Robert Scoble Interviews Tim Ferriss: Productivity, E-mail Fasts, GTD, and More…

I spend a good amount of time at the offices of Podtech, usually stealing their Diet Dr. Pepper and hanging out on their bean bags. A few weeks ago, however, I managed to do something resembling “work”: an interview with uberblogger Robert Scoble. This time, I was the interviewee! The camera work is much better than my Blair Witch Project attempts in previous posts.

The first interview below is 50 minutes in length and my favorite version by far — lots of goodies from both me and Robert, including everything from e-mail and personal outsourcing to the book launch and how to combine 4HWW with Getting Things Done (GTD). It’s a very fun conversation. The second version is just an 8-minute appetizer but still a fun diversion. Here are both options, the longer version first, and you might need to turn up your computer volume, as we had no lavalier mics:

Work only four hours a week with Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss wrote a New York Times best seller. Why is it so hot? Because it lays out how you can work less and enjoy life more. Here, I sit down with Tim and talk about some of the ideas he discusses in his book.

Editor’s Choice: Some insightful highlights of Tim Ferriss’ interview

If you’re really following Tim’s plan, you’ll just watch the highlights of the interview I did with this New York Times’ best selling author. He wrote the book on the 4-hour Workweek, and here you get the highlights of an interview I did with him recently.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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37 Replies to “Robert Scoble Interviews Tim Ferriss: Productivity, E-mail Fasts, GTD, and More…”

  1. Tim,

    Fantastic video. It was a great summary of your book. I am on my second read through of the book. I really appreicate you publishing your thoughts & knowledge in the FHWW for everyone.

    If you are every in NC drop me a line and I will be happy to buy you a beer!


  2. Awesome interview Tim! I really like the part about the hourly vs. annual income and the quote about measuring.

    I’m a personal trainer and this week I was going to hire a personal assistant from Get Friday to do all of my client reminder calls for me. But first – to test – I just stopped doing client reminder calls completely. Guess what? All of my clients still show up to all of their appointments. So instead of delegating, I totally eliminated 30 minutes per day of work.

    It’s a small step, but it’s the first step of many.

    Thanks Tim!

  3. Tim,

    Ah… the infamous email trap. I just made the switch from using Outlook Express to using Outlook, moved the send and receive button off the toolbar and have saved already 4 hours within the last 3 days.

    What a relief!

    Lifestyle: “Become A Crocadile Hunter For A Day!”


    Chris Brisson

  4. I really like the book! I was looking for clarification, though, it states that there are VA’s in the range of $4 – $10/hour, but yet Get Friday, elance (the ones mentioned in the book) are higher than that unless your on their top end plans.

    Are there any other sites/VA’s out there? I’ve goodled/msn’d/yahoo’d for other VA’s but no luck.

    Warm Regards,

    Keep up the good work Tim!


  5. Just read the first half of your book. I’ve been a triage nut since the days I worked at eBay in the proverbial 80 hours @ $40k a year. I didn’t earn much, but I learned much including what not to do in business. Looking busy and reading and replying to lots of email = you’re probably going nowhere. Too bad I still do it too much, but at least I know better and can practice it more often.

    How many CEO’s spend their time reading email all day and responding to mind-numbing drudgery or urgent/unimportant issues? For their sake (and their investors), hopefully the percentage is low.

    If we’re not modeling those we care to become, we’re modeling those we don’t and that means we’ve already got one foot in the career coffin and the other in a life of meaninglessness and a cheap retirement. In your book you mention that even $1 million isn’t much if you live to 80 , which really should concern most of us intent on putting in relatively few years of work and equal years of retirement. Talk about meaningless existence! I’m right there with you on that.

    While I’m here, a note on geographical arbitrage. I did this all too late in my own company, but I did see a lot of success when I did and am now re-entering the job force to supplement my income and investments. We had set up 2 offices (1 national,

  6. … sorry, hit tab/enter there…

    1 international, and were opening a third when we hit a snag (read: bad risk analysis on a friend/biz parter). Regardless, the model is so scaleable on so many levels (biz/personal/etc.) that it always surprises me to see so many businesses continuing to pursue archaic models.

    Cold calling and follow-up via email is a perfect example. What the @#$% kind of model is it for any sales exec today to be the sole point of contact in a sales cycle? It’s mind-numbing to a person that was likely hired for their people skills, vision and closing. Who gives a rip if he can answer a phone and write an email too?? Give them a great support team and let everyone do what they do best. High school and college students can easily do all the rest including training on email triage and voice mail queueing. Heck, most of the time the client won’t even know if the messages are hand-crafted or just picked from a set of common emails and sent.

    While I haven’t read the whole book yet, if you haven’t checked out a program called Macro Express, I highly recommend it. Common emails at eBay were managed through keyboard shortcuts and a very personable email can be concocted in seconds by a seasoned vet. I put that lesson in motion at my company and used it for email as well as execution of our daily fulfillment on web orders. Automation is Concentration and Discrimination’s best friend. Using production runs for email and other communication is key in today’s business environment. If we thought there was too much information to process 10 years ago, today we’re far beyond the point of no return. We’ve all got to capitalize on economies of information, automation and geographical arbitrage scale.

