Kevin Kelly: How Technology & Humans Evolve To Reach Their Full Potential

Guerric de Ternay and Kevin Kelly on Unlock People's Potential

In this episode of Unlock People’s Potential, host Guerric de Ternay comes out with guns blazing!

He asks guest Kevin Kelly… “How do you work at unlocking your own potential?”

“I unlock my potential by working, by doing stuff — and there’s one thing I know about being innovative, getting things done, and accomplishing things — the secret to that is repetition, doing something a lot”.  — Kevin Kelly   

You have to explore and keep working at something until you surprise yourself — it’s about doing something over and over, while trying to do it better each time.

Kevin Kelly believes that doing something over and over can help move you in the right direction.

More About This Episode

A leading thinker on technology and the future, Kevin Kelly is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Inevitable — a book which premises that much of what will happen in the next 30 years is inevitable, driven by trends that are already in motion.

In addition to speaking on the topic of finding a line of work that feels natural, Kevin talks about some of his early milestones that ‘confirmed’ he was moving in the right direction.

The conversation then segues into a related topic… Kevin’s theory, 1,000 True Fans. The theory says that “a creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, videomaker, or author — in other words, anyone producing works of art — needs to acquire only 1,000 ‘true fans’ to make a living”.

His theory is quite inspirational — and if you want, you can listen to Kevin elaborate more on the theory.

And for you product developers and marketers:

“I always point people to the article ‘1,000 True Fans’ by Kevin Kelly. If you choose your thousand ideal customers or readers properly and find the single author blog that targets that audience, you never have to do any more marketing. You’re done. That is a lesson that very few product developers and marketers have learned, and it’s unfortunate.”  — Tim Ferriss

And of course, there is plenty of discussion regarding AI (Artificial Intelligence), VR (Virtual Reality), the future of the internet and of course, Kevin’s book — The Inevitable.

Here are some of the questions that Kevin addresses during the podcast:

  • How do you work at unlocking your own potential?
  • How is free digital content and media influencing the 1000 True Fans theory?
  • Where do you see the internet going, and how can entrepreneurs and software engineers think long-term about the internet?
  • Do you think we’re currently lacking vision for the future — and that perhaps science-fiction is not helping us see where we are headed?
  • Do you think VR (Virtual Reality) could kickstart a new boost in how we think about the future?
  • What would you like your readers to do after they finish reading The Inevitable?
  • And much more!

 If you only have 5 minutes, I highly recommend listening to Kevin’s thoughts on what the internet might look like in 25 years.  

Listen to the episode on SoundCloud

You can also subscribe on iTunes

More About Kevin Kelly

Kevin Kelly is Senior Maverick at Wired magazine. He co-founded Wired in 1993, and served as its Executive Editor for its first seven years. He is also founding editor and co-publisher of the popular Cool Tools website, which has been reviewing tools daily since 2003.

From 1984-1990 Kelly was publisher and editor of the Whole Earth Review, a journal of unorthodox technical news. He co-founded the ongoing Hackers’ Conference, and was involved with the launch of the WELL, a pioneering online service started in 1985.

In addition to The Inevitable, his books include the best-selling New Rules for the New Economy, the classic book on decentralized emergent systems, Out of Control, a graphic novel about robots and angels, The Silver Cord, an oversize catalog of the best of Cool Tools, and his summary theory of technology in What Technology Wants (2010).

The Philosophy of Doing Something (Over and Over) Can Be Applied to both Humans & Technology

The Inevitable

During the episode, Guerric asks Kevin what he’d like people to do after reading The Inevitable.

Kevin says… “I want them to close the book and feel as if they don’t need to be afraid of the future”.

Kevin Kelly wants his readers to feel as if they don’t need to be afraid of the future.

That’s not to say they shouldn’t be concerned about the future, but rather to try to “embrace the things that are coming in the large scale — that they should engage with it”.

By embracing coming technologies (i.e. using those technologies) instead of rallying against them, it gives us (you and me) an opportunity to steer that technology (manage it, refine it, improve it, make it less harmful). It ties back to Kevin’s philosophy of doing things over and over — in this case, it’s about using the technologies over and over again so that we can improve them and find out what their positive impacts can be.

For instance, Kevin says that a lot of the time, inventors of new technology don’t know what their product’s real value or true role is going to be — these inventions or technologies often go through many iterations and sometimes end up being used for something other than what they were originally intended for.

The Long-Term Trends

According to Kevin, the long-term trends are inevitable, but the particular form that these trends or new technologies take is up to us to decide.

To put it another way, “It’s not whether these trends will happen, but how they will happen”.

As an example, the internet was inevitable. But, the form that the internet evolved into (and will continue to evolve into) was/is not inevitable — by embracing it and engaging with it, we have the choice to steer (and to keep refining) the direction in which the internet will take.

For instance, “Twitter wasn’t inevitable… we could have made [the internet] commercial/non-commercial, international/national, open/closed… those were all choices”.

It’s analogous to our own self-improvement — each and everyone one of us was inevitable (you are alive, aren’t you!), but it’s up to us to keep working on ourselves (over and over) until we find what works best for us (what feels good, what feels natural).

→ There is Just So Much More To Learn About in This Episode

→ Listen Now to the Entire Show on SoundCloud or on iTunes

Show Notes on Future Technology

Related Episodes:

Books by Kevin Kelly:


  • Learn more about Kevin Kelly at his website
  • Kevins 1000 True Fans theory at
  • Watch videos of Kevin and also some of his own favorites at YouTube.

Connect with Kevin Kelly:


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