The Philosophies of Work: A Conversation with Derek Sivers of CD Baby

Derek Sivers is a stud. I thought I’d share the conversation we had at SF MusicTech Summit. Dozens of topics covered include:

– Testing asssumptions vs. cheating

– PR and reaching out to unreachables

– Micro-testing ideas and products: from The 4-Hour Workweek to Trent Reznor

– Personal outsourcing for creatives

– Filling the void and creating meaning outside of the inbox and office

Derek is a programmer who lost his stage fright by doing more than 1,000 gigs as a circus ring leader. He is also the musician who started CD Baby, the world’s largest online music store for independent musicians. Here are some current numbers:

– 242,846 artists sell their music at CD Baby

– 4,574,622 CDs sold online to customers

– $83,590,381 paid directly to the artists

With more than 2 million digitized tracks under management, CD Baby is also the largest provider of independent music for iTunes… and it all started as a hobby.

How does it work now that it’s enormous? From Derek’s blog:

When I was the owner and president of CD Baby, it ran without me, and I hardly spent 4 hours on it in the last 6 months. It’s wonderful.

Here are a few snippets from our conversation…

On “Cheating”:


Seth Godin, one of my favorite marketing authors, wrote this essay once about “cheating”, saying, “HBO is cheating because they’ve got bigger budgets and don’t need commercials. JetBlue is cheating because they don’t have union workers. Aren’t there things you can do in your business where you can cheat?” It doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It’s just finding an advantage… Finding a shortcut.

On 80/20 Elimination and Micro-testing:


There are ways that you can examine and start to pare out the things that don’t work with pervasive group think. [snip] Analyze your time consumption. Try RescueTime [which logs both on- and offline computer use] or MeeTimer. Identify where your time is spent and identify the 20% of activities that are consuming 80% of your time.

Once you have that list ask yourself what would happen if, say in a 48 hour period, you eliminated x or did the opposite of x?

Most people avoid certain actions because they view changes as permanent. If you make a change, can you go back to doing it like you did before? You can always reclaim your current state in most cases. If I quit my job in industry x to test my artistic abilities in a different industry, worst case scenario, can I go back to my previous industry? Yes. Recognize that you can test-drive and micro-test things over brief periods of time. You can usually reclaim the workaholism that you currently experience if you so decide to go back to it.

On PR and Cold Calling:


When I was promoting my own music years ago, I decided I wanted to be in Rolling Stone magazine. So I bought a Rolling Stone and looked in the tiny fine print on page 6 where they publish their contact info. I knew that if I asked Rolling Stone which publicists they like, then I’d know which publicists could get me into Rolling Stone. But before calling the main number, I thought, “Hmm… I want to get through to the editorial department, so I don’t want to sound like a novice. I’ll bet if I sound like the people who do this all the time, they’ll patch me right through.” So I called up and the receptionist said, “Rolling Stone,” and I said in my best weary impatient voice, “Editorial, please,” and she patched me right through. Once on with the guy in editorial, I just politely asked, “I’m not promoting anything today, just calling from a label that’s looking for a new publicist. Wondering – which ones would you recommend?” The guy was quite nice and gave me a few names. I thanked him and now I had my specific road map for how to get in Rolling Stone!

See the entire conversation on video above or read the entire transcript on Derek’s blog.


Odds and Ends: More Interviews, France Ends 35-Hour Workweek, Utah Goes to 4 Days per Week

Here is another of my recent favorite interviews, this with Change Nation.

Forbes: France ends the reign of its world-famous 35-hour workweek

Associated Press: Utah and more states go to 4-day workweek

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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73 Replies to “The Philosophies of Work: A Conversation with Derek Sivers of CD Baby”

  1. Great conversation, insights, and info, Tim. You and Derek are both such inspiring guys… thanks for sharing your stories and lessons learned.

    Much continued success!

  2. I love the idea of microtesting realities in your everyday life and streamlining to what really constitutes who you are and what you want to accomplish. I guess an added comment to supplement the amazing discussion featured in the video is that you have to diversify those who you surround yourself. If you think of it in scientific terms, if you keep microtesting to the same population, you’re only going to get a narrow stream of feedback and it’s going to limit the levels you can achieve, the opportunities you become aware of, and how you essentially begin to integrate and piece together your life. In my “personal mission statement” that I read each day and night, one of my weekly goals (and a daily thing to strive for) is to diversify your experience. This goes very much in line with “lifestyle design” and I really appreciate Tim and his commitment to being a leader in this nontraditional field and streamlining the lifestyle design process even further! It’s an information age, it’s amazing how many ways our generation can take advantage of it with a growing global market to work with.

