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.

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

  1. Great Video.

    Posted an @reply on twitter to you asking how someone could contact the ‘uncontactable’, i.e. yourself – and you answered it while I was watching. Get your attention.. 🙂

    Thanks! Big fan.


  2. Tim,

    Don’t mean to be a d**k but the images of the charts on could be cleaned up a bit in my opinion. Maybe I’m just OCD but they bother me 🙂



  3. I think Tim and Kevin have the will to succeed in common. They’re desire is way bigger than the little voices in their head. You know, the voice that says things like, “you’re wasting your time” and “these people are taking advantage of you” or “this is never going to work”.

    I think people are leery of people, with more money than them, that want a piece of their company, in exchange for money or advice. The best advice was setting a few benchmarks. I wish I had a good enough idea that someone would want to steal 😉

  4. A big thanks for the info you guys shared in this video. I would definitely watch similar programming.

    I was a big fan of “The Big Idea” show hosted by Donny Deutsch. IMHO, it was developing a huge following and now that it is gone there is a huge void for what it offered. I know fans of the show are looking for something like it. You guys have the talent, knowledge, and respect to pull of a show like that. You guys could throw it live on, take phone calls, and answer chats. It would be better than “The Big Idea” because it would be more interactive.

  5. Please turn this into a series and keep these episodes coming. There’s nothing better than watching succesfull people having REAL conversations like this, about their real-life/business experiences. Love it.

  6. The power of Walmart. Though I think they did you a favor with the title. It would have been a different type of cult hit with the original title. Much fewer opportunities for mainstream press, for sure. Enjoyed the discussion on naming sites. Tough today with dot com urls mostly bought.

  7. by the way, vimeo does not allow me to return to the page after watching half the video and then use the cursor to start back in the middle … big hassle

  8. Feedback:

    I would be better if you guys broke the content up into 2 or 3 smaller 10 or 15 minute videos so that it would be easier to pick up the most interesting subject and also easier to watch it…

    It is also great to see that people with similar intellectual backgrounds can so easily get together and create value! We don’t get that in Cyprus.. :

  9. Keep it up… love the casual setting. And excellent content. I suggest a brief wardrobe demo before every video… love the shoes!

  10. Thank you for your interesting book. I am a student now and I am getting many difficulties to learning English. I have learn E for years but It improves very slowly ínspite of my trying hard day to day, particularly in speaking and lístening ( i am only good at doing E exam). I dont know how to when I will speak E influenty . And I think speaking 6 language like u is imposible. how can u do it??? what is ur exprience???

  11. This is a response to your twitter question on a title to continue these. I would want to know what your goal is with these shows and who is the audience. Don’t get me wrong, I’m interested regardless, but are you looking to provide business information to those that are already following you both or grow this into a separate business line? If it’s a business line, then I’m sure you’ll use adsense as you stated and just need some keywords to play with. Scanning these postings, you’ll see brainstorming and awesome (like Jason’s suggestion) listed several times. If it stays with the same theme, then I would suggest: business, idea, hour, entrepreneur, etc. All of these words, I’m sure you are already thinking about and won’t waste your time listing them out. If you are wanting to leave the focus open, then you’ll have to give us more information to help suggest ideas. If you just want to give out the information to those that already follow you, then this venture doesn’t have to have the same meme value. I would suggest “Dreamline Chats” and to use Revision 3 production to create and host, so it has value from both of you. Regardless, I love getting to hear ideas from people on these things because doing it on your own is fairly isolating. Just some thoughts.

  12. Been enjoying both of you and your work for months now. BUT this was gold! For some reason you two and this content were really in sync…and look at the volume of comments. Keep it going!

  13. What a great video. I totally want to see more. Discussions like these help turn the wheels in your head and help you think. Engaging in something like this every week or month would be good for the mind and maybe even help you grow your business into a better one, and even life as well. Great Job Guys!


  14. Great session guys – really interesting to hear how you feed off each other and how you invest in your projects.

  15. Tim/Kevin –

    Great video, I had to listen multiple times to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Lots of great information, please do this again. I have to ask though, what the heck does Tim have on his feet?


  16. Tim and kevin the Sofa Chat is a great idea. I really enjoy seeing the slightly different takes that you both have on topics. I hope you guy’s keep it up.

