#163 Andy Budd, Design Thinker & Founder of Clearleft: Favorite Books, Lessons Learned as a Designer, Superpowers, and More

On the latest episode of 20 Minute Playbook, we interview one of the world’s leading design thinkers, Clearleft founder Andy Budd, to decode what he’s mastered and what he’s learned along the way.
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August 13, 2023
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#163 Andy Budd, Design Thinker & Founder of Clearleft: Favorite Books, Lessons Learned as a Designer, Superpowers, and More


On the latest episode of 20 Minute Playbook, we interview one of the world’s leading design thinkers, Clearleft founder Andy Budd, to decode what he’s mastered and what he’s learned along the way. From his design principles to his favorite books, superpowers, biggest lessons learned, we cover it all in 20 minutes.


Daniel Scrivner (00:00):

Andy Budd, I am so thrilled to have you on 20 Minute Playbook. Thank you so much for coming on and for joining me.

Andy Budd (00:04):

My pleasure. I'm really excited to jump in and answer some of your questions.

Daniel Scrivner (00:09):

So where I'd love to start, we're going to kind of jump into the deep end. So thank you for going ahead and doing that with me. But where I wanted to start is kind of talking about your day. And the way I typically ask this question is if people listening could shadow you for a day from the moment you wake up until you go to bed, as creepy as that might be, what would they see and what would they be most surprised by in terms of just how you live your life or how you do your days?

Andy Budd (00:30):

Well, that's a great question because I've actually got a pretty sort of fixed daily routine. I wake up at 2:30 AM every morning and do 45 minutes of meditation. My first workout starts about 4:40. I then have three turkey burgers, sweet potatoes, and a protein shake. I do a round of golf, I eat 10 Turkey meatballs, and then jump in the cryo chamber for recovery. Hold on, wait a second. Sorry. No, that's not me. That's Mark Wahlberg. No, no, no, that's definitely not me. That doesn't sound like me at all. No, I don't have a particularly exciting kind of routine. I kind of wake up at sort of 6:37. I might try and get out and do a little bit of a walk around the block to try and get some light in my eyes, help to reset the circadian rhythms. If I'm feeling good, if I'm in a good routine I might do some exercise in the morning.


I got some kettlebells, chin-up bars and stuff like that. But actually at the moment I've been a bit slack, so my training regime has kind of gone off the boil. Sometimes I go for swim, sometimes I do a little bit of rock climbing, but really it kind of depends at the moment, depending on my mood. I usually kind of have a pretty simple breakfast, get sort of stuck in about 8:30 and my day is basically just hopping on calls. I'm an advisor, I'm a coach. I think previously to the pandemic I'd have been up and down in London having lots of in person meetings. But these days it is really just kind of video calls, bit of a break, catch up, review what I'm going to be doing next video call. Yeah. So pretty standard stuff really.

Daniel Scrivner (01:55):

Is there anything you do to... I'm guessing during some of these calls there might be moments where you want to reflect or where you want to take time or where you want to try to process something. Is there anything that you do, whether it's going out for a walk, to try to help jog your mind when you're stuck on a problem and thinking about something?

Andy Budd (02:15):

My kind of day or my week actually is lots of little nuggets these days. Back in the day, when I was running an agency I was much deeper involved in project work, and I think going for walks and that kind of stuff is really helpful. These days, because I guess a lot of my value is in sharing my knowledge and experience with people, I feel that I have to consume lots of books. Unfortunately, I don't really seem to have the time or the head space to do as much text reading as possible. So I typically have my Wednesdays as a walking in the country day. I go for a three, four-hour hike. I'll stick an Audible on, usually at a two or three X speed, and I'll kind of consume a whole bunch of books. And so if one of my port cos is struggling with a problem around growth or a problem around positioning, I might find the book that is the canonical subject matter, kind of consume that, maybe watch some videos, maybe read some articles so that when I have that conversation with them I'm kind of up to the latest thinking. So that's probably the main thing I do in that respect.

