Micah Baldwin gives tips for taking care of yourself

"What if we were to stop putting our companies first?" asked Micah Baldwin at Big Omaha Friday afternoon. "Right now all of your stomachs turned. 'But we’re from the Midwest. That’s what we do.'" But what if we stopped thinking our startups were us? What if the one thing we’ve been told – the harder

Micah Baldwin is CEO and chief community caretaker of Graphicly, a startup providing an immersive social experience and marketplace around digital comics and associated merchandise. Outside his official title, he simply refers to himself as a “startup doer” and also is the father of Twitter’s #FollowFriday meme.

“What if we were to stop putting our companies first?” asked Micah Baldwin Friday afternoon at Big Omaha.  “Right now all of your stomachs turned. But we’re from the Midwest. That’s what we do.”

But what if we actually did stop thinking our startups were us? What if the one thing we’ve been told–the harder you work, the better–is wrong?  

“In golf, what do they teach you? The slower you swing, the further the ball goes,” Baldwin said. “What if the same goes for startups?”

After recounting his own struggles with being happy and taking care of himself, Baldwin gave the audience seven tips for how to do it themselves: 

Be selfish

“I put myself before everybody,” he said. “And here’s the interesting thing that I learned: if you care for yourself, other people will care for you too.”

“I actually like being happy, and when I’m happy I’m not a dick.”

Gift yourself  

“This is the thing that has changed my life unequivocally: every morning, I set two alarms, one at 7:00 a.m. and one at 7:30 a.m.,” he said. “The first thing I do every single morning is give myself 30 minutes.”

It doesn’t matter what you do with those 30 minutes, but Baldwin believes it has to be something selfish. For example, no checking e-mail.

“If the first thing you do is you reach for e-mail, you’re giving yourself to somebody else.” 

Fail purposefully

“Find things that you know you’re going to suck at and do them in order to find the things within them that you’ll enjoy,” Baldwin said.  

Find “easy”

Look for the easy solution. As Baldwin’s father would say, “If the TV’s broke, make sure it’s plugged in.”    

Join life

Get out of the house. Accept party invites. Take trips, take your kids to the park, go to yoga.

“Your job isn’t everything,” he said. “Your company isn’t everything, your family isn’t everything. You are everything. Go enjoy life.”  

Be happy

“It’s not hard to be happy,” Baldwin said. “You just have to remember that it’s OK.” 

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” – Picasso 

“Don’t forget that we are artists,” Baldwin said. “We are developing and we are working in a medium that no one is able to do.”

“If you don’t believe in the vision that you put forth, you will be unhappy, and being unhappy is the worst. And all I want you to do is be happy.”


Big Omaha is a two-and-a-half-day event that aims to inspire, educate and celebrate the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the heart of the Midwest. Produced by Silicon Prairie News, it’s part of the Big Series, the nation’s most ambitious events on innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Big Omaha Video Series is presented by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Based in Kansas City, Mo., the Kauffman Foundation is among the largest foundations in the U.S. with a mission to foster a society of economically independent individuals who are engaged citizens, continuing the improvement of their communities.

Credits: Video by Quadrant5. Snippet photo by Malone & Company.


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