Cédric Waldburger On Minimalism And On How To Deliberately Live Your Life
Today we are joined by Cédric Waldburger. Cédric, to whom I was recently introduced by a very good friend, is originally a Swiss national, who today travels the world all year round and lives with only 64 things in his possession!
Cédric is passionate about startups. and thus he is a serial entrepreneur, an investor, and a blockchain enthusiast. He is currently working on a number of different startups, including DFINITY, a venture-backed blockchain startup, and another one, that you are going to hear about, that I think is equally as interesting.
Cédric has also co-founded a number of businesses around the world from Zurich, New York, Paris, Hong Kong, London, and Berlin, and he's held roles in the technology management side for the better part of 2 decades. He is all about growing business, but that's actually not what we spend the majority of the conversation talking about.
What we talked about for 80% of the time was the level to which Cédric optimizes and deliberately thinks about his life and the way that he is living it. He is deliberate about everything he owns, about everything that he does, and also about everything that he thinks and feels.
I think it's a really fascinating approach to life, and I love the message at the end of the podcast, where he explains what the point of it all is, and why he puts so much effort into leading the perfect life.
I think you guys are really going to enjoy this episode, as I certainly did. As I said, Cédric has quickly become a personal friend of mine, and I think that you guys are very quickly going to understand why.
In this episode, we discuss:
- Greetings and a little bit of a backstory [5:20]
- Who is Cédric Waldburger and what does he do (and how many things does he own)? [6:10]
- Reducing unnecessary decision-making through reducing color options [7:40]
- How did Cédric Waldburger get to owning just 64 items? [8:40]
- How renting stuff can be better than owning them [10:20]
- Finding multiple purposes for each item, and also finding items that have multiple purposes [11:45]
- What are Cédric's favorite items? [12:30]
- We should receive joy from meeting people and enjoying conversation, not from items [13:50]
- Why did Cédric Waldburger start tracking every second of his life [14:40]
- Could life tracking get automated? [17:05]
- Extracting insights from the data Cédric is gathering [17:45]
- A conversation about fitness trackers and heart rate tracking [19:20]
- Why Cédric has chosen to live his life deliberately [20:30]
- Why is the primary focus for Cédric avoiding regret? [23:05]
- Steps you can utilize to live your life more deliberately [25:10]
- Applying the same principle for decluttering items to projects [28:00]
- What are the projects Cédric is going to stick with? [29:15]
- Why location decentralization is important, and how it can change the world [30:40]
- A conversation around the productivity app Cédric Waldburger is working on, Sendtask [34:00]
- The simplicity of creating tasks from everywhere [36:45]
- SuperHuman hacks Cédric Waldburger is using in his own life [38:50]
- Where to find more about Cédric Waldburger [41:45]
- Cédric's most important takeaway message [42:25]
Resources Mentioned in This Episode:
- List of Cédric's 64 items
- Cédric's website
- DJI Mavic Drone
- Fitbit Charge 2
- Our recent episode with Tim Urban
- Glimpse Performance Insights
- Our second episode with David Heinemeier Hansson
- Basecamp, Asana, and Trello
Blinkist review by Satori Webmaster Academy.
Favorite Quotes from Cédric Waldburger:
Introduction: Welcome to the Becoming Superhuman Podcast. Where we interview extraordinary people to bring you the skills and strategies to overcome the impossible. And now here's your host, Jonathan Levi.
Jonathan Levi: Before we dive into today's episode, I want to let you guys know about an opportunity to learn some of the most important skills in life, if not the most important skills, and those are the skills of learning and doing so rapidly, effectively and easily. You see guys, I'm putting on a completely free 60-minute webinar that you guys can check out where I will be going into my absolute best memory tips, learning tips, and speed reading tips so that you can immediately begin applying them and accelerating your learning anything and everything, all you need to do to claim your spot in this free webinar is visit JLe.vi/webinar, we have showings at many different times throughout the days for every time zone, but you have to log in and claim your spot. So that's JLe.vi/webinar. and I really look forward to seeing what you guys achieve.
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Greeting SuperFriends and welcome to the Becoming Superhuman Podcast. I am absolutely tickled that you have decided to spend the next 30 to 60 minutes with me. Today's episode is a little brought to you because AppleLaurel00 from the US of A has decided to leave us a wonderful review, which says with five stars.
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Well, thank you very, very much, Apple Laurel. I really, really appreciate that and for those of you who haven't left a review, I'm going to talk you into it eventually you might as well just do it now onto today's episode.
You guys, today, we are joined by a friend of mine from the real world, a recent friend who I was introduced to by one of my very best friends. In the world. His name is Cedric Waldburger. Cedric is originally a Swiss national who today travels the world all year round and lives with only 64 things.
