Think Different TV: Ramit Sethi and Me

Episode #2 of Think Different TV features Ramit Sethi of "I Will Teach You To Be Rich" and me in conversation for 40 minutes on personal finance, the media, mentors, writing good emails, and building relationships. Full content and times listed below the screenshot. I recommend watching it on Vimeo and letting it load all the way and then using the chapter markings. Here's an MP3 audio file of the episode.


0:59 Ramit explains what he's telling his readers about personal finance in these tumultuous times
5:00 Has the media done a good job explaining the crisis?
8:00 Ben says he admires those who have conceded the complexity of the situation
8:50 Ben says most young people he talks to don't really care what's going on in D.C. re: finance industry
9:08 Ben says if you're going to be an engaged citizen, you should follow what's going on even if it doesn't affect your own situation
11:16 Ramit says ignore macro-economics and focus on what you can control
13:10 Ben says if you take "only focus on things you control" to its logical end, people shouldn't focus on anything going on in Washington.
15:38 Ramit talks about his scholarship
17:48 Ramit says doing things that can scale — and reach a large audience — is most fun
19:53 What are the keys to a successful outreach to get 15 mins of a busy person's time?
21:24 Ramit says personalize the outreach
23:50 Ben says asking good questions is key and the key to a good question is specificity
24:38 Ben cites Geoffrey Moore's strategy to dominating niches and leveraging success as analogous to escalating communications in a relationship
25:35 Ramit asks Ben what the best way to get 15 minutes of Ben's time is – Ben says he's biased toward people who do their background research
27:10 Ramit: "Build a portfolio of work online that you can point people to"
28:59 Ben confesses that he judges people based on appropriate apostrophe usage in "its" and "it's"
29:54 Ramit talks about the "lamest, most ridiculous" emails he gets
31:10 Ben says in early days of a relationship your communications need a clear call to action, but eventually you should be able to say something and have the person react
32:32 Ramit says his use of "eom" in the subject line reflects the intimate nature of his relationship with Ben
33:27 Ben riffs on mentors: don't ask explicitly for someone to be a mentor, and it takes time. Relationships have a natural pace to them.
37:00 Ramit says ask your mentor good questions
38:31 Ben says also try to add value and bring up those topics for which there is no expert.

6 comments on “Think Different TV: Ramit Sethi and Me
  • interesting again,
    on mentoring… is kinda like a bf/gf relationship, you dont go directly and tell this girl “be my gf” at a serious level.
    a mentor relationship must come from a relationship itself.

    on having coffee with someone interesting, how do you approach them with out scaring ppl off thinking you are seeking a love relationship? i guess is on campus cafeteria right?

  • I had a little trouble with watching the video. There wasn’t any sound. Maybe there was a lot of people watching it, causing it to be overloaded.

    It sounds like some great topics were covered. I’ll have to come back and watch it soon.

  • Good stuff Ben. I’ve been reading both you and Ramit for the last couple of years so it was neat to see the two of you get together for a fun conversation.

  • Hey Ben. This is awesome! I have to add that the principles for getting a mentor are very similar to relationship based sales. I had a sales person contact to me and I referred her to this post for some training. Hope that you don’t mind. Here’s my email to her.


    I am currently a corp recruiter for xxxx.

    You know Social Networking tools like linkedin can be a huge opportunity to improve sales. I assume that is why you initially contacted me. Let me give you a small piece of advice that will improve your conversion/ sales ratio immensely. I follow a couple of blogs and one posted a video conversation this morning about how to make the first contact with people that you want to mentor with. It’s the same principles for sales. I suggest the you have a listen over lunch or from home

    The idea is that most people you want to talk to are very busy. You need a tool or a way to get through the business. One way to not get an answer to emails or social media contacts is to ask questions where the answer is readily available. Most professionals who are bombarded with contacts(consequently they’re the ones you really want to connect with) would have simply not responded to your question that you sent me,”Where have you moved to?” It’s not that they’re being rude it’s just that this question shows that you don’t really care and are just looking for a sale. No offense intended there.

    My suggestion is to do more homework and send out fewer emails. You could have gleaned a lot of great info off of my profile, found me on facebook or twitter and used that info to create a dialog. In the end social networking is a tool to build relationships.

    BTW here’s a great recruiting blog that I follow.



  • Good stuff guys. Just a comment on following the gyrations of the economy. I don’t blame anybody for ignoring news reports. While conditions are dire, the media adds drama in an effort to attract viewers. I’ve tried to limit my exposure to traditional news outlets in an effort to avoid all the negativity.

    We need to reinforce a positive vision of the future rather than a negative focus on the present.

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