A Day in the Life: Comixology's David Steinberger
David Steinberger is the CEO and co-founder of comiXology. Founded in 2007 shortly before co-winning the NYU Entrepreneurs Challenge, comiXology is a platform for the sale and reading of digital comics, and was recently purchased by Amazon.
David’s first dream was to be a classical singer, when he first came to NYC in 1994. After graduating from Manhattan School of Music and Juilliard, he tried his hand at professionally singing. He then did “what any sensible person would do when their first choice isn’t working out,” he took out more student loans and went back to school, receiving his MBA from Stern in 2008.
Post-Amazon purchase, David has continued as CEO and now runs both comiXology and is in charge of comics for Kindle.
This is David’s day-in-the-life:
Somewhere between 5:30 and 7am: Wake up. David is “a notoriously non-ritualized person, driving my wife, Kittson, crazy,” getting up at a different time nearly every day. He partially credits his restlessness and non-ritualistic life for his entrepreneurial success. “I never get stuck in a pattern!” he says. David wakes up on the early side, if “it’s a running morning, a couple of times a week” and closer to 7am on other days.
7:00-8:30am: Get the bagels. Walking to get fresh, hand-made bagels is the one near-unbreakable ritual of the day, David claims. “Everything else is pretty variable, but we have to have our fresh bagels in the morning,” he says. On the walk to 72nd Street Bagel and back, David listens to NPR’s Morning Edition on WNYC. He then chows down while watching Good Morning America with Kittson, and then gets ready for work. Feed their cat Buddy and give him some attention.
9:00-9:30am: Arrive at the office and prepare for the day.
ComiXology keeps its startup vibe and generally doesn’t get going until 10:00am or so. If David times everything well, he has 10-15 minutes to meditate in his office and then reviews his calendar before the office wakes up. “I can’t say I’ve rewired my brain to be calmer or anything, which meditation is known to do, but I do think it’s helping me be less reactive and calmer throughout the day,” he says. “When I do it, anyway. I still hold out hope for rewiring,” he laughs.
9:30-10:00am: On Tuesdays and Thursdays, David meets with comiXology’s CTO and Senior Project Manager to get an update on current in-flight projects. David finds this time invaluable to keep a finger on the pulse of current projects and give quick input.
10:00-11:30am: ComiXology’s Product team stand-up. Various meetings. With comiXology at nearly 100 employees – and with the recent purchase by Amazon, which put David in charge of comics worldwide for Kindle – much of David’s time is spent organizing, decision making, and planning.
11:30am: Yogurt! Its time for an energy kick. David enjoys no-fat Greek yogurt with fruit as a mid-morning snack.
12:00-1:00pm: For at least an hour a day, David tries to reserve time to review and answer emails. Noon is 9:00am in Seattle, so communication is starting to roll in from the West Coast.
1:00pm-2:30pm: Lunch and meetings. Many days lunch and meetings are one and the same. Mostly David orders a salad from Café Metro.
2:30-3:00pm: On most days, David spends at least a half hour with members of the Product team reviewing upcoming features, reviewing designs, testing feedback and helping make decisions.
3:00-4:30pm: Direct report meetings. David has a one-on-one with every direct report at least once a week, to check in on goals, discuss their teams, and see if he can be helpful in removing obstacles.
4:30-7:00pm: Afternoons are dedicated to various product and strategy meetings, phone calls with publishers, and catching up with email and other writing. Several times a day, David congregates small groups in his office or in one of comiXology’s ship-themed conference rooms (Enterprise, Tardis, Nautilus, and Serenity are among the room names) to discuss plans and make decisions.
7:00-10:00pm: Most nights are devoted to downtime.
He heads home to have dinner with Kittson and watch a little TV (currently they’re working through The Wire on Amazon Instant Video and Arrested Development on Netflix). A few times a month he and Kittson get to the theater, or a concert, or David catches an opera. “I try to check my email very infrequently this late in the day,” although with the West Coast offices wrapping up between 8 and 9pm he admits that can be a difficult goal to keep. For the last half hour to an hour of almost every night, he and Kittson read in bed before sleep. “I read literature and some manga with a Kindle Paperwhite rather than a tablet, to get away from the back-light, which can negatively effect sleep patterns.” He’s currently reading Gone Girl, and recently finished the latest Game of Thrones novel and Attack on Titan manga.