Tim Ferriss – The 4 Hour Work Week – An Interview

Tim FerrissTim Ferriss and I first met in person in Washington DC on my recent trip. He came up to me seconds after a presentation that I made and told me how he’d worked with a mate of mine and then asked if he could take me to lunch (hint – free food is always a good way to make a good impression with me).

The lunch that ensued was one that I won’t forget in a hurry – we hit it off and I quickly realized that I’d already heard about Tim (through a bizarre and surreal connection that I’m not allowed to tell you about – he IS a champion kick boxer and world champion cage fighter – I’m not going to break that promise).

Tim’s got a long list of accomplishments to his name – he’s a successful entrepreneur, he’s a Princeton guest lecturer, he’s a fighter, he’s a dancer (a world record holding one) and he’s an actor (among man other things) – however what got my attention most about Tim is that he’s the author of a book with a fascinating title – The 4-Hour Workweek.

After a long lunch, numerous other conversations and then dinner with Tim and my wife V you could say that I was pretty much sold on Tim and couldn’t wait to read his book.

My preview copy arrived this week and while I’m still only part of the way into it I can tell you that this is a book that is going to make a real impression on many thousands of people once it is launched (it’s being released this week).

Tim and I have been in contact since we met up and he kindly agreed to be interviewed via Instant Messaging this week. The interview was fascinating – in fact it was so interesting to me that I just couldn’t stop asking questions and it ended up being rather long. As a result I’m going to break it into three parts. The first one I’ll post in a few minutes – I hope you enjoy it!

While you’re waiting for the interview – get Tim’s book The 4-Hour Workweek at Amazon – it’s a great read.

Read Part I of my Interview with Tim Ferriss
Read Part II

Interview with Gina Trapani of Lifehacker – Part 2

Gina-Trapani-1Today I’m going to continue my interview with Gina Trapani of Lifehacker. Yesterday in Part 1 we talked about how she got into blogging and talked a little about being involved in one of the biggest blog networks going around. Today we turn our attention to Lifehacker itself and how Gina runs and manages it.

You have a number of bloggers working for you at Lifehacker – how do you find them? How to you coordinate/manage them?

I have 3 co-editors at Lifehacker: senior editor Adam Pash, associate editor Rick Broida and our weekend editor, Wendy Boswell. Each of my co-editors also does about 6 posts a day and 1-2 feature articles per week. Our goal is to update the site about 20 times per weekday and a reduced rate on the weekends, and offer at least one original feature article per weekday. That’s not something I could do alone, so thank goodness for my team.

I’ve found my editors in various ways. Adam was an avid reader and prolific commenter, and his knowledgeable and well-written comments got him hired. Wendy and Rick both guest-edited the site for some time before they became permanent editors.

A lot of time and energy goes into coordinating the 4 Lifehacker editors. We do frequent post reviews of each other’s material, keep an internal editorial wiki for our style guides and other documentation, have a weekly chat to brainstorm feature ideas, and keep in constant touch via IM and email.

What are your top 5 Blogging Tools?

1. Google Reader for RSS feeds. (Here’s why I switched from Bloglines)
2. Gmail for handling the daily onslaught of reader email.
3. Google Analytics and Sitemeter for traffic stats. (Here’s how I use Analytics to constantly improve and tweak the site)
4. Firefox along with some key extensions – like AutoCopy
5. AutoHotKey (Windows) and TextExpander (Mack) for entering post markup. (Here’s how to make blog markup easy with AutoHotKey)

Being a developer I’ve also build a few bookmarklets and Greasemonkey scripts that help us generate post types, like roundups, and search the site archives to avoid posting duplicate items.

How do you find post ideas for Lifehacker?

Three places: in the comments of existing Lifehacker posts (our commenters are awesome), in my RSS reader, and in the tips email box. And, of course, just talking and listening to my fellow geeks and friends and family about what’s on their mind.

What tips would you give someone just starting out in blogging if they wanted to build a profitable blog?

First, pick a topic you love, one that you can’t wait to write about every day. If I wasn’t truly obsessed with productivity, I would have never lasted at Lifehacker. Second, center your site on the reader, not yourself. Provide useful, informative, entertaining material that readers will come back to over and over again. Third, measure your success by your readership and the response you get from others, not your Adsense checks. Once you build your audience, the money will follow.

Interview with Gina Trapani of Lifehacker – Part 1

Gina-TrapaniToday I have the pleasure of posting the first part of an email interview that I conducted recently with Gina Trapani from one of my favorite blogs – Lifehacker. I’ve divided the interview into two parts because Gina’s put some great ideas into what she’s written and I’d like to give us all the opportunity of digesting it slowly over a couple of days. I hope you enjoy it.

