Peter Shankman

Founder of HARO, public speaker & best-selling author

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON March 28, 2016

Discussion

Peter Shankman@peter_shankman
Hey guys! I'm Peter Shankman, the guy who founded Help a Reporter, the site that changed how journalists find sources and people find PR. I'm an author, (including two bestsellers on the customer economy), and I spend most of my time nowadays speaking to corporations around the world about the customer economy, being a talking head on news programs, and running ShankMinds, an online business mastermind community for a few hundred brilliant entrepreneurs. I'm also an Ironman Triathlete, Dad, and "B" licensed skydiver. Thrilled to be here, ask me anything!
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Peter! PR and news/media in general, has changed so much in the past decade. What will it look like in a decade?
Peter Shankman@peter_shankman
@rrhoover You tell me, superstar! You first came to me with the idea for PH, and I remember telling you you had something, and were going to change the game, just like I did with HARO. And you did. I'm proud of you. Re: News: Much more on-demand - I see reporters/journalists writing/reporting in an on-demand world, rather than assigned times/places.
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
@petershankman that feels so long ago now. 😀 To your point, information and news is traveling faster (and from more people with Twitter, Snapchat, live video streaming) than ever before. It makes me wonder, what won't be documented and reported in the future?
Hi Peter, Would love to know what hobbies or sports you did as a kid. What skills or lessons from them had the biggest impact on your life?
Peter Shankman@peter_shankman
@casielane I was big into computers - Got my first Apple iiE, and worked on a TRS-80 in school. I was heavy into music and performing arts, (Went to LaGuardia HS,) and that saved me more than once. Didn't get into sports until I turned 25, started running.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hi Peter, what were your biggest challenges when you first set up HARO? How did you overcome these?
Peter Shankman@peter_shankman
@ems_hodge Explaining to people that we existed and they needed to use us. The hardest thing to do is to get people to understand there's a need for what you do, when they don't know what you do exists. Once they found out, it was easy. So for me, the biggest challenge was constantly promoting HARO.
Harry Stebbings@harrystebbings · Podcast Host @ The Twenty Minute VC
@petershankman awesome to speak again having had you on the podcast. My question is how have you seen you decision making change when it comes to investing in startups? Always great to speak and hope you are well.
Peter Shankman@peter_shankman
@harrystebbings Thanks, Harry! For me, it's all about the team - How well they've done their homework for our first meeting usually sets the tone for whether I'll invest.
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
What are you most excited about in the next five years?
Peter Shankman@peter_shankman
@andrewett The customer economy - That's everything from the Internet of Things to Uber, from Automation to lack of actually "owning." I've gotten rid of about 65% of the stuff I own over the past two years, and it's been SO DAMN FREEING! Of course, my wife and kid have more than made up for what space I reclaimed, but... yeah. Where we are now will seem like ancient history in five years. Could you have told me in 2002 that we'd be ordering food from our phones while waiting for a car to pick us up and tracking it in real-time as it approached?? Awesomeness. I love what's coming down the pike. I'm an investor in @namely, and they're reinventing HR - Imagine businesses not having to have an HR department anymore, because it's all in the cloud? Just awesome.
Ross Currie@ross_currie
Happy Monday, Peter! With as crazy a professional and personal schedule as you keep, what are your favorite tips and tools (apps or otherwise) for keeping your life organized and running efficiently?
Peter Shankman@peter_shankman
@ross_currie Hi, Ross! :D I live and die by Wunderlist, Google Maps, Samsung Smart Things, an app called Productive, TripIt, the @United app, and the @spg app. My house is entirely Z-Waved, so that helps. Of course, my life is dictated by @runkeeper, @withings, and @myfitnesspal - Without those last three, I'd be on the couch, soaking in pizza grease all the time.
Jacqueline von Tesmar@jacqvon · Community at Product Hunt ⚡️
What's one piece of advice you constantly find yourself giving?
Peter Shankman@peter_shankman
@jacqvon I tell people all the time that if they don't have haters, they're not doing enough to change the status quo. :)
Craig App Man Caruso@craigcaruso · CarusoApps.com
Is the Instagram feed change a good or bad thing?
Peter Shankman@peter_shankman
@craigcaruso If you create good content, people will see it. That's always the case. If not enough people are seeing your content, CREATE BETTER CONTENT. Don't waste your time blaming the app.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
If you had a billion dollars what would you do with it?
Peter Shankman@peter_shankman
