I often get questions about living a minimalist lifestyle and traveling all the time. In this episode, I cover some of the ones that pop up again and again. From things like “am I a daydreamer or night-thinker” to the weirdest place I’ve slept in, here I’ll answer common questions that people have asked me over the years. Hope you enjoy!
Question 1: Are you a daydreamer or night-thinker?
I think I’m not a daydreamer because my schedule is usually pretty full. I also try to be conscious of my time and make the most out of it during the day.
I’m not sure I’m a night-thinker either because I usually go to bed pretty early (I like to wake up early). But definitely, if I had to pick between the two of them, I would say I’m a night-thinker. I enjoy being in a relaxed setup and contemplating various questions and ideas, often writing or chatting about them.
Question 2: Is there a project that you wanted to pursue but you ended up abandoning?
I think yes, that does happen. I also believe it’s important to check in with yourself and see if you’re too far off course to realize that maybe what you’re building is not wanted by enough people.
We’re currently working on a project where we are going through this period. We’re realizing that what we are building doesn’t solve a problem that’s big enough. We assumed more people had this problem. And we realized through interviews, building our prototype and testing it with users that not enough people had the problem.
Also, even though some people have the problem, maybe our solution is not a good fit for all of them, or maybe not most of them. Again, we learned this through interviews. And I think there’s nothing wrong with that process and saying “no”. We’re pivoting because I feel there is nothing more frustrating than putting all your energy and time into something that other people don’t get value from. So I’d rather abandon an idea or pivot early in the process and build something that benefits more people.
Question 3: Which is the weirdest scenario where you have slept?
Spontaneously, what comes to mind is a place in Africa where I went on a startup bus and I hadn’t done much research in advance. It started in Harare, Zimbabwe. I got there and it was immediately off to a bad start. I didn’t have any local currency or US dollars with me so I couldn’t buy the visa to get into the country. So I was kind of stuck between the plane and the immigration.
Luckily, I found someone who would lend me some money. I made it into the country and realized there’s no cell signal for any of my SIM cards. So I was basically stuck with no contact to anyone that I knew. But luckily, I had an address so I got a cab and got there. It was advertised as a nice resort, but we were basically sleeping on the floor and there were cockroaches and all kinds of creatures.
So that was a pretty short night. Of course, there was no hot water and that was one of the experiences that inspired me to always take cold showers and never shower warm again. Even though I made that decision a year or two afterward, I’m always reminded of this place in Harare where life was very possible but it was just missing some of the amenities that we’re so used to here in Switzerland.
Question 4: Do you have a “happy place” to dream the impossible?
I think what always inspires me is a constant change and dynamic in my life. So seeing a lot of different places and cultures, constantly interacting with new people, being challenged… Having to reinvent what we’re building and showing it to new people all the time. I think that’s what really inspires me and helps me progress in my thoughts.
If you’re asking about a place where I dream for myself or where I have quiet time to think, I would say that’s often on airplanes where I’m completely disconnected. I don’t have wifi or any cell signal. I often use that time to listen to podcasts or just be and think, and maybe write and reflect on what I do.
But in general, I try to create situations that are independent of where I am. So that I have a ritual to go deep and expand my mind without having to be in a specific place.
Question 5: If you had to choose just one object you couldn’t live without, what would it be?
The 64 things that I still own include items like my pants, t-shirts, shirts and so on. If you ask me “what’s the one thing I can’t live without”, I would probably say a pair of pants or a set of clothing and shoes. Life gets really uncomfortable if you don’t have these.
If we assume that these necessities are a given, then I would probably say either my laptop or my phone. Because they allow me to stay in touch with my friends, family, loved ones… And also my businesses and projects, wherever I am in the world. A kind of a gateway to talk to just about anyone I want to get in touch with.
Question 6: If you raise your eyes from the screen, what do you see?
If I raise my eyes above the screen right now, I am in a city called Ägeri which is close to Zug. Zug is the “crypto valley” of Switzerland where a lot of the crypto companies are set up. I’m spending my day here today. I’m currently sitting at my girlfriend’s place and if I look out the window I see a typical Swiss setup. So not too exciting. There’s some grass outside and the weather is not too great but also not too terrible.
Question 7: What would you do immediately after closing up this Q&A?
I have a couple more calls, I’m probably going out for a walk and talk to people while I’m walking. I like to do that to make sure I don’t get distracted by looking at a screen and get some exercise at the same time. Later today, I’ll finish off most of the work for this week. I’m going to take it easy over the next few days and we’re also flying to Germany to visit my girlfriend’s family.