The need to unplug…

March 20, 2010

It is 1:37 am Saturday morning in Milwaukee on March 20th. I just got home after a trip that started at 5:30 am on Tuesday when I left to see two interesting expansion stage software companies in Chicago that are looking for growth capital.

I checked into my hotel Tuesday night and then I attended a board dinner. Wednesday morning I got up early again at 5:30 to try and catch up on email before heading out of the hotel at 7:00 am to attend a board meeting for SaaS software company I work with in Chicago. It ran a little long so I raced to Ohare and caught my flight to Salt Lake City to see another great expansion stage software company that is considering raising venture capital on Thursday morning.

We started at 8:00 am and I headed to the airport again at 12:30 pm to catch my afternoon flight to Portland, OR for dinner with the CEO of the fourth expansion stage software company I was going to spend time with. After dinner I worked email for a while before calling it a night. I got up at 5:15 am to do some email and pack before heading out to meet the COB for a 7:00 am breakfast. After a great discussion about the company and how they would use expansion capital to grow the business I headed over to meet the rest of the company’s management team. I spent time with them until 1:00 pm when I headed to the airport for my return flight through Minneapolis to Ohare. Of course I ended up in the last row in a packed plane (If you have not noticed college spring break has started). After landing at 11:00 pm in Chicago I climbed into my car for the 1.5 hour drive home.

This was the 9th week out of 11 since the New Year began that I have been traveling on airplanes visiting potential expansion stage companies we are considering investing in, working with our current portfolio companies and participating in key firm activities.

This weekend I have about 6-8 hours of work to do to catch up after being on the road and to get ready for OpenView’s Monday meetings which will start at 7:00 am. Between the meetings and calls I am booked until 5:30 pm.

All of the above is not about me working hard. Every founder, CEO and management team who are involved in early stage and expansion stage software companies work just as hard if not harder.

This is about the need for everyone who works hard needing to unplug every now and then which is what I am going to do on Monday 3/22 at 5:31 pm.

I am going to set up my away email replies, shut my PC off, turn my mail account on my cell phone off and unplug from everything.

I am going to spend Tuesday walking the prairie grass fields of our farm, check to see how the 70+ apple trees we planted in the fall for the wildlife are doing, see if the steelhead trout are running in the creek from lake Michigan, look for deer sheds, see if the wild turkeys are starting to gobble yet, check out how the wetland scrapes are draining, see how the 60,000 oak and pine trees we have planted over the last 8 years are and just wind down.

Wednesday my wife and I will fly to Little Rock, Arkansas and spend time with our son who works for HP until late Sunday when we return home. Then Monday evening I head out for meetings in Boston.

What I won’t be doing between Monday at 5:31 pm and the next Monday morning when we start our meetings at 7:00 am is checking email, checking voice mail or making calls.

I highly recommend that everyone should do the same when they need to unplug… and everyone in this crazy software industry needs to unplug every now and then!

All the best!


Venture Partner

<strong>George Roberts</strong> is a Venture Partner at OpenView. He enjoys partnering with companies and helping them achieve their goals through strategy, focus and operational execution. From 1990 to 2003, George spent 13 years at Oracle Corporation, most recently having served as Executive Vice President of North American Sales. While at Oracle, George was responsible for over $1 billion in revenue and more than 2,000 employees, reporting directly to the company’s CEO and Chairman, Larry Ellison.