How to Create a Global Phenomenon for Less Than $10,000

Here is my most recent keynote from the 2,000-person+ Le Web in Paris, which focused on how to catalyze a global phenomenon on a very limited budget. Topics include:

  • How to sell “around the product” for more coverage.
  • The three necessary types of media exposure.
  • Real-world tipping points from the launch of The 4-Hour Workweek
  • How to increase website conversion 80%.

It pulls from real case studies, including my own experience and tech start-ups I advise…

To advance slides on the presentation, just hover the mouse over the right-hand side of the displayed slide and click when a hand appears.

To embed the presentation in your own blog, find the embed code here.

Ferriss – Le Web 2

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122 Replies to “How to Create a Global Phenomenon for Less Than $10,000”

  1. Already watched this when you put it on Posterous and it was definitely a great watch and overlapped nicely with your past talk about building a high traffic blog.

    And although I was a fan of the green in the blog design it’s a neat change to match the color scheme of the new book (still hoping I can get an ebook version down in Australia some how though).

  2. Tim,

    I’m curious if you ever read Unleashing The Ideavirus by Seth Godin and if it had any impact on your marketing plan and/or your strategy. The book had tremendous impact on the designing of my plan.

    This post comes with great timing to my own launch in January.

  3. Thanks for sharing Tim, it’s great to see the testing and data analysis behind your decision making with the 4HWW as well as some of your angel investing ventures.

    It’s amazing to see how being selective and being smart with the small things can lead to so much. Thanks again for taking the time to share the video!

  4. Outstanding. Shows that it’s now about how much money you have, but how good your strategies are.

    It makes me think about all the awesome things we can create with a small budget.

  5. Nice video Tim.

    Do you think the 4hrww could have worked as a digital ebook? I wonder if it would have been harder to build your fan base because of the negative perception the title has. A physical book makes it seem less ‘shady’.

    Good stuff, the Tucker Max anecdote at the end is right on.

  6. Tim,

    The presentation provides great insight into published content. Some aspects can be transfered into creating buzz around a product that is sold through a ‘muse’.

    The muse I operate has followed tips you gave suggested the past. After listening to your presentation I plan on using tools such as Crazy Egg, and tactics such as selectively limiting links.

    However, I have noticed from my Google analytics data, the sales conversions from Google PPC are a tiny fraction to those of when my product is mentioned in a blog.

    Given that my product is a “life-style design” product for iPhone users:

    -What is the equivalent for a “thought leader” if you are selling a niche product like mine?

    -What are some strategies to get blog writers to write about your product, muse, book, etc?



  7. Tim,

    I am a huge fan, but I got to ask you – is the average guy or gal without an MBA from an ivy league school really able to duplicate your business model?


    Pam Mark Hall

    1. Hi Pam,

      I think so. The principles depend more on precision and persistence than education. Good question.



  8. Thanks for the tips on little modifications that make a big difference. The psychology of web users is a very interesting topic.

  9. Pardon my lack of imagination, but how did you use the revelation that Germans like “Tim’s Favorites” and American’s don’t to help you market your book in Germany? I mean, did you put a big sticker proclaiming “Tim’s Favorite Book!!!” on the cover?

  10. Very interesting presentation. The concept of ‘choosing’ your thousand true fans is a really concept and after you said it I realized I was breaking on of the biggest fourhourworkweek commandments. I’ve just been working getting anyone and everyone to do podcasts with joint ventures etc when in reality I should take that time and invest it in a few select people that I really want to create relationships with.

    Creating one great connector is much more productive than doing 10 interviews with relative nobodies.

  11. @Pam I’m sure Tim didn’t hide his education it is a signifier of authority. But I think we can all becomse authorities in our own way.

    I wonder if there is anything we can do to encourage people to become True Fans. For example, think of collectors of card games like Pokemon, stamps, cars etc.

