Tim Ferriss Rethinks Email

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Pretty soon, many of you will get an email from me.  It’ll probably surprise you.

See, when I sketched out the original 4-Hour Workweek site in 2006 (sorely in need of a redesign), I included an email capture field, as that’s what friends said I should do:

The_4-Hour_Workweek_and_Timothy_Ferriss

Then I promptly forgot all about it. I hated email, so I didn’t want to send you email. Simple as that. Do unto others, right?

But things have changed.

Now, with Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, and hundreds of clones, the Internet and mobile are a battlefield of noise. Even if you “like” my Facebook fan page, my updates will rarely reach more than 10% of you.

For years now, thousands of you have complained that Feedburner delivers time-sensitive blog posts days or WEEKS too late. This means missed giveaways, meetups, competitions, Q&As, parties, and all sorts of fun stuff.

Needless to say, this sucks.

So I reluctantly decided to re-examine email. In a world where people change email addresses less often than physical addresses, it just made sense.

My first step was to dust off the keyboard and log into AWeber, which I’d decided was best for me eight years prior. What I found shocked me. I had nearly 300,000 email addresses from sign-ups! Holy negligence, Batman!

Ah, well. Yet another reason for my friends to make fun of me. Enjoy, Kevin Rose.

But better late than never. Within the next 10 days, I will start emailing new blog posts to anyone who’s signed up (on the homepage or the newer blog form), generally around one post per week.  Plus, you’ll get VIP treatment, like private Q&As, exclusive content, giveaways, and other things that don’t appear on the blog.

Here’s the deal:

- If you haven’t signed up yet (or you’re not sure), please do so now. Here’s the link. No spam, ever. Just good stuff.

If you sign up now, your first email will also include a link to a free download of the entire 4-Hour Chef audiobook, which includes narration by yours truly and Neil Gaiman (!). And to kick things off, I’ll be doing a 2-3-hour Q&A — for email subscribers only — next Monday night, 8/11. Ask me anything: business, personal, “inappropriate,” whatever.  Nothing is off limits. Sign up here to get the details via email.  A recording will be made available to email subscribers who can’t make the live session.

I’ll also be giving away a round-trip ticket to anywhere in the world. For details, you guessed it, you need to click here.

- If you’ve already signed up, you’re all set! Please keep an eye out for a welcome email from “Tim Ferriss” within the next 10 days.

It’s not spam. It’s from me.  Following that, blog posts and VIP goodies will show up, roughly once per week.

If you’re using Gmail and my email ends up in your “Promotions” folder, please do me a favor and drag it to your “Primary” so it doesn’t get lost in all the OKCupid notifications and whatnot.

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And please realize — I and my assistant get about 1,000 email a day. It’s funking unreal, and it’s brutal. No one is more sensitive to email abuse than I am, so I will NOT abuse your inbox.

If you get annoyed, you can one-click unsubscribe. Easy peasy and no BS.

Things will be intermittent (usually once a week, sometimes twice), and posts will be high-quality (like this or this).

As mentioned, I’ll be doing a 2-3-hour Q&A next week to kick things off, and also giving away a roundtrip ticket anywhere in the world. For details on both, just add your email here.

If you have any questions about all this, please ask in the comments! I’ll be paying close attention and answering as many as I can. I’ve literally put off email for years, but enough is enough. It’s the right thing to do.

And thank you for reading. Whatever this blog has become, I owe it all to you.

Pura vida,

Tim

timothy-ferriss-hat-headshot-four-hour-work-week-body-chef

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Why Not Hug Strangers? – A Video Experiment

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What happens when you hug strangers?

Andrew Hales of LAHWF wanted me to find out.

The above video took place in Dolores Park in San Francisco last Thursday, around 5:30pm. All people hugged are complete strangers.

Andrew challenged me to make the awkward even more awkward:

  • Could I score a hug by simply standing like a zombie with my arms out? (He’s good at this)
  • Could I go for the “long hold” and hug someone for 5 seconds, 10 seconds, or more?
  • Could I hug without saying anything? (Not my strong suit, it turns out)

To make things more interesting, Andrew accidentally–or purposefully?–started the filming at the famously gay southwest corner of Dolores.

