Tea Talk: Ben Parr, venture capitalist, advisor, author
For this month’s Tea Talk, we chatted with Benn Parr, venture capitalist, author, columnist, curator, marketing and technology advisor, podcast host and keynote speaker. Needless to say, Ben is a busy guy. We couldn’t wait to learn more about how he juggles it all and what lessons in making an impact he had to impart on all of us. Full interview below.
Location: San Francisco
Job: Author, Venture Capitalist, Columnist, Marketing and Technology Advisor
Hobby / passion project: Scuba Diving!
Life motto: “I have the ability, and thus the responsibility, to change the world for the better.”
Tell us a bit about what you’ve been working on.
In addition to touring the world for my book Captivology and investing in startups, I recently launched three new projects:
1) The Tech Caucus: a weekly newsletter that polls the leaders of the tech industry anonymously to get the pulse of what’s important in tech
2) Oversubscribed with Jason L. Baptiste and Ben Parr: a weekly podcast on tech and media
3) Captivation Marketing: a new online course on the psychology of marketing on Skillshare
Needless to say, you’ve been busy. How do you manage it all?
You recently launched your book Captivology. What motivated you to write it, what will readers take-away?
I was motivated to write Captivology, my book on the science and psychology of attention, because startups kept asking me for help in capturing the attention of customers, investors, and users. Attention manifests in media, customer acquisition, marketing, and so much more. It is the lifeblood of business, and I wanted to teach others how to harness it.
The takeaway is simple: you will learn how to captivate the attention of any audience using psychology and science.
What were a few of your favorite or most impactful findings when writing Captivology?
I loved interviewing some of the greatest attention and business leaders on Planet Earth. I was fortunate to sit down with luminaries like magician David Copperfield (the master at understanding his audience), director Steven Soderbergh, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, and Super Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto (a true genius of game design). Meeting and learning from these people was my great delight in writing Captivology.
We loved the first issue of The Tech Caucus. What do you hope to accomplish with the new newsletter?
I wanted to get a real sense of what the tech industry is thinking, rather than the politically-correct pontifications that typically dominate polite Silicon Valley conversation. The Tech Caucus members are leading VCs, entrepreneurs, and executives from tech’s biggest companies, but all of their quotes and votes are anonymous. This frees them up so they can say how they really feel.
It’s different than any newsletter out there. If you want to know what is really being talked about in tech, you need to read The Tech Caucus.
Captivology has much to do with making one’s mark. What mark do you hope to make on the world?
I hope I can simply live up to my potential.
Finally, what’s your favorite cup of tea?
I’m a religious green tea drinker. I buy blends from my friend, the creator of Leland Tea. In particular: Gone With the Wind and Mandarin Green!
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