Tim Urban

Celebrated Blogger; Creator, Wait But Why

Speaker Fee Range: Please inquire for fees

Travels From: New York, USA

Tim Urban is available for virtual keynotes and webinars. Please complete the form or contact one of our agents to inquire about the fees for virtual engagements. Please note: the fee range listed above is for in-person engagements.

Business Speaker Tim Urban
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    Tim Urban

    Celebrated Blogger; Creator, Wait But Why

    Speaker Fee Range: Please inquire for fees

    Travels From: New York, USA

    Tim Urban is available for virtual keynotes and webinars. Please complete the form or contact one of our agents to inquire about the fees for virtual engagements. Please note: the fee range listed above is for in-person engagements.

    Tim Urban Speaker Biography

    As the creative force behind the blog Wait But Why and a champion of long-form thought, speaker 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.

    Speaker 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 QuartzThe Washington PostThe Atlantic, TIMEBusiness 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 Keynote Topics

    In college, Tim Urban’s procrastination problem got so bad that he found himself writing the first word of his 90-page senior thesis only 72 hours before it was due. After spending years trying to understand how his own mind worked, he finally put his thoughts down on paper, creating three cartoon stick drawings—the Rational Decision-Maker, the Instant Gratification Monkey, and the Panic Monster—to represent the major “players” in his head that battled over the steering wheel. The reaction to this post wildly exceeded Urban’s expectations.

    Urban has received over 10,000 emails about his procrastination post, each lamenting their unique struggle with the problem, and most saying some version of “How do you know what’s going on in my head?” Tim has since dug even deeper into the issue, writing two follow-up articles, and procrastination has now become one of his most popular speaking topics. A hilarious presentation that consistently delights and inspires audiences, it is the most-watched TED talk of 2016 and one of the top 50 of all time.

    The most common praise Tim Urban receives for his writing is about his ability to synthesize complex concepts and present them in a clear, digestible, entertaining, and highly memorable way. He has broken down in-depth topics like the situation in Iraq, climate change, the car industry, the space industry, the timeline of history, human evolution, and a number of the psychological battles going on in the heads of all humans.

    Urban has managed to write long, 10,000+ word articles that millions of people read until the end and share enthusiastically, leading Fast Company to write, “Wait But Why is disproving the notion that thoughtful, long-form content and virality are mutually exclusive.” In a talk often given to companies, marketers, and writers, Urban talks through the way he chooses topics, thinks through them, researches, brainstorms, outlines, and ultimately communicates his ideas so effectively.

    When Tim Urban began digging into research on Artificial Intelligence, he could not believe what he was reading. It hit him pretty quickly that what’s happening in the world of AI is not just an important topic, but by far THE most important topic for our future. In what Vox called his “epic series on artificial intelligence,” Urban took readers on a deep exploration of what AI is, how it works, and why it might dramatically change our lives.

    The article was widely shared, even catching the eye of Elon Musk, who shared the article twice on Twitter, commenting “Excellent and funny intro article about Artificial Superintelligence! Highly recommend reading.” Urban has since turned his exploration of AI into a gripping talk—one that the head of Sweden’s Øredev conference tweeted was “the best keynote in years.” After watching the talk at Social Media Week in New York, conference founder Toby Daniels wrote that Urban “was brilliant, inspiring and terrifying at the same time, and left most of us speechless, breathless and in a mixed emotional state of wonder and awe at what the future holds.”

    One day in early 2015, Elon Musk called Tim Urban on the phone. He told Urban he liked his blog, Wait But Why, and asked Urban if he’d consider doing some writing about the industries he’s involved in with his companies Tesla and SpaceX. Urban accepted the offer and went on to write four epic blog posts that Vox’s David Roberts called “the meatiest, most fascinating, most satisfying posts I've read in ages.”

    While the first three posts dug into the full story with Musk and his companies, in the final post, Urban brought together six months of thinking, writing, and talking to Musk and his staff in a post that got to the core of the question, “Why is Elon Musk able to be so successful?” Urban believes it’s not Musk’s intelligence or wealth or drive that separates him so far from the crowd, but rather the way he thinks. Urban compares Musk’s way of thinking to other world-changers like Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, and John Lennon in a post that explores the simple truth about what it means to be an original. Urban’s talk on the subject galvanizes audiences by leaving them with the belief that it’s fully in their power to be more original—simply by absorbing the epiphany that the world they live in was built by people no smarter than they are.

    In 1958, physicist Enrico Fermi looked up at the night sky and famously asked, “Where is everybody?” The sheer numbers of sun-like stars and Earth-like planets in our galaxy suggests that we should have seen plenty of evidence of the existence of extra-terrestrial life—and yet, we haven’t seen any…ever. This is called the Fermi Paradox, and Tim Urban’s 2014 article on the topic has been shared over 300,000 times on Facebook and has been posted over 40 times on Reddit. Urban’s talk on the Fermi Paradox walks through the 13 most likely possibilities for why we see no aliens and leaves the audience in a full existential headspin.

    Tim Urban Speaking Videos

    Tim Urban - Inside the mind of a master procrastinator
    Tim Urban - Wait but Why? The Superintelligence Road