got better (sorry the optimist here).The web, the decentralization of labor has made it possible to create a new way of working individually, even as part of others corporate structures.Simply not possible a decade ago.Every time I confront a new choice that I didn’t have before I chalk it up to cultural (and positive) evolution.

    1. panterosa,

      Arnold, I agree with your optimism. The risks people took generations ago are simply beyond our bandwidth now. You and I, among many, have forebears who crossed seas for new lives. We verge on whining in comparison.That said, entrepreneurism is like being an immigrant and moving as a foreigner into a new land, needing to learn new languages, new currencies, new people, and new lives.

      1. awaldstein

        Nicely said but let’s be clear, entrepreneurism, even tech entrepreneurism in this county is in its 4th decade!It’s more widespread, democratized in its access, a culture in its own right, but–not a new invention.

        1. panterosa,

          I agree, but you miss those who are coming from other fields to entrepreneurship. Especially women, and all here agree we need to help women get settled so they will stay in the tech/ent scene.It’s often outsiders who bring value to existing fields. I am certainly not the only example but I am a super outsider on many counts for all the points I touch across my business. Darwin was not a biologist at the start.

          1. awaldstein

            I agree of course but everyone in the early days was an outsider!English major becoming product manager (me). Zap comix founder developing POP for gaming products.And honestly, in the valley at least, I worked with many women entrepreneurs, many people from every part of the world, from every persuasion.I’m super supportive of the need to drive diversity of course, but you coming from science to creating a company of your own, is unique to you but not necessarily unique to the culture.

          2. panterosa,

            Arnold, I don’t have a science background at all. I am self taught beyond 6th grade bio, no chem, and 1 year physics. In academia I studied languages because I had a facility for them. I figured out physics without calculus because I was a diver/gymnast.The good news is languages, highly kinetic skills, and deep visualization taught me how to see and translate just about everything. I feared being an outsider when I was up against PhDs in botany. But it seems I taught myself enough to spar with them and show them connections in their field which led to simplicities they hadn’t seen before. I now wear the outsider badge with pride and security that people like me are needed to bring fresh eyes.

          3. awaldstein

            You are as smart and spunky and self aware as they come Alex.I’m a big believer in hacking-as-a-way-of-life what we need to push forward. That’s knowledge not just coding.You are a ninja at that!

          4. panterosa,

            Arnold, that is a lovely compliment and you totally made my day. Thank you.

      2. Anne Libby

        Yes!I spent a lot of time outdoors in the Midwest over the holiday (and mine lasts one more day!) It is hard to imagine how people pioneered, farmed, and built up communities in places where the winter temperature routinely dips to -30F…and certainly beyond my bandwidth.

          1. Anne Libby

            Heh heh.(Others did — the Ojibwe have been in the north for centuries, and if you travel upwards into Northern MN you’ll hear tell of the Voyageurs…)

    2. Aaron Klein

      Always the optimist. And to boot, it’s true!

    3. Tereza

      Intellectually, I agree with you completely. Emotionally, though, proliferation and acceleration of choice presents its own type of wear-and-tear. Tyranny of choice. An anchoring routine can help keep you tethered.

        1. Tereza

          Glad you found it! I was being lazy. Okeydoke — back to the salt mines this morning.

        2. LE

          Can you summarize that for anyone who doesn’t have the time to watch 20 minutes?

          1. falicon

            Too much choice == bad (indecision & unhappiness).Too little choice == bad (less freedom & personalization)….there are no answers here…just questions. Really good questions to think about…

      1. awaldstein

        Hi TerezaTo me there’s always that friction. I embrace the constant newness as it is simply reality. I, as we all do, no matter how experienced or composed, both get inspired and frayed over the constancy of change.

        1. Tereza

          Hi Arnold! Well said. Too me new things are what life’s all about. And yet, not sure if it’s the increased amount of change, or that I’m turning into an old fart — but I definitely need to plug/unplug to keep going. Didn’t always have to.

          1. awaldstein

            You can’t be old cause I’m not!The fact that you and many of us have the freedom to mix up our schedules so that we are more productive for our employers is a new flexibility that pays off for everyone.

