Derek Sivers

Interviews → Game Changer Society with Lane Kennedy

Great conversation about how weird I am, being useful, time management, and more.

Download: audio (mp3)

Link: http://thegamechangersociety.com/episode-209-derek-sivers-musician-turned-game-changer/


Lane:

Tell the listeners today a little bit about your story and what qualifies you as being a game changer.

Derek:

Sure! My background, mostly a musician. Ever since I was 14, I wanted to be a famous, successful musician and so that was my singular focus in the world, from the age of 14 until 29. And for the most part, I did it. I mean I didn’t get super famous but I actually made a living just making music. I was a full-time musician. I even bought a house in Woodstock with the money I made touring, and gigging, and producing people’s records and what not.

And then in 1998, I was just selling my CD on my band’s Website, but at the time there was nowhere for an independent musician like me to sell my CD. There was literally not a single business anywhere in the world that would sell your music if you weren’t signed to a record label. So I just built my own little ‘buy now’ button on a shopping cart thing on my Website, but then my friends asked if I could sell their CD, and then friends of friends started calling asking me if I could sell their CD too. So I did it as a favor at first and then I took all of these artists off of my band’s Website and put them on their own site. I called it CDbaby.com and it just took off and became the larger seller of independent music on the Web, with almost 200,000 musicians and 100 million in sales and stuff like that.

So anyway, but that’s all in the past. What makes me a game changer? I had to think about this before we talked because I love that you have this subject. I think for me, it’s just that I have a lack of interest in the existing game, or maybe it’s like a healthy disgust for the existing game. I think I believe that the rules don’t apply to me because I’m playing a different game.

Lane:

Okay, wait a minute. I love that right there. We don’t play the same game. That is it. We don’t play by the same rules, almost. I’m so with you. Have you known that your whole life?

Derek:

Well, yeah. I mean, obviously. I mean, those of us that are weird to know that we’re weird from an early age, we know that we’re not playing the same game that everybody else seems to play. I mean here are some of my silly, little examples. I’ve never tried coffee. I don’t surf the Web. I don’t use Mac or Windows. I use an old operating system called OpenBSD that looks like a DOS Terminal. I prefer to make all my own software. I don’t use any Web services for email, calendars, or project management, or files or anything else. I’ve never actually listened to a podcast ever in my life. I don’t watch videos. Books are my favorite way that I learn everything.

I thrive in solitude. I love to live in places that have no people around, ideally. I love the phone. I talk with my best friends almost every day around the world. I really like to move every year or two. I’ve never lived anywhere more than two years. I don’t own a house, or a car, or much of anything else. I like the concept of enough. I only own two plates and one pair of pants because that’s enough. But on the other hand, one home is not enough for me. I technically live in three countries at once right now. I don’t work for money. I just do things for intrinsic reasons like curiosity and self-improvement. And I don’t really want anything; the only things I want more of are the skills that are up to me to develop.

But to me, I don’t think these things are weird. I think everyone else is a little weird for the cluttered, distracted lives they lead; full of these insatiable and unsatisfying needs. But then I’ve made these multiple, successful businesses and I’m kind of famous online and I’m ridiculously happy. So I think I’ve changed the game, if I’m a game changer, it’s really just been for myself. It’s me changing my game. I’m not trying to change anybody else’s.

Lane:

You know when you watch HBO, at the beginning of HBO they have that sound… That just like happened in my head.

Derek:

Yeah, the static first.

Lane:

My whole life, I’ve never played by the teachers, or the schools, or nobody else’s rules, my family, never. I was always doing my own thing. And the fact that you’ve never tried coffee, I’d say that’s a little… like, I’m concerned, but hey, it’s all good. But this idea of you read to learn, you tinker, you create, you thrive in solitude, you move every two years, like this freedom, the spirit and I find that a lot of game changers have this same inner sense about them where they kind of roll at the beat of their own drum, so to speak.

