Matt Mullenweg on Polyphasic Sleep, Tequila, and Building Billion-Dollar Companies (#61)


Matt Mullenweg has been named one of PC World’s Top 50 People on the Web,’s 30 under 30, and Business Week’s 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

In this episode, I attempt to get him drunk on tequila and make him curse.

Matt is most associated with a tool that powers more than 22% of the entire web: WordPress. Even if you aren’t into tech, there are many pages of “holy shit!” tips and resources in this episode.

Matt is a phenom of hyper-productivity and does A LOT with very little. But how? This conversation shares his best tools and tricks. From polyphasic sleep to Dvorak and looping music for flow, there’s something for everyone.

Last but not least, Matt is also the CEO of Automattic, which is valued at $1-billion+ and has a fully distributed team of 300+ employees around the world. I’m honored to be an advisor, and I’ve seen how they use incredibly unorthodox methods for jaw-dropping results.

But… he started off as a BBQ-chomping Texas boy with no aspirations of empire building. How on earth did get here? Just listen and find out. It’s one hell of a story.

You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

Ep 61: The Benevolent Dictator of the Internet, Matt Mullenweg


This episode is sponsored by OnnitI have used Onnit products for years. If you look in my kitchen or in my garage you will find Alpha BRAIN, chewable melatonin (for resetting my clock while traveling), kettlebells, maces, battle ropes, and steel clubs. It sounds like a torture chamber, and it basically is. A torture chamber for self-improvement! Ah, the lovely pain. To see a list of my favorite pills, potions, and heavy tools, click here.

This podcast is also brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. Did you know I used 99Designs to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body? Here are some of the impressive results.  Click this link and get a free $99 upgrade.  Give it a test run..

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What’s the best productivity tip or tool you’ve implemented in the last year? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…


Selected Links from the Episode

Show Notes

  • How WordPress started | The origin story
  • Defining “open source”
  • How WordPress beat their competition and how to beat the complicate-to-profit business model
  • The long term outlook and core product characteristics that has empowered the growth of WordPress
  • Describing Automattic, and how it was founded with a purpose to kill spam
  • Experiments in polyphasic sleep, girlfriend complexities, and Dvorak typing
  • How is Automattic differs from the average tech startup, and challenges of a distributed workforce
  • Thoughts on where to draw the transparency line when running an open-source company
  • Delving into the secret benefits of tequila
  • Matt Mullenweg’s useful laptop and smartphone apps
  • Turning it around on Tim: Intermittent fasting and distilled water fasting?
  • Overworking vices, creating “de-loading” phases and saying “no” to meetings
  • Why we don’t care about the color of the bike shed
  • Musical skills that support coding and other leadership skills
  • Why Matt listens to familiar songs on loop when working
  • Hiring tips: Auditions at Automattic, why use them, and how they work
  • Matt’s view on top-grading
  • Most gifted books
  • Learning to love running
  • Answering Twitter questions: Bootstrapping vs. seed money if starting in 2015, picking a badass suit and last great purchase for less than $100
  • Packing tips
  • The story of losing an investor’s check (nearly a $400,000 mistake)
  • The story behind eating 104 Chicken McNuggets
  • First person to come to mind when you think “successful”?
  • Suggested investing books
  • The role WordPress will play in online content outside the browser (mobile apps, API, etc.) in the near future
  • Books and resources for the 20-year old entrepreneur looking to start a company
  • Stranded on a desert island? Albums and what else?
  • Advice for your 20-year old self?

People Mentioned

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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141 Replies to “Matt Mullenweg on Polyphasic Sleep, Tequila, and Building Billion-Dollar Companies (#61)”

  1. Hey Tim, I haven’t heard much talk about earthing (or grounding) during sleep. It’s the bomb! Makes you sleep way deeper. Makes you have HD dreams. Thins your blood cells by reducing charge. Significantly reduces inflamation, etc. Great for life enhancing! Anyway, just my two cents.

    1. Thanks Tim! Love these interviews.

      Biggest takeaways:

      The power of Opensource (will consider it for a cybersecurity program I have in development)

      I need to try out Colemak. Loved DVORAK back in the day, but fell out of practice.

      Love the story of Tim reaching out to Matt!!! Thousands of horrible pitches, and sometimes it’s the luck of the day.

    2. Thanks for the tip on grounding Tom. I’ll add that to the list to try out.I might have an issue since I sleep on the third floor, but there are ways around that.

  2. Best productivity tip:

    *Intermittent fasting.

    *A standing desk. (goes together with IF)

    *Starting and ending my day with: “What is my priority to accomplish today?” “Did I accomplish my priority today? If not, why?”

    1. Now, when I think about it, the first two are merely ‘Hyperactivity tips’. Not necessarily ‘Productivity tips’. Common mistake to confuse the two.

    2. I created a “focus journal” (based off the five minute journal) where I ask this question. Highly effective! I also have a weekly list where I write down all the things I did that week (created from the weekly list).

