How People Work and Why It Matters for Your Business

Personality science is a fascinating discipline. That’s why most of us know our DiSC profile, our Myers-Briggs type, and even our Hogwarts House. We want to understand how we are wired and how that impacts the way we react to the world. But what if we took it a step further and applied an understanding of personality science to business?

How would that change our hiring processes? Or the way we approach our colleagues and clients

The Science Of Personality

Vanessa Van Edwards is a journalist turned researcher who got curious about what makes people tick, and she believes that when it comes to business, personality is not a nice-to-know, it’s a need-to-know. Vanessa leverages her knowledge of personality science to hire for the right fit, create a supportive work culture, and get the best out of her team.

Today, Vanessa joins me to discuss how Science of People came to be and how she applies personality research in her own work culture. She shares the Big Five personality traits backed by academia, offering insight into how our levels of openness, conscientiousness, extroversion-introversion, agreeableness and neuroticism impact the way we work. I ask Vanessa about the failure of her first book, and she describes the downward spiral that ensued and how she eventually found her way back to writing. Listen in as Vanessa explains her experience with pregnancy thus far and how expecting gave her the opportunity to work ON her business!

The Startup Pregnant Podcast Episode #096

Some quotes from the episode

  • “I try to figure out what makes people tick from a science perspective. I was a recovering awkward person—still am in recovery, I suppose—and I’m always trying to understand … how we’re wired and how we can optimize it.”
  • “Personality is not a nice-to-know, it’s a need-to-know.”
  • “We lose more pitches and partnerships because we’re pitching with our own openness, as opposed to appealing to theirs.”
  • “Either an event or your goals … can make you optimize or change a wired personality trait.”
  • “This really bad event triggered every wrong chemical in my body, and I was making it worse by withdrawing from life.”
  • “I started to reach out to more people—going to networking events, going to more masterminds—and having the inspiring, hustling people around me was infectious. I caught their hustle.”
  • “I’m very grateful for that failure because it let me RESET.”
  • “I had to write the first book, and it had to fail for me to write the book I always wanted to write that is actually helping people.”
  • “Psychological safety is when people feel that they can express their opinions, they feel that they can take risks, and they feel that they will not be judged.”
  • “If you have a system for submitting new ideas or experiments, it feels like it’s accepted.”
  • “When you’re pregnant, your body becomes a blog: People want updates. Anyone can comment on it. People tell you if they like it or not.”
  • “Pregnancy has an amazing way of forcing you to work ON your business as you get ready to leave—or not.”


Vanessa Van Edwards is the founder and lead investigator at Science of People, a research lab where she uncovers the hidden forces that drive our behavior. Vanessa writes a monthly column for Entrepreneur Magazine and the Huffington Post, and her work has been featured on NPR, Business Week, and USA Today. She is a sought-after keynote speaker, delivering talks at the Consumer Electronic Show, TEDxLondon, and MIT, among many other venues. Vanessa is the author of the national bestseller Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People.



Community makes all the difference. So, at Startup Pregnant, we have launched a mastermind program for women who are interested in going deeper around questions about parenting, motherhood, and business. To apply for the Spring 2019 session and receive my free email series, go to

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