Derek:

Right and it doesn’t always have to be on the freedom side. In fact just yesterday, I read a brilliant article. I think it was in The Guardian, the UK newspaper, about a guy from India. I think he was living in New York City. Yeah, he’s living in New York City but his dad is from India. His dad just has no interest in visiting anywhere else in the world. He just has this feeling of, why would I go to New York City? I don’t care about New York City. I have no reason to see it, he said. But the interesting thing is, his dad is fascinated with the whole world and he reads all day long. He’s completely up on world events. He knows everything going on anywhere. He’ll say like, “Dad, can you explain to me the situation in the Western Sahara right now?” And his dad would get perfectly articulate, completely informed and updated of everything that’s going on in Western Sahara right now, or he will tell you about the economics of the Euro versus the US dollar or whatever. So he’s actually, supremely interested in the outside world, but just has no interest in going there and looking at the Statue of Liberty or something.

So in some ways it’s like this idea of knowing what your tastes are, knowing what makes you happy and not doing what everybody else is doing because people say this is what you should do. I just called that up as an example that it doesn’t always have to be this digital nomad, freedom trotter, individual’s American thing. It can happen from any different angle.

Lane:

Where are you living now? What are the three countries that you’re living in, currently?

Derek:

New Zealand, Singapore and Belgium. Right now, I just moved into a new apartment this week in Wellington, New Zealand. Actually, Lane and I had to delay our call today because the internet installers showed up when we were supposed to speak. So anyway, I’m sitting here looking at the waves crashing on to some rocks and the ocean right in front of me. And I’m still a legal resident of Singapore, which I love Singapore with all my head. And Belgium, which is kind of new to me, I had to admit that I don’t know much about Europe and so I became a legal resident of Belgium and I’m starting to slowly make that my third home.

Lane:

That’s so fantastic. I love Singapore. Yeah, I love Singapore too. It’s great. I’ve never been to New Zealand though. It’s on the list.

Derek:

It’s almost identical to California. I actually don’t recommend coming here to visit that much. If you’ve already been to Japan, and India, and China and all the other fascinating places in the world, then yeah, they could come to New Zealand. But if you’re an American, especially like West Coast American, there’s really not that much of a reason to come here because it’s about the same. It’s a great place to live. I love it. It’s a great place to raise a kid.

Lane:

See, that’s what I think about. Okay, let me get into our conversation more here. I want to get into, like you said, that’s all done and in the past. You built this incredible company; it changed the way music was bought and sold for independent musicians, it changed the way they could make a living. That’s a pretty big deal.

Derek:

To put that in a little context, as a professional musician, I was out there trying to use traditional distribution systems to get my music into record stores. Now this is like the mid-90’s, right? People still used record stores. Amazon.com was only a bookstore. iTunes of course didn’t exist. In fact, MP3s didn’t exist. So I was out there trying to sell my CD through traditional distribution, but the more I learned about it, it was just an awful system. And I met with some distributors and I even got offered a distribution deal, but the deal was like you would get paid years later if ever. And if you didn’t sell well, straight out of the bat, like if your album wasn’t a good seller right away, they would pull you out of the stores if you didn’t sell well in the first few months. They’d say sorry, you had your shot so where going to pull you out of the stores now.

So just all in all, I felt it was a bad system. So when I created this little Website just to sell my CD and then some of my friends contacted me to sell their CD, within a few weeks I realized that I had accidentally started a little business. I thought, well I’m not even trying to start a business. I’m really a musician. This is just a silly, little hobby I’m doing, so I could afford to be kind of utopian about this. So I just had a night of introspective thought to think like, well, from my musician’s point of view, what would be a dream come true distribution deal? And I thought, number one, I want to be paid every week. Number two, I want the full name and info of everybody that buys my music. Those are my customers. I don’t like it when the retailer says, sorry those are our customers. You’re just the supplier. I’d say, no, screw you. They were using you to get at me. They’re my customers. Number three, I would never be kicked out for not selling enough. So if I’m doing some obscure, heavy metal, Tibetan chant, tuba music that’s only going to sell one copy every year, it should be available for those people that once a year want to buy a copy. And lastly, there should be no paid placement because I always thought that was unfair to those that can’t afford it.