Daniel Scrivner (03:19):

Yeah. Maybe asking a very different question, what sorts of values and standards do you bring to your work and your life every single day? So if now you're in this kind of wonderful phase of life of giving back, how do you try to show up in the moment and what's important to you about how you show up for your teams and the companies that you work with?

Andy Budd (03:37):

I mean, again, it's an interesting question, and it might have a kind of North America, Californian sort of slant. I think I'm a particularly sort of British kind of interviewee, so I don't have some kind of life mantra. I don't have a poster with my 10 values or some hawks sweeping down from a mountain and live life minute by minute, tattooed on my arm or anything like that I'm afraid. But if you were to press me, I'd say I probably have quite a Daoist outlook on life. And when I say Daoist, I don't mean like Web3 dow. I mean kind of like Daoist philosophy. I'm a fairly calm and balanced person. I generally don't lose my temper or my rag as you'd say in the UK. This really helped me with a couple of my hobbies. I'm a flyer, a pilot and a cave diver and the last thing you want to do is kind of panic when you are a hundred foot underwater or 2000 feet in the air and something goes wrong.


So I'm pretty kind of levelheaded. People talk about this quality of equanimity, and I think I've got quite a lot of equanimity. I think that really helps if you are a founder. And I think it really also helps if you are going into tense situations, if I'm working with founders who are struggling with a thing. If you are able to approach it calmly and take a lot of the negative emotions out, I think that can be really, really helpful and keeping your head basically. I am passionate about what I do. I want the work I do to always be to a very high standard. So I think as a lot of designers I'm a perfectionist. However, at the same time over the years I've learned to become a pragmatist as well. I've realized that nothing is ever perfect. I think I meet a lot of designers who every time they release a thing, it's 80% better than what was there before, or 80% to where they want it to be.


But rather than celebrate the 80%, they mourn the 20% that could have been. I kind of want to do better next time. I want it to be 85 or 87 or 88. I know that perfection is usually impossible. And so I think I have that pragmatic realization that I shouldn't kind of live in the past or kind of live in the future, which I think is this again, this sort of Daoist thing. I guess in my day to day life, I tend to prioritize experiences over things. I'll happily spend money on a nice meal with friends or a good holiday or an experience sort of flying or diving or climbing or whatever. But I agonize over spending money on things like a new TV or new laptop. So I guess, yeah, that's sort of me in a nutshell, I guess.

Daniel Scrivner (06:00):

On the Daoist bit, I guess something I'm always curious when people talk about that is whether that was something that you've just always had that's maybe a part of your upbringing, just a part of your disposition as a person or whether it's something you've had to develop. Talk a little bit about that.

Andy Budd (06:16):

That's a really interesting question and honestly I don't know. I mean, my brothers who are older than me went to university I guess in the seventies and discovered Daoism and Buddhism and had all these books kicking around at home. And so when I was growing up I kind of read them, and I'm not religious and so I see these things as more of a philosophy or a way of life. But I kind of read a lot about Buddhism and this sort of idea of life is suffering and nirvana is about breaking this chain of suffering. And a lot of Buddhists will try and avoid spicy food or wearing... The Buddhist monks will wear saffron robes to kind of mimic the robes of the dead because they want to be longing for things. And it sounded really interesting, but it also to me just sounded quite a kind of dull, neutral existence.


But I can understand if you're constantly longing for things, if you have a great meal and then the next day you are constantly thinking about the meal or you don't have a meal and then you're hungry. So when I read Daoism, the I Ching, the Dao De Jing, I kind of just liked the philosophy of accepting these things but not dwelling on them. It's kind of meditation really. An idea comes into your head, you recognize the idea and you let it go. And I'm not a big meditator. I'm not a big kind of spiritualist at all, but I just like the idea that being too much in the past, too much in the future, longing for stuff is going to keep you in a constant state of disappointment.


