Why Not the 3-Hour Work Week?

[caption id=”attachment_73” align=”aligncenter” width=”225”] It's a nice cover, but how much better do you think is possible? It’s a nice cover, but how much better do you think is possible?[/caption] Some of you may be familiar with  Tim Ferris’s experiment to come up with a great name for his book. From The Four Hour Workweek:

“He took 6 prospective titles that everyone could live with: including ‘Broadband and White Sand’, ‘Millionaire Chameleon’ and ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ and developed an Google Adwords campaign for each. He bid on keywords related to the book’s content including ‘401k’ and ‘language learning’: when those keywords formed part of someone’s search on Google the prospective title popped up as a headline and the advertisement text would be the subtitle. Ferriss was interested to see which of the sponsored links would be clicked on most, knowing that he needed his title to compete with over 200,000 books published in the US each year. At the end of the week, for less than $200 he knew that “The 4-Hour Workweek” had the best click-through rate by far and he went with that title.” This was clever, but what I find most interesting is that his testing ended after one iteration.  Once he noticed that “The 4-Hour Workweek” did well, he could have tested each possible small variation.  Imagine “The 5-Hour Workweek” and “The Four Hour Workweek”.  In addition he may have realized that “The 4-Hour Workweek” sounded much more direct than the other two names, and tested other names inspired by that knowledge.  For example, “No Work on Weekdays” or “Finishing Work Before Finishing Coffee”. My suspicion is that he stopped because using Google Adwords sucks.  It’s not made for testing: it can be expensive and  annoyingly difficult.   Google Adwords was made for sending out ads in large batches, not for doing relatively minor work.  Also, Ferris’s experiment with book covers was cute, but doesn’t sound very scalable.  With proper testing it makes sense that he could have tried out hundreds of different and modified book covers to much greater success. Rahul (cofounder) and I have spent a lot of time looking into this issue of simple copy testing.  We even created our  own website t0 test text, and tried advertising it to little success (don’t try it now, the site is not currently functional).  One option we’ve grown fond of for general use is  Mechanical Turk.  It’s frustrating (though less so than Google Adwords) but they have recently made it a bit better with a  sentiment analysis package.   Pickfu is another option but is significantly more expensive.  However, even Pickfu is cheaper and easier than Google Adwords. I believe that we’re just beginning to see the beginning of serious testing software for people who aren’t website designers or advertisers.  We just need people to start accepting them and for the technologies to be made more accessible to the public.