Kevin Rose and Tim Ferriss Discuss Angel Investing and Naming Companies

Tim and Kevin from Glenn McElhose on Vimeo.

In this video, Kevin Rose — founder of Digg and others — and I talk about how we invest in other companies as “angels” and how we choose names for companies. Topics include:

-How to test company or product names using Google AdWords

-Kevin’s criteria for both good site names and good angel investments

-The role of start-up “advisors” and investors

-How I choose companies to work with: overlap, PR options, UI design…

It’s an Oprah-style conversation, so if watching isn’t an option, you can also opt to let the audio play in the background while you’re doing other things. Let us know if you’d like to see more of these brainstorming sessions.

Special thanks to Glenn McElhose for the great video shooting and editing!

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.

Leave a Reply

Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration.)

199 Replies to “Kevin Rose and Tim Ferriss Discuss Angel Investing and Naming Companies”

  1. That’s a very interesting idea for testing out title. I think it really worked for you as well. “The 4-Hour Work Week” is much better than “Broadband and White Sand”.

  2. Two great business/creative/marketing minds. Looking forward to seeing what you guys come up with. Keep up the good work!!


  3. Very cool and very amusing perspectives on creative, somewhat guerrilla, market research techniques.

    It’s sad to see books with brilliant content, and companies with interesting concepts, get absolutely no exposure and more or less fall completely off the intellectual map simply because the authors/founders fell in love with a title that didn’t make any real market sense (and therefore dollars-and-cents).

    Fun conversation, guys, thanks!

  4. I’d love to see more of this. Great content and a awesome perspectives. Even if it was a once a month type of thing, I’d be a huge fan.


    p.s. Seriously, just take the plunge and get the iPhone. Sure you’ll waste time on it every now and then, but there are so many benefits with some of the great apps out there.

  5. I love stuff like this. Occasionally little nuggets of wisdom drop out that maybe wouldn’t have made it into an article.

  6. This is the sh*t! Keep it coming, nothing better than this kind of interaction and insight from incredibly successful people!

  7. Very much enjoyed the video. Strategic naming is so important. When done correctly, names create products versus tagging existing ones. Love it.

    J. Smith Adams

  8. Kevin mentioned that he got for free. How do you go about finding a free .com domain? I’ve searched some, but it’s been really ineffective.

  9. Hey Tim and Kevin,

    This is a great video! Would love to see it as a podcast or something recurring.

    I’m interested in seeing Kevins wireframes.

  10. Awesome. I love hearing the background story to how products are brought to market. Valuable lessons to be learned 🙂

    I’d love to see these sessions every other week or so.

  11. The discussion was really helpful and would certainly be nice to see a few more. @Kevin you mentioned how simply it comes to your mind when thinking about planning a startup. I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind doing a podcast sort of bulleting out those requriements that someone young and new in the market could follow?

  12. I would love to hear more about language learning. Tricks, tips, stories anything at all.

    I would like to hear you speak other languages too, read a lot about how many languages you can speak but never once heard an example.


  13. TIM,

    I love this! I was once told by a guy that if you want to be successful at something then sit at the feet of people who have done it and copy what they have done. I appreciate the video and look forward to much more of it!


  14. That’s great advice about a Prototype. I noticed when I approached investors with a working prototype, their reaction was much more favorable.

    Good stuff!

  15. This is awesome! A real eye-opener for people needing a little perspective from the inside.

    I look forward to more of these sessions.

  16. 30 minutes of awesome content. It’s great to see 2 young, successful entrepreneurs talk about how they do things and how they view business. Hopefully this turns into a regular show!

  17. Thanks for the vid. Good job on keeping the self-congratulatory narcissism to a tolerable level. I’d probably subscribe to something like this if it was available in audio.

  18. This is fantastic. Love it!

    There may need to be a follow-up post about those blue knickers…

    Where do you play racquetball in the city? Any place other than the Bay Club? I’ve been trying to find a place to play for quite some time now. I miss playing for free in college.

  19. This is Awesome. Keep it up, I would love to see you bring your inner circle in on this series. Neil Strauss? I bet you could even wrangle Seth Godin or Tony Robbins or Robert Kiyosaki.

