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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Having Kids And A Startup

from Jason Calacanis





We welcomed our daughter 11 months ago, and it's been the most wonderful experience of my life–hands down. It is one of the few things in life I've found that is actually *not* overrated.

I wake up every day looking forward to spending time together, and my weekends are centered around activities with her. It's a dream.

It is fairly clear to me as a life-long entrepreneur that something chemical changes in your brain after you welcome your child into the world.

Said basically, you just don't look at your startup as the most important thing in life. That's a major change for someone like me who is very competitive, driven and results-based entrepreneur.

That being said, I've found I'm much more efficient than I was pre-baby. I'm certain this is driven by necessity (i.e. I can't stay up until 3am working AND get up at 6:30am with the baby).

For the first time in my life, outside of running marathons of select martial arts experiences, I've actually felt exhaustion. It's been kind of cool to feel this, since normally I'm so engaged that I'm exhausting the people around me.

However, I'm totally engaged, more confident and excited to take on new things every day. I've done more angel investing, hired more people, started more companies and generally been having MORE fun at "work" every day.

My basic belief in relation to entrepreneurship and babies is:

a) Don't have a baby during your first or second startup. Wait until you're in your 30s (in my case, late 30s). I don't think I could have done weblogsinc or Silicon Alley reporter if I had kids at that point because, frankly, I was broke. I would have had to get a better paying job in order to pay for milk.

b) Make sure you have support and resources for the first 6 months. Like a "night nurse," nannies, family–whatever you can swing. Babies take 100% of your energy and require complete focus. You can't be 80% there or they will just take your laptop and start pounding on it with their oatmeal.

Bottom line:

kids + no resources + first startup = fail

kids + resources/support + third startup = totally fine

anything in between you're probably going to be very, very tired.

If you want to succeed as a young entrepreneur wait until you're in your 30s to have kids. Period.

Jason Calacanis is the founder and CEO of Mahalo.com, and also the host of This Week In Startups, as well as running the Open Angel Forum. Calacanis was the founder of Weblogs, inc., which he sold to AOL, and also founded the Silicon Alley Reporter. Calacanis also runs his own email list, JasonNation, which reaches over 20,000 subscribers, where he shares his thoughts about technology and entrepreneurship. Jason originally posted this on hackernews and his blog, and gave us permission to reprint it here.


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