Can you give us a short introduction into who you are and where you blog?

I’m a web programmer and freelance tech writer based in southern California. Primarily I write, a weblog about software and productivity which I update several times a day. I also keep a personal “stuff that interests me” tumblelog at

My first dead tree book came out in December, which is based on It’s called Lifehacker: 88 Tech Tricks to Turbocharge Your Day, and is available at bookstores and at More info about the book is available at

How did you get into blogging?

I lived in New York City and worked at an office about 2 miles north of the World Trade Center on September 11th. Like everyone else across the country and around the world, the experience of that day changed me – especially being so close geographically, witnessing the attack as it happened, and losing a family friend who worked in the towers.

Afterwards, reading my co-workers’ and friends’ accounts of that day on their blogs helped me process and deal with what happened more than any mainstream coverage, and they inspired me. That December, in 2001, I began my first personal weblog.

How did you get the gig as a blogger at Lifehacker?

It was luck, great timing, and a hyperactive brain. I had been working for Nick Denton, founder of Lifehacker’s publisher, as a programmer for a couple of years already the day he and I went out to lunch and he mentioned he’d registered the domain. I think my jaw hit the table in awe of what a great domain name that was, and I started listing all the great stuff he could do on a site named that, right over our Vietnamese food. He asked if I wanted to write it on the spot. Even though I’d never written anything professionally, accepting his offer was a no-brainer.

What tips would you give to someone looking to land a job blogging at a blog network?

Start your own blog on the topic you love, and make every effort to make it great. When you apply for a pro blogging job, tell them about your personal blog and point out posts you’re most proud of – that site will be your interview for the position.

Can you tell us a little about what you’re required to do as part of that blog?

On average I write about 6 posts a weekday, usually pointing to interesting productivity-related items around the web, and two feature-length original articles per week. On a daily basis, most of my time is spent researching and writing posts (obviously), answering email, managing my co-editors, brainstorming site improvements, interacting with readers in the comments, and planning new post series and feature articles. I get paid much the way a writer at a magazine gets paid. At magazines, you get paid per word; blog publishers usually pay per post. Feature posts – like magazine feature stories – require the most work and bring in the most traffic, so we get paid a higher rate for them.

Read Part II of this interview with Gina Trapani

Interview with Jim Kukral about BlogKits

BlogKits has launched it’s long awaited Affiliate Marketing Network for bloggers.

So I thought I’d ask it’s founder, Jim Kukral, a few questions about it and what he’s learnt along the road in developing it.

Logo Blogkits 1

What is BlogKits? (give us your elevator pitch)

Our business model is simple… Help 99% of 50-70 million low-traffic bloggers make a few extra bucks by giving them easy to implement tools and partnerships with large-named brands that lets them keep blogging, instead of trying to be an expert marketer. We’re an alternative blog revenue generating solution to things like Google Adsense, although, specifically, we operate non-contextually, and we follow the cost-per-sale (cpa) model.

Why have you developed it?

99% or more of all bloggers are low-traffic, meaning 100 visitors a day or much less. If you have a blog like that, your options for making money are not very good. You can’t sell cost per thousand (cpm) because you don’t have enough traffic. You can’t sell decent revenue earning sponsorships on your blog because you have low-traffic. Nobody wants to spend any real money for a link on your blog with low-traffic. Adsense pays to little with too little clicks. And so on…

On top of those facts, those same bloggers are just that… bloggers, not marketers. BlogKits takes away all the confusion of trying to make money with your blog, and gives you easy to use tools and partnerships with big name brands, all in one easy solution.

[Read more…]

Interview with the $222,718.36 Man – Lee Dodd

A couple of weeks ago I introduced readers to a new forum (a forum for people making money online). It’s headed up by a guy named Lee Dodd (who writes a blog called Forum Trends (sort of like ProBlogger for Forum owners). Lee recently posted a screen capture of his latest payment from YPN for a whopping $222,718.36 (that’s for three months). Obviously he knows a thing or two about making money from forums (something that I’ve heard time and time again is difficult).

I’m often asked about using forums alongside blogs and as I’ve never run one I thought Lee would be a good candidate to interview. I hope you find his answers to my questions helpful..

Darren – Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed Lee. For those ProBlogger readers who are unfamiliar with you could you gives us a brief introduction to who you are and what you do?

Lee – My name is Lee Dodd and I am live / work just outside of Dallas, TX. I have been in business online since the summer of 2000. I am 27 years old, married for almost 10 years, and the father of two beautiful girls (ages 4 and 6).

Darren – How did you get into making a living online?

