Skip to content

Derek Sivers 12/28

Derek Sivers 12/28
  • How do you answer what do you do? I don’t know, I’ve never thought about it before. Derail the conversation.
    • It’s like finding someone who doesn’t know their name. We need to help the poor guy!
  • When you think of the word successful, who is the first person that comes to mind? The first answer to any question usually isn’t very good, and certainly not thoughtful. The automatic thinking isn’t as useful.
  • The goal of writing isn’t to be understood, it’s not to be misunderstood. Everything he puts out is as clear as can be, because miscommunication causes costly problems.
  • He doesn’t do rituals. He just obsessively does one single thing for days, weeks, or years. No distractions, total focus. Total immersion. Sometimes a short project lasts years.
  • What are you world class at? World’s longest attention span. Full immersion. No meditation or yoga needed.
  • Do this project – a list of 18 categories or imperatives to “do this” for success in happiness, wealth, money, whatever.
  • Sharing your work publicly – book recommendation – show your work.
    1. Teach what you learned immediately after you learn it, while still remembering what it’s like to not know it.
    2. Share your work online. If you don’t share it, it doesn’t exist. Become a documentarian of what you do. Show the making of the sausage.
    3. Share what you created when you moved on to the next thing. That way when you get feedback, you won’t feel like they are attacking you, but some past work.
  • He became a programmer out of absolute necessity. Tells the story of Socrates:
    • A student came to Socrates asking, how do I get wisdom? Socrates took him to a lake, shoved him under the water, and held him there as he fought and fought for the next breath. When Socrates pulled him out of the water, he said, “you will find wisdom when you need it as much as you needed that next breath under water.”
  • To solve a problem, first you need to feel the pain of a problem. That is why bad things happening are an opportunity to come to a good solution.
  • When CD baby took off, he learned to code out of necessity to keep it functional.
  • There is no such thing as a boring person. It’s on you to find the interesting thing about them. You make them interesting. If you’re boring, they’re boring.
  • Books: how to win friends and influence people. How to talk to anyone. How to make people like you in 90 seconds or less. Power schmoozing.
  • Read any book on the subject of people skills – all are great. Read 5 and you’ll be in a good place with your own people skills.
  • Start with low stakes conversations. When you don’t think that someone is a VIP, you’ll have a much more meaningful conversation with them. Tells the story of his poolside conversation at a music conference:
    • He was at this music conference trying to meet VIPs from record labels who could sign him. High stakes and he was nervous. He went to sit by the pool to decompress, and started a random conversation with someone doing the same thing. Was a casual chat, and when the guy left, he gave him his business card – he was the VP of A&M records. They’re still friends to this day, and he has sent Derek huge clients for CD baby.
  • When meeting someone, don’t hide all of your accolades. Humbly hint at the fact that you have something going on.
  • Success in business –
    • it’s like running: if you talk to people who hate running, they tell you about the difficulties and chores with it. Dressing, changing, showering, pain, soreness. But if you talk to someone who loves running, they’ll tell you – ‘just pop put for a quick run.’ when asking them what steps are involved, they’ll say, ‘just one, run.’
    • We think of things we like as simple, and things we don’t as complicated.
    • When complications are holding you back, acknowledge that it isn’t easy, but turn the dial towards simplicity.
    • As for business advice – if information was the answer, than we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs. Shut it all off, get out the door and start running.
  • Personality type – INTJ – Meyers Briggs is just a way for like minded people to find him. When he embraced his introverted nature and stopped trying to do extroverted things because he felt he had to, he became much happier.
  • What should you ask to determine your own utopia?
    • Ask yourself, is this what works best for you in theory, or in practice? So many things seem great in theory, but no in practice.
    • Find the lowest stakes way to test what you think your happiness is. Leave an exit plan.
    • Book: stumbling on happiness.
  • How do you define success?
    • Were Robin Williams and Phillip Seymore Hoffman successful actors? It’s not so black and white.
    • Think of someone you know who is a total loser. If you give them a million dollars, do they become a winner?
    • Fame and fortune falls into the laps of miserable and awful people all of the time. Don’t tie success to money and fame, but to your inner self.
    • Master yourself, and you are happy. Help others and you are successful. You could be successful but miserable, you could be happy but unsuccessful. If you want undeniable success, master yourself AND help others.
  • Habits and skills for success:
    1. Habit for managing your emotional reactions.
    2. Know what people need in general, and what you need in particular.
    3. People skills – how to see the other persons point of view.
    4. Ability to focus, learn, practice, and apply lessons.
  • If you had to start everything over again, using only your brain, how would you find success?
    • Know how to be happy, considerate, useful and how to learn and you will always find success.
    • For his happiness he just needs a quiet place to live alone, access to Internet and books, enough money for food, good health and two good friends. Everything else is Bullshit.
    • Get any old job, get a used laptop with that money, and go back to reading, writing and learning. And through that, success.
  • To make money, pick a good online program on how to make money, and follow it to a T. Most work well enough.
  • What is something you believe that other people think is insane? He has a lot of unpopular opinions…
    • Alcohol tastes bad. And so do olives.
    • Never tried coffee, but doesn’t like the smell.
    • All audio books should be read and recorded by people from Iceland. They have the best accent.
    • It would be wonderful to move to a new country every six months for the rest of his life.
    • You shouldn’t start a business unless people are asking you to.
    • Believes he is below average. Purposely practices that belief to compensate for our tendency to think we are above.
    • Scott Pilgrim is a masterpiece
    • Music and people don’t mix. Music should be enjoyed in solitude
    • It’s unwise to prioritize lifestyle design.
    • Loyalty is silly. Constantly try to be disloyal, and only be loyal the rare person, place or idea that we are just unable to be disloyal to.
    • It’s good to feel smug – means you’re proud of yourself – means you’re living according to your beliefs.