Daniel Pink

Author of To Sell Is Human, Drive, and A Whole New Mind

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON August 31, 2015

Discussion

Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
Hi, folks. Dan here. I’m excited to be answering your questions today. A bit about me. I grew up in the American midwest, went to college and law school, and ended up working in U.S. politics. When I couldn’t take politics any more, I quit and went to work for myself. That was 18 years ago. Since then, I’ve written 5 books about work, business, and human behavior. I’ve also done a bunch of other stuff — from TED talks to TV shows to podcasts. I’ve been married for 20 years (to the same woman!). We’ve got three kids — a 7th grader, an 11th grader, and a college freshman. Go ahead: Ask me anything! Editor's note: Here is Dan's most recent book, "To Sell is Human" http://www.amazon.com/To-Sell-Is... And if you want more, here's our podcast episode with him: https://soundcloud.com/product-h...
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
Hey Dan - Thank you for joining us! What 3 thinkers would you most like to have dinner with and why?
Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
@eriktorenberg -- If I get to pick dead people, I'll take .... Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and George Orwell. None were academics, but all had a powerful influence on the ideas of their times (and ours).
Christopher Leach@leachy114 · Programmer and Student
What piece of advice would you give to a freshman going into college?
Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
@leachy114 -- As it happens, I've got a kid who's a freshman. Since she doesn't listen to me -- : ) -- I appreciate the opportunity. I'd offer two pieces of advice: 1) Try all kinds of new stuff. Don't get locked into thinking you have to do certain things. Take courses in subjects you've never heard of. Join groups that push you out of your comfort zone.
Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
@leachy114: 2) The secret to college is relationships. Seriously. Curriculum and the formal stuff are useful only as mechanisms for forging to connections to others. So chat up people at the dining hall. Go to your prof's office hours. Etc.
Christopher Leach@leachy114 · Programmer and Student
@danielpink Awesome thank you very much!
Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
Folks -- Sorry I didn't get to everyone. But thanks for the terrific questions. Thanks, too, to Product Hunt for all the cool things it does. Cheers, Dan.
Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
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David Bozin@davidbozin · STARTUP Growth | BD | Op's
@danielpink How do you wish people to adopt your writings? I.e. if they were to take only ONE thing away, what would it be?
Yamillet Rivas@yamilletrivas · Associate Director, Labs Relationship
@danielpink How about people who are alive?
Kunal Bhatia@kunalslab · Co-founder & Design Lead @SlidesUp
@danielpink been following your stuff since my brother got one of your audiobooks. Thanks for doing the AMA! What's your favorite experiment of late? What made it different, exciting, or frustrating than others that you've done?
Troy Shu@troyshu
Hey Dan, Thanks for answering our questions on Parlio the other week! And thank you for answering our many questions here :) I'm sure you've learned a lot from parenting your kids. There's also all this interesting research out there on parenting/child development (Dweck's fixed vs. growth mindset, Duckworth's grit, marshmallow test, etc.). What are the best lessons you've learned, and/or what advice would you give to yourself when your kids were born?
Jeff Needles@jsneedles · Data @ Houseparty & Maker of Things
@danielpink What would you have added to "To Sell is Human" if you wrote it today?
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
Everyone give a HUGE thanks to @danielpink for joining us today and giving us great answers. And definitely check out "To Sell is Human" link here: http://amazon.com/To-Sell-Is-Hum...
Nirant Kasliwal@nirantk · Data Science, Senior Year at BITS Pilani
You have a kid in college, what advice would you give to students just getting out of college?
Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
@nirantk -- I actually wrote a book about this. It's called The Adventures of Johnny Bunko, the first US business book written as a graphic novel (manga, actually). That book suggests six lessons: 1. There is no plan. 2. Think strengths, not weaknesses. 3. It's not about you. 4. Persistence trumps talent. 5. Make good mistakes. 6. Leave an imprint.
Nirant Kasliwal@nirantk · Data Science, Senior Year at BITS Pilani
@danielpink Thanks a lot, finding a way to order it in India.
