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Morning Stars | Walking his pup and a light breakfast get the day going for Digital Swiss Gold and Gilded CEO Ashraf Rizvi

Rizvi likes his mornings quiet—half an hour is set aside for reading and another 30 minutes for working out.

February 23, 2021 / 08:42 AM IST
Ashraf Rizvi, CEO, Digital Swiss Gold and Gilded.

Ashraf Rizvi, CEO, Digital Swiss Gold and Gilded.


When it comes to Ashraf Rizvi’s morning routine, all that barks is gold. The CEO of Digital Swiss Gold and Gilded loves to start his day by taking his pup out for a walk. The New York resident and his pet often have company in deer and foxes.

Over to Rizvi, whose company enables customers to buy gold digitally and have it stored in vaults in Zurich, to talk more about his mornings:

Where are you currently? Please describe in brief the scene and mood around you.  

I call the greater New York City metropolitan area my home and I am currently working from there. It is quite peaceful, quiet and wooded, with many local animals such as deer, turkey, fox and our puppy who seems to enjoy such proximity to nature.

Are you a morning person? What time do you get up on working days?

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I consider myself a morning person. I usually wake up around 6.30 am to a quiet house during weekdays. This solitude gives me the time to reflect on what needs to be done for the day. I then read the news on my phone apps. I feel phone apps give you the flexibility to read the news on the go and keep you updated in real time. I then proceed to get ready for the day.

How many hours of sleep do you need?

I usually aim to get about seven hours of sleep on weekdays.

What were your mornings like in college or university? Can you share a funny anecdote? 

I was pretty disciplined at the Wharton School (where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics). I did not stay up late except on weekends or when preparing for tests. Mornings were usually about breakfasts with friends prior to classes. I played a lot of intramural sports in college including tennis, baseball/softball and basketball. We played practical jokes on each other regularly. Most are consistent with college behaviour and best left unrepeated.

Do you reach for your phone for news and messages right away or do you stay offline for a while?

On weekdays, I prefer to go offline from 7 pm to 10 pm to fully enjoy dinner with my wife and kids and then relax for a few hours. I think it’s important for everyone to switch off and spend time with their family. I love to know about their day and tell them about any interesting thing that happened with me.

What are the two or three things you do in the morning that are important for you to start the day on the right note?

I read quite a lot, so I dedicate at least 30 minutes at the start of my day to reading followed by a workout for about 30 minutes every other day. Playing with our puppy is an important part of my daily routine and I take her out for a morning walk every day without fail.

What is your regular news source in the morning?

I don’t get the news from TV sources. I prefer to read it and have many apps that provide local news across the world, with very different viewpoints and both conservative and liberal perspectives, I am particularly focused on local and business news about India, China, Middle East, Europe and the US.

What do you like to see on the breakfast table?

I like to keep my breakfast light. I always have a bowl of cereal with whole milk in the mornings. It gives me the required boost to kick-start my day. On the weekends, I sometimes go for something heavier such as donuts or eggs and juice.

Morning Stars

Are there two or three cities that you worked in and know well? If yes, what did you like about mornings in those places?

I have had the good fortune of living in many great cities, including Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and London. In most cases, I would end up having a light breakfast at my desk prior to the start of the day. Also, I spent quite a lot of time in Zurich and Singapore. I really enjoyed the breakfast muesli in Switzerland and breakfast buffets in Singapore.

Any song or tune that you like to listen to in the morning, or which captures the morning mood for you?

I don’t really listen to music that often. I prefer the morning quiet. But if I had to listen to music, I’d usually play U2, Coldplay or Nickelback.

What is the one thing you do on weekend mornings that you don't on weekdays?

The weekends provide me the luxury of sleeping in and I take full advantage of that. I like to take it slow over the weekends and give myself that space to relax mentally.
Akshay Sawai
first published: Feb 23, 2021 08:42 am

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