Derek Sivers: Mensch Patterns

Derek Sivers has been a musician, circus performer, entrepreneur, TED speaker, and book publisher. Long ago he started CD Baby, and wrote a great little book about it called “Anything You Want”.

In this BoS Talk Derek will offer some perspectives on what we can do to be more mensch and make the world a better place, how can we end up on the right side of history, and why we should keep our eyes on how the game we play is going to end.

Derek breaks the mould in two ways for his 2019 BoS Talk by opening the talk with an auction, and then closing the talk with a Q&A session that sees the audience answer the questions instead of asking them.

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All right. Hi.

So, Mark asked me to start out by doing something ridiculous. So, I went to the bank and I got a $50 no, wait, £50 note and we’re going to auction it off for a dollar just to be ridiculous. Sorry. Sorry. Pound I’m new here, I’m getting used to this.

We’re going to auction off the £50 note for £1. Does anyone want it? Okay. This could be really convenient if you have any coins you would rather swap for a bill. The regular rules of an auction apply. This is just a regular fifty pound note. This isn’t like a trick thing. The rules of an auction apply in the second highest bidder still has to pay their bid but doesn’t get the £50 note. Bids start at one pound. Who wants to begin?

One pound. Okay. One pound – actually, I think you have to call it out. Right?


Four. Yes.

Twenty. Nice, smart. Let’s get this rolling. Twenty.

Forty nine. Smart.

Forty nine and twenty are the two runners. Anybody else? You know you got to keep bidding, or somebody has to keep bidding otherwise you’re out twenty pounds and you get nothing.

Fifty. Okay.

Forty nine and fifty. You don’t want to be out £49 for nothing, right. Anybody else? We got forty nine and fifty. There we go.

Fifty one. Smart. Fifty one and fifty are the two leaders here. You’re off the hook; you’re good.

So, you can see where this is going, and we’ll set up our transactions afterwards. Fifty one and fifty. The problem is not thinking things through to the end and asking yourself ‘how will this game end?’. So, when a game starts, it’s really easy to think short term, and say ‘Oh cool. Good deal – Fifty pounds for a pound.’ And then when it’s too late you realize like ‘oh what have I done’. I saw this game played the first time years ago, it was a little more impressive because in America they have the $100 bill. And so, it was at South by Southwest with all these kind of like hungover people and they said you know the hundred dollar auction. And it actually kept going all the way to like one hundred and fifty dollars because then it’s like well now ‘how much am I going to lose? I don’t want to lose!’.

Shallow happy and deep happy

So, people get themselves into life situations like this. An optimist buys a house that’s a little out of their budget. The romantic gets into a relationship with somebody who is already in a relationship. And then you can hear them complaining later about how they’re so in debt or how their sweetheart is cheating on them and the situation was stacked against them from the beginning. The smart choice would have been to not play the game at all. I think we should always ask ‘how will this game end’ even though it’s not fun to think through the long term implications of our actions. I like to think often about like the difference between shallow happy and deep happy: so shallow happy is playing the next move, deep happy is playing the long game. For Business of Software, for this conference I think each of us have a version of the game we might be playing. Whether the game is taking on investors or the game is A/B testing, you’ve got to think how will this game end.

The troubles of taking on investors I know nothing about that, and it’s well discussed elsewhere. So, let’s talk about A/B testing. A/B testing measuring the results of the test, but not the morality of the means. But who can argue with the objectivity of A/B testing producing measurable results? Well I’d say a human being with empathy can. Because A/B testing doesn’t measure the morality of the means and so often the winning test results are the ones that trick people into doing things they didn’t want to do that gets the best results. And so, we ask ‘how will this game end’.

Dark patterns

Please raise your hand if you already know this term or if you’ve heard of dark patterns. Don’t worry I’m not going to do one of those talks where I tell you about dark patterns.

