November 16, 2013

An interview with Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss (his twitter and his blog) is the author of the successful book series The 4-Hour x, where x is Workweek, Body, or Chef. He's also and investor in and adviser to startups. This interview is from 2011 and it's one of the more relaxed interviews - Tim Ferriss and Kevin Rose are friends and have filmed themselves before in the Random Show.

Lessons learned
  • The entrepreneur Elon Musk (will be featured in a future Foundation interview) said, "If you could explain the why of things then that makes a huge difference to peoples motivation." This was a lesson a young Tim Ferriss learned when he refused to learn the alphabet because he didn't understand why he needed it. But his teacher explained why and Tim Ferriss became an alphabet expert.
  • Tim Ferriss really knows how to sell and he learned how to sell by working for a company as a sales guy. 
  • A common misconception about Tim Ferriss is that he doesn't want to work more than 4 hour each week, but the book The 4-Hour Workweek is a book about productivity. The idea is that you will become 10 times as productive as you were before you read the book (and didn't apply any of the techniques from the book).
  • Most entrepreneurs spend 100 percent of their time on the product and 0 percent of their time on marketing the product, and as a result they will probably fail. Tim Ferriss spends 80 percent of his time on the product and 20 percent of his time on marketing the product. (Read more: Tim Ferriss On How To Growth Hack A Book)
  • If you want to become a better writer, Tim Ferriss recommended the books On Writing Well, Simple and Direct, and Bird by Bird.
  • The 10 000 people rule. Try to write an article or book for 10 000 people. Never write an article and expect that everyone will like it - write for those 10 000 who will like it. If these 10 000 people like what you have written, they will spread it to 1 million people.
  • People are people and you have to accept it and adopt to it. Tim Ferriss had a chapter in his book on "breath holding," and despite the fact that he clearly wrote that it was dangerous, people didn't listen to him and got almost killed. I guess it can be translated to your startup that if people can mess something up - they will mess it up.
  • Life is short - so don't forget your family by focusing all your time on your company. Tim Ferriss uses Saturdays to regain perspective by not using any computer and he doesn't have email on his iPhone.  

More articles in the same series: Lessons learned from the Foundation interviews