Authors@Google: Josh Sundquist

Uploaded by AtGoogleTalks on 30.08.2011

>>Erika: Hi everyone and thanks for coming to, today's Authors at Google event and I'm
very pleased to welcome Josh Sundquist. Josh is the author of the national best seller,
"Just Don't Fall" and he's been featured on CNN, USA Today and NPR. He's appeared on national
television to present an award to Lance Armstrong and was featured on the back of Doritos bags
nationwide, as the founder of Less Than, the world's largest online community for amputees.
He has spoken to hundreds of thousands of people across the country, including audiences
at Fortune 500 companies, inner-city public schools, and the White House. And his hobbies
include par-3 golfing, tying bow ties, and combing his hair. So please join me in welcoming
Josh Sundquist.
>>Josh Sundquist: Thank you Erika. Sweet. So thanks for coming out this morning. I just
got locked in the hallway using your restroom and it was a very scary moment for me because
I was locked in. I was like, wow, these people are waiting for me to give a speech and I'm
locked in this hallway. And there's a sign there that says like, "Do Not Allow Anyone
To Go Through This Door". Like don't let anyone piggyback on you. So I'm like now I'm going
to have to convince someone to break the rule on this sign. And then this guy came out and
I was like, yo. So I showed him my badge and I was like, 'Look, I'm supposed to speak in
here. Can you let me in?' He's like, 'Alright. What are you speaking about?' And that's always
a weird question for me to answer, and so, and I'm just not good at answering it in an
exciting way. I was like, "Myself." And he was like, 'Oh, ok.' But he let me in, so we're
good. So let me ask you guys a question, what was, what was the first thing, and this is
like interactive, this is not a, um, what do you call it? What's a question that like
doesn't have an answer, you know what I'm talking about?
>>male audience member #1: Rhetorical.
>>Josh Sundquist: Rhetorical, yes. This is not a rhetorical question. Neither was that
as it turns out. So here is my non-rhetorical question for you. And you can just yell out
answers if you don't want to go on the microphone. What was, what's your name with that just
said rhetorical?
>>male audience member #1: Jason.
>>Josh Sundquist: Jason. Jason, what was the first thing that you remember wanting when
you were a kid? Like the first like toy or like shiny thing that you wanted?
>>male audience member #1: This, ah, it's like a little toolbox.
>>Josh Sundquist: A toolbox.
>>male audience member #1: Yeah, but not like an adult toolbox [inaudible]
>>Josh Sundquist: Like were they real tools or they were like the plastic kind?
>>male audience member #1: I think, uh, I think they were real tools, but like kid-sized.
>>Josh Sundquist: Yeah. Sweet.
>>male audience member #1: So I don't know what you were supposed to build with them,
>>Josh Sundquist: Sweet. What about anyone else? First thing you guys remember wanting
as a kid? [pause] Yes?
>>male audience member #2: A particular transformer, I don't remember.
>>Josh Sundquist: Oh, a transformer. Excellent.
>>male audience member #2: [inaudible]
>>Josh Sundquist: Nice. And can we VC in people on this, or like can we hear them? Is it possible?
So, I don't, this is a very confusing looking screen to me. But if people that are VCing,
what is something? Is there, is that like infinity of, like what's going on down here?
>>male audience member #2: Someone's like dialed in twice [inaudible]
>>Josh Sundquist: Oh, someone's dialed in twice.
>>male audience member #2: Video feedback.
>>Josh Sundquist: Ok, yeah, it is, it's infinity. It's pretty amazing. So, uh, would someone
at one of our VC locations. What's something that you guys remember wanting when you were
a kid?
>>male audience member #3: Legos.
>>Josh Sundquist: Legos. And who said that?
>>male audience member #3: Mike.
>>Josh Sundquist: Mike. Nice to meet you, Mike. Where are you?
>>male audience member #3: Dude, ah San Bruno in YouTube.
>>Josh Sundquist: Oh, sweet. Well, nice to meet you and thanks for watching. Legos, huh?
Dude, Legos were, I felt like always so expensive. You know? Like I always really wanted them,
but. What's that?
>>male audience member #3: The really big sets, the best ones, yeah.
>>Josh Sundquist: Yeah, yeah. There'd be like these incredibly, there'd be like a castle
that's like life-sized, it'd be like a thousand dollars. Um, but those were always sweet.
Sweet. So we got Legos, tool box, transformers. So I remember for me like the first thing
I remember really wanting when I was a kid was a, what happened I had this sort of transformation
moment. Like I was nine years old and I walked into my Sunday School class actually at church
and I saw this kid that I knew named Aaron. And Aaron was wearing this, this lime green
travel soccer team uniform. It had like polyester jersey and shorts and knee-high socks and
leather cleats. And I at this time I had two legs and I was sort of a casual soccer hobbyist
I guess you would say. And and I saw though this uniform for this travel soccer team and
I was just like, ahhh, that is amazing. I have to get one of those. And it was like
from that moment on it was, that was just like my purpose in life was to get a travel
soccer team uniform. But, you remember how it was when you were a kid, right, when you
were looking forward to a certain thing, whether that was you know getting your tool box thing
or it was like Christmas or your birthday or the travel soccer team tryouts, right,
and you were just like so excited about this certain day, but time moves so slowly, right?
