The 10 Commandments of Startup Success with Reid Hoffman

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“Hard work isn’t enough, and more work is never the real answer.” 
– Reid Hoffman

In this special episode, we explore the “10 Commandments for Startup Success” as taught by the one and only Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn, Twitter). Reid has been on the show before, and he is often referred to as “The Oracle of Silicon Valley” by tech insiders, who look at his company-building and investing track record (which includes Facebook, Airbnb, Zynga, Flickr, and more) with awe.

Reid is Co-Founder of LinkedIn, which has more than 300 million users and sold to Microsoft for $26.2B. Prior to that, he was Executive Vice President at PayPal, which was purchased by eBay for $1.5 billion. At PayPal, he was nicknamed “firefighter-in-chief” by CEO Peter Thiel. Noted venture capitalist David Sze says of Reid, “[he] is arguably the most successful angel investor in the past decade.” They are now both partners at Greylock Partners, a top-tier venture capital firm.

The “10 Commandments” in this episode are drawn from the entire first season of Masters of Scale, one of my favorite podcasts, also hosted by Reid.  But that’s not all… there is plenty of new footage, including 6-10 new questions posed by yours truly to Reid, some of my own startup observations, and lots of great cutting-room floor material from people like Brian Chesky (Airbnb) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook).

On Masters of Scale, Reid shares his theories on how companies scale from zero to a gazillion, and he explores them with famous founders.  It’s one of the few podcasts that has a permanent home on my phone.

I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did!

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Want to hear another podcast featuring Reid Hoffman?  — Listen to this prior conversation. In this episode, we discuss the habits and behaviors of highly successful people, using board games to develop strategy, the 3 types of CEOs, best lessons from his network, and much, much more (stream below or right-click here to download):


This podcast is brought to you by Four Sigmatic. I reached out to these Finnish entrepreneurs after a very talented acrobat introduced me to one of their products, which blew my mind (in the best way possible). It is mushroom coffee featuring chaga. It tastes like coffee, but there are only 40 milligrams of caffeine, so it has less than half of what you would find in a regular cup of coffee. I do not get any jitters, acid reflux, or any type of stomach burn. It put me on fire for an entire day, and I only had half of the packet.

People are always asking me what I use for cognitive enhancement right now — this is the answer. You can try it right now by going to foursigmatic.com/tim and using the code Tim to get 20 percent off your first order. If you are in the experimental mindset, I do not think you’ll be disappointed.

This podcast is also brought to you by Headspace, the world’s most popular meditation app (with more than four million users). It’s used in more than 150 countries, and many of my closest friends swear by it. Try Headspace’s free Take10 program — 10 minutes of guided meditation a day for 10 days. It’s like a warm bath for your mind. Meditation doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive, and it’s had a huge impact on my life. Try Headspace for free for a few days and see what I mean.

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

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Cool Tools for Travel – Tim Ferriss and Kevin Kelly

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Kevin Kelly (@kevin2kelly) might be the real-life Most Interesting Man In The World. I’ve always wanted to travel with him, and we recently headed to Uzbekistan together. This episode covers some of our favorite travel tools.

Kevin is Senior Maverick at Wired Magazine, which he co-founded in 1993. He also co-founded the All Species Foundation, a non-profit aimed at cataloging and identifying every living species on earth. In his spare time, he writes bestselling books, co-founded The Rosetta Project, which is building an archive of all documented human language, and serves on the board of The Long Now Foundation. As part of The Long Now Foundation, he’s investigating how to revive and restore endangered or extinct species, including the Wooly Mammoth.

His newest critically acclaimed book is The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future. As journalist David Pogue has said: “Anyone can claim to be a prophet, a fortune teller, or a futurist, and plenty of people do. What makes Kevin Kelly different is that he’s right…”

This episode touches on a lot of cool stuff, and we had a blast recording it in the back of a car in the mountains. Enjoy!

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Want to hear my earlier conversations with Kevin Kelly, in which we discuss population implosions, The Long Now Foundation, organizational methods for learning, and much more? — Listen to them here (stream below or right-click to download part 1 | part 2 | part 3):




This podcast is brought to you by WordPress, my go-to platform for 24/7-supported, zero downtime blogging, writing online, creating websites — everything! I love it to bits, and the lead developer, Matt Mullenweg, has appeared on this podcast many times.