Harry Brignall is a consultant in London that kind of noticed this trend of anti-social behaviours and he coined the term dark patterns. He defines dark patterns as

instances where designers use their knowledge of human behaviour and the desires of end users to implement deceptive functionality that is counter to the user’s best interest.

Basically, tricking users into doing things they don’t want to do. So, we’ll just look at a couple of dark patterns quickly just for example “Free shipping!” then small print (with a Prime membership). Bait and switch are where you think you’re getting one thing, but an undesirable thing happens instead. Or hidden costs where at the end of a checkout process you might not notice that unexpected charges have appeared.

Forced continuity is when a free trial silently ends, and your credit card silently starts getting charged without any warning. Or the roach motel where it’s easy to get in but hard to get out like making it difficult to cancel a membership. So, yeah you probably you know word about dark patterns already you can see talks and read articles about them, they’re well discussed, but if you want to know more you can go to for more info.

But I’d say that they’re not just user interface patterns. It can be things like hiding things in your terms and conditions in the small print. Or selling customer data. Or anything else that customers would be unhappy about if they fully understood.

So, what to do about it. Do we just stop doing it?

I actually email the Harry Brignall that came up with the term in preparation for this talk and I said, “so, what is the opposite of a dark pattern?” and he said, “um not doing it”. I said No I don’t think we can do more than that. I think the opposite of negative x is plus x not zero. The opposite of a mountain is not flat ground. The opposite of a mountain would have to be like a crater in the ground. So, I like playing this thought game where I ask myself ‘what is the opposite of something’. Sometimes it’s a pure creative exercise where you focus on one facet of something and you take just the opposite of that aspect of it. So I often imagine a you know let’s just say a ruby – we’re at a programmer conference -so if you think like a ruby and you just take one facet of it and you were to pull that over here it makes a different shape. You don’t have to find the exact opposite of a Ruby you take one facet of it. So, for example the opposite of music is not silence, the opposite of music is business.

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So, let’s take a tiny tangent and talk about the usefulness of overcompensating. Let’s say you have a thought process or a habit that you want to fix. Let’s use the metaphor of a bunch of bricks on a seesaw. Right now, all the bricks are stacked on one side, let’s say that this is the metaphor for how you have been and how you are now to make a change. Most people don’t do enough. You often do something small and sensible – the metaphor of moving one brick to the other side but then you’re still unbalanced. You think you made the change but it’s not accounting for a lifetime of doing it the other way. The environment that made you that way. The pressure from friends to stay the way you were. And the undertow of old habits. So, to make a change you need to be extreme. You need to go all the way the other way. It will feel like overcompensating, but you have to stack a huge pile of bricks on the other side. And this new you will sound extreme and it will sound exciting and you will think that you are now going to be completely changed, but actually the old stuff is still there. So this is what you needed to do to balance to compensate for all that cultural baggage of the self-identity the habits and the history; is you need to overcompensate to balance it and then eventually it will sink in and become your new normal.

So, now let’s talk about the word Mensch who already knows the word Mensch. Please raise your hand. So, mensch is a Yiddish word that means a person of integrity and honour someone of noble character with a sense of what is right and responsible. The concept originates with Cicero in 60 B.C. had this notion of ‘humanitas’ meaning the human nature, civilization, and kindness. And I thought it was interesting when I geeked out to get ready for this talk and I was digging into this I found out that the in that same code of conduct that is the word philanthrôpía originally meant ‘loving what makes us human’. That was cool especially considering Stephanie’s talk later today.

Humanitas when translated into German was translated to Menschlichkeit and so the Yiddish word mensch is the cognate of the German word mensch meaning human being – which you might also know from Nietzsche’s proposal of the uber mensch which means a human being that doesn’t try to chit chat when driving you somewhere.


Is it enough to just stop doing dark patterns?