So that was like my mission statement, my four missions. That was it. It turns out that those four things which went against every system in the existing music business became a game changer. And what I love is that eventually, it became the new norm. At first, when I first started CD Baby, people that would call me and ask about how this works, they were shocked that they could get paid every week. People are like, “You pay every week? I’m used to getting paid two years later. How are you able to pay every week? What’s the catch?” I said, no, there’s no catch and they think, oh my god, that’s amazing.

And so Lane, a few years later, I’d say like five years into it, I would get people calling customer service, thinking about signing up and they would say things like, “Why do I have to wait a whole week to get paid?” And you know, I could have been offended with that but actually, that moment made me so happy because I realized that this little thing I started actually changed the way people think about music distribution. Getting paid once a week just became a norm and now, people wanted more than that. I was like, yes, I did it!

In fact, the final cherry on top was about five or six years into it, I got an angry letter from a traditional music distribution guy that had been a distributor for 20 years. He had been in the music distribution or CD distribution or whatever album distribution business for 20 years and he sent me this angry letter that literally it said, Fuck you! He was like, god damn it. I’ve been doing this for 20 years and now because of CD Baby, people come in her expecting to be paid every week. I can’t do that. Now people come in expecting me to just do all of this work for them for 35 bucks because that’s what you people charge. And now they’re all upset that I can’t give them every customer’s full contact info from every record store. You know what man, fuck you! You really made my life hell and I’m sick of people like you screwing it up for the rest of us. And I thought that was such a wonderful compliment.

Lane:

I kind of have to say it is too. I mean, that is really when you decided to put that button on your site, I would say that was like a moment. I’m going to do this. Were you just sick and tired of not getting paid, not having money? I’m trying to get to that moment, your moment of being like so frustrated, I guess. What put you over the edge or did something put you over the edge to say, I’m going to do it my way.

Derek:

I think we all know this feeling that when you look at the existing way that things are done and you just know that it’s stupid and unnecessary, like whether it’s like a DMV situation, you wonder like why do we need several forms? Why am I doing pen on paper in the little boxes on a piece of paper if you’re just going to type into the computer? Why don’t I just type it into the computer? You just look at inefficiencies like this and you think, this is stupid!

And so actually there was a big online Website at the time called CDnow.com. It was like the biggest seller of music on the Web at that time. I contacted CDnow and I said, hey I’ve got this album, I’ve sold a thousand copies at shows and it’s actually being played on radio stations all around the US right now, so how can I get it up and selling in CDnow? He said, well, you can’t. We’re just a frontend to the traditional, major label distribution systems. And I said, well can’t I just send you a box of CDs and you’d sell it and pay me? And he said, well, who’s your distributor? I said, I don’t have a distributor. He said, well, you need a distributor? I said, okay, how about this, I’m now a distributor, okay? Can I distribute my newest released to you? He said, no, look kid, it just doesn’t work that way. You got to go through the traditional channels, the major label distribution. Well, that’s stupid. Why can’t I just send you a box of CDs and you’ll sell it and pay me?

And so because that just seemed like a silly inefficient, I just thought it, oh screw it. How hard could it be to put a ‘buy now’ button on my site? But the funny thing is, actually in 1997 when I started this, it was hard. There was no PayPal. There was no Stripe or all these things that exist now. The only way you could have a ‘buy now’ button on your site was to like contact your local Wells Fargo bank and set up a merchant account and it was like a thousand dollars in setup fees and it took three months of paperwork. They actually had to send an inspector out to my location to make sure I was a valid business. They required that if I set up a separate business, they needed me to have insurance against something, something fraud. I needed an actual physical point of sale terminal. And I did all of this work for three months and I had it, three months a later, a ‘buy now’ button on my Website.

