April 26, 2012
When he isn’t winning the Chinese National Kickboxing Championship, obtaining the Guinness World Record in tango, guest lecturing at Princeton, learning to speak a new language (currently fluent in five), or writing a pair of #1 New York Times bestselling books (The 4 Hour Workweek and The 4 Hour Body), Tim Ferriss finds time to lend his expertise as an advisor to a variety of startups.
His latest advisory role is with San Francisco-based WellnessFX, a health diagnostics startup focusing on preventative medicine. WellnessFX works as a four step (not to be confused with hour) program:
- A medical professional visits your home or workplace to take a blood draw. The test screens for more than 75 values (compared to fewer than 15 in most common blood tests).
- After the results from your blood tests are returned, you’ll receive a 30-minute consultation with your physician or specialist.
- You and your practitioner will work together to build a personalized health plan based upon your data, lifestyle and goals.
- Track results, revise, and repeat.
In an effort to drum up excitement, Ferriss is offering thirty minutes of his time to council winners of a contest held on the WellnessFX Facebook page. Winners can choose to take Ferriss’ advisement on growing their business or improving their personal wellness.
I caught up with Ferriss to learn more about the similarities between personal wellness and growing a business, the biggest mistake people make in regards to their health, his top advice to entrepreneurs, and his role with WellnessFX.
Tech Cocktail: What are the greatest similarities between growing a business and improving wellness? What qualities or habits are necessary to both?
Tim Ferriss: They both require measuring what matters, as Warren Buffett would say. Good metrics and trending are key. Both are neglected in business and health. Moving from pageviews to MAU (monthly active users), or from total cholesterol to hemoglobin A1C and triglycerides, is the starting point for everything else.
Tech Cocktail: What is the biggest mistake people make in regards to their health? Are there any schools of thought or widely adopted health practices that you feel are actually counter-productive to people’s goals of losing weight or improving their health?
Ferriss: First, people try to do too much at once. Really small changes have cumulatively bigger impacts. Following Stanford researcher BJ Fogg’s lead, don’t start with flossing your whole mouth each night (most people will fail), but start with flossing 1-2 teeth. Let it snowball from there. Second, people use exercise to lose fat. It’s a losing battle – you lose pounds in kitchen (many of my readers have now lost 120+ pounds) and only ounces in the gym. You don’t need to restrict calories, but you do need to choose the right foods.
Tech Cocktail: Have you had any new revelations or ‘Aha!’ moments regarding health/exercise/nutrition since the release of The 4 Hour Body?
Ferriss: I’m repeatedly stunned by how most “diet gurus” – which I’m not – treat their readers like complete idiots. I wrote The 4-Hour Body assuming my audience was intelligent, and they’ve stepped up to the plate without any problem: 120-150 pounds of fat loss in 6 months, running 50-mile races with no prior running experience, etc. There are thousands of examples. The dumbing down of instruction is really insulting. Sure, there are dummies, but the majority of people like details if you make them interesting.
Tech Cocktail: What is the most important piece of advice you offer to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Ferriss: You are the average of the 4-5 people you associate with most. Pick your partners, employees, investors, etc. very, very carefully.
Tech Cocktail: Can you tell us more about your involvement with WellnessFX? What about their service inspired you to get involved?
Ferriss: I’m an advisor to WellnessFX, which means that I work with them on everything from product design (which blood tests to include, the web-based dashboard, etc.) to scaling nationwide. Jim [Kean], the CEO, got me hooked because they’re developing all the next-generation diagnostics I want to use! They have access to some of the best scientists in the world. Since I do blood testing every four weeks or so, and suggest people do so at least every 3 months, it was a perfect fit. I’m scratching my own itch.
Ferriss was recently featured on the Web Series, “A Day in the Life”, where he further explains why he got involved with WellnessFX. You can watch the video below.
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