When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.
Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Gary Benitt: I kiss my wife. And then I scan my email on my phone to see if there’s anything truly important that I need to triage before beginning the day.
TG: What gives you energy?
GB: My kids, almost 8 and 5. They still run – at full speed – into my bedroom as soon as they wake up. Their energy gives me energy.
TG: What’s your secret life hack?
GB: Appreciation. Appreciation for the opportunities I’ve had, appreciation for each step of the journey, appreciation for the people that have chosen to surround me. Taking a step back to appreciate where I am has always been good for me.
TG: Name a book that changed your life.
GB: Rich Dad, Poor Dad.
TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
GB: Well, technically it sleeps beside me on my nightstand, charging for another day of action. Once I put it down though, it stays down until it’s time to wake up – I don’t check it throughout the night.
TG: How do you deal with email?
GB: Unfortunately, my Inbox is a bit of my to-do list. I snooze message to get them out of my way if I’m not ready to deal with them and I do my best to get to less than 10 messages in my inbox at any given time.
TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
GB: I’d probably give my wife a call, while going for a walk around the neighborhood.
TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
GB: It’s been a couple of years and was definitely the result of what I felt was an overwhelming amount of work, being in the weeds on details, managing a decent sized team and trying to figure out and optimize high level strategy.
TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
GB: I feel like I fail on a weekly basis. Something that I didn’t get quite right. A conversation that could have gone better. Spending too much time on one thing and not on another. The good news is that each failure is an opportunity for improvement.
TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
GB: “Well done is better than well said.”
Gary is a General Partner with Social Leverage, a seed stage venture capital firm. Gary is a seasoned serial entrepreneur, having been a part of four founding teams in both consumer and B2B companies over the past 20 years. Most recently, Gary spent 3 years as COO of Desk.com after his company, Assistly, was acquired in 2011 by Salesforce.com.
Previously, Gary was with AOL after his company, Goowy Media, was acquired in early 2008. Gary has managed various technology and go-to-market teams including business operations, customer service, client implementation and success, engineering, and quality assurance. He brings broad knowledge across all facets of growing a business from startup into a mature organization.
Gary has been an active investor in early stage companies since 2011, with over 25 investments including Civic, Classy, Getaround, Gusto, Kustomer, and Stitch Labs.