Several weeks ago, I found myself in the passenger seat of a car going nowhere fast.
My friend, Peter Sims, who had earlier introduced me to the Stanford D.School, was leading the charge into the unknown, hurtling us (hopefully) towards dinner in exotic Burlingame, where people from SF and Palo Alto compromise to break bread.
The “us” included Alan M. Webber, whom I’d never met. He sat behind me, and — as getting lost tends to promote — we ended up talking about nothing in particular and everything in general: publishing, the game of business, Mr. T, you name it. I didn’t know Alan, but it soon became clear that I should listen as much as possible.
Alan was co-founder of Fast Company magazine and former editorial director of the Harvard Business Review.
More specifically related to this post, Alan developed a very interesting habit more than 20 years ago, when he began to carry a supply of 3 x 5 index cards wherever life took him. He wrote down and collected the lessons and insights he gleaned from his experiences travelling the world and in his interactions with people ranging from CEOs and spiritual leaders to basketball coaches, novelists, and stars from dozens of other worlds…
His new book, Rules of Thumb, is a collection of 52 truths he’s culled from these notes specifically related to winning in business. I asked him if I could have an exclusive excerpt, and he graciously agreed.
Here is Rule #24, one of my favorites.
RULE #24 – If you want to change the game, change the economics of how the game is played.
Say what you will about the Grateful Dead, in my book Jerry Garcia was one smart businessperson. Here’s a guitarist who was missing a piece of a finger, played in several other bands besides his own, found time to sell paintings, had a line of neckties with his name on them, and even got an ice cream flavor named after him. He also articulated a competitive strategy for the Grateful Dead that put him at the top of my list of management gurus: “You do not merely want to be considered just the best of the best. You want to be considered the only ones who do what you do.”
The Grateful Dead principle of “being the only ones who do what you do” is what I decided to borrow when it came to devising Fast Company’s Web strategy. If you’ve ever been to a standard rock concert, you’ve heard the announcement they all make before the show: “No photography, no recording, enjoy the show.”
Except for the Grateful Dead. They had a different theory of the economics, which led to a different business model, which led to a different announcement before the show: “Tape all you want! Make all the bootlegs you want, trade them, swap them, sell them to each other.”
Their fans enthusiastically complied, creating one of the earliest versions of a social network focused on live bootlegs of their favorite band. Did the band object? Not at all. Because they knew the more traffic their fans created—even if they didn’t get a penny from it directly—the more tickets, T-shirts, stickers, CDs, and other Grateful Dead paraphernalia they would eventually sell. Give away the bootlegs, charge for everything else. By the way, it worked: the year Jerry Garcia died, the Grateful Dead was the highest-grossing rock-and-roll band in the United States.
Of course, Jerry Garcia wasn’t the first to change the economics of his industry this way. Cyrus McCormick did it with the reaper business in the 1840s.
McCormick is remembered for patenting a reaper in 1843—but that wasn’t his real innovation. McCormick had quite a few competitors, but at the beginning nobody was selling any reapers, including McCormick. The problem was farmers couldn’t afford the machines. So McCormick changed the economics: he invented an installment plan that let farmers buy his reaper and use the savings the machine produced to pay him back over a three-year period.
Once you start to look you’ll find companies in every industry that have changed the economics to change the game: from razors to cameras, computers to airlines, magazines to nonprofits. Companies that start by redesigning the economics of an industry often finish by redesigning the whole industry—and owning it.
The game today is all about changing the game. Competing head-to-head on products and services is table stakes. Innovators are looking for a new business model that will destabilize their rivals and produce a breakthrough opportunity. In fact, in a recent survey of top-level executives in established companies IBM found that the biggest shared concern is that somewhere in the world—in a garage or a dorm room— someone is coming up with a new business model that will overthrow their established way of doing business.
How do you do it?
Start by analyzing the status quo. What’s the standard economic model the industry uses today? When you pull it apart, how does it work? What are the assumptions that it’s based on? How and why has it become the industry standard? Take a look at it from the point of view of the customer. Exactly what is the customer paying for? And where does the business make its real money? Go back to Business School 101 and ask the fundamental question: what business are you really in?
After you’ve analyzed the standard business model, take a look outside your own industry. You may be able to learn some new tricks—or at least borrow some inspiration. What would Craigslist founder Craig Newmark do to your industry? What would happen if the whole business moved to the Web? If things that customers paid for now became free? Free, as the saying goes, is a pretty good price. What if you did a King Gillette and gave away the razor? What could you charge for? Take it one more step: are you hurting your business by charging for something you should give away free? (As daily newspapers watch their circulation numbers decline, some critics argue it would make more sense to give the papers away for free.)
After you’ve looked at the economics from inside the industry and from other industries, try looking at new platforms. Can you imagine new revenue streams that reflect changes going on in customer habits, customer experiences, or customer loyalty? Is emerging technology opening up new ways of connecting—or making customers pine for the good old days when things weren’t so high-tech? Don’t forget, everyone agreed that retail outlets were dead and all commerce was shifting to the Web. Then Steve Jobs opened up Apple stores with their Genius Bars. Counterintuitive can be a great economic model.
There are a lot of ways to reinvent an economic model. But most established companies are unwilling to do it because it would mean destabilizing their own operation.
Which is exactly what those innovators and entrepreneurs in the garages and dorm rooms are counting on.
From Tim: I’ve included one of my other favorite rules — Rule #38: If you want to think big, start small (an interaction with Muhammad Yunus) — here on the experimental Tim Ferriss site. Rules of Thumb is now available at retail or through Amazon.
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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115 Replies to “Start-up Strategy: To Change the Game, Change the Economics of How It's Played”
Wow! Fascinating read. I finally got around to purchasing the book. I accidentally ordered the audio version, which I like, but I think I’m going to have to get a print copy for my second read so I can do the Questions & Actions sections more effectively.
“You do not merely want to be considered just the best of the best. You want to be considered the only ones who do what you do.”
Wow, I really connected with this quote. For me, this is an ‘ode to finding your own unique voice. Modeling is awesome and effective, but only to a certain point. If we want to achieve high levels of success and fulfillment we need to reach above and beyond where modeling alone can take us.
When I say purchased the book in the previous comment I mean 4 Hour Work Week, I will also probably pick up rules of thumb.
