David Chang's Secrets to Success

Chef David Chang shares his secrets to succeeding in business. First, search for the “bad” or “simple ideas that everyone else ignore—then crush them. Powered by Montblanc

Released on 7/21/2015

Credits

Starring: David Chang and Michael Hainey

Transcript

00:00
(uplifting instrumental music)
00:06
And I remember you once said something,
00:08
that's always stuck with me, that sort of,
00:09
creative moments sort of happen in 10-year spurts.
00:12
I've been, like, obsessed with trying to find, like,
00:14
when I'm gonna be at my best.
00:16
And I always thought for a cook, it's like, 27 to 32,
00:19
it really is to me.
00:20
If you look at the great chefs in the world,
00:21
at the time they've been the best work,
00:23
it's right around that age.
00:25
And I wanted to make sure that I was in that moment.
00:27
And I sacrificed everything to be in that moment.
00:29
Now I'm turning 38 this year,
00:31
and like, I know I'm not in that moment anymore.
00:35
There's no way.
00:36
I know too much, and I think that time frame,
00:40
you're just, you're so dumb.
00:42
(Michael laughs) (audience laughs)
00:44
That anything seems possible.
00:45
You think you can do anything.
00:47
(audience laughs)
00:48
And you know just enough how to actually do something,
00:50
that it's that magical combination,
00:52
of being just naive and hopeful, and a dreamer enough.
00:56
So um, for me, as I get older now and I see that,
01:01
I just think that, what has happened is, life happens.
01:04
And at some point it catches up with you.
01:06
And like, you know,
01:07
that's sort of what happened with me too.
01:09
The 27 to 32-year-old period,
01:11
which ever guy goes through,
01:12
and is sort of like, you're full of energy,
01:14
and as you said, you sacrifice everything,
01:16
but something that happens I think, is,
01:19
you pivot from all that energy to,
01:22
there's this certain wisdom that arrives.
01:24
And I think you're sort of
01:26
harnessing that at this point now, right?
01:28
It's very hard to be in that moment all the time.
01:31
There's just no way.
01:32
You just feel like you can do anything,
01:34
and all the bad ideas become good ideas,
01:36
and you're not afraid of anything.
01:38
And it's a terrifying feeling.
01:40
So I think it's a dangerous place to be in.
01:42
I don't recommend it for everybody,
01:43
(Michael laughs)
01:44
but if you're 27 years old, I mean,
01:46
be as selfish as possible.
01:47
Literally, because I don't think if you're
01:49
a normal rational human being, you won't be that selfish,
01:52
after a certain period of time.
01:54
When you think about innovating stuff,
01:55
where do you get that at?
01:57
I think there's different types of innovation.
01:58
I think I know, one of my strengths is
02:00
that I know what I'm not good at.
02:01
And I know I'm not gonna be like a Wylie Dufresne,
02:04
or a Ferran Adrià, or many other chefs,
02:06
where they can literally innovate new ideas.
02:09
All these years I've gone to the MOMA,
02:10
or not gone to the MOMA,
02:12
and just been like, This is garbage.
02:13
(David laughs)
02:15
I'd much rather go to the MET.
02:17
But now I'm like, Oh, the MOMA is pretty cool.
02:20
Because I feel like anybody could've done that.
02:23
But nobody did except for one person.
02:25
And I feel like that's the innovation that we can do,
02:28
where you're gonna come up with an idea that is brilliant,
02:31
because no one else thought of it.
02:33
Because it was staring at people right in their face.
02:35
It was so abundantly clear that somebody could do something.
02:38
And to me, those are the best ideas,
02:39
because they are the most hated.
02:40
You know, you look at something like,
02:41
Oh, that's so stupid.
02:43
Like, that's nothing, I could've done that.
02:45
But you didn't.
02:46
And to me, that's like the,
02:48
the idea that I'm searching after, like constantly,
02:50
'cause I feel like all the great ideas, are like, taken,
02:53
or like, smarter people are gonna figure that out.
02:55
I think I'm gonna struggle with the, like,
02:57
the stuff that's staring at everybody.
03:00
The plain and simple stuff.
03:02
(uplifting instrumental music)