He is passionate about startups. He's a serial entrepreneur and an investor and a blockchain enthusiast. He's working on a number of different startups, including Definity, a venture backed blockchain startup, and well, another one that you're going to hear about that I think is equally as interesting, he's co-founded a number of businesses around the world from Zurich, New York, Paris, Hong Kong, London, and Berlin, and he's held roles in the technology management side for the better part of two decades. He is all about growing businesses, but that's actually not what we spent the majority of the conversation talking about. What we talked about for 80% of the time was the level to which Cedric optimizes and deliberately thinks about his life and the way that he is living it.
He is deliberate about everything he owns. He is deliberate about everything that he does, and he is deliberate about everything that he thinks and feels. I think it's a really fascinating approach to life and I love the message at the end of the podcast where he explains what the point of it all is and why he puts so much effort into leading the perfect life.
I think you guys are really going to enjoy this episode. I certainly did, as I said, Cedric has quickly become a personal friend of mine and I think that you guys are very quickly going to understand why. So without any further ado, Let me present to you. my SuperFriend, Mr. Cedric Waldburger.
Cedric, good to see you. Well, here you are again. How are you, my friend?
Cédric Waldburger: Doing good. Thanks for having me, Jonathan.
Jonathan Levi: Awesome. Well, thanks for agreeing to be on the show for audience background. The last time we spoke, we sat down to coffee and I think we made it 20 minutes into the conversation and I was like, you really, really gotta be on the show and share some of this stuff with my audience. I'm really excited about it. And I want to give a shout-out to our mutual friend, Maya who introduced us and said that we just had to meet and she was absolutely right.
Cédric Waldburger: She's going to have to get us to meet twice. Like, because I remember I was in Tel Aviv a few years ago and she tried to get us together, but it didn't work out. So I'm really glad she, she mentioned it again and we made it this time.
Jonathan Levi: Absolutely. Absolutely. So, Cedric, I covered your bio a little bit in the intro, but I would love to hear you kind of describe who you are and what you do on one leg for our audience, and then we'll start getting into why and how you are so superhuman.
Cédric Waldburger: Yeah, of course. So I would say I'm someone who is extremely passionate about, creative problem solving and one of the creative problems that I, I sink my teeth into over and over again is how to start a company or how to go from zero to 1 million in terms of building a business. Like you, I started very early on, I think it was 14 or 15 at the time when I first took like baby steps in entrepreneurship.
And ever since then, I've been involved in one or multiple early-stage companies. So much that at some point I happened to be enrolled in companies on different continents and that caused me to travel a lot. And that's what I took the time to think about like priorities in my life and how to live very consciously and what I found out is that I'm very willing to give up some things in my life in order to profit the most from other areas of my life. So for me, being able to be there for my projects, meet two free interesting people. On the other side, I'm willing to give up on having a constant Homebase or owning many things.
So over the last few years, I've minimalized everything that I have, I got down to 64 items and for over two years now, I haven't even had an apartment anywhere. I travel a lot last year. I think I was in a word over 120 flights. So I barely spent two or three days in the same place. I'm extremely enjoying life. I'm extremely happy. I'm getting a lot of value from all these meetings that I can attend and all these people that I'm fortunate to meet.
Jonathan Levi: Very cool and we'll dive more into the 64 things. I just discovered on your website that, of course, you have a spreadsheet that people can download to figure out what exactly these 64 things are, and of course they are all black, which I love.
Cédric Waldburger: It keeps a simplistic. So beyond minimalizing, the stuff that I want, I also decided I want to reduce the amount of decisions I need to make that are not essential to my wellbeing or to my, the quality of my life, and one thing that I realized at some time point is that you can usually get a black version of something like all fits well together.
And just a few more reasons why I decided to own everything in black. Just because that reduces the amount of decisions I need to make. Once I decided I need a certain item, I never need to think about which version or which color I'm going to get it in.
Jonathan Levi: Brilliant. And I should note for people. I mean, some of these are really, really good like when you say 64 things, you pretty much mean 64 things, including a passport to mobile phones. So two of those, I think that's just incredible in the idea of minimizing clutter has allowed you to fill that space with all these different businesses that you are in.
Cédric Waldburger: Right. I think for me, it's been a very liberating process at the beginning.
It all started a few years ago as an experiment, I think similar to you. I just, I sometimes do experiments just for the sake of it like I discovered an interesting question, but then I decided to dive into it and I especially like questions that seem simple but have a complicated answer, and one of these questions was at some point I asked myself how much stuff do I own? This is probably five or six years ago. I realized that even though the question is so simple, the answer was not simple for me at all, because, I already had a sense that, I did not have too much clutter because I have been moving around quite a bit. But I couldn't really say whether I owned a hundred things or 500 or 2000, and that's where the journey started.
