You might think: but if you had prioritized those things, wouldn't your contributions have been reduced? Would Facebook have been less successful?
Actually, I believe I would have been more effective: a better leader and a more focused employee. I would have had fewer panic attacks, and acute health problems -- like throwing out my back regularly in my early 20s. I would have picked fewer petty fights with my peers in the organization, because I would have been generally more centered and self-reflective. I would have been less frustrated and resentful when things went wrong, and required me to put in even more hours to deal with a local crisis. In short, I would have had more energy and spent it in smarter ways... AND I would have been happier. That's why this is a true regret for me: I don't feel like I chose between two worthy outcomes. No, I made a foolish sacrifice on both sides. [...]
Many people believe that weekends and the 40-hour workweek are some sort of great compromise between capitalism and hedonism, but that's not historically accurate. They are actually the carefully considered outcome of profit-maximizing research by Henry Ford in the early part of the 20th century. He discovered that you could actually get more output out of people by having them work fewer days and fewer hours. Since then, other researchers have continued to study this phenomenon, including in more modern industries like game development.
The research is clear: beyond ~40 -- 50 hours per week, the marginal returns from additional work decrease rapidly and quickly become negative. We have also demonstrated that though you can get more output for a few weeks during "crunch time" you still ultimately pay for it later when people inevitably need to recover. If you try to sustain crunch time for longer than that, you are merely creating the illusion of increased velocity. This is true at multiple levels of abstraction: the hours worked per week, the number of consecutive minutes of focus vs. rest time in a given session, and the amount of vacation days you take in a year.
These companies are both destroying the personal lives of their employees and getting nothing in return.
Many people believe that weekends and the 40-hour workweek are some sort of great compromise between capitalism and hedonism.