    3. Intermittent Fasting is awesome for productivity though. It allows you to focus for prolonged periods of time much better.

  3. If you mildly compress your podcasts to keep them under 100MB we can download them via cellular without connecting to wifi. I’ve been thwarted from immediately listening to your latest episodes more than once because of this, and I don’t have to tell you about the attrition rate when the first click doesn’t work.

  4. Tim, awesome! Matt reminds us that life is an inside out thing. Like, if you work and clear your inner word than the outer results will follow. All gems here from the call, the comments, the questions and the tips.

    I swear, I supercharged my results by doing things like sleeping more, working less, playing more and spending 60 minutes on personal development daily. The thing is, those brilliant ideas, or super effective ideas, hit your mind when you’re vibing high. Matt and you are uber skilled at vibing high through a series of less than traditional means, but of course, if what you did was traditional, you wouldn’t be Tim Ferriss! Nor would Matt be Matt 😉

    I’m writing these words from Jimbaran, Bali, Me and my wife are surrounded by 35 chickens, 4 dogs, 4 cats and unending beauty, spending the next 4 months house sitting for a couple who owns a sprawling resort. Your 4 Hour WW and the tips shared here, weekly, are a prime reason for me leveraging my presence so I could do this. Amazing stuff you’re up to Tim, keep it up and keep on inspiring!

    Signing off from Bali!


  5. Tim,

    What’s the ideal way to listen to a podcast? Should I spend these two hours focused entirely on the cast? Or should I have this on in the background while I do something else? How do you ‘consume’ a podcast?

    Tim P.

    1. When I listen to long podcasts such as this one, I usually chunk them up in 2-3 pieces for about 30-45 minutes each. This is for convenience.

    2. I’m fortunate enough to be a student so between and on the walk to campus I listen. When I graduate I plan on listening to podcasts driving to/from work (unless I work remotely). Also I believe it was Maria Popova who mentioned that she listens to podcasts during her weight training sessions.

      1. I’m with you, I listen on my daily walks. But I also drive in to work twice a week, so I listen then as well. Side note: I used to drive in to work 5 x a week, until I read the 4HWW =)

  6. Wow….is Matt Mullenwag an incredibly nice guy or what? I can’t believe a guy that accomplished is that humble. Blows me away but so nice to see. In this day and age so refreshing. Again, wow.

  7. Tim, could you PLEASE have Peter Thiel back onto your podcast for more of a discussion?

    He’s brilliant and I would love to hear a discussion between you two. The last podcast was great, but the straight Q&A style were you weren’t available seems like such a waste!

  8. 1. Set up weekly, monthly, 3 monthly, 6 monthly, yearly reviews

    2. Have a “Yearly SMART Snapshot” of where you want to be in each facet of your life (personal / professional / community / travel / financial)

    3. Calibrate how you’re going every week with a ROAR

    R – Review What You’ve Done in the last week

    O – Organise the Week Ahead

    A – Anticipate any Deadlines

    R – Rocks in. (If you don’t have rocks (tasks that will accelerate your yearly goals), all you’ll have is sand (white noise)

    Above approach has worked for me amazingly within the last year. This is a stripped down version but is the basic building blocks.

  9. Fabulous episode. Productivity tip implemented in last year: meditation and (from Eben Pagan) working in 90-to-120-minute blocks of uninterrupted time throughout the day, with the first block being the highest leverage activity.

  10. This was very good, Tim. Damn good, actually – A fantastic, natural and casual flow. Since I know you like feedback, personally, I would rather listen to the sponsors at the beginning instead of in the middle. I rarely skip them at beginning, but I didn’t hesitate on this one, I wanted to get back to the podcast.

    Keep up the great work!

  11. My favourite productivity hacks involving sleep are ones I’ve implemented recently. I used to stay up too late on the computer getting way too into my projects so I did two things: set up a script that auto shutsdown my computer at the same time every night and I physically put the power to the computer on one of those timers that people use to make their lights go on and off to make people think they are at home when they are on holiday. My bed time has become super regular now and I’m getting more sleep.

    The second hack was to address me sleeping in too much. I want to wake up at 5am every day, so I set my alarm for 5:55am (because I can stretch the truth and tell myself it’s still technically 5am) and because my snooze button is 5 minutes long, I have to spring out of bed right then and there or I won’t get up at 5am, I’ll get up at 6am and that’s no good. Ever since doing that I’ve gotten out of bed at 5am every single day.

  12. Hi Tim,

    Given the discussion of background music while you work I wonder what you think of or if you have heard of it. They claim “Music optimized to boost your concentration and focus” and I am now hooked on it and get distracted by the typical music I was playing on Spotify.

    1. I have used Focus@will and think that it is great. Lately, I have just been using the “Focus” channel on Spotify and have been specifically enjoying the solo piano for working as a programmer.

  13. No longer seeing new episodes on rss? Is this intentional or on my end? Last received was peter diamandis. Thanks for the great content!

  14. Just finish the podcast with mister Matt.

    It is very cool. Now there is so much knowledge that even seven listening will not be enought to grasp all the great punch in your conversation.

