Safi Bahcall — On Hypnosis, Conquering Insomnia, Incentives, and More (#382)

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Safi Bahcall (@SafiBahcall) is the author of Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas that Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industrieswhich debuted #3 on Wall Street Journal’s bestseller list. Loonshots describes what an idea from physics tells us about the behavior of groups and how teams, companies, and nations can use that to innovate faster and better.

Safi received his PhD in physics from Stanford and his undergrad degree from Harvard. After working as a consultant for McKinsey, Safi co-founded a biotechnology company specializing in developing new drugs for cancer. He led its IPO and served as its CEO for 13 years. In 2008, Safi was named E&Y New England Biotechnology Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2011, he worked with President Obama’s council of science advisors on the future of national research.

In this episode, we talk about many things we haven’t covered before, including hypnosis, conquering insomnia, thoughts on depression, optimizing incentives, and much more. You can also listen to my first interview with Safi at tim.blog/safi.

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, StitcherCastbox, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Watch the interview on YouTube.

#382: Safi Bahcall — On Hypnosis, Conquering Insomnia, Incentives, and More
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This podcast is brought to you by Peloton, which has become a staple of my daily routine. I picked up this bike after seeing the success of my friend Kevin Rose, and I’ve been enjoying it more than I ever imagined. Peloton is an indoor cycling bike that brings live studio classes right to your home. No worrying about fitting classes into your busy schedule or making it to a studio with a crazy commute.

New classes are added every day, and this includes options led by elite NYC instructors in your own living room. You can even live stream studio classes taught by the world’s best instructors, or find your favorite class on demand.

Peloton is offering listeners to this show a special offer: Enter the code you heard during the Peloton ad of this episode at checkout to receive $100 off accessories with your Peloton bike purchase. This is a great way to get in your workouts, or an incredible gift. That’s onepeloton.com and enter the code you heard during the Peloton ad of this episode to receive $100 off accessories with your Peloton bike purchase.


This episode is also brought to you by LinkedIn Jobs, which offers a smarter system for the hiring process. If you’ve ever hired anyone (or attempted to), you know finding the right people can be difficult. If you don’t have a direct referral from someone you trust, you’re left to use job boards that don’t offer any real-world networking approach.

LinkedIn, as the world’s largest professional network, which is used by more than 70 percent of the US workforce, has a built-in ecosystem that allows you to not only search for employees, but also interact with them, their connections, and their former employers and colleagues in a way that closely mimics real-life communication. Visit LinkedIn.com/Tim and receive a $50 credit toward your first job post!


Want to hear my first episode with Safi? — Listen to our first conversation, in which we discuss Safi’s writing tips and techniques, creativity, systems thinking, and much more!

#364: Safi Bahcall — On Thinking Big, Curing Cancer, and Transforming Industries
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

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Charles Koch — CEO of Koch Industries (#381)

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(Photo credit: Grant Miller)

“When goods don’t cross borders, soldiers will.”
— Charles Koch, quoting Frédéric Bastiat

This episode will no doubt surprise people, and my guest came to me through channels I wouldn’t have expected.


Charles Koch received a bachelor’s degree in general engineering and two master’s degrees, in nuclear and chemical engineering, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

He is chairman of the board and CEO of Koch Industries Inc., a position he has held since 1967. He is renowned for growing Koch Industries from a company worth $21 million in the early 1960s to one with revenues estimated as high as $110 billion by Forbes. It’s one of the largest privately held companies in the world, and by revenue, it’s larger than both Boeing and Disney. He has transformed the business into a diverse group of companies that employ nearly 130,000 people—making everything from Dixie cups to components in your cell phone. 

Charles credits the success of Koch Industries to applying proven principles of social and scientific progress, which led to the development and implementation of his Market-Based Management® (MBM®) business philosophy. He describes MBM and its applications in two of his books, The Science of Success and Good Profit.