So I quite like to let life flow through me and not attach myself to things. And so that's also I think why the experiences rather than the physical things attract me. I've got no idea how much of this is upbringing, how much of this is reading these kind of books as a child. But I think I tend to have a fairly even keel amongst life and tend to not get too attached and not get too depressed by whether life doesn't go my way. So yeah, I can't really answer that question partly because I'm not thinking about the past or overly obsessing about the future. I'm just where I am now. So weirdly, your question within it contains maybe the answer.

Daniel Scrivner (08:23):

Yeah, no, I mean, if you didn't have an answer for it, whatever answer you just gave I think is fascinating because I think it covers on a lot of interesting pieces. I want to ask a very different question and talk a little bit about some of your background in design and design leadership. You're incredibly well respected design leader and thinker. What do you think most people get wrong or misunderstand about design? And one of the ways I wanted to try to ask that question is what are some of the biggest misconceptions both in people, because designers work with engineers, product managers, a whole host of people within a company and within companies? I know it's somewhat deep and broad.

Andy Budd (08:56):

I mean, this is the perennial problem. This is the problem that every designer has every single day getting up, going to work, and repeating is that most people's view of design is what they can see. It's aesthetic. So people look at a nice thing and go, "Oh, that's pretty, that's design." What most people don't realize is the work and effort and the thinking that goes into producing that physical, beautiful asset. And actually how design isn't just about how something looks, it's about how something works and about how people experience it. And the sort of really good designers are not just doing visual design. They're doing interaction design. They're understanding how people flow through a system. They're doing experience design to understanding what the experience is going to be like of using a product and service. But all of that stuff gets lost. And I think that's a real shame.


I speak to a lot of founders who when I suggest, "Hey, you should think about getting a designer." "Well, we don't need a designer yet because we're still figuring out what the product needs to do." And you're like that's what design does. Their model of design is often, "Well hey, we figure out what it does. We get the engineers to build it, and then we get the designers come in to make it look pretty." And yeah, sure, you can do that, but you are missing 80% of what the value the designers can bring. Designers, I think... I love engineers, and engineers have a real... They love pulling apart products to understand how they work.


Designers do that as well, but they're about pulling apart people. They're about pulling apart an understanding what makes people tick. And so having somebody on the team that can understand what makes people tick and create a solution that meets their needs, I think is gold. And actually, I often argue that designers are usually, or at least design, is the source of product market fit. And if you didn't have a designer on board, then you are unnecessarily reducing your ability to reach that product market fit as quickly as possible.

Daniel Scrivner (10:54):

Yeah. I mean, I totally agree with the way that you framed it up and this idea that design is brought in at the end almost to take what we've made and make it look great, just add a coat of paint on it. How do you think that we change that perception and get people to understand that design needs to be further upstream? Because it almost seems in many ways like something that could never happen or at least will only happen in a small percentage of companies.

Andy Budd (11:16):

And again, this is a thing with a lot of my coaching clients, their big thing is wanting to get their organizations to appreciate design more. I think the challenge is, what we do is we try and prove it intellectually. We'll put that big deck together once a year, opportunity to pitch to the CEO, and we pepper it with quotes from Jared Spool, from graphs that go up to the right showing how design focused companies perform better. And we'll have a picture of an iPod or a iPad or a Nest thermostat and we'll go, "Hey, can't you see the obvious thing that's in front of you?" And the answer usually is, "Well, that's great, but we're not an FTSE or kind of S&P 500 company. We're not Apple, we're not Airbnb. This has no relevance to us, and we're not buying into your high thesis," because it's usually highly theoretical.


The best way to demonstrate it is to show value. The best way to demonstrate it is to be that designer that joins the team and helps the founder solve the problems they didn't realize design could solve. They thought they needed to hire an engineering manager or they needed to hire a product manager, they needed to hire a marketing person or a go to market specialist. And suddenly they're amazed, "Wow, I didn't realize that that designers did this." I think this is one of the reasons why design sprints have become so popular. I think a lot of executives see design sprints as a way of cutting down budget because it's like, "Hey, this thing that used to take us six weeks, we can do it in a week." But what ends up happening is those executives come to design sprint, they see all the stuff the designers are doing. "Wow, they're doing research. Oh, they're testing prototypes. Oh, they're testing hypothesis. Oh, they're doing workshops, they're building maps, they're modeling."


