What I recently learned from Tim Ferriss, one of my favourite entrepreneurs and public speakers, was about how one of the first steps towards his success. Possibly, some people might find some of his thoughts and ideas quite controversial, but try to bear with me while I’m trying to clarify some of my Key Takeaways at the bottom of the page.

If you really want to learn about setting up a business, set up a business.

After having several lunches with Mike Maples, a co-founder of Motive Communications (IPO to $260,000,000 market cap) and a founding executive of Tivoli (sold to IBM for $750,000,000), Tim Ferris decided to deep dive into the world of angel investing. “Angel investing” involves putting relatively small amounts of money — often from $15,000 to $100,000 — into early-stage start-ups.

Tim also declared how, in his younger years, he has always shown interest in following/starting an MBA at Standford University. But — and this is the interesting part — he decided not to pursue this dream and take another route to his future success.

Invest in yourself and start making a change.

He figured out that his first two years at Stanford would cost him roughly $120,000. After saving up from previous projects (such as the book “The 4 hour work week”), he founded the “Tim Ferriss Fund” and started working on “angel investing”.

“The focus was the learning experience, not the ROI.”

The 2-year plan was to methodically spend his $120,000 for the learning experience, not for the ROI. To actually learn as much as possible about startup finance, deal structuring, rapid product design, initiating acquisition conversations, etc. This is what Tim Ferriss referred to a couple of times during podcasts as what he likes to call the “real-world MBA”.

Final remark

What I personally wanted to share with you is that I certainly do not deny the business value of having an MBA. What I am truly convinced of is that there are many roads to learning how to set up a business and certainly does not require having an MBA degree — although it would probably help 🙂

Key Takeaways

Invest in the learning experience

You do not need $120K to learn about setting up a business

Try to be creative in finding ways to invest in learning experiences