So it was realizing how hard that was, I think my mindset, it was like the co-op mindset where if one of us has some scarce resource, then we should share it with others. And I was living in New York City, I had a lot of musician friends, so I just kind of told my friends like, you know I’ve gone and built this thing for myself, I might as well share it. That’s all. It didn’t feel like a big deal. It didn’t feel like revolution. It just felt obvious.

Lane:

It’s normal. Yeah, I totally get that. I totally get that and it completely transformed so many lives and that’s the cool thing. And then you got sick and tired of that and you took an exit from it and you were done with it, just like that?

Derek:

Well, I mean ‘just like that’ came 10 years later. It was everything I did. It wasn’t like it was my 9 to 5. It was like 7 am to midnight, seven days a week. All I did, and lived, and slept, and breathed was CD Baby for 10 years. I had no personal life. I didn’t want one. I was just completely obsessed. It was all I did every waking moment for 10 years. So after 10 years, I felt done, the way that like maybe a novelist can tell when they’ve written the end of their book or a painter with a final brush stroke on a giant mural or something. They just step back and they look at it and they think, well, yeah, I’ve got nothing more to add. That’s it.

And I got really, really lucky. I’m really not a money-driven person, as you can tell, but I got really lucky that I just coincidentally felt done in the early 2008. I had always had lots of people wanting to buy the company and I always just said no, so it was like a certain week in January 2008, like the stock market was at an all time high and I guess other companies were feeling like they had tons of cash and I got three calls in one week from three different companies, asking if I wanted to sell CD Baby. I told them all no, as usual, as I had been saying for 10 years, but then I thought about it a bit and I thought, actually, if I was ever going to sell, now is probably the time because I’m done.

So I said yes. I let the three companies outbid each other and sold it to a company called Disc Makers that I thought would take good care of my clients. I thought they understood my client base well. Actually Amazon offered more money but I felt that Disc Makers could handle my clients better. I just wanted to put the company in good hands. August 2008, I walked away and then financial collapse happened a month later and I felt so thankful.

Lane:

So after 2008, what have you been doing now?

Derek:

Oh, nothing.

Lane:

Playing, travelling.

Derek:

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Lane:

Discovering?

Derek:

I spent the first year or so wanting to disappear. I didn’t like having all that responsibility. I had 85 employees and that was just too much for me. So I spent the first year wanting to just disappear. I was actually looking into like how can I legally change my name and drop off just like that. I really looked into this deeply. But then, there was a moment about six months later where I was reading a book about some historical figures and I realized that to put yourself out there in the public is often a pain in the ass. To put yourself out for critique, to put things into the world that can be attacked and to speak your mind publicly, it’s actually a lot easier to just hide. But I realized that it’s actually in the long run more useful to others if you are out there in public and sharing things with the world. So I decided to man up, to step up or whatever you call it, to take responsibility and be more public again, and that’s about the time I decided I wanted to take a new face and be more of like a Ted speaker/writer/thinker kind of person. So, I did.

Lane:

I think I’m just thinking about dropping off the face of the earth. Just think about that, it’s kind of stressful being out in the pub1lic eye. I mean, I’ve had short stints of that and then several of my friends have been big, famous people and it’s a nightmare for them. I can’t even stand that. We were talking about… what’s his name? Facebook.

Derek:

Zuckerberg.

Lane:

Yes, thank you. I’m drawing a blank. You know he has a house here in San Francisco and we were talking about the security measures that he’s had to install in his house with the safe room and like the bullet-proofing and I’m just like, are you kidding me? That is a nightmare! And then a colleague of mine said, well, he’s one of the wealthiest men on this planet. And I was like, oh my God, I don’t even like to think about these things and then to have to live behind that kind of a life, it just sounds horrible.

