Derek Sivers

Programmer, writer, entrepreneur & avid student of life

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON February 17, 2016

Discussion

Derek Sivers@sivers · sivers.org
Derek Sivers here. Started, built, and sold a company called CD Baby. Wrote a best-selling book with 40 lessons learned from the experience, called "Anything You Want". Spoke at TED a few times. People seem to like my writing at sivers.org. Ask me anything.
Jonny Miller@jonnym1ller · Cofounder @Maptia
Howdy @sivers! What did you learn from answering 4,778 emails in January (including a couple from me) from your readers asking you for advice about the big questions? Bonus: can you distill any of these learnings into directives ;)Also: how the on earth do you answer 160 emails/day!
Derek Sivers@sivers · sivers.org
@jonnym1ller It was like having 4778 writing assignments. Got my finger on the pulse of what many people want to know more about. I'm definitely turning them into articles. Two recent examples: https://sivers.org/gifts + https://sivers.org/switch Hundreds more to come.
Patrick Sanderson@pjsanderson
Hi Derek, love your stuff. I was wondering if you have come across any other companies that work with a similar philosophy as you had with CD Baby? Reading your book made the whole idea sound so 'right'. I just don't understand why other companies don't seem to operate in that way... Thanks
Derek Sivers@sivers · sivers.org
@pjsanderson Thanks! Cards Against Humanity. http://cardsagainsthumanity.com/ definitely humanizes their whole approach. I love them more than the cards. Read their blog & stories or try to find talks by Max, the co-founder. Zappos, Nordstrom are big examples. Tons of little ones but I don't keep track, though Seth Godin does. If you read his books or blog he often talks about great examples: http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/
Patrick Sanderson@pjsanderson
@sivers Cheers Derek, I will have a look at Cards Against Humanity. And Seth, oh yeah, I've heard of him. He's almost as good as you!! All the best pal.
Brent Summers@brentsum · Founder, Code-Free Startup
Hi Derek, if you could leverage the collective voice/power of your readers to accomplish one thing with a large impact, what would it be?
Derek Sivers@sivers · sivers.org
@brentsum Ack! Wow! I wouldn't want to be in charge of that crowd! ☺ Hmm... maybe can we pick up ALL the trash in the world? Every last bit? (Sorry I don't have a real answer for this. If I think of one some day I'll blog it. Good question.)
Brent Summers@brentsum · Founder, Code-Free Startup
@sivers Thanks! As someone who moved to SF a few months ago, that answer is definitely a real one :) I actually think I saw a social network for taking photos of the trash you pick up on Product Hunt a few weeks back, but the name escapes me.
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
Derek, Thanks for joining us! I've been looking forward to this for a long time. So many questions :) What's something you used to fervently believe that you now see as fundamentally misguided (personally? professionally?)
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
Out of all the people trying to find truth, or at elast make sense of the world -- novelists, philosophers, religious leaders, economists, sociologists, psychologists, palm-readers, etc -- what group or lens most resonates with you?
Derek Sivers@sivers · sivers.org
@eriktorenberg I like the combination of psychologists, economists, and philosophers who pay attention to the first two. Psychology & economics intersection: https://sivers.org/book/Thinking... Philsophy: https://sivers.org/book/Antidote
Carmen@macclabs · travel writer, cofounder
Hi Derek, What did you learn from being in business? Any top 3 learning lessons to share...? Thank you
Derek Sivers@sivers · sivers.org
@theleanpioneer I narrowed it down to the top 40 lessons & typed it as succinctly as possible, can read in under an hour, here: https://sivers.org/a
Carmen@macclabs · travel writer, cofounder
@sivers Thank you :-)
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hi Derek! What advice would you give to someone just starting out writing?
Derek Sivers@sivers · sivers.org
@ems_hodge Imitate! Totally imitate your heroes' writing style. I'm probably still imitating Harry Beckwith - https://sivers.org/book/YouInc - and Robert Fulghum, among others.
Matt Walker@the_mw · Founder - DayPoint
Stoked for the discussion - thank you! Few Q's: How do you approach your time? Do you struggle with your time (either productivity, time management, or just making sure you are spending your time meaningfully)? Do you have any approaches/tools to make the most of each day? Thanks again..!