And it just seemed like that day was never gonna come, you know? But the funny thing
for me is that in this particular instance it actually never did, because literally the
exact same week that I was supposed to try out for this, this travel soccer team, I woke
up from a biopsy because I'd been having this like pain in my leg. And I'll never forget
it, I'm waking up and I'm sure some of you guys have been under anesthesia at some point,
and I'm waking up and sort of groggy and blinking off this anesthesia, and my mom and my dad
walked into the room and they stood on the left side of my bed and my dad looked down
at me and he said, "Joshua, the doctors, the doctors found cancer in your leg." And they
told me that I had a 50 percent chance to live. Like I said, I was nine years old. I
started chemotherapy. I lost my hair, which at that time was a really big deal for me,
like I was very like meticulous at a young age about combing my hair. I would sort of
like use like half a bottle of gel and like slick it back like a 1950's movie star or
something. And I always used, I don't know if you guys are much into hair care products,
but I used not just any gel. I used L.A. Looks gel. Yeah, like level 5, most extreme hold,
the red kind with all of the bubbles in it. I would get it at the Dollar Store. It was
awesome. So then for me to like lose my hair was this sort of really, like really devastating
thing for me as a nine year old and furthermore to sort of lose everything that I had come
to know as my life because I had no energy. I spent one week out of every three in the
hospital. I felt sick and tired all the time. And after three months of this treatment,
my parents told me that the chemotherapy wasn't working and that in order to save my life,
my leg was gonna have to be amputated. I remember they told me this. We were sitting in our
driveway and I was in the back seat of the minivan and my mom and my dad were up front.
I remember feeling like all of the oxygen had just been like sucked out of the van,
you know, because it was all I could think about was that, you know that lime green travel
soccer team uniform, because I knew that I was never going to wear it. It's like, this
is the way I would describe it to you. You know I think like I'm sure yours is the same
way, but I have in my mind what I imagine sort of as a metaphor of this like sort of
photo album of things I imagine are going to happen in the future that are going to
be awesome. Like for example right now in my photo album I imagine that on the train
on the way back today, I'm going to watch awesome like stuff on my IPad. I'm gonna reply
to a bunch of Tweets. It's gonna be great. And then this weekend, my brother's coming
into, town, which is gonna be awesome. And then, what's gonna happen after that? Oh,
I just hit 99,000 subscribers yesterday on YouTube, which is like really exciting for
me. So very soon I'm gonna hit 100,000 subscribers probably in like three or four days. So that's
gonna be amazing. And then my YouTube channel's gonna grow even more and then at some point
I'm becoming very rich and famous as a result of YouTube and my book. And then all of the
girls that have ever liked me are gonna write me a collective e-mail. It'll be like "Josh,
we are so sorry. We were totally wrong about you. We're so sorry we rejected you." But
by then it won't really matter because I'll be married to this really hot girl. And by
hot of course I mean she'll have a great personality and we're gonna have a house and it's gonna
be designed by an interior decorator. And it's gonna have awesome furniture from IKEA,
because that's my favorite furniture store, 'cause I'm not a snob. And it's just gonna
be so awesome. Right? That is what I imagine in my current photo album of hope. I don't
know what's in yours, maybe something similar. But for me at age nine, that, that photo album,
every. every picture was me wearing this, this soccer uniform. I remember after my parents
told me that I was gonna lose my leg, it was like I went back to that that photo album,
you know to, the way you do sort of on a daily basis to sort of recover from some emotional
problem, right? And I went back to that that photo album and it was just like every, every
page was just blank. It was like everything that I hoped for was seemingly gone. I lost
my leg then probably about four weeks after that conversation. And after I did I was very
sort of eager to [drinking] get back to um, to playing sports in some way. And so I remember
I went to about probably a month after I lost my leg I went to play in my church's, we had
this like softball game, this like big annual softball game. And so I decided I was going
to go play in this, this game. And I remember when I was supposed to up to bat, I sat my
crutches down on the ground and I hopped over to, to home base and I sat there and you have
to know at this point you know I didn't have hair of course, so I was wearing a, you know,
a ball cap to cover my my bald head and I was very like thin and and pretty sick and
pretty pale. At that point I weighed just over 60 pounds. And I had no balance because
I'd just lost my leg and after you lose your leg you have to sort of re, ah, readjust and
relearn your center of balance. So I had to lean on the bat as if it were a cane until
Pastor Smuland, who was the pitcher, pitched this ball towards me. And then I waited and
I waited and at the last minute right before it came in front of me, I picked the bat up
and I swung and I missed and the bat went flying and I fell down on the ground in this
sort of dry, dusty infield. It made me start coughing. But I sat there and then I stood
up and I brushed myself off and I picked up the bat because it was like this game was
a really big deal to me because I wanted to prove to, to myself but also like all my friends
from church and my dad who was there like watching from behind the chain link fence,
I wanted to prove to everyone that I, I could still do stuff even though I had one leg.
Like I could still play things and play in sports just like I did before. So this was
a big moment for me. And the second pitch came and again I swung and I missed. And then
the pitcher, the catcher threw the ball over to Pastor Smuland. And I remember this moment
because, let me ask you all, I'm not sure if any of you all have children, but what's
what is like the universal advice that you give children who are up to bat? [pause]
>>male audience member #4: Keep your eye on the ball.
>>Josh Sundquist: Keep your eye on the ball. Exactly. What's your name?
>>male audience member #4: Todd.