          2. Tereza

            Ha. To be clear, part of this tyranny is that I never feel satisfied that I’ve landed it perfectly. πŸ™‚

  8. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    What you described above was the proper way of taking a holiday. This was something that I never did well because I never dis-engaged from work while on holiday. However, this past holiday break, I was forced to fully disengage (having a new baby helps) and I did find it much more refreshing when returning to work than even. It is not an easy process but well worth it when done properly!

  9. Jack Barcroft

    Hurricanes and holidays just get in the way of trailblazing innovation. A time of rest and relaxation is key though to keep the batteries charged as is spending time with the ones that are truly the reason why we wake up everyday wanting to make a difference. 2014 is ours for the taking and I plan to do just that with extreme prejudice.

  10. btrautsc

    I feel this post.this is the reality of lives that require sacrifice & trade offs… Its truly a grind, and sometimes you have to take a look at it and make sure its not grinding you.keep up that regular vacation. i feel like i didnt do any relaxing over the holidays… I will do a long weekend in a few weeks.I’m heading out to SF today for few months to kick off 2014, which i expect will be a tremendous year of change and growth. #KeepDreaming

  11. ShanaC

    I’ve discovered over holidays that I need weekends. It helps take the pressure off

    1. bsoist

      Absolutely! In mid 1998, Terri and Billy lived with a relative for a couple of months while I closed things up in FL. I went for a couple of visits and it was then that I learned I needed to take some time to just relax. I still have make myself unwind, but I’m getting better at it.

    2. Tereza

      I discovered this when I was 28, I think. Took a while.

  12. pointsnfigures

    The fun must outweigh the firehose, other wise you’d quit! One of the downsides to being very transparent and open is that you get a bigger firehose than most. The more success you have also leads to a bigger firehose.

    1. fredwilson

      yup. it’s like email. the more you get, the more you reply to, and the more you reply to, the more you get back. it leads to infinity after time.

  13. Tereza

    Fred, that’s a gorgeous view, and you are fortunate. Water has a calming effect. Is there any way you can carve out a morning to work from home on solitary stuff while you anchor with that view. Maybe a Wednesday morning…at a point when things are getting to you. What do I know, just an idea. But you’re an owner in the firm, you can do what you want.

    1. Richard

      One of the misunderstandings of the VC is that they work for themselves. VCs work for their investors. They have both a fiduciary responsibility and, I’m sure, a moral and ethical responsibility to be as productive as possible. When 80% of your investments produce little or no return it takes just one missed meeting, one oversight, one missed blog, one nugget and you may have missed your unicorn. Fred may not show it, but this is a high pressure business. Just reread the Facebook effect, it is interesting how close some VC came to one of the greatest investments of the decade. But close doesn’t count in VC land.

      1. Tereza

        I know all that. But it’s not humanly possible to work 24/7 — that fear of missing the one thing will never, ever go away. So you have to manage it and manage sustainability with the framework of the fiduciary responsibilities. I highly doubt Fred’s LPs would nail him for a single missed email.(Fred, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.)There is a strong cumulative effect to the activities, meetings, blogs, nuggets Fred has shipped over 25 years. This yields a flood of inbounds, and referrals from the best. He is not a new VC out hunting. I’m not saying Fred should be sitting back an eating bon-bons — just that if he has a couple hours of desk work, to do it at home with a view (15 minutes away from his office) rather than facing a wall inside of his office. Sometimes tweaks like this can make a big difference in sustainability. I think we all would want Fred to retire later rather than sooner. πŸ™‚

        1. LE

          Years ago when I did some barter the people in the barter business had this saying. “You are only as good as your last trade”. You could find all sorts of goodies for people to use their trade credits on but they only cared if you continued to do that. Once you couldn’t get them the goods you were shit.People tend to remember the last things. It’s human nature. They don’t look at the total picture. Everyone does it.As far as “I highly doubt Fred’s LPs would nail him for a single missed email” it’s not a question of a single missed email anymore than it’s a question of getting caught speeding one time and losing your license. You don’t want points and you don’t want to get caught speeding because then you have less safety net the next time it happens. So you’ve used up some of your karma so to speak.This is not to say that Fred should or should not work as hard. It is only stating generally accepted reality as far as why, given your goals and what makes you happy, you have to continue to work hard. “Hard” means different things to different people.”to do it at home with a view”I’m not sure I buy into that at all actually. I think you are either in a zone when working or you are not. I mean it’s the same with running. Running is work. If you are in a zone you can be anywhere because you block out all external stimulus.I’m not saying there is no importance to environment (I put some really nice lighting in my office for example instead of the standard flourescent office lighting which I hate) but when you are dealing with creative things and certain types of work you are either in the zone or you’re not.

