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Popular Transcripts Full Transcript: Joe Rogan Experience #1169 – Elon Musk

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Joe Rogan Experience #1169 – Elon Musk

Ah, ha, ha, ha. Four, three, two, one, boom. Thank you. Thanks for doing this, man. Really appreciate it.

You're welcome.

It's very good to meet you.

Nice to meet you too.

And thanks for not lighting this place on fire.

You're welcome. That's coming later.

How does one, just in the middle of doing all the things you do, create cars, rockets, all the stuff you're doing, constantly innovating, decide to just make a flamethrower? Where do you have the time for that?

Well, the flame, we didn't put a lot of time into the flamethrower. This was an off-the-cuff thing. It's sort of a hobby company called the Boring Company, which started out as a joke, and we decided to make a real, and dig a tunnel under LA. And then, other people asked us to dig tunnels. And so, we said yes in a few cases.

Now, who-

And then, we have a merchandise section that only has one piece of merchandise at a time. And we started off with a cap. And there was only one thing on, which is That's it. And then, we sold the hats, limited edition. It just said, "The Boring Company."

And then, I'm a big fan of Spaceballs, the movie. And in Spaceballs, Yogurt goes through the merchandising section, and they have a flamethrower in the merchandising section of Spaceballs. And, like, the kids love that one. That's the line when he pulls up the flamethrower. It's like, "We should do a flamethrower." So, we-

Does anybody tell you no? Does anybody go, "Elon, maybe for yourself, but selling a flamethrower, the liabilities, all the people you're selling this device to, what kind of unhinged people are going to be buying a flamethrower in the first place? Do we really want to connect ourselves to all these potential arsonists?

Yeah, it's a terrible idea. It's terrible. Don't buy one. I said, "Don't buy this flamethrower. Don't buy it. Don't buy it." That's what I said, but, still, people bought it.


There's nothing I can do to stop them. I did not stop them.

You build it, they will come.

I said, "Don't buy it. It's a bad idea."

How many did you make?

It's dangerous. It's wrong. Don't buy it. And, still, people bought it. I just couldn't stop them.

How many did you make?


And they're all gone?

In three — I think, four days. They sold out in four days.

Are you going to do another run?


No, that's it?


Oh, I see.

I said we're doing 20. We did 50,000. 50,000 hats, and that was a million dollars. I thought, "Okay. Well, we'll sell something for 10 million," and that was 20,000 flamethrowers at $500 each. They went fast.

Yeah. How do you have the time? How do you have the time to do that though? I mean, I understand that it's not a big deal in terms of all the other things you do, but how do you have time to do anything? I just — I don't understand your time management skills.

I mean, I didn't spend much time on this flamethrower. I mean, to be totally frank, it's actually just a roofing torch with an air rifle cover. It's not a real flamethrower.

Which is why it says, "Not a flamethrower."

That's why we were very clear, this is not actually a flamethrower. And, also, we are told that various countries would ban shipping of it, that they would ban flamethrowers. So, we're very — To solve this problem for all of the customs agencies, we labeled it, "Not a flamethrower."

Did it work? Was it effective?

I don't know. I think so. Yes.

So far.


Now, but you do-

Because they said you cannot ship a flamethrower.

But you do so many different things. Forget about the flamethrower. Like, how do you do all that other shit? Like, how does one decide to fix LA traffic by drilling holes in the ground? And who do you even approach with that? Like, when you have this idea, who do you talk to about that?

I mean, I'm not saying it's going to be successful or something, you know. It's not like asserting that it's going to be successful. But so far, I've lived in LA for 16 years, and the traffic has always been terrible. And so, I don't see any other, like, ideas for improving the traffic. So, in desperation, we're going to dig a tunnel. And maybe that tunnel will be successful and maybe it won't.

I'm listening.

Yeah. I'm not trying to convince you it's going to work.

And are the people that you-

I mean, or anyone.

But you are starting this though. This is actually a project you're starting to implement, right.

Yeah, yeah, no. We've dug about a mile. It's quite long. It takes a long time to walk it.

Yeah. Now, when you're doing this, what is the ultimate plan? The ultimate plan is to have these in major cities, and anywhere there's mass congestion, and just try it out in LA first?

Yeah. It's in LA because I mostly live in LA. That's the reason. It's a terrible place to dig tunnels. This is one of the worst places to dig tunnels mostly because of the paperwork. You all think it's like, "What about seismic?" It's like, actually, both tunnels are very safe in earthquakes.

Why is that?

Earthquakes are essentially a surface phenomenon. It's like waves on the ocean. So, if there's a storm, you want to be in a submarine. So, being in a tunnel is like being in a submarine. Now, the way the tunnel is constructed, it's constructed out of these interlocking segments, kind of like a snake. It's sort of like a snake exoskeleton with double seals.

And so, even when the ground moves, the tunnel actually is able to shift along with the ground like an underground snake, and it doesn't crack or break. And it's extremely unlikely that both seals would be broken. And it's capable of taking five atmospheres of pressure. It's waterproof, methane-proof, well, gas-proof of any kind, and meets all California seismic requirements.

