Professor of Behavioral Science, University of Chicago Booth School of Business; Author
- Business Growth and Trends
- Change Management
- Information Technology
Audience & Industry
- Colleges and Universities
- Sales Professionals
- The Technology Industry
As the creative force behind the blog Wait But Why and a champion of long-form thought, Tim Urban has kept the attention of millions of readers around the world. Tim captivates audiences with his unique ability to distill a diversity of complex and fascinating topics, from why we procrastinate to how we could become a multi-planetary species.
Tim Urban is the writer of the blog Wait But Why, where he creates illustrated long-form articles for a loyal fan base that includes Tesla CEO Elon Musk and TED curator Chris Anderson. Driven by an infectious curiosity and armed with hundreds of hours of research, Tim brings otherwise dense subjects to life with an entertaining blend of intellect, humor and his signature stick figure drawings. His unique approach to storytelling earned him a spot on the main stage at TED2016, where he spoke about the realities of procrastination in what is now the most-watched talk of the 2016 conference. Tim’s speaking audiences include Google, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, Uber, MIT, Harvard, The Wharton School, and conferences around the world. He’s been featured on podcasts including "The Tim Ferris Show" and "Y Combinator"; his posts have been republished by Quartz, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, TIME, Business Insider and Gizmodo; and there have been feature articles about Wait But Why’s success in Fast Company, Singularity U, The Huffington Post, and Vox.
Tim Urban with TED: Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator
Tim Urban says Our Future is Unpredictable
Tim Urban on Cooks v. Chefs
Tim Urban's Speech Topics
The Thinking Ladder
We focus so much on "what" we and others think that we often forget to ask ourselves how we think. In this talk, Tim Urban explores how individuals think, how groups think together, and how those two things are connected.
After a look at Urban's "Thinking Ladder," in which he discusses the four kinds of thinkers (which he calls the Scientist, Sports Fan, Attorney, and Zealot), audiences will turn their attention to companies (or any kind of group). A lot of thought goes into the idea of company culture, but perhaps the most important type often goes undiscussed: intellectual culture.
Language gives groups of people the amazing capability to join their minds together into a superbrain—one that can do far more than the sum of its parts. But this only happens in the right kind of intellectual culture- Urban will introduce audiences to two broad kinds of intellectual culture:
- The Idea Lab: a culture where disagreement is encouraged; where people are always respected but ideas are not.
- The Echo Chamber: a culture that penalizes departure from the prevailing narratives at the company and incentivizes independent minds to remain "in the closet" about what they really think.
While Idea Lab culture unleashes the full intellectual power of a group of minds, giving the company a superbrain, Echo Chamber culture leaves that potential untapped—the company brain is simply the brain of the CEO, widely repeated. Company leaders set the intellectual culture. Urban's presentation teaches that by actively encouraging dissent and debate, and by emphasizing the distinction between people and ideas, they can make their company smarter than any single human could ever hope to be.