Whether for personal use or business, you’re in good company with WordPress — used by The New Yorker, Jay Z, FiveThirtyEight, TechCrunch, TED, CNN, and Time, just to name a few. A source at Google told me that WordPress offers “the best out-of-the-box SEO imaginable,” which is probably why it runs nearly 30% of the Internet. Go to WordPress.com/Tim to get 15% off your website today!

This podcast is also brought to you by TrunkClub. I hate shopping with a passion. And honestly, I’m not good at it, which means I end up looking like I’m colorblind or homeless. Enter TrunkClub, which provides you with your own personal stylist and makes it easier than ever to shop for clothes that look great on your body. Just go to trunkclub.com/tim and answer a few questions, and then you’ll be sent a trunk full of awesome clothes. They base this on your sizes, preferences, etc. The trunk is then delivered free of charge both ways, so you only pay for clothes that you keep. If you keep none, it costs you nothing. To get started, check it out at trunkclub.com/tim.

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

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Tools of Titans — A Few Goodies from the Cutting Room Floor

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This post contains a few things that didn’t make it into Tools of Titans (#1 NYT), pulled from more than 300 cuts.

Please excuse casual grammar. This is how all people sound in-person, even uber-smart ones.  The below quotes weren’t copyedited for the book, as they didn’t make it in (though every person did), so any typos are mine. Bolding is also mine.

Hope you enjoy!

NAVAL RAVIKANT

*What are the things that you look for in founders, or the red flags that disqualify an investment or a founder.

“Number one, intelligence; you’ve got to be smart, which means you have to know what you’re doing, to some level. That’s a fuzzy thing but you talk to people and you kind of get a sense of do they know what they’re doing or not. Do they have insight, do they have specific knowledge? Have they thought about the problem deeply? It’s not about the age. It’s not how many years they’ve spent but just how deep is their understanding of what they’re about to do.”

“So intelligence is key. Energy, because being a founder is brutally difficult. It takes a long time and in the long run, the people who succeed are just the ones who persevere. So if someone runs out of energy or if they’re doing this in some hesitating, preliminary way where they’re looking for constant positive feedback, or if they’re easily thrown off course, then they’re not going to make it to the end, especially in the highly competitive startup context.”

And finally is integrity. Because if you have someone who is high intelligence and high energy but they’re low integrity, what you’ve got is a hard working, smart crook. Especially in the startup world, things are very dynamic, they’re very fast moving. People are very independent. So if somebody wants to screw you over, they will find a way to do it. Fundamentally, ethics and integrity are what you do despite the money. If being ethical were profitable, everybody would do it. So what you’re looking for is a core sense of values that rises above and beyond the pure financial incentives.”

Here are the full episodes with Naval:

The Person I Call Most for Startup Advice (this episode was voted by ProductHunt as the #2 podcast episode of 2015, beaten out only by my episode with Jamie Foxx)

Naval Ravikant on Happiness Hacks and the 5 Chimps Theory

WHITNEY CUMMINGS

*Who are some of the most underrated comedians?

“Sebastian Maniscalco”

Jerrod Carmichael is great.”

“Natasha Leggero is very funny. Tig Notaro, I’m sure you guys all know her by now. Chris D’Elia, I’m a fan. You probably already know him.”

“Neil Brennan, co-creator of the Chappelle Show with Dave Chappelle, has now started doing standup and is super incisive and funny.”

Here are the full episodes with Whitney:

Whitney Cummings on Turning Pain Into Creativity

The Return of the Money Shot

AMANDA PALMER

*Edit down & simplify

“And the true beauty of making a good TED talk or a good book is that you edit down, and you distill…”

“And then the goal was: how do we take this story that took a minute and a half to tell, which I thought I had got it as far down as possible, and condense it into 20 seconds?  Literally, what words, what single words could we use to convey that whole sentence?”

“With a single anecdote or a single detail, they emotionally take you right there, and they don’t need to say anymore, and they can get on to the next thing.”

“The best art is about economy. [..] the artist who’s just trying to do everything winds up unable to express whatever it is that’s of importance.”

“It was the ability to pare down to the impactful detail.  And that’s just true in art, as in life, for sure.”

