Tweet to Beat: Let Me Up the Ante (Plus: Vietnam School Video and Pics)

The smiles that greeted us at the preschools you helped build in Vietnam. (Photo: Matt)

Thus far, the Tweet to Beat experiment has increased Twitter count from 22,500 to 29,276, which means $20,328 to U.S. public school students via Donorschoose (6,776 new followers x $3 each).

This is good by any reasonable standard, but I’m not reasonable. So here’s what we’re going to do:

1. Every Twitter follower of mine — new and old — will receive a coupon at the end of the campaign for the following:

-6 months of RescueTime’s Pro time tracking tools for free (Normal price: $48). Just install it with no data entry and know exactly how you spend your time. Set thresholds, alarms, or use it for an entire business team. Full disclosure: I am now an investor in RescueTime, as I think they’re the best out there.

-6 months of DropBox’s Pro 50GB account for free. (Normal price: $60) This is a reader favorite. Sync your files automatically to your computers and the web; sign in and access your files from any browser or mobile device. It’s the world’s easiest back-up and syncing service.

-6 months of PhoneTag Alpha, the latest voicemail transcription service, for free (Normal price: $60). This is closed to the public and an exclusive for Tim Ferriss followers (!). Read voicemail on your mobile phone, portable device and/or e-mail. Forget about phone interruptions and suffering through long-winded voicemails.

Total value: $168 to each follower.

2. I’m extending the Tweet to Beat campaign and promo competition another week, until 3/30 at 3:30pm PST.

I will still ante up and pay out the $3 per new follower using 22,500 as the start number. This means you have more time to spread the word and potentially win the round-trip anywhere in the world, the fully-loaded MacBook, and perhaps more.

3. Tomorrow, Tuesday 3/24, at 12pm noon PT (3pm ET), I’m going to send $3 to every Twitter follower I have, not just new followers.

If you aren’t following me on Twitter yet, you can do so here.

This means roughly 30,000 followers x $3 = $90,000. Each $3 will be a unique Donorschoose coupon code, which you can donate to the classroom project of your choice

I want you to donate the $3 yourself, feel the immense gratification, and do just one thing: please make update your Facebook status during the checkout process to show this donation. This twist has been planned all along, and it should be a force multiplier.

Note the following – very important:

This requires that you visited Facebook in the last ~30 days and chose the “remember me” option. If not, please log out of Facebook and log back in to tick the “remember me” box. It will not work if you just have Facebook open in another tab or window.

Once you get the $3 coupon through Twitter, here are the steps you’ll follow to redeem it:

Sign out of Facebook and sign back in to check the “remember me” box

Pick a classroom project on the Tweet to Beat project page

Check this box

Click “publish” at the end and you’ve done a great deed!


Life-Changing Proof That Small Actions Matter – Vietnam Pictures and Videos

“Tweet to Beat” is a follow-up experiment to LitLiberation, which was a campaign by bloggers and their readers, and CEOs and their employees, to spread the power of literacy worldwide. It was a new fundraising model based on competition and social media scalability, and it funded not only US public school projects (20,000+ students) but also libraries and schools in developing countries.

I visited two LitLiberation schools in Vietnam two weeks ago with three other donors: Matt Mullenweg, Jose Castro, and Andrew Rosca. It was my first trip to a site we’d constructed, and all of us were absolutely blown away.

More than 500 students per year will be attending these two schools, and both of them cost just $17,000 total. There are many more schools coming, including this school in Nepal, that the readers of this blog helped to build.

Enjoy the footage and pics, and thank you all 🙂

The best welcoming committee I’ve ever met. (Photo: Matt)

Matt Mullenweg with the 4th graders, who lost all shyness as soon as he started showing them pictures on his viewfinder. (Photo: Matt Mullenweg)

(Photo: Matt Mullenweg)

Donor and blog reader Jose Castro. Thanks, Jose! (Photo: Matt Mullenweg)

(Photo: Matt Mullenweg)

Blog reader Andrew Rosca. Thanks, Andrew! (Photo: Matt Mullenweg)

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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84 Replies to “Tweet to Beat: Let Me Up the Ante (Plus: Vietnam School Video and Pics)”

  1. This is pretty cool, I gotta say, it’s been long time since I saw so many happy children at once!

    I am going to take action and spread the word even more right away!

    Keep it up TIM,

    Luis M.

  2. Very impressive and noble Tim. Been a long time follower, but I will have to try and add a few friends and readers to your list.

    What are your thoughts on Donorschoose Vs Kiva? Obviously there is a place for both, empowering entrepreneurs is just as important as ensuring the entrepreneurs of the future get an education today.

