I would put it on par with Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. In fact, you should think of Katy as the next generation Bob Cialdini–who by the way is my guest next week. Katy covers topics such as impulsivity, procrastination, forgetting, laziness, confidence, and conformity in this book.
I didn’t plan it this way, but the episode starts with a customer reference about our sponsor, the reMarkable Tablet Company. One thing that I’ve learned about good marketing is that you have to take it when you can get it.
I’m Guy Kawasaki. This is Remarkable People. And now here’s the effervescent, charismatic, and intellectual Dr. Katy Milkman, professor, consultant, mom, BFF of Angela Duckworth, and tennis player but not surfer.
Listen to Dr. Katy Milkman on Remarkable People:
I will be live streaming on April 28th at 10 am PT, watch then or catch the replay.
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Thank you for listening and sharing this episode with your community.
Don’t forget to grab a copy of Dr. Milkman’s book, How to Change. It will teach you:
• Why timing can be everything when it comes to making a change • How to turn temptation and inertia into assets that can help you conquer your goals • That giving advice, even if it’s about something you’re struggling with, can help you achieve more
Whether you’re a manager, coach, or teacher aiming to help others change for the better or are struggling to kick-start change yourself, How to Change offers an invaluable, science-based blueprint for achieving your goals, once and for all.
AI transcript of Guy Kawasaki’s Remarkable People podcast with Dr. Katy Milkman
This is an automated transcript. It is sometimes incomplete and inaccurate because of the limitations of transcription services. However, we wanted to provide it for people who have hearing issues or prefer to read the interview.
I’m Guy Kawasaki, and this is Remarkable People. This episode’s remarkable guest is Katy Milkman. She is a professor of operations information and decisions at Wharton. It’s quite a mouthful for a title. She’s also the author of How to Change the Science of Getting From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.
For those of you who are into influence, persuasion, and social psychology, this is required reading. I would put this book on par with Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. In fact, you should think of Katy as the next generation Bob Cialdini. Who, by the way, is my guest next week. Katy covers topics such as impulsivity, procrastination, laziness, confidence, and conformity in this book.
I didn’t plan it this way, but the episode starts with a customer reference about our sponsor, the reMarkable Tablet Company. One thing that I’ve learned about good marketing is that you have to take it when you can get it.
I’m Guy Kawasaki, this is Remarkable People, and now here’s the effervescent, charismatic, intellectual, Katy Milkman, professor, consultant, mom, BFF of Angela Duckworth, and tennis player. But not surfer.
Katy Milkman: Oh my gosh. We’re really loving that tablet. My son, he’s learning to read and speaking of temptation bundling, he loves using it. And so he gets to write his practice letters; we do like a reading exercise every night, and then he gets to go get the tablet and write in it.
And this is like, it went from a battle to he’s just so excited; it’s just like magical toy. So anyway, thank you.
He’s five and yeah, when there will be an adult in the world someday who can read and write better. Thanks to you. So
Guy Kawasaki: Well, you know, five-year-olds are our target market.
Katy Milkman: I love it too, but
Guy Kawasaki: We don’t care why you love it. We don’t care why you love it.
Katy Milkman: It’s more magical than it’s changing his relationship with writing. So that’s really cool.
Guy Kawasaki: The story that most intrigued me in your book is the story of Nick and how he used some service that if he didn’t do these things, like write a book and skateboard, he would have to pay a $14,000 penalty.
Katy Milkman: Nick Winter. Yes. I love that story.
Guy Kawasaki: So, first tell the story then–it’s a great story.
Katy Milkman: It is a great story, and it has a couple things from the book in it because he had a fresh start – he got on a plane, moved cross country, and sort of had an existential crisis as he was going from East to West. And in relocating his life, he thought, “I’m not doing all the things I want to be doing. I’m not accomplishing the things I want to be accomplishing in my life. Isn’t that fun.”
And he decided he was gonna make some big commitments and big changes. He’s going to write a book in the next three months, and he was gonna live more adventurously; he had to go sky diving or a few other components to the living adventurously rollercoaster component.
And so he decided if he was going to do this, he couldn’t just make a goal or tell his friends because he knew he’d back out and needed to have high stakes. So he used a service called Beeminder, a website that let him put money on the line. He put $14,000 on the line, basically everything in his bank account.
He wiped it out with this commitment, or he would have wiped it out if he hadn’t stuck to his goals. And then there’s a referee who holds you accountable. And the question was, could he do it? And he achieved all of his goals in the next three months. In his book, he wrote this book called The Motivation Hacker.
It’s self published but sold something like 20,000 copies if I’m remembering correctly. And I’ll also manage to skydive, which maybe was a bigger accomplishment.
Guy Kawasaki: And if he had paid the $14,000, first of all, why did he pick such a high number? That’s crazy.
Katy Milkman: It was a little crazy. It’s an extreme example. I do love it though. He picked a high number because he knew if it was such a high number that he couldn’t forfeit that money, then there was no way he wasn’t gonna wake up every morning and put his all into achieving that goal. And so, he made it too costly to fail.
Guy Kawasaki: And if he had failed and paid the $14,000, who would have gotten the $14,000?
Katy Milkman: That’s a great question. I don’t remember what it was. It might’ve been the website. All these websites have different setups. The one I’m most familiar with cause I have the, the cofounder come and speak in my MBA class at Wharton every year is, stickK, stickK.com, S T I C K K. The extra K is for contract.
And on that one, you put money on the line and then it goes to charity and a charity of your choice, but they have anti charities to try to make it so that there’s not a silver lining, and you can pick your poison. So, on both sides of the political spectrum You support NRA or you’re pro gun control.
There’s a charity on either side and you can choose the one where it’ll sting the most if you have to forfeit the money to that organization.
Guy Kawasaki: Okay, so, I think I like this idea, but
Katy Milkman: Until you lose $14,000.
Guy Kawasaki: But I mean, that’s, mind-boggling, I don’t know why someone would do that, but first psychological issue I want you to discuss on this. We’re going to stay on this example for a while, if you don’t mind. So, from a motivational factor, is the loss of 14,000 more powerful than if it had been done the opposite way.
Don’t ask me how, but if he had achieved these things, he would have gotten $14,000. What’s a more powerful motivator?
Katy Milkman: Yeah, so Danny Conoman is brilliant work with Amos Tversky has shown that losses loom larger than gains. It’s part of what he won the Nobel prize for about twenty years ago. Some people have estimated that a loss feels about twice as bad as a gain feels good, but others will debate and say that number varies a bit by context, but it’s clear that when I could lose $10, that’s going to sting more and motivate me more than if I have the potential upside of winning $10.