Thinking about this make me wonder if there are any other bands that managed themselves successfully. I know Mick Jagger manages the Rolling Stones (at least financially) because he dropped out of the London School of Economics.
Great post! I’m going to buy the book right now!
How do you meet people like Alan Webber? I am trying to find motivated young people in my city(Birmingham, Alabama) but they are scarce. Should I find try to find them or should I just be the prime example of a motivated young person in my city? Thanks!
Do you consider Twitter a startup that is in the process of changing the current economics of web applications?
I mention this because, like the open attitude of the Grateful Dead, they have a very open application and API that allows traffic to be moved through the site, third party applications, and mobile devices.
They do not seem concerned with keeping users on their website unlike the approach of facebook and other ad-revenue based sites that depend on creating viral loops in their applications in order to boost their revenue streams. Any thoughts?
Thanks Tim for sharing this preview of Alan’s work. To build on this rule #24, It might be interresting to apply the MC Cormick Model to the IT consulting Business.
I love this post, and am heading over to Amazon to get the book. In just those examples from this excerpt I’ve already got a head full of ideas! You totally got my psychic page this morning! I was looking for a way to explain the concept of moving the free line for a speaking gig I have on Friday and here you hand me the Jerry Garcia bootleg concept! As always, exactly what I need when I need it! Thanks again!
Breaking the economic model requires a level of innovation many people have had drummed out of them. By breaking down the dynamic interactions at each stage of the value chain we can often reveal where to unleash value and alter where we harvest it. But, even though we see these things, it is a riskier proposition than the status quo. Innovation then is not enough, it also takes the balls to risk doing what may not succeed, and have fun regardless of the outcome.
Music wise I like where Amazon/MySpace has taken things. Listening to a song before wasn’t enough to prompt me to spend 15$ on a CD, but now listening to multiple songs I find I’m buying more.
Will have to check out this book, especially with trying to get a startup going myself.
As usual, great post Tim. How do you think this stuff up?
I always thought of Gerry Garcia as a great business person. Today, I believe we are looking at an economy revolution more significant than the Industrial Revolution.
As to analyzing business models and looking for the “Craig” way of doing things…. Tim, do you really think most folks (example Michael Dell) saw the future, or were they just in-the-right-place-at-the-right-time?
I can’t even remember who said it to me, but a maxim that I try to live by when setting out on any new venture is, “There is always room for the best.” And the best are always looking for a way to change the game. Now, more than ever, this is especially important. The internet makes commoditization easier than ever – so you have to work to maintain an image of value rather than commodity. Easier said than done…
I love the Grateful Dead example of letting information flow freely. We’re living in a world where pretty much anything can be found for free anyway. I think the leaders right now are those that are figuring out ways to deliver “free,” but are also delivering value on the back end for profit.
Thanks for the post Tim! And thanks for the feedback! The question is, how do you meet people like Tim? My theory is, they’re everywhere! In fact, Rule #52 is: Stay alert! There are teachers everywhere. That first ride with Tim was one hilarious, smart, unstructured learning journey–a lot like life. He’d say something, and I’d want to write it down on a 3 x 5 card, but then he’d say something else and the way Peter Sims was driving, well, forget it! The other thing that’s true is What Adryenn says: you always find what you’re looking for! When I ran Fast Company, people would ask, where do you find all those cool companies and people to write about? The answer was, they’re all out there–you just need to adjust your lenses so you bring them into focus. One last comment: the difference between Twitter and the Dead is that the Dead had a product they were charging for–the bootlegs were great viral marketing, but the rest of the business model was all about real revenue. So far Twitter is the opposite: very viral, no (apparent) business model. Thanks again, Tim and everybody!
Your posts on here always amaze me. I have already read your four-hour workweek book and I’m surely going to pick up this book also. It is always interesting to read the thoughts of different people and what rules work for them and what didn’t.
Simply, love this post. Very nicely illustrate with examples on how to change the economics of the business you are in. I am sure it can be applied on every businesses and would be good to see how various businesses would apply to their stardand practices.
I also liked the post on yr website: “If you want to think big, start small.” It has so inspiring stories from Muhammad Yunus and Jessica and Matt (Kiva.org founders). The message is loud and clear. Sometimes we just wait for everything to be in placed and forget that we can learn while actually doing it. We just have to start and things will be in placed later on. Instead of thinking and planning on how to make a big project and wasting time on it, it’s better to start from small and make it big while actually working on it. There are so many things we would like to do, why not start from one and do second and third later on??
I am sure that I would buy this book before end of the day.
I’m going to order his book, very exciting! By the way Tim, I haven’t taken off the VFF shoes since last Wed. Feels like I’m cheating somehow walking around barefoot. Very curious looks in meetings as well.
Like you have said before- do the opposite of what everyone else is doing. It seems the Mr Garcia was well aware of his crazy like a fox strategy 🙂
This is important to keep in mind as any of us think about the economic games we play and our goals to get ahead, improve our selves (or just our perception of self), and design the perfect life.
P.S. I have no personal connection to the link, just a genuine post.
Howdy Tim & All –
I dig the ‘change the rules’ approach, but I don’t think it’s enough — to really work the system, I reckon we need to look for even more powerful leverage points. Check out this article by Donella Meadows, pioneer systems-thinker —
Great post Tim! That’s been my thinking with my current website…this particular industry has been charging for information already out there for free and mostly because a big name Derek Jeter or Ryan Howard endorses it. And most of the time, it’s basic information, no secrets. And then there are those who claim secrets, but only disappoint the reader because the information is regurgitated over and again.
I love your site and spread the word every chance I get, if you’re ever in Central California email me and we’ll have a beer;-)
It’s funny you talked about Jerry Garcia in today’s post because I just sold 3 Grateful Dead shirts on eBay today, and hadn’t sold one in quite awhile!
I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to change the rules of the game for deal-making. Right now everyone seems to dislike lawyers, and startups find that legal fees are one of their biggest expenses. Regular consumers often can’t even afford legal help. The sad truth, at least when it comes to contracts, is most of the time you’re paying for the lawyer’s word processing and arguments over saying the exact same thing but in different ways. In doing so, they spend a great deal of time reinventing the wheel as they piece together the clauses.
We’re systematically providing the key clauses for deals with automatic drafting software on our site, and trying to change the rules of the game by giving it away for free (we’ll be selling premium services to this audience). But so far we’ve found little interest among lawyers to grow their practice with enhanced productivity for the exact reason you note above: “it would mean destabilizing their own operation.”
