A world tired of a flood of short, shallow listicles quickly noticed—two months after Wait But Why was born, Urban’s article Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy swept the internet, becoming both the most shared and most commented-on article of the month on all of Facebook. Urban has since produced dozens of viral articles on a wide range of topics, from why we procrastinate to why artificial intelligence is scary to why we haven’t seen any signs of aliens. His articles have been regularly republished on sites like Quartz, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Time, Business Insider, and Gizmodo. In 2015, Fast Company wrote that “Wait But Why is disproving the notion that thoughtful, long-form content and virality are mutually exclusive.”
Today, Wait But Why receives over 1.5 million unique visitors per month on average, with some month’s visitors topping 10 million, and the blog has over 570,000 email subscribers. The Wait But Why community of readers is also highly engaged, with every article generating hundreds of thoughtful, intelligent reader comments and some reaching well into the thousands.
As Urban has taken off as a writer, requests for him to speak have steadily increased. He has done talks at companies like Google, Facebook, Uber and Zappos and schools like MIT, Brown, and The Wharton School. Urban delivered the most-watched TED talk from 2016, presented at the Nantucket Project and was selected to be a Spotlight speaker at HubSpot’s Inbound 16 conference.
Like his writing, Urban’s talks span many topics, involve stick figures, and combine depth and impact with humor and entertainment to delight and inspire his audiences.