1/ Here’s a list of conversational frameworks I’ve picked up that have been helpful.

Please add your own.

2/ The Magic Question: "What would need to be true for you to...X?"
3/ On evaluating where someone’s head is at regarding a topic they are being wishy-washy about or delaying.

“Gun to the head—what would you decide now?”

“Fast forward 6 months after your sabbatical--how would you decide: what criteria is most important to you?”
4/ Other Q’s re: decisions:

“Putting aside a list of pros/cons, what’s the *one* reason you’re doing this?” “Why is that the most important reason?”

“What’s end-game here?”

“What does success look like in a world where you pick that path?”
5/ When listening, after empathizing, and wanting to help them make their own decisions without imposing your world view:

“What would the best version of yourself do”?
6/ When someone asks you a personal or vulnerable question and you don’t yet have an answer, although you want to answer soon:

“The Quakers have this idea where you don’t speak unless the spirit moves you. I'm waiting for the spirit to move me.”

h/t a friend
7/ When someone confronts you w/ a problem they have with you

A/ Thanks for sharing because I value this relationship + want both of us to get needs met
B/ What I heard was X (summary)-- was that accurate?
C/ How can I contribute to meeting your needs?
8/ When really angry:

“….” Don't’ say anything!

Take a lap. Or cold shower. Workout. Change your mind state before re-entering the conversation
9/ When really angry during the heat of the moment:

“....” Still don’t say anything!

Ask for a pause: “Do you mind if we take a quick break and return tonight? I want to make sure I can fully listen to your story + appreciate where you are coming from.”

That last part is key.
10/ When giving unsolicited feedback

“…” Probably best not to.

Unless you ask the caveat: "Are you interested in hearing feedback?"
11/ When confronting somebody:

Instead of “Why did you do that?”

Maybe: “What was going on for you?”
12/ Discovering ambition:

“If you had a billion dollars what would you do with

a) the money
b) your time”?

This shows where they want to change society and what they truly want to be doing.
13/ "What was your past manager (or friend) like?"

This determines how they'll talk about you in the future--whether they'll view you in a charitable light or not.
14/ When rambling with nowhere to go:

“I’m going to pause right there for reactions”
15/ in group meetings when two people are talking about something unrelated:

“Let’s take this offline”.
16/ When assessing VC/founder alignment in an VC pitch:

“Why not bootstrap it so you can control your own destiny and have more optionality over selling for 50m, 100m?”

Also just a good question for every founder to ask themselves.
17/ Note: conversational frameworks are effective when coming from a genuine place of wanting mutual benefit--seeking win-win.
18/ When someone asks a somewhat vague Q:

"What's the question behind the question?"

More from Erik Torenberg

1/ Some initial thoughts on personal moats:

Like company moats, your personal moat should be a competitive advantage that is not only durable—it should also compound over time.

Characteristics of a personal moat below:

2/ Like a company moat, you want to build career capital while you sleep.

As Andrew Chen noted:

3/ You don’t want to build a competitive advantage that is fleeting or that will get commoditized

Things that might get commoditized over time (some longer than

4/ Before the arrival of recorded music, what used to be scarce was the actual music itself — required an in-person artist.

After recorded music, the music itself became abundant and what became scarce was curation, distribution, and self space.

5/ Similarly, in careers, what used to be (more) scarce were things like ideas, money, and exclusive relationships.

In the internet economy, what has become scarce are things like specific knowledge, rare & valuable skills, and great reputations.

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