As an investor, founder, CEO and business book author, I write about startups, design, how to build a good business, and I like to muse about culture in any form.

How does Jason Varitek do his job on the days when he gets no sleep?


Anyone who has survived the early months of a newborn baby at home knows how to push through bone-weary fatigue.  You just have to.  Same with a business baby.  Just as your love and passion for your precious little human baby gives you reserves you never knew you had, so does belief in a business.  But even still….even with all the passion in the world…sometimes your body just says “YIKES!”  Surely even Jason Varitek has those days.

I’ll never forget my first meeting with a twenty-five-year old company founder who had recently landed a $5M Series A VC financing in record time.  Even with his relatively speedy process, he was flattened by all the legal and investor wranglings.  I met him just after his financing closed and this guy was a shell of a human being.   Smart as a whip, yet he could barely string two words together.  (He long since bounced back.)

I just got through two days in a row that felt like that.  I’ve taken six trips in four weeks.  (Nothing compared to a MLB travel schedule, I know.)  All of them packed with critically important events, inhuman logistics,  and zero downtime.  So for the last 48 hours, I felt like I’d been hit by a Mack Truck.  But I still had to handle one enormously important phone call with a “game changing” potential partner, and three similarly important meetings.  In the actual moment of an important event, I go into a bizarre auto-pilot.  But I know the mental synapses are sometimes only working at half-speed and I’m concerned that I can miss important data and insights with my dulled perceptions.  If I could,  I’d bring a second person to these meetings to catch the 90MPH curve balls I miss.  But I couldn’t, and, back to Jason, I’ve never seen two catchers behind the plate either.

I went to bed at 9:30 last night, got up and took a long walk with the dogs, and today I am back to industrial strength.  (It helped that a lot of good stuff happened in the last 48 hours, too.)  But in the case of getting some sleep and taking a walk, I knew I HAD to do those things or I’d be on a dangerous downward spiral.   But this issue–of sheer physical stamina–is one I think about a lot.  I wonder how other people in my shoes–company “builders” trying to catch fastballs left and right–and not take one in the face–think about maintaining their physical stamina.  I know what magazine articles say…eat right, get sleep, and regular exercise.  But even those things are not always enough.  I wonder what Jason does.  Any other ideas, or maybe just plain old commiseration out there?

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