“It turns out that writing Tetris on your calculator doesn’t actually win you the cheerleaders.”
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In this episode, I talk to my old friend Nick Ganju about ping pong, poker, hit songs, and tackling my most feared subject (oh, the suspense!).
He makes complex subjects seem simple, which is a rare gift. Nick is one of the few people I consistently ask for advice when trying to acquire tough skills.
Nick is the founder and CTO of ZocDoc, which allows you to find doctors and immediately book appointments online. As CTO, he is responsible for overseeing all software development. It’s a huge job for one of the fastest-growing startups in the US (6+ million monthly users, $95M+ in funding raised to date), and he’s repeatedly proven himself to be a master teacher.
- Listen to it on iTunes.
- Stream by clicking here.
- Download it as an MP3 by right-clicking here and choosing “save as.”
This podcast is brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. Did you know I used 99Designs to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body? Here are some of the impressive results.
This episode is also brought to you by ExOfficio, which I’ve personally used since 2005 or so. They make ultra-lightweight, quick drying, antimicrobial clothing for men and women. Here’s my own ultra-light packing list (scroll down for video), which went viral.
QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: Have you overcome subjects or skills you initially found super-intimidating? What was the key moment? Please share in the comments.
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Scroll below for links and show notes…
Selected Links from the Episode
- War Games
- The Birthdate Problem
- Long Term Capital Management
- SMART Goals
- Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug
- Michel Thomas – Rapid Language Learning
- How to Measure Anything by Douglas Hubbard
- The Handshake Grip – Ping Pong Skills
- Loss Aversion
- Sunken Cost Fallacy
- List of Cognitive Biases
- Secrets of Power Negotiating
- Getting to Yes
- Getting Past No
- Across the Universe
- Connect with Nick on LinkedIn
- Axis of Awesome – The 1-5-6-4 – How to write a hit song
- ZocDoc stats [6:34]
- Rewinding the clock, comfort with computer science and global thermo-nuclear war [10:44]
- What makes the University of Illinois a top computer science school [14:04]
- “Coachablity” of computer languages and thoughts for those starting in computer science [16:14]
- How to make it easier to develop high-level math and computer science skills [21:44]
- Resources and books for optimizing your math/emotional intelligence skills [28:44]
- Setting objective goals and how Monsters Inc. can help [30:14]
- How to encourage measurable goal selection and tracking within your team [38:14]
- Excel spreadsheets? [44:14]
- Nick Ganju’s favorite movie [53:14]
- Skill acquisition and the glory of ping pong [55:29]
- How to practice ping pong when no one is around, plus the most common mistakes [1:02:44]
- The daily rituals of Nick Ganju [1:05:44]
- What it means to rid yourself of cognitive biases [1:06:29]
- Cognitive Biases and how to price anchor like a god [1:11:14]
- The Bill Gates-like life plan [1:16:04]
- Rapid Fire Questions: Punchable, frequent plays, and how to get people hooked on music. [1:17:39]
- Advice for the 20-year old Nick Ganju, or anyone seeking to rapidly develop business skills [1:25:14]
- Choosing your fist gig or your next gig -> How to get started [1:27:14]
Posted on: November 21, 2014.
Please check out Tribe of Mentors, my newest book, which shares short, tactical life advice from 100+ world-class performers. Many of the world's most famous entrepreneurs, athletes, investors, poker players, and artists are part of the book. The tips and strategies in Tribe of Mentors have already changed my life, and I hope the same for you. Click here for a sample chapter and full details. Roughly 90% of the guests have never appeared on my podcast.
Who was interviewed? Here's a very partial list: tech icons (founders of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Craigslist, Pinterest, Spotify, Salesforce, Dropbox, and more), Jimmy Fallon, Arianna Huffington, Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York), Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ben Stiller, Maurice Ashley (first African-American Grandmaster of chess), Brené Brown (researcher and bestselling author), Rick Rubin (legendary music producer), Temple Grandin (animal behavior expert and autism activist), Franklin Leonard (The Black List), Dara Torres (12-time Olympic medalist in swimming), David Lynch (director), Kelly Slater (surfing legend), Bozoma Saint John (Beats/Apple/Uber), Lewis Cantley (famed cancer researcher), Maria Sharapova, Chris Anderson (curator of TED), Terry Crews, Greg Norman (golf icon), Vitalik Buterin (creator of Ethereum), and nearly 100 more. Check it all out by clicking here.