Here is the full episode with Amanda:

Amanda Palmer on How to Fight, Meditate, and Make Good Art

MATT MULLENWEG

*Don’t B.S. — tell the truth

“I find the smartest guys in the world, and when you get to the very top echelon, they have perfect B.S. detectors.  It’s much better to say ‘I don’t know’ than to try to make up an answer to something you don’t actually know. It’s kind of refreshing, actually, that just honesty and transparency are – even when you’re raising north of a billion dollars – the best policy.”

Here are the full episodes with Matt:

Matt Mullenweg on Polyphasic Sleep, Tequila, and Building Billion-Dollar Companies

Matt Mullenweg: Characteristics and Practices of Successful Entrepreneurs

The Random Show Threesome — Tim Ferriss, Kevin Rose, and Matt Mullenweg

JOSH WAITZKIN

*Keystone habits recommended by Josh

“First of all, meditation, when we’re speaking about this theme of cognitive biases or basically observing your mental directions the moment that they set in. Meditation is as deep and as powerful a tool as I could possibly describe. Maybe six or seven years ago, when I was first talking about meditation with guys in the finance world [Editor: he coaches some of the best-performing hedge hedge fund managers of all time], it seemed like some woo-woo strange thing for them to take on. But as more and more people are integrating it into their process, you wouldn’t believe how many of the most powerful players in the world are meditating very deeply.”

Related:

“It’s one thing to learn skills, but the higher artist has to learn themes or meta-themes that will ultimately, spontaneously tap into the internalization of hundreds of what I would call ‘local habits.’ If you’re practicing quality, you’re deepening the muscle of quality and you’re also focusing the unconscious on that complexity, which we then tap first thing in the mornings [by journaling upon waking].”

[Editor’s note — But to make journaling work, you need to let problems go earlier in the day.] From later in that conversation:

“The very core idea is: when you go home, as best you can, unless you’re red-hot inspired, release your mind from the work. It’s very important to give your stress a recovery. [As a] core habit, you want to be turning it on and turning it off.”

And you can teach people that turning it off is a huge part of teaching them to turn it on much more intensely. [Editor: Josh works with some of the top athletes in the world, like Marcelo Garcia in jiu-jitsu] Stress and recovery workouts, interval training, and meditation together are beautiful habits to develop to cultivate the art of turning it on and turning it off.”

“And then, thematically, this ties back into this internal proactive orientation, building a daily architecture which is around understanding your creative process as opposed to reacting to things, feeling guilty that you’re not working, really teaching people to tap into their internal compass.”

Here are the full episodes with Josh:

Episode #2 — Josh Waitzkin

Josh Waitzkin, The Prodigy Returns

Becoming the Best Version of You

RAMIT SETHI

“Well, one of my general life philosophies is do not try to be 40 before you are 40. It is funny how many of us we want to jump ahead and do all of these really sophisticated things, and I am no exception. Every time I start something new, I want to jump to what all the best people in the world are doing and try to copy them. But, of course, you have to go through the pain and the fire to be able to get there…”

Here are the full episodes with Ramit:

Ramit Sethi on Persuasion and Turning a Blog Into a Multi-Million-Dollar Business

How Creatives Should Negotiate

Becoming the Best Version of You

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Maximizing Strength, Improving Mindset, and Becoming the World’s Fittest Man – Jason Khalipa

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“Be easy. Life is good.”
– Jason Khalipa

Jason Khalipa (@jasonkhalipa IG, Twitter) is one of the fittest men in the world – a title that was officially his when he won the CrossFit Games in 2008.  He is an 8-time CrossFit Games competitor, a 3-time Team USA CrossFit member, and — among other athletic feats — he has deadlifted 550 pounds, squatted 450 pounds, and performed 64 pullups at a bodyweight of 210 pounds.

This podcast also has a bunch of video bonuses and tutorials from Jason, which you can find at youtube.com/timferriss.

Beyond sports, Jason is also a successful entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of NC Fit, which has more than 20 locations in 8 different cities. And he is the co-founder of “Box to Business,” a non-profit that helps gyms become profitable businesses. Jason uses the proceeds from “Box to Business” to help fight pediatric cancer.

