Q&A with Tim — Revisiting 15+ Years of PR and Marketing Lessons, Time Dilation for Deep Relaxation, The Art of Setting Ultra-High Prices, The Low-Information Diet, Risk Mitigation, and Much More (#628)

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Key Takeaways

  • Tim Ferriss’ fear-setting exercise:
    • Identify the risk factors and make a list
    • Go down the list, risk by risk, and try to identify how to eliminate or mitigate the chance of them happening
  • The way that Tim has tackled this with each book launch
    • Looking for the neglected but powerful channel 
    • Spot up-and-coming channels that are ramping in influence
    • For The 4-Hour Workweek, that was bloggers
    • For The 4-Hour Chef, it was podcasts
  • The low-information diet as described in The 4-Hour Workweek (any type of push news)
    • Tim has no social apps on his phone; save your mental calories for something more important
  • If you can single-task for a few hours a day without any interruption, you will have a huge competitive advantage over the majority of people
  • Time dilation could be an alternative to extending the life
    • What if you could design life and pre-schedule experiences such that you have the experience of time dilation more often?
  • Tim reads very few newsletters
    • The Microdose, which is from UC Berkeley, gives a synopsis of happenings and new events in the psychedelic spaces
  • 3 powerful interviews that have inspired Tim Ferriss:
    • Tara Brach, who wrote an incredible book called Radical Acceptance 
    • Jerry Colonna has many fantastic questions worth keeping in mind constantly; “how am I complicit in creating the conditions I say I don’t want?” 
      • Check out these Podcast Notes for more information
    • Jack Kornfield
      • Check out these Podcast Notes for more information
  • A lesson he learned from Gary Keller
    • Let’s say you have a list of 10 things
      • First option: which of these (if done) make other things either irrelevant or easier to do?
      • Second option: which of these, if done or brought to the next milestone, would leave you feeling proudest at the end of the day?
      • The third option (if you are choosing between projects): Which of these, even if it fails, can be the greatest success? 

Intro

  • In this episode of The Tim Ferriss Show, we are presented with a slightly different format; the guest is Tim Ferriss himself. Tim answers questions on marketing and product launches, thoughts on curated newsletters, past guests who have inspired him, fasting routines, and more
  • Host: Tim Ferriss (@tferriss)

How Tim Would Build Clientele/Mitigate Risk if He Were Opening a Restaurant

  • Low-risk, capped downside ways of experimenting
  • Many successful restaurants begin as food trucks (prototyping)
    • The development and the regulations surrounding food trucks are less demanding
  • Another lower-cost approach is having a popup in another restaurant
  • Tim’s fear-setting exercise:
    • Identify the risk factors and make a list
    • Go down the list, risk by risk, and try to identify how to eliminate or mitigate the chance of them happening
  • Partner with organizations or groups who would benefit from a revenue share
    • E.g. fast healthy food
    • Approach local gyms and offer revenue for any members they send to your restaurant
  • Don’t worry about profit, your priority is to gather feedback to improve your business before you have more sunk cost

Raising Awareness for a New Productivity Tool

  • Asking for opinions and getting people to take action are two very, very different things
    • E.g. Your friends telling you they are interested in your new product/service is not the same as them making a pre-order and giving you the money on the spot
  • “Observing people using a tool is very different from asking them how they might use a tool.”Tim Ferriss
  • Before you think about launching, make sure you’re solving a problem that people want to be solved
  • Your first step should be paying 20 people to use it and observe their feedback
    • Why pay when there are free options? You’re paying someone for their time and feedback
    • Encourage them to speak out loud
    • Usertesting.com – services that provide for this
    • User testing sessions in person with video – a cheaper solution
  • How to get the word out?
    • Send free software to bloggers and podcasts that are in the space
    • Have a good pitch for your product/service
  • The way that Tim has tackled this with each book launch
    • Looking for the neglected but powerful channel 
    • Up-and-coming channels that are ramping in influence
    • For The 4-Hour Workweek, that was bloggers
    • For The 4-Hour Chef, it was podcasts

The Biggest Takeaway From Tim’s Work That Often Gets Overlooked

  • The low-information diet as described in The 4-Hour Workweek (any type of push news)
  • Tim has no social apps on his phone; save your mental calories for something more important
    • His phone is almost always in airplane mode
  • “To have this type of addictive technology embedded into your phone with notifications that you’re subject to 24/7, through which algorithms are being wielded against you that have billions of dollars in teams of data scientists and UI experts behind them, I think it’s unnecessarily challenging to subject yourself to that and to expect to be able to overtake that and single task effectively.” Tim Ferriss
  • Can’t you just use self-control? You can, but it’s a lot easier to just remove it from your house
  • If you can single-task for a few hours a day without any interruption, you will have a huge competitive advantage over the majority of people

Thoughts on Curated Newsletters for Information Gathering

  • “Opting into highly curated sources of information that are either relevant to you in the near term or actionable to you in the near term is far superior to being lost in the waves and chop of online assault that is uncontrolled.”Tim Ferriss
  • Where to get your information?
    • Substack or newsletters, in general, are an excellent way to get the information you want and avoid “junk food”
    • They force you to make decisions about high-priority/low-priority information ahead of time 
    • You are not making all those decisions on the fly
  • “We’re all simple creatures and the algorithms will beat you, whether it’s just showing a picture of Kim Kardashian’s ass or some celebrity or who the hell knows? It’s going to pull you off task. I don’t care who you are, so just keep the junk food out of your house, metaphorically speaking.”Tim Ferriss

Recent Spiritual Shifts?