>>Josh Sundquist: Todd. Yeah. Keep your eye on the ball. Right? Always. Everybody, choke
up on the bat. Keep your eye on the ball. Boom. You're golden. Right? So, I'm sitting
there and and I remember I, I looked over at my dad, who was, as I said, standing behind
the chain link fence, and he said, "Joshua, keep your eye on the ball." So I was like,
alright. So on this third pitch, as it came towards me, I tried to keep my eye on the
ball. And as it came across home base, I swung and I missed. And I, I fell down in the dirt
and then I picked up my crutches and I started to, to walk off the field. And as I did, I
heard Pastor Smuland, he yelled at me, he's like, "Where're you going?" And I was like,
"Well I, I struck out." And Pastor Smuland yelled back at me. He's like, "We're Protestants,
brother. We play by grace not by the law." And I was like, what? What is a Protestant?
I do not understand what you are saying to me. But it was like all of the adults were
sort of chuckling and so I figured that this meant I was allowed to keep swinging. So I
went back up and I got another pitch and another strike and another and another and another.
And after nine strikes, I started to see my vision get blurry. And, like I said, all my
friends from church were there and I couldn't let them see me cry. So again I picked up
my crutches and I started to walk off the field like as fast as I could. But this time
I heard my dad yell at me. He said, "Joshua, you almost had that last one." And I stopped
and I looked over my shoulder at him. And my dad, he put his, his two fingers in between
the openings in this chain link fence and he said, "It was this close." I remember standing
there and looking at him and it was like my my dad was my hero and I knew that if he were
up to bat that he would keep swinging until he got a hit. So I went back up and I picked
up the bat again and another pitch came and another strike and another and another. But
finally on the 13th pitch, I felt the ball bounce off the bat and I watched it roll up
the infield and by the time it reached the shortstop, my friend Tim, who was my designated
runner, was already on first base. [pause] And I tell you that story today for two reasons.
Number one, because I think that there's nothing really better that that you and I could aspire
to in life than to be like my dad was for me that day, to be a hero to someone else.
But secondly because, if you think about it, that softball game is a lot like life, because
in life, unlike normal softball, you get as many strikes as you want. You know you only
strike out when you quit. And I don't know about you, but I'm surprised by how often
as an adult I'm willing to quit after just one strike in a new endeavor. [pause] As I
said that softball game was a big moment for me because it sort of showed me that I could
still, I could still play sports on some level. And a few months went by and I was still on
chemotherapy, but I heard that there was a group of kids from the hospital where I was
treated at, University of Virginia Children's Hospital, that was going up to the local ski
resort where I'm from in Virginia, which is called Massanutten. And so I was, I was like
really excited about this so I went up and I learned how to ski and it was awesome and
the third time I went to ski was this sort of recreational level race for children with
disabilities towards the end of the season in March. And by this time I was, I was just
about to finish up the chemotherapy, so I was still on treatment, and it was I guess
probably 10 months after I'd lost my leg. And I was still, I think, very much psychologically
still stuck in the idea that I had lost the chance to be able to wear that uniform, that
I was never gonna be a soccer player. And I remember I went through the course on this
ski race and it was very exciting and very fun and I got to the end and I skidded to
a stop after I went through the finish line and I was standing there. I was very tired
and I was breathing hard and I was wearing a toboggan cap over my bald head and this
man that I had never seen before, he walked over to me and he set his hand on my shoulder
and he said, "Son, I used to coach something called the United States Paralympic Ski Team,
and I think that you have great potential." And I looked at this guy and I saw his boots
and I looked from his boots and I saw his pants. And his pants were red and they were
white and they were blue. And then I looked up from there and I saw that the jacket matched
the pants. And I was like, 'Sign me up for these Paralympics that you speak of, sounds
excellent.' But I guess, you know, it's like when when you're a kid you have this, this
moment like that where you, you have this thing that you want to do but you don't really
know how to do it and so I had that in my mind but it took many years before I became
a ski racer. And yet that moment itself was so transformational because, 'cause that coach
took me from a place as I said of looking back at the sport I could no longer play and
showed me an opportunity for a uniform that I never knew existed. [pause] What sport I
wonder is it that that you can no longer play? Or that I can no longer play? One thing I've
learned is that sometimes, sometimes the path changes and you have to, you have to choose
a new uniform. As I said, I didn't really start ski racing in a serious way until I
was about 16 years old, [pause] which was a momentous year for me in many respects.
In my family, I grew up in this sort of very conservative family. We weren't allowed to
date until we were 16 years old and so when I was 16 was not only the year I started ski
racing, but it was also the first time I ever went on a date. And I took this girl from
my high school named Amy Gardner out to play golf and the reason because where I'm from
in Harrisonburg, Virginia, there's this free par 3 golf course, right, which is awesome.
So we went out. We were having this great time, and I hit this brilliant shot off the
sixth tee on the course. It like soared through the air and it came down and bounced a couple
times. It stopped like maybe three feet away from the hole. And I was just so excited,
right? Because I'm like, I'm like man you know this shot's so awesome. She's gonna be
so impressed. She's totally gonna make out with me. It's gonna be amazing. And so I'm
getting all excited. I'm like Yes! Yes! Right? And I'm sort of like jumping around and I'm
wearing my artificial leg at the time. Now it was Todd, right? Todd, something that you
should know about artificial legs that you might not depending on your expertise level
with prosthetics, is that they come preprogrammed to malfunction at the worst possible moments
in your entire life. So I will give you a slow-motion demonstration of what happened.
