Have you heard of the saying: “If Mohammed will not go to the mountain, the mountain must come to Mohammed”? In other words, don’t wait for things to be handed to you on a silver platter, if you want something, go for it. Well, that’s what happened to me.

Daniel from DailyBlogTips has promised to participate in my Group Writing Project. But we all know how busy he is (admiring his stat numbers, counting the revenue generated by his insanely popular blog, and writing daily tips). So after my several gentle reminders on MSN that he was unintentionally forgetting about, we’ve decided to set up a mini interview. Daniel has kindly agreed for a quick IM interview, so here I present you with fresh, out of the oven, inspiration sources “straight from the horse’s mouth”.


Vivien: Daniel, can you please tell us what are your sources of inspiration in blogging?
Daniel: Ideally you don’t want to run into a period where you desperately need to find new sources of inspiration. The best way to avoid that is to keep your radar on through out the day. I always have a notebook with me, and I also have a big blackboard on top of my computer.

Every time an idea pops into my head I write it down. If I am browsing around the Internet, and a certain website calls my attention, I write it down. If I am reading a magazine, and a certain article gives me an insight, I write it down.

Basically, I think we have sources of inspiration all around us. The hard part is to be able to identify and leverage them.

V: How do you personally identify and leverage those sources?
D: No structured processes to follow, I just make sure that when they (the inspiration sources) pop I am “ready” to grasp them.

V: How do you sort through them? How do you decide which one is worth pursuing further?
D: Regarding which one to pursue, I think it is about feeling. But going back to your previous questions, I do think there are some practical tips you can use to “get” inspired. For instance, you can turn to things outside your field or normal activities: if you are a designer, read some books or magazines about management, and vice-versa. Travel to another country, or go to a bar you never would, or talk to someone you never would.

V: Do you have one reliable source of inspiration that you can always turn to when you feel stuck?
D: Books, to a certain extent. Reading over the Internet is useful (and I spend a great part of my day doing it), but books are different. They are more structured, and this might help you to organize your thoughts and honey ideas. Bear in mind I am talking about “top notch” books.

V: What are some of your favourite “top notch” books?
D: The Innovators Dilemma, by Clayton Christensen. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey. How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie. The World is Flat, by Thomas Friedman. The Art of War, by Sun Tzu. Those are “bibles” for me.

V: How do you pick which books to read? Where did you first find out about those books?
D: I have always been an avid reader (my mom used to force me to read, which I am glad for now). Basically, I am always wandering through “Best of” lists. But then I also think people should read the classic literature: Hemingway, Dickens, Goethe, Stendhal, etc.

V: What was the most unexpected source of inspiration for you?
D: Well, I think I can give you a concrete example here. Some 5 years ago when I was still living in Italy I used to watch a television program called “Le Iene” where they would feature a double interview with famous people. Guess what, one day I was writing for my blog and “bang!” – I thought that I could use the same format to pitch two famous bloggers on the same interview. And that was the first “Bloggers Face-Off”, which became a corner-stone of my blog.

V: What advice can you give to someone who feels so stressed out by everything and everyone in life and work that nothing and nobody can inspire and motivate that person?
D: Stop running, sit down, and think. Things change really fast in our “information based” society. Sometimes we start running just because other people are running as well. But we are not sure where we are running to. Even worse, we are not sure why we are running at all. If you are in that situation slow down, maybe even stop altogether. Then think about where do you want to go. Once you have a clear answer, speed up again! You can’t get inspired if you don’t know what you are trying to accomplish.


Daniel, thanks for the time you took to answer my interview questions and for sharing with us your sources of inspiration.

There is one more day left to participate in this Group Writing project. If you too would rather have me interview you for this project to find out about your sources information, please, feel free to contact me with your IM details (Skype, MSN, AIM, ICQ, etc.). Otherwise, just send me an email with a permalink to your post or simply send your sources of inspiration. But hurry up, the deadline is approaching very soon – Thursday, May 24th, 2007.

