Derek Sivers

Programmer, writer, entrepreneur, avid student of life. I make useful things, and share what I learn.

Articles → Call the destination, and ask for directions

Most of us don’t know what to do next. We know where we want to be, but we don’t know how to get there.

The solution is incredibly simple and effective:

Work backwards. Just contact someone who’s there, and ask how to get there.

If you want to be in Rolling Stone magazine, call their main office in New York City. When the receptionist answers, say “Editorial, please.” Ask someone in the editorial department which publicists they recommend. Then call each publicist, and ask how to become their client.

If you want to play a concert at the biggest club in town, show up on a weekday afternoon. Bring a box of fancy German cookies to the person that does the booking, and ask for just five minutes of their advice. Ask them what criteria must be met in order for them to take a chance on a new act. Ask what booking agents they recommend, or if they recommend using one at all. Keep your meeting as short as possible. Get the crucial info, then leave them alone until you’re playing their club some day.

Call the destination, and ask for directions.

You’ll get there much faster than walking without a map, hoping you arrive someday.

Call the destination, and ask for directions