  7. Tim

    Just read 4HWW and was totally inspired. I recently began a personal quest to build the perfect life, I call it Perfect Life Project, and so much that you write about is what I am looking to achieve.

    You have done an amazing job at concisely outlining an alternative aproach to work and life.


  8. In response to Josh’s comment on reminder calls – I am a business coach working with UK dentists to generate more profit in less time. My clients send text message appointment reminders to their patients’ cell phones. 96% of British adults carry a cell phone. Using text reminders has almost eliminated appointment cancellations and the system is completely automated.

    BTW – I love FHWW and I’m telling all of my network to read it – thank you Tim for expanding my mind.

  9. I found a $5 virtual assistant! I haven’t tested them yet so we will see. I didn’t think it was possible and it did take some searching. I plan on working down to 4 hour work days and then make it to 4 hour work weeks.



  10. Tim,

    Your book and ideas are beginning to transform my life!

    I did have one question for you. I have been looking for a PDA like the one you described. Which one did you end up with?

    All the best,


  11. Great interview, Tim. My favorite line to take away from this one:

    “You need to make unproductive things inconvenient for you to do.”

    All too true . . .

  12. Tim,

    I have finished reading 4HWW and am preparing to go back into it, complete the exercises and put the philosophy into practice, thank you very much for writing this book.

    You mention both e-Myth and Getting Things Done both in the book and in your resources here. Both books have had great impact on my own life and my businesses. That said, I have a couple quick questions.

    How do you reconcile the simplification you suggest, and the refusal to be interrupted, with the GTD concept of the 2-minute drill (if you can do it in 2-minutes or less do it now)?

    I can see how your philosophy matches very closely with Gerber’s as expressed in e-Myth, that is, build automation into your business – again though, in a high-touch service business that requires specialized knowledge and which has grown largely as a personality-driven company, how do you suggest automation here, or is this truly where you draw the line between a vocation and an avocation?

    Thanks again for a great book and the inspiration to design the life we desire.

  13. I am from India – I don’t know if anyone here provides ‘outsourcing your life’ services!? Can I get some leads please?

  14. Tim,

    I admit it now.

    I was a news and email junkie. I used to read the latest news online 6-8 times a day and watch the news on TV. So far this week I haven’t checked the news once, watched the news or read the paper. It’s great to have more time and not to be bombarded with all the negative.

    I also used to reply to emails all day long and this week only check and respond 1-2x a day.

    It’s great and have freed up a lot more time.


  15. Heard about your book on Steve Rubel’s Micropersuasion blog. Read it in one sitting. Re-read it the next day…and the next. You’ve articulated a powerful paradigm shift for many corporate American cube-dwellers and their employers. Congrats the NYT success. Great i/v with Robert Scoble. Thanks for writing the book and being a great example of the lifestyle through social media.

  16. Tim…Read the book 3-4 times, and spent a whole day on the website. Could not fine your section about quickly learning foreign languages.

    Please advise where I can find this info.

    Also, next time in CR please stop and visit me in Nuevo Arenal…I have a small hotel on the lake.

    Steve Laubly


    Hi Steve!

    Please find a few articles on language learning in the “reader-only” section under “resources” at More to come this week or next, so keep an eye on the blog! Suerte y espero que nos veamos pronto en CR. Seria un gran placer 😉

    All the best,


  17. Tim, I love the book and I love this interview. The part where you mentioned you used Google AdWords to find the title of your book was genius.

    I work for a small growth company out of Toronto and I’m trying to implement a lot of your ideas. We have a little library that I’ll have them add your book to.

    Keep up the great work.

  18. I’ve read the book and I’m about to read it for the second time. I need some help and hope someone out there will be of service. I just started over again at age 50. I’ve started my own little business (has not taken off) and partnered with a general contractor. I’m concerning myself with the marketing and sales. I’ve contacted numerous attorneys, builders etc… but so far no luck. Any advice? I need an income asap and I’m having a problem applying the book’s principles to my situation.

  19. I just read your fabulous book and when someone sent me this seasonal greeting-I thought about it 🙂

    With seasonal depression here, we find now that even mental health systems are affected by out sourcing;

    I was depressed last night so I called Lifeline.

    Got a call center in Pakistan.

    I told them I was suicidal.

    They got all excited and asked if I could drive a truck.

  20. Hi Tim,

    with your BrainQuicken company, do/did you outsource the management of your web marketing, landing pages, monitoring, optimising?

    I think this is an area that a lot of people get wrong if they outsource 100%, but it is also very cumbersome if you do not out-task anything at all…

    I am finding it challenging to find the right balance, as you dont know what the outcome is going to be when you test something and therefore I find it difficult to establish a procedure… perhaps you can spare some advice on this?

    Many many thanks !


    (I was not sure where to post this, I looked for the most appropriate article, I hope this is it. Many thanks! )

  21. Great interview, so much useful information in a short time! I had heard of the book and now will certainly buy it. Thanks.

  22. Hello…..

    I am the admin of which is Bola Online that is currently the most reliable and safe in Indonesia too. This site provides a very satisfactory service.

    It was a great summary of your book. I am on my second read through of the book. I really appreicate you publishing your thoughts & knowledge in the FHWW for everyone.