I think we need to overcompensate for our morally challenged neighbours on Earth. We can’t improve the world just by not doing harm; I think we need to actively do good. We need to be a mensch. So, I’m going to propose at this conference that what we need are ‘Mensch Patterns’ things where the clients/the customers will say wow that was unnecessarily and extremely shockingly cool of them. We need to overcompensate with the opposite of dark patterns. Things we can do to make the customers amazed. One example was Zappos you might have heard when they’re training new employees, during the training process they will pay people $4000 if they quit during their initial training. They do this to make sure that someone really wants to work there and is not doing it just for the money. I also heard that Zappos at least when they first started, they would tell you that they were shipping something by regular delivery and your shoes will arrive in three to five days but then they would actually overnight them anyway. And so, people would go whoa that was much faster than expected. That’s amazing.

Nordstrom: the American clothing retailer has a famously generous return policy that says they loudly announce you can return anything anytime even if you’ve worn it for years. We will always give you a full refund of anything you want to return. So, once it’s apparently a true story, a man brought in a set of used car tires and brought them into Nordstrom for a refund. They’re a clothing store they don’t sell tires, but the manager of the store looked at the price of the tires and what the man wanted. And you know he’s spent $140 on these tires and said all right we will refund your $140 and gave the man £140 and took his old tires. And this story is legend. So, I think that the cost from Nordstrom to do this was £140 but the goodwill generated by this story was priceless. You can find out that the story is told over and over again and now because the story is told like a legend, everybody knows what extremes Nordstrom will go to to refund your purchase, so everybody feels more comfortable shopping at Nordstrom because they used a mensch pattern.

I think you can look for dark patterns in the world and play the what is the opposite of game to think of how you can be remarkably opposite of the evil doers of the world. To be shockingly and remarkably considerate and then tell that story loudly for your competitive advantage. If you want to find more great examples of mensch patterns. Seth Godin, I found, ever since his book Purple Cow which was kind of about this like how to be a remarkably awesome, ever since then his blog is constantly has an ongoing stream of new stories of cool little companies doing things that are shockingly remarkable and cool and generous.

And so lastly you know how talks work and you’re supposed to kind of end with something you began with. So, the mensch pattern I thought I should do since I started out with a dark pattern is, I secretly had two £50 pound notes and these guys will both get one.

Thank you.


Thank you for playing again.

Audience member: I owe you

Derek Sivers: what you owe me £50? All right. You know what keep it, Supermensch. Uber Mensch. Hey all right.

I’ve got more.

We need to two microphones for the audience. So, Mark gave me this one hour slot here from 9 to 10 and I wrote this talk just for this conference and I was rehearsing the talk a few nights ago and went ‘oh sh*t. It’s only 10 minutes long’ and Mark said, ‘that’s okay, you can do some Q and A with the audience!’. I said ‘yeah, but I don’t want to be the expert. I think being an expert is a really harmful mindset, because if everyone acts like I have the answers then I start to think that I do.’ And I think answers are endings and questions are beginnings.

Ask the Audience

So, we are going to do a Q and A and I’ve got a lot of questions for you people. So, we need two microphones. Okay.

First question please raise your hand, why did you come to this conference? Someone please raises your hand.

Audience member: Hi I’m Virginia. Nice to meet you. Because Ed was very very kind in how he pitched me the event. I think he convinced me that it was different, and it is actually different. So it worked!

Audience member: I came Derek, for two reasons; One is because you’ve been shockingly remiss in not coming back to business software since your last visit and it’s been the only way to get to finally see you. The main reason I came is because I am a bit of a snob and I like to hang out with people that are far more intelligent than me and can teach me things and I can constantly learn from them and I hate to be the smartest person in the room and that’s never going to be a problem Business of Software certainly not today.

Mark Littlewood: Could I just jump in the way I do Q and A, normally rather than A and Q, is that you catch my eye and then I’ll make sure that there’s a mic there, so we don’t have a wait. And then someone on the other side of the road puts a hand up and we run around. So catch my eye.

Derek Sivers: and I don’t need to choose anybody who has something to say please pipe up and say it. So next question What is the opposite of advertising?

Audience member: Reputation

Derek Sivers: reputation. Thank you. Good line

Audience member: helping.

