Tribe House Blog

Are you stupid?

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Posted : February 20th, 2012 by

A great reminder from CD Baby Founder Derek Sivers that what is obvious to you might be, and probably is, amazing to someone else.

WARNING: If you are extremely secure, not an artist, have no ideas, have never been diagnosed with A.D.D., and have Goliath-like self-worth, don’t bother watching this. It’s a waste of time.



Any creator of anything knows this feeling: You experience someone else’s innovative work. It’s beautiful, brilliant, breath-taking. You’re stunned.Their ideas are unexpected and surprising, but perfect. You think, “I never would have thought of that. How do they even come up with that? It’s genius!” Afterwards, you think, “My ideas are so obvious. I’ll never be as inventive as that.”

I get this feeling often. Amazing booksmusicmovies, or even amazing conversations. I’m in awe at how the creator thinks like that. I’m humbled. But I continue to do my work. I tell my little tales. I share my point of view. Nothing spectacular. Just my ordinary thoughts.

One day someone emailed me and said, “I never would have thought of that. How did you even come up with that? It’s genius!” Of course I disagreed, and explained why it was nothing special. But afterwards, I realized something surprisingly profound: Everybody’s ideas seem obvious to them.

Derek SiversI’ll bet even John Coltrane or Richard Feynman felt that everything they were playing or saying was pretty obvious. So maybe what’s obvious to me is amazing to someone else? Hit songwriters, in interviews, often admit that their most successful hit song was one they thought was just stupid, even not worth recording. We’re clearly a bad judge of our own creations. We should just put it out and let the world decide.

Are you holding back something that seems too obvious to share?

This is an Outtake from the book “Anything You Want” – by Derek Sivers with the original post found here:



Originally a professional musician and circus clown, Derek Sivers created CD Baby in 1998. It became the largest seller of independent music online, with $100M in sales for 150,000 musicians. In 2008, Derek sold CD Baby for $22M, giving the proceeds to a charitable trust for music education. He is a frequent speaker at the TED Conference, with over 5 million views of his talks. In 2011, he published a book which shot to #1 on all of its Amazon categories. Derek Sivers lives in Singapore, where he is creating his next company.

Feature photo credit


2 Responses to Are you stupid?

  1. riv

    thank you thank you! just what i needed to hear right now. well done.. genius actually 😉

  2. Merc

    I never would have thought of that.

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