I was like Yes! Yes! Ohhhhhhh. Right I fall down on the ground and it is very awkward
because like no one ever knows what do you do when the guy with one leg falls down? Like,
are you allowed to laugh at him? Should you help him up? Maybe like take him to therapy
of some sort? Like nobody knows. And I stand up. True story. I don't know how this happened,
but I looked down and the foot on my artificial leg is literally turned around backwards.
So you can imagine the other golfers on the golf course are looking at me like, yeah,
911? I have a very serious golfing emergency to report to you. This guy's foot is like
broken off. And I'm trying to figure out like how to sort of remedy this problem and so
I walk over to the edge of the golf course and I, I take my artificial foot and I just
start kicking it against a tree to try to pop the foot back into place. Which is awesome
because I feel like at that point the other golfers are looking at me like, 'Yeah this
guy has some serious anger management problems that he needs to work out in his life.' But
I'll never I'll never forget though this one, this one moment right after I'd stood up and
I you know I saw my foot was sort of turned around backwards and I remember thinking like
oh, this is my first date with Amy Gardner and she is so hot and now it is ruined. But
then I thought. 'You know this is my first date with Amy Gardner and you only get one
first date, so why would I let it be ruined?' So what did I do? I got up. I laughed about
it. I tried to get the foot sort of popped back into place and then I played that next
hole of golf. And see what I realized that day is that we can't always choose what happens
to us, but we can always choose what we want to do about it. [pause] As I said, that was
also the year I started ski racing. And I uh, I was very excited about racing [pause]
because I was like man, this is this is how I'm gonna get a uniform and I wanted to go
to the Paralympics. And 2006 was my goal in Torino, Italy. And I also, I had this idea
that I was gonna be this just sort of prodigy of ski racing and I was gonna roll up to my
first ski race and that it was like an able-bodied race, I was the only person there with one
leg, but I was sure I was gonna like win and everyone's gonna be like, 'Man, this guy is
so good. Where did he come from? It's just like magical.' Like I really, I was 100 percent
convinced of this. But what actually happened was that in my first race, I fell five times
and I was last place by far. It was like the winning time was 30 seconds and my time was
like 2 minutes and 30 seconds. So I had no really natural talent whatsoever. But I was
very determined to -- I guess, you know, it was funny as we got closer to 2006 I started
racing full time and I lived Colorado during the winters to train. But I still was never
very good and it was becoming sort of obvious that I was probably not going to make the
Paralympics. In fact, like the head coach of my program in Winter Park sat me down and
told me he didn't think my chances were good. And I was like, well what would you say would
be my actual like statistical probability of making the Paralympics? And he was like,
'I'd say about one in a million.' And I was like, 'Oh, well thank you for your honesty,
I guess.' That was my coach. Really encouraging. Awesome. But I was like you know to me I guess
I got to a point where it wasn't really about necessarily making the Paralympics or not
making the Paralympics. It was about not having regrets. It was about 20 years in the future
not looking back and saying, 'Man, like if I had just trained that, that last season,
you know it could have happened.' And so I went into that last season, the 2006 season,
I suppose with that that attitude and to make a long story short, I got lucky a few times,
I had a few good races and in March of 2006, well. Hmmm. In March of 2006, well before,
before I get to that, let me tell you about something else. Because I think that that,
that day in March of 2006 was the most beautiful walk of my entire life. But to understand
that in context I think I have to tell you about the toughest walk of my life which was
in July of 1994. I remember that morning I checked into the hospital with my mom and
my dad and we sat down in chairs in this waiting room and I set my crutches down on the ground.
By this point I'd been on crutches for maybe three months because the cancer in my left
leg. you know, it was in my femur and I wasn't supposed to walk on my leg. It was very fragile.
I set my crutches down on the ground as I said and I, I bent over and I wrapped my arms
around my left leg and I remember it was just, I was like so so quiet in this room. And we
sat like that for a long time. And eventually a doctor and a nurse came in. I remember the
nurse was pushing an empty wheelchair and the doctor looked down at me and he said,
"We're ready, we're ready to take you back now." And I remember I looked at that wheelchair
[pause] and I looked at him and I said, "I think that I'm going to walk." And I'll never
forget walking down that hallway. If you've ever been in the hospital you know you wear
those those brown terrycloth socks that have the rubber strips on the bottom. I remember
I could feel that cool hospital linoleum floor underneath those brown terrycloth socks. And
I knew that those would be the last, the last steps that I would ever take with, with two
legs. [pause] I think that, I think that we can all agree probably that that we have days
from time to time, you know, when it feels like everything, everything in our lives is
falling apart. And I don't know about you, but for me I just hope that in those sorts
of moments I will always find the, the courage to be able to walk. [pause] I was in the hospital
for awhile after the amputation and I spent nine months on chemotherapy after that, so
in total I was on treatment for a year and I spent about 100 days in the hospital. But
at the end of that year is when I met that coach who told me about the Paralympics and
three years later I was declared cured of the cancer and three years after that was
when I was 16 and when I started racing. And six years after that was March of 2006, when
I walked into the opening ceremonies of the Paralympics in Torino, Italy. There was 30,000
people in this stadium, including my dad, who had first told me that I had cancer 12
years before, and my mom, who had first told me that my leg was going to be amputated.
