Update 12/20/08: The Truth Behind This Article

When Tim Ferriss came to our class to speak the day his TV show premiered he challenged us to compete in this promotion, except we were playing for a different prize. He offered us a $4000 ticket to The Entertainment Gathering, a 3-day conference of people from all facets in the entertainment industry, held in Monterey California. I sort of zoned out after I heard $4000 ticket, so I didn’t really know what I was competing for at the time, but I did know I only had 8 hours to promote what others had already been promoting for 36 hours. I realized I’d have to think outside of the box.

On my walk home from class, I came up with the plan: rather than promoting his show, I would promote his promotion. Therefore, everyone who subsequently promoted his show and their conversions were an indirect referral by me–a snowball effect. I created a little figure to help explain:

So how would I get the word out and be able to supply proof?
I wrote the article below on PitelSPOT and hit all the social networking sites, using my website statistics to supply conversions. Then, I took out a $20 ad on Facebook to maximize the number of impressions (over 100,000 in a couple hours) and track the results:
I supplied all this information along with links on Tim Ferriss’ blog. The Monday after the premiere I got the following email from Tim:
Outstanding work from all who competed.  I evaluated your actions based on all of the information you provided via blog comments, e-mail, screenshots, etc.; and I also used the following metrics and more for measurement:
-Known conversion ratios of different sites used
-Alexa/Compete/Quantcast traffic rankings for sites and pages used
-Supplied numbers and hard data, in addition to screenshots
-Signal:noise ratio.  In other words, if a site gets 1,000,000 comments and has 1,000,000 members, there is a 1:1 signal-to-noise ratio.  Fewer comments would increase the measurable or expected ROI for each posting.
-Click-through and one-to-one communication numbers vs. impressions or pageviews whenever possible.
I got second place (and no, there was never originally a second place). Second place was a $4000 ticket to the event, but I’d be responsible for my own airfare and hotel–and I’d have to leave the next day. Due to some prior engagements I already scheduled for that week, I had to pass on the event.
Original Article:
Tim Ferriss guest-lectured in my class, ELE 491/591 (High-Tech Entrepeneurship) students at Princeton University today–the day his new TV show premieres on History Channel (11PM ET). Trailer Here:  http://tr.im/1rak Eight years ago, Tim was in the same position I was: taking ELE 491 at Princeton, getting ready to write his term paper involving an interview with a high-tech company’s CEO. He talked about several key experiences, like how he worked his way up from sleeping under a desk to gain the following credentials:

(from fourhourworkweek.com)

  • First American in history to hold a Guinness World Record in tango
  • Advisor to more than 30 world record holders in professional and Olympic sports
  • National Chinese kickboxing champion
  • Glycemic Index (GI) researcher Political asylum researcher and activist
  • MTV breakdancer in Taiwan
  • Hurling competitor in Ireland
  • Actor on hit TV series in mainland China and Hong Kong

Then, he wrote his book last year: The 4-Hour Workweek, which ever since has been a best seller on the New York Times, BusinessWeek, and Wall Street Journal lists. In the tail-end of his lecture, he talked about how he farmed out his menial tasks to India for $2 / task using tryasksunday.com.

The History Channel deemed his “life-hacks” worthy enough for their own TV show. So in his true life-hack nature, he is running a contest to see who can draw the most viewers. The biggest promoter gets:

my favorite travel bag in the world, the $500 retail Victorinox Swiss Army 25″ Trek Pack Plus. I used an older version during my 15-country world trip in 2004, and the latest model is even better.

Best of luck promoting!

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3 Responses to “Tim Ferriss, Trial By Fire TV Show Promotion”  

  1. 1 Jordan

    You got it Adam! (Take me with you)

  2. 2 Dr. Grant Pitel

    Thanks for tryasksunday.com. I might give that a try

  3. 3 Robert Kennedy

    The first review I saw for tryasksunday.com wasn’t very flattering.
    anybody actually use these guy? If so how did it go?

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