Tristan de Montebello

What is About The Start?

Hey, I’m Tristan de Montebello the founder of About The Start. I would like to help make your life even more interesting.

  • Have you ever wanted to learn Guitar but didn’t want to go through years of formal training?
  • Did you ever wish you were “handy” around the house, but never knew where or how to learn?
  • Have you ever thought of learning a new skill but never started because it seemed too daunting?
  • Have you ever started to learn a skill but stopped learning way to early because it felt too hard?
  • Did you ever say to yourself that if you could learn (fill in the blank) easily you would feel better about yourself?

If you answered positively to any of these questions, you are in the right place.

About The Start is all about helping you successfully and rapidly learn new activities that will make you happier and stronger in the process. It is about getting GOOD ENOUGH at an activity as fast as possible so that you can enjoy it for the rest of your life without ever again having to “put in the work”.  In other words, it’s more about front loading your learning in an efficient, goal-oriented, failproof manner, then it is about mastering a skill.

My philosophy is based on the idea that:

  1. Learning a new skill is incredible for your overall long term happiness.
  2. If you manage to reach and cross a certain threshold in any activity, you will experience disproportionate amounts of pleasure for years and years to come with little work.
  3. The faster you make it to that threshold, the less likely you are to quit and the more fun and fulfillment you will experience.

I call this threshold The Threshold of Disproportionate Results (TDR). I should probably find a better name for it, but this will have to do for now. 

The TDR is a milestone everyone eventually reaches when learning a new skill. You know you are there because things that used to seem impossible start to flow.  Theory becomes less of a focus and you start relying mostly on intuition and feeling. You experience a disproportionate level of pleasure compared to earlier phases in your learning curve. etc.

It exists in every single activity I can think of.

How you learn any skill. Aim for the Threshold.


Those that know about the TDR and its benefits always chose this mindset when learning anything new.


An example I like to use to illustrate the Threshold of Disproportionate Results is learning how to ride a bicycle.

Imagine you had never ridden a bicycle before. The very first steps are hard and scary. Your chances of not falling are almost non-existant and it will take a while before you feel comfortable riding.

Since cruising on a bicycle is a fairly simple skill, it’s easy to understand where the Threshold of Disproportionate results is. As soon as you get to a level where you can:

  • ride in a straight line, uphill, and downhill,
  • slow down, come to a full stop,
  • turn while riding,
  • feel comfortable at a very slow pace as well as a faster than normal one,
  • let go of one hand and do all of the above,

you will have crossed the TDR. (I go into detail on the 7 steps to crossing the TDR, here)

If you get to this level, I can assure you that the following will occur:

  1. You will feel great every time you go for a ride, however hard/scary/frustrating your learning experience was.
  2. You will have a hard time remembering why you had such a hard time before
  3. You will maintain that level for the rest of your life without having to actually train anymore

If you stop before you crossed the Threshold, you won’t have as much fun, and more importantly, what you learned will slowly erode until you will eventually have to go through the whole learning process all over again.

Knowing exactly what the TDR is in a skill you are about to learn is a crucial first step if you are looking to optimize the amount of pleasure you want to experience.


I will be sharing most of my knowledge on this site in the years to come. The main themes will be related to rapid learning, building confidence through new skills, and the psychology associated with learning physical skills (a fascinating subject with many practical lessons)

To subscribe to About The Start and get an email or two a month with my best articles and tips, all you have to do is sign up to my email list below:

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I am not leaving anytime soon. I’m in this for the long run.

This is a project that comes from the heart. This feels like the most personal public project I’ve done and I plan on working on this tirelessly for the next 10 years at least. I intend on seeing the project morph over time, but the core idea of helping you add more freedom and excitement in your life by learning new skills will most likely stay the same.

Since I was a kid, I couldn’t help but share whatever I had learned with my friends. Teaching came naturally to me as a byproduct of this trait, but I’ve spent an insane amount of time experimenting on how to learn faster and how to share that knowledge with others.

In addition to writing, I will be working on various courses along the years for adults (30+) who are successful in their professional lives, but are ready to add interesting skills to their personal toolbox.

My first product will come out in 2015. I am on a quest to teach 1000 adults how to learn guitar. This upcoming course is for those who have always wanted to sing songs and reach “guitar independence”. It is specifically geared towards total beginners with little time.

The best way to know more about this course is to sign up to my email list:

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About Tristan de Montebello

The best way to get to know me is to sign up to my email list (above) and read my articles. You can unsubscribe in one click if it’s not a great fit.

If you insist on knowing more right away, here it is:

I like traveling and languages

Though I was born in France my parents moved to the US when I was barely 1. We lived there for 10 years before moving back to Paris, France where I lived for 20 years. I currently live in Los Angeles (since 2014).

Having a bi-cultural upbringing shaped a lot of who I am today.

I’m bilingual in English and French, fluent in Spanish, and can dabble a bit in Japanese.

I love traveling and meeting humans. In 2013 I spent almost a year living a nomadic life traveling around the globe with my girlfriend (now wife).


I’ve never had a “real” job.

Though I went through some more conventional internships during my Masters in Computer Science in Paris, such as Packard Bell or the Boston Consulting Group in Madrid, I started my first company with two great friends before finishing school. (I did not drop out)

After that company failed to turn into a profitable venture, I turned to the web, and haven’t looked back since.

My most notable achievement in that period is probably Trendy-Workshop.com, a French company I helped create and bring to market. We gave you the opportunity to entirely customize your cashmere garments, bags, shoes, scarves, etc. that we then produced to order.

I am also very proud to have worked with Andrew Warner in the early days of Mixergy.com. (Andrew is now famous for his outstanding interviews of successful entrepreneurs on how they built their businesses)


I had a band

The year we started our band, The Lucky Little Band, we managed to get featured on national television in France, and played over 30 concerts.

One year prior, I had never played for more than 10 people (my friends) and would have laughed at you if you told me I would be doing concerts a year from then.


I’m obsessed with learning new activities

Seriously, I have an obsession.

I see something new, I develop a passion in 6 seconds, and try to get good at it as fast as possible. When I’m satisfied with my level, I go on to the next activity.

I’m a pleasure seeker, you see. When I’m intrigued by a new activity, I will do whatever it takes to squeeze as much pleasure out of it as I can with the least effort possible. I’ve been doing this for well over 20 years.

In an effort to get to the “maximum pleasure” zone (I call it crossing the Threshold of Disproportionate Results) as fast as possible, I have had to get better and better at learning with ferocious efficiency.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy. If you know exactly what to do and how to do it, it can be simple, but it’s not easy. My aim is to go through the hard part as fast and efficiently as possible so I never have to do it again.

The good news is that you can benefit from my obsession, I’ve gotten pretty damn good at learning which in turn has helped me become pretty damn good at teaching beginners.


I want to share what I learn with you

Ever since I was a kid, I have loved sharing whatever I thought was awesome.


If you are interested in learning new activities, we are going to get along.

Since I am a bit lazy, I have had to constantly refine my learning techniques in order to go through the more boring or frustrating parts of learning to get to the pleasure part as fast as possible.

I want to teach you everything I know.


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Photo credit: Gratiane de Moustier