Tickets Podcast: David Lavin on representing some of the world’s leading intellectual talent

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Think about talent agents and the first image that comes to mind may be something similar to the character of Ari Gold in the TV show ‘Entourage’; fast-talking, fickle, and more focused on the action toys and awards than the quality of the art.

But beyond the caricature, there’s of course far more to this kind of work than meets the eye — and a growing range of talent with important ideas to share with the world.

On this episode of Tickets I’m joined by David Lavin, founder and CEO of The Lavin Agency.

The agency represents some of the world’s leading intellectual talent; from bestselling authors Salman Rushdie and Margaret Atwood, to Angela Duckworth (Grit) and Steven Pinker (Enlightenment Now).

During this conversation, we get into what really makes for a compelling speaker, where there’s space for new ideas in education, balancing risk and reward, and who’s really worth booking for the $10,000 keynote.

Episode Overview

04:00 Getting started as a promoter, featuring a notorious journalist and the Toronto police SWAT team

09:00 The motivation to shift from promoter to agent

12:30 Learnings from the early days

16:00 Who should be giving the $10,000 keynotes?

20:00 Topics that are getting most attention right now

25:00 Traits of compelling speakers

31:00 New ways to think about education, and the challenge of lifelong learning

39:00 Why so many people don’t dream big anymore

46:00 The power of books and the influence of music

51:00 The best speaker David has ever seen live

Originally published at on February 11, 2019.