  3. Great creative way to help out. The children are lucky to have a supporter willing to think outside of the box to help out. I guess I have to dust off my FaceBook page. Best of luck. Will RT on Twitter.

  4. Oh sweet, didn’t know you were using “Tweet to beat” or I woulda used somethin else for our leukemia fundraiser. All good tho – charities win!

  5. Don’t forget, those of you who still work for a company, to see if your company will match the donation. Every little bit counts!

    Great job, all! (Why is Jose always drinking? ;))

  6. Tim

    Great job again. Mission accomplished on your latest project will be around the corner. How did you get all those emails to match each blog follower of yours?



    1. Hi All,

      Thanks for the kind words and great suggestions! A few things:

      1) As Marcie said, see if your employer will match donations to DonorsChoose, even the $3 coupon. This can make a big difference, and it made a HUGE difference with LitLiberation.

      2) To Bill and all, I think is great, but I’m tackling one issue at a time. For me, education is the focus right now and will be for some time, but micro-finance is a close second. Read “Banker to the Poor” by Muhammad Yunus if you haven’t.

      3) To Pete at Mashable – no sweat, big fella. Both will benefit a lot of people, so all is fair. I’ll sell you the .com extensions for the name for $50,000 to DonorsChoose 🙂

      All the best,


  7. Tim,

    You are INCREDIBLE ! ! ! Thank you for the tools from this giveaway ! ! !

    Thank you so much for your book and inspiration. We are using principles in your book and copying your LitLib idea for our cell phone recycling business. (I hope that is okay.)

    Will have stats and case study posted as soon as we have data. (I am the true Eco Bounty Hunter and will prove it.)

    I wish you all the best and many blessings.



  8. Hi Tim,

    Thanks to your book, I’ve been able to work from home for almost a year now and working on my muse.

    Your blog about the benefits of giving to charity now, rather than later in life, was fantastic. In September of last year, me and a group of friends headed off to Cambodia to help out at an orphanage as well as perform health checks for kids at a prison.

    I was told unofficially, that if I was charged with murder in Cambodia, I could bribe my way out for $2000USD. Thanks to your outsourcing philosophy, I asked how much it would be to hire a hit man. Apparently $700USD. Once again, outsourcing works out to be cheaper and less work.

    Not to worry, I’ve only used outsourcing for the greater good.

    Your contribution is inspiring. Keep up the great work.


  9. Thanks for the recommendation Tim, will be sure to pickup a copy of “Banker to the Poor” in my next book buying spree.

    I do agree with your slight prioritisation of education in the US. How can one country truly be expected to help another completely when they cannot truly help their own people.

  10. I’m diggin that you not only are doing adventurous things with your life, but doing adventurous and noble things with your cash.

    Much respect Tim.



  11. Hi,

    (wonderful thing you’re doing btw)

    I hope you don’t mind if I generally spread the word – I’m not on facebook and I really wouldn’t like to be. How about some Polish social networking sites? Some local exposition.

    If it’s a prerequisitive, you might want to exclude sending the coupon to me (@yurikome), no sense for it going to waste.

  12. Speechless to your generosity to the children you intend to help and the freebies you are willing to give to your followers.


  13. Tim

    You continue to do GREAT things for these children. Myself and my Filipina wife, Ercille, are in the mid-stages of putting together a Mobile Library here in Cebu, Philippines.

    The initial van will be fully air-conditioned and will be completely stocked with childrens books. It will travel to the provinces here in Cebu, and give under-privileged children the opportunity to explore books and read in a ‘controlled’ environment, most of the time, for the first time ever, supervised by licensed teachers. We even have plans of doing the same on a BOAT and going from island to island with the same concept.

    I have been following your work in Vietnam intently, and have to say I am very impressed and extremely happy to see everything you’re doing for the kids.

    I can only hope that more people get inspired, the same way I have, by your work and efforts.

    Keep rockin’.

    Chris Ducker

  14. Tim , I ´m from Brazil and I read your book several times… Every time I do that i get quite impressed with your lifestyle , and definetely is what I want to me… I just need to create something and get less than 1000 dollares per month to travel around south america ( my dream). But the ideas and rules you showed us in your book are pretty hard to be used in a country like mine…As you lived here , could you help me , given that you know a lot about Brazil and the dificulties we have ?

