The Tim Ferris Show: Daymond John and How to Turn Weaknesses into Strengths

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How Tim got started with writing:

  • Tim never wanted to write a book, it was an accidental career.
    • He was guest lecturing and students recommended he write a book, but he didn’t want to.
    • He put notes together from class and his friends told him to write a book.
  • Jack Canfield, co-creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul, met Tim when Tim moved to Silicon Valley.
    • There, he drove his Mom’s hand-me-down minivan.
    • Tim volunteered at a non-profit and worked up to have more responsibility as a volunteer.
      • Got invited to a board meeting and got to lead a major event.
        • He invited Jack Canfield, the founder of Cliff Bar, and other successful people he wanted to meet.
      • He wanted to be mentored, but what is in it for the mentor?
        • Tim contributed, got up early and stayed up late.
        • Tim “borrowed” credibility from the Non-profit.
          • The panelists came because of the media associations from the non-profit.
        • He never asked to be mentored, but would infrequently ask questions to Jack.
          • He told him about his notes and the book, and Jack introduced him to his future agent

How Tim Stayed Realistic:

  • Had been testing material on his live classes that he guest lectured for years.
    • That gave him confidence.
    • He did feedback forums.
    • He was rejected a lot.
      • The people in a position to buy his book were not the target audience.
        • 20+ rejections were demoralizing, but he believed in the value of his content.
      • He had in-person meetings with his agent, but kept getting denied.
        • The last meeting was with Crown, a subdivision of Random House.
          • He didn’t feel like the meeting was working.
            • They understood it intellectually but did not have a visceral response.
            • Steve Ross got to make the final decision. He asked Tim if he had any last words before the meeting ended.
              • Tim told him he doesn’t half-ass anything. He will do anything required to make it a best seller, so he should buy it.
                • Steve later told him it was that “ballsy” confidence that sold the book. (Also, it was for a good price.)
              • It only took a couple weeks for the deal to go through.

Things to Take Away from Tim’s use of the Power of Broke:

  1. Don’t overburden the potential mentor.
  2. The decision-making person saw that Tim would get the book done with or without the publishing company, and so the publishing company wanted to be a part of it.
  3. He had a proof of concept that was tested.


  • The agent he was working with was new. They have connections, just not the product yet.
  • The book deal was established, not for a lot of money, with not a lot of marketing.
  • Tim marketed the book himself

Marketing the 4 Hour Workweek:

  • December 26, 2006 was the day he could start marketing. The book was scheduled to come out in April.
    • The publisher didn’t want Tim to be very hands-on, but Tim could market online.
      • Social Media was different in 2006 than it is now in 2016.
        • Google, Facebook, Twitter (new), MySpace, bloggers
      • Bloggers, he had to learn about them.
        • He searched, “most influential bloggers” and found CES (consumer electronics show) in Vegas.
          • He used to sell storage area networks making cold calls and cold emails, so he knew that email and phone would be crowded was of communication and difficult to reach. The least crowded way to communicate was in-person.
            • He wanted to find herds of bloggers in one place.
              • He bought a ticket to Vegas to go to CES, but he ended up not going to CES (check out the notes of more in depth tips from Tim for winning at conferences,) because he went to “The Lounge” instead which has free booze and wi-fi for bloggers.
                • *Tip: BE NICE!*
                  • Tim was nice to the check-in woman and the people, he would be nice and sidle into conversations.
                  • He and everyone else wanted to talk to a famous blogger, Robert Scoble.
                  • He didn’t want to be lost in the crowd of people trying to get his attention, so he brought it up to the check-in woman and it turns out that she was Robert’s wife.
                  • She told him to hang out and then she introduced Tim to Robert.
                • He was honest and did not try to impress anyone.
                  • He would admit not knowing something and ask questions.
                  • People then became interested in Tim.
                  • He did not pitch, but answered questions.
                  • He didn’t allow himself to be desperate.
                • He also went to SXSW and tried to get a speaking spot, but kept being told no.
                  • A cancellation happened, and he got to go to a room where people were eating and drinking.
                    • He practiced his presentation to his friend’s Chihuahuas.
                      • If he was boring, they would run away.
                        • If he was engaging, they kept watching him.
                        • He eventually gave a presentation – but his laptop and internet died.
                      • He had rehearsed enough that he could handle it without slidesDaymond points out that the blogger he tried to meet was done in a smart way.
                        • He agrees that it is important to be nice to everyone, everyone wants to feel important.
                        • It is also important to connect with their circle because they advise whomever you are trying to meet.
                        • His transparency was also important so he didn’t come off as phony.

The Book’s Perception:

  • The book was difficult to write.
  • It launched.
  • He constrained what he spent.
    • He mostly spent money on flying around and trying to find people.
    • His thinking was concise and unorthodox.
    • Just because you can spend more doesn’t mean you should.
  • The point of the book is to use time as a currency for power and leverage.
    • He took his own philosophy when marketing the book.
      • He did about 40 radio shows in a row and was exhausted.
        • His editor called and she told him he was a NY Times Bestselling Author, on the extended list.
      • The first book stayed on the NY Times List for over 4 years straight.
        • Now it is translated into around 40 languages.
      • Daymond add’s that Tim also did the 4-hour body. He looked at the next opportunities and where the trends were going. He did a new book deal.
      • Tim noticed a trend in digital sales.
        • They were becoming more popular as he looked at his book sales.
        • He had the first major book acquired by Amazon publishing for his book the 4-Hour Chef.
          • There are many risks with being first, but it was a thrill to Tim and he wanted to try it.
            • He partnered with Amazon and expected issues.
              • There were a lot of issues. Barnes & Noble and many others boycotted the new book.
                • This challenged him to do unorthodox things to get the book sold.
                  • He reached out to Panera Bread, primarily in NYC for the PR benefit.
                    • He launched the book with a secret menu at Panera.
                    • He did not have a lot of money to market, so he negotiated to take over some of the taxi cabs to run an advertisement for the book.
                    • He got in touch with BitTorrent, who wanted to establish themselves legitimately.
                      • *Look for what other people want.*
                      • He pitched himself and told him he would do everything he can to help BitTorrent be a legitimate source of distribution.
                      • It was downloaded over 2.5 million times, it was the #5 most downloaded content of the year, ahead of many famous musicians.

Take Aways:

  1. People believe that after they get to a certain stage, they will have no road blocks or obstacles. NOT TRUE! The more successful you become, the more haters you get.
  2. At any level, you have to roll up your sleeves and you have to do the work yourself.
  3. He found new and viable ways to push his own agenda while enriching people’s lives.
  4. Time, health, & nutrition are married together and are important to success in life.
  5. Everyone should read Tim’s books!

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