Hats off to the Quirky Blackout and to pushing the absolute limits of every single day we have

At First Round we are fans of creative out of office messages, most notably you can always count on Josh for inspiration in this department, but in cleaning out my inbox post holiday, I found the best one I have seen yet — it was from a robot so it went to my spam folder, but I wish I had seen it earlier.

Screen Shot 2013-01-14 at 4.53.12 PM

The blackout concept is very powerful and I bet the people at Quirky are happier longer and more creative/productive when they are at work because they get this mandatory break. As Ben says in his post,

In the start-up industry we push the absolute limits of every single day we have.

and when you are pushing that hard, running that fast, it is easy to loose track of the toll it takes on you — and it can be even harder to let yourself take a real break.¬†Hats off to Ben and his team for coming up with this and for doing it.

Here are the live links from the eMail screen shot above:




More companies should look at the natural cadence of their work over the course of a year and identify “dead periods” where things naturally slow down. Instead of using this as time to do more work/get ahead, allow (or force) the team to take time to pick their heads up and focus on other things – non-work things that make your time at work richer and more rewarding.

Maybe it is a hack week, maybe it is being off the grid, but re-charging should be a deep part of your culture if you want your company to thrive.