- Silicon Valley executives have some surprising and unusual habits when it comes to eating, sleeping, and relaxing.
- Some of their more extreme rituals, like Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s fasting regime, have provoked criticism.
- Other routines are surprisingly mundane for executives who are among the richest individuals on the planet.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The stars of Silicon Valley certainly are an eclectic bunch.
Tech moguls like Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jeff Bezos all have their own rituals, which help them manage their multi-billion dollar empires, and maintain healthy minds and bodies. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has even turned his own lifestyle habits into a quasi-cult following.
The eating, sleeping, and exercise patterns of the tech world’s top executives vary from the extreme – Dorsey eats once a day and eschews food almost entirely on weekends – to the surprisingly every day: Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos both insist on doing the dishes.
Scroll on to read more about the diverse and unusual lifestyles of Silicon Valley’s elite.
JACK DORSEY is the undisputed king of weird Silicon Valley lifestyle trends.
The Twitter CEO frequently talks about his bizarre lifestyle and health habits, which have prompted a range of reactions from raised eyebrows to harsh criticism – and have garnered a following which The New York Times’ Nellie Bowles described as a personality cult.
New York Times
Dorsey fasts. He only eats one meal a day in the week and abstains from food almost all weekend, eating a meal on Sunday evening.
The Twitter CEO’s revealed details about his eating habits on a podcast with Ben Greenfield, a fitness influencer who has tweeted anti-vaxx messages.
It prompted some critics to say that Dorsey was promoting eating disorders. Dorsey has also experimented with veganism and paleo diets in the past.
He kicks off his mornings with a drink called “salt juice.”
It’s a mixture of water, Himalayan salt, and lemon, and according to the New York Times, it’s available in Twitter offices the world over.
New York Times
He boosts his diet with vitamin supplements.
“The only supplements I take are daily multivitamin and vitamin C, a lot of vitamin C,” Dorsey said on the podcast.
Dorsey regularly hops alternately between ice baths and saunas.
Dorsey has been using saunas and ice baths in the evening since circa 2016 – sitting in a barrel sauna for 15 minutes, then transferring to an ice bath for three minutes. He repeats this three times, finishing up with a one-minute ice bath.
He uses the app “Seven” to do intensive, seven-minute workouts on his exercise bike.
“I don’t have a personal trainer. I don’t go to a gym,” Dorsey said in his 2019 podcast appearance.
Dorsey is also an advocate of meditation and yoga, and said in 2015 that he wakes up at 5 a.m. to meditate.
He tweeted in early 2018 that he spent 10 days in intense Vipassana meditation. Later that year, he faced fierce criticism when he tweeted blithely about a meditation retreat in Myanmar and encouraged others to go at the height of the Rohingya crisis.
ELON MUSK starts his day at 7 a.m.
The Tesla, SpaceX, and Boring Company CEO’s morning routine involves waking up at 7 a.m. after six hours of sleep, meaning a bedtime of roughly 1 a.m.
Musk’s sleep patterns became a topic of discussion in 2018.
Musk revealed in 2018 that he sometimes needed Ambien, a sleeping pill, to get to sleep. “It is often a choice of no sleep or Ambien,” he told The New York Times.
Sources: The New York Times
Musk often skips breakfast, as he doesn’t have time to slow down.
In a 2014 interview with Auto Bild, Musk said he sometimes has time for an omelette and a coffee.
He said in 2014 that his favourite drink is diet coke.
“You never get sick of it for some reason,” Musk said. He told Auto Bild that there were times when he was drinking eight a day, but added that he was trying to cut down.
To manage his time, Musk breaks his timetable down into five-minute slots — a habit he shares with Bill Gates.
The scheduling allows Musk and Gates to plan their time usage extremely precisely.
Musk said he goes to the gym twice a week to stay in shape.
Musk likes to unwind playing video games, including the hit first-person shooter “Overwatch.”
Musk’s favourite character in “Overwatch” is Soldier 76, which he revealed to Business Insider’s Dave Smith as his “dark secret.”
Playing as Soldier 76 is a “dark secret” because the character is considered a bland and uninteresting choice by many players of the game.
TIM COOK is one of Silicon Valley’s biggest gym addicts.
The Apple CEO goes to a private gym at 5 a.m. every morning, and has described himself as a “fitness nut.” He’s also known to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and cycling.
Cook gets up before 4 a.m.
Cook said he spends the first hour of his day reading user comments and emails, to “focus on the external people that are so important to us.”
Cook likes to get seven hours of sleep, which means an early bedtime.
If he’s to get seven hours of shuteye before 4 a.m., Cook must have to go to bed around 8:45 p.m.
JEFF BEZOS is a layabout by Silicon Valley standards, waking up at 8 a.m.