    What a great and wonderfull time we live in.

    By the way, your publicity in the middle is fine. I even went shopping for undies.


    fred from Québec

  15. Best productivity tip:

    Mindfullnes. A entire year of weekly based goals to develop this habit.

    I also implemented pomodoro as tool

  16. I become more productive when I give myself a break from time to time and then remind myself of the BIG BIG dreams I have. It urges me to work more and do my best to maximize the time I have since I won’t get it back. Time wasted is gone forever. That’s what I always say.

  17. Tim – Wen you and Matt talked about habits and setting the bar low enough to enable success it reminded me of BJ Fogg’s work with Tiny Habits. I would enjoy hearing more of your thoughts on things like Tiny Habits and setting yourself up for easy wins and maintaining momentum.

  18. Dvorak!!! THANK YOU! Now it’s time to put a Dvorak or Colemak BUTTON on each computer….

    AND THANK YOU Tim. You’re a medium for great ideas. The books, blog and podcast. Especially the pod cast because I love listening to the info and all the jokes make it much more fun… I hope you keep it going!!!

  19. You asked “What’s the best productivity tip or tool you’ve implemented in the last year?”

    1. Tip: do the most important thing before ANYTHING else.

    I used to have a habit of going outside for a little exercise first thing every day. It was a great way to wake up (especially since I’m in Canada!) but it had the effect of moving me from my bedroom=office to the social space of my house, and to the land of food.

    Now, I still do a little workout right after I first go downstairs for the day, but I *don’t go downstairs until I’ve done at least a pomodoro towards my most important thing for the day*. I usually do 4-10 pomodoros, and about 90% of the time I actually finish the task before I even go downstairs. (Another key part: I don’t check email/facebook/similar before I have done my exercise)

    2. Tool: Complice (

    Complice is a system that helps me stay on top of a wide variety of different goals. It’s a to-do list that’s just focused on “what are the most valuable things I can do towards my goals today?” It’s really effective for making more of my behaviour goal-directed rather than random.

    Tim, I believe you do something quite similar on an index card… one advantage to the digital version of this kind of system is that the data gets aggregated for things like weekly/monthly/yearly reviews, like @charliehrmcdonald mentioned in his comment,

  20. You asked “What’s the best productivity tip or tool you’ve implemented in the last year?”

    1. Tip: do the most important thing before ANYTHING else.

    I used to have a habit of going outside for a little exercise first thing every day. It was a great way to wake up (especially since I’m in Canada!) but it had the effect of moving me from my bedroom=office to the social space of my house, and to the land of food.

    Now, I still do a little workout right after I first go downstairs for the day, but I *don’t go downstairs until I’ve done at least a pomodoro towards my most important thing for the day*. I usually do 4-10 pomodoros, and about 90% of the time I actually finish the task before I even go downstairs. (Another key part: I don’t check email/facebook/similar before I have done my exercise)

    2. Tool: Complice (

    Complice is a system that helps me stay on top of a wide variety of different goals. It’s a to-do list that’s just focused on “what are the most valuable things I can do towards my goals today?” It’s really effective for making more of my behaviour goal-directed rather than random.

    Tim, I believe you do something quite similar on an index card… one advantage to the digital version of this kind of system is that the data gets aggregated for things like weekly/monthly/yearly reviews, like @charliehrmcdonald mentioned in his comment,

  21. Hey Tim,

    I think the new format for your ads is a lot more effective. keeps the same flow as the rest of the podcast. Thanks for all the great inspiration, really enjoy it!

    As for the question of the day: I think not talking about what you want to do with everyone and just doing it is the best way to stay productive. Theres a Ted Talk on this and it really impacted my life!

    All the best,


  22. In its simplest implementation; get up at 6am and do what comes to mind, in its most complex; clear emails, plan your day/week/year, but if that is too overwhelming, just get up and have a coffee.

  23. Uh-oh, spec work. I understand why business owners would love a place like 99designs, where you get tons of varying designs with very little outlay, but for the graphic designer sitting in their office (aka the kitchen table) they can’t make a living off of maybes. Mr. Ferriss please ask yourself, would you work for free with the hope of only the slight possibility of being compensated? #MyTimeHasValue


    Amy (the graphic designer at her kitchen table)

  24. Great episode Tim. And a great set of links to drown in later; all great tools. Keep the solid content coming!

  25. Show notes should include Simplenote! Glad to hear Matt mention it. I live in the app every day. Such a great app!

  26. Has anyone had the “Casa Dragones” – Our favorite sipping tequila, discussed here? There looks to be two offering a ~$75 and a $275 version.

    Curious the difference and if the lower priced option is still a good ‘sipping tequila’.

    Cheers, Nick

  27. Matt’s leading an amazing life – hope it stays cool forever.


    Only I can get away with totally slacking off until tech stuff gets cheap and easy enough that it actually fits in my slightly century-before-last wallet. To wit, my cell account does in fact provide a month of internet use, but at roughly 1992-3 speeds.