  17. Hey Tim,

    Great video! There is a lot to be learned from putting two great minds in a room and just hearing them go. More videos would be great – any topic at all!

    Thanks for all you do!


  18. I would love to see more of these brainstorming sessions. I’m especially interested in Kevin’s wireframes!

    Anything on how to launch a product would be cool too.



  19. Love the content Tim, in the process of launching my dream business right now and the relaxed entrepreneurial talks are just what I need at this stage of the game!


  20. Make this a series! Maybe bring on some really interesting guests to continue your conversations.

  21. Great intellectual combo video…

    Putting together two of the best things (4HWW + digg) was a great idea (=awesome). I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion on how to promote one’s site by way of Google ads and what not.

    And I need to pick up some of those Vibram Five Fingers.

    Let’s see some more collaborating ASAP.

    Well Wishes


  22. Tim,

    Perfect timing on this content with Kevin. Delegate Source meets your criteria for angel investing. There is overlap. The team is young. We’re already up and running. We’re in the early stages. We’re not capital intensive. And we’re not headquartered in the Valley. Cross marketing is of greater value to us at this time than additional capital with a second round being needed in 2010.

    I think it’s worth a few minutes of your time to have a discussion. I’ve approached Rhonda Britten as well.

    On the Vibram’s, I heard about them last month when I was on a six-hour backcountry ski trip with my SEAL buddy here in Colorado. I wasn’t really interested in hearing about it at the time since I was focused on surviving the trip but seeing you wear them reminded what their value prop is. I’ll probably get a pair next weekend.

  23. I have recently started a new company to train caregivers who provide in-home care for seniors and physically impaired. Myself and my partner have degrees in the Healthcare field but we want to how a company get the rights to “certify” people in an industry? We are in MI, any info would be helpful

    Bobbie Edwards

    Terry Burt

  24. Lot’s of little gems of information that really got to the essence of things for people who are daunted by the prospect of a startup or investing/advising.

    You two have a great rapport – excellent video – please do more.

  25. I would love to see more post like this. This was a great post and it gave me and idea for a new blog! Thanks Tim.

  26. Question for Tim and any other folks with some angel investing experience:

    We’re building a product that takes the automated lifestyle into the trading arena using artificial intelligence and automated trading systems.

    I’d say we’re about 90 percent there creating investment strategies with good returns at low risks, but we’d like to increase the consistency and build this out to other assets, like Forex.

    My question is: Is it time to seek angel investments to pay for outsourced developers? Or do we need to build that remaining 10 percent, even though it will take us a longer time to bring it to market?

    Any thoughts and suggestions would be helpful!

  27. A great post. Lots of valuable information and its good to hear how you dissect the opportunity, positioning etc.


  28. I saw the awesome article about you, Kevin and tea in Wired magazine. I used the 4HWW to plan my dream trip to Taiwan this year to find and make good tea. Ping me and I’ll send you a sample of my finest (no commercial interest, I make tea for fun and sell houses for work) as a thank you; good stuff and they’re old and $$$.

  29. Thanks for the video. Great info. Keep em coming. I am filled with questions though. I have an innovative product (ski-bike conversion kit) that I have sold 1000 of so far and am looking at doing another production run, but need to get more exposure on a shoestring budget. Considering going to an Angel Investor and need some guidance. Took my website down last year when I was out of inventory, but you can see the product on my myspace page listed in the website box. Would love to chat with you about it.


  30. Hey Tim & Kevin,

    Do you have any plans to make this into a video series? I think it’s already time to emerge out of ‘alpha’.

    Please encourage Kevin to share his wisdom on site architecture/creative wire-framing.

    Great job, keep on doing what you’re doing…

  31. Can you guys do more webisodes?! =)

    I’m definitely interested and amused by what you guys do, and hopefully in the near future i’ll be able to dabble in some Angel/Advising work myself!

    Webisode #2: the usual day with Tim Ferris/Kevin Rose

  32. I love this information and I’ve passed the link onto many friends.

    Is there any way to get this video via a podcast so I can take it with me to watch portably? Would you ever consider publishing your “Interviews” archives as a podcast to subscribe to?


