Daniel Pink

Daniel Pink

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

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON August 31, 2015

Discussion

Daniel Pink
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
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
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
Christopher Leach@leachy114 · Programmer and Student
What piece of advice would you give to a freshman going into college?
Daniel Pink
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
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
Christopher Leach@leachy114 · Programmer and Student
@danielpink Awesome thank you very much!
Daniel Pink
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.
Kunal Bhatia
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
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
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
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
Nirant Kasliwal@nirantk · Maker, Engineer, <3 from India
You have a kid in college, what advice would you give to students just getting out of college?
Daniel Pink
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
Nirant Kasliwal@nirantk · Maker, Engineer, <3 from India
@danielpink Thanks a lot, finding a way to order it in India.
Jeff Umbro
Jeff Umbro@jeffumbro · CEO of The podglomerate
Why business/management books?
Daniel Pink
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
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
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
Thomas Alford@thomasalford33 · Financial Services I Brand I 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
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
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
Artur Kiulian@arturkiulian · Partner at Colab
Hey Daniel, Weird question here, do you use shared shopping list apps with your wife? :)
Daniel Pink
Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
@arturkiulian -- Weird answer: I don't even know what those are!
Dilyar Askar
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
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
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@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
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
@danielpink love this
Omid Ashtari
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
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 Snowdon (née Hodgins)
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)@emilyjsnowdon · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hey Daniel thanks for joining us today! What’s your next book? What are you working on next?
Daniel Pink
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
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
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
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
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
Virginia Barnett@vbarnett323 · Serial Entrepreneur
@danielpink Perfect! Thank you.
Michael Kulinski
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
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.
Hari Jeevakumar
Hari Jeevakumar@harijeevakumar
@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...
Kevin Strasser
Kevin Strasser@kjstrasser · CEO TribeBoost / Founder MoSquatch
Hi Dan...huge fan of your work and have gotten a lot out of your books personally. What books have had the greatest impact on you?
Daniel Pink
Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
@kjstrasser -- Thanks, Kevin. Wow. There are so many (too many) books that have had a big impact on me. Let me use my flying fingers to tap out the first dozen that come to mind: Man's Search for Meaning - Frankl The Third Wave - Toffler Moneyball - Michael Lewis 1984 & Animal Farm - Orwell On the Origin of Species - Darwin The Righteous Mind - Haidt The entire oeuvres of Tom Peters and Peter Drucker Give and Take - Grant The Little Book of Talent - Coyle Mindset - Dweck Midnight's Children - Rushdie And lots more...
Kevin Strasser
Kevin Strasser@kjstrasser · CEO TribeBoost / Founder MoSquatch
@danielpink Thank you...that is an interesting list. . There are a several there I have not read yet, so adding to my to-read list. Much appreciated Dan!
Aditya Gopal Ganguly
Aditya Gopal Ganguly@gopcruise · Developer, Practical Knowledge Labs
Huge, huge fan of your work. I am researcher cum psychology student. Most of the work in the field of psychology is so much academically rooted that it often is not applied to real world. How can this problem be rectified? Furthermore, how to make psychological knowledge more accessible to the masses, what elements are required to write a great book based on scientific insights?
Daniel Pink
Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
@gopcruise On reaching the masses, I think it's partly a matter of how researchers spend their time. If they actually spend time with people in other disciplines and with people in the so-called real world, their output will be more accessible. People like Daniel Gilbert, Adam Grant, Bob Sutton, Amy Wrznewski, Amy Cuddy, Francesca Gino, and Dan Ariely are all great role models on this front.
Daniel Pink
Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
@gopcruise Thanks, Aditya. On the first question, I think it's essential for more researchers to seek out "natural experiments" and real-life data sets. That's doubly true given the issues surround replication of laboratory experiments that have cropped up recently.
Aditya Gopal Ganguly
Aditya Gopal Ganguly@gopcruise · Developer, Practical Knowledge Labs
@danielpink Thanks Daniel, the work you have been doing is truly inspiring.
Daniel Pink
Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
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George Lorenzo
George Lorenzo@georgelorenzo · Owner, understandingxyz.com