Charles is now using those principles in philanthropy, as the founder of Stand Together, to tackle some of the biggest challenges in the U.S. Stand Together is partnering with thousands of social entrepreneurs to help them improve their effectiveness and scale at tackling poverty, improving K-12 education, bringing justice to our criminal justice system, and more.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Castbox, Stitcher, or on your favorite podcast platform.


This episode is brought to you by ExpressVPN. ExpressVPN is an app you run on your computer or mobile device that easily secures your Internet connection, hides your public IP address, and lets you bypass regional restrictions on content. ExpressVPN is consistently rated the fastest VPN service on the market, and it’s incredibly simple to use. Just download the app, tap one button, and you’re connected to a secure VPN server. Visit my special link ExpressVPN.com/TIM, and you’ll get an extra three months of ExpressVPN protection for free!


This episode is also brought to you by ShipStation. Do you sell stuff online? Then you know what a pain the shipping process is. ShipStation was created to make your life easier — whether you’re selling on eBay, Amazon, Shopify, or over 100 other popular selling channels. ShipStation lets you access all of your orders from one simple dashboard, it works with all of the major shipping carriers, locally and globally, including FedEx, UPS, and USPS. Tim Ferriss Show listeners get to try ShipStation free for 60 days by using promo code TIM. There’s no risk and you can start your free trial without even entering your credit card info. Just visit ShipStation.com, click on the microphone at the top of the homepage, and type in TIM!


QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

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Ed Zschau — The Polymath Professor Who Changed My Life (#380)

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Photo by Daniel Kelly

“Entrepreneurship isn’t about starting companies. Entrepreneurship is an approach to life.”
— Ed Zschau

Ed Zschau is the Interim President of Sierra Nevada College, and he brings to the college 17 years of leading technology companies. He founded System Industries in Palo Alto, California in 1969, and as its CEO led it to a successful IPO in 1980. In the 1990s, he was the General Manager of the IBM Storage Systems Division headquartered in San Jose, California. Ed has a total of 10 years of teaching experience as a professor in the graduate business schools at Stanford University and Harvard University, and he has taught high tech entrepreneurship courses for a total of 22 years in the engineering schools at Princeton University, Caltech, and University of Nevada, Reno. In addition to serving on the boards of major public companies such as Reader’s Digest and StarTek, Ed has helped to start and build several technology companies during the past 20 years, some of which were founded and led by his former students.

In the 1980s, Ed represented the Silicon Valley area of California for two terms in the US House of Representatives, serving on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Also, during the 1980s, he was a General Partner of Brentwood Associates, a venture capital firm, and he was the Founding Chairman of The Tech Interactive, (formerly The Tech Museum of Innovation), a non-profit educational institution in San Jose, California.

Ed holds an A.B. degree (cum laude) in Philosophy (bridging with Physics) from Princeton University, as well as M.B.A., M.S. (Statistics), and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University and a Doctor of Laws degree (Honoris Causa) from the University of San Francisco. Currently, he is a Senior Fellow of the California Council on Science and Technology.

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Castbox, or on your favorite podcast platform.

#380: Ed Zschau — The Polymath Professor Who Changed My Life
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This podcast is brought to you by 99designs, the global creative platform that makes it easy for designers and clients to work together to create designs they love. Its creative process has become the go-to solution for businesses, agencies, and individuals, and I have used it for years to help with display advertising and illustrations and to rapid prototype the cover for The Tao of Seneca. Whether your business needs a logo, website design, business card, or anything you can imagine, check out 99designs.

You can work with multiple designers at once to get a bunch of different ideas, or hire the perfect designer for your project based based on their style and industry specialization. It’s simple to review concepts and leave feedback so you’ll end up with a design that you’re happy with. Listeners of The Tim Ferriss Show get 20 dollars off plus a free 99 dollar upgrade on their first design contest. Head to 99designs.com/tim to learn more or get started today.