          1. Richard

            I’m not stalking your up-vote button, you are just nailing it today.

          2. LE

            Well thanks. I like to think of myself as a font of helpful observations, common sense, and rationality.

    2. fredwilson

      i can do whatever i want, that’s true. but my job is to meet people and so if i take a morning and work from home, then that’s four meetings i don’t do that week. that’s the rub.

      1. Tereza

        Do you have a “right” number of meetings you should take in a week? What level makes you feel like you did right by you, and the people important to you?

        1. fredwilson

          i guess that’s the problem. it’s always been “as many as i can”

          1. LE

            Especially in a hits driven business missing a meeting could be missing the meeting.You have to decide what you want. If you want to continue to make hits you can either do the same thing (pretty much) or you can work less but you have to be willing to accept that you have less exposure and could miss “the” opportunity.To me anyone who says “oh that’s ok you should work less” doesn’t fully understand how you got to where you are.

          2. Tereza

            All true. Obviously that’s the tension. I liken it an All-U-Can-Eat buffet. There is a natural limit to how much you can eat and be healthy. Otherwise, it’s managing you.If you’re going back to the buffet for the 3rd helping you have to ask yourself — am I doing this because of social pressure, because I think this entrepreneur has that special something, or because the non-knowing/the roulette of it gives me a rise, or because I don’t have something else to do?What provides you the signal to “stop eating” on any given day? Is it a signal from you, or a signal from others?

          3. LE

            “If you’re going back to the buffet for the 3rd helping”Well then you are weak! First of all you shouldn’t be at the buffet to begin with! Buffets are gross! (Had to get that in there).”non-knowing/the roulette ” I ‘ve always said that I am glad not to know the outcome in advance. That for sure takes all the fun out of it.What provides you the signal to “stop eating” on any given day? Is it a signal from you, or a signal from others?I married a woman who is much younger than me. Because that way she will be working for a longer time and won’t be hocking me about not working so much because she doesn’t have to work anymore. Also because I could. So in that case if I decide to stop working I will be able to because I decide not because it fits with someone elses view of the world and what I should do. To me that makes me happy. So I would say “a signal from you”.

          4. JamesHRH

            I think most people think VC is a ‘smarts’ game, when it is, in reality, a ‘smarts + volume’ game.

        2. LE

          Here it goes. You never know the thing that leads to the thing.People who have 9 to 5 jobs (not saying you) don’t understand this concept. Or even lawyers for that matter (who work by the hour for the most part).In business there is luck. And luck directly relates to the hours you put in and the opportunity you find. You can’t decide to just not take that extra shift where “you will only earn $500 less”.I’ve been having this argument with people who are allways pulling me in all directions for years.

  14. Richard

    Fred, is there a USV task you do in the day where you feel you kill it? Is there on that kills you?

    1. fredwilson

      i don’t really have a task oriented job. there are meetings that kill me and there are meetings where i kill it. i meet people for a living.

      1. kenberger

        “I meet people for a living”: me too, in its purest form.

      2. Richard

        I don’t mean tasks in the traditional sense. I was speaking to First Time Meetings, Due Diligence, Conference Followups, Emails etc.

  15. leigh

    I’ve seen a bunch of people say that if you aren’t excited to go back to work you don’t love your job enough (of course it’s usually said in a much pithier way) but I’ve always thought that was crap. I love my job but bc it’s all consuming it doesn’t leave enough time for all the other stuff i also love that has nothing to do with work. I put my new years resolutions here none of which have to do with work life balance bc it’s too unattainable right now (…ps. nice view πŸ™‚

    1. Tereza

      I think they DO add up to ‘balance’ (whatever that is). It’s a holistic set. BTW if you take skating lessons with your son then you’ll be killing two birds with one stone (getting fit too!).