  20. Really great and informative video guys, I hope you will be doing more like this in the future.

    I’d love to be able to pitch my biz opportunity to both of you now!


  21. Wow! For me this has been the most intriguing post on your blog in a long time. Please have more videos with other entrepreneurs and authors soon! I’m a big reader, but there’s something about seeing your idols actually speaking that is more powerful than can be described in words.

    Thanks again for publishing such a great video!


  22. tim,

    Don’t get the iphone, i am holding strong with a simple outdated flip phone and justify it with the fact that smart guys like tim ferriss don’t need an iphone. I love your keep it simple teachings…

    peace be with u

  23. Great stuff guys.

    a) get the iphone (or wait until they probably release new hardware this summer…)

    b) would love to see more vids, but please get ’em in iTunes so I can subscribe. audio version would be great too.


  24. Tim – is that the message board member’s iphone app I sent you an email about? Just wanting to make sure before I post a link…

    Also, what’s a good web site for matching up investors with startups? (Anyone?)

    Thanks! Love to see more in the future.

  25. @Aaron Dragushan

    One of the perks about the iPhone 3.0 that is coming out this summer is that it will be a free software upgrade to current iPhone 3G owners. So, one less excuse to get the iPhone, Tim 🙂


  26. I love these video conversations (recently watched your talk about Vibram five-finger shoes)! Great ideas and the rapport is adorable.

  27. Definitely enjoyed your conversation. I think once or twice monthly would be a manageable frequency (for me, as a viewer). More often and I’ll probably fall behind.

    @Tim and @Kevin: Quick question, if you have time. Kevin said that building your idea is cheap these days. I’m curious as to what he means by that. In other words, is it cheap if you’re a programmer who can write the code on your own? Or is it cheap even if you need to hire people to help you?

  28. This was entertaining and informative, please keep them coming! Look forwards to the next episode. Thanks

  29. If you or Kevin have any doubt whether or not you should do this on a regular basis…

    Do it!

    Just talking about Digg and 4HWW live on a regular basis like this would be such a reinforcement and reminder of concepts I forget.


  30. Interesting stuff. I would be interested in hearing more about site monetization. Such as how soon into the design and concept phase, should the startup be concentrating on turning a profit?



  31. Kevin is a one hit wonder and as I watch him run Digg into the ground, I wonder if he is even relevant?

  32. Great to get a glimpse into the minds of two of the coolest guys on the web. Looking forward to more videos! (Maybe some more specifics on naming companies/products?)

  33. Tim,

    I loved the video. I would definitely like to see more. I agree with Ben Biggs, Seth Godin would be great to have on. I recommend your book to everybody. If you ever come to Denver/Colorado Springs you should let me take you out.

  34. Thanks for the great discussion. But i do have one request / suggestion. If you could make just the audio portion available, I’d be more likely to find the time to listen.

    I got lucky today and had a half-hour I could sit and watch the video. But normally I’d be multi-tasking. I spend a lot of time each week processing photos, and I can listen to podcasts while I do. It involves different parts of the brain.

    When I’m doing photos, I’m frequently maxing out my system, and it caused the video to keep skipping, which was incredibly distracting, so I had to pause it until I was done with the other work.

    Thanks again for letting us listen in. I’m looking forward to the next one.

  35. Hey Tim,

    Excellent content, just what I have come to expect from you: great stuff with no fluff. I wish more people presented like you do, just get to the point.

    I am really looking forward to more of these conversations, I hope you both can carve out the time to do so. I had some really great ideas come to me while you were both talking!

    Keep up the greatness!


  36. “Let us know if you’d like to see more of these brainstorming sessions.”

    Great and informative video! I’d definitely like to see/hear more!

    I’m always looking for ways to improve my little puzzle website.

  37. @Tim: What’s the domain of the site you were plugging? I’ve tried “postress”, “postris” and other variants but nothing seems to be live.

  38. @Nathan: I totally agree about Kevin Rose. I read something recently where they did not make any money from digg. How could you not make money from a service like that? Just throw some google ads on there and get rich. However, these people wanted to get youtube rich, so they did not monetize the site hoping that big daddy google would buy them out. when that did not happen they had to figure out how to make a business. nothing wrong with their service and kudos to him for coming up with the idea, but the difference between a business and a hobby is revenue.