  3. I had never thought about the concept of cheating quite the way you (Seth) described it here. I have managed to create an amazing muse (under your direction) that I am absolutely crazy about. It’s kind of a Donnie Deutsch (do what you love and the rest will follow) and a Tim Ferriss (what I do for work and what I do for money are two different things) philosophy all rolled into one. The end result after pondering this blog is that I have figured out a way to cheat (find the advantage) through my absolute passion for what I’m doing. The shortcut is the muse AND the passion. Thanks again Tim!

  4. Tim,

    Completely agree with your point on change. Nothing is permanent these days.

    Whilst previous generations may have run businesses or undertaken jobs and careers that spanned 30 years. Those days are long gone.

    Things change so quick and so fast in the modern economy that the faster you embrace change, the more successful you will be in the long run.

    So it means we need to be concerned about testing a new way of working in case it screws up or we dislike it. Any screw up or change has some learning or benefit that comes with it

    So any change is good. And as you say, reversable if it doesn’t work out

    Of course, most of us understand this intellectually – but need posts like this as gentle reminders!

    thanks again

  5. Great conversation, it made the principles in 4HWW much more clearer. I’ve just started reading your blog yesterday and has read for at least 6 hours total. (very addicting and informative, thanks)

    I have a question, with all these crazy experiments how often do you “fail”? (fail as in not reaching the targeted change. e.g. work 4 hours a week and still get everything done but failed)

    I ask because i am now very motivated to challenge my own assumptions and start experimenting with my life.

    Thanks in advance for you answer.

    Ryan T

  6. @Ryan,

    I tend to fail often, but my failures are generally contained to a quick test on Google Adwords, StumbleUpon, or other online avenue. Otherwise, it might “fail” as a pitch to several potential sponsors, buyers, partners, etc.

    I’m not sure of the percentage, as I get better at choosing successes as I learn what I’m good and bad at. Once I understand a market, I tend to focus on developing new products for that market, which also improves my success rate over time.

    Hope that helps!


  7. Hey Tim,

    Myself and a co-worker have both read your book and really want to jump on the serial-entrepreneurship bandwagon. We both have product ideas, me an ebook and him a supplement. However both of us find it really hard to work on ouor products after a long and tedious day at the office.

    I have already made up my mind about quitting and have no idea what the next step will be, while he’s still struggling with his. You bring up a good point on the subject of microtesting as it relates to a career and it inspired me to take a month or two off to see if I can get anything off the ground.

    What insights do you have on the subject of product creation when one is starved for time and when quitting your job at the moment is not a very wise financial decision?

  8. Hi Tim,

    I have heard your name in a couple different circles lately, and wanted to pass along.

    One came in Dan Kennedy’s new book, No BS Ruthless Management of People and Profits, No Holds Barred Kick Butt Take No Prisoners Guide To Really Getting Rich (whew…or something like that!), on page 316. The ironic thing is that he is somewhat bashing the idea behind the 4 – Hour Work Week…then his next chapter is about the Phenomenon…accomplishing more in the next 12 months than the last 12 years. Sounds like the same thing to me…just called a little different.

    The other was for the Early To Rise Profits in Paradise conference…when Howie Jacobson PHD was speaking about Google Adwords, and mentioned your testing and ideas.

    In your response to Ryan T above…you mention some possible businesses you are currently in…and testing.

    Would love to hear some more about those. What they are, testing, markets, successes, failures…you know, the goods!



  9. TIm – had a chance to hear you speak at NSA in NY though I did not get a chance to say hello. Nice job and I have begun to sift through your blogs and appreciate they way you write and think.

    As to Ryan who asked about “failing”. There is only one type of failure and that is giving up. Everything else is simply assimilation of information on what does and does not work. When you look at failure that way you can let go and move on when things don’t go exactly as you planned.

    Life is a continuous movement and as long as you are always moving forward you not failing.

  10. Tim,

    A quick few notes:

    1. Bistro Corner- Rad Place, Good Burgers for $5, you can’t beat it.

    2. Cafe Luxembourg Great Desserts, pricey but D@mn good.

    3. Just got the book The 22 Immutable…… Awesome read and simple reading. It really gets the meat of the matter.

    Do you make a conscious habit of having interviews with different people?

