Tim Ferriss and I at SXSWiWhen I heard that Tim Ferriss was moderating this session, I was really looking forward to this because I was a big fan, having read his book “The Four Hour Workweek” twice just to make sure I didn’t miss anything. This panel was about building big in as little time as possible. I’ll have to admit, save for Tim, I really didn’t know any of these people. And I call myself a tech geek – oh the shame. All of the speakers were accomplished in their own right.

  • Tim Ferriss – author of the Four Hour Workweek
  • Evan Williams – founder of Blogger and Twitter
  • Cali Lewis – host of GeekBrief TV, a video podcast site for tech geeks like me
  • Mike Cassidy – CEO & co-founder of Xfire, DirectHit, and Stylus Innovation

I think Mike belongs in a whole different category of his own. Mike is a speed freak. He sold Stylus Innovation for $13 million, quickly followed up by selling his 500 day old company DirectHit for $532 million. If that wasn’t enough, he then went on to sell his 2 year old Xfire to Viacom for $110 million. He’s a speed demon. I like. I thought man, I wanna hear what this guy has to say, he’s not messing around.

I’ve organized my notes by person. It helps me understand them individually better.

Cali

  • Build a community
  • Have passion
  • Don’t promote too early

Evan

  • Use social networks to build a critical mass
  • Follow the market that’s responding – not necessarily the market that your website was meant for
  • Grow faster by taking away power user features

Tim

  • Embrace the thought leaders not the traffic leaders
  • Ready, fire, aim approach. Launch first, then figure out who its for
  • Don’t skip on time spent networking
  • Don’t ask people to review you
  • Offer to share knowledge and explain
  • Eliminate as much as possible
  • Get relationships in place before you need them
  • Make it easy for mentors to help you
  • Focus on a really small audience
  • Recommended reading: “Buffet: Making of an American Capitalist

Mike

  • Compress all phases of the company
  • Release products/updates quickly (2 weeks)
  • Start with a simple clean feature set
  • Recruiting: set expectations with a running start beginning on day 1
  • Form relationships even when there is no immediate benefit
  • Recommended reading “Six Days of War

If I were to distill everything down to just a key point from each person it would be:

  • Be genuine, be real, and it will show.
  • Go with the flow. You don’t know how users will use your product until it happens.
  • Go for quality over quantity whether it’s relationships, product, users.
  • Do it fast.

Tim Ferris has a writeup of the event including a recording of the panel. You should definitely check it out.

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