  33. Tim,

    Hey man, great stuff here. I’ve been following you for some time and this is exactly what I would love to see more of on your site. I’ve got so many questions regarding Angel Investing and my product – will hopefully get a chance to pick your brain soon. Until then – looking forward to more postings. Keep them coming!


  34. I loved this! I have always been a big fan on Kevin.. and you’ll together work so well.

    Please do these together monthly 🙂

  35. Your first book title was soooo much better. When I was looking at your book at the book store, I was trying to figure out if it was for real or a pyramid scheme or something. I ended up not purchasing it because I saw too much yuppie speak on the page I opened up to. Wound up seeing you on Alex Roy’s blog so I then bought the book, and I’m glad I did.

    WalMart is a very smart company, however their business practices are despicable, miserable company, run by miserable middle management. They really are the exact opposite of your book. I know you where probably obligated by your publisher though.

  36. OK Tim, took your advice. Got the developer to write up a schematic of the process for the tool and create a working demo as a prototype.

    The statistics is that over 95% of the Music, Movies and software downloaded online is illegal. The tool that I intend to develop has a algorithm built to detect and identify these pirated materials.

    The angle is to tackle an area that the industry has let slide right pass and is growing immensely in popularity.

    Where do I take it from here? Essential to be honest it needs an investor and probably more important a Champion in Marketing to take this tool/app to the industry to see its potential.

    Love to show you the demo and get some sound advice.


  37. Tim, like your stuff but don’t be Wal-Mart’s b@tch. Grow a pair like Green Day and refuse to distribute through them if they put the clamp down on you. Lost respect on that one.

    1. Hi Mantis,

      Please, some common courtesy. I’ll keep my response to the point: distribution is 100% the publisher’s decision, not mine. That’s how the business functions. The author has no contractual right to negotiate this — period.

      It’s a good idea to do some homework before using the word “b*tch” with anyone. It’s likely to offend.



  38. Tim, Kevin,

    Excellent video blog – I know it took me 2 months to get to this – but it was 30+ minutes. I would watch additional post blogs. Please continue this series – very valuable. Thanks for taking the time – the extended format/detail is extremely valuable! Thanks, Blair

  39. hey Tim and Kevin!

    Dig the random vids.

    As I know you both travel often, would love to know how you both stay in shape (eating and working out) while on the road. I travel all the time and keeping fit is one of the toughest challenges in traveling. Even when you ‘think’ you’re ordering something healthy, the restaurant doesn’t let you know that they put a pound of butter on your meal.

    What are your secrets?


    chad J.

  40. Great story on how to research for popularity on title or even keywords for natural seo. The main priority is to figure out to get the most relevant information to the right group of people. Thanks

  41. Is angel investing considered a good way to build wealth ?

    The ROI can be high, but I believe the risk is also high if you don’t have experience in a market and can be wrong about their business plan.

    Also I think when there is a good opportunity, savvy angel investors can smell it and will usually invest before you even hear a word about it.

  42. What would Shakespeare say today about naming a company? Would he say a “Rose by any other name would still smell as sweet”?

  43. The naming thing is really interesting. I’m building a service at the moment and since our focus is the web the name and the domain need to say this. The process took months but I really wish I’d thought/known about the Google Adwords idea. Our service has ended up with a name that sounds good, we feel works as a brand and *really* works in conversation. The problem is the spelling. We’ve gone for “Kwwika”. The problem is that even when people know that our service name starts with a “K” they got with a double “K” in the middle too. We do have that domain but every so often we consider a slight rebranding to the double “K”. I personally like the double “W” since it’s webby and a play on “www”.

    I’m interested to see if anybody has any thoughts on this. I guess I’m asking for free consultancy 😉

  44. I am going through watching your older entries. Man they are funny. Keep these up we need them more than once a month lol..

  45. Kompliment! Weiter so, wünschenswert natürlich, demnächst weitere Infos zu diesem Thema von Ihnen zu erhalten.

  46. Thank you for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do some research on this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more from this post. I am very glad to see such fantastic info being shared freely out there.

  47. I just listened to the latest podcast (episode 171) and had to come back and listen to the original! It found it interesting how much the podcast has changed and how much hasn’t

    #timtimtalktalk LOL