And actually the visual design stuff usually is on day sort three, four, five. And even once they've done that, then we're going out and we're testing it with the market. And suddenly you see these light bulbs pop over executive's heads going, "Oh wow, if this is what designers actually do, I can see how they can add value over here. I can see how they can add value in helping us figure out what the next problem is we're going to solve, what the next product is we're going to deliver. Help us figure out this go to market strategy, this tricky problem." Because I think at the end of the day, design is a... People talk about design thinking, and there is a process and a way of approaching a problem that is very unique to designers that I think executive teams often miss and designers can kind of bring that approach, which they're still struggling to kind of solve. So yeah, that would be my answer I guess.

Daniel Scrivner (13:47):

Yeah, that was brilliant. I'd love to talk about areas where you have an edge or a superpower. And the way I want to ask this is if you were to zoom out and think about yourself objectively, I know it's always difficult to do, what do you think of as your edges or superpowers and how do those help you day to day? Or how do those show up in your life and your work?

Andy Budd (14:04):

I'm not really sure I have a superpower, but I think I'm a pretty good communicator. I think I take complex ideas and can present them in ways that mean to people and storytelling. I speak at a lot of conferences. I'm usually not the most knowledgeable person on the subject. I'm usually not the most experienced person on the subject and the most published person on the subject. But what I can do is I can present that information in a way that kind of lands and resonates. And I think being a good communicator is a great skill to have, whether you are a designer, a PM, an entrepreneur, because a lot of, I think, the day to day challenges we face in our workspace is an inability to really communicate our value, our vision, our output. And actually a lot of the roadblocks, a lot of the misunderstandings, a lot of the things that slow us down are because the picture I had in my head, I've been unable to communicate to that next person.


And I think this is another reason why designers have a superpower, because designers are often able to extract that vision in a visual way and then play it back to the person and say, "Hey look, you've said you wanted X, here's what X looks like. Is that what meets your needs?" And that person goes, "Actually that's not why I was thinking. I was thinking something else." And so being able to visualize what a group of people are thinking and then point at it and saying, "Is this what you meant?" Is a really, really powerful tool. I think the other thing is being a good communicator, I'm probably quite a good connector. Through my history of running conferences and events and meeting people at conferences and events, running meetups, running dinners, running kind of retreats, I've been able to build up a really, really strong network of people.


I've also got a pretty decent, I mean not kind of crazy level of social media followers, but I've got about sort of 60K followers on Twitter, which means that when people ask me a question, if I don't know the answer, I've got a pool of people I can ask. I've got my community I can ask. I've got a leadership Slack community, about 3000 heads, directors, and VPs. I've got a group of people. So someone says, "Hey Andy, look, what do you know about growth design?" I can give them the kind of cliff notes and TLDR, but I can say, "Oh, but I know the person that wrote the book about that." If someone asked me about design systems, "Well, I've got a rough idea of how that works, but hey, I can introduce you to Brad who created Atomic Design."


And so being that kind of connector, and I think that is a really, really useful tool as a design leader or a founder to be honest. Because I think as a founder, we also need to be talent scouts. No matter how good your idea is, if you don't have the team behind you to get it over the line, you are going to struggle. You're going to really have a hard time. And so being able to spot talent in your network, have other people in your network raise that talent up to you, I think is a real important skill. So yeah, I think the power of my network and the power connections and my communication skills are probably the things I'd say have got me to where I am today.

Daniel Scrivner (17:07):

I'd love to talk a little bit about books. It's one of my favorite things to talk about. You kind of referenced it earlier that you're in this phase of life where you're trying to be much more intentional about reading as much as you can. And so the questions I wanted to ask is if you could share any books that have had an impact, and this could be anything. This could be fiction, nonfiction, whatever, that have had an impact on the way you work, your life, or the way you see the world. And I think specifically within that, if there are any books around design or product or just creating something wonderful, could be books about craftsmanship, that you'd recommend to people listening.

