On the difficulties of running a booming startup while trying to maintain a family life:
Stack Overflow and Stack Exchange have been wildly successful, but I finally realized that success at the cost of my children is not success. It is failure.
Whatever startup you’re working on right now probably won’t exist in ten years. Probably not even in five. It’s important to maintain a perspective of what’s really going to matter, long-term, in your life.
Instapaper is one person and no funding. I work completely from home. I don’t even put an unhealthy amount of hours into it, and it’s very low-needs (and therefore, low-stress) to keep the service running. This is a lifestyle that I’m not willing to give up for the promise of taking VC money, hiring a bunch of people, making everything free, and hoping to cash out after a few years of nonstop “crunch mode” by selling it to a big company so they can ruin and “sunset” it a year later.
Most people can always point to a reason why it’s not a convenient time to have children, but my wife and I couldn’t think of a single one. We know that we will never have a better time than right now. So our first child is due in April.
I hope to maintain as healthy of a perspective as Jeff has.
Great work, Jeff, and best wishes.