    Thanks for the advices ……..

    Jose Castro-Frenzel

  11. Great insight Tim thanks. The biggest thing I take from this post is that when I quit my job not to be scared that it is permanent. In life you never know unless you try. Better to try and fail than never try at all.



  12. Tim,

    I really look forward to every post of yours. Each one is a treat. Each post is well thought out, planned and executed. Obviously this post wasn’t from an interview you did a few days ago. You put some thought into this, and weren’t insistent on it coming out right away, but on it being another great post. I am, and will continue to be a 4 Hour advocate, and am still striving on my own path to achieve this. Thank you and I look forward to the next post.

  13. Tim:

    Thank you once again for sharing a video of you speaking at a conference. I avidly read the blog but find that the videos help realign my thinking or get me to continually look at my to-do list/responsibilities to see what else I can outsource, micro-test, etc.

    A very simple example is I have always used online banking but realized I’ve never set it up for automatic payments. Something very simple and only took 10-15 minutes to do. While watching this video I thought of it because it was time to login and submit some payments. Now all of my payments are set up for automatic bill pay.

    Keep up the great work!

    Are you still considering a meet-up in NYC soon?

    -Justin Levy

  14. Great post Tim!

    YOUR BOOK ROCKED MY WORLD, and I have been thinking differently ever since! Now I am excited to learn of Derek’s success and read his blog as well. Thanks for sharing this video. Your posts are always chock-full of useful information. Really glad you didn’t go with Broadband & White Sand for the title!

    Can I buy you a beer and pick your brain?

    I’ve got a great idea for you, and I’ll put the $125 Google AdWords testing money where my mouth is. My lengthy email was forwarded to you on 7/23, as I was told it would “Make Your Day” but I would love to elaborate in 3 sentences if you are interested!

    Be well,


  15. Hi, Tim

    thanks for all the great inspiration. Do you have any ideas on how to best micro-test products that take longer to develop and produce than 4 weeks?

    I am in traditional book publishing and somehow it is not really fair to micro-test a book idea and then tell people: “By the way – you have to wait another 6 – 12 months until we wrote, designed and published the book.”

    Greetings from Berlin


    PS: It is more than possible to even run a traditional business such as a publishing house on a 4 (or more honest 4 – 8 hr) work week – and have enought free time to do interessting things like sitting on Bin Ladens toilet (serious – no joke!).

  16. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post. The information you have got here is so insightful and informative. I am sure more people would love to read this. Thanks again Tim . 🙂

  17. Sorry if my letter below is not appropriate here- was not sure where to post it. Feel free to delete.

    Dear Tim Ferris,

    Hello from Hokkaido, Japan. I am a Russian-born New Zealander living in

    Japan since 1997 where I incorporated my company in 2003.

    I have almost finished reading your book. It is amazing, absolutely life

    changing (my company’s business hours are 3 hrs per day, but after reading

    your book I feel like reducing those!).

    Japanese society where often people work long hours without getting many things

    done need your book like fresh air.

    Of course I bought a few copies of the Japanese version to give to friends

    as gifts. And found out how bad the Japanese translation was. It omits too

    many things which is a real shame. Your book deserves better than that.

    The Japanese translator or the publisher were either lazy, or underestimated

    the mentality of Japanese people, or idiots, or something else.

    I want to promote your book in Japan and beyond. PR is simply my hobby, and

    my customers need to read your book to make their life easier. If I were

    you, I would get someone to translate it properly into Japanese, so it would

    get the attention in Japan it really deserves.

    I would rather promote a book that was translated properly. Quotes from

    famous people make your book extra intelligent, and they are not in the

    Japanese version (I have looked for some, but was unable to check the whole


    I am not a translator, so I am not offering any services to you. I am not a

    publisher either. I am just someone who wants to use your book as a bible

    for time and life wasters. You wrote a high quality book, and it should be

    high quality here in Japan too.

    If you have any questions or need any advice (no charge), feel free to

    contact me. I might be slow at replying, but I will help if I can.

    Lastly, if you haven’t done a Russian translation yet, I would suggest to do

    one. I visited Russia last week, and I know a lot of people there would

    benefit from your book.

    Thank you for writing your book and I look forward to buying your next one.

    Natalia Roschina


    For ALL Co., Ltd.

    Author, “Yubari he no tegami” (published by Nikkei BP, featured in FORBES

    Japan May 2008 & Nikkei Woman September 2008).

