Holloway Editione1.1.1Updated September 14, 2022
You’re reading an excerpt of Stop Asking Questions, by Andrew Warner, a veteran podcast host of 2000+ episodes. The book explains how to lead high-impact interviews and learn anything from anyone. Master the craft of interviewing with this complete digital package. Purchase now for lifetime access to the book and extensive audio and video resources.
This book and the interviews it’s based on couldn’t have happened without the support, mentorship, and hard work of the people who helped me through it all.
Without the Damn Gravity Media team, this book wouldn’t have been as good and hardly anyone would have known about it. I’m especially grateful to Ben Putano, the founder, who has talked with me practically every weekday since we started working together. Thank you for spending hours at your laptop telling people about my book and pushing me to stop being shy about promoting it. I don’t know how you could be such a calm, encouraging coach with all the work you have on your plate. Thank you.
John Hernandez, thanks for turning the ideas in this book into content that spreads. My Twitter account never had as much action before you.
To the Holloway team—especially Joshua Levy and editor Carolyn Turgeon—thank you for helping me turn this book into something much more—an interactive digital resource for interviewers and conversationalists.
Thank you, Seth Godin and Tim Ferriss, for being some of my earliest guests. For years, every single one of my interview requests included a line about how you two did interviews with me. You helped me land great interviewees.
Paul Graham and Jessica Livingston, thank you for letting me promote my early interviews on Hacker News and introducing me to Y Combinator founders to interview. Your community created a solid foundation for me to build mine on.
Jason Fried, when I started charging for my interviews it felt like a world of criticism hit me online. Your supportive message kept me from backing down and helped me turn interviewing from a passion project to a business.
Jeremy Kareken, thank you for analyzing my interview transcripts with me in the hunt for the perfect questions and helping me realize that asking questions isn’t the only way to get answers.
Noah Kagan, thanks for introducing me to your seemingly infinite number of friends. How do you know so many people?!
Neil Patel, when my site wasn’t optimized and you got tired of telling me how to fix it, you took my username and password and fixed it yourself. Thanks for always being the person I could trust with my private information and jumping in to help so many times.
Arie Desormeaux, I once learned about a friend and interview guest who cried during their pre-interview with you. He thanked me for finding a producer who was so good at tapping into old memories. When I asked you why you didn’t tell me about this, you said it happens too often to tell me every time. You have a gift for conversations. I’m lucky to have you at my side, shaping the stories we publish on Mixergy.
Andrea Schumann, you started out taking on small tasks at Mixergy and were always so good at your work. Over the years, you’ve done every job at the company. Thank you for keeping the company going and being someone I could count on.
Sachit Gupta, thanks for seeing our revenue and saying, “Andrew, you can do better.” Then taking on the work of growing that revenue.
To the producers who’ve worked on Mixergy, you were responsible for preparing Silicon Valley’s top founders to tell their stories and building an audience to hear them. Thank you, Giang Biscan, David Saint, AnneMarie Ward, Brian Benson, Tristan De Montebello, Joe Garcia, Rebecca Lay, Adrian Palma, Tam Pham, and Megan Johnson.
Jeremy Weisz, I used to get frustrated when you told me after each interview, “Yeah, but let’s see how it could have been better,” and “We need to talk every week.” I thought I didn’t have time. I’m glad you pushed me to make time.
Thank you, Michael and Marisela Khalili, for running Mixergy better than I ever could.
Bob Hiler, on our weekly calls you helped me understand that I needed to put a proper structure behind the loose collection of habits that formed Mixergy. The podcast couldn’t have grown without you, and neither could I.
Rachel Kersten, you always had a better sense of the business side of content creation than I did. Thank you for professionalizing it.
Listeners who listened to my podcast over the years heard me mention several times that I was writing a book, but I could never sit down long enough to actually finish it. Then COVID-19 hit and Robbie Abed asked me to write a chapter for his book. He then encouraged me to keep writing and introduced me to people who could help. Thank you, Robbie.
Merry Sun, this book wouldn’t have been finished if you hadn’t gotten on calls with me every week to check on my progress, give me feedback, and guide me. Thank you for not quitting on me on all those times I said I needed to stop writing.
Ryan Holiday, I wanted support when I told you this book was too much work and I wanted to hire a ghostwriter. Thanks for giving me tough love instead. Writing it myself was the tougher, but better, approach.
Thank you, Taylor Jacobson and everyone at Focusmate. Whenever I needed to stay focused on writing, I’d start a session and instantly have a stranger to keep me going remotely via webcam on my phone.
To Chemda of the Keith and the Girl podcast, for showing me how powerful podcasts can be by sending me photos of fans with your logo tattooed on them.
To Mom and Dad. When my grade school teachers complained to you that I was a jack-in-the-box who couldn’t sit still in class, instead of telling me I had to sit down, you asked the teachers if they’d allow me to have a desk in the back of their classes so my occasional need to stand up wouldn’t disturb the other students. Thanks for always showing me that I don’t have to accept the rules.
Thank you, River and Shepard, for being interested in the endless stories I tell at the dinner table about the amazing people I meet at work. And for always asking, “Can I do that?” Yes, you can do all of that. And more.
Finally, thank you, Olivia, my wife and soulmate, for always being patient when I use my interview skills to meet new people wherever we go. And for supporting me as I made one last attempt to write this book on that gorgeous dining room table you bought us. I love you.
Billionaires turned to finance legend Alan “Ace” Greenberg for advice. He ran the Wall Street firm Bear Stearns at its prime. I was an unpaid college intern and wanted to learn from his experience. So I asked for a meeting and hoped he’d agree to the type of connection that could change my life. He said he wanted to help ambitious employees like me, so he set aside time for us to talk.
I walked in to see him, holding a notebook full of research I did based on obscure articles and conversations with people who followed his career. He sat at the end of a giant table he shared with dozens of his employees, most of whom seemed to be talking on two phones at once. It was loud, but his eyes and attention were only on me, eager to help. That’s when it hit me. I didn’t know how to access any of his wisdom.
I asked him about his start. He told me how he sat next to the firm’s chairman and slowly took on more of the man’s work until he was the firm’s leader. I had already read that in an old Forbes article. So I asked what makes someone successful. He told me that instead of an MBA, he likes people with a PSD, which stood for “poor, smart, and a desire to be rich.” I had read that in an old BusinessWeek article.