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Phil Libin, Marc Benioff and Om Malik
Phil Libin, Marc Benioff and Om Malik at the Evernote conference in San Francisco today.

SAN FRANCISCO – If there’s one truism about Silicon Valley, it’s that work-life balance is hard to come by. At least at two Valley-based startups, that’s by design. Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff sat down with Evernote CEO Phil Libin and GigaOM founder Om Malik at the Evernote Conference today to talk about their philosophy of doing work in the tech industry. When Malik asked Libin and Benioff how Salesforce and Evernote deal with issues of work-life balance, especially in a day and age when it’s possible for employees to be connected to the office 24 hours a day, their responses seemed to indicate a question: what work-life balance?

The message from Libin and Benioff was clear: don’t bother applying to their companies if you want to have a straightforward 9-to-5 job.

“I want the ability to work and play as a team, and I want people on my team who are committed to that,” Benioff said.

When Malik turned the question to Libin, he was similarly dismissive, saying that people who wanted a job that supported an activity they do outside of work were free to find a job at another company in the Bay Area. According to Libin, people at Evernote join the company because they’re looking for an engaging (and time-consuming) challenge. That mentality, as it turns out, starts at the top.

“Forget about work-life balance, I don’t have balance-balance,” Libin said, going on to say that he thought his clumsiness was often a source of entertainment for his employees.

Of course, not having work-life balance at either company may not be the worst thing in the world. Both Libin and Benioff waxed poetic on helping employees find work that they find fulfilling, both saying that they wanted the people who worked at their companies to be passionate about what they do.

They’re not against taking breaks either, with Libin saying that he plans to devote a sizeable chunk of his time next week to playing the next installment in the “Grand Theft Auto” series.

Previously on GeekWire: Evernote strengthens ties to physical products with new notebooks, Post-its, scanner

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