Brian Armstrong @brian_armstrong Co-founder & CEO at @Coinbase Co-founder @GiveCrypto Building an open financial system for the world. Join us: Apr. 02, 2019 2 min read

I feel like there are way too many investors vs builders in Silicon Valley. I know a lot of entrepreneurs who did a small exit, are 30 years old, then went out and raised a fund and are full time VCs now (but really, kind of 30 years old).

I mean, I sort of get it - running a company is stressful. You have to be sort of a lunatic to sign up and do another one, after making a good chunk of change. It just sucks to see people with talent who are really at the start of their career hanging up their spurs.

Btw, I don't mean to imply that all VC is retirement. There are some amazing VCs out there for whom it is their calling in life, and they work their asses off (even if they are rich). Hats off.

There are others who do it because they are burned out from their first company, and just want to relax while staying in the information flow (have coffee with interesting people).

Leads to a real scarcity of operators who have 10-20 years experience. The good ones are all rich enough to not need to work, but decide to keep working because they (1) have found a way to make work sustainable (2) are moving up Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

For many experienced execs, everything they earn at this stage is going to taxes or charity. There is really amazing wealth creation across all SV - even for the 30 year olds - we should appreciate how much of a golden age we're in.

Who am i to criticize people for burning out and wanting to take a break? Makes sense. And if it's not what they love doing, they should do other stuff. I think the real solution is to make hard work sustainable (building companies is a marathon not a sprint).

Then more entrepreneurs/operators could keep doing what they love, and not be stressed by it.

This is something I could probably write more about at some point (longer post): "how to make running a company sustainable". I hope to be doing this for decades, and keep getting better at this as the years go by (I think).

Lots of components here, including health (sleep, nutrition, meditation, etc), exec coaching (polite word for therapy), learning how to deal with conflict (conscious leadership training), self talk/goal setting, and a bunch of individual tactics (calendar audits, delegation, etc)

Building a peer group is a good idea also. I've been meeting with a group of 5-10 other founders about once a month (in various forms) for the last ~4 years. Have built some amazing friendships.

Building a great support group around you also helps give incredible leverage (exec assistant, chief of staff, etc). Reducing every other source of stress in life to the extent possible (commute, what to wear). And get really good at maximizing periods of rest (this is a skill).

You can follow @brian_armstrong.


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