So I went to my apartment and I started the spreadsheet that you found on my website and I started collecting everything that I owned. And I think at the time I owned over 600 items. And then from there, I think it became, uh, part game, but also part pragmatism to think about. How can I further reduce the stuff that I own without missing out on anything in life?
So my number one rule is it's not to get to the least amount of things possible but to have the least amount of things, while still enjoying everything in life that I want to enjoy.
Jonathan Levi: So a lot of times, I guess what that means is you end up renting things that other people would own. So for example, when you go skiing, you rent the absolute best skis, you know, every once in a while, for example.
Cédric Waldburger: Exactly. What I found is that renting stuff, even financially for me, because I don't go skiing that often is more practical and also I travel so much that sometimes I would like to go skiing in the US, sometimes it's here in Switzerland and other times it might be somewhere in Asia. So it's not really practical to bring my stuff anyway.
And so I'd have to rent anyway, but this way I get access to the newest stuff and get to try something new every other time. And then also for like ski clothing, what I've realized is that we all have so much stuff that whenever I need something like there's usually a friend that can burrow meet a second objective, right?
Like, isn't that absurd? Like there's never going to be a situation where you need two sets of skiing clothes, right? You're never going to wear them on top of each other. So that's, it comes in extremely practical for me, but it was just something that occurred to me or that, that I wondered about when I first realized how much stuff we actually have. We have stuff, not only once, but we have it. Often we have it like twice or three times.
Jonathan Levi: Yeah. One of the things that I most liked where we sat down and, you know, obviously I immediately took notice that you own all black everything, but I liked the amount of deliberate intention that you put into buying something.
I mean, if you're only going to own one jacket, As you told me, or one backpack, you do research, you have a team of VAs that will do the research and find the absolute best backpack. That's going to work in every situation, the best jacket that's going to work in every situation I like that, you know, rather than, well, I'll just buy two or three different jackets.
And then I have one for every situation.
Cédric Waldburger: Yeah. It also brings me joy to know that everything that I own has at least one purpose, but very often the items have like multiple purposes. For example, I only own one pair of pants, so they have to be both comfortable and good for casual stuff, but they also have to be ready or the right set of bonds for business meetings. So I enjoy looking into different types of fabrics that dry quickly are easy to wash. I really do enjoy this research process as well.
Jonathan Levi: That's incredible. So tell me what, uh, I was tempted to ask. What's your favorite, favorite thing, but I think that's really hard. What are two or three, you know, besides the obvious the iPhone and the Mac book, what are two or three of your just, oh my god? How did I live without these possessions?
Cédric Waldburger: Yeah, I think there's the productivity stuff like my laptop, my phone, as you mentioned, I really enjoy my AirPods, it helped me to go from because I have a laptop, a MacBook pro that still had the normal headphone jack, whereas my phone had the lightning. So that helped me to go from like two pairs of headphones instead of we're always tangled up in my pocket and to just one. So most of the things are purely practical that I own. So there's also nothing that I have an emotional attachment to, but there's one thing that I carry around with me, which is not obvious why I do it, which is a drone. I carry a DJI Mavic. That's probably one of the hobbies that has nothing to do with anything that I do for work.
I just enjoy having my drone and, uh, seeing the world from a different perspective every now and then. So one of them, probably like. 15% of my belongings in terms of volume is my drone and the charger and extra batteries and stuff like that.
Jonathan Levi: Wellow it's also nice to hear that, you know because I think people listening can be like, God, what a joyless existence, but no, yet it's nice to hear that you set aside, like, you know what, this is just for the list and fun, and it's nice to enjoy a hobby.
Because, you know, you don't own, I see musical instruments, any books you own are obviously digital, that kind of thing.
Cédric Waldburger: Yeah. I think I get most of the joy in my life. I get from meeting people from encounters and interesting conversations. I try to detach myself from like being too emotional with things.
So there's nothing that brings me joy just by its existence. But. Often by what I can use it for. So I get joy from all this stuff that I have because it enables me to have the lifestyle that I have.
Jonathan Levi: So I want to talk about that lifestyle as well because as we were closing our conversation last time over breakfast, you mentioned something which is that you track every minute of your life and you do a lot of statistics and a lot of optimization.
I also track. Most of my time. I know where I am, you know, based on wifi, I track, I do the statistics. I know exactly how productive I am every week, how much time I spend in an area. I think you take it to a different level, which is logging moods. And obviously which venture you're working on, which products, what ideas you're thinking about. Elaborate on that.