    However, you (Tim) are not me. And your server does not support resume on downloads – and if you already read (and maybe responded even) to my first slack alert – fine. I don’t want to moan – I don’t intend to moan. Not one more moaning word. And I’ll just hang here waiting til the wee hours to hear any of this interview.


  28. I don’t have any productivity advice that hasn’t been mentioned already (i.e., get your ass out of bed when possible). I just felt like saying that this was one of my favourite podcasts yet. Matt’s a very interesting and unique guy, and this episode felt like it was just us hanging out having a drink, like the first few episodes.

  29. Thank you for this interview Tim! I have never had so many questions answered in one place.

    I am a musician in a small market and have been struggling to start projects due to several issues. It’s exceedingly difficult to find suitable personnel to get the ball rolling on a music project past the planning/writing stage. Relying on friends and auditioning strangers found through kijiji can be time consuming and sometimes expensive. I am constantly bothered by my inability to step out of my city’s talent pool without having connections (I’m not much of a networker, at least not in person) or moving (unfeasible in the short term).

    I have been dreaming up a way to connect with people over the internet and expand the potential talent pool. P2 and Slack look like great platforms for project management. Here I was going to start building something myself! I’m very relieved (I’m still gonna learn how to code, any opportunity to toil privately and fail publicly).

    Matt’s audition process is very intriguing. I’d like to know more about it. He doesn’t share too much, time to search for contact information (and read up on how to send an email). I am a very practical person when it comes to my interactions with people so a lot of what goes on in a traditional audition is not helpful at all.

    I’m going to start rambling soon so I’ll finish by thanking you again.

    Thank you Tim and Matt,

    Devan Bailey

    Edmonton, Canada

  30. Readers and writer of 4HWW already know this, but maximizing productivity means minimizing distractions, among other things.

    For me, this includes:

    Unsubscribing from email lists. The irony is that I can’t get myself to unsubscribe from this blog for some reason (I suspect I’ve fallen prey to mass manipulation), which is why I got distracted and ended up writing this comment.

    Not being attached to my phone, often leaving it turned off or on silent, being bad with responding to people quickly. After a while, they’ll stop calling and texting you and you’ll have much less social interaction. Embrace your inner hermit.

    Not saving passwords to accounts s.a. Facebook.

    Disabling pop-up notifications wherever possible.

    Lastly, when in doubt, air your brain out. Stop debating about what to do next, close the damn MacBook and go outside for a walk. Matter of fact, that’s what I’m about to do.

    Wenn du es eilig hast, gehe langsam.


    P.S.: Maybe I wasn’t paying attention well enough, but it

    1. …wasn’t clear to me how Matt went from BBQ-chomping Texas boy with no aspirations to empire builder. Anybody catch that part?

  31. Matt both sounds and looks like comedian Duncan Trussell. I was wondering where I recognized his voice from, then I remembered: the narrator for the Drunk History of Nikola Tesla. You should watch that. Then listen to this podcast–Matt is the man.

  32. Thanks Tim for giving us the rare chance of getting to know Matt in such a personal way. As the owner of a WordPress training agency in Germany, I am always astonished how few people have actually heard of Matt, although he is supposed to be in one line with Mark Zuckerberg – with the difference that Matt comes across naturally as a sincere and humble contemporary. Regarding the interview, there was a contradiction in Matt´s statement regarding hiring, which you didn´t dig into: Matt said that he looked for clarity in writing when hiring developers, since clarity in writing was a sign of clarity in thoughts. Then Matt said he was not a good writer himself and that he had failed in writing a book. So, Matt would probably not have hired himself.

    All the best


  33. Thanks Tim for giving us the rare chance of getting to know Matt in such a personal way. As the owner of a WordPress training agency in Germany, I am always astonished how few people have actually heard of Matt, although he is supposed to be in one line with Mark Zuckerberg – with the difference that Matt comes across naturally as a sincere and humble contemporary. Regarding the interview, there was a contradiction in Matt´s statement regarding hiring, which you didn´t dig into: Matt said that he looked for clarity in writing when hiring developers, since clarity in writing was a sign of clarity in thoughts. Then Matt said he was not a good writer himself and that he had failed in writing a book. So, Matt would probably not have hired himself.

  34. Getting a girlfriend is exactly the reason I stopped doing the everyman polyphasic sleep cycle. This kind of sleeping just doesn’t work very well if you are trying to take other people’s schedules into account…

  35. This was a really great episode filled with many insights. I loved the introduction to Matt who, even though I revolve around the techosphere, wasn’t at all familiar with. I was quite surprised by his polymathic attitude.

    A really fun moment for me was the talk of Kendrick Lamar and trap. Mind you I’m a 23 year old living in Montreal ( a very artistic city, developed electronic music scene, a lot of trap hehe). I’m a bit surprised you haven’t even heard of Kendrick Lamar.

