Do relationships have a place in startups?

Business, Startups

I believe so.. or better, I know they do.

Working to work smarter

Although it is indeed true that you will need to breath almost everything you have into your new company, and especially in its early stages, the reality is, just because you’re in the chair and staring at the computer all day doesn’t mean that you’re actually making the best use of your time. It’s really all about maximizing time management. Many seasoned investors would agree that they actually prefer someone on the team to have something tethering them back to the ground. Having something that you care for outside the realm of your new creation will help ensure that you hit your target dates and work smarter and not just being a body in a chair clamoring about the lack of sleep you had the last 3 nights in a row. This reason is why there’s that popular saying that  ”If you want something done, go and ask the busiest person you know”.

“… the answer to the work/life balance puzzle lies in the fact that some people just work smarter than others. They’re better at planning and prioritizing and have a system that guides their work and their thinking. If you want to get it all done, instead of worrying about how you’re going to make more time, start thinking of ways you can use your time more effectively and efficiently. Work smarter, not longer.” – David Cummings Startup Upstart

If a person is single, it’s easier for them to brush things off and get distracted easier because they know they have the whole day to get things done. Instead of working on that thing now, they’ll end up doing it 2am. Sure, this type of person is at-least being responsible enough for getting their work done, but at what cost? At 2am you’re tired and exhausted and now your priority to to get it done vs. making it as awesome as possible. I’m not saying that this happens with everyone who is single, and single co-founders are destined to fail. This trait can and does happen to anyone; but the real issue I’m addressing is that being in a relationship doesn’t mean doom for a new company.

For all my Doers & Go-Getters

There are two type of people, talkers and doers — and you all know exactly who they are. The Talkers are all those people who come into work and are boasting to EVERYONE at how little sleep they had last night, if they had any at all! Then there are the actual Doers. If you never ask directly you’ll actually never know what their sleeping habits or work habits are. These are the go-getters who actually show up early and leave later than everyone, but don’t actually wear a neon t-shirt that advertises their work effort. They instead let the work show for itself.

In my past I would work almost 24 hours straight though for days, and days would turn to weeks, and weeks to years. I lived in Orlando, FL for two years before I actually really went anywhere — seriously. Then I started dating someone that actually wouldn’t put up with my schedule, and I had to decide to either adapt or leave. And without getting too mushy and sentimental about my love life with my lovely wife, I decided to adapt — but I still needed to get a ton of work done. I had to learn how to squeeze in what took me almost 20 hours into 7-10 hours. I had to learn things faster, make decisions decisively and cut out distractions.

It’s not an easy task and 6 years later I still haven’t perfected this method; however, people will always hear me say how I do owe much of my success to my wife. My schedule is still a work-in-progress, however the ability of actually becoming a better programmer, designer and product manager while trying to managing a budding relationship is what helped. I firmly believed had I left, I’m not sure if I would have eventually got to this level of intellect. It could have just taken longer, multiple years longer if at all.

Easier said than done

So for me personally I’m happy about my choice. It has made me a much smarter and overall well-rounded individual. Sure I can’t be as crazy and rash in my gambles in startups as some of my single colleagues; however this does means that I try and make sure that every decision is purposeful and methodical to ensure the best possible result so I don’t jeopardize my family.

What do you think? Do you really think that your mate/spouse is helping you become a master of your time or interrupting too much?

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One response to "Do relationships have a place in startups?"

  1. Reply Crystal February 27, 2012 11:16 am

    Wonderful post! Your wife is a lucky lady! Best of luck to you!!!!

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About Vince Baskerville
Product Manager at Lithium, a co-founder of 2 startups: TripLingo and Glancely.
A 10+ year industry specialist & adrenaline junkie whom has traveled to 12 countries, and is known for creating highly intuitive-engaging digital products. Continue reading »
 
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