    A lot of people have a drive (it must tap into some innate human need for completion and resolution) to buy to finish a set. After a while to commitment and consistency principle kicks in; ‘I’ve been spending all this money collecting these XYZs, I must be a really like XYZ’.

    A little bit devious. I wonder in what other ways True Fans can be created?

  12. Euuh must stop sniffing glue while posting. Here it is again:

    @Pam I’m sure Tim didn’t hide his education. It is a signifier of authority. But I think we can all become authorities in our own way.

    I wonder if there is anything we can do to encourage people to become True Fans? For example, think of collectors of card games like Pokemon, stamps and cars etc.

    A lot of people have the drive (it must tap into some innate human need for completion and resolution) to to collect the set. After a while the commitment and consistency principle kicks in; ‘I’ve been spending all this money collecting these XYZs, I must really like XYZ’.

    A little bit devious. I wonder, in what other ways can True Fans can be created?

  13. Just summarizing PPC

    Phenominize – a noteble movement people can get behind.

    Polarize – clearly controversial and immediate comprehendable. notoriety, novelty,

    Communitize – retainment strategy to keep the ideas alive via forum, encourage niche forums (on ning), seed with media, articles that they will like.

  14. Hi All!

    Thanks so much for the great comments and discussion. Just an important FYI:

    The live QA for y’all who get the new edition will not be on the 17th — it will be on the 12/22, as I’ve realized some people won’t receive books by 12/17.

    Here is the new and expanded edition — much, much improved with more than 50 tips and case studies from readers:

    More call details to come soon.

    If you want to join the call with the older edition, that’s also totally cool, but we’ll be focusing on content in the new book and things that have happened since 2007.

    Looking forward to it!

    Thanks so much and all the best,


  15. Will there be an audio or ebook version of the updated book? I think it would make for a great source of listening input for English learners…

  16. Great presentation Tim. There are some great tips I could use in the launch of my next project.

    Thank you for this, and everything you’ve been sharing over the years.

  17. Hey Tim,

    Your experience and results shows, loud and clear, that it’s about being effective.

    Not just productive. Not simply armed with resources. But being effective.

    Like you stated, you can achieve the unthinkable, but you have to be able to test, to apply 80-20-style working towards the goal, tweak and retweak the approach, etc.

    In other words, to be effective with whatever you achieve.

    If you’re just productive, then you can get a lot done… but does it give you the desired results? Or just a bunch of completed tasks?

    Be effective, not just productive.

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience, your results, and offering tips and resources.

    All the best with the book launch, Tim. I’m sure the expanded 4HWW is going to rock just as hard, if not more so, than the original.



  18. Hi Tim. I’ve just read of a great new report about the true value of types of workers. Love to know what you think of it. I bet 4hww would score highly – encouraging efficiency and donating to charities / enjoying life. Advertising execs score lowly on average (although it will depend who they choose to work for).

    It’s a kind of radical / re-questioning society report – I think you will like it. Like the way you question cash vs. time to make it. About time too it came out. Maybe some kind of social impact tax is now called for? I think this report should be seriously digged / bloged.

  19. Thanks for that great input. Next time you come to Berlin we would be happy to have you in our “Labor für Entrepreneurship”.

  20. Tim,

    Great content in this speech! Looking forward to the next book and seeing your marketing plan unfold with that one as well.

  21. Thanks Tim…. Great stuff….

    What do you believe is your biggest differentiator? (or gift)

    Until you respond, thanks in advance, Brian

  22. It is clear that Tim is a master of self-promotion and analytics, I wonder how much the quality of content plays a role?

    Is it possible to find what people are interested in now, give it to them, and market the hell out of it and be a huge success? Does marketing matter more than content?

    The second question would be, if you can do it once with the 4HWW, do you think you can do it repeatedly?

    1. Hi John,

      I have about 80% content focus and 20% marketing focus. We’ll find out in Sept 2010 if I can make lightning strike twice. It will depend more on the content than the PR. PR can get you a first round of customers, but substance is what determines word-of-mouth.


