Derek Sivers is writer, entrepreneur, programmer, musician, and student. He lived in NYC as a musician before creating and founding CD Baby in 1998. CD Baby eventually went onto be a leading seller of independent music online and he sold the company ten years later, in 2008 for $22 Million. And what did he do? He gave the proceeds to a charitable trust for music education.
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Derek Sivers has one of the most popular TED Talks “How to Start a Movement,” which alone has amassed over 5 million views. In his TALK he details how we all focus on leadership in life and business, but in reality it’s about being “the first follower,” and that following is critical when starting a movement. If you haven’t watched the video, it’s worth a view: www.ted.com/talks/derek_sivers_…ovement?language=en
After amassing over $100 Million in sales at CD Baby for over 150,000 musicians, Derek sold the company and currently lives in New Zealand. He is both a father and business man and we candidly talk about both family and work.
We talk about how people can find “the compass in your gut,” and that you need to be honest with yourself about what works for you. That compass can move in two directions and often people don’t take inventory about what is 1) thriving in their life or 2) what is draining them.
After selling CD Baby in 2008, Derek realized that he had spent the better part of his life focused on making money. And that when we focus on different parts of our lives, like making money, finding romance, pursuing a skill, freedom or seeking intellectual stimulation – sometimes things change and that he needed to update his priorities.
For him, making money had runs its course. It was something that he focused on from the ages of 18-38, and he had to break the habit of doing things for money. Which is of course a great problem to have. Now at 42, he is a father and his priorities have changed.
Listen to our interview with TechStars Founder Brad Feld for my influencer economy stories. And for other authors like Derek Sivers, listen to best-selling self-published author James Altucher’s story in the influencer economy.
Derek believes that we all have control of our lives. At CD Baby over 85 people reported to him and he was frustrated about life. And his friend called him out and say “you don’t have to do anything in life. There will be consequences, but you don’t have to do anything.” And Derek felt a deeper understanding that he could control his life. He believes that people who feel trapped need to realize they have control of their life.
Derek is a writer and his book “Anything You Want” is a universal best-seller. Derek puts himself out there as a blogger and writer, and has published over 34 books. He first got into writing when musicians asked him for advice when he was at CD Baby. He started writing and found his voice over time.
Overall his writing is conversational in tone and Derek aims to be useful to other people. It’s easy to lay low and hide out and not put yourself on the line, but that’s not very useful to others. People often lay low and wonder why the world isn’t rewarding them with cash an fame. Overall you need to put yourself out there and add value to the world.
Anything You Want, Derek’s best selling book is on Amazon.