Guy Kawasaki: Now with your buddies company, that’s a different paradigm. We know who the $14,000 would have gone to would have gone to a charity or an anti charity. My mind would say, okay, so, even if I lose, it’ll go to the Red Cross, it’ll go to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. That’s good. So, it would be less motivating, and then, I don’t know about the, “Okay, so if you don’t do it Guy, it’s going to go to the NRA.” I might just renege on that and just say, forget it. I am not
Katy Milkman: It’s too bad.
Guy Kawasaki: Any circumstances. So how do you thread that needle?
Katy Milkman: It’s a great question. I think everybody has their own tolerance for these different kinds of risks. My friend, Dean Carlin, who actually was one of the co-founders of stickK, and who’s done a lot of brilliant research on commitment devices and how useful they can be, has used commitment devices with friends.
And he often puts money on the line that he’ll forfeit to the friend. And that way, he doesn’t want to give his buddy $10,000 or vice versa, but he also doesn’t want to renege. I think everyone has to find their own balance. The key insight is that if you can create some sort of penalty that you will face, if you don’t achieve a goal.
And if it’s ideally, it’s a near term goal that you can be motivated to achieve an even, the next week you can take action on. So the nearer term, the better then that can be really effective as a way to change.
Guy Kawasaki: But wait. So let’s say I do the friend thing. Now there’s negative energy in the universe, my friend is hoping that I fail the challenge. What kind of friend is that?
Katy Milkman: You got to choose a friend who had never hope you fail the challenge. Who is to be disappointed if you have to give them money?
Guy Kawasaki: On the surface, this is a great idea, but when you think about it,
Katy Milkman: You’re right, and they’re tricky components to it. You have to find a way to do it for you. I will say, I find the anti charity, you know, the one I hate, I can do that cause I will not. I know I will just, it will not go to them. They will not get that money.
Guy Kawasaki: So, to, to bring it back to real world example, I love to surf. And one of the skills in surfing is walking to the nose. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen surfing, where people get on the board and they walk to the nose and they do, what’s called hanging five or hanging 10 where your toes are over the tip.
And that is not trivial to do. So I was thinking, as I read your books, I’ll do this. I’ll say “I’ll put a thousand dollars down, and the negative would be if you don’t succeed in walking through the nose Guy, you have to pay the NRA a thousand dollars.” Or I could do a positive where if I w if I don’t walk through the nose, it goes to the Jane Goodall Institute or a friend.
So you think I should do that? Should I try that?
Katy Milkman: Does it feel like it’ll work for you? I think that’s the other thing, like for some people this stick, that’s the way you’re like, it’s a motivation problem like I don’t have the self-control to walk to the nose. Is that what it is? I think a key lesson in the book and from my research is that it depends what technique will work best for you.
Cause it depends what’s holding you back. So is it for you that you’re like, I just don’t have the willpower in the moment and I need to be more motivated by this big chunk of money that I could lose. Is that the problem?
Guy Kawasaki: I don’t know. If I knew I would walk to the nose, but I have a partial idea here. So what I could do is make two things. If I walked to the nose, I give a thousand dollars to the Jane Goodall Institute. I love it. And if I walk to the nose, I don’t give the NRA a thousand dollars. Those are both good outcomes.
Katy Milkman: Yeah, both good outcomes. You basically pay yourself a reward in the form of a charitable donation. I love it. And by the way, why the Jane Goodall Foundation? That sounds to me, I’m a big fan of the, one of the most amazing female scientists in the world, but..
Guy Kawasaki: She’s a personal friend of mine. Yeah, like literally, and I’ve fireside chat hosted her, I’ve been, the foil for her about four or five times. So, yeah, I mean, I get to say that Jane Goodall is a personal friend. How many people can say that? Like seriously?
Katy Milkman: That’s pretty cool. Yeah. That’s like, that’s a life aspiration that you’ve achieved there. I love it.
Guy Kawasaki: If you gave me a choice of, I say, okay, I’m buddies with Elon Musk or I’m buddies with Jane Goodall, I would pick
Katy Milkman: No question. Oh yeah, absolutely. Yeah. That’s an easy one.
Guy Kawasaki: Now in the academic circles, I get to say that Katy Milkman and Bob Cialdini are my friends. I mean, can it get any better than that?
Katy Milkman: I mean, I don’t think so, but I’m a little biased.
Guy Kawasaki: We could add Angela to that list. Yes.
Katy Milkman: There you go. All my favorite people…
Guy Kawasaki: Now I know how to motivate myself to walk to the nose. Do you know, currently, how the Air Force Academy is assigning cadets to squadrons, because this is another great story from your book. So maybe you can tell that the background story there, but then, what’s the current thinking at the Air Force Academy?
Katy Milkman: It is not done with the algorithm that backfired, I can tell you that. So, once upon a time, like many colleges, the Air Force Academy assigned people to rooms and roommates at random, and really creative economist named Scott Corel is a professor at UCSD, who had been an Air Force Academy cadet, actually along with his twin brother was interested in whether or not the person you ended up with, as your freshman roommate, whether or not that affected your outcomes and your grades.
And specifically, he wondered if having a roommate who is a better performer might lift you up and a worst performer might shove you down. And he analyzed the data and found that indeed there was this roommate effect. If you ended up with a roommate by random chance, who had a higher verbal score on the SATs, you did better in school.
And if, if you had one who had lower score, you did worse. So he was super intrigued by this, excited, and also, he wanted to do good for his Alma mater. He saw an opportunity to optimize roommate assignments. So he said, there’s people who sometimes drop out of the Air Force Academy really struggle freshman year.
What if we strategically changed the algorithm? So we assigned them super performing roommates to pull them up and we’ll just like, leave the middling performers together. We’ll take those top folks, pull up the bottom, and leave the middlers together. But now he’s a scientist, so he wanted to prove that this worked and have the data to show every institution around the world; here’s a way you can reduce, drop out, improve freshmen grades for the kids who are at risk. So he randomized who used, who was assigned to a room using his algorithm, and who was assigned just the old fashioned way, just random chance. And he looked for two years at how that affected students’ grades.
And it backfired. He was so sure of what was going to happen; what he found was that the students who had been assigned to those squadrons with that sort of extreme gap between the roommates, the top performers and the ones who were just on the cusp of not getting in, there was this unbridgeable gap.
And they ended up not really interacting the poor students on a hallway ended up clustering and hanging out with each other. The superstar students hung out with each other,and the poor students did worse than they had under the old methodology where they, at least they ended up with somebody who was probably a middling type, on average, who they would feel comfortable interacting with.
So it’s this really powerful lesson. Our peers can lift us up, but it has to be someone who’s within reach, whose successes, whose struggles, whose strategies for doing better or whatever we’re both trying to do, are things that we could relate to and emulate and not someone who’s, stratospherically different.
I think that’s really interesting.