    For those that are in the same boat but are curious: Kendrick Lamar has a very poetic flow that he mixes with West Coast themes and musical tones. He paints very vivid pictures through his songs of life through his eyes or his environment. And yet they are very accessible even with the complex content. I would suggest you check out his last year’s Grammy’s performance alongside Imagine Dragons as it was very energetic and emotional.

    For trap, it’s something along the lines of a gangstarized, electro-hip hop. It’s high energy, strong percussion, drops. Check out (this years Grammy nominee) Zhu – Faded 2.0 (remixed by Dj Mustard and Dj Snake). It’s only quasi-trap but it’s a good intro (and a very recent song). Turn Down For What is also trap.

    Now Tim,

    I have a question/suggestion. I’m not sure if you’re currently working on a future book project ( a part from an updated 4HWW), but I think you should explore aesthetics, beauty and visual taste. While considered mostly subjective (beauty is in the eye of the beholder line), there is a strong science behind beauty such as symmetry, novelty, palette, emotional context. Yes it’s subjective in terms of developed vs underdeveloped and influence spheres (fashion and diversity in NYC vs Edmonton), however some things can be enhanced and applied to chisel taste and experience. After hearing you talk of Silicon Valley fashion, I think this would be both an enriching and engaging subject for you, us your readers and the world which has been constantly driven by aesthetics (even in the context of power).

    Just a friendly suggestion. Thought this would be the best place to reach you.

      1. I know what you mean. I was “oh snap” moment for me. I kinda got me giddish for no reason hehe.

  36. Best productivity tip: using Lift (now to establish routines.

    I did it and it’s been great, it helped me to understand what was a routine, what was a task. Now I am working to prioritize more my life objectives.

  37. Really wanted to know more about him. Have been using wordpress for about a decade and I’m still blown away with it. Wonderful platform, the best for me all these years.

  38. Really, really interesting podcast. Thank you so much for providing this Tim! I refer back to the podcast list all the time to find new information to consume. Please, keep up the good work!

  39. Tim – I’m really curious to hear if you’ll hack one issue I have = sweating a lot! Its not localized, but its just a lot more than average. if you can find a fix…I’d be ever grateful.

  40. Great podcast…I love the ones where it’s so apparent that you are talking with a friend and colleague, much like the Kevin Rose Random shows. Matt comes across as a very down to Earth guy and I’ve spent probably the past hour checking out the numerous tools and links he mentioned.

  41. Matt, you’re smart and all, and I’ma let you finish; but, Freddie Gibbs is the greatest lyricist of our generation.

  42. Hi,

    My name is João, I’m 26 and I’m from Portugal. I discovered your podcast earlier this year, looking for something to motivate me and found a few things about you.

    On March 10 I have to finish my master’s thesis and have almost nothing done. Worse, I even don’t have motivation to do it. I know I need to finish this. But I have no desire to do so.

    I feel that I don’t have motivation at all. Everyday I wake up to another day without major objectives. I have dreams, and spend a lot of time dreaming. But too little making something for them.

    I cannot find “that thing” that makes me wake up and thanks for another day, another day to be close to my goals.

    The only thing that has motivated me was the gym, I was always thin and finally see results. Other than that.. I am walking lost. I do not know if the course I am taking is the right course for me, I do not know what I’ll do in my future. I do not know what to look for. I’m just here. Without knowing what to do.

    What would you tell to someone like me?

    By the way as you can see my English write/speak aren’t so good. But I can read e listen. Thank you all.

  43. Just felt compelled to pass along my thanks, Tim. You’re putting out great content that has made a material difference in my life (for the better). Please keep it up and take care. No need to reply; just passing along my well wishes.

  44. Great inspirations i have taken from matts life. Great post , Great article.. Holy shit, what a great blog



  45. Is there any chance I could interview your parents Tim? I would really like to learn how I can create such a healthy psychology for my 8 year son like you have and whether or not your parenting has played a role in that. (my apologies if I’m being too curious). 😀

  46. Loved this interview –– there were soooo many great takeaways –– with one of the best being the opportunity to learn about the “auditioning” process Matt goes through with potential employees.

    Damn. Smart. Stuff.

    One thing that wasn’t so smart, on the other hand, was the howling monkey sound at about the one hour mark in the podcast –– the audio cue that was created (I think) to let us know about the upcoming sponsor announcements from Onnit and 99 Designs. This sound was obnoxious, clumsy, and poorly edited into the podcast, and a completely ham-fisted method for introducing your sponsors to listeners.

    Lose the fuckin’ monkey.

    Otherwise, a great podcast and interview.

  47. Great work Tim, the most inspiring, relaxed, fun podcast yet ! I could have listened to another 2 hours of chat between you to. Keep up the great work.

  48. I was listening to Dr Nick Hall ( and his book ‘I know What to Do So Why Don’t I Do It’. He is a Neuropsychiatrist specializing in immunology and emotions. I would love for the two of you to have a conversation. I think it would be fascinating.