    Tks …Anything helps…

  15. Tim, this is one of the most amazing thing that you’ve done. Especially with the donations and the personal trip with Matt to the country and visited the school. Way awesome man. 🙂


  16. Tim –

    I have to say your post is very uplifting and you definitely wrote the feel good post of the internet today! Keep up the fantastic work. You’re making the world a better place, one blog reader at a time 🙂

    – Richard Brian Penn-

  17. Tim,

    Thanks for upping the ante. Have you had the pleasure of meeting John Wood (founder of Room to Read) yet? I loved his book, ”Leaving Microsoft to Change the World.” Needless to say, I loved your book as well. I’ll be donating, thanks for positioning us all to donate!



  18. this is not only donating to a great cause but also a clever move to increase your reach via twitter tim 🙂

  19. Great work Tim, you’re leading the way in what the future of fundraising will loook like.

    Thanks for getting us involved.


  20. Hey Tim!

    I think this Idea is absolutely brilliant and it helps everyone.

    I was wondering if you had to go through any legal hoops to do this?


  21. Question..I followed the instructions from the twitter link but I have not received any certificate in my inbox…Am I doing something wrong?

    But I love the way you are using your fame and social marketing for a good cause..

    God Bless you

    1. Hi Antonio,

      Thanks for the comment. You should have it by now, as Donorschoose e-mailed everything out yesterday, as they are on EST.



  22. Tim-

    What is the number to “beat” so far in terms of number of people contacted? I have spent a few dollars on outsourcing this task, and I am hoping to see good results. I will continue my efforts, but I am curious what the “leader” numbers are? – Thanks TonyD.

  23. Hi Tim: this is such an amazing and creative way to raise awareness and inspire others to get involved. Bravo! I’ll join & forward to my friends.

    You’re awesome!

  24. new to the blog. great stuff!

    off topic: i was reading some of the old blogs and the amish one is lame. i grew up in the amish/mennonite country in PA. although i am not of the faith my extended family is. i, too, left the area and graduated from columbia univ.Torah’s stories seemed either exaggerated or family-specific. yes, there is strict family discipline but i see it as a plus. in fact, there are a lot of children who need more.

    and what’s the deal with human rights violations for stopping education at 8th grade? i still can’t believe how i was violated with intellectual falsehoods disguised as ‘education’ or knowledge. lets discuss that…

    language? wrong again. amish speak a german dialect from the 17th century which originates in SW Germany along the Rhine river. and it has been written down much longer than 12 years. my great grandparents have bible in the language.

    fyi, within that community the most conservative/orthodox ones are referred to as ‘the horse people’.

    Tim, i realize this is off the topic, but please post it. i need to set these issues straight. i have first hand experience.

  25. hey tim,

    i’m sure i saw the coupon in my twitter feed… but now i can’t find it to activate it?

    any and all help appreciated



  26. Hey! I just wanted to thank you for featuring me on Twitter. I have received so many donations for my DonorsChoose proposal. I feel that this is because of your support. Thank you so much, I truly appreciate what you are doing!!

    Thank you again,

    Molly Groves

    Evansville, Indiana

  27. Hey Tim,

    I have never heard of you until today when someone who donated his three dollars to my project wrote “I gave to this project because I am inspired by the great work Tim Ferris is doing to help all of you!! :)” So, I searched for your name on Yahoo! and found out about your Tweet to Beat project, which, so far, has made my classroom project $57 closer to being fulfilled. All I can say is, “Thank you so much!!!” (It is a small token of gratitude for such a magnificent thing you are doing for students all across the United States). My students and I appreciate your wonderful support.


    Kirsten Finucane

  28. Great work Tim,

    I’ve been keeping an eye on my twitter and did not receive the coupon for I plan to donate myself, but I have a feeling I’m not the only one who didn’t receive the coupon. It could be that I simply don’t know where to look for it.

    Good luck with the campaign!


  29. Ah, I’m Confucianism …

    I’ve tried to donate the $3 but cannot access this from my Twitter account. It appears that others are having this issue, as well.

    Am I simply not seeing how to acquire the coupon or have we all not received it yet.



  30. Hey Tim,

    Just looking over your donorschoose projects! Mine and many others were funded already and many are on there way to being fully funded. The best part is looking at some of the ones that haven’t been funded that have suddenly gotten tons of donations. Believe me when I say teachers check the status of these projects often and are grateful for every little donation! Suddenly seeing so many donations to your project is so exciting!!

    Thanks again for generating so much excitement and interest in I hope that your kindness and generosity will extend to all the people you’ve encouraged to give, causing people to continue supporting public schools and the students they serve. It really does make a huge difference!



