UJ Ramdas launched a viral product that made Tim Ferriss even more productive.
In 2013, UJ met Ferriss at MMT Toronto, an invite-only event for purpose-driven entrepreneurs. Ferriss is an angel investor, productivity guru and New York Times best-selling author of The 4-Hour Work Week. After delivering a talk to the exclusive group, Ferriss was navigating a long line of influential people, all vying for his attention.
At the time, UJ’s resume looked a little different. He sold video advertising for residential elevators before joining Toronto’s Morpheus Clinic as a Behavioral Change Specialist. Along with co-founder Alex Ikonn, he’d just launched a side hustle, The Five-Minute Journal, full of prompts to promote gratitude and wellness. UJ launched the journal at MMT Toronto, where he gave Ferriss a copy.
Less than one month later, UJ got an email from Ferriss’ assistant—an order for 2,500 more copies. Ferriss was using the journal and seemingly appointed himself its ambassador, posting videos, talking to the press and writing testimonials, calling it “a therapeutic intervention” for “Type-A personalities.”
“We were profitable within the first few weeks,” UJ told The Financial Post at the time.
UJ and his partner went from side hustlers to full-time business owners, partly by filling a gap with a great product. Still, UJ credits his success to community building more than market fit.
The journal’s parent company, Intelligent Change, has since sold more than one million products.
Here’s how it happened
2011: UJ and Alex meet in Toronto through mutual friends. UJ joins Toronto’s Morpheus Clinic as a Behavioural Change Specialist. His work helping clients create habits for positive change inspires him to build more tangible tools for this practice
2013: UJ and Alex create The Five-Minute Journal to address their frustrations with lectures on happiness that don’t offer tools. UJ attends MMT Toronto where he launches The Five-Minute Journal. Tim Ferriss gets a copy and orders 2,500 more
2016: UJ and Alex launch The Productivity Planner
2017: UJ and Alex launch The Five-Minute Journal for Kids
2019: UJ exits the company to focus on new projects
UJ’s advice to other entrepreneurs? “Define what success means for you, then surround yourself with smart people who have already achieved it.”
As a behavioral change specialist and someone committed to self-improvement, UJ attributes a huge chunk of his success to relationships, including MMT Community.
Though UJ exited the business in 2019 to focus on family, he remains an avid MMT member, having attended every annual event since 2013, with two exceptions. Once, when he was hospitalized after a near-fatal car crash. And in 2020, when the event was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Even then, UJ joined the group’s virtual gatherings.
“Being part of MMT was fundamental to my success,” he said. “It continues to be close to my heart.”