Daymond John and How to Turn Weaknesses into Strengths (#130)

power of broke

Usually, it’s my job to deconstruct world-class performers. This time around, the tables are turned. Many of you have asked to hear me interviewed, so this week Daymond John (@thesharkdaymond), star of ABC’s Shark Tank and CEO and founder of FUBU, is in charge and asking the questions. Daymond has a new book called The Power of Broke, and he is an expert interviewer and interrogator.

In this episode, you’ll learn untold stories about my beginnings and rough starts. If you’ve ever felt like a beginner in business, or found your back against a wall, you will learn how to take your lack of resources and turn it into a strength.

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

#130: Daymond John and How to Turn Weaknesses into Strengths

Want to hear another story involving an entrepreneur who built himself into an astonishing success? — Listen to my conversation with Arnold Schwarzenegger. In this episode, we discuss psychological warfare and much more (stream below or right-click here to download):

Ep 60: Tim Ferriss Interviews Arnold Schwarzenegger on Psychological Warfare (And Much More)

This podcast is brought to you by Audible. I have used Audible for years and I love audio books. I have 2 to recommend:

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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: If you were to interview me, what questions would you most want to ask? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…


Selected Links from the Episode

Show Notes

  • On landing a book deal: motivation, mentors, and how to know when your product is an “A” or an “F” [6:37]
  • The last thing I said to the publisher of The 4-Hour Workweek that secured the deal [12:17]
  • How the constraints became the path to success while marketing The 4-Hour Workweek [16:47]
  • Presentation skills learned under the critical eye of chihuahuas [22:07]
Chihuahuas as Speaking Coaches
“CHIHUAHUAS” by Toronja Azul – originally posted to Flickr as CHIHUAHUAS. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons
  • On the success of The 4-Hour Workweek [26:22]
  • On choosing Amazon Publishing for The 4-Hour Chef [29:32]
  • Daymond John sums it all up [36:22]

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

49 Replies to “Daymond John and How to Turn Weaknesses into Strengths (#130)”

  1. Tim

    I know that persistence is not rewarded so my last solicitation to volunteer as your road manager for NW Live Road Show. I will provide. Based on your criteria. Fully vetted badass venue selections and some suggested routes I think you would enjoy based on knowing you from near constant living the Vida Ferriss for almost 7 years.

    You concentrate on the content and experience Me and my team take care of the details. I’m uniquely qualified by virtue of having a solid understanding your process, and running massive events for high profile celebrities for over 2 decades. We have professional film equipment and Crew and have been doing production work in live podcasting most recently (links can be provided for eval). What’s in it for me, I would like to finish our conversation from Andrew Warner’s live pod cast in SF in April.

    As you and DJ talked about I had you one and one in the most uncrowded space possible. I was helping Andrew with that event and I was the last guy you saw that night on your way out (I reassured you your head wasn’t that large). I so badly had wanted to talk with you but I felt you at that moment and I knew you were in desperate need of a full stick of butter than listen to me babble. Andrew had just carb us into starvation. I said that we would finish our conversation next time we met. I would like to make good on that.

    Anyway will give you may explosive and insatiable energy. If you choose not to respond I completely understand the demands. I will just act natural if I don’t hear from you. I’m sure you’ll let me know if your interested. #randomshow


    Christopher S Claunch

  2. Hi Tim,

    I just wanted to say thank-you for doing what you do and providing the content that you have.

    I could go into paragraphs of detail into how your content has challenged my assumptions, moulded my outlook on what is possible, as well as allow me a sense of clarity in moving forward with my greatest visions, and resource awesome books that is 10x’ing the shit out of my library; but again, ill just say thanks.

    Best wishes,


  3. Hi Tim,

    Just wanted to say thanks you for the content that you are releasing in your podcast and working so hard to do so.

    I could write a lot on how much my assumptions have been challenged, how heavily 10x’d my library is becoming, how much clarity I’m getting on making a cool future a reality and everything else.

    So thanks again.

    Best wishes,


  4. Tim: since you have worked with Donors Choose, I would love to ask you your thoughts on the American Education system and your thoughts on ways to fight it/improve it. I am a teacher, in my fourth year. Have taught in both low income areas and affluent areas. Thanks for all you do Tim, big fan!