Cédric Waldburger: I think you already pointed out. I'm very left-brained so I like numbers and statistics. I'll take a step back. So every three months, every 90 days, I kind of start my year, four times during the year, instead of making annual goals or plan for the year I plan for the next quarter, I found that 90 days for me is a much better timeframe to look at when I set goals and review my progress.
And as part of that, I review 12 areas of my life. And one of them is. Friends and friendships. And one question that I ask myself every 90 days among many others, one of them is who are the five people that I've spent the most time with. And in the past, when I've asked myself that, I realized that sometimes it's hard for me to differentiate between who I think I should have spent the most time with and who I actually spent the most time with, and that triggered this experiment to track every second of my life.
So I use a. The software on my laptop, it's called Toggl toggl.com And I just built a custom script that allows me to switch from one activity to another, within less than a second. Like I have to stay efficient workflow of logging what I spend my time on it, the way I think about it is not where I am or.
What my body's doing, what my brain is occupied with. So if I'm meeting with someone, that's like where my brain is, where my consciousnesses right now. So I don't lock whether I'm on an airplane or I'm in a train or in office, but I, I log whether I'm working on this project or that project or who I'm meeting with.
And then what it has shown me is that now that I had a way to go back and look at exactly how many seconds I've spent last quarter with my best friend, my father, my mother, and so on, it gives me a way to see the difference between who I thought I should have spent the most time with and who I actually spent time with.
And that helped me to readjust my priorities and inductions to bring the tool to an overlap.
Jonathan Levi: I really liked that because. You know, I track a lot as well, but I like this idea of tracking the people you spend time with. And it's tough, I guess, unless you do it manually, it's tough because you know, if I'm at a friend's house, I can add that as a wifi event and have it tracked automatically.
But the reality of it is, you know, a lot of my time, I end up hosting a lot of people at my place and it ends up looking like a time that I sat on the couch at home. But in fact, it was very high-quality time hosting and being with people that I enjoy.
Cédric Waldburger: Right. I thought about to what degree it could be automated.
I think it's very hard to do unless you record everything in your life and you build very smart machine learning. So let's say you had your phone camera on all the time and your phone microphone, which is kind of creepy, but maybe there's some information that you could extract from that to automatically lock that at least to like the precision that's needed for it to be useful.
Jonathan Levi: Right. Let me ask you this. The important thing that always comes down to for me is what do you do with the data? What are some decisions that you have taken differently? And what are some of the ways that you've actually created an impact in your life? Based on the data that you're constantly accumulating and formulating.
Cédric Waldburger: Yeah. So one thing, if we talk about the time-tracking one thing I've already mentioned, I realized too, I should be spending more time with, and I became conscious of that and changed things in my life. I was more proactive about spending time with a certain person. And the other thing that I've realized is how much time I spend on different projects.
And what I realized was I was biased to spend more time with the projects that did not go well, than other projects that did go well. Which doesn't make sense, right? You should be investing most of your time into projects that have the highest chance of being successful and growing the biggest. So looking at my time and realizing that it was very, very good for me, not the thing that I do is I wear a Fitbit tracker and I check my heart rate every now and then, especially my resting heart rate.
And I see a correlation between that and how well I feel how much I sleep and how much time I spend on an airplane or between different time zones. And there's been a lot of learnings that I can take from them. And I now see it as an early warning signal. So if I see that my resting heart rate increases, I know that I should probably make sure I get a bit more breaks into my schedule and I tip it before.
Jonathan Levi: Oh, I like that. That's a good one. I tried all these fitness trackers years and years ago when the first Fitbit came out and I found it to be completely lackluster and actionable. And so it was like, okay, you know, but I think they've gotten a lot better. I probably need to come back and give them another chance.
Cédric Waldburger: I think that the heart rate feature is, is a killer feature. At least for me, for the way I use it. But I agree that you still need to see a lot of the correlation for yourself. It doesn't track enough, like 360 degrees of your life. Good enough to come up with useful takeaways. At least for me.
Jonathan Levi: Which one do you recommend? I can trust that you've picked the best one out.
Cédric Waldburger: Well, I didn't know about right now. So, there was actually a time when I wore like five different ones in parallel, just to figure out how accurate they were and how they compare. I stuck with, I used to charge HR two right now. They have a special version that is completely black, that doesn't have silver, that's the one I use right now. I use it as a watch as well. I like the simplicity of it. It doesn't look any fancy or anything. I mean, it's a very long battery life compared to the Apple watch.
Jonathan Levi: So, Cedric, I want to ask you, I mean, I think it's easy for people listening to pick up on the accent and say, Oh, well, you know, that's the Swiss for you, but I think there's a certain level above and beyond that has.