And as I walked into that stadium, I was wearing a uniform. Not the lime green soccer uniform
I thought that I would wear as a kid, but one that it turns out was even better. It
was red and white and blue and it said U.S.A. See one thing that I've learned is that sometimes
the uniform that we get is better than the one that we thought we wanted. And the other
thing I've learned is that, well I didn't start ski racing until after I lost my leg
because you know I couldn't play soccer anymore, right? It was, it was like something I could
do as an amputee. Which means, that if you think about it, the most beautiful walk of
my life only happened because of the toughest walk of my life 12 years before on that hospital
tile linoleum floor. Which is why I think that that life, no matter how tough it is,
and make no mistake that life is tough, that the fact that we woke up today for another
day means that life is beautiful. [pause] Those I think are all of the sort of the most
important things that have happened to me and that I've learned from them that I can
share with you today. But I would be very interested in if any of you guys in this room
or any of our people that are in the infinity screens have any questions for me, I would
be very happy to answer them. I don't know, do people, if you don't want to go up to this
I can repeat the questions so that our VC friends can hear us. So feel free to sit in
your chair and you can raise your hand. Does anyone have any questions? [pause] Ta ta ta.
I can sing for you while you think about it. Ba ba bum. VC people, do you guys have any,
wait, so, alright so on top we have this is the YouTube office, right? And what was, what
was your name that we met earlier? Hi guys. Was that Mike? It was Mike, is that right?
>>male audience member #4: Brent.
>>Josh Sundquist: Brent. Ok, that was not close. Uh. [laughter]
>>male audience member #4: [inaudible] Mike.
>>Josh Sundquist: Oh, it is Mike?
>>male audience member #4: Yeah, it is.
>>Josh Sundquist: Ok. Didn't he just say Brent?
>>Several from audience: He said right.
>>Josh Sundquist: Oh, you said right. Oh, good. Alright. Awesome. Whew. Ok. That was
a very scary moment for me. And what's on the bottom? That is a different room, right?
>>female audience member #1: Hey Josh, it's Devon, I'm in Mountain View.
>>Josh Sundquist: Oh, you're in a different place than the other people?
>>female audience member #1: This morning, yes.
>>Josh Sundquist: Oh, ok. I'm sorry, I don't know my Bay Area geography very well. So people
on top, where are you guys, what city?
>>male audience member #5: San Bruno
>>Josh Sundquist: San Reno. Ok. And how far is that from Mountain View?
>>male audience member #5: Um, San Bruno's about, I don't know, 20 miles?
>>male audience member #6: 30 miles.
>>male audience member #5: 20-30?
>>Josh Sundquist: Ok. Sweet. It's ama -- like your conference rooms look amazingly similar.
Uh. [laughter] So I almost feel like we're looking at some sort of like, looking into
the future on the bottom where it's like most of you have already left and there's just
one person left in the lower corner there. But any of you on the VC side, do you guys
have any questions that I can answer pertaining to anything that you would like to ask?
>>female audience member #2: Josh, it's Julia, I'm on the YouTube side.
>>Josh Sundquist: Oh, hi, Julie, it's nice to meet you.
>>female audience member #2: Nice to see you.
>>Josh Sundquist: Nice to see you too.
>>female audience member #2: What's up, what's up next for you right now?
>>Josh Sundquist: What's that?
>>female audience member #2: Yeah, what's, what's, what's going on for you now? What's
the next, any more Olympics?
>>Josh Sundquist: [laughter] That's a good question. So I guess right now, it's weird,
like I feel like I'm making eye contact with you, but you probably just are seeing my back,
[audience laughter]
So I should look like this way? And then it will be like I'm looking at you?
>>female audience member #2: All right.
>>Josh Sundquist: Um, so yeah, so what's next for me? Yeah, so I mean I guess as I've sort
of alluded to and as you guys know, I'm really into YouTube now, it's like my new, sort of,
hobby. Um, and, which is why it makes it sort of like especially cool for me to be here
today. You know, it's interesting, I was thinking just this morning how, um, you know I, I sort
of, I sort of started using using YouTube originally as as a way to like put demo videos
about my speeches on, because I was sort of getting started as a speaker and this is what
I do professionally now, but this was back when I was in school. And, so I was trying
to get sort of like people that like bring me in to speak. And then I eventually started
doing like vlogs, where I would like talk to the camera and over time I sort of developed
a small following on YouTube and that is really by far the biggest sort of driver of what
made my book somewhat successful. And then the book is the reason that I'm here today.
So things have sort of come full circle. Because Google, as you may have heard, owns YouTube.
So, uh, that's pretty cool. So, yeah, as far as what's next, I would like to, yeah, I would
like to keep growing my audience on YouTube. I think YouTube is just like, it's a, it just
blows my mind like what a powerful medium it is in terms of the fact that I can just
like turn on my camera and talk and people listen to me and it's just instant. Right,
as, in contrast to a book, which books are really cool, but it literally was like, I
think from the time I signed my book contract to when it was like in stores it was like
two years. Two years. That is so long. So that's very painful to me. But I would like
to write another book, so I'm I'm sort of working on ideas. But before I do that I want
to sort of solidify my YouTube audience and I want to continue to give speeches. And that's,
that's, sort of those those to me are sort of the, what would you call that, what's a,
what's a word that has three, like a trifecta? It's sort of the trifecta of my career: motivational
speeches, YouTube and books. So, uh, thank you. Nice to meet you, sort of, virtually
>>female audience member #2: [laughter] Nice to meet you too.