In this episode, we cover a lot of cool stuff, including:

  • His training and diet
  • The hardest workouts he’s ever performed
  • The mentor who taught him how to sell anything
  • How he and his family has coped with his daughter’s battle with cancer
  • How he’s navigated going from competitive athlete to business owner
  • And much, much more

I hope you enjoy the episode as much as much as I did, and don’t forget to see the bonus videos at youtube.com/timferriss.

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Want to hear another episode about building muscle and strength? — Listen to this interview with Charles Poliquin. In this episode, we discuss, muscle-building techniques, how to become stronger, warmup routines, why people struggle to lose fat, and more (stream below or right-click here to download):

This episode is brought to you by InktelEver since I wrote The 4-Hour Workweek, I’ve been frequently asked about how I choose to delegate tasks. At the root of many of my decisions is a simple question: “How can I invest money to improve my quality of life?” Or “how can I spend moderate money to save significant time?”

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This episode is also brought to you by LegalZoom. I’ve used this service for many of my businesses, as have quite a few of the icons on this podcast — such as Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg of WordPress fame.

LegalZoom is a reliable resource that more than a million people have already trusted for everything from setting up wills, proper trademark searches, forming LLCs, setting up non-profits, or finding simple cease-and-desist letter templates.

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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

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The Magic, Misdirection, and Mindset of David Blaine

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“I never look at anything really as a success. I always look at it as a work in progress.”
– David Blaine

David Blaine (@davidblaine) is a magician, illusionist, and endurance artist. He is best known for his high-profile feats of endurance and has set and broken several world records.

A while back, he taught a group of TEDMED attendees (and me) how to hold our breath for longer than Harry Houdini’s lifelong record of three minutes and thirty seconds — which still pales in comparison to David’s own record of just over seventeen minutes.

This episode comes from the premiere of my new television show Fearless. If you want to watch the entire first episode, you can see it for free at att.net/fearless. (To watch all episodes, please visit DIRECTV NOW).  Don’t worry if you’ve seen the episode or plan on seeing it because we recorded three hours of material and only one hour was used for the show. This episode is almost all bonus content that you won’t see anywhere else. Please enjoy!

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Want to hear another podcast with a talented performer? — Listen to this episode with Jamie Foxx where we discuss Jamie’s workout routine, what he learned during In Living Color, and he shares some of his best impressions (stream below or right-click here to download):



This episode is brought to you by Exo Protein. These guys are making protein bars using cricket protein powder. Before you look disgusted, I bet they taste better than any protein bar you’ve ever had before! With recipes that were developed by a three-Michelin-star chef, the bars are paleo-friendly, with no gluten, no grains, no soy, no dairy, and they won’t spike your glycemic response. In fact, they’re less processed than any other protein bars you’ll be able to find.

Exo Protein is offering a deep discount to Tim Ferriss Show listeners if you go to ExoProtein.com/Tim, you can try a sampler pack with all of the most popular flavors for less than $10. This is a startup with limited inventory that sells out all the time, so act fast!

This podcast is also brought to you by Four Sigmatic. I reached out to these Finnish entrepreneurs after a very talented acrobat introduced me to one of their products, which blew my mind (in the best way possible). It is mushroom coffee featuring chaga. It tastes like coffee, but there are only 40 milligrams of caffeine, so it has less than half of what you would find in a regular cup of coffee. I do not get any jitters, acid reflux, or any type of stomach burn. It put me on fire for an entire day, and I only had half of the packet.

People are always asking me what I use for cognitive enhancement right now — this is the answer. You can try it right now by going to foursigmatic.com/tim and using the code Tim to get 20 percent off your first order. If you are in the experimental mindset, I do not think you’ll be disappointed.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

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The Quiet Master of Cryptocurrency — Nick Szabo

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“Trusted third parties are security holes.”
– Nick Szabo

Nick Szabo (@NickSzabo4) is a polymath. The breadth and depth of his interests and knowledge are truly astounding.

He’s a computer scientist, legal scholar, and cryptographer best known for his pioneering research in digital contracts and cryptocurrency.

The phrase and concept of “smart contracts” were developed by Nick with the goal of bringing what he calls the “highly evolved” practices of contract law and practice for the design of electronic commerce protocols between strangers on the Internet. Nick also designed Bit Gold, which many consider the precursor to Bitcoin.