Led you like it's led me to want to optimize and to want to get the most out of every minute of your life. Where does that come from? Do you think
Cédric Waldburger: there's been a few key moments where I realized that I want to live life very consciously, where I realized that we only got to list every hour, every minute, every second, every day, once.
And I've just become very interested in how to make the most out of life. One experience that led me to that was when, I worked from my passion in startups and tried a corporate job that was about five, six years ago because I thought I've always done startups all my life. Maybe corporates is also something that I could enjoy and I gave it a try and, I went to the other end of the spectrum and went into investment banking for a project.
And I realized that. Or I was immediately frustrated by the fact that a lot of the people I worked with, even though they were extremely smart and driven, I felt they worked for incentives that ultimately didn't make them happy. So they were all motivated by monetary and materialistic goals. And I also saw how, when they got to the next school, Immediately.
They wanted something bigger without even thinking about what it is that they ultimately want. And what triggered in me besides finishing my projects early was that I spent quite a bit of time thinking about what is it that makes me happy. It was ultimately, we all, we don't want money. We don't want a big car.
We want to be happy. That's when we feel. Successful and happy. Right? So I spent quite a bit of time thinking about this and what I discovered when I was observing myself is that I get joy from learning, from understanding the world, from seeing connections and correlations between various things in life.
And especially this figuring out this process of how to go from an idea that I had at the bar last night to something that is a business. And at that point, Once I realized that it became so easy to build all these routines and. Rules and rituals, um, in my life to get the most out of this area of my life.
That's why it became very easy for me to sacrifice certain things in life because I knew I would get more in another area of life in return.
Jonathan Levi: I really liked that. And I think that makes a lot of sense. And when you look at it that way, it's again, I think it's easy for people to look at just how deliberate you are and how much mental energy you put into.
Your life and the way you spend time and the degree to which you travel and say, you know, aren't you taking the joy out of life, but really it's, it's about systematically putting in as much joy as possible in life.
Cédric Waldburger: I agree. Also, the one thing that I try to avoid in life is regret. I want to make many mistakes and I want to learn from them.
And I think mistakes are just part of the process. But what I want to avoid is regretting. Having made a decision unconsciously. So let's say I have this feeling in the back of my mind that I should spend more time with my father, let's say, but I never take the time to really confront that feeling and make changes in my life.
And then something happens or let's say my dad passes away or whatever. I don't think I want to live with the regret I would have in that case where I know I had this feeling inside of me all this time, and I knew I should change something, but I let myself be too busy to take action and change direction.
So this is not actually happened to me, fortunately, but just as an example, that this is always what guides me, why I tried to be so conscious and avoid regret and live very consciously.
Jonathan Levi: Wow.
I think that's a really powerful example. And I'll mention for people who want to read further, we had Tim urban on the show recently, and I love Tim from the wait, but why I love his work.
And he wrote an article, just a couple of different articles on the perspective of time. And just one of the points that are such a powerful moment is he did the calculation and tells people if you are 18 years old, you've already used up 95% of your time with your parents. And millions of people have read that blog, but how many of us have actually taken the time and changed and made it so that every Sunday we are actually with our parents.
So I love that distinction between knowing something in your head and actually implementing it in your life. Cedric. I want to ask you another question, which is the first step. What do you think? I mean, we, we threw out a lot of ideas and a lot of optimizations. What would you say would be a great first step for someone to either start simplifying their life or start living it more deliberately in the way that you've been so successful in doing?
Cédric Waldburger: I think there's a couple of approaches. One thing that I can only recommend is try to observe yourself. And figure it out. When is it that you're the happiest? Again, that's a very simple question. Like what makes you happy? But for me to quite a bit of time to really figure out which situations or what actions it was that made me happy.
So I think that's an interesting exercise. It can be done through journaling, or just keep that question in the back of your mind. But I think by what is it actually that, what is it that actually makes me happy in my day-to-day life. And then. Think about what sacrifices you want to make to increase those moments and situations where you are happy.
I think that could already lead to a much, much more conscious and happy life when it's about simplifying stuff. If you let's say you, you feel that you're. Break down by the amount of stuff that you own and you feel you have too much stuff in your life and it's taking energy from you. One process that I really enjoy, and I think Maya will be a great person to lead through this, but I can abbreviate the process.
What I do is I call it the 1990 process. So at the end of each quarter, I look at my list of stuff or earlier I would just stand in front of my. Wardrobe or go through my apartment. And I look at every item and I ask myself, have I used this in the last 90 days? And am I going to use it in the next 90 days?
And if the answer to that question is no, then the chances are very, very high that I will never touch that item again. I will just not need it in my life. I can give it away because think about it. Like in half a year, you have formal informal events and situations. You have warm days, cold days, you travel your home.