  49. Hey Tim, This email is long overdue for me. I escaped corporate america a little over 2 years ago and now work as an independent financial advisor from home and make more than I have ever made working as little as a few hours a week. I used to laugh when I read the section in 4hww when you talked about it being difficult having all this time on your hands, existential vacuum, etc. I thought you were just a spoiled, cerebral rich kid that couldn’t get out of his own head and appreciate the freedom. That would never be me! I now find myself feeling lost and in a daze because of the lack of structure, social interaction and days just rolling into the next. Having joint custody of a 7 year old and a mother close by in assisted living has prevented extensive travel as an option. (maybe excuses) There may be sections of this blog that I have not explored. I feel that the immigrant mentality that has been drilled into my head since birth ( work harder, more hours, show up early, stay late) is really hard to shake. There are so many questions, but I’ve narrowed them to 2. What was the first couple of months like after you left the business and took your trip? You describe the 1st day or 2 but was always curious how you ripped the bandaid and got your focus off the business. What is enough? I heard on one of your podcasts someone that said you acclimate to any goal you achieved so never feel that you have arrived. You win the state championship and then you wonder how will I win the nationals. That train of thought has distressed me because there’s never any sense of arriving and contentment. How do you find contentment when every goal you achieve is followed by another and another and it feels like you are on a hamster wheel? Sincerest regards and appreciation!

    Al Gugliotta

    1. Hi Al, I thought I would chime in here. I don’t usually comment or post anything but I thought I may have a little to offer. I got out of the corporate world about 8 years ago and started working in a small property development co for a friend. This changed my life. The everyday sense of achievement and having a direct impact on the business was amazing. Then the GFC came along and we stopped developing property as the risk return ratio just didn’t stake up.

      BTW I live in Sydney…. Fast forward 4 years. I haven’t had a normal day job since. I basically do what I want when I want. This greatest challenge I faced was all my friends asking me what I was going to do? You can’t have enough money to retire they would say. Well guess what. I just going to go broke very slowly I would retort. I now spend my days looking for investment opportunities, training in the gym in the middle of the day without the crowds and reading books. I have been able to enjoy all the little things that I never got around to doing. I recently spent 3 months in the US renovating a house and traveling and skiing in my favourite places. I wouldn’t of been able to do this with a committed job in Sydney. I am still keen to take off for an extended trip which I will probably do this year. I still have goals but they don’t have to be completed in a hurry anymore. For me the greatest challenge was doing what I wanted to do and not what society expected me to do. Sydney like most large cities judges pretty harshly. Where do you live, what do you do for work etc.. I have seen first hand the post big goal blues when I coached an Olympic Athlete. We spent so much time focused on the 2010 Winter Olympics that when it was over he got depressed. Where do you go from here… I still coach the same guy just for fun these days and we just set little goals and enjoy the process. Step out and just give things a go. I always say, what is the worst thing that can happen? You can always go back and do what your were doing. 🙂

      All the best


  50. Tim, I’m shocked you haven’t gotten into yoga.

    Especially, ater having the systemic breakdown you just did.

    Yes, it’s time consuming. Consider that it might be worth it…

    Great before meditation. Great for healing.

    I planned a trip to get certified and I’ve practiced everyday since. It’s life changing.

  51. As soon as I wake up I take this.

    On my bedside table, I put

    1 caffeine pill 200mg

    Water bottle mixed with a shot of grapefruit juice. Prepare it the night before Grapefruit (For caffeine extension) The grapefruit juice with coffee tip has worked excellent for me. Gives me about 3 more hours of energy if I sleep at least 8 hours. Thanks for that tip, I greatly appreciate it.

    The caffeine hits me and I fly out of bed.

    If I don’t do this, I end up sleeping in bed longer, brewing coffee, waiting for the water to heat up, sit and sip slowly. I waste about an hour doing this. By taking the caffeine pill right when I wake up, I can spend another 20 minutes sleeping and I’m charged ready to go once it kicks in with an extra 40 minutes to spare.

  52. Hi Tim, thanks for doing this episode. As a jazz musician & scientist, this was one of my favorites. It was nice to hear about how music blended with his code/tech engineering career (& other aspects of his life).

    Also, Matt has an incredibly calm air about him. Listening to the podcast instantly put me in a relaxed mood!

    One last thing (side question)… do you ever plan to have Nassim Taleb on the show?

  53. G’day Tim, Great podcast. I would say one of the best or if not the best yet. Matt is a super cool guy with great insights on life and business for such a young guy. Keep up the great work.

  54. Just picked up a bottle of the Casa Dragones Joven. Great recommendation! Awesome stuff – nothing like other tequilas. Thanks for the tip.

  55. The most useful thing I have implemented that is saving me a lot of hassle is creating a fully packed calendar for the week (in Google calendar). Even if there is a block of free time, I fill it in with “relaxation”, “going outside” or something similar. What it does is it eliminates the need to “do something” – every activity is pre-set and chosen. It works well for me because I am a teacher working on a schedule.

    Another trick was going all Simplenote and eliminating all other management tools. Less is more.

