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    • As trite as this sounds, I think an interesting question for him might be what his favorite question to ask people is...I don't think you can get to the level of knowledge he has without asking people a lot of questions, and I bet he has some favorites.

      I'd also be interested to hear more about what he means by "terror" -- when I think of terror, I think of debilitating fear, but I don't think that's what he means, since debilitation isn't very helpful for difficult new ventures. I might just have my definitions wrong, though...

    • Jesse, I had the same reaction when he said "terror" and asked him about that. He said he organized a small conference called EAT, which was an acronym for envy, admiration, and terror—the three forces he thinks are most important in achieving great things. He said when terror gets paralyzing, it stops you, but if you can muster the confidence in your idea, it pushes you to extraordinary levels.

      It's funny, because we think of leadership as calm under pressure, but I remember how Steve Jobs was always nervous Nellie, calling in the middle of the night because something was scaring him.

      As far as the question goes, here's a fascinating 2-minute clip of him addressing questions.

      And some quotes from his book:

    • I read Phil Knight's book. He used to phone his father at night and, while talking to his father, rock himself from side to side ( from what I remember, read the book a while ago). Poing being, he was under enormous stress / terror every day until the company went public.

    • Wasn't that an amazing book?!! I remember hearing Steve Jobs say several times that you can tell a lot about a company by the heroes that it keeps. He used Nike as an example, their heroes were athletes. He said shoes are a commodity (I never figured out why he thought that) and Nike elevated them into something else by putting ads featuring Michael Jordan in their commercials.

      I didn't know until I read the book what you pointed out: that he was terrified a lot of the time.

    • he walked a tightrope for years -

      Borrowing to buy shoes - selling them then borrowing more -

      And the vicious circle continued... talk about pressure !!! Don’t know how he did it

    • I said I'd comment on his latest book, Understanding Understanding. He said on the phone that he dictated the parts of the book he wrote into his iPhone. You can tell as you read it that it sounds like a transcription of how he speaks. I kinda liked that.

      The design, tho. He gave huge credit to Jenn Shore, a young recent grad who did the design production. It's incredible. The design, the photos, illustrations, quotes in the sidebars. Someone said in their Amazon 5-star review (all the reviews are 5-star) "it's the only coffee table book you'll ever need."

    • Hey Chris, I am glad you got back in touch with Richard! I hope that it helped in your search for how to bring great conversations into the information age. I am rooting for you guys in this journey!

    • And public conversations are best when they happen between two people with a third acting as the conscience of the conversation.

      It is worth dissecting "conscience", like Ryan has done here. My interpretation is a concept in psychology known as triangulation. It is the idea that "intellectual jazz" when under stress can become unstable, but a third person brings stability to the duality of egos.

    • Kiko, a day after the call and I'm starting to question some things about what I heard. I deeply respect him but he made it clear his comfort zone is person-to-person. So, for example, he would say two people looking at each other and one serving as semi-invisible conscience is best.

      But is it for panel conversations on the Internet? He has never tried them. Think of how much fun some channels are in Slack with 10 people chiming in.

    • If you're not terrified, you're probably not pushing hard enough. I mentioned to him that I have started companies before and it was terrifying in the beginning, and at times as they grew. He said you have to be confident enough in the idea to handle the terror, but no terror means you aren't trying something hard enough. Significant things are hard.

      Love this. Profound and extremely true.