So now we are focusing on going straight to businesses and freelancers. Do you think there is a good market for us there?
All of the points here are very true. Changing the game is really the only game. If you don’t change the game, your are just another guy sitting on the bench.
But even if you don’t start out changing the game, the most important thing that you can do is get in there and start playing. Sitting on the sidelines watching the game only helps for a little while. To really learn the existing game, you really have to jump in and get dirty. After you really know how the existing game works you’re going to be ready to move beyond it to the new game, the one that you are bringing.
This is a great rule of thumb, although it brings up a particular frustration for me. A friend and I have figured out a way to vastly improve the economics of a reasonably large industry–at least, the economist who’s done the most and best research on said industry thinks so. But even setting up a mock-up would require a decent amount of (fairly low-level) programming, and getting a working product would require a great deal more (all of it fairly low-level). We’re not programmers and don’t know any (nor could we afford to pay anything but a share of the company), and for some time we’ve felt like we’re at an impasse. Admittedly, we’ve both been very busy pursuing other dreams, but we keep coming back to this venture, which seems to be perpetually a few small steps away from getting off the ground.
What really bugs me about all of this is that it seems like there’s probably an obvious solution that we’re just not seeing, some way to find a programmer who we could cut in and who wouldn’t try to run off with our model. Any ideas/suggestions about what I’m guessing is a major blind spot?
Tim, I checked your “experimental” site. Great insight and inspiration once again (as expected anymore). =)
However, commenting on that site seems broken, it gives the error message, “There was an error submitting your comment. Please try again.”
Thought I’d let ya know.
Thank you for the heads up, Bryce! Will check it out. Hence the term “experimental” 🙂
The most exciting thing to study in business are business models. Innovation on the bus. model from is definitely the most fascinating. The “shiny new toys” of technology only REALLY shine when they support a process innovation or model innovation.
If you focus on tweaking the model like Alan talks about many times the technology or product innovation will follow.
Buyin’ the book now!
Maybe I’m becoming a cynic, but despite the great information here, it seems that all best selling business books say the same thing. Work harder and be smarter than everyone else. Don’t do what everyone does wrong, do what everyone does right, only slightly better.
There’s of course nothing wrong with this. More examples, great stories, etc. all give you the chance for something to spark and off you go to take over the world, however, I think the average great book is bad for you. We all get a spark of motivation from time to time. We see something that usually either makes us angry or makes us excited and this is our chance to do something. If you pick up that best seller, now you’ve made some progress. You’ve learned something new for today. We can taste success. We have some satisfaction. Problem is, that little taste of progress eliminates that anger, the motivation, the dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs. If instead you force yourself to take real action, using those tips, stories, etc. from the last 10 best sellers you read half of, you’d get some real progress.
I think Tim has the right strategy: talk to the people writing best sellers and make things happen, rather than reading about it.
Terrific article! Changing the way that things are done is always effective…I followed the Dead for a bit and the community is always where you found the most relevant information on what was going on. I have been part of one company that changed the game in the wedding industry and looking to change the way people related to vendors around a specific community…breast cancer. The article really spurned me to think more about everything we have started! Thanks!
Great article, I definitely will buy the book. We’re now doing this in the insurance industry and it’s working beautifully. #1 to be exact!
Keep up the great work.
This is why I read this blog. This post was a great encouragement to me. I am working on a small start-up that will change the rules of an industry which has been hardly touched by the internet in my country, forever.
I searched but did not find anything in here about e-lance. I tried to use their service but my provider had a sick mother and all but vanished. E-lance has not responded to my e-mails for about a year now. I know that you recommended them but from the research i have found online many people have been victims of this escrow fraud. Could you recommend a good reliable provider?
I’ll send your comment to the CEO of Elance and see what I can find out.
A great post, Tim, and that ride and “Rules of Thumb” were (and are) both indeed jam-packed with insight. I loved both.
Now, what also brings great laughter to me sitting here now, though, is the fact that there is no mention of who was holding the Google map in the passenger seat and “responsible” (emphasis added – ha!) for navigating said driver to said restaurant. The answer: a navigation device, man! 🙂 Take care until soon.
True, true, kind sir! If I recall, I was 100% responsible for reading the Google Map, which I neglected to do at every turn. Geolexia at its worst!
See you soon,
Tim! Excellent info. Im in my 4rd year of college and ive been developing some web stuff with my more computer literate friends, and the hardest thing is finding a business model that works. Either way, still plugging away!
The site is cool! Only thing is it looks a bit bland, the cold porridge Grey is a bit unappealing. Me thinks the packaging needs to be a bit more lively.
Looking outside your industry is great advice, in fact I’ll go one step further and say that the smartest businesses should be funding internal teams to try to beat themselves. Constantly asking the question, “what would I do if I was a startup”
I like this post. There’s an idea I’ve been bouncing around for almost a year about taking one of my products and making it free in order to draw more into another one that has more value and would remain a paid product. I just have a hard time assessing the risk of the experiment when income from the product in question is part of our dependable cash flow that sustains my company.
Great posts, and terrific questions and comments from all sorts of angles. Just the level of discussion you’ve got going here reminds me of another Rule of Thumb: start-ups need 4 things–change, connections, conversation, and community–the 4 Cs. The idea is that if you’re starting something new, you need to be able to address these 4 Cs: what are you changing and how are you proposing to do it? What are the new connections you’re making–through your product or service or with and among customers? What are the conversations you’re starting? And what community are you forming? Following the Jerry Garcia marketing principle is only one (important) approach for entrepreneurs. Another is, if you want to think big, start small. The VCs have made a habit of saying “get big or get out.” But lots of great ideas have shown patience and resolve by starting very small, staying close to the ground and close to their customers–and then adapting to what their customers tell them and using feedback to grow!
Any way, it’s great for me to be able to read these reactions and responses and I can’t thank Tim enough for posting the excerpt and everybody who’s posting their comments and reactions. Thank you!
Just read Rules of Thumb. Amazing book. Thanks for the post.
Sitting in State Library of New South Wales in Sydney. I am from the States and have only been in Sydney for 3 weeks. Just ran into my first Aussie-4HWW fan….
Guy wouldn’t stop watching Tim’s videos on the computer….Thankfully, I am wireless or I would have been slightly irritated that Tim Ferris has made my life so much more productive…..except when others are on the computer and I can’t get s*&! done…..