If you don't need it within half a year, chances are high. You're never going to need it again. What I then did at the beginning, because it was hard for me to just give stuff away or throw it away. I put it in a bag and I put that into a corner of my apartment or wardrobe or forever. And I came back 90 days after, and if I had never taken the item out of that bag, it was much, much easier for me emotionally to get completely rid of it.
Jonathan Levi: Right.
Cédric Waldburger: So putting it in the back first and then getting rid of it, 90 days later was much easier for me at the beginning because otherwise I always had this thought in the back of my mind. Maybe there will be a chance that I'll use it. Maybe there's going to be that situation where I'll be glad I have to.
Jonathan Levi: That's a really good strategy.
Cédric Waldburger: But truth be told like it did not happen to me once that I went back to that bag and picked out anything,
Jonathan Levi: right. I'm always telling my girlfriend, you know, she says, well, we might need it. My parents also have this. Well, we might need it strategy. And I always tell her, I did this whole clean-out and I probably need to do it again, but there's not been once where, I mean, I don't even remember what I gave away in the last big clean-out.
I have no idea what it was much less. Oh shit. I, you know, I wish I hadn't given that away. It's never happened.
Cédric Waldburger: And then the other exercise that I'm going through right now is, you know, I'm involved in quite a few projects at the same time. So while my, like the physical part of my life has been very de-cluttered and reduced to 64 things like sometimes I'm involved in as many as 15 projects at the same time, but within a month, Which is way too many for my brain capacity in the process of consolidating and letting go of some projects in favor of others.
But that's been a very long process for me because it was hard for me to figure out which courses to bet on. And then be also. I'm so thirsty for all the experiences I get from the projects, but also from the people that I work with. And it's very hard for me to let go because I think that's the most valuable part about building a company or solving a problem in general.
It's like the learnings you get. So I try to immerse myself in as many different projects and learning processes as possible, but now I feel I have a really good idea of what I want to do with the next five to 10 years of my life and which. Projects, I want to double down on, or at least which areas I want to work in.
So I'm currently in the process of decluttering that as well.
Jonathan Levi: So let's get into that. I mean, I said again in the bio a little bit about the projects that you do, but what are you working on right now? And which ones are going to be the horses that you back?
Cédric Waldburger: Yeah, I think the three processes I've spent the most time on right now are a blockchain project.
It's called Definity, a computer vision project called glimpse and the productivity I've called scent task. And. Well, all the projects are very interesting and I learn a lot from them, the projects in the blockchain space right now, I feel give me the most value because it's the most happening in that space right now.
And I feel that's my best shot at having a real impact in the world is, is leveraging blockchain technology and my early access to my understanding of both the technology and the psychological or business side of it and leveraging that. So I'm currently working towards spending as much time as possible on this project, Definity, which is basically a more powerful version of Ethereum.
So it will not only allow you to execute smart contracts, but it will be so much more powerful than it allows us to run any kind of application in the decentralized setup. So. Totally a few years from now, we'll be able to run something like Google or Facebook on a completely transparent immutable, and decentralized platform.
Jonathan Levi: Wellow you had drawn this, this link between the decentralization of your life and the decentralization of the technologies. You're working on. Elaborate on that a little bit and explain to our audience that connection that you had explained to me.
Cédric Waldburger: Yeah, I think we're living in a very interesting time. Um, globalization has happened and we all travel a lot or at least we interact with people from all over the world, and still, most of what we work with or what we work on is still very closely attached to geography or a nation-state.
Right? So a company's either set up in Switzerland or the US or Israel. And so the same is true for many other different concepts in our lives. And I think for some concepts in our life that. Makes complete sense. Let's see local law and order or infrastructure building the roads and maintaining them. I think it makes complete sense that, that these things are managed by a community that actually use them in real life.
But then there's also a lot of concepts in our lifestyle, I think are inherently detached from, or should be detached from any physical infrastructure, something like education. There should be no attachment between education and where I'm born or where I've grown up. I currently spend a lot of time thinking about once we have this more powerful, decentralized architecture up and running, what are the things that we can do with that?
And there are currently two projects or two ideas that I think about 20. How can we leverage blockchain technology or technology as a whole to make education more fair, more widely available? And. Equal because I think it's one of the big equalizers of our time is education. If someone, you know, a country that is less developed and Switzerland had access to the same kind of education that I got access to Kiran, Switzerland, I think to a degree they would have similar opportunities later in life.
Whereas now they're. Handicapped. And the second thing is voting and governance and, um, kind of self-regulation of communities where I think once we introduced ecology and maybe an identity or a blockchain-based identity into our current voting process and governance processes, we can vote on a lot more things.
And that comes with a set of benefits and challenges. But I think it's extremely interesting to talk about how to build a more direct or liquid democracy. Absolutely.