  • Hiking on and off for several days in the mountains of New Mexico
    • Some of the most profound and extreme time dilation Tim has ever felt (completely sober)
    • Thinking about yesterday felt like looking back to three weeks or four weeks prior
  • Extending vs expanding life
    • Time dilation could be an alternative to extending the life
    • What if you could design life and pre-schedule experiences such that you have the experience of time dilation more often?
    • Does that have a net positive or even a greater benefit than simply extending your biological lifespan?

Ketamine and Bladder Damage

  • Suggested listening: 
    • Tim’s recent episode with Dr. John Krystal, the chairman of the psychiatry department at Yale
    • Check out these Podcast Notes for more information on the episode
  • Suggested reading: 
    • Go to PubMed, search “ketamine bladder” or “ketamine urinary tract”, and quite a few papers will come up

Blogs or Newsletters Tim Reads Every Day

  • Tim reads very few newsletters
    • The Microdose, which is from UC Berkeley, gives a synopsis of happenings and new events in the psychedelic spaces
  • He also reads Matt Levine of Bloomberg
    • One of the best writers according to Tim; “…his combination of volume and insight, the density of insight to words per page is staggering.”Tim Ferriss

How to Launch a Successful Nonprofit

Building a Luxury Brand

  • Deluxe, subtitle, How Luxury Lost Its Luster by Dana Thomas
    • About high-end luxury brands and how some of them have compromised by outsourcing supply chains
    • Ingredients that have made some of the most durable luxury brands the world has ever seen
  • The story matters a lot
    • “You can’t just tape a banana to a wall at Art Basel with duct tape and have no story. There needs to be a story.”Tim Ferriss
  • The Price of Everything documentary
    • Dives deep into the labyrinth of the contemporary art world 
    • The role of art and artistic passion in today’s money-driven, consumer-based society
  • Study luxury brands
    • Figure out who their PR firms are
    • Go to the PR firm’s websites and look at their campaign case studies
    • Create a swipe file – a collection of tested and proven advertising
    • Whenever an advertisement convinced Tim to spend money he shouldn’t spend, he would try to record it in some fashion (tear it out of the magazine, take a photo, etc.)
    • You do not need to be a professional market analyst to do this, you just need to be aware of your behavior and what drives you to purchase 
    • Reverse engineer; set the price first and then make it worth it

Past Guests Who Have Inspired Tim Through Tough Times

  • 3 powerful interviews that have inspired Tim Ferriss:
    • Tara Brach, who wrote an incredible book called Radical Acceptance 
    • Jerry Colonna has many fantastic questions worth keeping in mind constantly; “how am I complicit in creating the conditions I say I don’t want?” 
      • Check out these Podcast Notes for more information
    • Jack Kornfield
      • Check out these Podcast Notes for more information
  • Anger directed at yourself
    • When hit with something unexpected or something undesirable happening, Tim’s default reaction is anger (mostly directed at himself) 
    • He is incredible at beating himself up mercilessly
    • It’s not the events that are the problem, it’s his reflexive response to those events (self-abuse through inner monologue)  
  • These interviews helped Tim create a greater awareness of that and ask questions that allowed him to calm that reactivity

The Mental Model That Most Effectively Helps Tim Prioritize

  • A lesson he learned from Gary Keller
    • Let’s say you have a list of 10 things
      • First option: which of these (if done) make other things either irrelevant or easier to do?
      • Second option: which of these, if done or brought to the next milestone, would leave you feeling proudest at the end of the day?
      • The third option (if you are choosing between projects): Which of these, even if it fails, can be the greatest success? 

Marketing The 4-Hour Workweek in 2007 vs. 2022.

  • Engaging with people in-person at events and recreational settings would remain consistent
    • Go to the after party after some conference event where people are on panels, and approach them afterward
    • It’s a set of skills that most people have neglected in a world where everything is thought to be digital and text first
    • “The ability to navigate social dynamics in a way that is interesting, but not overwhelming or irritating takes practice.”Tim Ferriss

Tim’s Workout Routine

  • Weight training: full-body workouts twice a week 
  • Sledding: three to four times per week in the morning
  • Intermittent fasting until noon and kettlebell swings (72-pounder for sets of 50)
    • Generally no calories to very, very low calories 
  • Jumping rope in the mornings before sled pushing to wake up his nervous system and his cognition 
    • “Honestly, just jumping rope for two minutes, hopping around, having my dog bark her face off at me, which is hilarious, is enough to change my mood, to elevate mood.”Tim Ferriss
  • Sauna before dinner for half an hour and a cold shower afterward (four to five times a week)
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