Ryan Carson, Treehouse and the 4-day Week

I think there’s something messed up about the startup culture in the USA. The belief is that you have to work 6-7 days a week and spend all your mental cycles on your company. Nothing but pledging your soul to your startup yields success, right?

Not in my experience.

We work a 4-day week at Treehouse and here’s what we’ve been fortunate to achieve:

  1. Profitability (yay!)
  2. $3,000,000+ yearly revenue run rate (and growing fast)
  3. Grown the Team to 34 full-time people and hiring at least 10 more as soon as possible
  4. World’s best investors, including Kevin Rose, Reid Hoffman, David Sze (Greylock), Chamath Palihapitiya (Social+Capital) and Mark Suster (GRP)
  5. Coverage in the NYTimes, Wall Street Journal, MIT Tech Review and more
  6. A $4,750,000 A-round investment
  7. An unbelievable company culture where we’re all insanely excited to tackle our Mission

We work a 4-day week (M-Th, 9-6) because we think that information work isn’t like manufacturing. Another hour at the MacBook won’t yield another $1,000 in profit. We believe that smart folks can get five days of work done in four days. Simple as that.

There are so many benefits to working less it’s hard to list them all, but here are the major ones:

  1. Recruiting is easy (we still pay full salaries and offer a very generous benefits package).
  2. Retention is easier. One of the Team told me he regularly gets emails from Facebook trying to win him over and his answer is always the same: “Do you work a 4-day week yet?”
  3. Morale is boosted. On Mondays everyone is fresh and excited - not jaded from working over the weekend.
  4. I get to spend 50% more time with my kids then almost all other dads (three days versus two). Fifty percent. It’s insane. For those on the Team without kids, they get to spend this extra 50% on their hobbies or loved ones. (Hat tip to its_so_on for correcting my math and making it even more awesome :D)

A lot of the teams that are working 6-7 days a week are young without families. I’m 34 and I have two kids. I’m not willing to sacrifice my family and health for my company, even if they are. The great thing is that I don’t think anyone does. So if we can achieve profitability, grow quickly and raise large amounts of capital, all while working 4-days a week, shouldn’t you consider it at your startup?