  5. Tim,

    Thanks for opening up the floor.

    I’m interested to know more about your thoughts (and perhaps some personal anecdotes) regarding love and romance. This would include your thoughts on passionate desire for another, monogamy, and vulnerability.


    1. Happiness does’t depend on money or status. Happiness is an internal state that everyone needs to develop. You just have to learn to be happy.

  6. As a student in an engineering college who lives at his parents house and has no money to invest in an entrepreneurial idea but has full access to his time what would be the better to focus on studying and getting a job and then use that money OR something else that is somewhere between going full Jedi and a working jobclass with no self appreciation. (P.S. Dude I f**king love ur stuff thanks for being my first teacher that actually helped me understand who and what I am and what I truly want with my life.)

    Thanks from the bottom of my heart

  7. Nice to see the tables turned. Have heard you in other interviews but Daymond had a unique interview style that I really enjoyed.

    QUESTION: What were the 3 most successful tools you used (online or otherwise) for building meaningful professional relationships before “Tim Ferriss” became a household brand.

    Thank you for the great content and advice as always!



  8. Yassss! Can’t wait to listen to this tomorrow morning in the car.

    Question: How much initial capital did you work off of for Brain Quicken? Was there a loan involved? Credit card debt? Curious how you got the financial ball rolling with your first entrepreneurial endeavor.

  9. Hi Tim,

    I really love all of your content, but (as much as it stings to write) this podcast left me feeling a little disappointed. Based on the intro, I was expecting to hear something about your even humbler beginnings before the knowledge for writing 4HWW was acquired. i.e. the gym in China that you mentioned trying to set up in the book but was shut down by Triads, the beginnings of BodyQUICK and its later success, the decision to try Berlitz and put Princeton on hold, or as I’m sure many people can relate to, the final tipping point to going all in on your idea and making it a reality. These are the things I think more of your listeners would enjoy getting some insight into as well. As interesting as it is to hear about working to get a book published, I think a vast majority of us are not quite at that point but are at the even humbler beginnings.

    That being said, your work has totally revolutionized the way I look at American life and how I approach my use of the ultimate resource- time. Keep up the good work, as I know theres more to come.



  10. Tim tim tim, i am in love with you…this podcast where you are sharing your experiences…it’s so inspiring…it was like adrenaline dose for me…

    It seems to me i needed to hear it at this very moment…needed literally needed…

    Thank you so much for sharing it. I am very grateful to you.

    Wish you all the happiness & success that you desire from bottom of my heart.

    Love you…love your work…Thank you for putting out such good work & sharing with us.

  11. So gracious of you to give this Daymond guy a chance sounds like a really smart guy. Just like Kanye gave that guy Paul a break on his last album.


    Seriously though, fantastic interview and loved the reflection/recap from Daymond.

  12. I remember seeing you holding up a copy of The Four Hour Chef at the top of Wall st and Broadway. I was ruining late for work that day. So, I was pretty distracted, and it didn’t dawn on me until I got down into the subway that it was probably you selling a copy of your new book. I went home that day and bought a copy right away, but still wish I could of bought a copy on the street. Were you able to sell any copies in the street that day? New Yorkers are a tough crowd to sell to on the street!

  13. Tim — Unrelated to the podcast, but have you had any experimentation with the MED of different strains of kratom (white for energy/focus, red, green, maeng da, etc)? Interesting “ethnobotanical” worth looking into.

  14. Hi Tim,

    Good morning from New Zealand! Must admit I’m a recent reader of the 4-Hour Work Week (just finishing off my one-page summary haha) and have also tuned in to numerous podcasts, etc of yours. I really enjoy your style, and (as a scientist) your positively critical approach to seemingly everything. Thank you so much for helping so many to remove that veil of assumptions that are tied up in our modern culture.