So, when you have this idea, who do you bring this to?

I'm not sure what you mean by that.

Well, you're implementing it. So, you're digging holes in the ground.


Like, you have to bring it to someone that lets you do it.

Yes. There are some engineers from SpaceX who thought it would be cool to do this. And the guy who runs it, like, day-to-day is Steve Davis. He's a longtime SpaceX engineer. He is great. So, Steve was like, "I'd like to help make this happen." I was like, "Cool." So, we started off with digging a hole in the ground. It's got like a permit for a pit, like pit, and just dug a big pit.

And you have to tell them what the pit's for, or you just said, "Hey, we just want to dig a hole."

I just filled up this form.

That's it?

Yeah, it was a pit in our parking lot.

But do you have to give them some sort of a blueprint for your ultimate idea? And do they have to approve it? Like, how does that work?

Now. We just started off with a pit.


A big pit. And, you know, it's not really — You know, they don't really care about the existential nature of a pit. You just say like, "I want a pit."


Yeah. And it's a hole in the ground. So then, we got the permit for the pit, and we dug the pit, and we dug it in, like, I don't know, three days, two to three days. Actually, I think two, 48 hours, something like that because Eric Carr said he was coming by for the Hype. He's going to attend the Hyperloop Competition. which is like a student competition we have for who can make the fastest part in the Hyperloop. And he was coming.

The finals are going to be on Sunday afternoon. And so, Eric is coming by on Sunday afternoon. He's like, "You know, we should dig this pit, and then like show Eric." So, this was like Friday morning. And then, yeah. So, it's about a little over 48 hours later, we dug the pit. There was like wind 24/7. Oh, 24. 48 straight hours, something like that. And dug this big pit, and we're like, "Show Eric the pit." It's like, obviously, it's just a pit. But, hey, a hole in the ground is better than no hole in the ground.

And what did you tell him about this pit? I mean, you just said this is the beginning of this idea.


We're going to build tunnels under LA to help funnel traffic better.


And they just go, "Okay." But we've joked around about this in the podcast before to like what if a person can go to the people that run the city and go, "Hey, I want to dig some holes on the ground and put some tunnels in there," and they go "Oh, yeah, okay."

Not the only one with a hole in the ground.

But it's a-

People dig holes in the ground all time.

But my question is, like, I know how much time you must be spending on your Tesla factory. I know how much time you must be spending on SpaceX. And yet, you still have time to dig holes under the ground in LA, and come up with these ideas, and then implement them. Like-

I have a million ideas.

I'm sure you do.

There's no shortage of that. Yeah.

I just don't know how you manage your time. I don't understand it. It doesn't seem — It doesn't even seem humanly possible.

You know, I do, basically — I think, people, like, don't totally understand what I do with my time. They think, like, I'm a business guy or something like that. Like my Wikipedia page says business magnate.

What would you call yourself?

A business magnet. Can someone please change my Wikipedia page to magnet?

They'll change it for you.

Please change.

Right now, it's probably already changed.

It's locked. So, somebody has to be able to unlock it and change it to magnet.

Someone will get that.

I want to be a magnet. No, I do engineering, you know, and manufacturing, and that kind of thing. That's like 80% or more of my time.

Ideas, and then the implementation of those ideas.

Those are like hardcore engineering, like-


… designing things, you know.


It's structural, mechanical, electrical, software, user interface, engineering, aerospace engineering.

But you must understand there's not a whole lot of human beings like you. You know that, right? You're an oddity-


… to chimps like me.

We're all chimps.

Yeah, we are.

We're one notch. One notch above a chimp.

Some of us are a little more confused. When I watch you doing all these things, I'm like, "How does this motherfucker have all this time, and all this energy, and all these ideas, and then people just let him do these things?"

Because I'm an alien.

That's what I've speculated.


Then, I'm on record saying this in the past. I wonder.

It's true.

I mean, if there was one? I was like, "If there was, like, maybe an intelligent being that we created, you know, like some AI creature that's superior to people, maybe it's just hanging around with us for a little while like you've been doing, and then fix a bunch of shit." I mean, that's the way.

I might have some mutation or something like that.

You might. Do you think you do?


Do you wonder? Like, around normal people, you're like, "Hmm." Think, "What's up with these boring dumb motherfuckers?" ever?

Not bad for a human, but, I think, I will not be able to hold a candle to AI.

You scared the shit out of me when you talk about AI between you and Sam Harris.

Oh sure.

I didn't consider it until I had a podcast with Sam once.

That's great.

And he made me shit my pants. Talking about AI, I realized, like, "Oh, this is a genie that once it's out of the bottle, you're never getting it back in."

That's true.

There was a video that you tweeted about one of those Boston dynamic robots.


And you're like, "In the future, it will be moving so fast, you can't see it without a strobe light."

Yeah. You can probably do that right now.

And no one's really paying attention too much other than people like you, or people that are really obsessed with technology, all these things are happening. And these robots are — Do you see the one where PETA put out a statement that you shouldn't kick robots?