Derek Sivers: Helping.

Audience member: The Secret Service

Derek Sivers: Hidden gems and Secret Service. Oh nice. Double meaning. Okay I like.

Audience member: Word of mouth.

Derek Sivers: Sorry?

Audience member: Word of mouth

Derek Sivers: Word of mouth.

Audience member: Dissuading people. Actively pushing them away. Restricting their ability to reach you.

Derek Sivers: Nice.

Audience member: Having a business model.


Derek Sivers: Okay let’s end on that one. Nice. Okay. Would you shut down your company if it was no longer needed?

Several audience members: Yes.

Derek Sivers: Okay. That was easy.

Getting more personal: is your company – the business you’re doing – is this art for you? Like is this personal expression or is it just business?

Audience member: It is [art] because I love doing it. It’s the thing that keeps me from being bored and engaged in life.

Derek Sivers: So, would you do it even if you were the last person on earth.

Audience member: Yes, because what I do is creating frameworks and patterns and I would still do that to give meaning to what to my existence.

Audience member: Yes, it’s the opportunity to create and to build a framework to enable myself to create more and create better.

Derek Sivers: Would you also do it if you were the last person on earth.

Audience member: Yes, but I might change the nature of what it was I was creating but that I’d still be creating and maybe that’s the core of it.

Derek Sivers: So are you doing kind of a hybrid between like scratching your own itch and doing something you want to do but also making it appealing to others and so if there were no others…

Audience member: if it wasn’t scratching the itch, I wouldn’t do it. It’s my itch and other people are also itchy. So that’s helpful. Got a scratch ‘em all.

Audience member: I think this often is quite snobby thing where people talk about, you know, who on their deathbed would say I wish I’d spent more hours at the office. I kind of like spending my time at the office. I don’t regret maybe I am lacking imagination and not having hobbies but that is something I enjoy. So, to answer your question the if you are the last person on earth,  it’s rather hard to manage a team of people. Given that wouldn’t be any or to have any customers but the broad elements of just running a business is a passion. In my view.

Derek Sivers: It’s only I had an old girlfriend of mine from like 20 years ago, I didn’t even remember having this conversation, but we talked for the first time like 20 years later and she asked me that last person on earth question about making music and she said do you remember that conversation we had 20 years ago I said no she said Oh good she said because I’ve been asking everybody about it ever since, 20 years ago I asked you that if you were the last person on earth would you still make music. Do you remember that? I said no. She said well what would you say now? I said yeah of course I would make music if I was last person on earth. She goes and she tears her hair. She’s like I can’t even fathom that! How on earth would you make music if there was nobody else there. I said well how on earth could I not. What else would I do. And she said well we’d realized we had this like different world we were. Ultimately, she said, everything I do is for other people. Well ultimately everything I do is for myself and it just like it’s a different world view. But then that got me thinking about business and I think a lot of people in this room like you said you know it’s my itch. You’re doing things just what you want to do. You know, it’s your passion example. And yeah anyway I just find it interesting to see. It’s perfectly valid to have the completely opposite point of view to say like No no the whole reason I’m doing this business is for other people.

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Audience member: In my case like 20 years ago I suffered severe repetitive stress injury, and it was in the dotcom boom and everyone was creating these great companies and I thought that was the future I couldn’t participate. I was locked out. I started a company. I started researching voice recognition technologies back in 2000 or 1999. It was round then. And basically, I’ve devoted my life to trying to make it seamless for me to interact with computers because I couldn’t do it and I failed. But life’s not so bad. I’m a healthy individual but I cannot press buttons I can’t click mice. You know like it’s a kind of you’re excluded from participation, but you want to participate. It’s like what. So that’s it. It’s my passion. I want to create a product that will enable people who are similar to me to not have that problem. And I’ve not found the solution yet. That’s my story.

Derek Sivers: Thanks.

