Why a Writer and Podcaster is My Favorite Entrepreneur
Forget Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk. Tim Ferriss is the entrepreneur more people should admire. Here’s why.
When people talk about the entrepreneurs they look up to, most people say the usual names — Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk. And for good reason, as they’ve built some of the best companies in the world.
But to me, my favorite entrepreneur isn’t someone whose built a company you’ve heard of. Instead, he’s most known for being a writer and podcaster. His name is Tim Ferriss.
Who is Tim Ferriss?
For those not familiar with Tim, his credentials and accomplishments are quite a mouthful.
In 2001, Tim founded his own company, BrainQUICKEN, an online nutrional supplements business that was sold to a private equity firm in 2010.
He then went on to become the author of three best-selling self-help books, namely The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body, and The 4-Hour Chef.
Moreover, in 2013, he created his own television series, “The Tim Ferriss Experiment”. In each of the 13 episodes, he showed people how he learned new skills such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and speaking Tagalog in rapid time.
Then, in 2014, he launched his own podcast, named “The Tim Ferriss Show”. It’s now the #1 business podcast on iTunes, with over 70 million downloads as of April 2016.
Why He’s My Favorite Entrepreneur
Although Tim’s accomplishments are clear, some may find it difficult to classify him as an “entrepreneur”. After all, he already sold his own company. But my definition of an entrepreneur is a bit different, and it’s why I feel he perfectly fits it:
My Definition of Entrepreneurship:
“An entrepreneur is someone who creates something new, and helps people at scale through what they’ve created.”
Tim perfectly fits this definition, as he’s helped people improve their businesses, learn new skills, and live happier lives through his books, TV series, and podcast episodes.
Particularly, Tim’s taught me a lot of important skills I need to be an entrepreneur, and below are three ways Tim has helped change my life:
1. Tim taught me a new perspective on entrepreneurship.
Tim helped me realize that starting my own company doesn’t have to mean working long hours every day, getting less sleep, and worrying 24/7 about my business.
In his book, “The 4-Hour Workweek”, Tim recounts how he was getting sick of working constantly for his company back then, BrainQUICKEN. So he decided to buy a one-way ticket to Europe, and set systems in place to remove himself as a bottleneck in the company.
Yet instead of the company imploding, profits rose 40% while he was abroad. The 4-Hour Workweek has many more stories such as this, where common assumptions about business and life are questioned and proved wrong.
Thanks to Tim, I’ve imbibed these principles of always testing assumptions and challenging popular beliefs, which are important for any entrepreneur.
2. Tim gave me the confidence to try learning new skills.
Secondly, Tim gave me the confidence to always try learning new skills and tackling new challenges.
I got this confidence through watching his TV show, The Tim Ferriss Experiment. I still remember that the first episode I watched was episode three, which was about language learning.
In this episode, Tim learned to speak basic Tagalog in four days. I sat on my couch, awe-struck, as I watched my favorite author and entrepreneur embarrassing himself on TV as he tried to speak my country’s language. Ever since, I’ve made it a point to keep learning new skills like Tim, and this is definitely something entrepreneurs should do as well.
For instance, last summer, for my foreign language class, I took Japanese. I instantly tried out all the language learning hacks Tim used in his TV show, and I ended up getting an A.
Last school year, for my PE class, instead of taking a sport I was familiar with, I took ballroom dancing. I spent two days a week dressed up in slacks and leather shoes, embarrassing myself while learning to dance. Yet I loved the whole experience and would definitely recommend it. I hope to learn even harder skills in the future, and I have to thank Tim for inspiring me to do so.
3. Tim gives me a regular dose of inspiration.
Lastly, Tim gives me a regular dose of inspirational stories, motivational quotes, and useful resources I use in my life.
He does this mainly through his podcast, which I listen to every day. Every morning, while eating breakfast, I listen to one of his episodes, where he interviews world-class performers, such as successful book authors, entrepreneurs, and athletes.
Imagine being able to sit and listen to the dinner conversations of the world’s most successful people — that’s what I feel like when I listen to his podcast.
Most of the best productivity hacks and principles I’ve incorporated in my life came from him and his podcast guests.
For instance, from his episode with noah kagan, I learned to use Facebook News Feed Eradicator and to increase my trackpad sensitivity to full, which have dramatically increased my productivity.
Another one is from his interview with Derek Sivers. I learned to only accept invites if my reaction is a “Hell yeah!”, and it’s made me free up a lot more time for myself to focus on my goals.
All in all, Tim definitely doesn’t fit the description of a typical entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk will always be the typical business icons people look up to.
However, Tim Ferris should be admired for how good he is at teaching the principles, skills, and mindsets every entrepreneur should have. His content has shown to change people’s lives at a dramatic level, just like how he’s changed mine.
That’s why he’s my favorite entrepreneur, and that’s why more people should look up to him too.
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*This blog post is an edited version of an essay I wrote for my Introduction to Technology Entrepreneurship class. We had to write an essay about our favorite entrepreneur. Picking Tim was an easy choice.