Brad's Books and Organizations

Books

Books

Organizations

Organizations

Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

« swipe left for tags/categories

swipe right to go back »

Why I Spend A Month A Year in Homer, Alaska

Comments (16)

I wish it were as simple as "the weather."  After 27 days in a row of rain (ok – we had sun for part of two days), the sun finally came out today.

CIMG0302

I’ve been coming up to Alaska in the summer for about 15 years.  Amy grew up here and after we started going out together it seemed like a trip to her home state was in order.  I grew up in Texas, so after putting up with the "if you cut Alaska in half Texas would become the third largest state" jokes, I took a trip and immediately fell in love with the place. 

There are many magical things about Alaska.  Everyone here has a story.  The scale of things is unbelievable.  When the sun shines, nothing is wrong with the planet.  But my favorite is that everything here needs a power wash and I get to wear jeans anywhere I go.  We bought a house in Homer six years ago and have been coming here for about a month a year ever since.

I’ve written about my need for a periodic downshift as one way I manage the intensity level of my life.  I’m fundamentally an introvert, yet I spent much of my life in extrovert situations. Over time I reach a point where I need a break from human contact.  My month in Homer is my ultimate annual downshift.  While I’m up here I work about half time, which means a 40 hour a week schedule.  Since we don’t know many people here I end up with a remarkable amount of reading, thinking, running, and chilling out time.  We don’t have a TV – and we don’t miss it.

Over the course of the year I get tired. I get up every day at 5 am. I run 5 to 10 hours / week. I work 12 – 15 hours a day, Monday to Friday. I work on the weekends. I travel. As I get older, I’ve found I simply need some time each year to sleep until I wake up.

I want more focused time with Amy. When I die, I won’t have had enough time with her.  We take a week off together every quarter, but that’s not enough for either of us.  I want to spend more time with her and this is a way to get a lot of time together.

I periodically need to refresh / reboot my brain. I need time to think, experiment, and play with new ideas. Getting away and having a month in a totally different context does that for me.

Entertainingly, I always have plenty of deal activity that happens in July.  This year I was involved in a major financing and another transaction that should close soon.  Anyone who works with me knows I am available, but very mellow.  Ah – the magic of DSL and a cell phone.

While a month in a different context doesn’t (and can’t) work for everyone, hopefully this provides a glimpse into how it works for me and answers the question I’ve gotten over and over again this month of "what are you doing up in Homer, Alaska?"

  • http://www.billerickson.net Bill Erickson

    Will you be in Boulder Aug 6-12? I'm going to be up there and Andrew invited me to check out the TechStars office while I'm in town. It would be great to meet up if you're there as well.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld bfeld

      I’m in Boulder on the 11th and 12th.

    • http://www.feld.com Brad Feld

      I’m in Boulder on the 11th and 12th.

  • http://www.bestengagingcommunities.com Mukund_Mohan

    Brad
    Have to agree with the fact that this is the MOST beautiful part of our country. I think I might do the same in terms of trying to spend at least a week every year in Alaska. Have not been to Homer, but I love Juneau.

  • http://www.startuply.com Luke G

    I still have a dusty sticker somewhere with the old unofficial town slogan:
    Homer, Alaska
    A quaint drinking town with a fishing problem

    As we try to build this little company, my only vacation dream are about warm water surfing and heading back up north. Yeah, technology is amazing, and building it maybe even better, but how can it ever compare to fresh-caught Alaskan halibut or salmon?

  • http://www.jessica-thoughts.blogspot.com Jessica Schallock

    And here I thought you spent a month in Homer to be next-door neighbors with me! :) Seriously though, Homer is a strange and wonderful place; I sure have learned a lot growing up here, coming back and still finding it home. It's a good place for unwinding, but it holds a lot of adventures in store too.

  • garyd

    The idea of balance in life is tough to wrap my mind around. I tend to be an all-or-nothing personality, so over the last 6.5 years I have gradually built into my life strategies a more balanced approach. Ironically (or not), I feel more productive, have less crash-and-burn periods, less health problems… and a better overall endurance athlete.

