48 minutes | May 16th 2017

Cédric Waldburger - Essentialism - Living on 64 Things

In this episode, Dave interviews Cédric Waldburger, a serial startup expert who travels around the world to work with different startups. Cédric calls himself a world citizen and an essentialist as he carries only 64 items in his bag. Cédric studied electrical engineering at ETH Zurich and is the co-founder of Media Sign and CEO of Send Task and Tenderloin Ventures. Listen as Cédric shares what an essentialist is and how he decides what is worth keeping in his life—from a toothbrush to a relationship with a friend. Cédric also discusses the value of creating and following your own processes to maximize your productivity.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 00:05 – Entrepreneurs Organization proudly presents Virtual Learning Podcast
  • 00:33 – Dave welcomes Cédric Waldburger
  • 00:41 – Dave is fascinated by the fact that Cédric is an essentialist, a startup coach and entrepreneur
  • 01:19 – Dave introduces Cédric
    • 01:33 – Over the past two years, Cédric has been travelling around the world with just 64 items in his bag
    • 01:55 – Cédric’s travel statistics is posted on his Facebook page
  • 02:38 – Cédric started his first company, Media Sign, when he was just 14 years old and found that he was most passionate about the work in the first few months of the business
  • 03:36 – Three years ago, Cédric started investing and coaching startups around Europe
  • 04:13 – Cédric felt his material possessions were holding him back from doing what he wanted to do
    • 04:39 – Cédric started to reduce his belongings and he eventually gave up his apartment
    • 05:17 – Cédric did not want to be dependent on physical constraints when thinking about doing work with different companies
  • 06:04 – Cédric does not own things that have sentimental value to him
    • 06:46– Cédric digitized a lot of his pictures and uploaded them to Google Photos
  • 07:22 – Cédric does not call Zurich his home anymore, as he is always travelling and sleeps at friend’s houses to catch up with them
  • 08:30 – In places where he does not have friends, Cédric uses Airbnb or stays in hotels
  • 09:27 – Dave asks Cédric where he gets the money for his travels
    • 10:35 – The flight cost is almost the same as maintaining his own apartment
    • 10:53 – Some of Cédric’s trips are sponsored by the company he is working with
  • 11:15 – Cédric is working with 14 different companies right now and is earning enough for him to not worry about money
  • 12:34 – Cédric’s 64 things that he owns is posted online
    • 13:20 – Dave asks about the bow tie and suit vest
    • 14:11 – Cédric says he needs those items for important events such as weddings or gala dinners
    • 15:10 – During cold weather, Cédric layers his merino wool shirts or borrows a jacket from his friends
  • 16:38 – Cédric follows a strict daily routine which includes exercise
    • 17:16 – Every morning and before sleeping, Cédric exercises and takes a cold shower
  • 18:33 – Cédric’s toiletries are not included in the list as he does not include the things that he recycles within 4-6 weeks
  • 19:05 – Cédric’s technology list includes his Apple laptop, iPhone, FitBit and noise-cancelling headphones
  • 20:17 – Minimalism is about keeping the least amount of stuff while essentialism is keeping the things that give you value and make you happy
    • 21:08 – Cédric thinks it is okay to own more than a hundred things, as long as it gives you value
  • 22:07 – Dave asks Cédric for advice on how to purge the things he owns
    • 22:42 – Cédric has a system and process on how he determines what is essential to him
    • 22:56 – The first question is: does it bother you to have so much stuff?
    • 23:11 – Cédric does the 90-90 rule every 3 months: have I used this item in the last 90 days and will I use this item in the next 90 days?
    • 24:03 – Store the items that you said “no” to and go back to it after 3 months to see if you have used any of those items
    • 24:20 – Cédric found that it was emotionally easier to not purge things right away
  • 25:23 – Dave says the 90-90 rule is a great approach for deciding what stays
  • 25:47 – Dave talks about Tim Ferriss’ podcast with Cal Fussman
    • 26:28 – Cal went to Europe and travelled for 10 years—he slept at the people’s houses whom he met during his train rides
    • 27:14 – Cal met a beautiful woman in South America while on a train ride and they ended up getting married
    • 28:01 – Dave asks Cédric a hypothetical question about settling down
    • 28:51 – Cédric says he also has a process for reassessing what he wants for his life
      • 29:05 – Cédric has a list of 12 areas and sends an e-mail to himself for the future
      • 30:09 – The practice is to make him conscious of what he wants
    • 30:55 – Cédric says when he meets someone, he makes adjustments and makes ways to be with that person more
    • 31:17 – In this phase of his life, Cédric knows that it would not work out to be with someone who wants to spend more time at home
  • 31:53 – Dave shares Ari Meisel’s books Less Doing, More Living and The Art of Less Doing
  • 32:05 – Cédric’s latest startup is Send Task
    • 32:54 – Cédric is a huge fan of productivity tools
    • 33:52 – Cédric wanted a tool that would send tasks rather than emails
    • 34:45 – Send Task allows users to track tasks between people who do not have an account on their site; all you need is their email address
    • 35:18 – The main goal, for now, is making a great product rather than revenue
    • 36:15 – Cédric is the CEO of Send Task
  • 37:07 – Dave is currently building Prop Fuel and talks about the importance of technology and marketing
  • 38:01 – Cédric is planning on creating content that talks about the 21st century work flexibility and the second channel is allowing users to share it with other people
    • 39:10 – The company is hoping that the built-in share functionality will drive customers in
  • 40:29 – Cédric has a virtual assistant who books his flights for him
  • 41:12 – Cédric documents a lot of what he is doing as part of creating his own system
  • 42:02 – Get Leverage is where Ari and Nick talk about productivity
  • 42:17 – In looking for an employee, Cédric has a 5-step hiring process
    • 43:18 – Cédric inserts a one-liner somewhere in the document and this cuts the applicants to about 15-20%, as it shows who read his job description thoroughly
    • 43:35 – Applicants also respond to a document discussing applicant’s skills and attitudes
    • 44:14 – Cédric’s virtual assistant will check the attitudes section while the skills section will be checked by someone in the same field
    • 45:03 – The top three will receive a call from Cédric
  • 45:53 – The Van Halen contract says they only want green m&m’s in their dressing room
    • 46:19 – The mentality behind this was to ensure that the people were actually reading the contract
  • 47:17 – Dave shares the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
  • 47:42 – Dave thanks Cédric for coming on the show
  • 48:08 – Dave closes the episode and encourages you to visit his website 

3 Key Points:

  1. Essentialism is keeping the things in your life that give you value.
  2. Your productivity relies on creating your processes and following them through.
  3. Be conscious of what you want for your life and in your life by having that conversation with yourself.

Resources Mentioned: