#WFH Diaries: Perry Bashkoff of Instagram

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the world, we're checking in with folks in the creative industry to see how they're doing. Here's an update from Perry Bashkoff, head of music at Instagram.

Give us a one-line bio of yourself.

My name is Perry Bashkoff, I'm the head of music at Instagram.

Where are you living right now, and who's with you?

I'm in New Jersey with my wife, two boys (ages 15 and 10), dog and cat.

What's your work situation like at the moment?

Inspiring. It's been an amazing few weeks watching the world utilize our platform for exactly what it was created for—to stay connected with each other. The day-to-day has been a lot to manage, but it's all for the greater good, so I welcome it! I'm really digging the new and innovative ways we're seeing artists and users use IG Live, IGTV, and Stories to stay connected.

Describe your socializing strategy.

We go on walks around the neighborhood every day, waving to neighbors and friends from afar to make sure we're keeping a safe distance. I use video conferencing regularly for work and now have really ramped up video chats with family and friends. The FB Portal is a game changer. I actually sent one to my wife's grandmother who's in a nursing home that's on lockdown so she can keep in touch.

What are you reading?

Not a book reader, so I've spent a lot of time reading articles about real stories from the frontline health workers, how we can help, etc. Above all, making sure anything I'm reading and sharing is ACCURATE.

What are you watching?

What am I NOT watching is more the question. Have actually been staying away from the news since social media is keeping me updated regularly. Spending a bunch of time watching things that make me laugh: The Office, Friends, Impractical Jokers and of course catching up on Cobra Kai. Haven't jumped on the Tiger King bandwagon yet.

What are you listening to?

Everything. As I've always said, music makes everything better, so I'm literally just letting my playlists play through from top to bottom. I'm really digging the D-Nice Homeschool playlist for nightly dance parties, can never get enough of Lawrence, have been hitting the Jazz playlists for meditation, and spending some time catching up on Broadway hits with my 10-year-old.

How are you staying fit?

If I get tagged in one more pushup challenge … joking. The daily walks are definitely keeping both my mind and body fit. My wife and son are rockin' the Fitbits so we need to get our steps in. Averaging three to four miles a day.

Have you taken up a hobby?

Coloring. From time to time, I go on a coloring-book spree and buy a bunch of intricate coloring books to decompress. I've been doing a lot of that lately. I even went ahead and downloaded the Billie Eilish coloring pages. My other "hobby" during this time is to help others. I started an initiative here in my community to help local businesses and first responders by collecting donations, placing orders from local eateries, and sending meals to those on the frontline.

Any tips for getting necessities?

My wife is the master of online ordering … going to need to ask her for the secret tips … it's a science.

An aha! moment since all this started.

This is going to be a journey, best make the most of it. We've started "Dress-Up Wednesdays" in the house, where we wear some crazy outfits, wigs from old Halloween costumes, etc. I'm taking conference calls like that, walks around the neighborhood like that … making the most of the situation … and bringing smiles where I can.

What's your theory on how this is going to play out?

#CelebrateLife. Of course, we'll come through this, but we land in a new norm. Half of the people will go back to the way they were before the virus. The other half will have recognized this for what I believe it to be—life's way of getting us all to reset, reprioritize, appreciate the things we have, appreciate the things we do, the people we we're around, etc. Hopefully we all come out better people on the other side.

See the full #WFH Diaries series here.

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards and the founding editor of Muse by Clio.

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