The Thrive Questionnaire//

The Thrive Questionnaire With David Baird

The founder and CEO opens up about inspiration, routine, and learning from failure.

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.

David Baird is the founder and CEO of Gigmor, a live music marketplace for musicians and talent seekers –– making it easy for music venues, event planners, and individuals to find, book, and pay musicians and bands.

In his Thrive Questionnaire, he talks about his relationship with technology, what gives him energy, and his secret life hack:

What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?

Make coffee—I’m an unabashed coffee snob and still get beans delivered from a place in Sag Harbor, NY. I read the LA Times and NY Times every morning which may be digital heresy but I still find a newspaper is the best way to scan and read a lot of content quickly. I also like to think it’s a great example for my two teenage sons to see someone reading a paper or book as opposed to being glued to a screen (although I do my share of that too!). 

What gives you energy?

Doing what I love. I love being a founder, especially building a team of smart, motivated people, so being at the office never feels like work. I also love performing with my band and playing hockey. Band gigs and hockey games both start past my normal bedtime but the time of day becomes irrelevant when I hit the ice or the stage. 

What’s your secret life hack?

Meditation. 20 minutes a day will radically improve your life. 

Name a book that changed your life.

Living Inside My Head. My novel about about an idealistic, young musician. It changed my life because writing it taught me that my dream of being a writer was totally misguided because I hate working alone.

Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?

I’m addicted to my phone but make a conscious effort (and ask the same of my kids) to turn it over during meals and meetings. I turn it off around 10pm, charge it in my kitchen and never take it into my bedroom. I check it first thing in the morning but generally don’t reply to any emails until I get to the office.

How do you deal with email?

In theory I love the idea of reserving blocks of time to check email but in practice I check it constantly and reply to anything important almost immediately. At AOL I was always amazed by how quickly Ted Leonsis replied to emails. It showed he was a communicator and a relationship builder and I’m the same way. 

You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?

Pick up a guitar. I used to practice every day but now I no longer have the time.

When was the last time you felt burned out and why?

December. My work cycles are very seasonal. I work really hard from September until Thanksgiving so I’m always totally burned out by early December. Then I do the same from January to May. During those times I’m in an always-on mode which is only sustainable for a few months. By the end my brain is fried and so is my immune system. Maybe that’s why T.S. Eliot called April the cruelest month. No matter what’s going on, I tend to slow down during the summer. 

When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?

When a big investor passed. It was devastating because I’d pinned all my hopes on raising enough to fund us for 6 months. I also felt an acute sense of rejection, which is what you feel when your idea gets turned down. The way I got through it was to remind myself that it had happened before and we had lived to fight another day.

Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill

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