Hash_tag_jeff@jeffumbro · Book Marketing and PR - get in touch
Why business/management books?
Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
@jeffumbro -- I've always been fascinated by work -- why people work, how people work, what people do all day. We spend at least half of our waking hours working -- so work ends up being this incredible window into who we are and what makes us tick.
Mike Brice@deleted-300857 · Writer
I also have an 11th grader. How can I best help him understand how short high school is and motivate him to take a long-term approach to life?
Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
@mikebrice -- That's a tough one, Mike. Ed Deci, one of the heroes of research on human motivation, once said that we have to get past the idea that motivation is something that one person does TO another -- and instead understand that motivation is something that someone does FOR himself. So the key is to work the edges and create environments where people can surface their own motivations. For teenagers, especially teenage boys, that's challenging. They're still figuring out who they are. The good news is that there's usually some area of their life that they're deeply passionate about -- sports, a religious group, theater, whatever. Find that. Then figure out what attributes make that activity so compelling. My guess it's going to be things like: the activity was freely chosen rather than foisted on them by an adult; the activity allows them to work with people they care about; they're doing something that is "public" -- in the sense that h.s. sports and music are performances that others see. Then see if it's possible to bring those attributes to other activities.
Thomas Alford@thomasalford33 · Marketing
@danielpink, I just finished To Sell is Human and I loved the DC references. As a fellow Washingtonian, can you fill me in on which startup has the best marketing strategy? PS What's your favorite new restaurant these days?
Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
@thomasalford33 -- Hmmm. It's an obvious answer, but one has to admire what Uber has built over the last few years. I'm not sure how much of that is marketing. A big portion is just coming up with an offering that's easy to use and that solves a problem people didn't realize that they have. But that leads to marketing success because it gets people talking to other people, which is the gold standard of marketing.
Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
@thomasalford33 -- Oh yeah. I forgot the restaurant question. I love Izakaya Seki and Little Serow, both of which are pretty new. For the non-Washingtonians reading this, though, your first stop if you visit ought to be Ben's Chili Bowl.
Artur Kiulian@arturkiulian · Partner at Colab
Hey Daniel, Weird question here, do you use shared shopping list apps with your wife? :)
Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
@arturkiulian -- Weird answer: I don't even know what those are!
Dilyar Askar@dilyaraskar · Canadian Entrepreneur pioneering;
@danielpink Hello Daniel, thanks a lot for this opportunity! Could you share with us, your best tips on time management and mental stability for entrepreneurs? I often find my self burning out, attempting to manage academics in college, my entrepreneurial ventures and doing part time freelancing to fund my businesses. I feel like all of these have heavily affected my social life and it feels very difficult to balance them, any insight would be terrific, thanks!
Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
@diligentdil -- That's an important question. And there's no easy answer. But at a broad level, let me offer up some general principles: 1. Say no to most things. I heard something the other day that really resonated with me: "If it's not a hell yes, then it should be a no." One of the most important decisions you make is deciding what not to do. 2. You know all the talk about getting enough sleep? It's true. Don't sacrifice sleep. Instead, do fewer things well. 3. Likewise, you know all the talk about exercise? It's also true. It's one of the few things that is almost always beneficial almost all the time. 4. Figure out your best time to do productive work. For me, it's the morning. So when I'm writing book or a long article, the mornings are sacrosanct. No email. No phone. No Twitter. Just me, a blinking cursor, and a lot of muttering.
