Robert Blatt, the 54-year-old chairman and chief executive of mobile marketing platform MomentFeed in Santa Monica, has three lively daughters, a surfing addiction and a yoga habit. He’s maintained an active lifestyle throughout the 25 years that he’s worked in senior management positions, employed previously as senior vice president of product development at Ascent Media, vice president and general manager of personal media at AOL and chief executive of Outcome. We spoke with Blatt about how to avoid stress – even when you’re the chief executive of a startup.
Question: Describe your morning routine.
Answer: If there are good waves, I’ll hit the water at dawn and I’ll get a good surf in for an hour, hour and a half, and I can still get to office before nine. Or, I will do yoga. I’ve been practicing yoga for 35 years. I’ve also got three kids getting ready for school and they walk in during my yoga and ask me a math homework question. I live in Santa Monica, so I can ride my bike to work every day.
Was this a conscious decision when you moved, to eliminate the Los Angeles commute?
Yes. We used to live in the Bay Area and most of my career was in Silicon Valley. We realized that if we didn’t eliminate the commute time, there would not be enough time for family. I realized when I was 40, right before the kids were born, that I love doing software startups, but they have a high level of intensity so we had to be methodical about life. In San Francisco, that was impossible. We spent a lot of our lives in cars and on the Bart. So we literally moved to Santa Monica for the work/life balance. It was also because of surfing. In San Francisco, between driving to the beach to go surfing and driving to work, I was racking up an incredible amount of time in car. In Santa Monica, everything we do we can get to via bike.
How do you achieve work/life balance?
When I first started in business, my personal and professional lives were two different things. In the last few years, my professional life has infiltrated my personal life, and the only way to create balance is to let my personal life infiltrate my work life. The energy required to be something different at work than you are at home, that energy is impossible. So the first thing I do to maintain balance is that I don’t make a distinction between Robert working and Robert with friends. The second thing is to recognize that life expectancy is going to be longer than any of us ever expected, so I view work as a marathon, not a sprint. I take a long term view and that relieves the panic a lot of people feel every day. I’ve done some of my best work at companies that were a colossal failure. The key is to focus on just doing a really good job every day and constantly growing your relationships, which will outlast the place you are working right now, and creating a body of work you are proud of. I know it’s crazy to say as the CEO of a startup, but I’m not particularly stressed.
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