@danielpink Hi Dan: How long did it take after you quit your day job for you to become successful as a freelancer?
Daniel Pink
Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
@georgelorenzo -- It's been 18 years. And I'm still working on it!
Daniel Pink
Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
@georgelorenzo -- Seriously, one of the interesting parts about working for yourself is that there's always a higher bar to reach, more stuff you can do, cool projects you can take on. The key is not to be complacent.
Daniel Pink
Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
@georgelorenzo -- And at the early stages it's crucial to carve out time to do stuff that's meaningful to you and not devote all your time and brainpower to things that merely pay the bills. That balance is tough.
George Lorenzo
George Lorenzo@georgelorenzo · Owner, understandingxyz.com
@danielpink Yep, strongly agree. Thanks. It's been about 20 years for me and I too am still working at it.
Ben Tossell
Ben Tossell@bentossell · Makerpad.co
@danielpink Hey! What are you most excited by what you see in SV?
Daniel Pink
Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
@bentossell -- The world of people analytics -- i.e., Moneyball for HR. Over the next few years, it's going to become clear that we have absolutely no idea how to hire people or assess what they do on the job.
Nirant Kasliwal
Nirant Kasliwal@nirantk · Maker, Engineer, <3 from India
@danielpink I am working in exactly the same domain with a venture called www.Belong.co. Do say Hi if what we do excites you!
James Lethem
James Lethem@sycren · Head Mentor of Google Launchpad
@danielpink I'm just writing an article on this now, mind if I quote you on that? What do you think we're currently doing wrong & what (if anything) is the solution?
Daniel Pink
Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
@nirantk -- Hi!
Virginia Barnett
Virginia Barnett@vbarnett323 · Serial Entrepreneur
@nirantk That looks very interesting! Will you be hiring remote team members anytime soon?
Korbin H
Korbin H@k1ix · Engineering @ Product Hunt / AngelList
@danielpink How do you think about your most recent book in the context of the sharing economy?
Irina Jordan
Irina Jordan@irinajordan · Director of Inbound Marketing
Have you discovered any new insights about new ABC's of selling since you've written "Selling is Human"? Thanks!
Yamillet Rivas
Yamillet Rivas@yamilletrivas · Associate Director, Labs Relationship
@danielpink I fell in love with the book "A Whole New Mind" and from there have listened to ALL your TedTalks... My question today is how do you get people to rally behind a cause or common goal? I absolutely love what I do, but I often don't see the same enthusiasm from others... it is as if I live in a different world
Daniel Pink
Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
@yamilletrivas -- Thanks for the kind words. My advice: Start small. Don't try to snag 1 million followers. Try to get one. Then another. Then a third. And if everyone doesn't agree with you, that's a good sign. It could mean you're on to something. For more on this topic generally, look for Kevin Kelly's awesome essay, 1000 True Fans.
Yamillet Rivas
Yamillet Rivas@yamilletrivas · Associate Director, Labs Relationship
@danielpink Thank you! So many more questions, but I know you are a busy man with many more questions to answer! Going to find Kevin Kelly's essays!
Ovi Negrean
Ovi Negrean@ovinegrean · Founder @SocialBeeHQ
Hey @danielpink - what do you think about the challenger sale? Do you use or recommend this approach?
Daniel Pink
Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
@ovinegrean - I like the challenger sale approach. One of the things I learned in writing TO SELL IS HUMAN is that expertise matters more than ever. You have to know your offering inside out, of course. But you have to know your prospect's business or situation just as well, if not better, than she does. That's why, especially in BtoB sales, one needs to offer insights, not just a product or service.
Alex M
Alex M@alex_musca91
What do you think is the most important feature to look for in a job candidate?
Daniel Pink
Daniel Pink@danielpink · Author
@alexm14413366 -- That really depends on the job. But the research on this suggests a few attributes: 1. Conscientiousness. It's the killer app. 2. General cognitive skills - i.e., basic smarts. 3. Cultural fit. Some people might do great at IBM but terribly at Facebook; others could be the exact opposite.
David Bozin
David Bozin@davidbozin · STARTUP Growth | BD | Op's
@danielpink: How do you wish people to adopt your writings (like one would with Orwell or Darwin)? I.e. if they were to take only ONE thing away, what would it be?
Troy Shu
Troy Shu@troyshu
Now that you've written so many awesome books and articles, and your kids are going off to school, what's been on your mind most nowadays (doesn't have to be book related)? How can anyone who's reading this help?
James Lethem
James Lethem@sycren · Head Mentor of Google Launchpad
Hi @danielpink ! A lot of the questions asked have been around jobs and how to sell yourself. What I want to ask is more around career direction and the problem that (at least in the UK) figuring out what you want to be is generally left to: 1) What your parents do and their friends 2) What your peers are interested in 3) Current interests (many are interested in becoming game developers without realising what the role entails) 4) School / University career services. We're left in a position where supply doesn't always meet demand. Where there are guaranteed jobs for those who study naval architecture (as demand is so high) and very high competition for those who want a career in the film industry. How do you think Career services could be improved so that students, graduates & young professionals can better understand what jobs are actually out there and what the route they can take?