  23. I just keep thinking… what can I sell, how long would it take me to write that book or ebook, what resources do I have?… still waiting for the answers, but I will keep asking them of myself for a while…


  24. Phenomenal presentation, Tim. Really drives home a lot of the points from the 4HWW and how to actually start thinking about implementing them.

    It’s easy to get lost in all of this, and the supplemental materials are an enormous help (checkmark in notes next to “continuous promotion gives ‘real estate’ value” 🙂 ), and is one of the reasons I will continue to recommend your book and blog to pretty much everyone I know.



    – Aaron

  25. After watching the presentation, I thought it was great. After reading a lot of the coverage around Le Web, many people thought you did an awesome job and that you brought something new to the table whereas some people just reaffirmed the current situation.

    I also watched Gary V’s entertaining keynote (seems to LOVE Q@A). Was IYAZ – Replay played when each speaker came to the stage?

  26. Hey Tim,

    Are you updating the website while it is live? I’m seeing the colors changing every refresh or page transition. Slick.

    Thanks for all the amazing posts. I’ll be buying your book again.

    Loyal Evangelist,


  27. Awesome presentation Tim, straight to the point and content rich.

    Appreciate the good content as always.

    Have an awesome day,


  28. Hey Tim,

    I just noticed you updated the blog with a new orange template. I wanted to let you know that on my Mac running Chrome the site looks great!


  29. Good luck with the re-launch/extension strategy Tim. Coincidently my muse (after many hurdles) will go live tomorrow.

  30. Tim,

    This isn’t the right context but I’ve heard you talk about a small addiction to Motorcycles in the book, and the Alex Roy interview. I’m a motorcycle enthusiast myself and have always wondered, what kind of bikes have you owned?

  31. Great conference call tonight with Joe Polish, looking forward to the new revised edition. My ‘Bible’ has gotten me from my first failed business, out of a bad management position at 70 hours a week and into a 35 hour a week position with no pay cut in a city that’s 10x more accessible to all that life offers — and paid relocation to boot. Next stop, untethering another ten hours or so via tonight’s tips. I’ve already made my list of unimportant tasks that can be done for $200 or less every month and net me those ten hours a week. Well, at least five 🙂

    Thank you for the continued inspiration. Loved your Kevin Rose collaborative vids as well, keep the randoms comin’!

  32. Very useful stuff! Lot’s of content I hadn’t seen/heard covered before.

    Scott Duncan… Hang in there. I think I finally had a legitimate muse idea for the first time last week. So far, it has passed the sanity checks of people I respect. There’s an Ida Rolf quote that likely applies to what you’re going through… “The work doesn’t come from inspiration. Inspiration comes from doing the work.”

  33. Happy first introduction accident… I may have just read the only article on Tucker Max’s site that could endear me to him or encourage me to read more. “Tucker has moment of reflection, ends poorly.” Funny stuff.

  34. Great presentation Tim, hopefully my blog/movement can bathe on some of this info’s pixie dust. All the best my man.

  35. Great keynote! Wish you a lot of success with the updated “4HWW”. I’m dying for the French edition (I already got the 1st edition), do you know when it’s out?

    Have a nice day,


  36. My favorite comment from this video by Tim in reference to indirect exposure is to “…target the Thought Leaders that are read by the Traffic Leaders.”

    Indeed, leverage is vital.

    In the financing world- OPM (Other People’s Money) is a common term to say that if you have little of your own, you can use other people’s money to leverage an investment.

    The same can be applied to indirect exposure; instead of using other people’s money, test your assumptions through OPSM (Other People’s Social Media) and have fun.

  37. Very cool Tim… that closing comment about 1,000 fans for the domino effect really hit home too.

    Not so sure about the orange btw, but hey whatever floats your boat! =)


  38. Tim, this is my first exposure to you (I must have been living in a cave eh’) but that was a great presentation, so thanks for taking the time to toss that up here for all.