Jonathan Levi: And I think it becomes especially interesting with what we were talking about, where these governmental borders, especially for someone like you or someone like me that doesn't live or even necessarily visit their country of origin and citizenship.
You know, how relevant are these boundaries that we've created with national borders and jurisdictions and social support.
Cédric Waldburger: systems? I agree, I think to a large degree, like from the perspective of now, I think they're very random. I think they made sense a few hundred years ago where it was all about defending your common interests against someone else's interests.
And you just happen to interact with the people around you the most, because you didn't travel that much. There was no way to communicate with someone on the other end of the world, but. Times have changed and now communities are something much, much bigger than geographic or local communities. And so I think it could also make the world a bit better if we all felt a bit more as United and had this common platform where we all felt like.
We were part of the same planet that not just part of the same village or country. Yes,
Jonathan Levi: absolutely. Now tell us a little bit about send tasks because you and I barely covered this. And I think it's really, really interesting, especially given, you know, we recently had David Heinemeier Hansson back on the show, talking about the opportunity for living a superhuman life when you either run or are part of a decentralized, distributed remote team.
So yeah. Tell
Cédric Waldburger: us about that. Yeah, super exciting. And I'm a big fan of him. Uh, base camp is definitely a tool I've used a lot in the past. I, I love all kinds of productivity tools because I feel they give me more freedom in my life. If I have tools that give me ways to enhance myself and make myself superhuman, I can get a lot of work done.
So. What I've seen in the past is we have tools like base camp as on our Trello and all these other task managers. It's a very crowded space. But what we saw is that they're all built to interact with people you either have in your team or closely work with or at least frequently work with. But what about the people that you only work with?
Infrequently, or let's say once every three months or once a year example could be your lawyer or your accountant. What I've seen is why inside the company is we've often found a very efficient way to collaborate through something like base camp or Asana when it came to collaborating with jeez. We're like one-offs like lawyers or accountants.
I would always fall back into a very inefficient scheme of working together. I would use email or WhatsApp or whatnot. Then it comes with all the downsides that are attached to that. So there's no tracking. It's very hard to figure out who's going to do the next step in a project. And it, for me just leads to an overload, of my brain because I tried to keep track of that in my brain.
And my brain is just not made to keep track of like a hundred different tasks that I've sent out. So the idea behind Centask is quite simple. Well, but you feel it's powerful. We build a task manager with similar functionality to base camp trailers on and so on, but it allows you to share tasks with anyone.
And we do that by building something that is something extremely intuitive. So there's no onboarding process needed. And then two, even more important, you can send tasks to someone and that person can interact with those tasks without creating an account. Nice. So you don't force someone to create yet another account and sign up to your tool first.
They can just. They get the task. We via email, they can open a link in that email and they can interact with the task as if they had an account. Wow.
Jonathan Levi: That's huge. That's really, really huge. And I definitely identified as we were talking. I mean, you said the doctor, the lawyer, the accountant, or I guess our bookkeeper now is a full part of our team, but you know, I generally have to try and drag these people into my workspace and try and get them to sign up for an, a Sonic.
I think it's really, really interesting the idea of now. And especially if I can track it from somewhere, like I know it integrates with Slack, which is really, really cool. Yeah.
Cédric Waldburger: Another idea that we had was that it needs to be immediate. What we mean by that is you should not need to open, yet another app when you want to create a task, but you should be able to create tasks from wherever you're already working.
So for a lot of us, that means. Working in email, in your inbox and g-mail, or in Slack. And so we've built interfaces to these services where we are natural language, you can create tasks. So if you follow a discussion in Slack and then at the end, you come to a conclusion, you can create a task directly from there just via one of those slash comments that are available.
Um, and what that causes is not only. Did you create a task? Would you also made it very clear? Who's going to take the next step in that discussion because what we saw as a team before was that very often discussions happened and we came to a conclusion, but it was not clear who's going to do the next step.
And then suddenly stuff got abandoned, which was cerebral, right? Because we had gone through all this process of coming to a conclusion and a solution, but then it got abandoned because no one was aware exactly. Who's going to take responsibility for the next steps. And you mentioned it at the beginning of, so for us, similar to 37 signals, we're also completely distributed team.
So we're 13 people by now in 12 different countries, we're split across I think, six different time cells right now. And we use send tasks to build, send tasks, which is an interesting experiment. So we tried to build software that. Fueled teams like ours that are split our many different countries and don't sit in the same office.
So we can't use a whiteboard or posted task lists, but we have to fully rely on digital communication for the most part. And, uh, yeah, it's been a very interesting experiment so far. We've learned a lot along the way.