>>Josh Sundquist: Any questions from anyone in this room or on the screens? It's weird,
I can't like look both ways. Well, let's start by asking.
>>male audience member #7: I have a question.
>>Josh Sundquist: Who said this? What's your name?
>>male audience member #7: George at YouTube.
>>Josh Sundquist: What's your name?
>>male audience member #7: George.
>>Josh Sundquist: George. Nice to meet you George.
>>male audience member #7: So on I think one of your last YouTube videos you were self-deprecating
about not having a girlfriend?
>>Josh Sundquist: Yes.
>>male audience member #7: Do you only date super models? I mean obviously you're very
articulate. You're an author. What's wrong?
>>Josh Sundquist: Yeah, uh. [laughter] This is a great question. Um, and uh, yeah, it's
sort of, well so there's a lot of ways to answer it. So yes, I've never had really like
a girlfriend. I've sort of dated some people and I frequent, like, a very frequent source
of my material on YouTube is my problems with girls. And so, um, but here's the thing. It's
like, if I, what I've found is that it's very cathartic to me if I have like a bad experience
with a girl to like make a video about it and just sort of rant about it and be like.
'Oh my life is so unfair. No girls like me.' Because yeah it just feels good to like, and
then you know to like get that out there. And also those stories then tend to be like
sort of funny. Like the story I told you about with Amy Gardner. But the problem is, on the
flip side, like if I have a story like 'Yeah I met this girl. I got her number. We went
on a date. It was really nice.' Like that's just not a good story. Like nobody, that way
nobody would watch that video on YouTube. It would get like five thumbs downs and no
views whatsoever. So I tend not to like tell those stories on YouTube. Not out of a matter
of like deceit, like deception to like distort people's view of reality, but just 'cause
they're not interesting. That combined with the fact that I do seem to have a propensity
towards dating disasters. Those put together have yeah made it seem like maybe perhaps
my problem with girls is worse than it really is. But, yeah as you said, this is actually
yeah my probably my strongest theory as to why I've never had a girlfriend is um is because
it's like the girls that I, I am interested in dating I'm like really intimidated by,
if that makes sense. So it's like there are it's not like no girl has every liked me.
There's plenty of I think of girls that like me. But like the ones that I actually want
to date do not happen to be the ones that like me. If we had a Venn diagram, this would
be girls that I like, and this would be girls that like me and this is all imaginary, but
there's no overlap in said Venn diagram if you can imagine it in your minds. [audience
laughter] That's been the problem for me thus far. But that's a great question. And one
that yeah and I need to answer that better. I need to figure a way to answer that on YouTube.
Yeah, because people, especially yeah especially recently with the, yeah, with the video I
posted last week about rejection specifically and my fear of rejection, people are just
like 'Oh, my, like you need to get your life'. It's really funny like all my viewers are
like, they're like psychiatrists or they imagine themselves to be like my therapist and I,
I get so much advice everyday on YouTube and on Twitter and Facebook from the videos. And
people, yeah, people just have hilarious to me theories like somebody the other day was
like "I think the reason you have problems with girls is because you're a motivational
speaker and it's very hard for you to turn off your motivationalness and so girls feel
that you're always trying to motivate them and they are uncomfortable with that." And
I was like, 'Huh? What are you talking about? You've never seen me on a date. Like why do
you just assume,' like people make this assumption if you're a motivational speaker, man all
the time probably all you do is say really positive, extraordinarily awesome things and
that you would never be a normal person on a date. So um yes so that's been an interesting
thing, so I need to figure out a way to sort of articulate what I just tried to say to
you guys on YouTube so people will stop feeling sort of so sorry for me. But that was a.
>>male audience member #8: You kick trees on a date.
>>Josh Sundquist: What's that?
>>male audience member #8: You kick trees on your dates.
>>Josh Sundquist: I do. [laughing] That's true. [laughing] But yeah, I have had some
really bad experiences and this is, I'll tell you, yeah, one of my secret plans is to write
a book about all of my like disastrous dating experiences, because I feel that that would
also be cathartic and greatly amusing, if not to anyone else at least to me. But yeah,
it was a great question and thanks for watching my videos. Are you guys all partner support?
>>male audience member #9: Yeah, pretty much for the most part.
>>female audience member #3: Yes.
>>Josh Sundquist: Sweet. Well it's nice to meet the partner support team. You guys are
super awesome. I've been talking you up to everyone after I talked to Julie and Devon
on the phone last week and I've been like just every YouTuber I've talked to since then
I've been like 'Yeah, partner support, they're really awesome. You guys have no idea how
awesome they are. They're so sweet.' So thanks for existing.
>>female audience member #4: [inaudible]
>>Josh Sundquist: Other questions from video or in person? Ba bum ba. Yes? No? Yes, Todd.
>>male audience member #4: You mentioned earlier that no one knows what to do when a guy with
one leg falls down.
>>Josh Sundquist: Yes.
>>male audience member #4: And, uh [inaudible] when people meet you or see you speak that
they, you know the feel some need to respond in some way to your current situation [inaudible]
responses to it that you find welcome or that you find really annoying?