    2-1 Kiyota 4-jo 2-chome, Kiyota-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan 004-0844

  18. Hey Tim

    18-year-old college student here, and I would just like to say that I bought your book and found it to be very interesting and insightful. I am very interested in starting my own journey toward a 4 hour work week, but I am a little cloudy as how to go about this. Your book had some very helpful information, but it’s a little difficult for me to take it all in and spit out a business plan. Any helpful start-up advice to get me and other curious students on the right track would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

    Liz W.

  19. Hi Tim, is there any chance you can save this as an audio download? I just watched the whole thing and it’s a great discussion. I’d really like to visit it again, but I’d prefer not to have to sit at my computer for an hour and a half (no matter how endearing you are…). Thanks

  20. I think its really cool to see and hear people with so much experience and knowledge. I, like liz, am a young college student looking to get my life headed in the right direction. is there a way i could get in on a guest lecture or something that you’re going to be at tim?

    gracias y hasta luego!

  21. Intersting that there’s no ‘0’ on that survey. I can’t quite believe this, but when I thought about it I realized I haven’t bought a single gadget/computer/electronics item in the last 18 months (over $100, that is–I did replace a 1 GB flash drive). I swear I’m not some sort of luddite–I just need to be careful with my time these days and I find that new toys are something of a timesink.

  22. Tim – The county I live in in Michigan – Oakland County recently went to a 4 hour work week. Oakland County is probably the most forward-thinking & prosperous county in the state. There may be some good info around on that or you shouldn’t have too much of a problem calling the guy behind the idea – L. Brooks Patterson.

    It’s sad to say but that seems to be about the only positive thing happening in the workforce in Michigan lately. Actually it would seem to be an interesting article about new work force ideas ( 4 day workweek) vs. old idea (Detroit Automotive Companies) in the same area.



  23. Derek Sivers is awesome. I’ve handled a few different CDs for clients that wound up on CDBaby, and have been incredibly impressed by the way that organization is run.

    For those who are interested, Derek has a terrific eBook–gratis, natch–of marketing tips and ideas. It’s geared to the musician, but easily translatable to other creative business ventures.

    In case that link gets stripped from the comment, you can go to Derek’s site, and click on Music Marketing Advice. Follow the prompts and you’re there.

  24. Great stuff Tim. Good overview of many of the book topics, and helps to emphasize key points.

    Could you comment on how one should approach interviews? You touch on avoiding the email medium but do you do all you interviews in person? I got some pointers from your prepping for Warren Buffett post, but was wondering if you could expand on how you prep for an interview and how does a typical interview go?

    Also can’t believe the Wal-Mart quip doesn’t get more of a laugh, I thought it was hilarious.


  25. Liz,

    I have read the book 3 times through, the first one was a year ago, and I still don’t feel like I know all of it. I would recommend, as Tim did to me, re-reading it. Tims book is more like a manual than a motivational book or a biography, although it has those in it too. I am between readings right now because I am trying not to get into a permanent state of reading and thus inaction. Hope this helps!

  26. Bella,

    Check for tools like this.


    Whether or not you are intending to, you are building a virtual army. What are you going to do with it?

  27. What a great example of implementing the principals in the 4 Hour Work Week. CD Baby is a great example of filling a demand already in the market, setting a course, and letting go of the reigns.

  28. Hey Bro,

    Thanks for keeping the info coming, I’ve been doing the NR thing as a consultant for a while, and now moving up to “owner”.

    I just had one of those 20 second epiphanies while viewing my team on oDesk and realizing that my “massive” to-do list that seemed overwhelming has been delegated and I was free to wonder whether Green Tea with Mango was better than Green Tea with Peach..

    Thanks a bunch!

    Pura Vida Mai!

    -Dave, FL

  29. Hi Tim,

    Loved the interview; you touched upon so many key points — outsourcing, the 80/20 principle, and testing. Because companies can so easily test variations of content to discover what works and what doesn’t work, they both enhance their success and reduce risk before ever rolling out new content on a website.On a personal note, as a huge fan of your book, I was thrilled that you mentioned my company SiteSpect. Thanks for the shout-out!