    1. @Me and All,

      I’m wearing Vibram Five Fingers shoes in this video:

      They are VERY comfortable, but be sure not to wear them for more than 1-2 miles total daily walking in the beginning. It takes time to learn not to heel strike when walking quickly.


  39. Do I sense a feeling of remorse?

    Or are you just cleverly disarming the crowds? 🙂

    That’s the second time this month you mentioned that “The Four Hour Work Week” sounds like a scam. We all know why you picked the title: It sounds liberating and it’s the dream of every over-worked American. It got me to pick up the book, and it’s had more of an impact than anything I’ve ever read – twice.

    Take it from me, I know. My book sounds like a scam too (or is that spam?). Either way, I know the feeling when you tell someone your book title and they look back at you with disbelieving eyes.

  40. While getting my 1980’s favorites out of Napster and into itunes – via the arduous process of burning cds – listened to all; watched most. Great fun to hear you guys chat about entrepreneurship 3.0 – would make it shorter and sequence the content. People are wanting to act on this.

    Or do a contest – win an evening conversation with Tim and Kevin.

    To make this info usable, like everything, it needs to be organized/sequenced. Could be a very cool start to a network that does this. It seems most learning efforts derail due to sequencing – maybe a solution is starting here. When I bring companies to investors this really seems to help.

    Very cool. Thanks!


    ps. I Digg “Emergency”

  41. Great bit of info. Love the idea of you chatting casually with friends giving good and useful info. I can’t wait for you to talk about learning a language quickly. I have the need for advisory counsel on a project. How can we chat?



  42. Great video. Forwarded it around to my friends. I also think RescueTime might be the answer to a problem I’ve been working on.

  43. Hey Tim,

    I am delighted with your video. I hope you feature more guests this way. Keep up the good work.

    by the way, explain the shoes?!

  44. How do you hook up with or let yourself be known to Angels? And do these type of investors invest in Charities (start up, position on the board, and if “famous” being a spokes person for said charity?)

    I ask because I am currently starting a Charity and have little to no money to do all the legal and set up all that needs to be done.

  45. I think you’d find Fabrice Grinda’s approach to angel investing of value. He talks about increasing diversification (8+ investments), looking for off-the-beaten-path companies (outside of the valley/alley and US), and companies with very low capital expenditures. Good, short read from an internet entrepreneur with a lot of successes.

    1. @Adam,

      Fabrice is a very smart investor, indeed. He and I have invested in the same deals before. His grasp of macro- and microeconomics is mind-boggling.

      All the best,


  46. Wow! That was a great video. I really do hope you guys make more because there’s a lot of great ideas you guys have to share with the community. Thanks a lot for making this.

  47. Thank you for describing the role of an advisor clearly. I like how you vision the role as a way to be involved in many projects to keep things fresh without the hassle of day to day issues such as the server going down.

  48. Really good video. Nice to see this type of content from you both, I’m looking forward to the next one.

  49. Great video! You should definitely make this a regular session.

    Although I think grabbing peoples’ attention through freebies is reasonable advice, I’d like to add: effort and outcome should be in balance.

    If you’re a web designer, sending your potential client a redesign mockup is far better that just talking about it. But if you put too much effort in (and you’ll do, if you want it to be great), just to impress someone, you better get prepared for frustration. There are so many odd reasons, why you might not get noticed. Don’t make yourself dependent on it.

    Instead, look for an additional, personal outcome, that you’d be happy with, and make the impress-part a by-product of this process. Don’t just send the redesign to your prospect, put it on your blog as well and let others know how you would do it. That opens up far more possibilities and you’ll probably get lots of great feedback.

    When I wrote Dreamline (that’s the iPhone app mentioned at the end of the video), I primarily did it, because I wanted such a tool for myself. I was never expecting Tim to mention it publicly.

    Now, after he did, you can imagine how happy I am. Thanks!

  50. Hey Tim, thanks for the video! You guys are like my online mentors, so videos like this are always appreciated. Hope this becomes a regular thing!



    BTW, I’m going to try the Google AdWords testing system for naming my new real estate website, thanks for the advice.

  51. Definitely something i’d like to see more of.

    I think some of the stuff could spark interesting conversation and debate within the community.

    Very interesting stuff.