      1. leigh

        lol ur so right! it just kills my back with the little munchkin – once he has the basics down we’d be fine

  16. kenberger

    Your winter view looks cozy. Here’s my view from Puerto Escondido, Mexico. We are actually getting a ton of work done from here. Rest of winter will be split between SF and Puerto Vallarta (Sayulita).

    1. awaldstein

      Sayulita is a cool spot.My son is getting married there next year.

      1. kenberger

        wow. share some tips. PVR is the most convenient point for “shuttling” to SFO (other than Cabo, which doesn’t offer quite as much).

        1. awaldstein

          I’ll ask Asa as he is the frequent visitor.My beach getaway is Tulum. No cool town like Sayulita as a place to hang but oh so chill.

          1. kenberger

            we just spent 4 nights in MΓ©rida (super cool) and at a dev team offsite in Cancun and Tulum. Not a fan of mexican east coast in winter. Rain chance too high, crazy humid. Mosquito armageddon. Very pricey. All foreign / not mexican.Much prefer pacific coast or center of country. Oaxaca city and Guanajuato are 2 amazing towns. Morelia / Zihua is an awesome city / beach combo trip too.

          2. awaldstein

            All somewhat true…But there ain’t nothing so chill and wonderful as renting a big house on Tulum Beach down by the biosphere, flying in family, wine and just hanging for a week.Mid March booked for the Waldstein and already thinking of it.

    2. fredwilson


      1. kenberger

        yup, I’d say it’s only really been true since 2011. I credit the confluence of: phones with full-day battery stamina, acceptable mobile broadband SIMs offered to visitors (although some countries are now making this tougher for visitors), hotel wifi as a given rather than exception, long distance prices approaching zero, video chat going mainstream. But most of all, the growing acceptance and understanding of remote work / global economy.

    3. JamesHRH

      Mexico a big location for western Canadians.My HS ball power forward is a surf guide in Sayulita and my brother’s former partner is holed up in Rincon for the winter.

      1. Alex Wolf

        OMG – last year we were inundated by stick weilding W Canadians on vacay in Mexico. I mean it was beyond.

    4. Trevor McKendrick

      I lived almost 2 years in Oaxaca, 3 months of which were in Puerto (in the barrio Zicatela). I like it a lot more than Hualtulco because you get a more genuine Mexican experience. Hualtulco is beautiful but feels much more infiltrated by tourism than Puerto Escondido.

      1. kenberger

        we are in Zicatela now. Debated whether to go to Huatulco for the 8 days remaining, including asking the Gotham Gal’s advice, but decided to stay put here.I hear what you mean re real vs tourist. That’s how i feel re Zihua vs Ixtapa. Although i’m sure there are merits to places in the $800+/night range, most anywhere!

        1. Trevor McKendrick

          At that much per night you’re way beyond the “Mexican Experience” :)Enjoy the test of your time in Oaxaca!


    Over here at we know exactly how hard VC can be.. Best of luck!

  18. Alex Murphy

    One week, one day, one hour, one moment at a time. Focus on that breathing part and the rest will take care of itself.

  19. John McGrath

    “Firehose of hopes and dreams,” that’s a well-turned phrase.

  20. matthughes

    I also took the last two weeks off – it was awesome.But I woke up decidedly cranky about getting back into the grind today.I need a change.

  21. awaldstein

    Since it is home office daytime (winter light) view day…

  22. CJ

    Finding it hard to get hyped to go back to work today as well. Got a slight reprieve with the crazy temps in Chicago today but still, I’ve enjoyed the previous few weeks of vacation. I typically limit how much I take at once for such reasons, don’t want to get too comfortable lounging around the house.

    1. ShanaC

      I wonder if we are like bees in this regard – overstressing ourselves

      1. CJ

        Probably. Work stress is good for me, makes me learn. I enjoy it immensely but I’ve worked up to this level of stress over the previous two years and taking a 3 week break from it hits the reset button on all of that conditioning. Going to take a bit before I’m back at peak efficiency.

  23. paramendra


  24. fredwilson

    and do yoga every day!

  25. David Fleck

    yoga every day. yes. i’ve been trying for the last few months to do yoga every day. sometimes it’s two hours, sometimes it’s 15 minutes. when i’m done, EVERY time i say “i’m glad i did that.”substitute meditate for yoga in the above (or make it additive) and it’s the same for me. although i find that yoga oftentimes IS meditation for me.