Mark Littlewood: We’ve got one more one more right. But I probably would think about not running the conference if I was the last person on earth. It would be just pretty sad and lonely conference.

Derek Sivers: You’d just make the shirts. Yeah.

Audience member: Hey Derek. So back to your question. If you’re doing it for passion or so I used to think the same way, where it was an expression of everything I could do. And recently I’ve changed my view because I feel like that’s a little bit egotistical on my part. I should build a company that will outlive me to serve more people. I feel like a balance will be good to somehow take a step back and treat it as a business a little bit sometimes just for its own sake. And then the other question if I would be doing it if I was the last person, no I’d probably try to hunt something.

Derek Sivers: OK so that’s a good transition into I have another question about investors. How do you reconcile having investors? I never had that experience so I’m wondering like is it creepy having other people’s fingers in your creation?

Audience member: So I would take the opposing position so the last time I started a company and just I’ll be brief it was one of those startups that turns out to be a really good life learning and character building experience. Ran about nine and a half months from really good idea to telling my investors that I was just kidding, and they got nothing back and laying off all my co-founders. And the thing that made it worthwhile, and good, was all of the professional investors understood what we did. It was the two friends of mine who put money in that don’t talk to me so much anymore that that I really would have preferred not to have as investors. But you know I think good investors really help you see things because they’re objective and they’re not you. And they tell you things, well sometimes they tell you things that are true, and when they tell you things are true those are useful and the rest of the time you try to ignore it.

Derek Sivers: So, it sounds like, so the good investors are a little more detached

Audience member: Detached and they see a lot of patterns and you know they have investments in other things. And if it doesn’t work out that’s kind of what they expected in most of the cases. Whereas I poured my heart and soul and when I had a fire all my co-founders and go home and lick my wounds and cry, I felt bad about it.

Derek Sivers: So, you weren’t detached. So, you had people that were I guess, you had two attached friends and some detached investors but

Audience member: they’re detached now those friends

Derek Sivers: get into something that you were deeply personal about and that still felt okay?

Audience member: Felt good.

Audience member: We’ve got investors and I think you have to be careful about who you choose and you probably shouldn’t be picking investors because they’re investors all the time – albeit great that they fund your company. You should be careful and be picking investors who are going to deliver you the most value and often they’ve been operaters themselves. What you are saying I guess and can deliver you a lot more than you ever perhaps imagined and maybe you’ve made mistakes that you’re about to and can pre-empt those and things like that. So, it’s all about the value they deliver beyond just the initial cheque for me which is the reason why that great. If you pick the right ones.

Derek Sivers: Okay. So, if you were a painter and an art dealer came by and said do more orange there, or something. Something that most people would say ‘no that’s wrong, get that art dealer out of the room, you’re the artist’. But for business it seems like sometimes it’s okay then to have outside people come in and tell you how to change them because it’s not just art because it’s for others.

Audience member: I don’t think investors should necessarily tell you what to do. They should hear what you want to do and give you their feedback and tell you if they’ve made similar decisions or introduce you to people going through similar experiences. And I advise you as much as tell and that’s a real distinction that I think is important because as you say this is your art, it’s your creation it is your business and ultimately you probably know best or be sure they can deliver you a lot of value and advice along that journey.

Derek Sivers: Cool. Thanks.

Audience member: Derek many of the great artworks that hang in the galleries across Europe were sponsored essentially invested in by noblemen and kings and queens and Duke and Duchesses whatever. So, I figure there’s always going to be a dance with the devil if you like whether you’re an artist or an entrepreneur.

Derek Sivers: Yeah because I mean you can even say Hollywood movies you know they have six writers and they want to make a great movie that is also as popular as can be. It’s not just you know wrenching catharsis from a single person.

Audience member: I think one of the ways I look at having investors is there’s a bit of an overhead for me and the management team and working with them. But what it gives us is the ability to actually carry on trying to make a difference. So, the thing we all got into and believe in would stop happening. We’d lose the ability to make that difference if we didn’t have the investment and then the piece beyond that is there’s 35-40 people that depend on having an income that wouldn’t be there without that investment. They believe in it they’re putting their time in the strength of that team and the quality of those people would fall away without investment backing until we can get to the point where we’re making enough a difference to go it alone.

