Founder Philosophy

19 March 2013

Vooza’s CEO offers up an unhealthy dose of founder philosophy and productivity tips. He explains why he’s anti-schedule, prefers email, thinks code is like poetry, and takes inspiration from chefs. He also reveals the secret to work-life balance and the key question to ask during job interviews. Startup founders everywhere, take note!


>> I’m very anti schedule.
>> The worst thing when, you’re in the middle of like
>> a, great work conversation or a groove of getting things done.
>> And then you’re like, oh yeah, I’ve got
>> that court date for that hit and run.
>> You’re like, ugh.

>> Here we go again.
>> Look at Marrisa Meyer at CEO.
>> She’s getting so many kudos for being CEO while pregnant, you know?
>> But I’ve been CEO of Vooza for years now with multiple STDs.
>> There’s no Time magazine article about it.
>> But, when you’re the little guy you’ve gotta be scrappier.
>> Well, people tell me I need an assistant, but I don’t want one, you know?
>> I prefer to be unresponsive and neglectful until
>> people get the idea they’re not important to me.
>> I’ve found that if you don’t answer emails,
>> it actually trains people to leave you alone.

>> My kids aren’t crazy about that but, you
>> know, it’s more of a French parenting style.

>> Not being around.
>> I love communicating with email because
>> it doesn’t interrupt anyone, you know?
>> Sometimes people try to talk to me in real
>> life and I’m like, I don’t think that’s gonna happen.
>> People wonder how I’m so productive.
>> And the key is, I spend 12 hours a day reading articles about productivity.
>> Didn’t just happen overnight.
>> I worked at it.
>> Well, I see my role as standing
>> at the intersection of technology and the humanities.
>> So I’ll be talking to a programmer, and I’ll be like,
>> hey, how can we make your code seem more like poetry?
>> And then I’ll read him a poem.
>> Robert Frost, or Rumi.
>> Baudelaire.
>> Or I’ll go up to someone writing copy for the website, I’ll be like hey,
>> how can we make this copy sound more like it was written by a robot?
>> And then we’ll do the robot.
>> I look to chefs for inspiration.
>> You know, people like Mario Batali and David Chang, you know.
>> You can see it in how I program.
>> You know, when I program I’m usually wearing a hair net.

>> And I’m surrounded by Guatemalans.

>> Some people talk about work, life balance.
>> You know, I’m more of a believer in work, work harder balance.

>> Some people aren’t used to an
>> environment where excellence is expected from them.
>> And those are the kind of people that we have here at Vooza, you know?
>> Nothing’s expected.
>> I interviewed everyone who works here myself, and my criteria
>> was, would I wanna get a beer with this person?
>> You know, even if they didn’t work here.
>> And if the answer was yes then I’d be, you’re hired.

>> You know.
>> Let’s end the interview early.
>> Let’s go drink.
>> Let’s come in to work at 9AM drunk.
>> Shots, now.
>> I, don’t think I have a problem.

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