Dilyar Askar@dilyaraskar · Canadian Entrepreneur pioneering;
@danielpink Haha, thanks for your insight! 1. Ahh ok, that makes sense. So in essence, don't get your self involved with many things, only the most exciting and lucrative projects that could help catalyze you? 2. Correct, this is something I focus on as well! 3. I have been attempting to go focus on my health, but making time for it has been hard with various deadlines and things to accomplishment with other stressors. But you are right, I should make a harder effort as I would only be counter effective. 4. Same here! I think it's scientifically proven that many of us are more productive in the morning! I will try to put my self in similar zone as well! BTW, do your kids questions your work/get upset with your if your too busy and do they seem to follow some of your valuable principals?
jamestodd@jamestodd · Serial encourager and delighter
@danielpink That's one of my favorites too! "Hell yeah or no" is from "Anything You Want." @sivers
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
@danielpink love this
Omid Ashtari@omid · Twitter
@danielpink I don't mean to generalize, but there seem to be a lot of younger people who seem to have lost the innate ability and desire 'to sell' - do you think something happened in how we parent nowadays that is putting less lemonade stands on the streets? (as in, are we simply giving our youth too much and they care less about selling? or simply do not realize that selling is an essential skill?)
Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
@omid -- I think that's a fair generalization, actually. Part of the reason is exactly what you've identified. On that, check out Julie Lythcott-Haims excellent book, HOW TO RAISE AN ADULT. Another part of it is that most people don't realize how much selling -- anything -- has changed in the last ten years. It's now much more about attuning yourself to others, curating information rather than simply accessing it, identifying hidden problems, and using your expertise to serve others. Selling today isn't about slapping backs and being gregarious. It now requires some pretty high level talents.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Community and Marketing, Product Hunt
Hey Daniel thanks for joining us today! What’s your next book? What are you working on next?
Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
@ems_hodge -- Thanks for having me. Can't talk about the next project yet, unfortunately. But I can say it will be very cool. You'll have to invite me back!
Irina Jordan@irinajordan · Director of Inbound Marketing
@danielpink You have so many speaking engagements. What works the best for you when getting ready for them and when being on stage? Thanks.
Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
@irinajordan -- When it comes to speaking engagements, I'm a devout believer in preparation. One has to know the audience, understand its concerns and interests, and tailor any material to suit their needs. And as in sports or theater, practicing and rehearsal is essential. As for being on stage, if you're well prepared, you don't have to think. You just have to see how people are responding and make adjustments on the fly.
Virginia Barnett@vbarnett323 · Serial Entrepreneur
Hi @danielpink ! I watched of your Ted talks as part of a leadership group at Disney and we all agreed about motivations really not monetary, more intangibles like earning extra paid time off or time to work on a multi-team project. Since then and even as I have moved on to other companies, it always makes me wonder when leadership says they get this concept, yet fail to implement. I know the turn over is much more costly, yet it is very hard for senior leadership to even try a "FedEx" time pilot. Have you learned any new ways to frame the argument that it will be good for the bottom line that top line leaders seem to respond too more easily?
Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
@vbarnett323 -- I think the key is frame it exactly as you suggest. The research shows that if-then rewards (as in "if you do this, then you get that") aren't very effective for creative, conceptual work with long time horizons. It also shows that the better alternative is paying people well - then offering a fair measure of autonomy, mastery, and purpose. But the key to convincing C-suite types is to lead with results. Instead of saying, "This groovy research suggests we should be doing something differently," say, "Look at these companies that are doing well and maybe kicking our butts. What are they doing that w'ere not? I think I've discovered the answer." The research confers credibility. But appealing to leaders' interests is essential.
Virginia Barnett@vbarnett323 · Serial Entrepreneur
@danielpink Perfect! Thank you.
Michael Kulinski@mkulinski · Junior Web Developer
@danielpink Dan, I love writing, but I'm not very good it. What advice would you give to someone that wants improve their writing skills?
Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
@mkulinski - Two suggestions: 1. Read. A lot. 2. Write every day. Hearing good writing in your head and working every day on your craft will help a lot.
@mkulinski I love ryan holiday's style of writing. He's 27 and has already written three best-selling books. He shares some writing tips in these articles: http://ryanholiday.net/so-you-wa... http://ryanholiday.net/the-strat... http://ryanholiday.net/so-you-wa... Get onto his reading list too, if you aren't on it: http://ryanholiday.net/reading-n...