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I disagree with this. It's a net win to exercise. You're repaid for the couple hours a week you lose with greater productivity during the remaining hours.

This is the crucial mistake:

"How much time does a bootstrapped company take? All of it."

That's not true. What a startup (bootstrapped or not) takes is 100% of your performance, not 100% of your time. And optimizing for performance means spending some time on maintenance.

For the same reason, it's not good to live on junk food. It makes you less productive. The best food for founders is probably rice and beans. That's what we lived on during Viaweb.




The best food for founders is probably rice and beans.

I disagree with this suggestion. One, the human body does not readily digest beans. Two, rice is a pretty heavily refined food, and white rice especially has been stripped of most of its nutritional value (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_rice).

From the perspective of spending minimal time, I suggest the unintuitive solution of learning to use slow cooking techniques. Most slow-cooked food is fire-and-forget: quickly prepare the ingredients, start the heat source, and get back to your hacking. Three hours later, you have several dinners' worth of excellent food.

Example: A simple beef stew takes about twenty minutes to prepare. Chop up about 1.5 lbs of beef into small pieces, dice one onion, mix with 1.5 lbs of unpeeled (but properly washed and scrubbed) fingerling potatoes cut in halves. Mix with salt and some water in an enameled cast iron 5-quart Dutch oven. Put in a 375-F oven. Return in three hours. You now have about three days worth of dinners. Improvise with spices as you see fit.


There's more people living on white rice in this world than there are people living in the Western world. Coincidentally, those parts of the world (especially China and Japan) have higher-than-expected life expectancy than most parts of the West. I do not know for sure what makes for healthy living, but simplifications like "white rice is bad" have a lot of real-world evidence going against them.


you are failing to account about genetic differences between asians, and whites (or other non-asians).

Being European, and having been raised with consuming milk/cheese/yogurt products daily, I was stunned to learn that most people of the world are lactose intolerant, and have hard time digest milk.

Also, we Europeans do use bread a lot. And wheat bread is probably a lot healthier than rice, even brown rice.


"And wheat bread is probably a lot healthier than rice, even brown rice."

No dice. Wheat and rice have a similar nutritional profile, however the more grains are processed, the more nutritional value they lose. Bread made from bleached flour is about as nutritional as sugar water; this is why it has to be fortified with vitamins, which sound pretty on the label but aren't actually digested the same way as they would be if the wheat was processed less. Rice (even white rice) beats out bread every time.


Coincidentally, those parts of the world (especially China and Japan) have higher-than-expected life expectancy than most parts of the West

This factoid is taken for granted in these arguments, but if you look it up, it's not true. Japan has a higher life expectancy, but the other white rice eating areas have a lower life expectancy, or are maybe tied. For example, China is 5 years lower than the USA and UK.


It does, eventually, digest beans, though. If the goal is sustained energy, then maybe it's not a bad thing that they aren't readily digested. The same may be true for whole grains, including brown rice.


So use brown rice.


I do exactly this. Make lentil soup in the crock pot on Sunday's for lunch all week. I got the prep time down to <30 minutes (before coffee).


ha! who said you couldn't get your dinner recipe from HN. we're trying this tonight. thanks!


There isn't anything better than a good beef stew - I've been experimenting on this theme for a few years now. Some tips:

- Only add the onions about 30 minutes before the stew is cooked, otherwise they'll dominate the flavour

- Add button mushrooms (again, about 30 minutes before the end) - they soak up all the juices and become wonderfully tasty.

- Use cheap meat: the miracle of the stew is how it transforms just about any lousy piece of beef in to wonderfully tender morsels that fall apart as soon as you look at them.

(We once cooked a beef bourginon (same thing really, but with some red wine in the stock) for 8 hours on a really low heat - around 100 degrees C. It was the most stunning thing I have ever eaten)


The bourginon sounds delicious but I assume you mean 100 degrees F?


100F isn't cooking, it's barely even keeping it warm.


It depends if we're talking about the oven or stove. I assumed this stew is made on the stove and 100C is not low temperature, but perhaps it's made in the oven.


a little BBQ and W sauce (Worchestershire). And a crock pot.


PG, you're a great entrepreneur, but a terrible dietician.

You should eat lots of fruits and vegetables, a reasonable number of calories, and lean meats.

The best thing to do if you have a pair of co-founders living together is get a CostCo membership and eat every single meal at home.

Buy $2/lb chicken and ground turkey, and huge cartons of Spring Mix and other vegetables. Buy a huge sack of rice for $20 and a huge bag of flour as well. Buy the cheapest of fruits - oranges and apples - but buy them by the case.

You can eat a balanced diet for just slightly more than rice and beans, feel better, and be more productive.


By rice and beans I didn't mean a recipe with literally two ingredients. I'm assuming you put stuff like peppers and onions in the beans. Or meat if you like. I'm also not saying you should eat rice and beans for every meal; just that most people have a default, and this is a good one if you're short of money.


When I was knocking on doors for a living, rice and beans kept me alive.

Of course you need to eat other ingredients, too. But r&b is a good default, it will keep you from starving, and it costs even less than ramen if you buy in bulk.


If you're gonna get a costco membership, you might as well grab a $1.50 hot dog once in a while ... maybe as a reward for hitting a milestone


You're much better off eating eggs instead of meat. Much cheaper, less time to prepare, much more nutritious. Dairy products are also a less expensive source of protein and fats. Rice and beans and eggs is pretty much an ideal meal in terms of nutrition. Add in some base vegetables (onions, carrots, whatever else is cheap) and fruits for extra vitamins and anti-oxidants and you pretty much have an ideal diet.


Are startup founders really so poor that they have to resort to rice and beans? Even when I was bootstrapping with nothing I could afford to eat a balanced diet. If you are really that poor, you should probably get a job first before starting a startup.


I think it's about stretching with what you have, i.e. rationing your saved-up bootstrap money. Spend 20% less gives you 20% more time, something like that.


What about the rest of the stuff about family? What's your take on that?




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