Guy Kawasaki: And do you know what they’re doing currently
Katy Milkman: I think they went back to the old random assignment scheme. That is what that is, what, it was working fine. And this rejiggering just didn’t. Which is what I think most colleges use, maybe they’ll look, there’s like a little, they do a little around the edges to make sure, you know, two people who have really opposing, like sleep schedules don’t end up.
They asked you like a few questions, yeah
Guy Kawasaki: As a professor of, wait, what’s your actual psychology, is it?
Katy Milkman: No, I’m not a psychologist. I’ve never taken a class in psychology, actually.
Guy Kawasaki: What’s your actual, what’s your, what are you professor of?
Katy Milkman: What am I a professor of? I’m a professor of, are you ready for this? It’s a mouthful: Operations, Information, and Decisions at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. How’s that? Can you memorize that?
Guy Kawasaki: Yeah. Yeah, but I mean, when I hear something like that, I think, Oh, so she’s the kind of person who figures out if people should send in a single line for the teller or multiple lines behind each, isn’t that operations research?
Katy Milkman: First of all, I studied that as an undergrad, I have lots of colleagues who study that. I have an operations research degree, from my undergraduate university, but it is not what I study. So lots of my colleagues do, we are a funny department and it was formed. now we’re getting into crazy, but like in the 1960s, there was this revolution in academia.
And there was this idea that like, if we could study humans alongside computers and think of human systems in a similar way, we could revolutionize things. And so, this department was formed with the vision that we’d have people who were studying machines and people, all together, and sprinkling their insights together.
Herb Simon, who’s a Nobel Laureate in economics who was trained as a computer scientist, was one of the people who was an architect of the department. And, all that ended up happening is, we have sort of three subgroups in my department. Some people study like queuing theory and lines on the kind of thing that you imagined.
Some of us study the decisions part, and some people study information systems and technology. Anyway, your listeners may or may not find that interesting, but that is weird. That is where I come from.
Guy Kawasaki: That’s deeper than I want it to go, but, okay.
Katy Milkman: I was going to say, I don’t think you want to know that, but I’m telling you, since you
Guy Kawasaki: Okay. So now this is a semi, well, actually this is a serious question. So, Katy, do you ever fear that too many people are being influenced or change their behavior based on studies of undergraduate students doing things for credit or spending money?
Katy Milkman: You’re asking me to try to throw the whole field of psychology under the bus now. Huh?
Guy Kawasaki: Well, that’s another way of looking at it, but a simple yes or no will suffice.
Katy Milkman: I don’t worry about it a lot. I will say, first of all, my research is almost exclusively not done with undergraduates in a laboratory for spending money, it’s with companies looking at and how, employee behavior or customer behavior and testing things out in the wild. But, I will also say, I think there’s a lot of research showing that the insights that have been generated in the laboratory generally do apply in other places as well.
It sounds very frustrating and I don’t love it either. I also, you know, I’m like the lab is not my home. home, I’m I’m a field researcher, but the evidence does not seem to support all of our skepticism that there’s a real problem with that because it turns out undergraduates are humans and labs are real places and the things that are being studied there mostly do generalize.
Guy Kawasaki: Okay. I’m sure Phil Zimbardo is relieved. I do believe in the prison effect.
Katy Milkman: Well, yeah. Anyway. Yeah, that’s a whole, that’s a whole separate conversation, but anyway, I will, yeah, I believe the labs that the lab is not largely the problem that has made some psychology studies not replicate. We’d go there on a whole other episode.
Guy Kawasaki: So now, let’s get to your book. Well, we’ve been on your book, but now let’s really hone on in here. So first of all, what are the major factors that hinder change?
Katy Milkman: Oh, man, there’s a lot of them. So in the book I talk about the getting started problem, which is just, motivating yourself to begin, temptation and impulsivity, procrastination, which is very closely linked to temptation and impulsivity. There’s forgetting, which I think we under appreciate the challenge of forgetting.
People tend to think that’s not a big one, but then it actually is, it amounts to a lot of our mistakes. And then, of course there’s habit or, inertia; I talk about it as laziness that leads us into these habits and leads us to sort of follow the path of least resistance. And finally, there’s both confidence, which can be a challenge if we don’t have enough of it, and conformity, which can be a challenge if.
When we talked already a little bit about our peers, if we’re conforming to a group of peers, that isn’t filled with role models, that can go poorly. And then finally, there’s, you know, sticking to your goals. That’s another challenge, can you persist so.
Guy Kawasaki: It’s a wonder, we changed at all based on
Katy Milkman: Well? And a lot of us don’t and a lot of us trip up and that’s, why I think it’s so interesting to study and why I felt like writing this book would be worthwhile. Because it’s really hard. Change is really hard. There’s a lot of things that are obstacles.
Guy Kawasaki: Just FYI. I do think it’s a fantastic book and I’d put it in the same category as Bob Cialdini’s Influence, which.
Katy Milkman: That is like the most amazing compliment you could possibly pay me as a
Guy Kawasaki: Well, there you go.
Katy Milkman: Fan of that book.
I teach it every year. It’s like a Bible for anyone who studies this stuff.
Guy Kawasaki: Would you explain how and why a fresh start helps?
Katy Milkman: Yeah, I would love to, this is one of my favorite things in the book and that I’ve ever studied. So, a fresh start is a moment when you feel disconnected from your past failures and like you have a new beginning. So new year’s is the one we’re all familiar with, we all think about New Year’s as the time when people set resolutions and they say like, you know, it’s January 1st, the old me couldn’t quit smoking or kick the habit of ordering too much takeout, but the new me is all over it. I’ve got this, I’ve got the clean slate, I’m going to be able to do this. And we tend to step back and think big picture about our goals at those moments too, and it’s not just New Year’s, that’s the famous one, but there are lots of moments that actually stand out from the ordinary and make us feel like we have a new beginning and there.
They can be small, like a Monday, even Mondays are actually a little bit motivating for people, or the start of a new month, the celebration of our birthday, the start of a new season, if it’s called to your attention, turns out to be something that can be a fresh start. Celebration of holidays, particularly the kinds of holidays that you associate with fresh starts.
If there’s some religious holidays like this there’s, Labor Day, Memorial Day moments that we feel like we’re opening a new chapter, and then there are bigger, fresh starts. So there’s like. There’s fresh starts that aren’t purely psychological for starting your life; you become a parent or, yeah, I don’t know that.
I don’t know if that counts as fresh, but it’s certainly a new beginning,can be fresh. I guess if you’re getting divorced, it was probably a bad situation. So hopefully it’s fresh. I would call the end of this sort of getting vaccinated for a lot of us probably feels, it feels to me like a fresh start.
Yeah, new job, new home, there’s all these moments. Those moments are motivating, and that’s my research and other people’s research has shown that at these kinds of breaking points in our lives, we’re more likely to tackle big goals and it’s easier to break habits, because, again, we have that sense of a clean slate.
