My Personal Takeaways from Brad Feld’s ‘Startup Life’

My favorite books are the ones that leave immediate change on my attitude or behavior. Feld’s ‘Startup Life’ is one of those. Here are the five long-term, specific takeaways that April and I have incorporated into our lives from the book:

#1 Always answer the phone when the other calls

Oftentimes it may be a super short conversation if I’m busy, but I no longer hit ignore when she calls. No matter where I am or what I’m doing, if April calls I answer the phone.

#2 Life Dinners

April and I have booked a special dinner out once each month for the rest of the year, and we had our first of these two weeks ago. This is a time for us to leave our phones at home, reflect on the past month, talk about what’s working and discuss what’s ahead. It’s a celebration of our relationship.

#3 QX Getaways

We technically haven’t implemented these yet, but we have put them on the calendar. For us, these will be planned-in-advance long weekends where we focus on each other and leave small windows of time for work. (The book actually recommends no work, but we’re not ready for cold turkey right now).

#4 Wind down time

When we first reunite after a long week or day apart, we give each other time to ease into the conversation and back into the relationship without a barrage of questions and expectations. Being so focused on work, we’ve found having a short “cool down” period really puts more harmony into the rest of our evening or weekend.

#5 Make plans or succumb to the default

Both April and I are pretty focused on our careers. And it seems we’ve got a never-ending to-do list. We realized we enjoy working a lot (too much at times) and that in lieu of plans to hang out together we’ll defer to working. So we’ve decided to be more vigilant in planning out evenings and weekends with non-work activities. Without a plan, we’ll just end up on our laptops.


It’s been awesome to read this book together with April and talk about our relationship in the ways it has inspired. We’re already reaping rewards. While not the most exciting book I’ve recently read, it might be one of the most rewarding.

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