Nick O'Neill

My ramblings on entrepreneurship and online publishing.
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Why Is Startup Culture So Unhealthy?

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Networking events, parties, dinners, conferences, lunch meetings, coffee meetings, all places where people converge for business. More often then not, you find unhealthy behavior at these places. Most common is the excessive consumption of caffeine, junk food, and alcohol. Attend a hack-a-thon and you’ll often find pizza and red bull (albeit it’s slowly changing).

Attend a networking event and most people are drinking up. Have a lunch at Google or Facebook and you’ll find a lot of free food, much of which results in employees gaining weight. If you don’t participate in the unhealthy behavior, you begin to get pressured by others. “Not drinking much?” “You sure you don’t want desert?” It’s almost like high school peer pressure all over again! Worst of all, there are few healthy alternatives at many of these venues.

If you don’t participate in the unhealthy behavior you are also often socially penalized (less invitations to events, etc). After gaining a few pounds we rush to the gym in an effort to quickly cover up the side effects of the unhealthy behavior. However we end up working out so hard during our short exercise routines that we often end up hurting ourselves (we all know somebody who has been injured from their physical activities).

Yes, I know there are entrepreneurs who are physically active. I like to count myself among them. However it’s easy to get pulled in to the unhealthy behavior because it’s where much of the socializing takes place. Statistically speaking, being unhealthy places you well within the mean (at least in the United States).

However I’ve also noticed that many of the most successful entrepreneurs tend to be more physically fit. Yet startup events are always filled with free beer, caffeine, fast food, and all other things unhealthy. Do you have any explanations for why startup communities doesn’t appear to value personal health and well-being? Is this an inaccurate observation?

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