    I’m also a big fan of British documentarian Adam Curtis, who similarly challenges the founding beliefs of Western society (albeit from a mote political perspective). Tied in with what I’ve learned from you this has really fired me up in wanting to devote myself to giving every person an equal shot at the sort of life you live. Whether that is possible or not I guess I’ll find out, but I’m damn sure I’ve got a better shot at achieving it than our current politicians. However, my question is not a political one as I can imagine you’d (understandably) rather not by drawn into such debates. So…

    Q: Given the fickle nature of fortune in our current society, would you rather be raising (hypothetical) children on our current world, or the one in which you were born, and why? [It might be a redundant question but for interest’s sake].

    Always look forward to new material from you. Thanks again and best wishes for the New Year.

    Gavrila Andreyevich

  15. Hi,

    The contact section stated the best way to contact you was through the comments. so, to the comments I go.

    I live in the Canadian province of Alberta, and specifically the city of Calgary. We are most known for the worlds biggest rodeo. Business wise we specialize in the energy sector, oil and gas specifically. We are currently in the shitter for lack of a better phrase due to oil prices.

    But here’s the great thing: A super cheap Canadian dollar, and equally cheap office space. On top of that we have a highly educated technical population the likes of engineers and IT professionals currently bagging groceries, driving school buses, and stocking shelves.

    It’s a land ripe for new ideas at a super cheap price, possibly a great way to reduce burn rates for ambitious startups.

    You seemed like a great person to reach out to due to your connection in start-up land. It’s really just a thought.

    Thanks for listening.

  16. Thank you for sharing your story about your early marketing efforts and the challenge of then trying to get a publisher. Inspiring!

    Question: Through some of your podcasts you’ve mentioned going the route of self publishing. Is that still an ambition? if so, would be great to hear the pros and cons, and how that process differs from the traditional publisher experience.

    Thanks so much!

  17. aloha, love your books there inspirational and educational.

    Now that you have money and time, what do you feel is missing from your life?

    Have you ever wondered if everything your going for is pointless?

    What do you think the meaning of life is?

  18. Hello Tim,

    If you were to startup a business in luxury goods (watches or fine jewelry), what role would you assign to internet in its setup and daily business? Do you think there even is a big role possible for internet when it comes to such personal, tactile and often highly priced items especially without having an established brand name behind you?

    Would be great to hear some of your insights.

    Muchas gracias!


  19. I echo the other posters who say it was cool to see the tables turned and Tim on the receiving end of the interview. Never realized adversity could be so empowering.


  20. Wow can I every relate to this interview. I’m completely broke but I’m noticing that I can be very resourceful. It’s amazing what kind of things you can trade for your time. 😀

  21. Hey Tim,

    I’ve been following your podcast for the last 18 months or so. I really enjoyed this episode as well as the previous one because both of them were different from your usual episodes. I also really enjoyed your “inbetweenesodes” and have listened to all of them multiple times.

    Your long-format interviews definitely stand out from any other podcast out there and they will naturally remain the core of the Tim Ferriss Show, but I’m glad to see that you’re open to experimenting with new formats and I believe that it helps to keep things fresh.

    In my opinion, one format that has a potential to be absolutely amazing to your listeners is one where you take someone from your audience and help them with a real challenge they’re currently facing. Or maybe you help them make important decisions at a certain crossroad in their lives.

    For some reason, no podcaster is doing this. But you don’t strike me as someone who would see that as a downside.

    The episode in your T.V show where you helped that entrepreneur start her Yoga business was fantastic. It was so easy to relate to her, because she was still trying to find her brake, like so many of us.

    It’s amazing that you give us the opportunity to listen to people like Derek Sievers, Josh Waitzkin and Arnold Schwarzenegger. I’ve learned so much from your podcast in such a short time. Having said that, most of those people are either trying to get from the top 0.1% to the top 0.001% in their field, or they’re trying to go from millionaire to billionaire. And while this is exactly what makes your podcast so inspiring and fascinating, I would have loved to see – from time to time – someone from your community of followers get on the air with you.

    Someone who’s still trying to go from slightly above average to top 1%, or from student debt to their first million.

    Love everything you do. Keep up the incredible work.


  22. Tim,

    I just ran into you in person at blue bottle cafe. Dude, I am just letting this soak in!! I wanted to say thank you one more time, you have been such an influential part of my business.