This wide-ranging conversation is co-hosted by Naval Ravikant, a mutual friend and one of the most successful investors in Silicon Valley, who also happens to be one of Nick’s biggest admirers.

We cover a lot, including:

  • What is Bitcoin, what are cryptocurrencies, and what problem do they solve?
  • What is “social scalability?”
  • What is Ethereum and what makes it unique? Strengths and weaknesses?
  • How will smart contracts actually get adopted or go mainstream?
  • What are ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings)?
  • Blockchain governance — is there any existential risk?
  • “Wet” versus “dry” code
  • Pascal’s scams
  • Quantum thought
  • What fields will you be working on in the future?

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Want to hear another podcast featuring Naval Ravikant?  — Listen to this prior conversation. In this episode, we discuss the habits and behaviors of highly successful and happy people (stream below or right-click here to download):


This podcast is brought to you by FreshBooks. FreshBooks is the #1 cloud bookkeeping software, which is used by a ton of the start-ups I advise and many of the contractors I work with. It is the easiest way to send invoices, get paid, track your time, and track your clients.

FreshBooks tells you when your clients have viewed your invoices, helps you customize your invoices, track your hours, automatically organize your receipts, have late payment reminders sent automatically and much more.

Right now you can get a free month of complete and unrestricted use. You do not need a credit card for the trial. To claim your free month and see how the brand new Freshbooks can change your business, go to FreshBooks.com/Tim and enter “Tim” in the “how did you hear about us” section.

This podcast is also brought to you by Audible. I have used Audible for years, and I love audiobooks. I have two to recommend:

  1. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  2. Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

All you need to do to get your free 30-day Audible trial is visit Audible.com/Tim. Choose one of the above books, or choose any of the endless options they offer. That could be a book, a newspaper, a magazine, or even a class. It’s that easy. Go to†Audible.com/Tim and get started today. Enjoy.

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

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How to Fear Less: Vince Vaughn

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“Fear is more crippling than the actual consequences.”
– Vince Vaughn

Vince Vaughn (@WildWest) is one of the most prolific actors, writers, and producers in the world. He’s acted in more than thirty major motion pictures that have gone on to gross more than 1.7 billion at the box office. He is largely credited for redefining the R-rated comedy with his performance in the 2005 hit Wedding Crashers, which set the record for highest grossing R-rated comedy at the time. He is — and will continue to be, I expect — one of the most sought-after leading men in Hollywood.

As a listener to this podcast, Vince reached out with his production company Wild West to see if we might do a TV show together. The result is Fear{less} with Tim Ferriss — “less” is in parentheses because the objective is to teach you to fear less, not to be fearless. More details about the show can be found at tim.blog/fearless. Or, if you want to watch the entire first episode with performance artist David Blaine (@davidblaine), you can see it here or visit att.net/fearless.

I had the chance to catch up with Vince at Vulture Festival in New York City. In this conversation, we get into stories of his early beginnings, how to negotiate, his cold-calling career, and important decisions he’s made as a producer, an artist, and a businessperson. I had a blast doing this, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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Want to hear another podcast with a comedian, actor, and director? — Listen to my conversation with Jon Favreau. In his episode, we discuss his writing process, daily routines, how to create films that redefine categories, and much more (stream below or right-click here to download):



This podcast is brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. I have used them for years to create some amazing designs. When your business needs a logo, website design, business card, or anything you can imagine, check out 99Designs.

I used them to rapid prototype the cover for The Tao of Seneca, and I’ve also had them help with display advertising and illustrations. If you want a more personalized approach, I recommend their 1-on-1 service. You get original designs from designers around the world. The best part? You provide your feedback, and then you end up with a product that you’re happy with or your money back. Click this link and get a free $99 upgrade. Give it a test run…

This podcast is also brought to you by Trunk Club. I hate shopping with a passion. And honestly, I’m not good at it, which means I end up looking like I’m colorblind or homeless. Enter Trunk Club, which provides you with your own personal stylist and makes it easier than ever to shop for clothes that look great on your body. Just go to trunkclub.com/tim and answer a few questions, and then you’ll be sent a trunk full of awesome clothes. They base this on your sizes, preferences, etc. The trunk is then delivered free of charge both ways, so you only pay for clothes that you keep. If you keep none, it costs you nothing. To get started, check it out at trunkclub.com/tim.

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

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