Accountant turned entrepreneur Eli David is a self-proclaimed digital nomad. He only spends two months of the year in Israel -- the rest of the time he’s globetrotting while also running two startups. This transient lifestyle has helped him build out his newest venture, Startup Blink, a map of global startups that he runs with his Zurich-based co-founder. He also has a four-year-old ed-tech firm for online language courses. Since 2010, 35-year-old David has lived in over 30 countries, most recently in Slovakia (with Montenegro on deck).
What do you actually do all day in your job?
I am a coworking spaces addict (I have coworked in 20 countries so far) and once I get there, I usually spend most of my day answering emails and Skype calls while pushing my projects forward.
How many hours do you sleep?
7-8 hours. It used to be my ambition to narrow down my average sleeping hours to 6, but as time passes, I understand that a good night’s sleep is critical to my performance the next day.
What do you eat for breakfast?
My breakfast keeps on changing as I change locales. In India, I usually started my days with Mango Lassi and huge Thalis; in Honduras, beans and tortillas; and in Slovakia, where I am now, coffee. A lot of coffee.
David's breakfast in India
If you could pitch to one person, who would it be?
In today’s world of Google, Twitter and LinkedIn, if a business owner wants to pitch a specific person and is unable to find a way to reach them, they should reconsider their entrepreneurial path. But it would be nice to go for coffee with Seth Godin, I have a deep respect for his conscience and proactive approach to life.
What's on your homescreen?
That’s easy, my own project Startupblink.com. I think everyone working on a project should make it their homepage, and once they’re tired of looking at it, take it as a sign that it might be time to change to something new. Truthfully, the thing I like about my site is that it shows me a global map which constantly reminds me that it’s almost time to travel to a new country.
How often do you exercise?
I walk an hour a day and I recommend that everyone do the same. It brings internal balance, makes you breathe some air, and for me, it lets me get to know new places when I travel. I also try to swim at least once a week, either at sea in summer (Croatia, Greece and Brazil are my favorites), or in a municipal swimming pool.
What app can't you live without?
Google maps, without a doubt. It’s simply made my life so much easier, especially considering that I‘m always changing locations and tend to be totally clueless about navigating new places.
What's your favorite city?
Tough question. If I really had one, I would probably stay there and stop moving. Among my favorites are Buenos Aires for its style, Jerusalem for the unique atmosphere, and Zagreb for no reason I can think of other than the good vibes.
Uber, Lyft, or yellow cab?
Walk, and then walk some more. I consider it a defeat if I have to take a taxi anywhere, because once I get to the habit of doing so, life will be too comfortable -- and comfortable is boring.
Are there any social platforms you won't participate in?
I absolutely use them all, at least until I get addicted and have to stop. I don’t care that much about privacy, since I don’t think anybody else really cares about what I do, and even if they did, why should I care about it?
What are you reading right now?
Hooked by Nir Eyal. It’s a book that describes how to build triggers into your product or service that will encourage people to use it multiple times. There’s undoubtedly a lot of psychology involved in business; sometimes I wish I could go back and study psychology in the university.
The Strand or City Lights?
I would actually choose the local book exchanges that can be found in most hostels around the world.
Best piece of advice you've been given?
Do what you love, since life is short. The first question I ask myself every time I start a new business is, “Will I enjoy working on this?” I love giving lectures about the nomadic lifestyle while traveling, and one of my greatest pleasures is hearing back from someone who says that something they heard from me or read in my nomadic blog helped them change their life for the better.
What keeps you up at night?
Nothing, not even my businesses. I prefer not to be worried or obsessed about anything, especially if I can’t control it. I love freedom, and if you are free, you go to sleep without worrying too much.
If you could tell your 18-year-old self one thing, what would it be?
“It’s not serious.” I took things too seriously when I was young, and as I get older I understand that in a world where everything is temporary and nothing is really yours, taking things seriously makes no sense.