  30. HI Sean, thanks for the advice, went there but still can’t see how I’m meant to use it to get an audio recording out of Tim’s video- doesn’t he need to upload an audio file? An audiocast, so to speak? Or are you telling me I can convert it myself? Thanks

  31. @Natalia,

    Thank you so much for your comments on the Japanese version. I will definitely forward them to the publisher! Great point on the quotes…

    Un abrazo grande 🙂


  32. I have to agree with Bella on this one. I would love it if it was available as a download. I’d love to listen to it while driving, but I’m probably not going to spend the time to watch it. Is it possible to get a downloadable version?

  33. @ Liz W.

    I am a full time college student at UCLA. I have created a very successful business that I work part time while in college and is producing excellent results. So ironic that I stumbled upon your response because what I do is help younger people create profitable business ventures like my own. If you’d like to speak further, email me at


  34. Hey Tim,

    Thanks for posting this video. It was great to hear some of the great concepts of your book again.

    When is your next speech?

  35. Hi Tim,

    Thanks for this article, it made me discovered Derek and some other great stuff on his weblog. I bought your book, and it has been a real “wake up call” for me as I turned my 30.

    I bought the French version of the book, and I was wondering how I could access the forum since it is protected with a word we can find in the US version of the book.

    If reader can help or may be you could open your forum to everybody?


  36. Great video, thanks for sharing.

    I used micro testing many years ago (15+) when I used to buy and sell cars using arbitrage. To test the market for a good condition car I would put a free ad in the paper to guage the demand.

    Timothy I also “tested” you question of “what would you do if you had a “100 million” and did not have to work. Personally I am having trouble answering this as are most of my friends that I asked.

    My thoughts for me only:

    Travel would get boring after a while for most type A people

    Beach time and reading can only fufil so much

    Good Ideas Might Be:

    – Train like a race horse for a sporting competition. I mean wake up, eat then train then nap then eat and train and nap again with a massage after dinner.

    – Charities seem like a good idea, but they can monopolize time if you are not careful. Many charities are run no more efficiently than the average business.

    – Anything that requires social interaction. I am moderatly successful and have a great income from working about 30 hours a week. Most of my peers do not have the resources of time or money to do activities with me. So crave activities that do not require a long committment (i.e I have to give up mon, wed and fri for the next 6 months).

    But it is a good problem to have.

  37. Read a Seattle Times E-mail Overload article which quoted you regarding the overload of email, voicemail, cell phone, etc. technologies that interrupt our workday and make us available to “work” 24/7. Phew!

    Glad to learn that someone else echoed my thoughts of the past five years as I have watched this encroach on a personal life and an attempt to have personal time. Didn’t work. . . therefore I walked away from a management position, i.e. I choose to jump off the hamster wheel.

  38. Read about your email overload in a Seattle Times article. It was refreshing to learn that someone else echoed my thoughts about the voicemail, cell, email, message machines intruding on our attempts to have a personal life in management positions! Thanks for the information!

  39. Hi, Tim

    I was recently granted a patent on the “ABLITERATOR”, an amazing complete abdominal workout machine guaranteed to work your entire core faster than any other machine. The amazing part is that you are standing during your entire workout. This is not a gimmick, this machine is virtually indestructible and will be given a lifetime guarantee on all parts.

    If you are ever in the Southern California area, please give me a call, I think you would have a blast working out on this machine. Any ideas on where to go to market it would also be appreciated. Guthy Renker was almost ready to go with it, but they had bad luck with their last ab-machine.

    Yours in health and happiness,

    Dr. Todd

  40. Tim,

    You talk about the newer editions of 4HWW and changes you have made, I purchased my edition a year ago, is my edition out-dated? Do you have a running tab of major changes you have made available to us early readers? I know you had the competition for modifications but I am not sure what will all be included.

  41. Tim and anyone else wanting to chime in,

    I have read and re-read 4hww and really have dug the book. But in putting together a muse idea to go with my photography business (shooting weddings, events, babies, corporate shoots), I have put together an idea that is a web-based service business plan.

    Without going too much into details here, I know the book suggests avoiding starting a service-based muse, due to heavy time factors involved. But that is not so much my concern here. What I am concerned about is how to properly test my idea without spending 10-20k on the website that will be the core of this business. The site I will need to build just to show it to the world might cost 10-20k up front, as its functionality is key to the whole thing working and attracting further customers. Sure I could put up something for just a few dollars using someone on, but not sure if that would serve the point. So I need a site that will attract photographers to sign up and pay a monthly fee.

    Any good ideas as to how to micro-test this with PPC or any other approaches? I would love to generate some data before going all out on site development.

