Kevin Rose and Tim Ferriss Discuss Angel Investing and Naming Companies


Tim and Kevin from Glenn McElhose on Vimeo.

In this video, Kevin Rose — founder of Digg and others — and I talk about how we invest in other companies as “angels” and how we choose names for companies. Topics include:

-How to test company or product names using Google AdWords
-Kevin’s criteria for both good site names and good angel investments
-The role of start-up “advisors” and investors
-How I choose companies to work with: overlap, PR options, UI design…

It’s an Oprah-style conversation, so if watching isn’t an option, you can also opt to let the audio play in the background while you’re doing other things. Let us know if you’d like to see more of these brainstorming sessions.

Special thanks to Glenn McElhose for the great video shooting and editing!

Posted on: March 31, 2009.

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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)

197 comments on “Kevin Rose and Tim Ferriss Discuss Angel Investing and Naming Companies

  1. I saw the awesome article about you, Kevin and tea in Wired magazine. I used the 4HWW to plan my dream trip to Taiwan this year to find and make good tea. Ping me and I’ll send you a sample of my finest (no commercial interest, I make tea for fun and sell houses for work) as a thank you; good stuff and they’re old and $$$.


  2. Thanks for the video. Great info. Keep em coming. I am filled with questions though. I have an innovative product (ski-bike conversion kit) that I have sold 1000 of so far and am looking at doing another production run, but need to get more exposure on a shoestring budget. Considering going to an Angel Investor and need some guidance. Took my website down last year when I was out of inventory, but you can see the product on my myspace page listed in the website box. Would love to chat with you about it.



  3. Hey Tim & Kevin,

    Do you have any plans to make this into a video series? I think it’s already time to emerge out of ‘alpha’.

    Please encourage Kevin to share his wisdom on site architecture/creative wire-framing.

    Great job, keep on doing what you’re doing…


  4. Can you guys do more webisodes?! =)

    I’m definitely interested and amused by what you guys do, and hopefully in the near future i’ll be able to dabble in some Angel/Advising work myself!

    Webisode #2: the usual day with Tim Ferris/Kevin Rose


  5. I love this information and I’ve passed the link onto many friends.

    Is there any way to get this video via a podcast so I can take it with me to watch portably? Would you ever consider publishing your “Interviews” archives as a podcast to subscribe to?



  6. Tim,

    Hey man, great stuff here. I’ve been following you for some time and this is exactly what I would love to see more of on your site. I’ve got so many questions regarding Angel Investing and my product – will hopefully get a chance to pick your brain soon. Until then – looking forward to more postings. Keep them coming!



  7. I loved this! I have always been a big fan on Kevin.. and you’ll together work so well.

    Please do these together monthly :)


  8. Your first book title was soooo much better. When I was looking at your book at the book store, I was trying to figure out if it was for real or a pyramid scheme or something. I ended up not purchasing it because I saw too much yuppie speak on the page I opened up to. Wound up seeing you on Alex Roy’s blog so I then bought the book, and I’m glad I did.

    WalMart is a very smart company, however their business practices are despicable, miserable company, run by miserable middle management. They really are the exact opposite of your book. I know you where probably obligated by your publisher though.


  9. OK Tim, took your advice. Got the developer to write up a schematic of the process for the tool and create a working demo as a prototype.

    The statistics is that over 95% of the Music, Movies and software downloaded online is illegal. The tool that I intend to develop has a algorithm built to detect and identify these pirated materials.

    The angle is to tackle an area that the industry has let slide right pass and is growing immensely in popularity.

    Where do I take it from here? Essential to be honest it needs an investor and probably more important a Champion in Marketing to take this tool/app to the industry to see its potential.

    Love to show you the demo and get some sound advice.



  10. Tim, like your stuff but don’t be Wal-Mart’s b@tch. Grow a pair like Green Day and refuse to distribute through them if they put the clamp down on you. Lost respect on that one.


    • Hi Mantis,

      Please, some common courtesy. I’ll keep my response to the point: distribution is 100% the publisher’s decision, not mine. That’s how the business functions. The author has no contractual right to negotiate this — period.

      It’s a good idea to do some homework before using the word “b*tch” with anyone. It’s likely to offend.




  11. Tim, Kevin,

    Excellent video blog – I know it took me 2 months to get to this – but it was 30+ minutes. I would watch additional post blogs. Please continue this series – very valuable. Thanks for taking the time – the extended format/detail is extremely valuable! Thanks, Blair


  12. hey Tim and Kevin!
    Dig the random vids.

    As I know you both travel often, would love to know how you both stay in shape (eating and working out) while on the road. I travel all the time and keeping fit is one of the toughest challenges in traveling. Even when you ‘think’ you’re ordering something healthy, the restaurant doesn’t let you know that they put a pound of butter on your meal.

    What are your secrets?

    chad J.


  13. Great story on how to research for popularity on title or even keywords for natural seo. The main priority is to figure out to get the most relevant information to the right group of people. Thanks


  14. Is angel investing considered a good way to build wealth ?

    The ROI can be high, but I believe the risk is also high if you don’t have experience in a market and can be wrong about their business plan.

    Also I think when there is a good opportunity, savvy angel investors can smell it and will usually invest before you even hear a word about it.


  15. The naming thing is really interesting. I’m building a service at the moment and since our focus is the web the name and the domain need to say this. The process took months but I really wish I’d thought/known about the Google Adwords idea. Our service has ended up with a name that sounds good, we feel works as a brand and *really* works in conversation. The problem is the spelling. We’ve gone for “Kwwika”. The problem is that even when people know that our service name starts with a “K” they got with a double “K” in the middle too. We do have that domain but every so often we consider a slight rebranding to the double “K”. I personally like the double “W” since it’s webby and a play on “www”.

    I’m interested to see if anybody has any thoughts on this. I guess I’m asking for free consultancy ;-)


  16. Thank you for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do some research on this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more from this post. I am very glad to see such fantastic info being shared freely out there.