>>Josh Sundquist: Um and when you say "it" do you mean specifically having one leg or
like being a motivational speaker or whatever?
>>male audience member #4: No, no, I mean having one leg [inaudible]
>>Josh Sundquist: Yeah, um, that's a good question. So he asked, for those of you on
video sort of um, sort of about like people's reaction to me when they see that I have one
leg and what sort of responses in that arena that I find perhaps annoying. Is that a fair?
>>male audience member #4: Or good.
>>Josh Sundquist: Or good.
>>male audience member #4: Welcome or annoying.
>>Josh Sundquist: Welcome or annoying. So yeah. So it's a really interesting phenomenon
when you have one leg people definitely will give you sort of the benefit of the doubt
always. Which is just, yeah, it's just a very interesting phenomenon like if you're, I don't
know, well it's like, like a lot, you know, I'm obviously 21 now, but like very frequently
people like even when I was like looked younger, like people won't like check my I.D. like
I'll start to get my I.D. out and they're like, "No, no, no, don't worry about it. Just
please, just go on in." Like it's like, people are like really? Like ok, seriously? Just
because I have one leg I'm probably incapable of reaching into my wallet and pulling out
my I.D. and yeah, but so I think people, I think, yeah and there's sort of this automatic,
I think, deference to a person with a disability. Which can be good and bad. You know I think
like on YouTube for example, there's this phenomenon called trolls or haters who people
just like go around making like negative comments and like thumbing down videos. And people
often ask me, like other YouTubers, they're like 'Man, how do you have like so few like
haters and negative comments?' And I think that and people like don't realize this consciously
but like I think people believe that their it's sort of bad karma to criticize a person
with a disability. Or like to thumb down their video like they just feel like a bad person
if they did so. So, so in some ways, yeah, it it sort of affords me like advantages.
I would not, said advantages are not worth maybe the cost of the inconvenience of it.
And there used to be a time when I was very sort of annoyed by it, like whenever I'm at
airports and security lines, like I'll get spotted like way back by like TSA people and
they come and they're like, "Please, sir, come with me." And they'll like part the crowd.
It's like Moses with the Red Sea, like "Everyone, step aside, this guy's coming through. He
needs to go to the front of the line immediately." And it's like really awkward and so I used
to always be like, you know I was like well I don't need it, like I don't want special
treatment because I have one leg and so I'd always be like, "No, no, no, no." And they're
like, "No, sir, really you need to come with." Like, "No, no, no." They're like, "Are you
sure? You want to wait in line forever?" [laughter] And so I used to, I used to just wait in line
and then eventually I got to the point where it's like, you know what? Having one leg is
kind of annoying and I feel like this is like the special prize that I get for being on
crutches all the time. So now I do skip lines and whenever they're like, "If anyone wants
to pre-board who needs like extra time or assistance." I like walk up and act like I'm
very feeble and I need extra time and assistance to get on the plane. I'm like, "Thank you
for letting me pre-board." So, yeah, it's people I think do, do yeah sort of give you
that benefit of the doubt. And people like, I mean like kids always sort of stare at me
and like flip out you know. And that's, that is kind of awkward and kind of annoying because
they're never, they're never very subtle about it. They're just like, "Mommy, that boy's
leg fell off. Awwww." Right, like, start crying and then the parent starts like beating the
child. And like, "I told you never to stare at handicapped people." And it's just like
really like awkward. So that happens a lot. And people will ask, there's this weird thing
also where people sort of if you have a disability they sort of you know normally you might think
if you see a stranger like hey you should probably give them their space. But there's
this group of people that if if they are curious about having one leg it's like they have no
problem just walking up to you and be like [inaudible] 'So like what happened to your
leg?' I'm like, 'I don't, I don't even know you. Like why, why would you come ask me this?'
And people will ask really crazy questions. My favorite of all time being one time I was
talking to this girl about my artificial leg, which I was wearing at the time, about how
it works and what it's made out of and such. And she looks down at the prosthesis and she's
like, "Is the foot fake, too?"
Audience: [laughter]
>>Josh Sundquist: Yeah. I was like, uh, 'You know actually it's amazing medical technology.
The doctors managed to sew my real foot on the end of my artificial leg. Really pretty
Audience: [laughter]
>>Josh Sundquist: Yeah, but this girl, this was not a child, this girl was like in high
school. I was like, wow, that is. There is definitely such a thing as a stupid question.
Audience: [laughter]
>>Josh Sundquist: [drinking] But, yeah, I mean I could go on and on about sort of experiences
like that. Um, any.
>>female audience member #5: Did you ever, um, lie about what happened? Or like, you
know, you got attacked by a shark or something? Or do you always tell the truth about what
>>Josh Sundquist: Yeah, that's a good question. Have you seen that video?
>>female audience member #5: Um, maybe.
>>Josh Sundquist: It's like one, it's like one I have like a much older video where I.
>>female audience member #5: [inaudible]
>>Josh Sundquist: Ok, yeah, um, I ah, yeah, so like that's one of those things too. I
used to like sort of take advantage of this more for my like own amusement than I do now.