    I'm very excited to see what my 30's will bring when they start in September, as most of the 20's were spent just trying to survive in spite of myself. One big hurdle that I want to clear is accept not forcing every minute of my day in “production” mode. I wasn't kidding on twitter yesterday that periods of hermitage dwelling (Thomas Merton style) are appealing to attack that issue… thanks for the reminder.

  • Michael_Stack

    But you wear jeans everywhere you go in Boulder, too.

  • http://www.ventureadventure.net Jack Poller

    Similar to your strategy, I spend a week a year completely unplugged, in the Lassen National Forest in California. Buried in the mountains, no electricity, no phones, no cell phones, no computers.

    I usually bring about 40 pounds of books with me, and make it through about 10 or 15 pounds.

  • todd langer

    Simply put, this might be your best post EVER. Your authenticity shows in every post (it's what makes you Brad), but this line is truly brilliant. “I want more focused time with Amy. When I die, I won't have had enough time with her.” I feel the same way about my wife/kids, but don't acknowledge it nearly enough.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld bfeld

    I’m in Boulder on the 11th and 12th.

  • http://blog.imulus.com George Morris

    12 to 15 hours a day? Why not work less?

    • http://www.feld.com Brad Feld

      Because I like the work I do.

  • Jessica Schallock

    And here I thought you spent a month in Homer to be next-door neighbors with me! :) Seriously though, Homer is a strange and wonderful place; I sure have learned a lot growing up here, coming back and still finding it home. It's a good place for unwinding, but it holds a lot of adventures in store too.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Michael_Stack Michael_Stack

    But you wear jeans everywhere you go in Boulder, too.

  • Luke G

    I still have a dusty sticker somewhere with the old unofficial town slogan:
    Homer, Alaska
    A quaint drinking town with a fishing problem

    As we try to build this little company, my only vacation dream are about warm water surfing and heading back up north. Yeah, technology is amazing, and building it maybe even better, but how can it ever compare to fresh-caught Alaskan halibut or salmon?

  • Jack Poller

    Similar to your strategy, I spend a week a year completely unplugged, in the Lassen National Forest in California. Buried in the mountains, no electricity, no phones, no cell phones, no computers.

    I usually bring about 40 pounds of books with me, and make it through about 10 or 15 pounds.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/garyditsch garyditsch

    The idea of balance in life is tough to wrap my mind around. I tend to be an all-or-nothing personality, so over the last 6.5 years I have gradually built into my life strategies a more balanced approach. Ironically (or not), I feel more productive, have less crash-and-burn periods, less health problems… and a better overall endurance athlete.

    I'm very excited to see what my 30's will bring when they start in September, as most of the 20's were spent just trying to survive in spite of myself. One big hurdle that I want to clear is accept not forcing every minute of my day in "production" mode. I wasn't kidding on twitter yesterday that periods of hermitage dwelling (Thomas Merton style) are appealing to attack that issue… thanks for the reminder.

  • Mukund_Mohan

    Brad
    Have to agree with the fact that this is the MOST beautiful part of our country. I think I might do the same in terms of trying to spend at least a week every year in Alaska. Have not been to Homer, but I love Juneau.

  • todd langer

    Simply put, this might be your best post EVER. Your authenticity shows in every post (it's what makes you Brad), but this line is truly brilliant. "I want more focused time with Amy. When I die, I won't have had enough time with her." I feel the same way about my wife/kids, but don't acknowledge it nearly enough.

  • George Morris

    12 to 15 hours a day? Why not work less?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld bfeld

    Because I like the work I do.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/billerickson billerickson

    Will you be in Boulder Aug 6-12? I'm going to be up there and Andrew invited me to check out the TechStars office while I'm in town. It would be great to meet up if you're there as well.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld bfeld

      I’m in Boulder on the 11th and 12th.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld bfeld

      I’m in Boulder on the 11th and 12th.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld bfeld

      I’m in Boulder on the 11th and 12th.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld bfeld

      I’m in Boulder on the 11th and 12th.

  • http://www.replica-china.net replcia handbags

    So, some tip about this issue are welcome and really sorry if my question is very simple. Thanks in advance

  • http://www.replica-china.net replcia handbags

    So, some tip about this issue are welcome and really sorry if my question is very simple. Thanks in advance

Build something great with me