    Kirsten Finucane

  31. Tim,

    Keep up the good work. But here’s an interesting question — you’ve theoretically handed out many thousands of $3 coupons, but it looks like only a few have been redeemed on the site. Currently donorschoose only shows 553 donors have donated.

    Could it be that this is due to having to register for the donorschoose site? the process looks pretty fool-proof on paper, but I have to admit, when I went to go donate, and then was asked to “sign up for a user account,” I almost stopped right there. And I’m betting a lot of other people are doing just that.

    You’d think it would be easier to give “free money” to a worthy cause, but I bet that having to sign up to give someone else’s money away is stopping a lot of people from doing it.

    Is there a way to geot donorschoose to allow coupons to be redeemed without having to create a user account for each person trying to do so? Many people balk at signing up for “another site” and there are some sites that will let you do a one time transaction without creating a profile (a feature I dearly appreciate).

    Hope you get more donors in the more motivated rather than less column.


  32. Y’all can search if you you’d like to support my classroom…..I’m on the Corridor of Shame in South Carolina. There are currently 4 posts form my school on there – 9 from my district. I have 2 projects listed.

    Search for Dillon County under South Carolina.

    We haven’t gotten any donations from Tweet2Beat yet but I saw that my projects were listed.

    Thanks Tim for encouraging othere to donate!!!

  33. I love this blog post and am really excited to see what the numbers are afterwards. So many kids are going to be helped worldwide… I love it : )



  34. Tim, I saw your reminder on twitter, checked my inbox but no sign of either the $3 or the $12 donorschoose coupons.

  35. Im so confused. I followed, I donated, but saw no coupon. 🙂 Oh well, teachers are one step closer right? @akrage

  36. Hey Tim,

    Just for fun I added a running list of all your Qwitters since 3/30 on I wish I would have done this from the beginning-I think it would have been interesting to see a comparison of the rate of new followers and rate of qwitters. Anyways, hope you enjoy.


    p.s. Hope the shoulder gets better soon

  37. Is the contest over?

    What was the final total of new followers/money raised? Did anyone win the ticket or laptop?

    Just curious if anyone has been updated.

  38. Great post and project you guys are working on. Glad you are merging web tech and philanthropy.

  39. Hello Tim –

    Loved the webcast with Ramit last night. I heard you mention the Tweet to Beat during the webcast, and how you would be analyzing (of course!) and learning from the results. I’m sure you have many ideas already, but I wanted to give you some of my observations, just in case they might help with your analysis.

    First, having to sign up on Twitter might have excluded a huge number of followers from participating. I personally don’t know anyone on Twitter except you. I’m sure a lot of folks I sent the blog post to, read that part and immediately closed the blog.

    Second, linking it to Facebook in the donation directions was confusing. I’m still not sure what the Facebook piece had to do with the Twitter piece? There was no mention of having to have a Facebook account in the original Tweet post. And again, adding a second social network requirement may have exclude even more from participating (most folks “my age” and older that I know do not use Facebook, either.)

    Third – when the donation coupons go out, there should be a way to track them and make sure they arrived for the participants. Personally I have yet to receive anything on my Twitter or attached e-mail accounts regarding the donation or perk coupons. I’m not even sure where on Twitter it was supposed to show up? I have zero “direct messages” on Twitter. And yes, I signed up as a follower of you during the initial fund-raising period, before the extention even. I was not a follower before that.

    I went through a lot of effort to get set up on multiple social networks in order to be a participant, and forwarded it to many folks who may now be wondering exactly what kind of a scam I sent them, if they encountered the same problems that I did. (Of course I still have the option of donating on my own, but it will not count in your totals).

    So, simplify the process, if possible do not make participation tied to multiple social networks, and make sure the donation process works.

    I look forward to seeing what you will come up with next – your ideas inspire and astound me, and I will continue to read your blog and re-read your book and learn from you every chance I get.

    Cheers –


  40. Hello

    great post and project.

    I signed up for twitter before march 30th, and started to follow you, but got no coupon. Did I do something wrong?

    regardless, get blog and post, keep it up.

  41. Testing 1 2 3. Unique New York. Is this thing on?

    BTW – what ever happen with this contest?! Did anyone win the coveted airline ticket or macbook? Inquiring minds want to know.


  42. Hey there Tim,

    Fun contest and great to get periodic updates on others who donated to the same cause I did. Thanks for the chance to participate in this colossal project!

    I’m wondering about where to find the final results of the contest, as well as the coupons for the other items donated to participants from RescueTime, Dropbox, and Phonetag.

    Thanks much!


  43. Any recommendations on a manufacturer for my handmade line of skin-care. Overseas possibly, Im currently located in the U.S.