    Thanks everyone in advance for any 4hww-type solutions!


  42. Tim…..I was so excited when I found your book and read it in record time (for myself, that is!) I’m finding difficulty in pinpointing what to do. I’m not at the point of starting my own business due to finances and supporting a family of 5 but would like to work from my home and then eventually try something on my own. Any hints/tips to point me in the right direction? Thanks, Lisa

  43. @Marc,

    I would consider a few approaches:

    1. Look at Romania if you do look overseas for programming

    2. Consider offering them payment of X if it doesn’t launch and payment of 120% if it does launch. In effect, ask them to take some of risk in the form of an upfront discount, but if it launches (set a short time limit), then you pay them 120-200% of market price for their services.

    3. Consider having a sponsor or supplier you would use help bankroll testing in exchange for you using them exclusively (for payment processing or whatever).

    Hope that helps! Consider grabbing a book called “Guerrilla Financing” if you can find it.

    Good luck,


  44. Tim,

    I’m glad you hooked up with Derek. He’s been a mentor of mine for years (CDBaby sold my first band’s CD back in 1999 and I’ve had several releases since then – go to

    More importantly, Derek has always stood for following your passion (whatever that might be) and adhering to sound business ethics.

    Today it seems that Capitalism has created more damage than good. Derek represents a new Post-Capitalist culture that I hope hundreds of others will embrace.

    John Haydon

  45. I really enjoyed this post.

    As one comment mentioned earlier I would like more info on micro testing a product. That is what I’m struggling with.

    Such as how to interpret the results of the testing.

    For example I tested a product on eBay that got a lot of hits but no buys. I interpreted that as meaning there was an interest and demand for the product but somehow I needed to change something for them to make a purchase.

    But am I right in that interpretation? Or am I missing something?

  46. Tim,

    Thank you for your response. What comes to mind for my business on following point #2 would be to contact several of the big name and even some smaller name players in the photography industry, from camera sellers to others in the wedding photography business. Then I could ask them to either sponsor a portion of site development and marketing startup costs in exchange for some free ad space on the site once it launches. Would you suggest calling the marketing departments in these companies to float this ‘non-traditional’ concept? what do you think about this idea–if they do not bite on sponsoring my site development and launch, then to at least provide me with some free banner ads or an article/interview about my site once it goes live, if I then offer to trade them in-kind for a certain # of ads for them on my site?

    Regarding point #1, do you like Romania because of personal experience? Being new to outsourcing, I have never considered one specific region over another to use for this purpose. So if I use elance, are you saying that we should come to an agreement on a standard price for the job (i.e. their market price), then offer, say, 60% for non-launch, or 120+% if it launches, based on the original agreed-upon price?



  47. Hi Tim,

    I read and watched the entire interview on Derek’s website….

    On Testing the Market, you mention using Wordster and Sitespect… I had a good Google around and Wordster seem to be a game of words? Can you clarify how you would use this for the purposes of testing?

    I am confused… (“…he is confused!”)



  48. Great interview, haven’t read your book, but plan to when I can get some free time.

    You mentioned a lot of people hate you. An answer to why people may hate you is cognitive dissonance, people build a mental model of the world and when things don’t fit their model they make them fit. Anyone who contradicts their world view pisses them off. Basically if you’re right it means that the assumptions they built their lives upon are false, which makes them fools who wasted their life. In other words they can’t handle the truth, and would rather live a lie than face reality.

  49. Incredible. You’ve done all this cool stuff and you’re only how old? While I just turned 40, busting my butt 40 hours a week at a stupid job just to survive another day and I fight and scrape for a few hours time to live my life’s calling, my music, the only thing that keeps me half sane. I’d love to duplicate your success, but I guess I’m not that smart… well, good for you. I’d like to be rich and free too, but I guess I might have to wait until the next lifetime for that. Cheers.

  50. It’s cool that the guy did 1,000 gigs as a circus ring master. It’s not so hot that was the only way he could tame his nerves. I say that because it’s not necessary to go to that effort and extreme to get comfortable in front of an audience. There are easier ways to accomplish this feat…. And for someone who wants to make life less work and more pleasure, those secrets might be worth investigating.

  51. Wow nice video. After watching that I think that one thing (maybe the main thing) that is probably what made you so successful is that you strategize everything.

  52. Tim,

    Thank you for making this conversation available. Good stuff and a handful of insights and takeaways.