    In your opinion are there ever advantages to tackling niche audiences yourself instead of going big and hoping the crowd will take the message to the niche themselves, and when would you see that as your main focus?

  39. Hands down the best compact/20 min on inexpensive, state-of-the-art web promotion I’ve ever encountered. I plan to link/share this. Brilliant.

  40. Very similar to your wordpress video post. Still applicable but I wonder if your egg youtube video just keeps growing because you mention it in all your presentations haha…hey…hits are hits…links back to your site. You’re a wonder child, keep hustling.

  41. Dear Admin,

    Could you please remove my post from

    December 13th, 2009

    9:11 pm

    I have gotten 50+ emails about updated comments from other users. Thank you.

    (Do not post this message)

  42. Create a “Global Phenomenon for Less Than $10,000.”

    Define your terms sir.

    I haven’t listened to the speech yet, but I will.

    Doesn’t sound too difficult in the general sense.

  43. There is no one like you Tim!

    Was wonderful to close out my work week with this new book..the first was a huge new beginning …wondering do some of the India Assistants do work with genetic SEO-Keywords/Backlinks/Submission of Articles/Social Networks. I have them all but really want to outsource all this. Can you ask someone to send forth your connection with India-or someone that does this best at a good price(I have a webmaster…(or is that just too much to ask-:) Loved the first book and see I am going to love this one as well…already sold 10 books for you-:) B/N sold out in West Los Angeles.

    Wishing you a most wonderful 2010…travel safe.

    Thanks so much,


  44. Hello Citizens

    I am Captain Australia, a masked crime fighter operating out of Brisbane, Australia. I am on a Mission to make the world a better place, and I need help. (And no, I’m not crazy .. I think).

    You see, I contend that society is slowly eating itself, but that the cannibalism is reversible. We have somehow become (generally) a society of selish, deceitful, consumer obsessed hedonists who no longer pursue moral excellence. People are cynical and wary, and think carefully before helping others. If Jesus were born into this day and age, he’d probably be on an info-mercial selling diet pills (or in a mental institution).

    I’m putting the welfare of society ahead of my own personal safety, basically my mission covers four key areas:

    1) patrol my city to intimidate the criminal element and thus prevent crime

    2) intervene directly if I see crime or solve crimes I become aware of

    3) help people (that simple – if you need help, contact me)

    4) inspire people to be better

    Its that last one that I need help with, and I’ve been learning a lot about the internet and ways that I can reach out to a wider audience. I can only fight crime in a local sense, but I can inspire people globally. (The @ symbol on my costume is to articulate that I am a citizen of the global village (plus it kinda looks like a C for Captain wrapped around an A for Australia … terribly frustrating that citizens keep calling me “At-Man!”

    I know most of the marketing techniques and strategies I’ve read about are specifically focussed toward making money. I’m not interested in that (sure I’d like a million dollars, who wouldnt, but I’m motivated buy something higher than money).

    If there are any marketing geniuses out there who see this comment, understand that I’m completely sincere and are curoius about what I’m trying to do, I would be very grateful if you were to visit my online journal, and come back to me with any practical suggestions about how I can reach a wider audience.

    I’m very sorry but I can’t afford to pay you .. but I would be in your debt.

    (also, if you do need help, you can ask me and I’ll do what I can)

    Your friend,

    Captain Australia

  45. Hi Tim,

    answering a comment to this from Pam Mark Hall, you write:

    “I think so. The principles depend more on precision and persistence than education. Good question.”

    What do you mean by precision?

    Thanks in advance,


  46. Bernd,

    Thanks for asking for the clarification of “precision.”. That caught my eye as well. Tim, do u mean we need to follow exactly a formulated game plan?



  47. Tim I want to thank you for posting the video and slides of the presentation on your blog. I’ve just watched it once but there is lots of good stuff in it and plan on watching it a few more times in the future. I’m just about to take my new muse of the ground and your book has helped me tremendously in thinking of where to take my current venture.