  56. Awesome episode! I wish I had been online to ask a couple questions! Loved hearing about the genesis of WordPress. And also the name! I would have loved to ask more about how came to become Also I liked reading this other bit of b2 -> WordPress history:

    I also want to concur on Momentum which is awesome for reminding you to set a primary to-do for each day. However it works poorly on Safari and doesn’t exist on Forefox (and Chrome has actually poor performance on 4K displays). Does anyone know an alternative to Momentum?

    Thanks!! 🙂

  57. Tim. It would be great to see your thoughts on Rapid Eye Movement Therapy (REMT). This therapy fits right in your wheelhouse of fixing lifelong issues in matter of minutes!



  58. LOVED this episode. hit replay as soon as it ended. Love how calm and collected matt sounds despite being the head of a billion dollar company. also loved all the tips and tools mentioned. already installed momentum in chrome, and toyed around with playing songs on repeat while I’m working. it’s incredibly less distracting than playing an album or pandora.. Tim really landed a strong 1,2 punch with this one and Ah-nold back to back.

  59. dude Japanese FOOD / the whole concept /tradition of it keeps one ‘slim.’ Live in tokyo btw;) When back in the states notice BIGTIME the SIZE of food;(

  60. Tim,

    This is in no way related to this post, I’m seeking clarification re. the slow carb diet.

    The diet sounds great, lose 20lbs in a month. The issue? I’m an amateur competitive cyclist who, by necessity, needs to train for a minimum of +10 hours/week. Dropping 20lbs would create an immense increase in watts/kg (an important stat in cycling). However, you say in the 4HB: “Try the diet with no more than 2–3 short weight training workouts per week”. This is a bit of a conflict for me, and I’ve found virtually no info online about the slow carb diet and endurance sports. Am I to deduce that this diet isn’t appropriate for an athlete like myself? Or do you have any advice on ways to cope with the demands of my training, which includes long rides, in which I need to eat on the bike (generally in the form of energy gels/bars/drinks)?


  61. Tim:

    When are we going to hear the results from the competition you posted in your last blog? A lot of us really went out of our way to make an effort and to make the deadline. I personally had a giant sand castle in Rio De Janeiro created in honor of promoting your Podcast. I also pledged to donate all of the money to the NGO I work at in a favela in Rio, did you see my description in the comments section of your blog?

    I have to say I am a little disappointed in you Tim. You told us you would inform us of the winner within 7 days and it is coming up on 2 weeks since the contest ended. As much as I am a fan of yours, I am a little turned off that you set a deadline that for when the winner would be announced but you still have not followed through. Your fans want to know who won the competition! Whats up Tim?!

    1. Am I just missing where he posted the results? This doesn’t seem like something Tim would do. What’s going on?

  62. Love the part of the discussion on zoning out during periods of heavy work. I have been using ‘Solo Piano’ by Chilly Gonzales to do this for years. Highly recommended.

    On a side note Tim – Episode 61 already? You’re absolutely shredding it with the podcast right now, loving the awesome content.

  63. Great podcast! If anyone is interested, there’s a free app called Lucent that will guide you through a 5-min morning meditation. Find it here: Lucent is a modern take on a timeless practice — achieve greater focus and clarity through the power of a five-minute morning meditation:

  64. Hey Tim,

    When you and Matt said “Cheers” and I heard the ting of your glasses, I instantly felt more engaged. It was a very charming and pleasant passageway into the conversation. I liked visualizing the scene of two friends having a conversation as opposed to simply two voices floating in nothingness.

  65. Best productivity tool: todoist. But what shocked me, was that with 2000 something task I was told in the annual review that I was among the top 1%.

    To put this in perspective: I started using todoist in a gtd-oriented way last may. It helped me to order my tasks, get my had clear and stay on course in a busy family life. But 2000 tasks is not much by any standard. If that puts me in the 1% of all todoist users than what probably most people do is use the service once or twice and then migrate to the next promising tool (just my guess).

    Anyway, I like todoist because of its cross-platform accessibility and its features (premium included, of course).

  66. Tim,

    I just finished 2 weeks in Florida reading your book 4HWW and I wanted to thank you for it!

    I am a 55 yr old male that has been a desk jockey in the Ins industry for 30+ of them. Unfortunately, IT happened, I had a major stroke and was diagnosed with Neurosarcoid. yeah, I never heard of it either, yet despite eating right and exercising regularly, I just got lucky.

    So I am looking forward – not really, cause I am a tad scared attempting to do this all myself! – to moving forward with a Muse of my own. I am launching my Muse; a Christian jewelry co called Elegantria. a self-named google word that is of latin/greek origin meaning, the beauty of 3; gold, frankincense, & Myrrh. And I have also entered your new biz contest! A late start, yet I think I have a great Muse to build on!

    Thank you again for your inspiration and a blueprint for me to go forth!

    best of health to you in all you do!


  67. I’m looking for more information about the local maximum concept he discussed in reference to becoming a great musician. Has anyone heard of this concept before? Where can I find more information?

