David C. Bohnett On How Helping People Achieve Their Goals Gives Him Energy

The philanthropist and technology entrepreneur shares his morning routine and the quote that gives him strength.


When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
David C. Bohnett: Jump in the pool! And feel gratitude that I have enthusiasm for the day ahead.

TG: What gives you energy? 
DB: Helping others with their goals.

TG: What’s your secret life hack? 
DB: Exercise, exercise, exercise.

TG: Name a book that changed your life. 
DB: Being Mortal by Atul Gawande.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you? 
DB: Airplane mode every night after 9:00 p.m.

TG: How do you deal with email? 
DB: No e-mail after 6:00 p.m. (except this one 😉 ).

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it? 
DB: Return a phone call.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why? 
DB: A month ago, lack of sleep and jet lag.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it? 
DB: We can actually recognize and deal with failure if we’re willing to accept and acknowledge it’s a part of everyday life. Whether you failed to complete a task today, whether you failed to appreciate your spouse or thank a friend, all these are failures of the universal quotidian experience. Once we recognize that, and, forgive ourselves and find our true path, we embrace failure as a part of life.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace. 
DB: “A happy attitude will carry you through life, making those you meet happier for having met you”. This was from a letter I received when I was a waiter at a summer resort in Wisconsin, from a family I had waited on during their week’s stay at the resort.


David C. Bohnett is a philanthropist and technology entrepreneur. He is the founder and chairman of the David Bohnett Foundation, a grant-making organization devoted to improving society through social activism.

Bohnett founded the pioneering social networking site GeoCities in 1994; the highly successful site went public via an IPO in 1998, and was acquired by Yahoo! in 1999. Bohnett currently invests in technology start-ups via Baroda Ventures, a Los Angeles–based venture capital firm.

In addition, he is the Chairman of the Executive Committee, on the Board of the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Vice Chairman of the Board of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association and Trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, amfAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research), Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the University of Southern California (USC).

Originally published at journal.thriveglobal.com

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