Oh, boy…

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In other news, if you’re looking for a short essay to jumpstart your week, this might be what the doctor ordered: “6 Formulas for More Output and Less Overwhelm.”

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4-Hour Parenting – plus – Sports Doping

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First, An Email

This short post was inspired by an email.

John Heltzel, who’s on the non-profit board of Hand in Hand Parenting, sent me the following:

I was recently having dinner at Los Altos Grill with a CEO. He lamented that he travelled a lot and was having trouble re-connecting with his kids when he returned. I said: “When you get home, take out your iPhone, set the timer for 10 minutes, and say ‘you are now the boss for the next 10 minutes’ and see what happens.”

He wrote me back: “I did the ’10-minute boss’ exercise with my kids yesterday. They loved it. First started with ‘Get me some Skittles’ and then ‘Play school with us.’ Thanks for the tip!”

I’d love to hear from readers on other simple tricks for keeping connected to kids. As a some-day parent and driven person, it seems like the little things are the big things.

What do you think?

Second, Sports Doping

I was recently asked by The Next Web “[In the future]… will winning in sports be determined by technology?”

Here is my answer:

I would go so far as to say that nearly ALL future record-breaking athletics will depend on technology. This assumes we broadly define ‘technology’ as innovative tools for solving problems… like normal limitations of the human body. The 1980’s were the ‘golden age’ of steroids, which partially explains the records during that period. Moving forward, athletes’ coaches will use better tracking for Moneyball-like approaches to incremental gains; they’ll also use advances in medical and black-market biotech for massive gains.

The human body hasn’t evolved much over last 100 years for Olympic weightlifting or sprinting, right? This can be overcome a few ways: better scientific selection from massive populations (e.g. current day China, Cold War USSR), gene doping, cutting-edge medical treatment for faster recovery from injuries (Platelet-Rich Plasma injections, etc.), mechanical advantage (e.g. compression suits for swimming), and tweaking systems largely neglected in a sometimes anabolics-myopic arena (think acetylcholine optimization for 50-meter sprints). At the highest levels of power- or endurance-dependent sports, *everyone* is doping in some capacity, whether using EPO injection (banned) or high- altitude simulation tents (100% allowed but expensive, and the effects are nearly identical).

The options they choose are determined simply by how rich or poor they and their countries are. There is no such thing as a level playing field. Never has been and never will be.

Competitors with $1,000,000+ bonuses from big brands will always have more resources than the drug testers. It’s an easy game to beat…

[Read the full article here, including answers from others.]

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Announcements: Live Q&A Today, $10,000 Memory Challenge, Etc.

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Hi All,

This post is simply a few time-sensitive announcements. More juicy content (really fun stuff) coming in the next post.

LIVE AND FREE Q&A TODAY! – 2 HOURS LONG, ASK ME ANYTHING

I’m doing a live two-hour Q&A session today — please join me!

Just go to this Facebook page, click “Like”, and ask me whatever you like. Here are the details:

Date: Today, April 22, Monday
Time: 4:30-6:30 PM EST (1:30-3:30 PM PST)

Where: This Facebook page

$10,000 MEMORY CHALLENGE RESULTS

The biggest memory competition ever held now has a winner. Co-created by me and Grand Master of Memory Ed Cooke, then announced on this blog, it challenged “ordinary” people to learn to memorize a pack of cards in less than a minute.

Irina Zayats, a 24 year-old Ukrainian woman, showed just how quickly a brain can be trained. Miss Zayats had no previous experience using memory techniques, but she learned to perform the gold standard of memory skills (memorizing a shuffled deck of cards) in just five days. In doing so, she won $10,000 and, to her surprise, a job offer from Memrise, the learning platform that ran the competition.

How did she do it? Here’s the full blog post, and an incredible video of her performance is below:

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Christmas Deals from Start-ups

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(Photo: Kevin Dooley)

Just for fun, I asked my start-ups (and a few friends) if they’d like to offer y’all a little something special from the holidays. Here’s an incomplete list.

