Tim’s first interview with Derek
What do you do?
- “I’ve heard that Stewart Brand gives a different answer every time he is asked,” a good challenge
- I like saying “I don’t know,” “I’ve never thought about it before.” This helps derail the routine of a boring conversation (it’s like finding someone who doesn’t know their name)
- Derren Brown: On confusing people and opening them to suggestions of what is happening
First person that comes to mind as successful?
- The first answer to any question isn’t much fun, it’s just automatic
- Thinking Fast and Slow: Instant unconscious automatic response (System 1) and Slower, rationale conscious thinking (System 2)
- Derek is more interested in the latter, slower thinking
- For those areas where automatic response is useful, first take the time to slowly come up with that response
[Derek Sivers] Who is the 3rd most successful person that comes to mind and why are they more successful than the first?
- 1st: Richard Branson
- 2nd: Tim Ferriss?
- 3rd: I can’t answer without knowing a person’s aims, because that is how to evaluate if they were successful at it
What are the most common misconceptions about You?
- I feel pretty understood
- Better to think about the goal of writing to avoid being misunderstood vs. being understood
- I don’t have them, there is nothing I do every day outside of eating/writing
- I get really focused [obsessed?] on 1 thing at a time for a period of time (e.g. hardcore coding project, hiking in New Zealand, reading books outside, work on big keynote speech)
- CD Baby started like this, just lasted a lot longer than most projects
- My nature doesn’t allow me to focus on my top 3 things at the same time
- Knowing this, I can plan accordingly
World Class At, That People Don’t Know About?
- I have the world’s longest attention span (it is happily rubbing off on my son)
- I don’t meditate/yoga, my daily life is my form of meditation
[Sam, Stockholm Sweden] Status of the Do List Project?
- I have about 120 directives that need some explanation and each will get a 1 page spotlight
- Sign-up to be notified at sivers.org/list or email [email protected]
- Once they are all up, I’ll link to the full set with links to the detailed lists
- Last step to put them into a book
[Tobin, Bolder Colorado] What are a few directives for sharing thoughts online in an authentic way, particularly for introverts?
- Everyone is scared to share publicly, but online is easier than on stage
- Recommended Book: Show Your Work, Austin Kleon
- 4 Directives:
- Teach whatever you’ve learned immediately after learning it, while you still remember what is like not to know it
- Share your work online, if it isn’t online, it doesn’t exist
- Share the process, people want to see how the sausage gets made
- Release your creation after you’ve already moved onto your next project, so when you get feedback it won’t feel as personal/direct
[Ayman, Morocco] Why in hell did you become a programmer?
- Necessity, the best reason to learn anything
- If you want to start programming, you need a serious problem you want to solve
- Now I just love it for its own sake, to sit alone and just make things
[Tobin, Bolder Colorado] Directives for creating relationships with people who hold interesting world views?
- You make people interesting, if you are interesting they will be too (or the reverse)
- Recommended Books on People Skills Awful names, great books
- Practice with low stakes, on people you don’t think are VIPs
- Have something to show for yourself, people want to meet another winner (don’t hide your accolades, but have humility)
[Dave, Kalamazoo Michigan] Does success in business need to be more complicated than coming up with ideas to help other people succeed?
- Things are both Simple vs. Complicated, and Easy vs. Hard
- We treat things we like as “simple” and things we don’t as “complicated”
- Simple might not seem easy
- Success in business can be simple: Just find a need that people are willing to pay for and fill it (but that still isn’t easy)
- Notice things when complications are holding you back and look to simplify, but then look at the results and recognize when they might benefit from more complexity
- Shut off all the junk business advice out there and just get started
- “If information were the answer, we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs”
[Matt, Toronto Canada] How has knowing your [Myers Briggs] type (INTG) affected your life and played a role in an important decision?
- Not much, It’s just shorthand for my preferences
- Myers Briggs is like 16 little clubs, like Harry Potter houses, and allow us look seek out those who are also in our club – we tend to get along well
- I found when I stopped going against my introvert nature and shaped my life around it, I became very happy
- Work alone, avoid big group things and have good 1:1 time with other people
[Tobin, Boulder Colorado] What should someone ask to determine their own utopia?
- Ask yourself if your idea is in theory or in practice?
- There are so many things that seem great in theory, but are not
- Do little tests, try a few months of the life you think you want, but leave an exit plan to go back
- Stumbling on Happiness, Daniel Gilbert
- Talk to people who are where you think you want to be, ask them for Pros/Cons
[James, Ireland] How do you define success, what habits matter most for success?
- A lot of fame/fortune is luck, but people with it are actually miserable/horrible
- Success: Master yourself and help others
- Managing your state and emotional actions/reactions
- Know what people need in general and you need in particular
- People skills
- Focus, learn, practice and apply what you learn
[James, New Zealand] If you instantly lost all your money/resources/etc. and were not recognizable, what you do to become successful?
- If you take everything from me, I’d still be successful because I know how to be happy, considerate, useful and how to learn
- Having millions gives you a nice sense of security, but I don’t use it on a daily basis
- What actually makes me happy:
- A nice quiet place to live alone
- Working laptop, internet, books
- Money for food
- Good health
- 2 good friends
- Specific Actions:
- Find any job
- Find an old laptop, install Linux
- Get back to reading, learning, writing, thinking and sharing what I’ve learned
- If you want to make money, pick any online program that has been proven to help you pick a business and optimize it (not the get rich quick ones), just actually follow-through
Something you believe, but other people think is insane?
- Alcohol and olives taste bad
- I don’t like the smell of coffee (have never tasted it)
- All audiobooks should be read/recorded by people from Iceland, best accent
- Would be wonderful to move to a new country every 6 months for the rest of my life
- You shouldn’t start a business unless people are asking you to
- I’m below average (deliberate to compensate for our tendency to think we’re above average)
- The movie Scott Pilgrim is a masterpiece
- Music and people don’t mix: Music should be appreciated alone without seeing/knowing the musicians, or with other people around
- It is unwise to prioritize Lifestyle Design, dangerously self-centered and you should be focusing on being useful to others
- Loyalty to others is silly, we should try be disloyal and only be loyal to the rare thing we can’t be disloyal to
- It is good to feel smug, it means you are proud of yourself, which means you’re living according to your beliefs