Derek Sivers: Thanks.

Audience member: I think it’s important to mention that there is a choice, you don’t have to have an investor. So, I have an experience of running a company with investors and without investors it’s a different game. Whether you take investors on or not it’s a choice, but it’s important for people to understand that it will have a dramatic impact on how the business is run, how it is grown, and also what type of business you have. Yes. I just want to mention there is one company who is a huge company today who started without V.C. money and actually got to a very large size without any VC money. And it’s Atlassian. And many of you would know this story about that and how they bootstrapped their own way.

Derek Sivers: how would you describe the difference in feeling between the company you did with and without investor.

Audience member: It’s not that different in feeling it’s a difference in practice because what I found is that investors are a huge resource drain. So, if you have two or three founders and you take on investment take into account that at least half of your time will be spent on getting the investment in and managing the investors once you get them in. Now that’s a whole lot of amount of work on an investment from your resources, instead of painting the painting you will have to spend time explaining your vision, creating this shared vision with investors, and getting them on board, and then later on nurturing them through the many years maybe that you will need them on board. So that’s just you need to choose, and I think that we’ll hear a talk later on today about where to invest your resources. That’s a big investment if you want to take on investors you will have to invest your own time in it.

Audience member: Really great investors don’t tell you what to do. They just ask really good questions that make you think about how you are doing it.

Derek Sivers: Nice.

Audience member: I was just going to make a point very similar to the gentleman the first lady that some of the greatest music in history has been composed by people that were court musicians effectively given an incubation space often by European aristocrats and a whole ton of money just get on with their own creation.

Mark Littlewood: Okay. So, I’m going to do one more one more

Audience member: So, I think you’re kind of asking like what did it feel like to have investors. And we have investors in our company but so did you. And the difference is that our investors some of them gave us cash, but like your co-workers that came to work with you they invested their passion and time in what they were doing and what you were doing. You know your spouse or girlfriend or whatever invested her stress in you doing this project. And so, they’re all investors in your project. And these people just happen to give money and then act a little bit differently. But I think it’s really similar.

Derek Sivers: Nice. Thanks. What is what is the opposite of software?

Paper? Nice.

Audience member: Hardware.

Derek Sivers: Nice

Audience member: Simplicity

Audience member: Human.

Derek Sivers: What is the what is the most interesting new word you’ve learned lately?

Has anyone read the book Art of profitability? Wasn’t it awesome?

That was my only question. Do you remember when Chris Farley interviewed Paul McCartney on Saturday Night Live talk show, he’s like ‘Do you remember the Beatles.’ That was awesome.

Okay so what book about business has changed the way you think about it in a major way.

Audience member: Thinking fast and slow.

Derek Sivers: You think? Really? You apply that to business?

Audience member: every single minute of the day.

Derek Sivers: How so?

Audience member: All the executive teams I work with think they come to work every day believing they are thinking logically and that they’ve gotten all the way there on smarts and every single one of them is completely blind to the biases they bring in and the issues they’ve got.

Audience member: What was the book?

Audience member: It’s Daniel Kahneman’s ‘Thinking fast and slow’. He got a Nobel Prize for it, I think. Pretty good.

Derek Sivers: Mostly yes, it’s mostly a psychology but yeah

Audience member: it’s all about how we think we are rational and all the underlying biases that actually show that we’re not very.

Audience member: Yeah, I guess it’s called The Games People Play by Dr. Eric Byrne. Again, it’s psychology, it’s actually very relationship based it’s about how the games and patterns that we get into when we interact with each other as human beings. And I think that’s just you can’t have a business without other people.

Derek Sivers: Games people play?

Audience member: the games people play. He sort of names a bunch of games and how the different states psychology it’s basically it’s the foundation of modern talk therapy and stuff like that so it’s really really interesting.