Lee – It all began in 2000 when I got started with my telecom business. I decided to build my first website to use it as a lead gen source. I soon expanded to have a total of 3 sites generating leads for my salesmen to work with on the telephone. After I sold that company in

2004 along with another offline business in later that year, I began to dive more heavily in to content sites and forum building.

Darren – You seem to focus most of your energies on forums – why is that? What are the forums that you work on (have worked on previously). [Read more…]

Selling a Blog – Interview with Duncan Riley from Blog Herald

BlogheraldBig in blog news this week is the sale of BlogHerald (no official word that it’s sold yet but it looks like final negotiations are taking place). The price is said to be in excess of over $72,000 (USD). BlogHerald’s owner is Duncan Riley (a partner of mine at b5media) so I shot him a request for an interview as the subject is so relevant to this blog.

Having never sold a blog of my own I’m fascinated by the process and so started by asking Duncan:

Why are you Selling BlogHerald?
A number of reasons. Firstly Ive identified that there is now a perception that I have a conflict of interesting writing about blog networks when I’m an owner of one. Whether this is fair or not I guess doesn’t come into it because the perception is there, despite me having written the blog for 3 years. Also becoming a full time Problogger back in December means I can always do with the money :-) The capital from the sale will fund my mortgage for atleast the next 12 months and allow me to finish off my house whilst building up income from other blogs and from b5media.

One of the biggest topics of discussion around this sale is regarding the ‘secrecy’ and the strategy of not publically announcing the name of the blog being sold – Why did you do it this way? What were the pros and cons of this move in retrospect?

I don’t think it was so much a secret: certainly those who asked for the information from Jeremy (who were interested in bidding) where provided the details commercial in confidence. Although there has naturally been a fair bit of talk about the sale imagine how much more there would have been if The Blog Herald had been named from day one? Basically I didn’t want a circus around the sale, and from a marketing perspective I believe a full public sale may have been detrimental to the brand.

[Read more…]

Six Figure Blogger Interview – Manolo from ShoeBlogs

Shoe-BlogOne of my favorite blogs to show people when they ask to give examples of innovative ways to use blogs to earn an income is Monolo’s Shoeblog. If you haven’t seen it before you really must go have a look – it’s a blog written by ‘the Manolo’ about shoes and celebrities. Odd topic? Yes and no – in fact the more I reflect on ‘the Manolo’ the smarter I realize that they are as its a blog that crosses two popular niches – shoes and celebrity.

The blog is written in the third person by ‘the (anonymous) Manolo’ who has a real cult following. The style of writing is quirky, fun and at times quite bizarre – but I (and many thousands of others) love it!

I’ve been emailing the Manolo off and on for a while now and have been hassling them for an interview – today my wishes came true. I decided to get into the third person spirit and do the interview in that style. The Manolo answers my questions very candidly and even tells us how much the Manolo earns from the shoe blog – you might be surprised just how lucrative shoes can be!

The ProBlogger – How did the Manolo get into blogging?

The Manolo – Ah, this it is the good question. The Manolo he had been blogging in the tiny small way for many years prior to the launching of the shoe blog, but it was always most unsatisfying because it was not about the Manolo’s true love, the shoes, and so the Manolo he finally decided to follow his bliss by starting the blog about the shoes and the fashion.

The ProBlogger – If you had to describe Manolo’s Shoe Blog in less than 15 words how would you do it?

The Manolo – Shoes, fashion, celebrity, humor and Manolo!

[Read more…]

Interview With Peter Rojas Of Engadget

There’s a good interview over at PSFK with Engadgets editor, Peter Rojas. It gives a great insight into the inner workings of one of the biggest blogs going around. Here’s a couple of snippets that highlight the type of professionalism that gets a blog to the top of the pile:

‘I personally publish 5200 posts a year but I have my team (Ryan, Barb, Marc) who work shifts. We also have regular contributors for columns and features. To be in the team, you have to get ‘it’. It’s intangible. You need a certain depth and breadth of tech without necessarily being a specialist. We don’t want a Mac person to come in and refuse to look at PCs. We try to be agnostic – we’re enthusiastic about how people can use this stuff and about technology in general, we try not to get focused on specific brands….

We’re trying to grow (Engadget) into three or four areas. We’ve been doing reader events, we’re going to expand into video, and we’d like the podcast to grow and evolve into something better than it is now.’

Great interview Piers – keep up the good work.

Interview with Jacob Gower

Phoenixrealm has a good interview with Jacob Gower the recent purchaser of blogs including CSS Vault, BloggingPro, Forever Geek, and Blog Catalog and the owner of new blog top sites.

It’s an insightful look into the mind of a guy who is quickly making a name for himself in ProBlogging circles.