The Art of Speed: Conversations with Monster Makers


The “Art of Speed” panel at SXSW: Evan Williams, Cali Lewis, Mike Cassidy, Tim Ferriss (Photo: vantan)

I had a blast organizing and moderating the “Art of Speed” panel at the incredible SXSW conference a few months ago. It was standing room only (at least from what I could see), and I learned a ton from some of the best at creating monster hits.

Here is the recording for those of you who missed it. It’s about 60 minutes total but can be listened to comfortably in little chunks.

The description:

The Art of Speed: Conversations with Monster Makers

This session will focus on how to accomplish huge things in little time. From near-overnight IPOs and massive cult followings, to instant NY Times bestsellers and runaway viral campaigns, learn tricks from those who have created monsters of buzz, fame, and fortune…

The panelists:

Evan Williams – co-founder Twitter/Obvious
Evan is the founder of Obvious Corp, a San Francisco-based web product development company and co-founder of Twitter (my Twitter here — full post on uses/abuses of Twitter coming soon), a micro-blogging and social networking site. He was also a co-creator of the software used as the basis for Blogger, one of the first web applications for creating and managing blogs. Blogger was acquired by Google.

Mike Cassidy – Benchmark Capital (Name unfamiliar? Click here.)
Mike has been the Co-Founder and CEO of three start-ups: Xfire (acquired by MTV for $110M), Direct Hit (acquired by for $500M), and Stylus Innovation (acquired by Artisoft for $13M). Mike has a BS and MS in Aerospace Engineering from MIT and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Cali Lewis – host and producer of GeekBrief.TV
Cali is the host of GeekBrief.TV, a three to five minute video podcast, covering new technologies, consumer electronics, and Web 2.0 projects. Along with her husband, Neal Campbell, they started GeekBrief.TV on December 23rd, 2005. Five months later, they began producing the show full time with support from PodShow Network and advertisers. Cali has co-hosted Call For Help with Leo Laporte, and appears regularly on MSNBC and The Lab with Leo Laporte.

Tim Ferriss (that’s me)
Please note that I was asked to also be a panelist and not just the moderator, so I’m participating in the discussion, not being a mic hog :)

Hope you enjoy it!

Posted on: May 29, 2008.

Watch The Tim Ferriss Experiment, the new #1-rated TV show with "the world's best human guinea pig" (Newsweek), Tim Ferriss. It's Mythbusters meets Jackass. Shot and edited by the Emmy-award winning team behind Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations and Parts Unknown. Here's the trailer.

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Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration)

50 comments on “The Art of Speed: Conversations with Monster Makers

  1. Very interesting talk, from someone who enjoyed your book, but how would you respond to those who say you delete comments or edit your videos to eliminate any critisim or those who challenge your “teachings” or “methods”?


    Hi JT,

    Hmmm… I’d first ask them to read through the comments on the more controversial posts like “How to Test Drive Friends and Irritate People” or any of the diet/training posts. There are plenty of skeptics.

    I do have moderators delete rude commenters who don’t contribute to the debate, however. I have no time for trolls, and neither do most of my readers, so I make no apologies about keeping my blog a nice place to read and write. I treat this blog like my living room: if a friend comes over and wants to disagree without being a jerk, I’m all for having some wine and going at it intellectually; if someone curses and throws around sarcasm and attacks in excess, they’re asked to leave and never come back.

    In an online world of declining etiquette, I try hard to maintain some semblance of civility on this one. Just my choice.

    Hope that helps,



  2. Great stuff.

    I’ve been hearing about Twitter for so long.

    Is it making any money for the owners yet?
    Isn’t just another attention/time waster?
    Who’s twitters do you subscribe to, Tim?

    I guess it’s time I signed up to see what all the fuss is about.



  3. Back @TimFerriss,

    A great discussion on whether or not JKD & MMA are related can be found in Teri Tom’s excellent book – The Straight Lead. Fact is JKD is more like Western Fencing than anything else. Most of the book covers how to throw a single punch – The Straight Lead – which is referred to as The Core of Bruce’s JKD. I have never once seen anyone throw a true straight lead in the Octagon…

    Have a blast in Greece!



  4. Killing me with the long audio, but I’m sure it’s more the worth the listen.

    (By the way, I’m 18 and after realizing the need the financial independence and just one that always is looking at the best way to do something, your quite the ‘guru’. I discovered a lot of things on my own.. such as Internet Marketing and selling information products, healthy eating habits and workings it. But its still nice to have ONE person who seems to truly ‘get it’. I loved that you tested the book cover and names. As I’m slowly becoming a New Rich at a young age, it helps to have a mentor to lead the way a little bit.)

    Your Friend,


  5. Tim

    Enjoyed catching up with you at Sydney party and discussing the impact of social media in your marketing strategy.

    This post is another great primer for those looking at non-traditional methods at reaching big audiences and getting stuff done. Love it.




  6. Hola! Tim!

    Nice post, I think this is the first audio you made available that did not have video with it. Is it possible to put this recording on your ipod and if so where do I go to learn how? Enjoy the food and the islands : )


    Jose Castro-Frenzel


  7. @TimFerriss


    i’m a 24-year-old webstie manager for luxury retail company and after reading your book i’m very close to giving an ultimatum to my boss….let me work remotely or i quit. the company needs me badly so i definitely have bargaining power. my only doubt….will working remotely (from home) really change anything? won’t i still be stuck to the 9-5, the only difference is that i’m at home? i need time to work on my t-shirt company!!!!

    ….great book!



  8. Hola Tim, muy bueno tu libro, me lo estoy leyendo rapido !!
    Es muy impactante.. te abre la mente

    Hablas español? supongo que algo no? estuviste en Argentina aprendiendo Tango y tu compañera Natalie hablará..

    Sí no te escribo en inglés…

    un saludo


  9. I’m sure this is amazing, but I’m practicing the art of speed and was wondering if anyone typed in notes of highlights from the 60-minute vid that they could post in the comments. Many thanks in advance.


  10. Hi Tim – what’s the best place to ask you questions not related to your latest post? Do you read questions posted on old posts… like many weeks ago? Or do you only see questions/comments from your latest post?


  11. Tim,

    Great audio! I really enjoyed the referral email script you gave. It really is quite easy to reach the “untouchables” a simple email, phone call, or referral introduction and you are right IN!

    I’d really like to hear more about the process that you taught the students on how to reach them. I remember hearing a while back of the trip you offered…

    I think it would be a killer idea on your blog to give the free trip around the world to whom reaches the most influential “untouchables.”

    Challenges are a great way to motivate people.

    Thanks for the audio Tim.