@bentossell Put $10mm in tax free bonds and live off the interest, give away $800mm to good, well managed charities, and give the last $195mm to my investment guy at Oppenheimer and let him take care of it. I don't need a lot to survive. Quite the opposite, in fact. The majority of my investments are for my kid.
Tony Amoyal@tonyamoyal · Founder, Sidewalk (getsidewalk.com)
Peter - Can you tell us about your writing practice? Do you have any daily, weekly, or repeated exercises that you've found groundbreaking to get yourself from idea -> finishing a book?
Peter Shankman@peter_shankman
@tonyamoyal I write on planes. I use OmmWriter on my Mac, and when I really need to focus, I buy a plane ticket. Honestly. I wrote Zombie Loyalists on a round trip flight to Tokyo and back. I didn't even go into Tokyo. I flew from EWR-NRT, wrote chapters 1-5. Landed. Got off the plane, went to the lounge, took a shower, ate some food, got back on the same plane, same seat, two hours later, flew from NRT to EWR, and wrote chapters 6-10. :) It works for me.
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
What does a typical work day look like for you?
Peter Shankman@peter_shankman
@jakecrump Up no later than 4, usually earlier. (Tomorrow I'm doing a 12 mile run at 3:30am. I'm not a normal person.) :) But once done working out (mandatory every day to help manage my #ADHD,) I'm usually in the office by 7am, answering emails, writing blog posts, putting deals together. Otherwise, I'm on a plane, I travel about 250k miles a year for corporate keynotes and the like. I'm very lucky. :) Currently, most of my time is taken up by working on www.fasterthannormal.com, my new site that attempts to change perceptions of ADHD/ADD from a curse to a gift, and with shankminds.com, my virtual mastermind group with about 130 people in it. (Hint: We're looking for new entrepreneurs to join us!)
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Peter Shankman@peter_shankman
@jakecrump Hopefully still spending time each day with my daughter, who will by that time by 8 years old. Damn. :) Hopefully with another book or two out, and hopefully having helped change the conversation about ADHD, teaching millions of people why it's a gift, not a curse, and hnopefully helping all of us cut down on the number of meds we give out to battle it. ADHD is a benefit - there are much better ways than meds for most of us. (And hopefully still investing in companies, starting new ones, speaking, etc...)
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
How did you get into skydiving?
Peter Shankman@peter_shankman
@jakecrump I took 150 CEOs skydiving as a PR stunt. You know how you give 100 people something addictive, and one person will get hooked? Hi. I'm that one person.
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
What's you're favorite bit of advice to give to people?
Peter Shankman@peter_shankman
@jakecrump Two pieces: 1) If you can't change the people around you, change the people around you. 2) If you don't like where you are in life, move. You're not a fucking tree.
Lesley Wu@deleted-407305
@petershankman @jakecrump im agree with 2),but i can't understand about 1)...
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
what's something you used to believe that you now see as fundamentally misguided?
Peter Shankman@peter_shankman
@eriktorenberg I used to think it was important to conform to what other people thought about me. The day I realized it wasn't, was the day I became free. The only two people whose opinions I care about now are my wife and child. (and my parents, ok.) But that's it. And great, great question, Erik.
Peter Shankman@peter_shankman
@eriktorenberg I'd also suggest that there's a MASSIVE difference between dressing casually, and dressing like a slob. Took me a few years to learn that.
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
if you knew then (when you started HARO), what you knew now, what would you do differently?
Peter Shankman@peter_shankman
@eriktorenberg I'd be MUCH more careful with who I hired. I hired people because I thought they could do what I could - That was a mistake. I should have been hiring people who could do specifically what I COULDN'T.
Irina Smirnova@irisciaphoto · Photographer
What place in NJ would you recommend for skydiving?
Peter Shankman@peter_shankman
@irisciaphoto Skydive Sussex. First place I ever jumped. :)
Irina Smirnova@irisciaphoto · Photographer
@petershankman I jumped there too. Was hoping so. Coming back for my 40th birthday :p
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
How do you train for the Ironman Triathlon? When did you complete your first triathlon?
Peter Shankman@peter_shankman
@jakecrump Lots of swimming, lots of biking, lots of running. It's all about priorities - If you want to do it, you give up other things like going out at night, partying, etc. And that was fine for me. In fact, I made this video after my first Ironman, in 2010:
- But in the end, just start with a sprint, that'll tell you if you're the addictive type. Trivia: Triathlon has the highest number of recovering addicts of any sport.
Craig App Man Caruso@craigcaruso · CarusoApps.com
What are your thoughts on the current live streaming market? FB, Periscope, Snapchat? etc...
Peter Shankman@peter_shankman
@craigcaruso I LOVE LOVE LOVE Facebook Live Video. Blab is fun, too - For me, it's sharing what I'm doing in real time, because I'm having so much fun doing it!