The Entrepreneur’s Wish List – What One Founder Is Eyeing For The Holidays

“I’m a startup founder and I spend more time at the office than I’d like to admit.”

Sound familiar?

Work/life balance has become a hot topic in the startup world. A few months ago, Stanford released a study highlighting how big the issue had become.

The study found that productivity per hour declines sharply when the workweek exceeds 50 hours, and productivity drops off so much after 55 hours that there’s no point in working any more.

I now (try to) make it a point to set aside time during evenings and weekends for relaxing and rejuvenating activities. I then feel clearer and more prepared for the Monday grind.

Now with the holidays in mind, you won’t find any wearables or Uber credits on my holiday list. Instead, my holiday wish list is a mix of unique services and experiences that you can’t fit in a stocking. If you’re looking for giftspiration, here are my top 10 places to start:

Digital Detox Camps.

Contrary to the connected world I live in day-to-day, my goal for 2016 is to disconnect completely once or twice. Digital detox camps are cropping up around the country, allowing clients to travel, unwind, and refocus. “Disconnect to reconnect” is their motto, and they also have adult summer camps!


The last place I want to spend my relaxation time is in front of another screen. I enjoy cooking with my wife, but we’re not exactly Michelin rated in the kitchen. Fortunately, there’s HelloFresh. They deliver recipe kits so even novices like me can create a mouthwatering dish in 30 minutes. Cut out the valet and babysitter and have a perfect date night at home.

Spartan Races.

If my wife signed me up for a diet meal plan delivery I might be insulted, but if she got me entry to a Spartan race I would be thrilled. This trendy new fitness challenge takes everything you love about triathlons, Tough Mudder, and CrossFit and merges it into one exhilarating activity. The sprint challenges start at $99, and there’s a training program that delivers daily activities directly to your inbox.

Agora for Good.

Sometimes it feels even better to give than to receive. This is something we make a priority at UGallery, through supportive partnerships with nonprofit organizations. Agora Fund is a new organization that makes giving more effective. They gather the expertise of diligent, thoughtful, experienced donors so that each dollar donated by an individual – you, your friends in finance, your grandma – is as high impact as a dollar donated by the most well-informed, wealthy philanthropist.


Coursera is an education platform that offers online classes from top universities. No matter a person’s experience or knowledge, there is always something new to learn. Participants, aka “students,” can choose from hundreds of topics, ranging from tactical skills (ie. grammar or computer science) to soft skills (i.e. leading with inspiration or public speaking).


Planning a trip overseas in 2016? Dating someone with family from another country? Does your job have international opportunities? Duolingo is an online language learning startup that counts Ashton Kutcher as one of its investors. Grab a friend or colleague and commit to learning a new language together in the new year.

The Campfire Effect.

Remember the pilot episode of Alex Blumberg’s StartUp podcast? You know, the one titled How Not to Pitch a Billionaire, where Alex trips over his pitch to famed Unicorn-maker Chris Sacca. Many entrepreneurs have a great product but have difficulty coming up with an equally great story to sell. Award-winning tech writer Chris Smith created The Campfire Effect to teach entrepreneurs how to be amazing story-tellers.


Original art is a timeless, one-of-a-kind gift that never goes out of style. UGallery, the company I started, represents emerging and mid-career artists from around the world. With over 7,000 hand-selected pieces across a range of prices and mediums, we have artwork accessible to everyone.


Angit is a tried and true platform that connects service providers with customers. From carpet cleaning to a new interior paint job, the List helps people find certified, vetted experts in their town. I never know when I need a service, or what that service will be, but credit toward home maintenance is always a welcome gift. Gift memberships can be purchased directly from the website and printed or sent via email.


Last but not least, I couldn’t have a gift wish list without sports tickets! SeatGeek is an easy-to-use ticket marketplace that aggregates listings to let you find great seats for one-of-a-kind events. Baseball is my sport of choice, but in the off-season I’ll settle for a Knicks game (while the Hawks are in town, of course!).

Stephen Tanenbaum is co-founder and president of UGallery. Founded in 2006 at the University of Arizona, Stephen has led the company to double digit revenue growth every year since inception.

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This is a post from a CEO Blog Nation writer. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.

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