Andy Budd (17:38):

Yeah, so I think the kind of designers that I associate with and like, the kind of user centered designers have always had a real interest in human behavior. That's why we're called user centered designers. And so psychology plays a big part of that. And many of my friends who are designers that have been doing this for 20, 30 years actually came from a psychology background. So there's not a specific single book I would say, but there's definitely a genre of books, which is the area of behavioral economics, where human behavior meets commerce. And I find that particularly in my sort of late twenties, early thirties, I found myself consuming all of the key books in that field. Influence by Cialdini is a classic. Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely, Nudge by Richard Thaler, The Call of the Mall by Paco Underhill, and The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz are all classic kind of books that kind of explain how our view of how we think people will behave often isn't how they behave.


When we think about people as rational actors, then they'll behave one way. But actually people often behave in very different ways. And I think I see a lot of early startup teams are driven by engineers, and engineers are often rational actors, are often very, very logical. And they have a certain belief around how people will use the product. And I think it's fascinating what happens when that belief meets, where rubber hits the road where people talk about where strategy meets kind of the enemy. I often see this and the best way of seeing this is in a usability study. You have a whole bunch of engineers behind a glass wall. You have a user that comes in and tries to use these engineers, beautifully crafted, logical system. "Hey, anyone could use it. It's discord. It's Macedon. This stuff is easy. I'm an engineer, I spend all my time in this. I'm a super user. I know how everything works. Anyone else should be able to do this."


And then the first user comes in and struggles, and the people behind the glass are laughing. "Where did you get this idiot from?" Then the next person comes in and they're laughing, but they're laughing a little bit less. Then the third person comes in, and then the light bulb starts to go and hold on. Okay. Maybe they're not the problem. Maybe we're the problem. Maybe we haven't thought through it properly. Maybe we haven't understood how our perfectly logical language, 'cause we know what this particular word means in a technical context. Maybe the people who are using this for the first time and the second or third time don't understand that. Maybe because we are in the system and we use it every day, we have a superpower, a super user level understanding. But if you actually only use this product once a week, once a month, or even just for half an hour, an hour a day, you don't know how it's put together. You don't understand the code base, you don't understand the architecture. And why would you?


And a lot of the time, again, I think it still happens to this day. A lot of organizations will expose their business logic or expose their organizational structure to users thinking that the users should be able to navigate through this and they often don't. And so I think it often takes this kind of contact with users to make people go, "Oh, we have a problem." And so this is also often where design comes in sadly. I do meet companies that are started by founders that are designers, but very frequently I find designers are bought in maybe a year, 18 months after the product has kind of launched because they're suddenly realizing that all of this hockey stick growth that we thought would happen isn't happening. And it isn't because the code isn't fast or beautifully commented or performant, and it's not because we didn't have the right features. It's because people just can't for the life of you understand and navigate through this system.

Daniel Scrivner (21:16):

I'd love to switch tact and go back and talk a little bit about your design background. One of the things that you've done is you've run an incredible number of design conferences. You brought together thousands and thousands of people around the globe at a number of incredible events. And so I wanted to ask two questions around that. And the first one is, if you have a favorite talk or a favorite speaker that comes to mind as you think back over all the conferences you've put together and/or if there's a favorite moment or story that you can share.

Andy Budd (21:42):

I mean, I guess, yeah, I've got two of those. I think one of my favorite talks is one, probably from about 15, 20 years ago. I think maybe South by Southwest 2005 or 2006. And it was my now friend Jeff Veen, who worked at a company called Adaptive Path and then started Typekit, which was sold to Adobe and now is a VC as well. And he gave a talk, which I think was titled something along the lines of great designers steel. The title itself was pretty irrelevant really. But this is a talk that over the course of three or four years I must have seen five or six times. And a lot of people when they go to conferences, they get a little bit snippy if someone is recycling the talk. But I found that each time I saw this talk, I was in a different head space.


