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Five Questions For Author Daniel Pink

“Daniel H. Pink”: is the author of A Whole New Mind, the groundbreaking guide to surviving, thriving, and finding meaning in an outsourced, automated, upside down world. Dan’s first book, Free Agent Nation, about the growing ranks of people who work for themselves, was a Washington Post non-fiction bestseller and business bestseller in the U.S. and Canada.
He is a Contributing Editor at Wired. His articles on business and technology have also appeared in The New York Times, Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, and other publications.
Dan will be the lunchtime keynote at this year’s Digital Marketing Conference where he will be joined “In Conversation” by Tim Doyle, editor-in-chief of

*One Degree: Is the Internet a cause or a result of our move from left- to right-brained thinking?*
It’s a little of both. My argument is that the scales are tilting — away from the left-brain, logical, linear, rule-based abilities and toward the more right-brain qualities of artistry, empathy, and big picture thinking. The left brain stuff is necessary, but no longer sufficient. And the right brain stuff is the point of differentiation.
The Internet comes in as a cause in two ways. First, it allows companies in the advanced economies to connect for free with people overseas doing routine, left-brain work for a very little cost. Second, the Internet and certain kinds of software allow us to automate many routine, left-brain tasks such as accounting, financial analysis, and even certain kinds of legal work.
*One Degree: Blogs and feeds and search and social software seem to be working together to amplify the web into a sort of “hive mind”. Do you foresee another kind of thinking that will follow your metaphorical left and right brain approaches?*

Interesting question. I’m not sure, actually. I think part of the power of these technologies is that it will allow far-flung, intrinsically motivated people to collaborate with ease — and together produce things the world didn’t know it was missing.
*One Degree: You are a fan of Kevin Kelly’s “We Are The Web”: article in Wired. What did you find so compelling about Kelly’s vision?*
He did a fabulous job of making the case that the most revolutionary impact of the web will be to radically democratize self-expression and innovation. The users are in charge. They — we — are active participants, not a passive audience.
*One Degree: I was fortunate enough to hear you speak at “SXSW”: this year. You gave everyone in the room an advance copy of “A Whole New Mind”: I now hear you’re doing the same thing at the “Digital Marketing Conference”: where you’ll be keynoting on October 20th. Is influencing the influencers a critical part of successful marketing these days?*
Absolutely. Why do you think I’m talking to One Degree?!
*One Degree: Back in 1997 your “Free Agent Nation”: article in Fast Company was a rallying cry for many disaffected office workers. You subsequently turned that idea into “a bestselling book of the same name”: I’m wondering how you feel about the article and book from our vantage point in 2005. Is there anything you wish you’d written differently given the knowledge you have now?*
I wish I’d made more of the corporate ethics concerns people had voiced in their interviews. I have one sentence in the book that says something like, “A surprising number of free agents cited ethics as a reason for leaving corporate America.” One sentence! A little later, Enron, Worldcom, Tyco, and so on exploded. I missed the boat on that one. But I think the ultimate consequence was to further deepen the distrust people have for large organizations — and that will inevitably nudge even more people out on their own.

One Comment

  1. Mitch Joel
    Mitch Joel October 14, 2005

    Great interview – I can’t wait to hear Dan Pink speak, and then read A Whole New Mind on the flight back!
    I hope everyone comes to the Digital Marketing Conference – it is an incredible line-up (who knows maybe Ken and I will have a live Blog battle 😉

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