And in the case of a physical disruption to your life, not only do you have the psychological benefit of feeling like you have a new beginning, but you literally may have a clean slate, right? If you go to a new job, you don’t have old routines, you don’t have the burrito shop or the donut shop like luring you.
You can start from a clean slate on your eating habits, your exercise habits, your, workplace hygiene habits. So, so they can be really beneficial for both reasons.
Guy Kawasaki: But what if a devil’s advocate says, “Well, around February 15th, people have stopped being on a diet and going to the health club?”
Katy Milkman: First of all. Well, I have two answers to that. One is, that’s why I wrote the rest of the book. So, so, the first chapter of the book talks about getting started and then you got to figure out, okay, well, how do you keep going? There’s a lot more to change than just getting started and having a goal.
But the second answer is I do, and I truly believe this. And I get this question a lot because I get a lot of calls from reporters every New Year’s, having written a lot of research papers about the fresh start effect, and they’re like, “Yeah, isn’t everyone going to fail by February? Isn’t this all a waste of time?”
I really, it’s true that you cannot get anywhere if you don’t try. Right, if you don’t start, there’s literally nowhere you can go. So, even if 90% of new year’s resolutions fail, which I think that’s actually a high estimate, but it’s an estimate I’ve heard, 10% succeed. So that’s pretty awesome – those 10% wouldn’t have gotten anywhere if they hadn’t started. And if we use science and use better techniques, we can lift that number from 10.
Guy Kawasaki: What are the techniques? What’s the science, how do we make change stick?
Katy Milkman: Well, it depends. That’s sort of the key lesson in the book, it depends on what the barriers are. We’ve talked a little bit already about commitment devices and peer effects. Let me jump to, we haven’t talked at all about temptation, and I think that’s actually, there’s a reason that comes early in the book.
So let me talk a little bit about that one, which is a big barrier, present bias is really the barrier, which is that we tend to as humans, and this will not surprise anyone, anyone who’s been looking around and living will notice that we overweight the things that will happen immediately when we’re making choices and underweight the longterm consequences of our actions.
So it, if it will feel good to scream at your kid, but even though that’s not the right thing, you do it. If it will feel better to eat the pizza and the salad for lunch often, even though, you know, you shouldn’t, you give into that temptation, it’ll feel better to sit on the couch and go to the gym that temptation often wins.
So how can we recalibrate and win in the face of this? One of the things that research points to is the potency of actually flipping the script and instead of pursuing our goals with an expectation that we can just push through and achieve and resist temptation, recognizing that we need temptation on our side.
So we actually meet need to make it instantly gratifying to do whatever it is that we want to do. So, I’ll talk about two lines of research that support ways to do this: one is really simple. It’s I L at Fischbach and Caitlin Wooly, two great psychologists study just asking people, you know, if you’re going to go to the gym, randomly assigned half the people are told, do the thing that you find most fun here, the other half, do the thing that will be most effective for your exercise goals.
Same thing with eating healthy, do eat the food that’ll be fun that’s healthy, versus that’ll be most effective. Students trying to do well on and math class, same kind of thing. And what they found over and over again is when people pursue their goals in a way that they’ve been instructed to that’s fun, they persist longer. So that simple insight, just what will make it fun for you might be enough. And then the second part is that I’ve done some research on something I call temptation bundling, which is a very specific strategy for making gold pursuit funds so that it’s instantly gratifying in the temptation is working for you instead of against you.
And the way I do this in my own life is, only let myself enjoy a temptation, like my favorite TV show while I’m exercising. So, that makes it so that I waste less time on, on binge watching the shows that I’m not even going to name cause I feel guilty watching them. It makes it alluring to get that workout in and time flies while I’m doing it.
So, you can do it with exercise, which is how I found it most useful and how I’ve proven it can help people in research, but you can do it with other things too. Like only let yourself listen to your favorite podcast, maybe this one while you’re doing household chores, or pick up your favorite coffee shop treat that’s not so good for you if you’re a student heading to the library. There’s all different ways that we can link something that we enjoy and find tempting, maybe should do less of, with something that’s a bit of a chore and a hook to get us to achieve our goals. So that’s one trick that I think is super useful.
Guy Kawasaki: Funny, you should mention this because I interviewed Bob Cialdini a couple of weeks ago. It seems like May is going to be influence and persuasion month because his book is coming out with version two, 225 new pages, and your book is coming out.
Katy Milkman: That’s fabulous.
Guy Kawasaki: Yeah. And he said that when he puts in a good morning of work, he goes to someplace he’s never eaten before.
And he has dessert. That’s this like his double bonus. so that he’s temptation bundling too, I guess.
Katy Milkman: He’s rewarding himself. Yeah. Those tougher words in a similar way. He’s doing it, it’s slightly different actually, because he is it’s it’s not simultaneous, so he’s yeah, so it’s after, but so you have to, you still have to wait for that temptation. It’s not quite as instantly gratifying, but can be really effective too.
Guy Kawasaki: So he should take his work to the restaurant and do it while he’s eating.
Katy Milkman: That, that would be the ultimate present bias buster.
Guy Kawasaki: I will point that out to him.
Katy Milkman: See how that works.
Guy Kawasaki: I’ll say
Katy Milkman: strategically
Guy Kawasaki: Earlier, you said that laziness is one of the things that is a barrier to change, but in many circumstances, isn’t laziness also a catalyst for change? Doesn’t it help change in some times?
Katy Milkman: It can if we use it . So, probably the most potent tool behavioral scientists have uncovered for changing behavior is the default, which is, something that harnesses laziness for good. So really famous research has been done showing that if you have new employees that accompanied just defaulted into having a portion of every paycheck sent over to their 401k, their retirement savings account, without them having to take any action, they don’t have to sign up, it just happens automatically, but they can opt out.
So they have choice if they don’t want to have it, there’s an easy way to opt out and it’s put right in front of them, but you default them into it, that increases savings right away, overnight, immediately by about 40% relative to inviting them, to check a box and sign up. So there’s all sorts of ways we can use default effects to make life better. There’s a study I talk about also in my book that I found amazing, that was done at the University of Pennsylvania, where I work at the medical school.
They just changed the default way that prescriptions were sent to pharmacies by doctors from whatever the doctor wrote the script for, is what’s sent to whatever is the generic equivalent of their script is sent. And so, that had this huge impact on generic prescribing, which is of course cheaper for the customers, cheaper for the insurance company.
Just sort of better; people and people stick to those generics more because it’s less costly to do that, but law and doctors mean to set prescribed generics and they say they will, but they couldn’t get to it, but because they don’t take the time to uncheck the default box, this magically puts laziness and makes it into an asset.
So there’s all different ways we can set up defaults like that to make laziness and asset for change.
