Idan Cohen on Balancing Work and Social Life Living in a Big City

In Chapter 4 of 19 in his 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, Boxee co-founder and head of product Idan Cohen answers "How Do You Make the Most of Living in the City?"  After growing up in the suburbs of Tel Aviv, Israel, Cohen lives in Tel Aviv and embraces the casual nature of connecting with friends after work.  After relocating to New York City, Cohen finds connecting with friends after work more challenging and shifts his attention to making weekend plans.  

This is Idan Cohen's Year 1 Capture Your Flag interview.  Cohen is co-founder and head of product at Boxee Inc, an online video software company.  Previous to Boxee, Cohen held telecom software innovation and developer roles at Comverse.  He was a Captain in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and graduated from Tel Aviv University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Geophysics and Art.


Erik Michielsen: How do you make the most of living in a city?

Idan Cohen: I grew up in Israel, and for about 20 years, I grew up in the suburbs of Tel Aviv. And then for about 10 years, I lived in Tel Aviv after I got out of the army, which was great because something about the life there, people hang out very late, and people are very spontaneous, so you can easily—you come back from work, and even if it’s around 8 or 9, it’s still, you know, what are you doing? What are you doing? You know, I’m just—I’m outside of your apartment. Should I come up? Should you come down? It’s very easy. 

In New York, it’s a little bit different, so I moved to New York just over 2 years ago. And it’s much more strict, I work a lot of hours, I mean very long hours so by the time I get home, there’s not a lot of things to do and people usually start hanging out and socializing around 6 and when I get home around 8 or 9, it’s already kind of past that time. And so I find myself not doing a lot of things, so I don’t take advantage of the city in that perspective. 

Weekends are definitely a great way and a great time for me to do that, and I try and do that mostly on the weekends, so I just—I usually just go around wherever my, you know, wherever I find myself, I just walk around. That’s the thing for me, but I, you know, living in New York which is the cultural kind of mecca of the world, and I still—I don’t feel that I see enough, you know, I go to enough museums and see enough exhibitions or access enough music, or whatever. I need to do that more. But that’s—if it was a, you know, if I could, I would just do that, all the time.