Well wishes to all…..even to you Tim, you damn worldwide phenomenon.
Question for all: Are opportunities to “change the game” present equally across time or more likely to be able to be realized during transitional periods (such as industrial revolution, web, etc.)?
If one believes that opportunities exist independent of a particular transition or paradigm change, then what factors are most important in taking action on recognizing a game-changing opportunity?
Thanks in advance for any feedback.
@ Alan Webber:
I look forward to reading your book.
I have a question I hope you can comment on: If an opportunity exists to “change the game” by aggregating a service that is done already by several different intermediaries for several seperate entities who are conducting identical business, which of your four C’s should one focus on both in terms of 1) being the first sequentially to “get right” and 2) the most important overall?
The game changing business idea would be to provide a lower cost per transcation because of economy of scale and better servicing by focusing on the specific needs of this large group of similar but individual actors, whereas the current intermediary provides service to a wide variety of businesses.
Thanks in advance for your comments.
3×5 cards and a big paperclip. I’ve been using these for years as a place to keep ideas, comments, tasks, etc. I’ve only recently found out that so do a load of other people, and it’s even got a name now – the Hipster PDA. I can’t tell you just how productive these are even to a highly tech-savy person like me.
If electronic PDA’s and smartphones don’t cut it for you as productivity tools, try this out and I guarantee that some of you will use them forever.
Once again a great, interesting and informative post that budding entrepreneurs like myself sorely need. Reading blogs across the webiverse I come across a lot of “You can do it!” (motivational) blogs, whereas the posts provided here and a few cherished others are “How to do it” (instructional) in nature. Please keep it up.
P.S. can you please put up a post in determining a muse for this economy that we are in (aka a huge mess but slightly recovering).
Great post – I do something similar but with my smart phone … just send myself an email and file it whenever I hear a note-worthy story or a great quote. Thanks for the book recommendation Tim!
“can you please put up a post in determining a muse for this economy that we are in (aka a huge mess but slightly recovering).”
I second this. Tim, your insights are so valuable because your experience is so vast and yet integrated; you will undoubtedly see connections and opportunities that pass by many of us.
@ Ray Graves, congrats on your engagement! By the way, you make a solid point about business models.
Let me expand on it, “The difference between everyone else and top achievers is that top achievers purposefully choose Big Models in the key areas that matter so they can achieve their highest potential. They must understand that you must be a “20 percenter” and find models that help focus your efforts on the 20 percent of activities that lead to 80 percent of the results…” –G. Keller
You hit two key points; e-commerce business models (new platforms) and correlating data to enhance customer loyalty. That is the essence of e-commerce and information technology. I recommend for anyone to pick up an e-commerce book to glance at several electronic systems and e-business models (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_commerce).
Have a nice day!
You’ve really made me scratch my head in deep thought. I give away my radio show, but still trying to figure out how to make money in it besides web advertising dollars.
If you could do a follow up to this article; that would be outstanding.
The first thing that caught my attention about your post was the reference to “exotic Burlingame”. As a Bay Area native, I’m still giggling over that one!
The giveaway idea is what I perceive as central to attraction marketing. It creates a win-win by simply filtering in those who can probably best benefit from what you have to offer. I currently have established the practice of working with clients that create mutually beneficial relationships, and by doing a lot of give I find that the term “pre-qualify” helps everyone from wasting a lot of time. Old school marketing seemed to want to be everything to everyone. I consider myself fortunate to be in the position of being able to be more discriminatory in client/customer partnership and match.
I’m curious about the filing system with the cards. I seem to have scraps of paper everywhere with ideas, brainstorms, and inspirations and could use some sort of filing system. Even more than that, a retrieval system!
thanks for the thought provoking post and book recommend,
Congrats on getting the cover quote on Gary V’s new book CRUSH IT!
All the best,
Love it! You said it so well, and that is indeed what is happening with many industries. The Internet changes everything, and the new social networking model is creating new consumerism. We can now have what we want, when we want it. Instead of businesses telling us what we want, we tell them what we want and how we want it.
Service businesses especially need to be aware of the new model since people want free samples and proof of value before they buy. The Jerry Garcia story is a perfect example.
We’re daring to do something different in our industry, and it is creating controversy…which is a good thing. It means that we are disturbing traditions.
Thanks for sharing…I’ll definitely read the book.
I know you are a fan of BJJ and MMA. This article about “Changing the game by how it’s played” is now being realized in the UFC.
Machida is fighting for the 205lb title in a couple weeks. He has gotten there by staying undefeated by “changing the fight game.” Normally, every UFC fight is back and forth combat and the fights are fought in an aggressive manner.
Machida fights efficiently and patiently by striking his opponent only when the damage would be greatest and baiting his opponent into following him around the Octagon. Every fighter knows what to expect with him but they still fall into his trap because they are so used to fighting toe-to-toe like everyone else.
Look up any message board on the UFC and you will find the Machida haters all over it. He has changed the rules and now is fighting for the TITLE in two weeks
100% agreed. Machida is a smart fighter. There will be more like him. Anyone who thinks a sport is static will be beaten sooner rather than later.
Great post Tim!
As more and more people get broadband, I think they begin to see the world in a different light. The web based business models will shape even the service business models. As Tom’s Shoes gives away more and more shoes, I can see a business owner that runs an auto repair shop or HVAC company giving away services to people in need. I realize this already happens to a certain extent, but the more prevalent it becomes it will become a standard. Any thoughts?
Very insightful. Thanks for taking the time to put this together. I am glad you bumped into Alan and fate would connect your short interview with my eyes. I look forward to downloading Rules of Thumb. His habit of 3 by 5 card note taking makes me feel better about my obsessive Moleskin compulsion. I have show boxes full of Moleskins with thoughts, ideas, notes, books, drawings…Maybe I am not nuts!
What led you to sell BrainQuicken? Have you discussed the factors of your decision elsewhere?
Rule #24 sounds exactly what we’ve done with 99designs in turning the graphic design model on its head, and its been incredibly successful.
“Paying a designer upfront for potentially crappy work is whack” is how one of our customers put it.
One caveat with disruptive innovation that you failed to mention is that anyone who does so will be subject to criticism and attacks from the “status quo” who attack the newcomer – whether that’s the RIAA going after file sharing services, or the newspapers putting down Craigslist while watching their revenue sink.
