Founder and CEO of financial tech services company Affirm, Levchin got his “start” helping to launch PayPal, Yelp, and, in 2002, being named Innovator of the Year and as one of the top 100 innovators in the world under the age of 35. He serves on the boards for Yahoo! and Evernote.
You’d think making it to the gym would be a challenge. “Fitting in exercise is actually easy, the default is to exercise, so when it doesn’t happen for some reason, I don’t get off the rails, I just go harder the next day,” Levchin says. “Every day, I wake up at 5am, deal with emails for 90 minutes, work out for 90 minutes, and then head for the office.”
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His workout of choice: Cycling. “It clears my brain, forcing me to step away, unplug, and reset away from work thought. But training with numbers, pushing yourself to the next level, watching those marginal gains accumulate creates a cadence of confidence: if you work at something for a long time, hard enough, eventually the small victories add up,” he says.
He often watches those victories add up on spreadsheets he creates, plugging in info on power, speed, air temperature, altitude, and heart rate. His training has even earned him the right to race one of the Tour de France stages.