How DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis does 2 days of work in 24 hours

Demis HassabisYouTube/Singularity VideosDeepMind founder Demis Hassabis.

CEOs of big technology companies often have fairly unusual sleeping habits but DeepMind CEO and cofounder Demis Hassabis has to have one of the most interesting sleeping patterns we’ve heard of.

The highly educated father of two told BBC Radio 4‘s “Desert Island Discs” last Friday that he tends to go bed around 4am after he was asked to describe the most unusual thing about himself.

“I generally sleep at about 4am in the morning,” said Hassabis, who sold his artificial intelligence lab to Google in 2014 for £400 million. “I’ll get into work around 10am, do a full days work in the office, come back for dinner, spend a bit of time with the family, and then start a second day’s work at 10pm/11pm, and go on to the small hours of the morning.”

So what kind of work does Hassabis get done in the early hours of the morning? Expenses? Email admin? Nope, it’s hardcore research by the sounds of it.

“Usually, that’s the time when I do my research,” he said. “So I’ll be reading about the latest academic papers. I like doing all of my creative thinking in the small hours of the morning. I have a lot of habits like that that I’ve learned maximise the way that I think.”

Hassabis isn’t the only tech leader with an interesting sleeping pattern. Apple CEO Tim Cook wakes up at 3:45am, while Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey wakes up at 5:30am to meditate and go for a six-mile jog.

This week, Hassabis is in China where his company’s AlphaGo algorithm is taking on some of the best Go players in China. How much sleep he’s getting there is anyone’s guess.

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