In this week’s confessions series Lee Davy talks about a car crash of an interview he heard between James Altucher and Biz Markie before pulling out a few informational gems from the wreckage.
I don’t want it all.
I don’t need enough information to sculpt a bust of blood.
I have the probing eye of a snail. Let me see enough. I know you can twist me into all kinds of uncomfortable positions, and for a short time the listeners will laugh, but keep twisting and there is a feeling of uncomfortableness that makes people shut down.
Sometimes I wish poker players would just say no. It’s not that hard. Zammo did it. If you don’t want to do an interview then let it slide. Go and rent a book from the library, book yourself in for liposuction, tie your molar to the back end of a Hot Wheels car and let it rip.
But don’t waste our time.
Time is precious.
Don’t throw it into the incinerator.
I think it was Maria Ho who introduced me to the James Altucher podcast. I love him, I love his choice of guests, and they always provide some value. I also love Maria Ho. What a fabulous interview guest that amazing young woman is.
I have just come back from a walk where I listened to Altucher interviewing Biz Markie. It was called The Best and Worst Interview You’ll Ever Hear. I have to take my hat off to Altucher. The interview was a disaster, and yet he managed to turn it into something noteworthy by dissecting it and understanding why it was a disaster.
At the beginning of the interview Altucher’s voice rises. This happens to me when I am interviewing someone that I believe is a catch. There is an almost boyish childishness to it. Markie was a hero to Altucher so you understand where it came from.
The interview starts off ok, but quickly descends into chaos. There is a point – I am not sure when – when Markie has had enough of Altucher. A power struggle develops with Markie trying to get the upper hand by responding to Altucher with very closed, short and curt answers. He is trying to strip Altucher of his dignity. He is pulling his pants down in the girl’s playground so they can all laugh at his cock.
Nobody has ever done this deliberately to me, but I have had a few interviews where it has happened because it’s the nature of the personality of the person I am interviewing, or the personality of the person I am interviewing differs wildly from mine.
I am a very polarizing person. You either like me or don’t. This can present a problem when you are interviewing people. I think Altucher has the same type of personality. With this in mind it’s very important that you choose your guests wisely. Altucher went for Markie because he was an icon to him. I wouldn’t call Liam Gallagher an icon to me, but he was certainly a star in my eyes when I grew up. I would never interview Liam Gallagher for all the tea in China. At times he can be a real dick.
Markie was a dick during this interview with Altucher. No reasonable person could behave in this way and put it down to personality. I am not buying that. Fortunately, Altucher was prepared. He had done his homework. Each time Markie shut him down he had another question ready to fire at him like a Gatling gun. He handled it well considering he was being kicked so hard marrow must have been leaking into his blood.
I learned a lot from that aspect of this interview. My day can become so rushed. I have too much work to do and not enough time. This can lead to a lack of preparation when interviewing and not only did Altucher prove how useful this can be during the Markie kick-in, but it is also respectful to the person you are interviewing, and inflates their own sense of self importance, which is never a bad thing when you want to seduce your guest – and you always want to seduce your guest.
I have an interview question database. I add 10 different questions to it daily. When I prepare for an interview I choose the questions I believe better suit the person I am interviewing. I choose people for interview based on a combination of what is happening in the moment, and a gut feeling of how compatible I think we will be.
It’s important to write a script, but it’s also important to have the ability to deviate away from that script. The interview needs to flow. If you are busy thinking of your next question, then you stop listening to your interviewee. This is not only a sign of disrespect that will alter the tone of your interview, but it also sounds terrible for the listener.
Interview someone as if you are having a conversation with them. Hopefully, in real life you don’t have questions lined up to fire at the person you are talking to. The conversation flows naturally. Be prepared to flow. If you are worried about how to do this then keep a notepad by your side and jot down questions that can logically follow on from the direction the interview is taking.
If you interview people, or plan to in the near future, then listen to the James Altucher/Biz Markie podcast. You will have a chuckle, but also learn how not to interview someone, and what you can do to salvage a situation when your interviewee goes cold on your ass.
If you are someone who is often interviewed I also encourage you to listen to it because the way Biz Markie acts is the way that you should never act when you are being interviewed.
Like I said, we don’t want it all.
Just give us a little peak under the hood.