Pilot

As I write this on the F train, bound for Broadway Lafayette, and eventually for my office, I can be pretty confident that even if someone looked over my shoulder and saw the subject line, odds are they wouldn’t know what I was talking about. In fact it’s a fair bet the folks on this car wouldn’t even identify the origins of the “breaking” part.Begin at the middle? What better way to 80/20 my writing than to do it via iPhone during the minutes I’m stuck on the train anyway. I’ve already used this method to push through writer’s block on a couple of projects. Caveat – I underestimated my propensity for motion sickness.I’m apparently a late convert to the Four Hour Work Week school, but I’ve already answered my first question – if it’s so easy why doesn’t everybody do it? – to my satisfaction. Two reasons- 1) it’s not easy and the devil is in the details, 2) unless they’re desperate enough most people will choose mild unhappiness/boredom and stability over a shot at controlling their lives in exchange for slightly greater risk. I actually have zero data to back up the second part. But that’s been my anecdotal experience.

Here are the broad strokes – it took me six years to become frustrated enough with my job to want to leave and another year to know what the hell else to do. In a way all the things that make my situation a shitty one to imagine spending your life in also make it an ideal one for trying Tim Ferriss’ life experiments on myself – the dead end job where no one notices a thing I do pays relatively well, especially on a per-hour basis because the aforementioned inattention to my activities allows flexibility and easy escape. Ten years spent at the whetstone of my stalled music, writing, and business ambitions has honed me into a pretty decent content-creator. The fact that my skills don’t translate well on a resume could be viewed as a blessing in that it forces me not to settle for another “easy” day job that makes me want to die in the fetal position.

So this blog is intended to catalog my trials and tribulations – a meta, Meta muse. One in which I can feel completely free to tell you that I’m inserting key phrases like “Tim ferriss muse ideas” and “Tim ferriss muse bullshit,” in hopes potential readers might be googling those phrases. And by God by the time this experiment is complete this blog should prove a pretty decent resource to a reader with those questions on his mind. My skepticism about Tim probably mirrors most people’s – a Princeton grad who taught himself Japanese in six months, won the national Chinese kickboxing championship, and just happened to have the business acumen to turn his second startup – Brain Quicken/Body Quick – into a million-dollar baby before spinning it off to a private equity firm – understandably elicits cries of “sampling bias” when he claims to be a stand-in for the Everyman. (Yes, I know he’s received success stories from readers – I’m a mild skeptic, not a disbeliever.) But, dear reader, if there was ever a case study in “if he can do so can I,” I am he.

So let’s start with what I know – Tim preaches creating an automated income locus called a Muse. After weeks of reading and rereading FHWW, I believe I finally understand the key components – a market you’re a part of, specific enough to escape competition with multinationals (for whom selling to your niche is presumably not worth their time), a product simple enough to source in small quantities, cheap enough that a 10x markup will sell, and lending itself to either drop shipping or easy forwarding to a fulfillment center, and an advertising/market testing platform cheap enough that even a .1% impression to conversion rate is still a manageable fraction of the per-customer revenue.

Starting to notice a few layers of condition building up? So am I. And I can tell you about them, having tested two Muses from Inception to Sticking Point. Stick with me through the next few posts as I chronicle my ideas, what I did with them, where I hit “walls,” and, hopefully, what I did to break through them. I’ll be as specific as I can without giving away ideas I’m asking people to sign non-disclosure agreements about, and hopefully it will be mutually beneficial: therapy/rumination for me, Real World (2013) case study for you.photo(7)

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