Glenn Hutchins on What Gives Him Energy

The chairman of North Island and a co-founder of Silver Lake shares how he deals with email, his relationship with his phone and the last time he felt he failed.

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?

Glenn Hutchins: Listen to a personalized Flash Briefing on my Echo.

TG: What gives you energy?

GH: – a good night’s sleep (at a regular time for a solid 8 hours), careful diet and frequent exercise

– an optimistic outlook on life

– my mitochondrial DNA (my mother was indefatigable)

TG: What’s your secret life hack?

GH: Watching a recorded Celtics game, fast-forwarding through the commercials while reading the Wall Street Journal and peddling on my exercycle. But now it’s no longer a secret.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.

GH: Adaptation to Life by George Vaillant, or Economics: Textbook by Paul Samuelson and William Nordhaus, or reading anything by Dr. Seuss to my children when they were little.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you? 

GH: No how, no way. I turn my phone off and shut it in the closet. Like me, it needs to recharge – as well as synchronize to the cloud.

TG: How do you deal with email?

GH: Answer promptly, to keep the pieces moving around my life’s chessboard.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?

GH: Don’t know. Doesn’t happen. 🙂 

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?

GH: The early morning hours of November 9, 2016.  Enough said.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it? 

GH: In technology investing, failure is commonplace. You cannot succeed without also enduring losses.  The remedy lies in skillful portfolio construction.      

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.

GH: Pretty much anything by Shakespeare or Springsteen.  For example:

Cowards die many times before their deaths

The valiant never taste of death but once. 

Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, 

It seems to me most strange that men should fear; 

Seeing that death, a necessary end, 

Will come when it will come.

Julius Ceasar

Or, as the Boss puts it:

One, two, three, four

The highway’s jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive

Everybody’s out on the run tonight

But there’s no place left to hide

Together Wendy we can live with the sadness

I’ll love you with all the madness in my soul

H-Oh, Someday girl I don’t know when

We’re gonna get to that place

Where we really wanna go

And we’ll walk in the sun

But till then tramps like us

Baby we were born to run

Often, though, the simple words of the immortal Beatles suffice:

Here comes the sun….it’s alright 

Glenn Hutchins is chairman of North Island and a co-founder of Silver Lake, the global leader in technology investing. He is a director of both AT&T and Nasdaq, Inc.; a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; vice chairman of both the Brookings Institution and the Economic Club of New York; and a member of the Executive Committee of the New York Presbyterian Hospital. He is an owner and member of the Executive Committee of the Boston Celtics basketball team. 

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