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13 Insightful Bits in response to “Sources Of Inspiration From DailyBlogTips”

  1. Very cool, Vivien — way to corner him! He really does seem like a busy guy, so that’s pretty awesome that you got some time with him. Now if I can just get him to respond to my Bloggy Tag…

  2. Nice interview. His blog is one of the first I subscribed to.

    I have started to carry a small notebook so when Inspiration hits I can make a note. Which is tough for me because I am a horrible note taker all the way back to my days in school. But, I decided to do it because I kept forgetting the ideas I would have at inconvenient times.

  3. Great! Daily Blog Tips is my all time favourite blog. Lovely interview.

  4. Interesting :) and I have owned “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey. How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie” for a long time and often open up A chapter and start reading it.. as a matter of fact Stephen Covey’s book is right here by my pc’s side as I was reading the interview .. that was really a good idea to get him to participate Vivien – good insights – i need to start jotting down the ideas before forgetting them..

  5. This is very nice! I liked the interview and I liked your idea very much.

  6. Brilliant, Vivien! A lovely interview with a pleasant conversational style. Writing things down immediately is a great point to take away.

    Did he really say: …this might help you to organize your thoughts and honey ideas. Bear in mind I am talking about “top notch” books.

    Honey? Bear? Perhaps he’s thinking of Winnie The Pooh as his “bear in mind”.

  7. Vivien

    Yep, Rory, these were his own words. I specifically didn’t edit that phrase “honey ideas” as I thought it would add a flair of personality to the interviewee :-)

    Thanks, Simone and Shankar, glad you liked it.

    Pearl, the Dale Carnegie book was a big hit when I was still in school – everybody was reading it, and even our teachers were discussing it with us in class.

    Joey, I was an excellent note taker back in my school days. In fact, my classmates were always borrowing my written notes after the class, and I was getting them back just at the beginning of the next class. But because I was writing the notes myself and paying attention to the lecture, I didn’t really need to study them after the class. However, it’s a different story with my own ideas – somehow I presume that since they came out my head they ought to stay there, so I rarely take any notes, and just dig them out of my memory banks. I don’t know how long will it last, I’m afraid that eventually I’ll have to resort to taking notes especially when there are too many ideas brooding in my brain :-)

    Brian, I’m not sure whether or not you remember this, but I once tagged Daniel myself for the first meme that I’ve participated in – he never responded. So this time I decided to take an action and pursue it until he surrenders :-) Perhaps you should do the same if you really want to hear back from him.

    Thank you all for the comments.
    I personally prefer to read/listen/watch the unscripted interviews with spontaneous questions that were prompted by the responses of the interviewee. Planned interviews with the pre-written questions can be very interesting and informative, however in my opinion most people enjoy the conversational style interviews better. So I’m really happy that you all liked my impromptu interview with a busy blogger :-)

  8. so today is the deadline eh? :) can’t wait to read all the inspirational posts vivien.. kudos to you for such an awesome project idea

    Dale Carnegie has been popular all over the world :) with all ages I believe

  9. Thanks for the interview Vivien, it was a lot of fun.

    “this might help you to organize your thoughts and honey ideas. Bear in mind I am talking about “top notch” books.”

    Rory spotted a typo actually. Should be “organize your thoughts and hone your ideas.”

    Thanks everyone for the nice words, I appreciate.

  10. Vivien

    Hey, Daniel, thanks for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed the interview and the comments :-)
    I think I’ll leave “honey your ideas” as is – one day perhaps you can patent that expression and everyone will be quoting you on this one ;-)

  11. Thanks Vivien, for making that extra effort for us to have this empowering interview! The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and How to Win Friends and Influence People are my “bible” too. My source of inspiration comes from my beloved mom from my article http://jacklynker.com/92/a-tribute-to-all-mothers/
    Cheers to the success of this project!

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Hi, I'm Vivien. Thanks for visiting my Inspiration Bit. I often find myself scouring the internet looking for either answers to many questions I have or websites that inspire me, sites that I can learn from. On what topics you might ask — any topics that interest me, anything from web design to typography and art, from blogging to entrepreneurship, from programming to open source.
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When I'm not blogging, I design web sites, teach, play with my daughter and try to balance family, work, friends and a somewhat active social life on