You’re free to define success for yourself as subjectively as you wish, but startups are held to…
Buttery Popcorn

No one is saying, “Don’t work hard.” Not one commenter said this, implied this, or said anything of the sort.

I work incredibly long hours at times — when it is effective, which for me makes it also fun.

But someone who thinks working “130 hours” in a week is reasonable isn’t “working hard” — they have a mental illness. Mayer is a parent — working 130 hours a week when you are also worth $300 million and could afford to take some time off is desperately sad, and not entirely sane.

If you regularly work 130 hours weeks and believe that you’re generated top quality work for all of those 130 hours, you’re delusional. Heck, I’d say that for 65 hour weeks — if you keep doing it!

And don’t get me wrong — a 65 hour week is no big deal to me. I had two “work jags” in the last nine months or so where I put 100+ hour weeks for several weeks in a row — but in neither case did I have a deadline. In neither case was anyone breathing down my back. In both cases, I’d spent quite a few 35 hour weeks thoughtfully setting up what I was to do. During those shorter weeks, if I got stuck and couldn’t immediately see a solution, I’d just knock off work immediately. I sometimes redid the same bit of fundamental work five or more ways to see how it looked. (EDIT: I realized that one of these is open source…)

At some point I had hundreds of ducks in a row, and I could just charge ahead working as fast as I could and seeing everything neatly work out. Eventually in both cases I got to a point where I hadn’t planned and there wasn’t an obvious next step, and I stopped.

And yet, this was a good time. I was working at home, which made it a lot of fun. I had a dog on my lap a lot of the time. Friends of mine stopped in during that period unannounced and said, “Let’s have coffee,” and off I went with no warning, sometimes not to come back that day.

That’s fun hard work. But compulsively working long hours all the time and neglecting your family and your friends — that’s really not sane, and to be honest, that’s really sad — particularly considering that during Mayer’s time at Yahoo she was, in fact, generating negative value.