Derek Sivers@sivers · sivers.org
@the_mw Sorry I really don't. See https://sivers.org/2015-12-ferriss2 where he asks "What are your morning rituals?" I just throw myself into whatever I'm into for as long as I'm into it. No routine.
Matt Walker@the_mw · Founder - DayPoint
@sivers Interesting - - thanks..!
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
What was the book writing process like?
Derek Sivers@sivers · sivers.org
@bentossell My book "Anything you Want" - https://sivers.org/a - only took 10 hours or so to write because it was mostly a collection of existing posts. But if you want to read another interesting book process, see https://sivers.org/robust
Joshua Voydik@joshvoydik · Founder, Mindful Makers
Hey Derek, I like your somewhat binary, "HELL YEAH" or "NO" principle. Do you find yourself deviating from this, or are you pretty good about keeping up with it? What results have you seen from applying this, and can you give me an example(s)? Thanks! -Josh
Derek Sivers@sivers · sivers.org
@joshvoydik "HELL YEAH OR NO" is only applicable in certain situations, where you're overwhelmed with opportunities. It's not meant to be applied everywhere. See https://sivers.org/switch
Joshua Voydik@joshvoydik · Founder, Mindful Makers
@sivers Gracias amigo.
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
What's your favorite TED talk (that you did not give)? a. tech related b. unrelated to tech
Kate@katesegrin · Head of Social @ GitHub
What was one of your life experiences that has taught you the most?
Derek Sivers@sivers · sivers.org
@katesegrin I'm still learning lessons from this: https://sivers.org/loss
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
What role, if any, does religion play in your life? How about Spirituality?
Derek Sivers@sivers · sivers.org
@eriktorenberg None. Honestly never thought about it. Just haven't felt the need.
Theoharis Dimarhos@theo_dimarhos · Marketing+Biz Dev at AngelouEconomics
Hey Derek! What are the three things you've figured out about people that make them likely to act? i.e. share/comment/buy/donate
Derek Sivers@sivers · sivers.org
@theo_dimarhos See https://sivers.org/book/Switch and https://sivers.org/book/Drive for much better thoughts on this than I could say here.
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
in 2116, What do you humans will look back at in 2016 and say "I can't believe they did that"?
Derek Sivers@sivers · sivers.org
@eriktorenberg Texting. WTF. Texting sucks. Ridiculous.
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
@sivers or even morally, like animal rights?
Hi Derek. Thank you for being here. My question is when looking for a Technical Cofounder what do you advice? Learning first the basics of programming and create a prototype (a very MVP) and then look for a cofounder? Or look for a cofounder and learn to code while both are working on the product?
Derek Sivers@sivers · sivers.org
@samueco1 Everybody craftsman looks at someone else's work and says, "What?! Who's the idiot that did this?! Here, I'll show you how it's done...." So yes if you dont' have a cofounder already, hire someone to make the barebones version of your idea. Like this: https://sivers.org/how2hire But only after you've proven a demand for it like this: https://sivers.org/book/LeanStartup Then spread the word about this thing you've build, and attend a bunch of tech conferences like RailsConf or whatever, and talk to techies about what you're doing, and see who's interested.
José Pablo Saucedo@jose_pablo_saucedo
Hey Derek, do you have any plans of publishing your directives sometime soon? I've been waiting for them since you were on that Tim Ferris Show episode, sounds like some very needed wisdom, specially if you're starting out. Any one you've been thinking on/practicing more lately?
Derek Sivers@sivers · sivers.org
@jospablos Yep! I'm trying! There are 220 of them right now, and working on turning them into succinct individual entries then one overall thing with references to details. Coming as soon as I can! If you're not on my private email list, please go to https://sivers.org/list and add yourself so I'll notify you. Or y'know watch my Twitter, etc.
Do you really think there is such a thing as a true altruistic behavior?
Derek Sivers@sivers · sivers.org
@samueco1 Probably not.
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
What does a typical work day look like for you?
Derek Sivers@sivers · sivers.org