    Since I’m a senior in high school, my focus has shifter from creating a venture to sell somewhere after or during college (prior to the reading 4HWW) to creating a muse or venture that will be automated within a few months and help me pay off college tuition and allow me to live the dream.



  48. Hey Tim-

    Great Presentation! I have only recently launched my blog and will be acting on some of your suggestions.


  49. Tim-

    You probably do not engage users via comments, but can you please make the video ‘downloadable’? Thank you for considering.

    You are highly favored.

  50. I heard about 4hww two weeks ago this Friday, I read it in a week and am re-reading it this week. Just ordered the second version in print to be here next week (I’m sure) and can’t wait.

    This is a great presentation and the book is actually one of the best I’ve read in a long time. It has caused me to slow down, enjoy my time with my kiddos and plan my escape to travel the world with my family.

    I know this may not be the right place, but I figured I’d chime in, Tim, and thank you for the hard work you put into writing this book and not only helping lead to my life changing but the changing of lives across the world.

  51. Tim,

    Great presentation. Thanks for your work; it’s made a big impact on how I operate. I work for the government, and I had a Q for you or any of your readers if you/they have the time: You mentioned in the presentation that you had a competition for folks to set up their own 4HWW communities – I’ve been looking pretty hard myself, but would anyone be able to point me in the direction for a 4HWW community for military/government workers? If there’s no such community…I spot an opportunity. Thanks in advance, and I appreciate any help folks can provide.


  52. Pingback: Thought Leaders
  53. wow you’re on fire in this one..not sure which is more inspiring..the pioneering material..or the laser beam delivery..stay strong brah

  54. Great stuff. I consistently find a triggering effect with your posts. I find myself coming up with new thoughts, new concepts, and new directions.

  55. Marketing and designing blogs is very important. Tim’s blog is all one long scrollable page, with photos, short blurbs and “read more,” followed by the next post. I looked at all the top 25 blogs by traffic, and all are the same – one long page rather than lots of clickable areas.

    Why is this?

    Im designing a new blog: do you think its more engaging to have one long page of scrollable content or clickable images/blurbs above the fold?

  56. Tim,

    I did it (or at least a rough hack)! I was seeking your permission (or rather, forgiveness) to use the image of your book on the site. Thanks for everything.


  57. Hi,

    I appreciate that you know what you’re talking about, but I’m curious as to what ‘global phenomenon’ you’ve created? Writing a book isn’t really a phenomenon…

  58. Tim,

    for many start ups without a record the biggest challenge always was to go a different routes than the “established” companies. It is hard to go to the bank if you want to do it all different, there is no reference. There is alot of fear involved and many entrepreneurs surrender before they even started.

    The solution I learned from small businesses in Africa is: Don’t go to the banks. Go to the customers.

    Keep it up



  59. Timothy Jacob Ferris. This is your mother. You need to be home by 8:00 tonight and in bed by 9:00! I won’t have you running around the Inter webs with your shenanigans anymore. Your father demands that you get a real job and move out of our house! See you soon.

    Mama Ferris.

      1. Tim…. Kern made a similar joke like online. That couldn’t possibly be him, could it?


  60. Hi Tim,

    I read your book and I really liked it. A real eye opener.

    But how can you comment and wite as much as you do on your blog in only 4 hours per week? 😉

  61. How was the quality translation of the other languages? Was it done via the publisher or outsourced somewhere else. Like to get some info.

  62. Great stuff. I consistently find a triggering effect with your posts. I find myself coming up with new thoughts, new concepts, and new directions.

  63. Tim,

    As an entrepreneur, I have always been a fan of the lifestyle design concept even before you coined the term in your book, and I do my absolute best to live by. I have had several clients, who are often aspiring entrepreneurs, approach me wanting to know how they can apply this concept to thier dream business. Many of my clients are on a budget with limited resources and very little knowledge about internet marketing. What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs in this situation?