Guy Kawasaki: What about the ethics of exploiting laziness? So, may not be, yeah, this may not be the biggest ethical breach, you sign up for a new service. Let’s say something about enforcing, that you lose a thousand dollars if you don’t walk to the nose, and the default is we’re going to send you our email.
Katy Milkman: Oh yeah, that’s not the worst one. I thought you were going to ask about, I mean, there was a New York Times headline in the last month about, Donald Trump’s where people were defaulted into having a, a donation made every month when they thought they were making a one-time donation.
And it extracted off of their credit card and people thought that was not cool. And there, there are companies that do things like that, right? The auto renewal, I, I don’t think that’s ethical, my colleagues, Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein have written about nudges like this and how powerful they could be.
And they call that sludge when it’s being used to make your life worse instead of better. So, my book is about change for good and focusing on how can we harness these techniques and tools to help ourselves achieve our goals, so that sort of stays out of the ugly underbelly of defaults, but absolutely this can be used for bad purposes.
My hope is that readers will use it for good rather than evil.
Guy Kawasaki: Now, we’re going to go to bank in the Philippines.
And, I found that story very hard to believe, but makes that’s what makes it interesting. So this is about the, you know, you can’t touch your money.
Katy Milkman: Yeah. What about did you find hard to believe?
That it works?
Guy Kawasaki: I mean, well, yeah, I mean, as you wrote, it’s hard to imagine you’re saying to people, “Well, we’re going to put money in a bank and you can’t touch your money.”
Katy Milkman: It is very counterintuitive and it’s hard to sell. I think that’s one of the reasons we don’t see them everywhere. And yet they’re so successful, so yeah, this is a story, it’s a story about research that was done by a team of scientists, Nava, Ashraf, Dean Carlin, and Wesleyan, who had the insight that one of the reasons people who want to save often don’t achieve their savings goals, is that they put money aside, but then something comes up and they’re tempted to dip in, right?
So, oh! But it’s my kid’s birthday or, but there’s this festival coming up and then you go, you take it out, and you’d been meant to accumulate for a big goal and it never accumulates because you keep taking it out again, put it in and take it out again. So, what can we do to deal with that challenge in focus groups and also through introspection? They came up with the idea of locked bank accounts. That might be appealing to some people. So, normally you put money in your account and you can take it out, it earns an interest rate, but you can get it whenever you want. They said, “What if we give you the same exact interest rate, but this is an account that you can’t take money out of until you reach a predetermined savings goal that you set for yourself, or a predetermined date that you set for yourself, you can use it either way.”
And they convinced this bank, Green Bank, to experiment with these accounts, so they randomly assign some customers have access to both the standard bank account and this new commitment account. It’s like a financial chastity belt, and other customers just got the old fashioned bank account. And then they looked to see how did the savings accumulate for these two groups of customers over the next year?
And they found an 80% savings increase in the group that had access to these commitment accounts. And what’s amazing is, not everyone who had access used them. Only about 30% of people found this appealing, but that 30% saved so much, that it amounted to an increase in the savings rate of the whole group of people who were offered these accounts.
Guy Kawasaki: And is this available from any bank? Anywhere? These days?
Katy Milkman: You know,
it’s funny, I don’t know of banks that offer this exact product, but there’s a lot of interesting ways that people create it for themselves, right. By opening, like an account in one bank and another auto deducting, say for my Bank of America straight over my Chase account. And then like, I cut up the Chase account, debit card.
I never checked that balance. I never touched it. I like, have my partner knows the password and the, and then that’s the money just disappearing. And I feel like it’s in a separate place; they don’t see it. I don’t touch it. in a sense, 401k is a little bit like that.
Although, the 401k comes with tax advantages, so it is different than two accounts with the same interest rate. One of which simply can’t be touched. But, I think people create these kinds of structures often for themselves. And I don’t understand why we don’t have more offerings like this in the US, I do think that would be popular.
Guy Kawasaki: I saw a video of Jim Jordan yesterday ripping Tony Faucci because wearing a mask was an infringement on freedom. So if you think wearing a mask is infringing on freedom, imagine if you can’t get to your own money. Oh my God.
Katy Milkman: Well agreed, but to be fair, I mean, that’s what social security is, one. Right, can get your own money in a sense. And then, but second, I would say, I think this is a little different in that people are choosing it. So it, I don’t think anyone complains that you have the right to wear your own mask.
They just don’t, there’s people who are saying like, don’t make me wear one. And a commitment savings account is not, you’re not mandated to use it. It’s just an offer next to your standard savings account. So I think you wouldn’t see those kinds of freedom complaints. Though you could certainly imagine lots of people would be vehemently opposed to ever using one.
Guy Kawasaki: Yes. Probably the people who need to do it the most, ironic,
So we’re going to go to another surfing scenario here, so,
Katy Milkman: Okay. Surfing. This is like for the person who reads my book and it was like another tennis scenario.
Guy Kawasaki: Exactly. Did I not point that out when I read it?
Katy Milkman: You know, I added a footnote because of you. There’s no footnote, like on the second time I talk about my tennis coach. After the Agassi story, I have a footnote. That’s like, don’t worry. This book is not only about tennis. I just set up.
Guy Kawasaki: Did I make the acknowledgements?
Katy Milkman: Yeah. Have you gotten your copy yet?
Katy Milkman: Or maybe they just send you a digital one?
Guy Kawasaki: I have a paper copy. I mean, obviously, I have you know, eight and a half by 11
Katy Milkman: Oh, like you printed it out. Yeah. We’ll get you a real copy. And you’re in the real copy of the final thing you were totally in the acknowledgements, yes.
Guy Kawasaki: All right. I’ve arrived.
Katy Milkman: I think you’d arrived before that.
Guy Kawasaki: So back to the surfing story. So I am not a great surfer, but I am not a beginner and the worst surfer. So there are times where I could give people in the water advice to help them surf. But now, I read your book and I am not going to even think about giving people advice.
Instead, I’m going to ask those people for their advice. Did I get your book right? Is that the right theory?
Katy Milkman: Well, it depends what you’re trying to help, but yes, if your goal is to help those beginners, the, there is this huge benefit. First of all, there’s a skill that you have. So this is a little different, there’s a skill you have, and they may not be able to just teach themselves. If you want someone to learn calculus, you don’t say like, how do you think you should learn calculus?
And then just expect, so it has to be the, the thing that’s holding them back is they don’t feel confident in their own ability, but they have the information they need to get there. But when that is the case, which it is often, like there’s a self-confidence issue or an acting on the set of, tools, you know, you should use issue that, when we give people our advice, we can hurt their confidence.
Whereas when we actually ask them to give mentoring and coaching to a peer who’s struggling to achieve the same goal, we’re putting them on a pedestal, and we’re giving them, a confidence boost. And we’re also leading them to introspect more about what might work in a way that can lead them to have insights they wouldn’t have otherwise had.