Derek:

Yeah, it sounds horrible to you and me but what’s funny is everybody chooses it. That’s why I was so upset when like Kurt Cobain killed himself. He was like, I’m too famous. I can’t stand it. I’m too famous. Because you know what, if you’re ever too famous, you can just get a different haircut, go gain 50 pounds and get a job at a Burger King somewhere and nobody will believe that you’re that famous person. Now Kurt Cobain could have moved to Iowa, looked different and get a job at Burger King and he could have told anybody I’m Kurt Cobain and they would have been like, yeah. You know, you always have the option of not being famous. It’s very easy to not be famous. So anybody who’s famous, you can’t have too much sympathy. They had to put forth quite a lot of effort to be famous and you actually have to keep putting forth effort to continue to be famous, so I think it can be a cool thing to moan about it a bit and not look too eager. But I mean ultimately, I thought about it that it is more useful to others. In fact, do you want to hear my four tips on how to be useful to others?

Lane:

You know what, I was just going to say, like isn’t being useful the whole name of the game here, right? Isn’t that why we’re here? Isn’t that why we’re in community? Isn’t that why we’re on this planet is to help others? So yes, bring on your tips.

Derek:

Sure! I think the top four ways to be useful to others are number one, get famous. Do everything in public and for the public, because the more people you reach, the more useful you are. The opposite is hiding, which is of no use to anyone. Number two, get rich, because money is really neutral proof that you’re adding value to people’s lives, so by getting rich, you’re being useful as a side effect. And then ideally, once you are rich, then you can spend the money in ways that are more useful to other people, that way getting rich is double useful. Number three, share strong opinions because I think strong opinions are very useful to other people.

Lane:

Okay, I want to talk to you for just a minute. I have huge opinions, like I’m out there and some people just honestly, they’re like enough, like no. But I’m at the variety of like if I don’t have an opinion, then I’m just going to die. If I’m not heard or if I’m not sharing, then other people are hiding or not putting out their message. I feel like if I’m out there stating my opinion and I’m sharing about the way that I see the world, that gives the doorway for others to do that. Does that make sense?

Derek:

Yeah. Well actually, I got this tip from Brian Eno, the record producer that worked with David Bowie, Talking Heads and U2 for many years. I like his music but I love his philosophies on the creative processes. He said that often, his job as a producer is to have strong opinions. He’ll be in the studio with a band and they’ll say like, I don’t know, should we do this, should we do that? And he’ll say something like, I think we should remove the drums all together. And they’ll say, what are you, crazy? No, we need the drums. The drums are essential. We can’t do without the drums. The drums are the whole point. He’d say, okay, good. I’m glad I could help. You solidify that opinion. Or other times, he said he’ll just say a strong opinion and people will say, you know what I was kind of ambivalent about that before, so I think I’ll adopt to your opinion.

Yeah, I think that when you share strong opinions, people who were previously undecided or ambivalent can just adopt to your stance; so now you’ve been useful to those people. But people who strongly disagree with you can actually solidify their stance by arguing against yours, so now you’ve been useful to those people. I think, even if you just invent an opinion for the sole sake of argument and a strong opinion is useful to everyone. Oh lastly, number four, be expensive.

Lane:

Be expensive?

Derek:

Because I’ve read a lot of these books about psychology and stuff like that and I found over and over again things like this – that people that were given a placebo pill and told that it was a pain killer, they were twice as likely to have their pain disappear when they were told that this pill is very expensive. And people who paid more for tickets were much more likely to attend the performance if the tickets were expensive. And just in general, people who spend more for a product or service value it more and get more use out of it. So therefore, ergo, if you are expensive in whatever you do, whatever you’re putting out into the world, if you make it expensive, you’re actually doing the world a favor because people will get more use out of it.

Lane:

That’s so true. I can’t agree with you more. Yeah, people have to pay for things. I totally agree with that idea of paying for that service so that people can show up and get whatever it is that they’re going to get out of that experience or learn what they’re going to learn or whatever. I totally get that.