Great post, as always Tim!
Does anyone know who Tim recommends for contract manufacturers of nutriceuticals? Or if you read this Tim, would you be willing to share this?
You’re obviously going to finish your experiments, but I would think that it makes sense for you to have your ideas on your name URL (timferriss.com) to build your brand, as opposed to this one.
Hey Tim and Tim’s Community!
I’m sorry to be slow catching up–lots of good posts here, including the tough comments and hard questions about real business model change, the value of business books in general and how to take advice and put it to work.
FIrst I’d say to Moleskine users and 3×5 card (aka paper PDA) users–keep up the good work. I had dinner with a scientist last night who assured me that the key to brain differentiation is practice, practice, practice. Good habits of mind are exactly that!
To the question about which of the 4 C’s to use when aggregating a new service offering, my top of mind is “change” and “connections.” You need to demonstrate the real value of the change(s) you’re creating and you need to capitalize on the new connections you’re making possible. That’s my “first thought/best thought” reaction–make the most of what’s really new that you’re offering.
Dana’s post is right on: the real “product” that is starting to spread is a new way of thinking–what Dan Pink calls “a whole new mind.”
To RBP: how do you productize your service? what can you do to capture the value of what you send out over the airwaves (for free) and turn it into a product/service that you can charge for, beyond the advertising model? Are you the next author for Tim to discover, when you turn your radio program into a fascinating book? Think across platforms and see what you come up with.
Ok, that’s it for now–I’m in a hotel room with jet lag and a head cold–tough combo! But I do appreciate the give and take that Tim makes possible.
All the best,
Thank you Tim- this is great! I especially love how lately you have introduced us to new authors who inspire and question preconceived ideas. It is a testament to your confidence in what you share that you know that exposing us to those who might actually be your “competition” only strengthens all of us in our growth and potential. Wonderful.
I guess another approach (albeit rare) would be to invent a truly innovative product and utility patent it. I think I’ve done that, but am apparently not so good at the business side of things. Any advice you have would be super appreciated. You can see pics and video of the product on my website link attached to this post.
great ideas here, Tim.
Goes right along with another article I just read and would recommend to anyone thinking about challenging the status quo:
Well I totally believe in breaking the rules and it is good to be working for a company which lets me bend the rules and listens to me when I do. I think you need to think outside of the box at times. Sometimes it is easier to do when the company understands this. When that happens you can embrace it.
I am beginning to understand the entrepreneur’s spirit. I might start freelancing and I would never have thought about doing it a long time ago or even as short as a few months ago. When you surround yourself with good people it makes it easier to go and take that leap.
Hey Tim, Loved the book. However, I must confess I feel a little short changed. The reason: while these are wonderful ideas about structuring life after your business has hit it big, you left out most of what I would find interesting, which is how you got your business to hit big in the first place! I would like to read more about the story of getting the BrainQuicken/BodyQuicken brand and product up and running, from first conception of the idea, to prototyping, testing, marketing, finding manufacturer, liability issues (it is an ingestible after all) etc. I’m guessing you just didn’t wake up one day and say to yourself “I think I’ll make performance enhancer out a few things in my kitchen cabinet and make millions on the internet!”
Can we get this story too?
Jamie, I think that is why it is important to have some kind of Mastermind group in place – it keeps you focused on taking action to move forward!
Closely related to this post is Chris Anderson’s ‘The Long Tail’…. I suggest you all look into reading this book and how the web is changing the way suppliers can meet demand with low cost operations
The more I read these posts, the more I become convinced that in this rapidly changing economy, we’re all entrepreneurs–whatever our job happens to be. The things that motivate entrepreneurial thinking and doing have to be the things that make us all excited and motivated to find new ways to create value, to express ourselves, to explore new challenges. There’s another rule in Rules of Thumb: What gets you up in the morning? What keeps you up at night? In other words, think about the challenges that excite you and make you eager to find new solutions, and think about the unmet needs that you’d love to grapple with. Having a job, even in a large and successful company, doesn’t preclude entrepreneurial thinking. In fact, it may make it even more necessary!
Malcolm Gladwell has written a delightful story in the New York regarding precisely how Davids Beat Goliaths…by changing the rules. http://is.gd/wwIp
Great article. I’m currently chipping away at the ultimate free-load: a free education. AcademicEarth and MIT Open Coarse offer entire courses that are entirely within
I like this post. I’m sure TF himself has read this book, but for anyone else interested in the same topic as this post, “Blue Ocean Strategy” is highly recommended.
Plenty of case studies that demonstrate how you can think outside of the box and find blue oceans rather than red oceans.
Finally people who make sense. I want to develop bumper stickers “Crazy is the new sane” because if we don’t start doing things that appear crazy, we won’t be making any changes.
We’ve experienced our economic systems to profit off war, why not profit off peace? Why can’t World Peace be the new economy, is that such a crazy thing to accomplish?
If I had a penny from everyone who thinks World Peace is an impossible task to accomplish before 2012, we’d actually experience World Peace by 2012 – think about it. There is a reason why you experience hardships or problems because it’s your driving force towards your solution. If we all profited by being the solutions to all of our problems, what would that economic system look like? You really have to enter into a different dimension to recognize the picture of possibilities, or we need to hit rock bottom to finally “get it”. One way or another we will recognize what’s right in front of us. It would just be cool if minds were open enough to understand the logic now, it would be fun creating World Peace over the next few years. Much better then living in this Global Fear.
Hey everybody, I’m a first-time poster but a long-time reader. I’ve got an idea concerning nonprofit economics that I’d like to bounce off anyone who’ll listen.
I’ve recently started a nonprofit – Climb for a Cure – the purpose of which is to raise funds for research into pediatric brain cancer (I have a personal connection with the disease). The way we fundraise is, as the name implies, by climbing mountains – with our first fundraiser set for Mt. Kilimanjaro in Jan. 2010. Since I have a deep personal connection to the disease, my intent has always been to offer a “100% donation to grant guarantee” i.e. every dollar raised is given directly to a research grant without skimming any off the top for operational costs. This seems a little far-fetched I know (the best charities operate at around 98% efficiency from what I’ve read), but let me lay out our business model for you all to examine.
We have no salary expenses: we are entirely student-run, and none of us receives any $compensation (though I assume it does look good on a resume – which I assume is a legitimate substitute for the motivation a salary brings).