Many are working on top-secret stuff and couldn’t jump in, but a few were game on last-minute notice, so here you go!

They are listed in alphabetical order by company/name:

Stop being a Wantrepreneur; start taking action. Free vids! Get here: http://appsumo.com/wantrepreneurs-videos/ via @AppSumo

Everything you need to transform. Free trainers, complete nutrition plans, & top-selling supplements. Save 10%! www.Bodybuilding.com/Save10

Photo + Film + Design + Software. Use coupon “tim2011″ for 25% off ANY single @creativeLIVE course til 1/1/12 http://creativelive.com

Email joseph-at-crowdflower.com and we’ll give you free CrowdFlower credits and a free crowdsourcing consultation to get you started on our self-service platform.

Foodzie’s Tasting Club delivers a monthly selection of artisan food products. Gift it and receive a FREE month on your own subscription. Valid through 12/24.

Ed Cooke trained Josh Foer to be US memory champ in 1 yr. He’ll train you if you can learn 500+ words in a week on http://www.memrise.com

Create a free and private website for your family photos this holiday season on Posterous Spaces.

Want a virtual assistant? Get one, FREE, for a year. (From Ramit Sethi of iwillteachyoutoberich.) http://bit.ly/uVjY3M

45% off a year of Reputation.com’s MyPrivacy service ($55 for a year) to protect your digital personal information. You can use this link http://www.reputation.com?code=4HOUR to get the discount automatically or enter the code 4HOUR in the gift code section on our site when buying.

Have a Productive New Year for 50% off – Sign up for @RescueTime for $36/year! – http://bit.ly/RT36Y

3 months free – Shopify Unlimited Plan, first 100 to use the promo code ‘4HOUR’ [value $537]

Happy holidays!

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Odds and Ends: The 4-Hour Chef is now up on Amazon.co.uk

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Housekeeping: Getting in Front of VIPs and Building Schools

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Banksy grafitti close to the Roundhouse, Camden Town, London (Photo: CanonSnapper)

Just two quick housekeeping items, then back to our regular programming — some fun content coming — next post.

First, how you can get your product or service in front of 200 influencers this week; second, an update on the overwhelmingly successful school campaign.

First

The “Opening the Kimono” event is fully booked, and — my goodness — what an audience it will be! Top bloggers, highest-followed Twitter users, authors of 20 or so New York Times bestsellers, the team that engineered virality for Rise of the Planet of the Apes, top executives from huge companies that are household names, and many more.

If you have a product or service you’d like to get in a gift bag for this 200-person group, please fill out this form ASAP. First responders get priority. Note that, if you’d like to do this, all physical products would need to be shipped to Napa, California to arrive no later than this Friday, August 19thRead More

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How to Bulletproof (or Unf*ck) Your Mac

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(Photo: Small Dog Electronics)

Macs are easy to use. Intuitive!

Viruses? Never heard of ‘em!

Well, perhaps. But problems do crop up, even with the venerated Macintosh. Not long ago, I went to use Spotlight (cmd + spacebar) and, well, it looked a little off.

It displayed “Indexing Spotlight,” with an estimated finish time of several MILLION hours.

I’m no computer scientist, but that seemed like an abnormally long time. Alas, “ruh-roh” realizations alone do not diagnose problems, let alone fix them. Much of the world has felt the same at one point or another: “My [fill in the blank] is screwed, but I don’t even know where to start.” Cars? Computers? Health? We’re all ignorant of something, as mastering everything just isn’t an option.

So, I put a notice out on the Internets asking for help and learned a lot about Macs in the process. First and foremost: It need not be complicated to bulletproof (or unf*ck) your Mac.

But what if your Mac crashes or is stolen? Does that goddamn spinning beachball mean that my computer’s going to implode? Is there a simple way to sleep soundly at night?

My hope is that this post somehow helps you to do exactly that. It won’t be fancy, and it won’t impress the Carnegie Mellon CS crowd, but it will get the job done with minimal headache and paradox of choice. Here’s what I’ve learned so far… Read More

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