This podcast is brought to you by Peloton, which has become a staple of my daily routine. I picked up this bike after seeing the success of my friend Kevin Rose, and I’ve been enjoying it more than I ever imagined. Peloton is an indoor cycling bike that brings live studio classes right to your home. No worrying about fitting classes into your busy schedule or making it to a studio with a crazy commute.

New classes are added every day, and this includes options led by elite NYC instructors in your own living room. You can even live stream studio classes taught by the world’s best instructors, or find your favorite class on demand.

Peloton is offering listeners to this show a special offer: Enter the code you heard during the Peloton ad of this episode at checkout to receive $100 off accessories with your Peloton bike purchase. This is a great way to get in your workouts, or an incredible gift. That’s onepeloton.com and enter the code you heard during the Peloton ad of this episode to receive $100 off accessories with your Peloton bike purchase.


Want to hear another episode with someone who brings music to every aspect of their life? — Listen to my conversation with Jamie Foxx in which we discuss learning lessons from our elders, parenting, workouts, and more. (Stream below or right-click here to download):

#124: Jamie Foxx on Workout Routines, Success Habits, and Untold Hollywood Stories
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

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Dita Von Teese — The Queen of Burlesque (#379)

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Photo by Cosimo Buccolieri

“You can be a juicy ripe peach and there will still be someone who doesn’t like peaches.”
— Dita Von Teese

Dita Von Teese (@DitaVonTeese) is the biggest name in burlesque in the world since Gypsy Rose Lee and is credited with bringing the art form back into the spotlight. She is renowned for her iconic martini glass act and dazzling haute-couture striptease costumes adorned with hundreds of thousands of Swarovski crystals. This “Burlesque Superheroine” (Vanity Fair) is the performer of choice at high-profile events for designers such as Marc Jacobs, Christian Louboutin, Louis Vuitton, Chopard, and Cartier. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller Your Beauty Mark: The Ultimate Guide to Eccentric Glamour and has a namesake lingerie collection available internationally at prominent retailers. You can join Dita on one of her upcoming tour dates in 2019 and 2020 or at her “Weekend of Glamour” event on August 24th and 25th.

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

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Castbox, or on your favorite podcast platform.


Want to hear an episode with another artist who makes her own rules? — Listen to my conversation with Amanda Palmer in which we discuss books, trauma and grief, crowdfunding, understanding the role of pain, and much more. (Stream below or right-click here to download):


This podcast is brought to you by Athletic Greens. I’m often asked, “If you could only use one supplement, what would it be?” My answer is usually Athletic Greens, which I consider my all-in-one nutritional insurance. I recommended it in The 4-Hour Body and did not get paid to do so. I often take it in the mornings at home and travel with it to minimize the likelihood of getting sick. Though I always focus on whole foods first, AG covers my bases if I can’t get everything I need through meals. As a listener of The Tim Ferriss Show, you’ll get a free 20-count travel pack (valued at $79) with your first order at athleticgreens.com/tim.


This episode is brought to you by LinkedIn Jobs, which offers a smarter system for the hiring process. If you’ve ever hired anyone (or attempted to), you know finding the right people can be difficult. If you don’t have a direct referral from someone you trust, you’re left to use job boards that don’t offer any real-world networking approach.

LinkedIn, as the world’s largest professional network, which is used by more than 70 percent of the US workforce, has a built-in ecosystem that allows you to not only search for employees, but also interact with them, their connections, and their former employers and colleagues in a way that closely mimics real-life communication. Visit LinkedIn.com/Tim and receive a $50 credit toward your first job post!


QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

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Nick Norris — Navy SEAL and Athlete on Training, Post-Traumatic Growth, and Healing (#378)

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“I’ve shared that a lot more openly, and it’s been one of the best medicines that I’ve found. It’s liberating. Talking about grief has been something that’s unlocked a lot of happiness for me.”
— Nick Norris

Nick Norris (@nick_norris1981) is a graduate of both the United States Naval Academy and Basic Underwater Demolition / SEAL (BUD/S) Class 247. Upon completion of SEAL training in 2004, Nick assumed progressively higher positions of leadership within Naval Special Warfare. His deployed roles included combat advisor to Iraqi and Afghan military units, Cross Functional Team Leader, and Ground Force Commander during combat operation in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Nick was most recently assigned to Naval Special Warfare Basic Training Command — SEAL Qualification Training (SQT) as Officer in Charge prior to transitioning off Active Duty. Originally from Chicago, Nick received his Bachelor in Science from the United States Naval Academy in 2003 and his Masters of Science in Real Estate from The University of San Diego in 2013. He is on the board of directors of the C4 Foundation, which provides support and resources through science-based programs to active duty Navy SEALs and their families. Nick is the Co-Founder and CEO of Amavara, a sunscreen company that has invented a new mineral sunscreen technology to protect both consumer health and the environment.

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

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Castbox, or on your favorite podcast platform.

#378: Nick Norris — Navy SEAL and Athlete on Training, Post-Traumatic Growth, and Healing
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Want to hear an episode with someone who served with Nick on SEAL Team Three? — Listen to the most recent episode featuring Jocko Willink in which he discusses how to stop laziness and procrastination, behaviors that lead to failure, and much more. (Stream below or right-click here to download):


This podcast is brought to you by Helix Sleep. I recently moved into a new home and needed new beds, and I purchased mattresses from Helix Sleep.

It offers mattresses personalized to your preferences and sleeping style — without costing thousands of dollars. Visit Helixsleep.com/TIM and take the simple 2-3 minute sleep quiz to get started, and the team there will build a mattress you’ll love.

Their customer service makes all the difference. The mattress arrives within a week, and the shipping is completely free. You can try the mattress for 100 nights, and if you’re not happy, it’ll pick it up and offer a full refund. To personalize your sleep experience, visit Helixsleep.com/TIM and you’ll receive up to $125 off your custom mattress.


This episode is also brought to you by LegalZoom. I’ve used this service for many of my businesses, as have quite a few of the icons on this podcast including Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg of WordPress fame.

LegalZoom is a reliable resource that more than a million people have already trusted for everything from setting up wills, proper trademark searches, forming LLCs, setting up non-profits, or finding simple cease-and-desist letter templates.

LegalZoom is not a law firm, but it does have a network of independent attorneys available in most states who can give you advice on the best way to get started, provide contract reviews, and otherwise help you run your business with complete transparency and up-front pricing. Check out LegalZoom.com and enter promo code TIM at checkout today for special savings and see how the fine folks there can make life easier for you and your business.


QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

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Psychedelics — Microdosing, Mind-Enhancing Methods, and More (#377)

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Tim Ferriss (Milken Global Conference

This episode features a panel that I moderated in front of a standing-room-only crowd at the Milken Institute’s Global Conference 2019. It includes a great overview of psychedelic science, investing opportunities, anecdotal personal benefits, legal challenges, and much more. I think it’s one of the more comprehensive panels ever done on the subject. Here are the participants:

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Castbox, or on your favorite podcast platform.

#377: Psychedelics — Microdosing, Mind-Enhancing Methods, and More
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Want to hear another podcast discussing psychedelics? — Listen to my conversation with James Fadiman, who has been called “America’s wisest and most respected authority on psychedelics and their use.” Stream below or right-click here to download.

Ep 66: The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide - Risks, Micro-Dosing, Ibogaine, and More
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

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Why I’m Stopping the Fan-Supported Podcast Experiment

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Greetings!

This is a quick public service announcement: I will be stopping the fan-supported podcast experiment and moving back to an ad-supported podcast. This post will explain a few of the reasons.