I was solving different problems, different challenges, and something different and new every time jumped out to me. Some kind of insight that I hadn't been able to absorb before. And I kind of realized that a lot of the stuff around conferences, a lot of people go to conferences thinking that the job is to hoover up points of knowledge, and all I need to do is have enough points of knowledge. If I remember all the things that have been said, then that's enough. Whereas when I sort of started listening to Jeff Veen's talk, what would happen is it would start firing connections in my brain. And they weren't even necessarily about the thing he was saying. Sometimes it was a turn of phrase or kind of an aside, but it had this kind of effect of joining all my synapses here and go, "Wow, I've had some kind of insight that I didn't have before."


And so for me, it's that process of insights. And so I think I can... Just as you can see a comedian, a funny film dozens of times and still find it hilarious, I think a really, really well crafted talk can speak to you at different points in your life. And so for me, Jeff's talk was one that kind of opened up the power of a really, really good presentation to me. In terms of my own experiences with the conferences I've run, I've seen lots of amazing speakers, but one that stands out was a Disney animator, a legendary Disney animator called Glen Keane. And he gave a talk at UX London maybe six or seven years ago. And his talk was just so emotionally charged in an uplifting way that by the end of it almost the whole audience was in tears, including myself. I had to get up on stage... I'm kind of tearing up a little bit even thinking about it.


I had to get up on stage after this sort of emotional journey and sort of say thank you. And I was kind of like my voice was wavering or whatever. And it was partly, I think, well two things really. I think first of all, being a Disney animator, he was a masterful storyteller, so was just able to tell the story of a career, a whole lifelong career. This was somebody who was maybe in their sixties and seventies, and he got up on stage and he demoed 3D virtual painting tools using an Oculus Rift that he was working on now. It was like I think it gave the whole audience this idea that, "Hey look," 'cause I think a lot of people, a lot of designers were going through some kind of midlife crisis thinking, "I'm 30, I'm 40, what am I going to do?"


And so seeing this kind of 60, 70 year old designer who was still in their prime, who was still using cutting edge technology and was able to demonstrate their enthusiasm and lust for life, I think made everybody in the audience go, "Wow, if I could be half that person at their age, I'm going to be happy with my career." So that was a really, really uplifting moment for me.

Daniel Scrivner (24:59):

Yeah, those are wonderful. I'm going to find those. I'm going to do my best to find those and see if we can link to both of those talks, a transcript or video in the show notes. People can find that at outlieracademy.com. I want to ask two closing questions. You've been so generous. This has been so much fun. And the first one is I'm going to kind of ask the impossible, which is if you were to try to distill your ironclad principles around design, the things you've learned that are timeless, that aren't going to change, and just be able to briefly impart those on people listening, what would those principles or rules be?

Andy Budd (25:32):

I mean, that is a really surprisingly hard question, which is it's tough because you'd thought, "Okay, you've been doing this for 20, 30 years, you should kind of be an encyclopedia of all these rules." But actually there's this idea in learning where you move from unconsciously incompetent to consciously incompetent, which is like, "I don't know what I didn't know," to now, "I kind of do know what I don't know, but I'm still not very good at it," to consciously competent, which is when you are learning all these things and you are learning the names of all of the psychological kind of behaviors. You're learning all the names of the different kind of techniques. But after a number of years, you move into the space that's called unconsciously competent, which is where you have internalized all of this knowledge to a point where you are really good at doing the thing, but actually it becomes really, really hard to go, "Well, what was that psychological technique you do X, Y, and Z?" Because it's not been sort of filed in the random access of your brain.