    The one point you made that really resonated for me was about who we choose to emulate. My question for you, however, is how far do you take that? No one has it all together, do they?

    For me, I’ve come across many “successful” people who are raking in money but they spend it as fast as they make it. I tend to take a close look at the diets and bodies of these financial successes and very rarely are they taking care of themselves. There seems to be something fundamentally unhappy and insecure abou this type of person. It’s a big concern for me, so much so that while I don’t disagree with their accomplishments, I come to a point where it’s hard to accept their perspective because of glaring weaknesses.

    You seem like a guy who has his proverbial sh$% together and I’ve absolutely learned a great deal from your perspective. So, if you can, give me an example of someone you completely and genuinely emulate. Additionally, give me an example of someone who really isn’t someone you’d want to be like, but have emulated an apect of their being anyway.

    Thanks and keep it up. You’re making a difference.

  53. On Philosophy other than ‘work’

    Hi Tim. Having read much of your work in the book, and while now slogging through blogs, vids and the like…I have to ask. What was your religious background growing up (if any) and what are your philosophies (outside of business) at this point in your life?

    Why do I ask? Well, partly to test a theory about the organization of your book and systems, and partly to denote the mores of the NR. This line of enquiry seemed conspicuous by its abscence in your book. We are given logos w/o philos (other than the effecient/effective).

    PS I do understand that marketing is always easier without mentioning sex, politics, or religion at all. ;~) Will you satisfy my curiosity regardless?

    Best Regards,


  54. One thing to keep in mind about product microtesting of actual products is that you have to have to have something to show the prospective customer.

    Texas Instruments did similar “product testing” . They would offer a $50K or so “award” to the most promising products. They’d then develop that product and do test marketing. One of those products was Speak & Spell.

  55. Hi Tim

    Natalia here again from Japan. I complained to your Japanese publisher today about the slack translation and selling of the book in Japan. I suggested they retranslate it using another translator who has guts to translate the intelligent quotes you included, etc, and republish it. I also wrote the same on the Japanese Amazon review today.

    I hope they will take some action. It embarasses me being here in Japan when some Japanese publishers want to take advantage of foreign best sellers without doing proper work themselves.

    If you have any requests or comments to me personally in regard to your book in Japan, please email them to me direct, as I have no time to read comments on this blog. I write here as I don’t know your email address. Oh, one more thing. I use your book as a textbook in Japan now, and advise everyone who comes to my speeches to buy it.

    I surely promote it more than my own book!

    Natalia Roschina


    For ALL Co., Ltd.

    Hokkaido, Japan

  56. I’m from Australia and am wondering if anyone has found an equivalent to or that provides Australian / New Zealand companies that manufacture and drop ship. The only company I’ve found charges really high prices for poor products and is really in the retail game not wholesale – no lifestyle for me in that!! All advice would be appreciated.

  57. Hi Tim,

    I got your book through Derek’s site as I am a cd baby artist and a website owner selling dual sim solutions.

    It was great to see you both together.

    I am almost through your book but there’s so many interesting things on the we about your philosophy too preventing me from starting, but hey..I can have my VA in India start for me;-)



  58. I like your interpretation of the word “cheating”! As a consultant I will now be encouraging my clients to “cheat” at business …

  59. Hi, Tim

    I was recently granted a patent on the “ABLITERATOR”, an amazing complete abdominal workout machine guaranteed to work your entire core faster than any other machine. The amazing part is that you are standing during your entire workout. This is not a gimmick, this machine is virtually indestructible and will be given a lifetime guarantee on all parts.

    If you are ever in the Southern California area, please give me a call, I think you would have a blast working out on this machine. Any ideas on where to go to market it would also be appreciated. Guthy Renker was almost ready to go with it, but they had bad luck with their last ab-machine.

    Yours in health and happiness,

    Dr. Todd

  60. Is there a reason why there’s no ‘audio only’ version of this podcast? Or why it’s hosted on brightcove (as opposed to youtube)? At least on youtube, the audio can be saved from the video, with brightcove, not so much 🙁

  61. Hey Tim,

    This was a great post! I really enjoyed reading about Derek’s philosophies on work and the insights he provided on topics like testing assumptions, PR, and personal outsourcing. It’s amazing to see how much CD Baby has grown from just a hobby and to see the impressive numbers like the number of artists and amount paid directly to the artists. The conversation you had with Derek was really interesting and well-written. Keep up the great work!