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Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian on what wife Serena Williams taught him about ‘sustained greatness’

For years, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian has talked about the dangers of “hustle porn,” or overworking. His passion about the subject came from his wife, tennis legend Serena Williams,” he says.

Ohanian, 37, co-founded Reddit in 2006 and then sold it for $10 million 16 months later. Since then he has founded venture capital fund Seven Seven Six and has invested in companies like plant-based company Impossible Foods and soccer digital collectible platform Sorare.

And about five years ago, his wife prompted him to take a better look at his work/life balance.

“She was like, ’You work more than I do,” Ohanian tells CNBC Make It. “And at first I was so flattered. I was like, ‘Wow, thank you so much.’”

But Williams told him it “wasn’t a compliment.”

Ohanian says Williams explained that overworking is “not actually the way to sustained greatness, because, especially as an athlete, you have to be spending as much time recovering and regrouping as you do working, training and practicing,” he says. “Otherwise you can’t be at your best for a long time.”

So these days Ohanian, who is also now dad to 3-year-old Olympia, schedules 15-minute windows throughout his work day for “just me time,” he tells CNBC Make It during an interview promoting Stella Artois’ new “Stella Mutual” contest and ad campaign.

“So maybe I get up and I go for walk or I use that time to check in on Olympia or to call my wife or to just browse the internet,” he says.

Being very disciplined with his time works. “It’s been really important for me to make sure that when I am working, I am all in on focusing on work. And when I’m not, I’m all in on not,” he says.

That balance throughout the day is “crucial” to his success.

“We can’t do our best unless we have those resetting moments,” he says.

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