Where I would yeah, I would like lie to people or I would like I would just be like walking
in crowded areas and just fall deliberately and just be like, "Awwww." Like just because
it would just really amuse my friends and I to be like wherever I was like, "Oh no,
oh no, help him. Help the guy with one leg." And so I used to do things like that and also
yeah just tell people like outlandish stories, especially children, of how I lost my leg
in like a weed whacker accident or whatever. But I don't do that anymore because I feel
like, I do kind of like secretly believe in karma now and like I said I feel like because,
because people like do give me that deference and benefit of the doubt I'm like taking advantage
of that. But I used to, yeah, more frequently lie to children because they're always like
if they can break away from their mom they come up to me and they're like, "What happened
to your leg?" And I'll be like, "Well I had cancer. Do you know what cancer is?" And they're
like, "No." And I'm like. They have dramatic hand motions too "no." And I'm like "Well,
my leg was sick and so the doctors had to cut it off." And they're like, "Oh, ok." But,
that's a great kid impression. [chuckling] But yeah sometimes though I would, and I did
do this on many occasions, a kid would come up to me and be like, "What happened to your
leg." And I would just like get really serious and just be like, "Kid, have you ever heard
of Jaws?" And then, but the best part is that I would be like, "By the way, where does your
family go on vacation in the summer to the beach?" And then like whatever beach the kid
said, I'd be like, "Oh, my gosh, that is where a shark bit my leg off." And at that point
that's when the parents like start beating me, because that kid is never going swimming
in the ocean again. I think we can, we can all probably agree on that one. But, yeah.
Oh, man, I'm trying to like. [drinking] What I also try to perfect this story, I could
never get it quite right, but I wanted to perfect a story about like being a lumberjack
and having to cut my leg off, but then Aron Ralston actually was like did cut his arm
off and I was like, well that story is not funny anymore 'cause that like really happened
to someone. But, yeah, that is a great question, Julie. Thank you for asking it. Looks like
we have approximately one minute left. Do any of you on the screen or in person have
any other final questions?
>>Josh Sundquist: Whoa. Someone has a siren. Who is, who? Can everyone hear that siren?
Well was that here? That wasn't here, right?
>>male audience member #10: [inaudible]
>>Josh Sundquist: Someone out there's siren.
>>male audience member #10: [inaudible]
>>Josh Sundquist: What's that?
>>male audience member #10: It was at YouTube.
>>Josh Sundquist: Oh, it was at YouTube. Alright. Well I hope everybody's ok. Um.
>>male audience member #10: I have a question actually.
>>Josh Sundquist: Yeah, go ahead.
>>male audience member #10: Um, I really, really loved your Facebook for Math Nerds
>>Josh Sundquist: Yeah, thank you very much.
>>male audience member #10: Um. Yeah. Are you ever going to make a YouTube for Math
Nerds video?
>>Josh Sundquist: That's a great question.
>>male audience member #10: [inaudible] It would be pretty awesome to have a YouTube
for Math Nerds video.
>>Josh Sundquist: Yeah. Thank you. Thank you first of all for liking that you liked the
video. That's a very good question. So I have a couple or two of these videos. The first
one I made was Facebook for Math Nerds and the second one is Twitter for Math Nerds.
And it's sort of hard to describe that um, it's basically me drawing graphs and it's
just all you see is the page and my hand drawing graphs. And they're just like made up statistics
about Facebook and Twitter and, and people found them like really amusing. And so, yeah,
the Facebook one was first and then I did one with Twitter and so yeah, a lot of people
have suggested to me that I make like YouTube for Math Nerds because that's sort of the
logical next extension. So yeah, I think, I think that I will do that. I wanna do that,
but I also wanna branch out beyond like social networking. Like I wanna do like Kissing for
Math Nerds. And maybe like pop culture like Modern Family for Math Nerds and just continue
to make up fake statistics and draw graphs about them. But, yeah, no, those videos, yeah,
people really liked them a lot. I guess, here's, here's this weird thing that you guys at partner
support may or may not find interesting. But yeah, I get, well as you can probably see
I get very excited about things sometimes and I tend to get like too excited and then
I stop sleeping and I just I just work all the time and then I just like run out of energy.
So, and YouTube is very much that way. I just get really like excited about it and sucked
into it and so that's why I've -- a lot of my videos now are much simpler than the ones
I used to make just because like I, I get too excited about complicated videos, if that
makes sense. And like the Facebook and Twitter ones are that way. So it's like normally the
videos I make now are vlogs, where I can you know I can write it on a separate day and
like shoot it and it doesn't take too long and it doesn't take too long to edit. But
like those ones, anything that's like more produced, it takes like multiple days and
if I'm working on one project for multiple days I literally just don't sleep and it's
very, very unhealthy. So, you know I'm seeing a therapist, we're working on this situation.
Hopefully I'll have it under control soon and then I'll make a YouTube for Math Nerds
and yeah hopefully you guys will like it. I did make, it was vaguely like that, I did
make one time a YouTube quiz. It was not like Math Nerds, but that was sort of my homage
to YouTube. Where it was just like a quiz about mostly about like YouTube celebrities.
Um, sweet. Well it looks like we've hit 1:00 so I really appreciate you guys coming in
on the video conferencing. I know video is sort of a weird way to experience a speech
and you sort of lose some of the energy. But I appreciate you guys taking the time to be
here and hope to meet you guys this summer at VidCon. And thank you guys here in the
New York office for coming in and for hanging out with me on a Friday after, yeah I guess
we're in afternoon now. I know there's sometimes better things to do on Fridays than listen
to motivational speakers, so I appreciate you guys being here. Thank you guys.