And then once they’ve coached someone else with those insights and said, “Hey, you should do it.” There’s the saying is believing effect that leads you to be more likely to want to do it yourself; cause you don’t want to. be a hypocrite. I told you to do this, but I’m not following through. So to the extent that the people you’re trying to coach who are surfing, it’s really a confidence thing and they know how to balance and get up on the wave.
I apologize if I’m using the wrong language here,
Guy Kawasaki: Tennis analogy. .
Katy Milkman: then yeah. Then maybe it’ll help. But for people who, you know, you just need to tell them like, no, put this foot here in that foot there. I’m not sure it’s the right.
Guy Kawasaki: Okay. So the way it would work with me is that, believe it or not, people instead of telling me what I should do to improve, if people would ask me my advice, it would increase my confidence and maybe make me
Katy Milkman: You got it.
Guy Kawasaki: A better surfer
Katy Milkman: Okay. You got it. If you already know how to surf and it’s really just
Guy Kawasaki: Mentally, I do.
Katy Milkman: Yeah, there you go. Yeah. And yet, you could have an advice club, which is something that I have, like other people are about the same level. You’re all trying to get better. And when one of you asks for advice from the other, they offer it, right?
You’re like, I can’t figure out how to do the what’s it called? The five toe?
Guy Kawasaki: Close enough.
Katy Milkman: I’m not a surfer. Okay. So, you’re all trying to get to the hang five. You can, ask each other for advice and then, in coaching and suggesting ideas to them, you may actually drudge up insights that help you.
Guy Kawasaki: That’s another action item based on our interview here. Next question, do you, I take it most of your interviews are not like this.
Katy Milkman: No, but this is great.
Well, so you just learned something that’s fun and all my friends know about me, which is any, like idiom or like thing that’s supposed to be catchy and memorable, I consistently get it wrong.
Guy Kawasaki: Really? You need cues. Yup. Yup. Yup. Do you think that expectations shape outcomes, or outcomes shape expectations?
Katy Milkman: Well, actually I think both.
Guy Kawasaki: Okay.
Katy Milkman: I think both. Yeah, well, both are true, but I think we are more likely to expect that outcomes shape expectations, than that expectations shape outcomes, and recognizing that both matter, can be really important. And so, this is, I talk about the example in the book of the placebo effect and how incredibly powerful it is.
And I think we think of that as a medical phenomenon that, taking a sugar pill, if your doctor prescribes it for you and says, “This will make you better”, actually does make people better 60 to 90% of maladies that it’s been tested with, which is like amazing by the way. We think of that as a medical insight, but it’s actually just an insight in general about the power of our expectations.
And it doesn’t only apply to medicine when we expect something to work in life, when we expect to be able to achieve something in life, we’re more likely to actually make it so.
Guy Kawasaki: And what about the second time you take a placebo? Can’t you make the case that the outcome ie. you got better the first time, has now changed your expectations of what’s going to
Katy Milkman: Totally, there’s all sorts of cycles in any of this. So, and in general, boosts your confidence to have good outcomes. So, absolutely can be virtuous cycles there.
Guy Kawasaki: How do you recover from failure, as you’re trying to change?
Katy Milkman: I think this is the biggest, most important topic, honestly, in the science of behavior change because every single one of us stumbles, and the big thing is how do you get up and not give up? And I think, we only know a little, I think I’m going to spend the next 20 years chasing more answers on this, to be honest, maybe 50 years, hopefully I’m gonna have a long life and a long career.
Hopefully not just 20. So there’s.
Be chasing the answer,
Guy Kawasaki: You’re going to figure this out after I’m dead, okay.
Katy Milkman: Or I may never figure it out. We know a lot already, but I just think there’s a lot more to know. I’m actually, we already talked about the fresh start effect and that is really related cause the sort of like looking for those moments that will give you a renewed sense that you can do it and you can put your failures behind you, that’s part of why the fresh start effect works. I also talked about this wonderful research in the book by, Marissa Sharif, who is my colleague at Wharton on, I call them now mulligans, she called them emergency reserves. And it came from her own experience where she’s a runner, a really avid runner.
She likes to run seven days a week and she knows that, setting ambitious goals is better. So seven days a week is better than five days a week for her motivation if she’s going for that. But, she also realizes that sometimes life gets in the way, and she’s not going to be able to actually make it.
And she doesn’t, didn’t want to become totally de-motivated, there’s something called the what-the-hell-effect. That’s a well known and well studied phenomenon where you’re trying to achieve a goal, you have a small failure, and you go, “Oh, what the hell?” And you give up. So it’s been studied among dieters, right?
Like you have a doughnut for breakfast and then you get, “Oh, what the heck?” And you have pizza and pie for lunch and the whole thing’s out the window. So, how could she balance those two things? She wanted to have a tough, ambitious goal that would motivate her, but also recognize that there were going to be setbacks.
And she came up with this idea of giving herself two emergency reserves a week. So, she’s aiming for seven, but she has two emergency reserves; if something comes up as she just can’t run that day, she sort of calls it one. She’s uses one of her cards, and she can still achieve her goal for the week, even if she has to use those two emergency reserves.
But at the beginning of the week, she’s really unlikely to use them. Cause she’s really nervous she’ll need them later in the week, and she finds most weeks, she doesn’t use them at all. Cause she’s so reticent to actually, take those chits. And she’s now done research showing that this is a really effective tool that if, she was, did one study where she was paying people to accomplish a small task, as many days a week as possible; she gave some the goal do it seven days a week, others, the goal do it five days a week.
And then finally, a third group, do it seven days a week but you get these two emergency reserves where you can get out of jail free if you don’t make it and achieve your goal. And that group, the one with the emergency reserves, did the best of all by a wide margin. And it really, it gives you that high bar, you’re really pushing towards that high goal, which is the best thing you can do, but you don’t give up on yourself when you have a small failure, which is inevitable.
You have a plan, you are able to use this card and say like, “Okay, I’m still on track” and keep on going. So I think thinking about how we can give ourselves all those tough goals with emergency reserves and mulligans, it can be really powerful way we can recover from failure. Just one of them though.
I think we need more tools than that.
Guy Kawasaki: Do the chits rollover? So if I don’t use one, one week, I get three the next week? And 52?
Katy Milkman: No, they don’t.
No. No it’s not like vacation days. They expire, yeah. And I think that’s important, right? Because if you ended up having, if you have too many and there’s like this delicate balance clearly, and I think that’s something that is, needs to be studied further, but, yeah, if you have too many, then you’re in a simply not get enough done.
Guy Kawasaki: Then in my case, it’ll be the, what-the-hell-effect is conflicting with I-gotta-pay-a-thousand-dollars-to-the-NRA-effect.
Katy Milkman: True. So true. Okay, I am going to I’m supposed to be somewhere at two so I’m going quick note. I’m good to keep going. No, I just, I’m realizing I’m going to send a really quick text message to my two o’clock.
