Sculptor, author, entrepreneur
Bob Clyatt thrives on total immersion.
That’s not so wild a concept for an entrepreneur committing himself so completely to starting, building and running companies.
Clyatt did that—twice. He started i/o 360, a digital design firm that he sold in 1998. He also founded a collaborative educational platform company, HorizonLive, which became Wimba and was later sold to Blackboard.
Then he turned his focus to sculpting.
Now more than a decade into his sculpting work, Clyatt says a shift to avocation-based work can do wonders for a person’s sense of engagement and fulfilled potential.
“When I look at a lot of my peers, I realize they could do this financially, but mentally they never got over this hump of ‘I have to do this first career for decades and I have to live in this matrix,’” Clyatt says. “For me, that thinking was just brutal. It’s like strapping yourself to a rocket and wondering ‘How long can I hold on?’”
But the sculpture work—featuring expressive ceramic human figures—is not a pedestrian early retirement hobby. It took time, but Clyatt has applied the same all-in approach to his art as he did to his companies.
Living and working outside New York City, Clyatt credits his business experience and time at MIT Sloan for giving him the finance and marketing skills to make it work. He’s had a series of successes, sales, and public exhibitions, including work about to be installed at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City.
Clyatt also authored a book, Work Less, Live More: The Way to Semi-Retirement. He advises against working the grind until traditional retirement and looking ahead only to relative comforts and a few games of golf.
“We all need, what we all want, is something I call an immersive experience,” he says. “Life has to have these immersive experiences, or we aren’t going to be happy.
“Everyone has to figure this out at 65 or 70 eventually,” he says. “You’ve got to figure this out sooner or later. I just wanted to do it sooner.”
See Clyatt’s work at www.clyattsculpture.com.