Tim Ferriss is full of shit [hear me out]

So I am a HUGE fan of the 4 hour work week, let that be known.


In the book, my guy Tim Ferriss talks about acting bigger than you actually are.

For example, he recommends that if you are a start-up you should NOT use the CEO title because it is a bad look when emailing with people.

Why would the CEO be emailing about sales and support?

Timmy, recommends using a VP status or even lower.

Frankly, I agree with Tim. If I got an email from someone with the Title CEO I would be slightly perplexed.

Here is where I disagree. I own 2 small SaaS companies Loup and Median. When I email, chat, or call someone in today's world I have found that total authenticity is the best approach.

Now I don't just come out and say "We are small" in fact I NEVER say that, but I do disclose I own the company.

Which almost always turns into a back story on how it got started/acquired.

I find this resonates with everyone for multiple reasons.

1.) CEOs feel like they are talking to a like-minded individual.
2.) Some employees have dreams to work for themselves and ask questions about how to get started.
3.) And the rest LOVE a good story.

The Result (most of the time)
People want to help. By letting your guard down and sharing information they are not used to hearing makes them feel like they are an insider and you are bringing them into a secret community.

At the end of the conversation, you have made a new best friend whether you end up doing business together or not.

It feels like building an ARMY by recruiting 1 person at a time. haha

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on this.

Are you guarded when talking about your startup? or overly transparent?

The President @ Median 🤣😂

  1. 11

    Eh, don't think you need to clickbait that hard.

    I hear where you are coming from, just use the title "Founder" if you don't want to use CEO.

    1. 2

      +1 on just using "Founder", works pretty well

    2. 1

      Yikes, people really didn't like the title. haha

      I am slightly interested if it really mattered what I wrote in the post, or if this post was just going to get shit on know matter what because Timmy is the OG Indie Hacker and the title is simply blasphemous to his name.

      I guess a little of both eh?

    3. -5

      This comment has been voted down. Click to show.

  2. 3

    I was a huge fan of the 4HWW when it came out and the lessons learned in that book really helped to get me living a life that I really enjoy today. However I can't help feeling that Tim has really moved on from his own lessons within his own book.

    For instance, one of the big things he touts in the book is how he got his start, by managing to contact CEOs and people in high levels within a company, using guerilla tactics and sheer persistence to get their attention no matter what cost. But more recently his blog posts have mentioned how much he hates people being persistent and constantly trying to get his attention.

    I guess when the tables turned and HE is the one that people want to get help from to launch their careers, he has forgotten that he told us to do exactly that, and it was a contributing factor in getting him to where he is today.

    I still listen to his podcast every now and then, but he seems really focused on bio-science etc. these days rather than business, so I only listen when I am familiar with his guest or he is talking about entrepreneurship.

    But he is free to do exactly what he wants - he has worked for it.

    As with all the advice gurus out there - the key thing to remember is "caveat emptor".

    1. 2

      @devan you hit the nail on the head.

      For context, I decided I wanted to send this post to Tim. I am a fan and would love to hear his opinion on the topic. So I went to his site and it basically said, do NOT contact me.

      Which is kind of interesting because I think the Tim in Tim would see that as a challenge. haha

      In hindsight, if I was Tim and someone sent me a post saying I am full of shit 🤣 I probably wouldn't click it for my own mental stability.

      Plus, I bet he has seen this 100 times over the last 20 years.

      Either way, thanks for reading the post 🙌🏻

  3. 2

    Here's the thing...

    With respect—it is clickbaity. I appreciate you said you're experimenting, but the hypothesis here is already proven across multiple platforms. This is where engagement metrics go wrong.

    And it's not because of the title wording in itself, but because what the title infers doesn't follow through in your post. There's a disconnect.

    — One piece of advice from a whole series of books ≠ "is full of shite" (using the word "full" is a big leap there)
    — One piece of distant past advice (from 2007) ≠ present advice ∴ would "is" even be fair here

    If the mainstay of your argument were congruent with the title, then I'd be like fair—be good to hear this perspective.

    Maybe the more accurate title would be "Long long ago, Tim Ferriss was talking a little bit of shit"—Im just teasing :D...I do hear where you're coming from on the specific piece of advice, but take care with post title choices.

    1. 1

      @lynnastyie I enjoyed your comment and agree with it to some extent.

      Interestingly enough, the title has spurred more engagement than any post I have ever had on IH. Which, arguably, is the only point of posting on IH.

      To have engagement.

      I don't regret the title, but I am happy I did it.

      Will I do it again? Yes, BUT, to your point, I will work a little harder to make sure the content better matches the Title. Sorry for that.

      In full honesty, I wrote and posted it in like 3 minutes and it has had 100x the engagement than posts I have written in 2 hours.

      I will continue to learn and improve. Thanks for your feedback. 🤜🏻🤛🏻

      1. 1

        I get it on the engagement front.

        And look even reflecting on my own reaction, I could have given feedback without labelling the post as clickbait. Not my place to judge it.

        One thing on engagement for me though is the long game, that's where keeping on the right side of the tracks will serve you best.

        Appreciate the "I will continue to learn and improve."—🤜🏻🤛🏻

  4. 2

    Agreed with the clickbait title. Also note the book was originally written in 2007 (14 years ago!) and things are definitely different now. Back then, tiny (single person) startups weren't nearly as common.

    1. 1

      I agree with both of your points.

      Tim is a legend and there is a good chance I wouldn't be here if I hadn't read his book.

      As far as the title of the post goes, at first, I felt bad about going so hard on the clickbait, but now I am glad I did it.

      A journalist, which I am not, would argue it worked EXTREMELY well. Haha

      But I think there is a middle ground that is less agressive.

  5. 1

    I agree the advice is outdated (although disagree with your headline ;) )

    I run a form builder and sign off as "Founder & form geek" - customers love it.

    1. 1

      Haha I am getting a lot of flack for the headline, but if I hadn't posted it then we may have never met 🤷🏻‍♂️ I will work on being better next time 😁

      PS: I love your sig.
      PSS: Can you share your URL?

  6. 1

    I have a SaaS that has been running for 20 years and I always told my customers I was the manager of customer support! Nobody ever once asked me who owned the company or started it. They were always surprised that we just answered the support phone line without any "press 1 for this and 2 for that". You would be surprised how well that was appreciated. I did have one customer I spoke to express shock that I knew the software so well, their expectation level was that low.

    1. 1

      @unemployability you my friend, are a legend!

      I agree with this 10000%

      One of my companies sells to VoIP providers (there are 10 million of them) and what I have learned is Customer Support ALWAYS wins.

      Vonage, Ring Central, 8x8, all have better products at cheaper prices, so why would you ever sign up with a small business VoIP provider?

      Because they will love ❤️ you like your their child.

      Good customer support is nearly impossible to scale.

      Keep killing it 🤜🏻🤛🏻

      PS: What is your URL?

      1. 1

        if you want to see what a SaaS that hasn't been updated in 15 years looks like it's exdesk.com - it still has paying customers using it!

        1. 1

          That is amazing!

          Riches are in the niches!

  7. 1

    Ferris is a hustler. In previous centuries some enterprising men took some roots/herbs made a drink and went from town to town demonstrating the miraculous qualities of their product. They put on a big show. Some made a lot of money from that. TF is in that tier. Some will detest him and some will admire him and would want to be like him.

    1. 1

      I am a Fan of Mr. Ferriss. I just think times are changing and the Build In Public community is VERY supportive. More now than ever!

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