Derek:

Tony Robbins, I remember listening to one of his audio things like 20 years ago and he said that when he was in his late 20’s and decided to really take his consulting seriously and he knew that he was good, he kind of tested what he did with hundreds of people and he knew he was great at it, he decided to raise his fees to one million dollars per consultation. He said because I had enough people that were still interested and he said not only would I charge a million dollars but people who would come to me saying they were interested in coaching with me or having me consult, I would actually intentionally shoo them away at first and sound very busy. I can’t be bothered. Or sometimes, I just wouldn’t reply to them and I’d wait until people had contacted me a few times and I’d say, okay, you really want this, huh? Okay, well it’s going to be a million dollars and I’m not available for the next four months, so how about November? And they’d say, wow, okay, November 12th it is.

And he said, they’d show up at my house November 12, after having sent me a million dollars ad I’d say, the reason I put up all these barriers is I refuse to accept anything but total success. If you are not actually going to make this change, then just get out now and I’ll refund your money. Whatever thing we discuss today, you better make this change or the whole deal is off. He said, that’s why I was charging a million dollars and making myself so hard is I just wanted to make sure that I wasn’t going to be working with people that didn’t make the change. Or more specifically, I wanted to them to make sure that they have invested so much into making this change happen that they absolutely will follow through and do it. If you paid a million dollars, it’s like god damn it, you are going to make this change. You spent a million dollars; of course you’re going to make this change happen. So yeah, in what’ve you’re doing, I think there’s the equivalent of that for your service or your product. Be expensive; it’s more useful to others.

Lane:

I can’t agree more. Thank you for sharing that. We’ve already come up on the end of our show but because I want to know a little bit more, do you mind staying on for a minute more?

Derek:

I’m good.

Lane:

Because you’re travelling and out there in the world, I want to get practical for a little bit, for a moment, and find out how you manage your time.

Derek:

I don’t manage my time very well. I manage my time the way that a kid playing with Legos manages his time and I just tend to just do whatever fascinates me for as long as it does and that’s it. My friend Tynan wrote a brilliant book called, ‘Superhuman by Habit’ and it’s all of the advantages of creating habit sin your life and living your life by habits for the things that are important to you. I tried that for awhile but I really love diving into one thing at a time. I think from say just this year for example, from like December through April, I was completely obsessed with this programming project I was doing. It’s like I would wake up at 4:30 in the morning, just bounce out of bed and start programming at 4:30 and I would do that all the way until midnight when I’d go to sleep for four hours and then wake up and do it again, and I just did that for months. And then around April, I finished and you mentioned the World Domination Summit, that was in July and by mid-April I realized I hadn’t prepared my talk yet. So I really spent April, May and June just full time all day long doing nothing but preparing my talk for that conference. Whatever, 12 hours a day, 6 days a week just doing that. So I’ll just do that for a while and then I’ll pause my programming.

And so I came back from that and now I’m back in Wellington just as of last week and so I’m diving into my programming again. So yeah, I don’t really have a lot of habits or good time management; I just dive into one thing at a time.

Lane:

You just do it head down, get it done. Enjoy it. I’m good with that. I love that idea too. Do you have any sanity safe cards or anything that you do on a regular day to day basis that keeps your head together?

Derek:

Good question. I think it’s a bigger thing. You know the beginning of the call, I listed out all of my weird preferences and things like that are hard to live by. It’s hard to not get sucked in to other people’s game. Even things like social expectations or if a family member is freaking out or something like that, I just have the belief that that’s not my problem. Luckily, my sister does not have that belief so if my parents are having a freak out, my sister is the one to step in and get involved and I’m the one who just says, no. Contact me when it’s all done. But that’s just my game. I’m not saying my way is right or wrong. So I think keeping my sanity is often tied together with making sure that I’m playing my game and not trying to play someone else’s game.

Lane:

Are you a yoga person or like a walker?

Derek:

No.

