Startup Treehouse: 4 days work week, $4.75 million funding

Credit: flickr/whiteafrican

Ryan Carson says Treehouse is profitable, A-round VC funded, and works only four days per week, 9-6.

Startup culture demands seven day workweeks, constant engagement with your project, and hard-driven workers pounding the computer keys at all hours. Carson started Treehouse, an educational website for developers, with the opposite attitude: four days is plenty for information work. Unlike manufacturing, adding hours doesn't mean increased production of a quality intellectual product.

Challenging the status quo is tough, and Steven Cohn, blogging as v1again, says plainly to be successful, those in startups must be very smart and work very hard. Working 9-7 weekdays and half a day on Saturday, a rival company works 54 hours, or 50 percent more. Won't they put out 50 percent more code? Can't modern programmers maintain a high level for 54 hours per week?

Great idea

I couldn't agree with you more. If you have to spend more than 36 hours per week and you can't get the job done, you're doing it wrong.

Remkus on

In 2-5 years time, I can't imagine the product would be any better due to that extra day every week.

k00k on

people constantly over estimate their own productivity when working long hours.

Matt on

we dropped to a 40 hours week (6 hours coding per day, 2 hours for breaks, meetings & lunch). After a couple of weeks adjustment my productivity went way up.

adrianhoward on

Reasoned arguments

But often I think long hours become a proxy for commitment to the company, and that's a bad way to measure someone's commitment.

Gabe da Silveira on

A 36-hour work week may be uncompetitive, but I would argue that a 60-hour work week isn’t competitive either. Especially when you want to retain talent long-term.

Anonymous on

Getting to profitability isn't as noteworthy (from a startup POV) as raising an A-round from working 4 days a week.

pclark on

More hours, more success sooner

the idea that a four day work week of 9-6 is going to get the job done when you are starting a company is, to put it lightly, complete crap.

Leigh Drogen on

I think once you make a certain amount of money, hustling for another day, in order to achieve more money, is just a bad trade. When I die, I’ll be SO glad I traded money for more time with my loved ones.

Ryan on

Workplace studies show productivity drops after eight hours per day and 40 hours per week. Do the extra hours in a software startup outweigh that drop by quantity? Or will bug squashing ruin productivity? More importantly, would you like a shorter work week?

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