There is never a dull day with Kristina Simmons! Kristina is the Chief of Staff at Khosla Ventures. Kristina focuses on new investments in areas that can be positively impacted by technology, such as in transportation, bio, health, food, mobile, and agriculture. Kristina wears many hats at Kholsa Ventures, advising dozens of startups across multiple industries. Kristina let us tag along with her for the day – learning about coffee, workouts, weekend plans, and why coloring in the lines has never been Kristina’s thing.
I am rolling out of bed by 5:30 a.m. But I am such a snoozer, I usually have fourteen alarms. It’s hard for me to wake up, but I force myself because other than my slot from six to seven, I will not work out. Working out is the best part of my day. I love it so much that I force myself to get up and get it done! My typical workout attire consists of Lulu lemon because I used to work there. I have an entire closet filled with Lulu Lemon, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
For my workout, I rotate between swimming, running, or yoga. I have a pool in my complex, which makes it really convenient. I like to work out with other people, so I typically plan my workout and invite other people to come.
My whole day is optimized, from planning my workouts to grabbing my coffee after I exercise. I get done with my workout around 7:00 a.m., and I walk to Phil’s coffee. I order the coffee from my phone, and it is waiting for me when I get there! I would say that my only prerequisite for living somewhere is that it is close to Phil’s coffee – that’s how much I love it! I have a particular coffee order – small coffee, no sugar, a touch of almond milk – so good! On the walk there, I call my mom. She lives in Michigan, and I like to check in on her and hear her voice to start my day. I head back to my apartment and shower as fast as I possibly can. I am always multitasking as I am getting ready – whether it be looking at Twitter, email, taking phone calls, etc.
The multitasking continues throughout the day – it has to! During the drive to work, I will take calls, or I will queue up my favorite podcasts. Right now, I highly recommend listening to How I Built This and Masters of Scale. If I am not listening to podcasts, I will do car karaoke themed karaoke sessions. This makes the car ride more fun and puts a smile on my face.
I get into the office at 9 a.m., but every day is a little different. On Monday’s we have partner meetings. This is where the companies come to pitch us, and we discuss where we are at with the deals in our pipeline. Monday’s stay the same schedule-wise, however, the rest of the week is varied. Sometimes I am in San Fransisco, but normally it’s a mix of meetings – meetings with new companies, firm meetings, portfolio company meetings, or board meetings! There is always a lot going on, which is why I take time starting from when I get into the office, till around 10:00 a.m. to get organized. I revisit where we are at with deals, what I still have left to do with negotiations, or reach out to a founder before our staff meeting.
The staff meeting is a big meeting here at Khosla Ventures. This is when the discussion of the companies that we are excited about are taking place. There is a lot to be discussed so sometimes it can take a while – till about 3:00 p.m. usually. We evaluate what companies we think will impact the future and the right terms to offer them. Sometimes it’s more of a debate than a discussion! Once we are in the final stage with a company, then we have about two to four pitches come in.
Lunch for me, especially with our staff meetings, is always at the office. I will eat a salad with salmon and munch on it during our sessions. Unfortunately, I recently found out I am celiac and am in the process of breaking up my love affair with pizzas and pasta. It’s truly a hard pill to swallow, but I eat a lot of salads, salmon, tofu. Oh, and sushi! I would eat sushi every day if I could.
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
After lunch, there are three priorities. It’s usually figuring our what to offer in the term sheet with new companies, meeting with entrepreneurs, or fitting in urgent meetings.
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
As I mentioned before, my Monday schedule is a little more unchanging. On Mondays and Wednesdays, I am very strategic with work dinners. I attend a work event about twice a week, but the rest of the weeknights are for my personal life. I like to go out with friends, go out on dates, flamenco concerts are fun, or I fit in a yoga class or hike. I try to change it up! I would say that my personality is half introverted and half extroverted, which means I need at least one night a week where I am in my pajamas by eight.
I am usually home between 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. This is my time to cool down. This is the time I catch up on reading. Right now, I am reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck and Small Fry by Lisa Brennan. A lot of what I read during this time does not have to do with work because it’s beneficial for me to get out of the tech bubble mentally. I like to continually introduce myself to new perspectives, whether it be through design, exciting people, art, science, or music.
Aspirationally, I try to go to bed at 10:30 p.m., but it usually ends up being between 11:00 – 11:30 ish. I tend to get caught in the black hole of social media – going on twitter, Instagram, you know, all the things you shouldn’t do. But I’m a rebel! Coloring inside the lines was never my thing.
On the weekends, I am very conscious around turning off and detaching. This is the time for myself and to spend time with the ones that I love. I like to spend my weekends’ hiking, snowboarding, wakeboarding – any extreme sport you can count me in! I just love being in nature, sitting next to a fire, enjoying oysters with wine. I like to take a lot of road trips, too. I go to Aspen every year for my birthday, and I always look forward to it.
Whatever I do on Sunday morning, whether it be hiking, yoga, or bunch, I am always back in the city around 2:00 p.m. Sunday afternoons are my time to prioritize my mission for the week ruthlessly. I mentioned before that I plan my workouts; this is when that all happens as well. Most importantly, I evaluate my goals for my professional life and my personal life. I label things P0 to P4. P0 is pretty critical; these are things that I absolutely have to do, whereas P3 means I have a little bit of time to execute. It’s during this time that I think about what makes me excited. Personally, I am passionate about the people in my life. And then, from a work perspective, I get excited about the ability to impact and change people’s perspectives.
Want to learn more about Kristina Simmons? Follow her on twitter @ksimm.