Lane:

Do you do any kind of physical, like use your body…

Derek:

Actually you know what, it totally goes against previous prejudices of mine. I love when this happens. When you have like a prejudice in life. There’s something that you’re actually against, whether it’s opera music or Indonesian food or something. You think that you hate something and then something changes your mind and maybe you love it. Since I was a teenager, let’s say growing up as a teenager in Chicago in the 80’s, high school was divided into the jocks versus the freaks. Pick your side. I was clearly on the freaks side with my denim jacket and the heavy metal patches and the long hair and we’d hang out in the smoking area. Can you believe that back then, high schools used to have a smoking area and that was like legit? So I'd hang out in the smoking area with the heavy metal kids. We would scoff at the jocks and I’d make fun of these guys that would sit in the gym for hours a week just lifting pieces of metal and I was just like, what’s a stupid thing to do with your life. That’s ridiculous! And Lane, I felt that way all the way up until like two years ago.

And then two years ago, a few different people that I respected and admired convinced me that lifting weights was not about vanity. It was not just for people that want to be big. It’s actually really good for your bone structure and your general health and your general fitness and all this stuff and I thought, wow, okay, I guess I’ll try it. And I went down to my local gym that was kind of more like a straight up, good old fashioned barbell gym with no yoga classes, no nautilus equipment and just lifting good old fashioned barbells. And I learned how to properly do the dead lift, and the squat, and the bench press, and the overhead press and things like that and I loved it. I still actually love biking and walking and stuff like that but actually a few times a week for about an hour, I do the good old fashioned barbell lifts and overcame the past prejudice and now I love it.

Lane:

That’s awesome. I love it. Good for you. I’m going to close up our conversation. I love having you. I just love talking to you because you’re so my people. The last question that I want to ask because I ask this with everyone, share your guilty pleasure.

Derek:

I don’t feel any guilt. Books. I guess it’s that I still feel a little weird about the fact that I still never heard a podcast but I mean my life is set up in a way that I don’t have down time. I mean I don’t have a commute. I don’t really drive hardly anywhere. So really just from the moment I wake up until I go to sleep, I’m either reading, writing or talking. I don’t have that kind of just sitting and listening to something in the background time. So my books, I mean the books that I love, I put them all on my Website at sivers.org/book.

Lane:

What are you reading now?

Derek:

What am I reading right now? A book about math. Well there’s a programming language I want to learn called Haskell that’s built on using calculus terminology that I’ve never understood before. I kind of stopped learning math when I was 12 or something. So I’m going back to algebra to brush up and I’m going to start studying pre-calculus and I want to study calculus. I’m just filling in that gap of things I haven’t understood so I just started reading a math book. But yeah, if you go to sivers.org/book, everything I’m reading, I take detailed notes on them and then I post all my notes for free and then I even sorted the books with my top recommendations at the top.

Lane:

Oh my god, you sound like my husband. That’s exactly what my husband does. He’ll send me the Evernote of the book. It’s good. It’s good to do that for people. That’s a great way to be of service.

Derek:

And I did it for myself first. In fact, I used to just do this only for myself, when I would keep them on my phone. It was a way for me to remember what I had read in the past and not forget that awesome book I read eight years ago that was a big influence in the moment I read it, but then over the years, you know the lessons fade, so I didn’t want them to fade; I wanted to keep it fresh. So I used to take detailed notes just for my own reviews, so I wouldn’t have to re-read the whole 300 page book. I could reread my 15 pages of notes. So then after a couple of years of doing that, I just decided to share it publicly. Yeah, check it out. My top recommendations are at the top.

Lastly, I guess I just want to say, anybody who listens to Lane is my kind of person. So if you made it all the way to the end of this interview, I probably want to meet you. Email me. I actually put aside a little time every day to answer every single email no matter how crazy or what questions I get, so feel free to ask me anything or just introduce yourself.

Lane:

That’s fantastic. Derek, you’re just on my list - my top 10. Thank you for being out in the world and doing things differently and just being a new friend. Thanks for being on the show.

Derek:

Anytime!