Thriving in a Software Startup

David Chang says his MBA gives him a roadmap for helping an online-billing firm prosper

I don't set my alarm clock anymore. As a rule, I see little reason to greet each morning with a shrill "beep-beep-beep" aside from the occasional, unavoidable early meeting or call. Even so, I average less than six hours of sleep a night during the week, and I do keep some odd hours. Such is life at a venture-backed company, especially when it happens to be the fastest growing private software company in the U.S. over the past five years.

edocs, which provides customer self-service and e-billing software, owes much of its success to its many intelligent and hardworking employees. Some have likened the past several years to a very long sprint. A few of my friends have even compared my hours to those of investment bankers. But the key difference is the degree of latitude and flexibility that edocs provides. I have some 40-hour weeks and some 90-hour weeks. Sometimes I work from home, sometimes from the office. If I need to run an errand, I go ahead and do it.

I'm certain that the flexibility of when, where, and how I work is what fuels my incentive to keep doing it. The downside to this is that work life and personal life often blend together.


7:00 a.m. -- At this hour, there's very little brain activity. Acknowledging that I'm an evening person, I'm content to simply scan the new e-mails from colleagues that have arrived throughout the night. Thankfully, there isn't a fire burning out of control, so I close the lid of my laptop.

7:15 a.m. -- I crawl back into bed and sleep for the next hour and a half.

8:45 a.m. -- The sun finally breaks through the window, and I'm permanently awake for the day. After a quick glance at my cell phone to make sure that nobody called overnight, I jump into the shower and get ready to head into the office.

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