Guy Kawasaki: is it the New York Times?
Katy Milkman: No, it’s, it is two brilliant academics, both of whom you’ll want to have on this show someday.
Guy Kawasaki: I’d rather get them while they’re unknown.
Katy Milkman: I’ll tell you about them in just a second. Hold on. I’m so sorry. I’m like the slowest typer ever.
Guy Kawasaki: I can run a commercial right here. I’ll be like the, the CNN and the Calm This Okay, I’m
Katy Milkman: sorry. No, I’m a slow texter. Okay. The person who I’m talking to is , literally you should have him on your show immediately can get him, his name is Sendhil Mullainathan. He wrote this book called Scarcity:Why Having Too Little Means So Much? He’s a, he was a Harvard econ professor, he’s a MacArthur Genius award winner,
he’s like a university professor at the University of Chicago. He’s like recently sort of reinvented himself as more of a computer scientist than an economist. He’s just like, the smartest, most magical person. And I have this
Guy Kawasaki: Just text him now!
Katy Milkman: I will, I’ll tell him, I’ll tell him, I’ll tell him you’re next.
I’ll send him your way. I’ll say, I’ll send an email connecting you. He’s like literally the most amazing person to to. And somehow, I get an hour to talk about ideas with him a week and it’s like the best, but he knows it’s book land time and he will, he’ll give me more time later.
I get to take them all again.
Guy Kawasaki: He can be my third MacArthur Award winner cause I’ve had Stephen Wolfram, and Angela Duckworth.
Katy Milkman: You will love Sendhil, and you’ll, actually, you guys would be, you would have so much fun. He’s such a funny, interesting, brilliant human being. I’m telling you, I admire him so much. My students are like, what’s wrong with you? Anyway, I will, send him your way.
Guy Kawasaki: I’m going to, I’m going to ask him for his advice. So it builds up his self-confidence.
Okay. Okay. I’m going to rip through some final questions. All right? So this is the practical and tactical. Cause I don’t want to cut into your MacArthur Award time. So, Katy Milkman, how do you get more people to get vaccinated?
Katy Milkman: Oh my God.
Guy Kawasaki: You got sixty seconds.
Katy Milkman: One thing that my team and I have found is that, if you text message people that there’s a shot waiting for them or reserved for them, they’re more likely to actually show up at their pharmacy or their doctor’s office ready to get a vaccination; we’ve done this with flu shots, but the psychology should port over here.
And the idea is, it has something to do with the endowment effect. Once you feel like something belongs to you, you actually value it more and it feels like the default. And of course, I’m going to go ahead and do that. It feels easier as well. So, one thing we could do is be, text messaging everyone that we’ve got these shots reserved for them, we should also, frankly, be just giving them appointments.
Everyone should be given, “here’s a date and time we’ve already set aside for you, we’ve got a shot reserved for you, it’s at a convenient location right near your home.” And, of course you can reschedule if this doesn’t work, but now you’ve already got that appointment, that should also increase vaccinations.
We’ve seen that at works in other contexts. And finally let’s convey, “Hey, everybody’s doing it”, which is true. And the numbers are growing, and the enthusiasm about vaccines is growing, if you look at the polls more and more people are excited to get their vaccines. And when you think, “Hey, everyone else is doing it”, that normalizes that and makes it more attractive to you too.
Guy Kawasaki: Okay. Well, I would think that something like Kaiser could do that because Kaiser has my email and my phone number, so they could send me a thing that says, “Guy, we have a shot reserved for you.” Although right now, there’s an excess demand for shots.
Katy Milkman: It’s going to change soon. Maybe even by the time this airs.
Guy Kawasaki: Yes. Yes. Knock on wood.
Okay. Second question. How do I lose weight?
Katy Milkman: Carefully.
Guy Kawasaki: Thanks, I’ll write that down.
Katy Milkman: Exercise any less, there’s a lot of techniques in the book that I hope can help with that. And it really does depend on what the challenges, but I think this idea of make it fun is really important actually for weight loss, because, it’s such a chore to eat things that don’t taste good.
And it’s such a chore for many people to exercise. If you can find ways to get the exercise you need, they’re enjoyable with a friend, going to Zumba class, going for beautiful bike rides, temptation bundling. And if you can find foods that are good for you, but that you really enjoy eating and drinking like smoothies, and if you find a kale Caesar salad that really does it for you, maybe.
Guy Kawasaki: That’s an oxymoron, but, okay.
Katy Milkman: Yeah. You have to find the foods that are good for you, but that you also really enjoy because it has to be instantly gratifying or else you’re going to quit.
Guy Kawasaki: Okay, how do we get more people to vote?
Katy Milkman: That is a great question too. You’re asking me hard ones. There’s really wonderful research showing that if you ask people to plan the date and time when they will get to the polls, and you know, how are you going to get there? And, what are you going to be doing right before?
And are you going to, you can drive, you can take a bus, getting people to make that plan with all those details, leads to less flake out, more voters show up, which is by the way, why so many politicians now are asking you to make a voting plan. Because this research has been, has been proven so effective.
Guy Kawasaki: Wait, so, the governor, the state of California asked me to make a plan, or Joe Biden asked me to make plan, or Donald Trump asked me to make a plan?
Katy Milkman: Well, probably not the state of California, but the candidates, because they’re the ones who care the most, it seems, about voter turnout. And they’re probably asking their base, but everybody now knows to ask their base to make a plan. So that’s a really common technique.
There’s also research that you might find a little more distasteful that shows another way to do it, which is telling you that all your neighbors are going to find out whether you voted or not. Because voting records are a matter or a public information; it turns out that a single piece of mail.
They are, not who you voted for, but whether you voted. And a single piece of mail, just telling you your vote, your neighbors will find out who you voted for cause I’m going to let them know and proving that they had the wherewithal to do this by showing you everybody in the neighborhood’s voting histories, increased voter turnout by eight percentage points in a Michigan election, which is the single largest impact a piece of junk mail has ever had on election turnout.
So, that’s another way you could do it but if you’re a political candidate, you better be aware that people are going to be furious after that. They may not vote for you. They will vote, but probably for your opponent.
Guy Kawasaki: So if, also the way to do that is, let’s, so let’s say you’re running against, I don’t know, pick somebody at random, like Ted Cruz. So you’re running against Ted Cruz, and you send people a text, email, or a letter saying that it’s coming from Ted Cruz with the analysis that “We’re going to tell people you didn’t vote.”
Katy Milkman: That would be very effective and very unethical.
Guy Kawasaki: So you get them to vote,
Katy Milkman: I’m not a big fan of Ted Cruz, but I still don’t feel comfortable with that.
Guy Kawasaki: Okay. Well, all right. Maybe we’ll take that part out of the podcast. Now, from your perspective, what do you think the effects will be of our friends in Georgia, ostensibly making it harder to vote?