Derek Sivers: Thanks Oh by the way in case you’re the one I mentioned earlier, Art of profitability by Adrian Slywotzky to me that was very unique it’s told in a strange storytelling style with chalk drawings and I think it’s a great little book that just gets you thinking about what you’re doing in different ways.

Audience member: Yes, a book called Rest by Alex and I can never pronounce their surname. I find it a wonderful book that talks about rest not being the absence of work. And in order to succeed we don’t need to be working 12-14 hours a day. Actually, it’s hugely beneficial to work deeply and then have breaks, walks in the countryside, to actually let your brain figure out okay what’s the best way forward.

Mark Littlewood: This side clearly reads more than that side. Come on that side! I know what Mark is going to suggest that.

Audience member: The book that really did it for me was Marshall Goldsmith’s ‘The things that got you here won’t get you there’ particularly when I went down the list and tick done that, done, done, done, done. And then I realize you’re not actually. These are the things I’m not supposed to do.

Derek Sivers: Same here I felt like he was hiding under my desk taking notes of what I had been doing and I shouldn’t have been doing that. What got you here won’t get you there. The idea is it takes a certain set of skills to get you from nothing to a certain amount of success, but then to go from that level of success to further success is a completely different set of skills and what happens is people often try to use the same skills that got them here to get them there and you need to completely change your game to get further. Brilliant book. Marshall Goldsmith. What got you here won’t get you there.

Audience member: Nassim Taleb skin in the game skin in the game by Nassim Taleb author of Black Swan and other books, builds on Thinking Fast and Slow in a way it looks at incentives and how they change systems. I particularly like the chapter about soul in the game where he talks about like artisan cheese makers, could you make them more efficient. Yeah for sure but that would take sort of the magic out of what they do and try to apply soul in the game to everything in the way I do business.

Derek Sivers: Skin in the game by Taleb.

Mark Littlewood: This is a really good time to point out – it’s almost like you’ve been reading my mind and working at various different things and we have a reading corner in the networking area. So if you just want a quiet moment, if all of this excitement, and shouting, and questions and answers and all the rest of it gets too much you can go and hang out and read in court other some great books including My eldest daughter’s favourite book which is yours and also Dwayne Jackson’s 4000 days which I thoroughly recommend one of the most entertaining reads ever. And a bunch of I think your books they’re a bunch of other books as well so if you’ve got books that you’ve bought that you want to share with someone bring them along as well. But it’s just a little quiet corner and if people are reading, don’t disturb them! Introvert friendly.

Audience member: So, I would recommend Let My People Go Surfing by the Patagonia founder. Anything actually like the mensch parents like they use a lot of like really good parents like you know helping the environment. And just like treating people really well. So, I really recommend that one.

Derek Sivers: Let My People Go Surfing?

Audience member: Yeah it’s a by the I don’t know like he has a French name I cannot pronounce it right. Yeah but it’s really really good.

Audience member: I’d like to recommend Seth Godin This is marketing. A manifesto for what marketing should be. You know picking your smallest viable audience enrolment not kind of manipulation but actually going to where your customer is and finding a group of people large enough that you know you can serve. Really good.

Derek Sivers: I haven’t read the book yet, but that little idea of the smallest viable audience is pretty profound. Actually, let’s just stop there. Does anybody want my notes from the talk? Okay. They’re all yours. And. Thanks everybody.


 Derek Sivers bos2019 Europe sketch note

Derek Sivers
Derek Sivers

Derek Sivers

Derek Sivers has been a musician, circus performer, entrepreneur, TED speaker, and book publisher. Long ago he started CD Baby, and wrote a great little book about it called “Anything You Want”.

He’s working on three new books, and he tends to share his insights on, so go see for yourself. Originally from California, he moved to Singapore and New Zealand for a few years each before moving to Oxford just this year, we think just to be closer to the Business of Software gang.

More from Derek.

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