Aaron Ginn


Don't Fall Asleep at the Wheel: Successful Entrepreneurs Have Lives

If you think that the best entrepreneurs work day and night, it's time to think again. For the sake of your startup, go to sleep.

When I moved to Silicon Valley, I was told it was the best time in my life to make a risky decision, work insane hours, and do something stupid like start a tech company. Among tech entrepreneurs, there is a strong bias toward the single lifestyle for the sake of focus and an obsession pride in working 80 hours a week. But the data suggests this bias makes companies worse, not better.

Last year, venture capitalists and the tech media began to debate whether there is an optimal age for an entrepreneur to start a company, similar to an athlete's prime before he begins to plateau (let's pretend Michael Jordan and Jason Kidd don't exist). The pundits proposed the mid-20s as the optimal age to start a company: At 25, entrepreneurs can give “everything to their company,” one pundit opined, suggesting that founders should not be “hamstrung” by families and non-business related commitments. Younger business owners can take as much risk as possible and work insane hours for the sake of the company, which most consider an unqualified good thing. But while this may feel true inside the Silicon Valley bubble, convincing evidence points toward the opposite conclusion.

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