A year off

A little over a year ago, I decided to step down as CEO of MongoDB.

I am now ramping up my work life again – though not to anywhere near the intensity of being CEO – and I thought this would be a good time to share an update on my last year.

My professional activities have been limited in the last year. I have been on the board of Cray and I have advised a few startups, mostly informally helping friends starting companies.

While my professional life has been less active, I have had much more time for family and friends. I helped my older daughter plan her Bat Mitzvah. I went through a ski instructor certification program with my son (15 years old) – he passed and I did not (close, I passed most skills and need a one day retest). I signed up to be a room parent for my younger daughter’s class. I have 21,000 miles with United in the first 8 months of this year, down from 114,000 in the first 6 months of last year. My wife and I had a weekend away together for the first time in a long time. It was great.

Lots of other stuff going on. I’ve been learning to play bridge. The more I learn the more I realize I don’t know. I am hooked. My younger daughter and my son are both learning too. I have joined a gym and I am actually exercising.

All very normal. I like it. Maybe other people could have done all of this while being CEO of a fast-growing company. I know I wasn’t able to.

Less work and more time is not a panacea. I am still distracted by my phone. Some of the obsessive energy that went into work now goes into learning bridge or solving math problems. I still aspire to go to sleep earlier, eat less, and be more in the moment.

I have been doing less work, but I am ready to ramp up that part of my life a bit. I’m starting a job as an Executive in Residence at Battery Ventures. I’m excited to help Battery identify promising companies and help great entrepreneurs build companies. I think the role will let me continue to have high quality time for family, friends, bridge and skiing. Some use this type of role as a springboard to start a company or join a startup. Not me. I hope to use my role at Battery as a platform to contribute to interesting startups while maintaining a balanced life.

I am looking forward to this next year. Might even start blogging again 🙂

— Max

4 comments so far

  1. Meghan on

    Sounds like a good year! Bridge is a lot of fun. I bet your good at it. Looking forward to reading your next post.

  2. Dwight Merriman (@dmerr) on

    well at least you had plenty of time to blog this last year. 🙂

  3. Francesca Krihely (@francium) on

    So glad to see you taking time with your family. Really excited to see what you do at Battery. It’s a great team over there and you’ll be a true asset to all the companies in the portfolio! Best of luck.

  4. Vincent Barr (@VincentBarr) on

    I enjoyed reading your post. It felt candid and genuine. It demonstrates the availability of a sensible, rational choice that seems to escape many of us.


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