  23. I know this doesn’t have to do do with this episode but I don’t know where else to post this q…

    I am an MBA student but also am working on a muse… It seems that the work load is too big for me… What are any hacks or ways to apply 80/20 to each so I don’t collapse?!?!

    PS. I apologize if this is not the best place to post this

  24. Tim, I don’t know if you take suggestions for guests to have on the podcast, but I think you’d really enjoy having a conversation with MMA fighter Conor McGregor.

    His work ethic, self belief and performance, both in business and the octagon are staggering.

  25. I am curious how relationships with libraries work after a book is published. I assume you receive some sort of compensation when a library stocks your book? How does that work with ebooks? Just staying curious… 🙂

  26. Hi Tim,

    I just wanted to say thank you for (reminding me) opening my mind and reminding me at any age that anything is possible. Appreciate your topics and content. Keep in coming. All the best…

  27. Tim do you have podcast transcripts? It’s easier for me to read through something off and on then it is to listen and pick up where I’ve left off.

  28. I have read several of your books, subscribe to your blog and preach to the uninformed of your wisdom and affect on quality of life. I am 3 weeks in to the slow carb diet and 6 pounds lighter. (yay!)

    For the first time I was disappointed in your practices when you a. purchased design work on spec and b. promoted it to your community. Graphic Designers, like other artists, perform an undervalued service. Spec work is highly discouraged by ethical practitioners in the community.

    As an Art Director, Designer and business owner who employed designers and hired freelancers, I am living proof you can succeed without working for free.

    I would love to see you develop a relationship that keeps your profits in your community and exposes you and your brand to the deep benefits that arise from working with a professional who values their output. Unlike a freelance article, graphic design is performed “to order”. You wouldn’t think of asking 6 wood carvers to carve front doors that fit your house, on spec, would you?

    Here is the position of the American Institute of Graphic Artists, an esteemed community. It is fair and balanced.

    And this is from the Graphic Artists Guild, “ARTICLE 29. Work on speculation: Contests. Artists and designers who accept speculative assignments (whether directly from a client or by entering a contest or competition) risk losing anticipated fees, expenses, and the potential opportunity to pursue other, rewarding assignments. Each artist shall decide individually whether to enter art contests or design competitions, provide free services, work on speculation, or work on a contingency basis.”

  29. Hello Tim,

    Why should I choose to study and emulate Stoic philosophy over the Judeo Christian philosophy? What is it that you think men can do in their own strength without the guidance of God?


  30. I want to meet you and do a shadowing with you. It’s time For me to get Some trains and stop making excuses not to live my life. Just don’t know which trains to get first.

  31. Hey Tim.

    You rock..however, I cannot hear your podcasts.

    Can we get them in print?

    Hearing impaired lips to read..I can get about every 3rd or 4 word..even with my hearing aids.

    Thanks a ton for the years of inspiration

    Continued success!


  32. Tim, your output is life changing…thank you!

    D’Agostino addressed how long to fast, have you or any other ketoites/fasters addressed how given revelations about exogenous ketones, BCAAs, etc.

  33. Hi Tim, I am looking to start a podcast on holistic living. I have no idea where to start, is there a podcast platform you recommend?


  34. Hi

    Thought you might want to know…

    In the mobile audio site, when you search for the Tao of Seneca, the three volumes come up, but there is no distinction between them in the text description. Unless you open each and realise that the image states the volume number, you might think it an error.


  35. I have seen a few segment of Shark Tank and Daymond John was one of those investors who would take risk of investing into a start-up company. He has a good image of giving an inspirational advises for those people who are willing to put up their own business.

    “I will do anything required, I will kill myself if necessary to make this book a best-seller and it will be a best-seller. You should buy it.” -Daymond John

  36. Tim, I’ve been really enjoying the Tao of Seneca. What do you recommend listening to while lifting weights? I go back and forth between music, CT Fletcher clips, and audiobooks. Each has a different impact. Thanks!

  37. Hey Tim- your podcast and work ethic has inspired me to take action and change my life. You are showing others what is possible. I just took a road trip from NC to CO and listened to a bunch of your podcasts. Awesome stuff! I’m using the momentum extension and started a morning meditation and journal upon waking every day! Really helps. Thanks again. You rock.

    Michael Riedy