Phil Strazzulla

The ability to stay rested is a powerful way to productively make progress while allowing yourself free time to pursue your hobbies.


Phil Strazzulla is the founder of SelectSoftware, a website dedicated to helping HR and TA buy the right software through in depth, unbiased research. Phil started his career working in venture capital at Bessemer Venture Partners before getting his MBA at Harvard Business School.

Where did the idea for SelectSoftware come from?

I had started another company in the HR technology space previously, and so I had spent a lot of time understanding this space. I saw the opportunity to help HR teams buy software, and jumped on it. It also helped that a lot of what I do all day – learning and teaching – are two things I love to do.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I get up around 7:30, eat breakfast, work uninterrupted (no email, meetings or text) until 11, and then take a break to workout or do yoga. The afternoon typically includes a few meetings, and answering emails. Then I try to make sure I have ample time to do the things I really like to do: play golf, see friends, and cook good meals.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I typically write down new ideas, and let them percolate for a while before actually trying to execute on them. When I do start execution, I try to figure out the cheapest and easiest way to test the most pressing hypothesis that need to work. It’s very much rooted in the lean startup.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I’m very excited about the no code revolution that is allowing entrepreneurs to quickly build businesses that were previously inaccessible.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I sleep 8.5 hours almost every night without fail. This allows me to be sharp and focused all day.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I’d tell myself that it will all work out so stop worrying so much!

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Most people think we will be in another recession at some point in the next two years. I think we will have some pullbacks akin to December 2018, but that everyone is prepared and therefore we won’t go headlong into another 2008.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I constantly silence everything else in my life when I am focusing so that I can get into the flow. Texts, emails, and meetings will destroy your ability to do good work fast!

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

I’ve become very deep on SEO which has allowed me to grow at a rate I’m proud of. SEO takes a lot of time, but when it starts to work, it’s very powerful.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I gave one of my first customers a sweetheart deal that made a few of my other customers upset. I would’ve offered it to them, but they were still ignoring my emails at that point. However, it made me realize I had to treat all customers in a very transparent and consistent way.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I think someone should start mental health clinics that focus on businesses. There are so many productivity gains that hedge funds have gotten by having on site counselors (ever seen Billions?). Whoever starts doing this will make a lot!

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I bought some really expensive sneakers at 80% off at Barney’s yesterday during the liquidation of one of their NYC stores. It’s always great to get something for next to nothing, especially if they will keep your feet comfortable!

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I use AHREFs all the time to help me understand where opportunities are to grow my organic search traffic.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Snowball is an amazing book about Warren Buffett’s life that goes into his flaws in addition to his many wins. It’s required reading for anyone who’s ambitious and business minded.

What is your favorite quote?

“The harder you work, the luckier you get” – Dan Gable

Key Learnings:

  • The ability to stay rested is a powerful way to productively make progress while allowing yourself free time to pursue your hobbies.
  • Don’t allow distractions like texts, emails and meetings to destroy your productivity.
  • Always be learning, whether it’s reading, listening to a great podcast, or trying to do something outside of your current skill set!