    I also like the idea of not scheduling anything to allow yourself time to be creative. This is something I’ll be adding to my day. Or, taking away from day.

  68. Is it possible to get Ido Portal on the podcast. Will be awesome to have a generalist in there. Thank you, amazing work, great inspiration and lost of positive aspects.

  69. In the informative and entertaining podcast you mention Nassim Taleb and (one of my favorite books, and that I too often recommend) “Fooled by Randomness”. Everyone should read this book.

    Perhaps even better is W.Edwards Deming. Read his “14 Points”, check out his book, “Out of the Crisis” or just plug in his name and simply watch some you-tube videos featuring Deming and his philosophy.

    I think you will see that understanding the idea of “systems”, variation, general and special causes, etc., explains so much of what happens in business, education and the world.

  70. Just for clarification’s sake, the duo Matt was referencing is Milky Chance, not Milky Chants. They’re great, check out their songs “Stolen Dance” and “Down by the River.”

  71. Hey Tim,

    I enjoyed the time you devoted to audio and optimizing for productivity (looping a short playlist). You might be interested in the theory of listening fatigue and headphones. I’ve spend the last year geeking out on vintage audio and modern headphone design. Poor quality headphones may cause more mental fatigue due to our need to abstract what music should be there that the audio device was not able to produce (the brain works harder to listen to shitty audio). I’ve tried many designs and manufacturers and a pair of open design cans in the $300 range will significantly improve your listening experience and life, especially if you love music. (Try the Sennheiser HD 650 or the Phillips Fidelio X2). The Sennheiser is one of the greatest open headphones designs of the last decade and the Philips can match up against anything up to $1000.

  72. Tim,

    Great Podcast. I heard you mention recently an interest in photography, any medium in particular?

    You should consider Peter Lik as a future podcast.

  73. Wow! This is cool so inspiring . Does anyone on here know how I could go about finding a Muse mentor? I’ve never sold anything online before so I could use some guidance from another human.

  74. Loved this interview with Matt, so many great takeaways, especially how it ended. Tim, it would be amazing if you could interview Eric Ries, the author of “the lean startup”. You both preach similar principles about efficiency and prioritization . Thanks for all the episodes, keep it up!

  75. Best productivity tool: Asana – a teamwork management software. Asana lets you assign tasks to your team members and keeps you informed about their activities. It’s very efficient and it’s free.

  76. great stuff.. I’ve been watching Rogan getting drunk with Shane Smith now for a few weeks, needed something more productive

  77. What a great podcast…however I have a question. If this is a normal thing then please let me know. I was mowing the lawns and loving the banter. You guys had just hit the tequila I believe. I’m now walking down our alleyway to the garbage bin the empty the grass clippings when this loud shrieking noise permeated my ear drums…I mean this was epic, it was in stereo and I basically shat my pants. Like I totally freaked out thinking some crazy Australian creature was about to kill me… this was at 1:02 in the podcast. Listening to it again it was a shrieking monkey. I’m sure I’ve never heard this before. I seems to have no relevance to the podcast…what was it? It now haunts my dreams!

    1. Haha, I had the same dreadful moment. I was jogging very early in the morning when these sounds appeared and I thought these were some crazy birds flying around me and I started looking around in panic. TERRIBLE!

  78. How come if Matt never put something on the web… Now we can his vision through WordPress. Really enjoyed the podcast.

  79. Tim, I was just listening to an old podcast of yours with Kevin Rose, and you guys talked about the nobnom challenge…NoFap needs to get to the mainstream somehow, its one of my key productivity tools. Its taboo to talk about sex and masturbation, and we need to change this. NoFap has been a major tool to my productivity and running my business. I am writing an experimental book right now, such as you have done with the 4 hour work week, on my day to day experiences in quitting porn and masturbation for good. I will keep trying to post about it on your site, and maybe one day you can give it a read, Thanks for everything you do Tim, you seem to give a positive tip, a reinforcing positive ideology, or just a simple laugh every day through your podcast and other materials 😉 never stop experimenting

  80. Todoist – Amazing tool works right in Outlook and on all my devices. Big into the GTD, project management, and running my business. Tried hundreds of add ins, programs, etc. but this one is the one. Simple lists or shared projects with multiple people. it Rocks. ($29 a year)

  81. I’m addicted to your podcasts, Tim. They make the world an awesome place (at least when you spend more time listening to them than interacting with ‘normal’ people)

    As for your question – many tools made a huge difference in my productivity in 2014, so I can’t choose just one:

    – Facebook News Feed Eradicator – for obvious reasons

    – Feedly for being able to see all my favourite blogs’ newest posts in one place, instead of visiting each of them seperately

    – Raindrop for accessing my tabs / favourites much faster and more efficiently

    – Nozbe – a task-manager tool which is incredibly nice and simple to use, and also synchronized with Evernote, Google Calendar, Dropbox etc.

  82. For clarity of thinking and clarity of writing – go back to an American classic – Charles Sanders Peirce on “How to Make our Ideas Clear”