It's kind of deeply pushed down into your core ability. It's a little bit like driving. When you are just learning your driving test or flying, you are aware of all the things, mirror, signal maneuver, you know what every kind of sign means perfectly. Once you've been doing it for 20 years and someone kind of asks you to describe and teach you how to drive, it's often hard because it's been internalized. So I don't have any pithy answers to that, I'm afraid, but I don't want to leave your audience feeling shortchanged. So I think there are two really good books that kind of tackle this well. I think the first book is a classic. It's quite old now, but it's called the Universal Principles of Design. And in this book there are 50, 60 kind of core truths around design that if you read it... As a designer, you go, "Yep, yep, yep, yep. That all makes sense."


And some of it's to do with proximity, some of it's to do with kind of positioning, location, some of it's to do with more kind of abstract thoughts. And then the other book, which I think is really brilliant, which is related to that is 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School, which is a lovely little kind of stocking filler for any of your kind of audience that have a designer in their life. And basically it's just each page is a little sketch and a little kind of insight that the architect would've had from learning about that. It's about space planning and positioning and how people flow through a system. And those two books I think are really, really interesting. There's another book which is called A Pattern Language, which is similar to 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School, which is actually where engineers get the term patterns from.


So yeah, an architecture book called A Pattern Language, which is really interesting. And then there's another book, last book, which the name escapes me at the moment, but it's by a guy called Ken Watanabe. And it's a beautiful book that's almost like a book that's aimed at children, but it teaches children a design thinking process. It's almost like a philosophical book. I think it's called Problem Solving 101 or something like that. And I think those four books, if you wanted to get a real underpinning of the psychology and practice of design, those books would kind of set you instead really well.

Daniel Scrivner (28:33):

Yeah. I will find that Ken Watanabe book, figure out what the title is and make sure we link to that. I was just going to say on the 101 Things I Learned, I bought that book, it's actually part of now a whole series and basically every other book that you can buy in that series is just as incredible. There's one about cooking school. There's one actually that I found fascinating around law school, and if you've ever... For anyone who's done venture capital, for anyone who's done, I guess, anything involving law, you start to get curious about actually what the heck is law. What does that look like? And what are some of the principles? And that's one of the best books I found that you can read on that. So anyways, huge plus one to that book in that whole series. Last question, if you could go back to the start of your childhood or the start of your career and whisper a few words of wisdom or reminder in your ear, what would you tell your younger self and is there any advice you would give them?

Andy Budd (29:23):

Oh yeah, I've got one, which is buy Apple stock. Does it matter if you feel it's overvalued?

Daniel Scrivner (29:28):

It's true. It's true.

Andy Budd (29:30):

If you look at it and go, "Well, this is crazy, this is never going to go higher," it will go higher. But other than that, no. I mean, again, in all honesty, I think I did pretty well. I think I've turned out pretty well. So I kind of don't want to go back in time in some kind weird, creepy sort of Biff Tannen way and try and tell my kind of younger self, "I've got to get the almanac, I've got to do X, Y, Z." But again, I think that goes back to the thing we were saying about kind of Daoism, about not regretting past choices or worrying overly about future choices.


Like I am where I am. I think I turned out pretty well, and I actually think if I did go back in time and whisper into my era about a thing, I'll probably mess it all up. That whole kind of going back on time, accidentally sort of wandering off the path, standing on the wrong kind of butterfly. And when you come back into the future, suddenly the Germans won the war or dinosaurs didn't exist, and so I'm kind of perfectly happy where I am, to be honest.

Daniel Scrivner (30:24):

Don't touch it. It's worked out great so far. Well, thank you so much. It's a perfect note to end on. I really appreciate you spending time and joining me. So thank you, Andy.

Andy Budd (30:32):

My pleasure.

On Outlier Academy, Daniel Scrivner explores the tactics, routines, and habits of world-class performers working at the edge—in business, investing, entertainment, and more. In each episode, he decodes what they've mastered and what they've learned along the way. Start learning from the world’s best today. 

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Daniel Scrivner and Mighty Publishing LLC own the copyright in and to all content in and transcripts of the Outlier Academy podcast, with all rights reserved, including Daniel’s right of publicity.

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