  64. Hi Tim,

    I know I’m a bit late to this discussion, but I was curious – have you also read Kevin Kellys other article questioning his own 1000 true fans principle? It’s called ‘The Case Against 1000 True Fans’ on his website, and makes for an interesting rebuttal of sorts.

    Although I get the impression that you’re referring to 1000 true fans more as a tipping point, rather than exactly as Kevin discusses it in ‘The Case Against…” – have I understood you correctly?



  65. And you do all this while standing on your head and swinging from trees! I like how you use your upside down visual story to set a cool tone for your business presentation and process sharing.

  66. Hey, Tim.

    I’m hoping to get some clarification re social bookmarking strategies. There is way too much info out there. Everyone claims they have the real deal and many of them conflict with each other.

    Can you suggest resources to learn the safest, most efficient approaches/services…?

    Do you use a marketing assistant? If so, are they doing Social Bookmarking for you? Whether you do or not, what tasks would you assign them?

    I know, big questions. I’m betting I’m not the only one confused on this…

    –Chomping at the bit for “Superhuman”–

    Norman in Renton, WA.

  67. Great video Tim.

    It is interesting to see that you had to change the name of the book to sell it.

    I have your book in dutch: ” Een werkweek van 4 uur”.

    My whole family has read it. It is not that we don’t want to work, but we want to be successful!

  68. I guess the 4 hour thing is purely metaphorical. Or perhaps you cheat and blog while on the toilet! So what are the three necessary types of media exposure?

  69. Thanks for publishing the video with the presentation. I learned a great deal, and can’t wait to 1. apply it and 2. annoy my web designer until he gets around to coding what I want to apply!

    encore merci beacoup.


  70. Hey Tim. I started reading your book (The 4 Hour Work Week) not too long ago. It’s pretty neat. I started up my own jewelry site and I was wondering if you can share a tip or two. I saw the video, but my site doesn’t have a unique product. I plan on drop shipping. So if you can shoot out a general tip or two on how to increase traffic on and offline for these kind of sites, that experience would help!

  71. I am looking to automate my job search.

    I am looking to change jobs and thought this might be a good way to try out an outsourcer. The first part of the plan was to formulate a list of jobs, and some information about them, with links to them. That part was pretty easy.

    The second part was to find someone with really good English skills, that could look at my resume and respond to the posting. That part has proven much more difficult and the primary barrier is English. While they may speak fluent English, writing it really requires Native English speaking ability and exceptional writing skills.

    Having failed with odesk and getfriday, and not having the desire to start at more than one hour at-a-time, what should I try next?

  72. Hey Tim, Killer stuff on website conversion rates. Offline promotion can be just as important as online. If used in conjunction the results can compound.

  73. Hey Tim,

    So considering everything that went right and left lol… if you started the same project (promotion of the same book and the blog), knowing what you know now vs “back then”, what would you do differently to improve the result, let’s say 5% (even though it is quite impressive as it is, obviously)?

    Would appreciate some bulleted response and may be a brief article if you’re so inclined lol

  74. Tim,

    Great Post! You said you were unavoidable for a specified period of time. Was that for a week, month? Also when did you begin to roll out your marketing plan in regards to the books release date? Would this date change if you were to be rolling out a social media-type site? Thanks.


    Stay Forever Young

  75. Wow, wish I was more of a testing junkie. But I am off to change my ‘category’ tab on my blog to Topics right now and see what happens. Thanks Tim

  76. Hi Tim,

    Stumbled you site today, good stuffs & very juicy informative video. Info & your page presentation with slides is totally awesome. Thank you

  77. Fascinating, as always. Tried that “Topics” change on my own blog and saw an immediate uptick. Will be implementing more of your tips soon. Thanks for the pointers!

    A note on the Oberkirch link; the page is suspended as of 11/16/10.