Entrepreneur and bestselling author Rob Reid talks about his many interests, mainly technology and the future. He also shares his writing process, his books and his podcast, After On.
Rob Reid is an author of speculative fiction based in New York City. His new novel, After On, concerns a diabolical social network (Phluttr) with the means and (perhaps?) the inclination to take full control of human society. His prior novel, Year Zero, was a New York Times bestseller, and depicts a vast alien civilization whose obsession with American pop music bankrupts the entire universe.
A former venture capitalist, Rob was the founder, CEO, and later Chairman of Listen.com, which created and developed Rhapsody – the first online music service to secure full-catalog licenses from all of the major labels. Rhapsody created the unlimited streaming model later adopted by Spotify, Apple, and many others.
(03:36) When you hear the word successful, who’s the first person that comes to mind, and why?
(05:19) If I break that down, it sounds like you appreciate him (Elon Musk) for 3 different reasons :
- His vision
- His ability to execute on that vision
- His curiosity for what the future can potentially look like
(05:40) Rob’s background
(08:38) I’m curious how aware of being an orphan or being in foster care were you? And how did your new parents communicate that to you as you were growing up?
That’s one great thing about being adopted, you know that your addition to that family was a highly intentional act that took years of work.
If you grew up with a couple of older siblings, couple of parents, and you have this deeply seated notion that we’re all cut from the same cloth, you might perceive ceilings and floors in your abilities.
(14:40) It seemed like you have this insatiable interest and curiosity in different things and people. What would you attribute that to?
(18:03) Tell me about what you learned through that wandering journey, and the future?
(24:13) Have you ever been eaten by pressure, financial pressure, in pursuit of those interests?
(27:04) Re: music subscription services. What do you think is your role in where things are from a subscription service perspective? What do you see yourself as when you look back at what you started back in 1998?
(31:25) I wonder if you think if you would think that the reason that Spotify has done as well as it has, is it more of the consumer mindset? More of that renter vs. owner kind of mentality? Or are we used to kind of not owning things and just renting content?
(35:24) Tell us about the beginning thought process of this book, After On, and how it came to fruition.
(41:05) I’m curious about your writing process, because you had so much research. How did you synthesize that research and manage your own curiosity to weave it into a story that’s palatable and something that’s going to grab a reader? What does look like on a day to day basis trying to marry all that stuff?
(43:46) Do you find yourself outlining? Are you more of a structure-type writer? Do you find yourself writing first then figuring out the structure?
(45:45) Once you have things figured out, once you develop those characters, you have a plot, an outline, how are you breaking this down to the next execution standpoint day to day? Are you writing a certain amount of words, pages per day or are you just writing as it goes?
(49:37) What are you most proud of?
(52:09) The podcast. Where do you see this going?