Jonathan Levi: Definitely sounds like it. And I think I probably need to give it a try and check it out.
Cedric, we're coming up on time here. So I want to see you for some of your superhuman hacks. I know when it comes to diet and exercise, you have some very specific stuff, but in general, what are some of the things that you do to keep yourself performing, even when you fly around the world and are working on 15 different projects?
Cédric Waldburger: No for me to deal with travel. Some of the things that I've noticed is you mentioned it already, like diet is important to me. So for example, for the last five years, I've only had Stillwater. I don't drink coffee. I don't drink tea, no alcohol, no fruit juices. I don't eat any sugar, which may sound like a large sacrifice.
But for me, my experience was only. The first three weeks was when I missed it. And after that, it became extremely normal and enjoyable for me to stay at. It made me a lot more balanced and really helps me fall asleep and get up on time. Even if I jump across time zones. I think in general, my approach is that if I feel something is missing from my life and that often happened when I started traveling, I tried to build it into my daily routine.
So for example, Early. When I started traveling, I felt like I won't go to the gym. I want to work out if I'm traveling, I'm just going to do that while I'm at home. And I have access to my gym. But then what happened is once I started traveling 300 days out of the year, suddenly I was not working out at all anymore.
And what I did was built that into my daily routine. So now every day when I wake up, the first thing I do in the morning is weight workout for 15 to 30 minutes. And I use by the way to exercises. So I never have an excuse not to grip because I don't need any equipment. I can do it in a hotel room. I can do it in there.
In an airport lounge, I can do it in an apartment wherever I am. And whenever I have time, another area where I felt similar is that I didn't make enough time to beat because I always felt like usually the time when I finished work, I felt too tired to really dive into a book and consume its contents.
On the other hand. What I realize is that every time I read a book, it really expanded my horizon and I truly enjoyed that process. So one adjustment that I made to my daily schedule or, or rituals was as soon as I get to the office or I start work, I read a book summary. So I don't burden myself with reading an hour or whatever per day, but I read one book summary and that can be as short as five minutes.
On certain days, I use an app called Insta read for that. There's a similar one, which is bigger, I think called Blinkist. And this way I've gone from reading. Or consuming the content of one book per month when I was still reading full books to almost 30 to 31 books per month. And I use that as a filter process.
So I wouldn't say that reading a book summary is the same as reading the full book, but it helps me filter out the books that I really want to read versus others where I'm happy with what I've learned after I've read the book summary.
Jonathan Levi: Very nice. I think that's really, really wise. I really, really like that.
I'm looking at the clock now and I'm realizing that we have come to the end, but I want to ask first off, how can people reach out and get in touch with you and where can they find that from projects that you're working on?
Cédric Waldburger: So one good point to get in touch is my website. It's called 64things.com. 64 as a number. And then T H I N G S.com. I used to say my handle on Instagram and Twitter. If someone wants to get in touch, you'll also find me by Googling for my name and on my website is also where you'll find links to all the different projects that I'm working on.
Jonathan Levi: Brilliant. Brilliant. And I want to thank you for, you know, what's the word I want for helping us analyze and understand and dissect every aspect of your life.
First, though, I want to ask for you, what would you say the most important takeaway that our audience should be reminded of was for this episode or the message rather that you'd have them take with them for the rest of their
Cédric Waldburger: lives? I think I'd like your audience to think about what it is that makes them happy and how they can increase those moments in their life.
Jonathan Levi: Yes, that is the most timeless and most important thing. And I'm really glad that despite all the optimization and getting the most, it ultimately all comes down to that. So Cedric again, I want to thank you very much for spending your time with us here today. It sounds like you and I are going to make a chance to grab coffee again, or I guess grab still water again in California in a couple of weeks, but I'm really looking forward to keeping in touch and continuing to make you one of the people that I spend more time with.
So thank you again for your time today.
Cédric Waldburger: Thanks a lot for having me and I'm looking forward to it.
Jonathan Levi: Awesome, take care, my friend.
Cédric Waldburger: You too.
Jonathan Levi: All right. Superfriends. That is all we have for you today, but I hope you guys really enjoyed the show and I hope you learned a ton of actionable information tips, advice that will help you go out there and overcome the impossible.
If you've enjoyed the show, please take a moment to leave us a review on iTunes or Stitcher, or drop us a quick little note on the Twitter machine @gosuperhuman. Also, if you have any ideas for anyone out there who you would love to see on the show, we always. Love to hear your recommendations. You can submit on our website or you can just drop us an email and let us know that's all for today, guys.
Closing: Thanks for tuning in to the becoming superhuman podcast for more great skills and strategies or for links to any of the resources mentioned in this episode, visit www.becomingasuperhuman.com/podcast. We'll see you next time.