Katy Milkman: I hate that our friends in Georgia have made it harder to vote. My read of the evidence is that, it may not be a huge suppression effect that we all fear because people will be so fired up and ticked off about it, that it seems like that may override. And that does not make it okay. Totally not okay.
And we need to overturn those, those barriers.
Guy Kawasaki: There could be the mother of all unintended consequences.
I don’t think there’s research showing that voter suppression backfires, rather that it just sometimes ends up not mattering because of the countervailing forces that are mustered against it. That doesn’t mean it isn’t costly because it’s expensive than the money that’s spent on mobilizing; the extra money, is a waste, and it’s unethical.
But I’m like, just consuming the news like you are, and my read of what’s being said by economists, who I respect, is that it may not have the huge negative effect we think it will. Because, historically, these kinds of voter suppression laws are then met by a countervailing forces that are strong and don’t override, but maybe compensate for them.
Guy Kawasaki: If I were Coca-Cola, which owns various brands of bottled water. Now let’s take the whole plastics issue, put that aside for a second. So the way I interpret this, you can’t give water to somebody standing in line, but couldn’t Coca-Cola say, “Come down to the safe where we’re giving everybody water.” So you can take your own water when you’re standing in line and being suppressed.
Katy Milkman: Yes, there are all sorts of ways that we can work around these kinds of awful systems. And I think people will be creative about it, and that’s exactly why it may not be as effective, that plus the momentum that will be built around countering
this challenge. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay. We shouldn’t be wasting our time countering this bologna.
Guy Kawasaki: But it may turn out to be a mixed blessing for Stacey Abrams. You never know.
Katy Milkman: Time, only time will tell. You know, there’s never been a test quite like this, so it’s a unique situation and we’ll see. Anyway, I’m very upset about it in spite of what I’m hearing from people I respect saying that it may not be as bad as I think, but I think it’s unacceptable.
Guy Kawasaki: It’s reprehensible. Yes. Okay. My last question. So, this podcast is sponsored by the reMarkable Tablet Company. You already know that, you already have a tablet. And one of the key selling points of the reMarkable Tablet is, it enables you to focus because you can’t check email, social media, and it can’t do all the other stuff. You and your son, all you can do is take notes and write. The question that we pose for every guest is, how do you do your deepest and best thinking?
Katy Milkman: This is going to sound strange.
Guy Kawasaki: Compared to what?
Katy Milkman: Well, it’s not that strange. It’s not like in a tree house, like, I do my deepest and best thinking with someone else who I admire, who is a thought partner. I’m not good at thinking alone. I’m very good at thinking with someone who’s a friend and who, I, whose intellect I respect and all of my best work comes from brainstorming sessions with other people.
But not with the internet open. So it is deep and focused. It’s like two minds in a room, maybe with a whiteboard, just talking about ideas; that’s where I do my best work, is bouncing and reflecting with someone who thinks fast and clearly, and, and who I enjoy being with.
Guy Kawasaki: So this is like you and Angela Duckworth hanging out?
Katy Milkman: Yeah, that’s for example, one of my favorite ideating partners in the world.
Guy Kawasaki: From outer space, you could see the glow coming from that room, if you and Angela
Katy Milkman: That’s a nice thing
Guy Kawasaki: That is, oh, it’s a compliment. No, it really was.
Katy Milkman: I will say we have lots of fun and I think we’ve had some great ideas and I hope we’ll have many more.
Guy Kawasaki: She was on this obviously. And she was great, but can I just, you got time for like a really funny story? So, so I wrote to Angela, I don’t know, nine months ago, just, info to angeladuckworth.com. No answer, right? And then, I have a theory that I default to. Yes. So I, more or less, I say yes to every request
if someone wants me as a guest, okay. So I say yes, and I don’t, you know, I like, I point them to my Calendly and they schedule it. Then I, I get on at the time. Often, I don’t know who the hell I’m talking to because there’s so many of these things going on, I just get on. And so I get on, and it was this podcaster, you know, we’re looking at each other and something like squad gassed or whatever.
And I say, “So what’s your background?” She goes, “Oh, I’m a 13 year old girl in Alabama or Arkansas. And I have a podcast.” I introduced you to her, remember?
Katy Milkman: And I did her podcast and fun–
Guy Kawasaki: Yeah. And so, I didn’t know who she was, I don’t know if she has five listeners or 5 million listeners. And so, I do this podcast, and at the end, I say, well, who else have you had?
Cause I’m thinking now why did I just do this? Okay. And she says, “Well, a couple of weeks ago I had Angela Duckworth.” I said, “What? You had Angela Duckworth?” She goes, “Yeah.” I said, “Can you introduce me to her?” And so this 13 year old girl from Arkansas or Alabama or someplace, cc’s me on an email to Angela Duckworth.
And that’s how I got the Angela Duckworth.
Katy Milkman: That sounds about right. Angela is totally committed to helping kids thrive. That is her, top level goal in life. I know she responds to every email she gets from a high school student or younger.
Right, well you’re not a kid. You’re not that mission.
Guy Kawasaki: So, that’s my–
Katy Milkman: I love that Angela Duckworth story. That’s great.
Guy Kawasaki: Next time you see her and you’re white boarding something, you can tell her that. So
Katy Milkman: Well, mostly I see her on zoom these days, being four blocks away but tell her
Since I don’t have a MacArthur Award, if they ever gave a MacArthur Award for podcasting, I hope I’m on the short list. But anyway…
Totally on the short list.
Guy Kawasaki: So I will let you go now. As always, it’s been delightful, Katy.
Katy Milkman: This has been delightful. Thank you inviting me on the show. Again.
Guy Kawasaki: Send my best to your son.
I will do that, thank you for the wonderful tablet. It was so fun to chat. You are now like a family name. He knows who you are, and he thinks you’re the best. So anyway, thank you for that.
Guy Kawasaki: As long as he doesn’t think that I wrote Rich Dad, Poor Dad.
Katy Milkman: He just thinks you’re the guy who made writing fun. So that’s very good.
Guy Kawasaki: Okay, there you have it. Katy Milkman. professor, Wharton, author, mom, tennis player, but not surfer. No one’s perfect. I hope you enjoyed her take on how to change. Be sure to check out her book, it just got out.
Please do me a favor. Send a text or an email to someone who would enjoy this podcast. I would really appreciate that. I’m Guy Kawasaki, and this is Remarkable People.
My thanks to Jeff Sieh and Peg Fitzpatrick, who teach me how to change, every week. All the best to you. Mahalo and aloha.
Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool. Formerly, he was an advisor to the Motorola business unit of Google and chief evangelist of Apple. He is also the author of The Art of Social Media, The Art of the Start, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur, Enchantment, and nine other books. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.