Let’s kick off with some housekeeping notes:

  • Huge thanks to everyone who became supporters. I’ll have more to share with y’all via email soon.
  • As part of that thank you, I will be refunding every supporter 100% of what they’ve paid to date. Doing this for thousands of people will take 1-2 weeks, so thank you for being patient.
  • All support subscriptions have been stopped, so you will not be charged again.
  • Just for kicks, I will do another live video Q&A just for supporters on August 2nd, 2019, most likely 8-9pm ET (5-6pm PT), so you can pencil that in. More details will be sent via email once finalized.
  • If you think your company/product/service could be a good fit for the podcast, I’m interested in a few new sponsors to keep things fresh. Most sponsor spots for Q3 and Q4 are already full, but if interested, please click here for more information.

Now, back to this stopping of the experiment…

You might be thinking “Well, that was fast!”, and you’d be right.

The feedback and data have been overwhelmingly clear. Given the size of the audience — the podcast passed 400 million downloads a month ago — experiments can sometimes yield conclusions much more quickly than expected.

So, what did I learn?

The entire experience has been very surprising. For one, many of my assumptions were totally off.

It turns out that most of my listeners have a strong preference for an ad-supported model compared to other options. Many folks have come to use the podcast and 5-Bullet Friday for discovering new products and services, and that has been reflected in the comments since launch. After weeks of consistent feedback from my audience, it’s now loud and clear that my vetting and sharing of sponsors is better received and a better fit.

Below is just one of many blog comments left after the initial switch to no ads/fan-supported:

“Tim, just feedback about the no-sponsor thing– I don’t mind hearing your sponsored adverts because I believe you’ve considered them carefully and only tell us about great products. That’s why I have a closet full of Mizzen & Main shirts and drink Four Sigmatic. Not sure I would have known about those without you. I would rather hear your ads for you to get paid than to offer up my own money; those companies have more money than I do. Just my $.02. Thanks!”

Here are a few more, out of hundreds:

Screenshot 1: https://i.imgur.com/ImJlcFr.jpg

Screenshot 2: https://i.imgur.com/vYH9Ute.jpg 

Live tweet example.

The really comical part is that I should have known, and I could have known. Actually, one could argue that I did know.

Pre-launch polling on social media almost perfectly predicted the outcome. Here’s the tweet I used to test the waters, which had nearly 18,000 respondents. The results were:

72% – No, I wouldn’t donate.

24% – I would give $5 per month.

4% – I would give $10 or more per month.

The comments on this post are really worth reading. The feedback was almost entirely positive towards ads and almost entirely “meh” about fan-supported.

In other words, the answer to my question was clear from the outset: 99% of my listeners are totally OK with ads, and many of them look forward to finding new products and services through my sponsor reads. It’s industry standard for high-download podcasts to have ads, anyone who wants to skip over ads can skip ahead, and people generally do not want to support multiple podcasters by paying for them à la carte.

I may very well write an in-depth blog post about the data and findings another time, but here are a few teasers:

  • Did anyone actually decide to contribute at the $1,000-per-month level I added perhaps 10 days into testing? Short answer: yes. That ended up comprising roughly 13.4% of total monthly recurring revenue (MRR).
  • What percentage of converted visitors to the sign-up page chose the lowest-priced option, no matter the dollar amount ($9.95, $19.95, etc.)? Across all of our split tests, approximately 83%. Keep in mind that this is 83% of total supporters, not 83% of total revenue.
  • The customer service was incredibly low labor. This was shocking. Even with thousands of paying supporters, there were very few inquiries and very few issues (great people, I tell you!). The self-serve portal worked. That’s the good news. The bad news is that, without adding bonuses and incentives for various tiers — something that would create 10x more labor than the ad-supported model, defeating the purpose — the upside wasn’t enough for most listeners to subscribe/support.

So, we are going back to what worked.

The short conclusion to this experiment seems to be “Don’t fix it if it ain’t broken.” My sincerest thanks to everyone who provided support, advice, and feedback. It’s been a great learning experience, and I’m lucky that I can do these types of tests at all.

Onward and upward!

All the best to you and yours,

Tim

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