For Bezos getting eight hours of sleep is a top priority. The Amazon CEO also doesn’t use an alarm clock, and eschews early morning meetings.
Bezos has an unusually exotic taste in food.
Bezos has been known to favour some pretty strange dishes. He was photographed tucking into an iguana at an Explorers Club Annual Dinner last year, and during a breakfast meeting, he ordered octopus with potatoes, bacon, green garlic yogurt, and eggs.
Source: Business Insider
Bezos does the dishes every night.
“I’m pretty convinced it’s the sexiest thing I do,” Bezos told Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget in 2014.
Not much is known about Bezos’ workout routine, but a 2017 appearance at the Sun Valley conference led some to comment on his newly muscular build — inspiring a meme.
The image became a meme now known as “swole Bezos.” In a piece about Bezos’ bodyguard, Page Six reported that the Amazon owner does strength training.
MARK ZUCKERBERG also rises at 8 a.m.
The Facebook founder told Jerry Seinfeld in a Q&A that the first thing he does after he wakes up is check his phone.
He recently revealed that he’s built a glowing box to help his wife Priscilla with insomnia, which they keep by their bedside.
The box emits a faint light between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., meaning that if either of them rouses, they will know it’s a good time to wake up their children without having to check the time.
Zuckerberg said he exercises at least three times a week, in response to a question to Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Zuckerberg held a Q&A session in which he answered questions left on his Facebook wall in 2015, and Schwarzenegger asked how he finds time to work out.
“I make sure I work out at least three times a week – usually first thing when I wake up,” Zuckerberg answered.
Zuckerberg added that he tries to take his dog, Beast, along with him when he exercises.
Beast is a Hungarian sheepdog, and Zuckerberg said it’s hilarious to take him running because it’s “basically like seeing a mop run.”
Zuckerberg has a team of at least 12 people managing his social media.
The Verge reported in 2017 that a squad of at least 12 employees comb through his social media removing spam and harassment, while a second team manages what gets posted on them.
To avoid his thoughts getting cluttered in the morning, Zuckerberg wears the same outfit almost every day: jeans, sneakers, and a grey T-shirt.
“I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community,” Zuckerberg said in 2014, adding that he has multiple iterations of the same shirt.
According to Jack Dorsey, Zuckerberg went through a phase of only eating meat he’d killed himself.
In 2011, he posted on his Facebook page that he “just killed a pig and a goat.” Dorsey told Rolling Stone that Zuckerberg had served him a goat he’d butchered himself. Dorsey opted for salad.
BILL GATES tastes are less eccentric than his tech mogul compatriots.
The Microsoft founder revealed in a Reddit AMA that his favourite food is cheeseburgers.
According to his wife Melinda, Bill Gates often skips breakfast.
However, he told students at Betsy Lane High School that his favourite breakfast cereal is Cocoa Puffs.
He has a sweet tooth.
The billionaire visited a vintage candy shop with Warren Buffett last and revealed his favourite candy is peanut brittle. He finished the tour with a glass of cola.
He also told Reddit he loves playing tennis.
Gates described tennis as his “main sport.” He also skis.
Gates actually played tennis against Jeff Bezos in 2001.
The two played against each other in a charity doubles match, which Gates’ team won.
Like Bezos, Gates makes a point of doing the dishes at the end of the day.
In a 2014 Reddit AMA, Gates says he does the chore almost every night. “Other people volunteer but I like the way I do it,” he said.
Gates also makes sure he gets enough sleep.
He told the Seattle Times in 1990 that he likes to get seven hours of sleep.
The Seattle Times
SUNDAR PICHAI wakes up between 6:30 a.m. and 7 a.m.
The Google CEO told Recode in 2016 that he reads a physical copy of the Wall Street Journal every morning.
Pichai said he’s “very particular” about having tea in the morning, and because he’s vegetarian he gets his protein from a breakfast omelette.
“I’m not a morning person, so I need time with my paper and tea to wake up,” Pichai told Recode.
There’s not public info out there about Pichai’s exercise routine, but he’s a big fan of cricket.
Pichai played cricket in high school, and said he dreamt of becoming a professional cricketer.
SERGEY BRIN does a lot of intense exercise.
The Google founder has done a wide range of sports, including roller hockey, ultimate frisbee, gymnastics, springboard diving, and high-flying trapeze.
Part of the reason Brin does so much exercise is that he carries the gene for Parkinson’s, and wants to lower the risk of him developing the disease.
For the same reason, he drinks green tea twice a day.
Researchers found a link between coffee and reduced risk, but Brin hates the taste of coffee and so switched to tea. “Most researchers think it’s the caffeine, though they don’t know for sure,” he told Wired.
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