We have no travel/trip expenses: All of our climbers pay their own way.
Advertising costs/gov’t filing fees/web hosting costs etc. : this is where I’ve run into trouble. At present we have no advertising costs, mainly because all the advertising we’ve gotten has either been free (school newspaper, word of mouth, facebook etc.), or has been pro bono (like our website, which was set up by a volunteer). However, it seems like the only way we’ll be able to grow our operation for the future (i.e. attract more donors) is to invest in some advertisement (ads in climbing magazines etc.). As for the other costs, they are being covered by individuals closely connected to the effort.
It’s a pretty odd problem, so I got to thinking what I could do to provide our guarantee while somehow legitimately erasing our expenses. What I came up with is an idea I call “profit-linking”. Essentially, if your goal is to run a nonprofit at 100% efficiency, you need to either simultaneously run a for-profit that pays for the nonprofit’s operational costs (not donates money for, but pays for), or recruit a for-profit that is willing to do the same. As an aside, the latter is in my opinion pretty unlikely, since the fact that the for-profit will be “paying” instead of “donating” precludes the possibility of a tax receipt.
I haven’t yet investigated the legal issues surrounding this yet, but I was someone could point me in the right direction. I’d also like some feedback on the “profit-linking” idea, to see if its a viable solution to my dilemma; if you’ve got a better idea, that’d be pretty sweet too.
Great idea for the non-profit. I encourage you to look at http://www.charitywater.org, as they donate 100% to projects. How? They have a separate “administrative fund” that they raise money and donations for separately. One project fund, one admin fund.
Best of luck!
This post is excellent! It got me thinking of several things, including the game of life and its economics. It also got me thinking on how to apply this in my everyday life in order to increase my productivity and satisfaction (which should both go hand in hand, actually). As a result of these thoughts, I was able to come across some new ideas, which I will put into practice and see where it takes me. More importantly, it gave me inspiration to keep my own notepad of things I learn from great minds… This being the first entry.
Hi Tim, good post.
Thought you might like to know that the colors are pretty messed up when viewing your blog in the Google Chrome browser. It comes out black background with barely visible grey text, except for the callouts, which are black text on bright white background.
It’s funny you mentioned King Gillette. I had heard the story before and I had never realized that, in some way, I’m currently doing something similar (although I’m not creating a need).
I sell custom made high end dress shirts. There’s an event coming up in three weeks, so my partner and I had to think quickly about a promotion for the 400 some VIPs who will be attending. We decided that we’ll give away a free pair of cufflinks to every VIP with a note that says something along the lines of “Now that you’ve got the cuff links, get your shirt.” Certainly, we’re not creating a need like Gillette, but I think we’ll get their attention.
I love the idea of “give away the cuff-links–sell the shirt.” It’s a very clever way to create interest, curiosity, and a willingness to try something new. So often, it seems, people don’t really know what they’re selling. They think they’re selling an object or a device, when they’re really selling an emotion–in this case, the emotion is something to do with trying something new, doing something a little different, having an opportunity to experiment with a new kind of style! I think that’s great, and very creative.
I’m also impressed by the post about a new non-profit/social business venture. Everywhere I travel I find people who want to make a difference in the world, and at the same time run a smart, financially sustainable project or business. This is more evidence of a new sensibility that’s going to make change happen from the grass-roots level on up! So keep it up (I have a rule about this actually: If you want to think big, start small! Iearned it from Muhammad Yunus of Grameen Bank.)
Great post Tim. I love the idea of carrying around the 3×5 cards to record these ideas. Although with modern mobile devices it might be easier to email the idea to yourself for filing. I agree with some of the earlier comments regarding the rapidly changing economy. You mentioned speaking with Alan Webber about publishing. Were you able to speak with him directly on the impacts to the publishing (magazine) world in this changing economy. Bob Sacks recently reported that over 150 magazine titles have closed since the begining of the yea. I’d be curious to know what impact Fast Company is seeing in this economy and where they see the future of publising.
A quick response to the question Andrew just raised: I think we all are seeing the way magazines and newspapers are getting killed by the shift in advertising to the web, the shift in reading habits among younger readers, and the economic collapse that is killing more than publishing. I’m not surprised at the figure of 150 magazines going out of business; I’d even expect it to be higher. When Bill Taylor and I started Fast Company, we were told that 99% of all magazine startups fail in their first year (and this is before all the stuff that’s happening now). But here’s what I think is going to happen: first, we don’t know. Nobody knows. Anyone who says they know is lying. We’re at the beginning of a shift to a new form of publishing/journalism, and while we’ll lose a lot of what has been the model from the past, we can’t yet say we know what the new emerging model will look like. That said, I don’t think we’ll lose the instincts, desires, or needs that lie behind magazines and newspapers: people still want to know what’s going on in the world, want to read stories about other people doing interesting, important, dumb, illegal, or other kinds of things. We want story-tellers to make sense for us out of all the data in the world; we want people to uncover things that are hidden from view. So while “magazines” may not survive as they’ve been, “magazining” will survive–and flourish–as we discover new ways to tell stories and share what we know.
Thanks for the comment–hope this answer helps.
(Oh, as for Fast Company, I’m not there any more so I can’t really answer about how it’s doing or what the folks there are doing to adapt.)
Game changer. It gets thrown around a lot and I agree if what your doing isn’t working change it….
So don’t be the guy who expects different results with the same plan, too much positive thinking and meditation results in the need for more positive thinking and meditation (its sort of becomes a lifestyle).
But what if your not creative. Not the right brainer. You don’t randomly connect ideas because your analytical and don’t like randomness and uncertainty and disorganization. How do you become game changer?
My idea. Emulate. There are tons of game changing ideas most aren’t being utilized and almost certainly not in your field. Look for ideas that changed another firm or company in a different line of business and see if you can rework it to your company. Don’t start from scratch. Get inspiration.
Designers do this all the time. You see a unique jacket design… the designer originally saw the lines in a skyscraper in Dubai.
Anybody got other ideas for the right brainer? How much can creativity be developed… worth trying? (you always hear work on your strengths)
Alan’s book looks great. Picked it up yesterday.
Love the comments and reactions that Tim’s post has made possible–thanks to all!
William raises some good questions in his: what if you just aren’t one of those people who naturally sees the world in an intuitively creative fashion? How can you learn to connect the dots?
