"Please don't call it a 'mid-life crisis'," says Shane Bradley.
I had contacted him after hearing the high-energy entrepreneur was doing nothing.
Bradley confirmed he did decide to take a two-year time out when he hit 40, a couple of years back - and from which he's just emerging.
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But he stressed it was only from business. He kept himself busy by joining the Ironman circuit.
"I needed a focus." he said. "A lot of people buy sports cars. I do Ironman."
He also got to spend a lot of time with his young family and it was a time to take stock.
"I'd been working my absolute arse off for 22 years. I wanted to think about what I wanted to do with the next 22."
It was the first time he had taken any real time out in a frenetic career.
"I left school in the sixth form and spent a year and a half trying to be a pro cyclist," he says.
It didn't work out. That was the "peak Lance Armstrong era," Bradley says.
And he soon realised that if he was unwilling to drink the Kool Aid - and he wasn't - "I'd spend 10 years struggling at the back of the field."
So it was time for Plan B.
"I got into my first business and it was all 100-hour weeks," he says.
"I had a great business making aluminium windows and doors. I moved it to Auckland and within 18 months it had gone from 10 people to 50 people. But then it got hit by bad debts and it threw me to the wall in 2001."
At 22, he was broke - something he muses could have fed an insecurity that led to him selling his later startups too soon.
"I wouldn't say it scarred me, but it did give me a mindset of 'let's build up a business to certain value then lock it in with a sale," he says.
He then switched tack and launched business directory Finda, which shares various attributes in common with almost all his startups: it wasn't an original idea, but he was the first to bring it to New Zealand; it was bought by a major media company; and it's still around today.
He sold Finda to APN (a precursor company to NZME), who later flicked it on to Yellow.
As soon as he'd sold one business, he was already starting on another.
"It was bang-bang-bang," he said.
He founded TradeMe rival Sella in 2008, selling the free-listing site to APN four years later (where it became one of his few concepts to be quietly put to sleep).
By that time he was onto GrabOne - which enjoyed something of as a first-move advantage as the first local startup to ape the daily deal website pioneered in the US by GroupOn. He says it had 130 staff and $100 million revenue by the time APN - which earlier took a stake - bought him out in 2013.
Then came - to name but a few projects - Kegstar, a logistics company specialising in beer kegs; pet supplies site Pet.co.nz under his ShopHQ holding company, which was bought by The Warehouse Group (Pet ultimately went to Australia's Petsock); Riot Wine; and Neighbourly, a community site now part of Stuff.
So after taking some time out, what's Bradley's verdict on the first 22 years of his career?
He's proud of his small army of startups, but also wishes he'd taken the odd moment to catch his breath.
"One of the big pieces of advice I give I invest with and we do a sale these days is: just go and chill out for three months'."
He didn't, and in his hurly-burly haste he says he probably sold several of his companies too early, he says.
"Did I regret selling Pet? Absolutely. There were a lot of businesses I sold too soon," he says, returning to his earlier theme. He thinks some he could have held for another five or 10 years.
After gaining a bit of perspective during his time out, Bradley decided he wanted to build a business for the long term.
And he knew in what sector.
"I missed the whole pet space," he says. It didn't hurt that he had golden retriever, a French bulldog and a couple of cats.
This was around July last year, about 18 months into his sabbatical.
The result was the newly minted Cooper's Pet Kitchen, which delivers dog food to your door (cat food could follow).
There are a couple of differences with his earlier Pet effort. One is that he's aiming at even bigger-spending dog owners. Pet wasn't cheap, but Cooper's is aiming at the top end of town. Its includes ingredients like lamb, kiwifruit and mānuka honey, and its 8kg bags cost $94 (there's also a 50 per cent off sign-up offer).
By contrast, an 8kg bag of Tux at your supermarket is about $26.
He's also pitching personalised menus. When you sign up for Cooper's Pet Kitchen, you click through a quick, picture-driven questionnaire about your dog, including its age, size and activity, the better to deliver personalised food. And there are also various Bradley-esque little touches like personalised cups that are the right serving size for your dog, and bear its name; a delivery box that doubles as a storage unit; and optional, biodegradable poo bags (because what goes in ...).
Bradley says the personalised scoop makes it easy to give your dog the right amount of food per day. He quotes research that found 53 per cent of dogs in New Zealand are overweight.
There are only so many dog owners in New Zealand willing to pay the best part of $100 for a bag of dog food, but Bradley plans to expand into Australia and Asia to help gain the requisite scale. He says NZ is a $2 billion pet food market; Australia $12b and Asia "huge".
And while Bradley was an online petfood pioneer with Pet, during his time away he's gained some competition at the high-end of town via Fur Baby, founded by husband and wife team Amy and Ben Rennell and backed by funding from Icehouse Ventures.
The Rennells hit many of the same themes, from tailored portions and high-priced natural ingredients to auto-renewal deliveries.
Bradley wants to build a much larger business, but he says he also wants to keep a relatively small team this time around, and won't be obsessed with growth for the sake of it.
"I'd rather have a great little business than a bad big one. I want to be able to drop my kids off at school or pick them up."
Bradley talks fondly about Cooper helped inspire his new business ("I almost felt like he never looked at me the same way since we sold Pet), and the golden retriever appears in the meet-the-team section of the startup's site as "Cooper Bradley - Entrepreneur and food enthusiast".
But as well as the schmaltz, there are hints that a few traits of the old Shane are alive and well.
He manages to drop into the conversation that Australia's VIP Petfoods was bought by Quadrant Private Equity for A$410m.
Will he really be in it for the long haul, if that sort of buyout offer is dangled? We'll see.
Education: Sixth-form drop-out from Rotorua Boys' High School.
Early career: Failed attempt at pro-cycling; failed aluminium joinery business.
Startup sales: Sella (sold to APN in 2012), GrabOne (sold to APN, 2013), StartupHQ, Pet (sold to The Warehouse Group in 2016) Neighbourly (sold to Stuff in 2017).
Time out: 2017-2019.
Latest project: Cooper's Pet Kitchen.