Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Four Hour Rails Work Week

Got an interesting e-mail today. Hans Friedrich, like me, develops Web apps in Rails, and he watched the awesome Google Video I linked to recently where Tim Ferriss and Marci Alboher talk about their respective books (both of which are excellent).

Hans is a hard-working Rails developer, putting in long hours and making good money. Although I don't do the big-money/long-hours thing, I've done it in the past. Hans pointed out that the four-hour work week and the hard-working programmer can be very different things, from very different worlds - I'd add that this is especially true in Silicon Valley - and he asked me to connect the dots. Here's a partial quote from my reply:

Those dots are some great dots to connect but I'm still figuring out the answer myself. I think one great way to do it is PeepCode, which Geoffery Grosenbach told me is now his full-time thing. Selling information products for $9 a pop is a great model in terms of scalability and automation. It does require that Geoff keep learning as much as he can about Rails, but if you enjoy learning about Rails, that's just another plus.

Of course, if you're working for a startup, Tim Ferriss' ideas are pretty hard to implement; but if you're running your own consultancy or working for a larger corporation, the book gives you some pretty great options and strategies.

Definitely expect to see more in the future about The Four Hour Work Week and my experiences putting its ideas into practice. Although many of the ideas are new to me, and putting them into practice may take some trial and error, I've been doing the frequent mini-retirements thing since I was 18 or 19, and I absolutely swear by that. A crucial part of enjoying life.


  1. You know, your pretty seasoned at video production by this point. You could do the same thing the peepcode guys do but for Seaside and SmallTalk.

    There is much confusion out there, and interest is growing. You should do it. I would buy just for the production quality.

  2. As you said, if you are *working* for a start-up it could be pretty difficult to apply the principles discussed. However, if you are starting your own or are thinking about it (as I am) then the book is really more essential than ever for creating a scalable, "real" business. Of course, this should be immediately followed by Michael Gerber's The E-Myth. And a reminder of the age-old adage, "Friends don't let friends start Web 2.0 social networks with no revenue model."

  3. I think there's actually a lot of synergy between "The Four Hour Work Week" and "Getting Real." The idea of starting an application on the side, and building it to make you money, instead of to sell it to Google, these are both very much in line with the "Four-Hour Work Week" approach to business.

    btw - thanks Nima - actually my video editing software is all on another machine in another state right now - it's certainly crossed my mind though.


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