I think there are ways for all of us to get better at this–even if it’s our natural strength to begin with. And he’s got one of the best ideas in his post: learn by emulation. You may not know how to be a designer yourself, but you probably know good design when you see it–or what’s good design to you. Start by collecting things that represent good design to you. You don’t have to go on a shopping spree–but go out and look! Go to kitchen stores and see what’s new and sleek for the kitchen; check out furniture stores, antique stores, electronic stores–design is everywhere! Clip ads out of magazines that show you design that you think looks great. When I was starting Fast Company magazine, I clipped out the best designs from magazines I admired the most: Rolling Stone had the best-designed Table of Contents; Esquire had the best Front of the Book section. Clip, copy, observe, and practice. You may never become a great designer–but you’ll develop your ability to recognize great design and also to talk about it–to describe and explain what works for you. That will at least get you into the game!
Hey all! I am looking for some suggestions/feedback/comments/insults…whatever you have for me.
I started my own dietary supplement company a couple years ago. I still work full-time in corporate hell and have been funding it out-of-pocket. I have dabbled with several products, but my primary focus is a supplement I developed for hangovers called “Revive”. Revive is targeted to college students (of age) as well as young professionals…your typical hardcore drinking crowd. I have tried marketing in magazines, on Facebook and Myspace (which I got traffic just a low conversion rate), have contacted wholesalers, chains and have hit the pavement hard going door to door to liquor stores and bars with the single-serving blister packs.
After thousands of hours invested as well as a chunk of change I am on the verge of bankruptcy- a master’s degree in entrepreneurship is how I look at it from all I’ve learned. I feel like I’m right there. I’ve got all of the means to get it out there…website, inventory, etc….but I’m lost as to how. I believe in what I am doing and the motivation and desire is still 100% but the “know how” is lacking. I am obviously on a limited marketing budget now. Yes, I know I didn’t do things the right way from the start but this was before I read Tim’s book and besides I always learn the hard way…I was that kid who touched the burner to find out for myself despite what Mom told me! I have been exploring some of Tim’s ideas but I’m not sure how I can make them work for me.
Any advice, whether it be streaking a Cubs game with my website painted on my back or telling me to close shop and go pound sand, would be greatly appreciated!
Take care all!
Great post with lots of interesting elements. Here’s a few things that occur to me.
1. Does your remedy really work? I mean, for real! How do you know? What legitimate claims can you make for it? How is it different, better, cheaper, more fun, less unpleasant, cooler, hipper, or healthier than other remedies–or just doing nothing? What’s it taste like?
2. Why did you call it Revive? Did you test the name? What were the other options? What feedback have you gotten about the name?
3. What’s the package look like? Cool graphics? What does the design say about the product?
4. How do you take it? Does it go plop, plop, fizz, fizz? Snap, crackle, pop? Anything?
5. Who have you gotten to endorse it? Do testimonials for it? Act as a spokesperson? If you could get others to endorse it, who’d be the perfect person to start with? Should it be a star? Or just an average, credible college student? What would you want them to say?
6. Have you tried giving away samples to the perfect “beta” group of users and then collecting their feedback? Or even better, have them do videos of their “morning after” experiences?
7. How is Revive like Red Bull–only the opposite? Could you do what Red Bull did–find attractive women to go into bars and promote your product?
I think you get what I’m driving at: you probably won’t be able to do this by yourself! My experience at Fast Company was, I needed a partner. In Bill Taylor I had the perfect partner–we compensated for each others’ weaknesses and reinforced each others’ strengths. Time for you to find someone who can do the things you can’t do. Good luck!
First and foremost I want to thank you for taking the time to help. I greatly appreciate it.
1. It really works, the active ingredient has been clinically proven to work. This is what makes it different than any other product out there. It comes in a pill form right now. Only, about 1 in 10 people will have negative feedback, a few moderate and the rest are shocked.
2. I called it “Revive” because it does exactly that…Revives you from your night of drinking. I did not test the name. Didn’t even cross my mind when I started this thing. People seem to love the name though.
3. The design I feel is sufficient but could be improved. It’s something I plan to change down the road but unfortunately I’m sitting on quite a bit of inventory with the current design.
4. It is pill form. Now there is one catch here…there are 8 pills. Yes I know. You have to take 4 before you start drinking and 4 during or after drinking. This was the only way I could the necessary ingredients in to keep it effective.
5. I do have testomonials. I haven’t tried having a star endorse it as I am on a limited budget. I am, however, working on getting it to some fraternity presidents to distribute in the frat house. I’ll get to work on that.
6. I have given a lot of product away to friends, friends of friends, relatives, to try or hand out. I have gotten a lot of positive feedback. Never tried videos. Not sure how I could make that work for me.
7. The attractive women idea has definitely been an idea I haven’t put in to action.
I 100% agree I need a partner or help with this thing. I have actually had a couple, no strings attached/investment required, whose enthusiasm and drive tanked pretty quickly.
Okay, this has helped me simplify my problem. I guess my question is where do I start? Do I put all of my eggs in one basket or a few in many baskets? Right now I’m trying the pay-per-click ads, ebay and other online advertising with little success. Would I be better off getting good looking gals to hand out free stuff at bars and clubs downtown? Do I start grassroots or go big? Do I just try anything and everything? Do you see what I’m getting at? I think once I get the ball rolling this will take off and just can’t seem to figure out how to get the ball rolling! I feel like there is a million different directions to go and I have no clue which one to pick. Or maybe I’m overlooking some big flaw in my product? I am a firm believer in everything about it so maybe I’m being biased?
Well I definitely have a few new ideas to run with. Any other suggestions would be great!
Thanks again Alan!
Hmmm. Well, you’ve obviously given a lot of thought to this–to your credit. As always, the best exercise to go through is to try to discover what you haven’t thought of, what you haven’t even thought to think of! That’s what a partner can help with. And if you can’t find 1 perfect partner, then draft a few people you know and trust into a small council of advisers. Pick them carefully: think about what you lack, where your own weaknesses are, where you need to supplement your own perspective. Do you know any one who’s successfully brought something even vaguely similar to market? Do you know anyone with access to a case study library at one of the country’s many business schools? Maybe reading a case study of someone else’s experience will jog your thinking. Do you know anyone in the vitamin/heath food/pharma world? Or anyone in the world of bars, liquor stores? What’s the closest competitor to your product and how do they market their product? Who can you go to school on? I don’t know the answers to any of these questions, but one of my Rules of Thumb is: A good question beats a good answer!
