IN CONVERSATION WITH…
HAMET WATT, Technology Entrepreneur
“I remind myself, in all circumstances and conditions, that I am a resilient person and I will get it done..”
D.C. raised on Go-Go music
Founder, NextMedium (acquired by Band Affinity Technologies)
Co-Founder B-Life (acquired by Canary Health)
Co-Founder, MoviePass (acquired by Hellios and Matheson)
Board Partner, Upfront Ventures
An entrepreneur and investor focused on innovation with a particular interest around human behavior and behavioral change, specifically. There is great opportunity everywhere. Early in my career, I was a Partner in the New Africa Opportunity Fund. We invested in South Africa post-apartheid.
The MANTRA (Voice in My Head)
You Are A Soldier. You Will Get It Done.
As an entrepreneur you are primed to be kicked in the shins for so long that you come to accept it as par for the course. Eventually, the sky opens up—it always does—and everything that you have been working on falls into place. I always remember that. It is in important to catalog your wins equal to your losses. This realization gives me confidence to persist. The study I have done and continue to do gives me resilience. I remind myself, in all circumstances and conditions, that I am a resilient person and I will get it done.
6:30AM – 7:00AM I am generally a night owl so I don’t like getting up extremely earlier. Once I am awake, my day starts with stretching and some green tea before heading off to the gym. I am not the biggest morning meditation person despite launching B-LIFE (Canary Health). I generally reserve my meditative and contemplative practice for my workouts. While lifting or doing some cardio I am able to temporarily release the work load mentally.
8:30AM In place of a traditional breakfast, my reward is a morning smoothie filled with greens, protein powder, cacao, coconut, and flax seed. On the days that I need an extra boost, I will include a small shot of coffee. That only happens occasionally.
From the moment my workout ends it is go-time: responding to emails, which is mostly related to my portfolio company stuff—those of my own direction and of the firm’s—and responding to entrepreneurs looking for financing.
Trying to get to my core list. Usually I have 5 or 6 things that are front of mind each day. Those can include business development, fund-related goals or creative goals that related to new products or current projects that I want to see movement on.
10:00AM We have offices in Santa Monica and Manhattan Beach. I also have a home office. Much of my day-to-day is about external meetings and seeing things firsthand so I generally rotate through all of them. 25% someone else’s office, 25% Manhattan, 25% Santa Monica, and 25% the home office. The constant determinate being the meetings.
12:30PM – 2:00PM Lunch is usually outside, but occasionally I will make my own and work through it. I don’t eat any meat any more. For the past three years it is always fish and vegetables.
I was not planning on going pescatarian at all. I watched Forks Over Knives, read a bit about the China Studies, and learned some about meat consumption. I realized I was eating way too much meat and told myself, “let me just try it for a couple of weeks.” So, I cut out red meat, chicken and pork. To my surprise, it was not that hard so I tried it again. Three years later and I am still on it.
Truth be told, I don’t notice the difference in my cognitive function or anything like that. I do take supplements where I notice that, but not on the diet side. I feel generally healthier because I eat clean. I don’t know if that is psychological or real.
3:00PM+ Ideal time to visit offices and startup headquarters of our portfolio partners.
6:00PM I try to be home a minimum of 5 nights a week. I looked at it recently and I see that despite everything happening it still averages that. The ways that it dips below that are due large-and-part to the occasional dinner meetings or travel. I know that I give so much to my work, and my wife has always been supportive, so I try to be mindful to show her and our son, Zion, that our consistent time together is just as much a priority to me.
7:00PM Dinner time alternates if family time (talking or going for a walk) or checking in on Zion’s homework happens first. We don’t have stringent rules about the order.
8:45PM and 9:00PM Those are non-negotiables times. 8:45PM, recently upped from 8:30PM, Zion is in bed. 9:00PM he is asleep. We are militant about him getting proper rest.
My weekends are definitely more family time.
9:00PM – 12:00PM I will try to hang out with my wife for the rest of the evening especially if we have not had time together earlier in the evening, like when Zion is with his tutor or something. Like clockwork, she always falls asleep before me so I get back online to finish up some emails.
The MEDITATION (when you think Legacy + Heritage)
Of course, there are institutional concerns and goals in mind, but what is paramount for me is the spirit of character I leave behind. I want people to say that I was generous beyond words; that I was generous with my time and resources in my willingness to help people unlock their full potential in a significant way whether it be entrepreneurial, philanthropic or capital gains..
In order for me to do that I have to show that my craft—innovation craft—is one of the best in the business. I do that by embracing being a risk-taker, being clean in my approach, and precise and decisive in my decisions. I am able to do much of this with Upfront Ventures. I look forward to the day of having my own resources and being able to do greater directly for others.
Futurism – has been my weekly go-to as of late. They have topical information, utilize info-graphics, top 10 lists, and offer global insights.
I am a Roots Reggae guy so I always have BOB MARLEY in my rotation. In general, I lean towards anything island: Salsa, Reggae, Calypso.
In D.C., Go-Go is our thing so if you know it then you can agree that it has the same thread of an afro-beats vibe as a through-line.
5 Things I can’t live without
iPhone - Because it is such an important device and is going to help me with efficiency. I always get the newest one immediately on release. My work life revolves around it.
T-Shirt and Jeans – Always nice and quality. I am moving in the direction of Decision Fatigue. A great example of adopters are Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg who wore the same uniform style of dressing daily. I consciously focus on consistent easy pieces that work with my life and productivity. On average people make about 35,000 decisions in a day. That is a lot, so how do we simplify the variables?
Jordan 11s – These are a classic. So much history and growing up tied into Jordans.
Uniqlo Blazer – It is made out of sweatshirt material, but with great construction and versatility. I can fold it up in a travel bag and it holds. It looks far more expensive than it is.
Ride Share – We do have a family car that is for my wife and son. I no longer have a car. About two years ago I had a realization that, like many of us, I had a tendency to text and drive. Given how much time I am forced to be on my phone, I knew a change had to be made in order to take the pressure off. I used to default to Lyft, but Uber had this subscription sometime a while back and it got me back on with them. Taking this route is a clear return on investment for me rather than worrying about driving and being distracted.