Hey Jake, maybe I can help here.
I go to DePauw University in Indiana, which has been rated by Forbes as the “best Greek campus” in the country (around 70% of the campus is in either a fraternity or a sorority). I’m also the President of one of the fraternity’s there.
If you’d like some help getting street cred for your product, I’d be glad to give you a hand.
Shoot me an email.
I used to be in charge of a fraternity, Delta Sigma Phi, at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. We have the largest greek system in the country (53 fraternities, ~40 sororities). The average fraternity house has around 65 people while the average sorority is at 150. I just recently graduated so I’m not around there anymore but I can forward your info to some people that might be able to help you out. Also with a single college campus you can concentrate on the bar scene as well and only use your attractive women or other resources on the nights and locations it really matters.
I think going local and concentrating on making it a craze at one or two college campuses might be the way to go. With Facebook, Twitter and all the other ways people are expressing their opinions these days ‘Revive’ would be spread huge through word of mouth if it was popular with a single large university.
Let me know if you need any more advice.
I appreciate all of the feedback Alan, Kevin and Rahul. I think it always helps having some input from those looking from the outside in and it definitely gives me some things to brainstorm.
Rahul, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Any contacts you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks again all!
Very good post….thanks.
I’ve found that a lot of my best inspirational thoughts/ideas come to me in bed! Keep some 3X5 cards there too…
According to a recent commencement address by Larry Page, the idea for Google came to him in a dream when he was 23 years old. He work up, grabbed a pen and started writing down what he had dreamed. Another reason to keep 3×5 cards next to the bed! Who knows what will come to you in your dreams?
I have never been to business school. To what extent are the case studies examples of changing the economics? Could we take the same case studies and break them into categories of different ways to change the economics, and create a catalogue of tactics for folks trying to change the game in an industry? -Roger Ost
Thanks for the post. It’s a good question: Can we somehow retrofit business school cases to teach new economic practices and new ways of thinking. I’d have to say, that my reaction is, no, that’s not going to work. Most cases that I’ve read are written with a teaching lesson in mind. That is to say, they’re not neutral stories, but rather are carefully constructed sets of facts and situations designed to give the professor a setting on which to play out or enact a series of lessons that he or she wants the class to discover as they “unpack” the case.
It would take an enormous amount of intellectual gymnastics to take a case written with a set of working ideas embedded in it, and re-wire it to make a set of very different points. Not impossible, certainly interesting, but very difficult, I think.
Thanks for raising an intriguing and useful question!
My background is in education, and that pushing on thirty years ago now…
How on earth do I get enough base knowledge when I’m not even sure what I don’t know? I’ve my own Internet business, but I’m struggling to get it to a higher level. I just keep thinking I’m missing something and that the something is very basic.
I know what you mean! When I was trying to start Fast Company magazine, I woke up every day thinking I must be missing something–and not knowing what it was! So don’t feel like you’re the first entrepreneur to have this weird feeling!
I started my book, Rules of Thumb with Rule #1: When the going gets tough, the tough relax! Deming’s principles for quality have a similar notion: you have to drive fear out of the organization. Fear is your enemy; curiosity is your friend. I assume that as someone who spent 30 years in education, you are all about learning–so treat this as a learning opportunity. What are all the ways you can learn about your business, its category or industry, and even the basics of business? What magazines do you read? What books do you have stacked up on your bedside table? Go to any industry-related conferences lately? Attend talks or lectures that might shed light on your new field? How about joining groups–is there a group in your area that you could become a member of, just to hear what other people are talking about? Would something like SCORE be useful? How about finding a mentor–someone you can glue yourself to at the hip so you can fire questions as they occur to you! You need to get rid of the fear and embrace the huge opportunity that you’ve made for yourself!
When I learned Rule #1, I wrote at the top of an old-fashioned yellow tablet: “Relax! Smile! this is a blessing, a treat, and an honor. It’s not a punishment to be endured.”
Try writing that down and putting it up next to your computer or on your work space. It’s supposed to be exciting! So go get excited!
The Grateful Dead didn’t get rich from bumper stickers, they were a traveling road show for the biggest LSD distribution network in the country. They didn’t publicize how they made money (for obvious reasons), so nobody figured it out and nobody copied them.
Very nice. I came to your blog via the video of the Wordcamp. And I am mighty impressed with your passion for doing things. Including writing, that is.
The idea of changing the rules of the game also needs one more thing: Understanding the rules of the game!
Thanks for the post. I came to your site through problogger who had your video on how blogging without killing yourself. Got great notes from that and have implemented some things already. This is a very informative piece. I am a fan of your thought process. My partner in business and I have been thinking about this subject and I am going to send this to him. We are looking at the different ways companies create revenue streams and wonder if there is something game changing that hasnt been done yet. Facebook is pretty innovative, but we feel there is still something that hasnt been tapped into yet. Have you written anything specifically on how different online companies generate revenue?
Well this is a long shot but I saw that your going to china and a big fan of yours will be there as well next month. Is there any chance you will still be there after August 20th? Well if so if you could find time to meet my friend Nick who has been so inspired by your book the 4 hour work week. He’s going to china to practice up on his Mandarin that he has been studying for the past two years at UCSD. It would be a great honor for him to meet you. Thanks for your time..
Tim and Friends:
I need your advice and direction. I am a former US Olympic Coach and I have written three books on:
1) How to Successfully Transition from Athletics to Life After Sports
2) How To Create Your Dream Life: Six Ultimate Steps To Achievement
3) How to Get Recruited: A Guide For High School Athletes
Question: Does an ebook, designed to meet the demands of a specific group in the athletic community such as the ones above and automated based on details in the book, qualify as a “muse”? If so, do they have tio be priced above $50.00?
I need the help of those who have done this and who can provide me help in developing my first “muse” and revenue stream. I am new to Tim’s book and to the site so please forgive my elementary question.
All the best.
I cannot find this book anywhere in Canada…
Sorry you can’t find the book! There must be a way to order it or get it through the mail, if your stores aren’t stocking it. The web site for the book is http://www.rulesofthumbbook.com and it may give you a way to order it; the publisher is HarperCollins, and they’re usually pretty good about distribution, so I’m sorry you can’t find it!