It's probably not wise.

For retribution.

Their memory is very good.

I bet it's really good.

It's really good.

I bet it is.


And getting better every day.

It's really good.

Are you honestly legitimately concerned about this? Are you — Is, like, AI one of your main worries in regards to the future?

Yes. It's less of a worry than it used to be, mostly due to taking more of a fatalistic attitude.

So, you used to have more hope, and you gave up some of it. And, now, you don't worry as much about AI. You're like, "This is just what it is."

Pretty much. Yes, yes, yes.

Was that not? Yes but no.

It's not necessarily bad. It's just it's definitely going to be outside of human control.

Not necessarily bad, right?

Yes. It's not necessarily bad. It's just outside of human control. Now, the thing that's going to be tricky here is that it's going to be very tempting to use AI as a weapon. It's going to be very tempting. In fact, it will be used as a weapon. So, the on ramp to serious AI, the danger is going to be more humans using it against each other, I think, most likely. That will be the danger. Yeah.

How far do you think we are from something that can make its own mind up whether or not something's ethically or morally correct, or whether or not it wants to do something, or whether or not it wants to improve itself, or whether or not it wants to protect itself from people or from other AI? How far away are we from something that's really truly sentient?

Well, I mean, you could argue that any group of people, like a company is essentially a cybernetic collective of people and machines. That's what a company is. And then, there are different levels of complexity in the way these companies are formed. And then, there's a sort of like a collective AI in the Google, sort of, Search, Google Search, you know, where we're all sort of plugged in as like nodes on the network, like leaves on a big tree.

And we're all feeding this network with our questions and answers. We're all collectively programming the AI. And Google Plus, all the humans that connect to it, are one giant cybernetic collective. This is also true of Facebook, and Twitter, and Instagram, and all the social networks. They're giant cybernetic collectives.

Humans and electronics all interfacing, and constantly now, constantly connected.

Yes, constantly.

One of the things that I've been thinking about a lot over the last few years is that one of the things that drives a lot of people crazy is how many people are obsessed with materialism and getting the latest greatest thing. And I wonder how much of that is — Well, a lot of it is most certainly fueling technology and innovation. And it almost seems like it's built into us. It's like what we like and what we want that we're fueling this thing that's constantly around us all the time.

And it doesn't seem possible that people are going to pump the brakes. It doesn't seem possible at this stage where we're constantly expecting the newest cellphone, the latest Tesla update, the newest MacBook Pro. Everything has to be newer and better. And that's going to lead to some incredible point. And it seems like it's built into us. It almost seems like it's an instinct that we're working towards this, that we like it. Our job, just like the ants build the anthill, our job is to somehow know how fuel this.

Yes. I mean, I made this comment some years ago, but it feels like we are the biological bootloader for AI. Effectively, we are building it. And then, we're building progressively greater intelligence. And the percentage of intelligence that is not human is increasing. And, eventually, we will represent a very small percentage of intelligence. But the AI is informed strangely by the human limbic system. It is, in large part, our id writ large.

How so?

We mentioned all those things, the sort of primal drives. There's all of the things that we like, and hate, and fear. They're all there on the internet. They're a projection of our limbic system. That's true.

No, it makes sense. And the thinking of it as a — I mean, thinking of corporations, and just thinking of just human beings communicating online through these social media networks in some sort of an organism that's a — It's a cyborg. It's a combination. It's a combination of electronics and biology.

Yeah. This is — In some measure, like, it's to the success of these online systems. It's sort of a function of how much limbic resonance they're able to achieve with people. The more limbic resonance, the more engagement.

Whereas, like one of the reasons why probably Instagram is more enticing than Twitter.

Limbic resonance.

Yeah. You get more images, more video.


It's tweaking your system more.


Do you worry or wonder, in fact, of what the next step is? I mean, a lot of you didn't see Twitter coming. You know, communicate with 140 characters or 280 now would be a thing that people would be interested in. Like it's going to excel. It's going to become more connected to us, right?

Yes. Things are getting more and more connected. They're, at this point, constrained by bandwidth. Our input/output is slow, particularly output. Output got worse with thumbs. You know, we used to have input with 10 fingers. Now, we have thumbs. But images are just, also, other way of communicating at high bandwidth. You take pictures and you send pictures to people. What sends, that communicates far more information than you can communicate with your thumb.

So, what happened with you where you decided, or you took on a more fatalistic attitude? Like, was there any specific thing, or was it just the inevitability of our future?

I try to convince people to slow down. Slow down AI to regulate AI. That's what's futile. I tried for years, and nobody listened.

This seems like a scene in a movie-

Nobody listened.

… where the the robots are going to fucking takeover. You're freaking me out. Nobody listened?

Nobody listened.

No one. Are people more inclined to listen today? It seems like an issue that's brought up more often over the last few years than it was maybe 5-10 years ago. It seemed like science fiction.

Maybe they will. So far, they haven't. I think, people don't — Like, normally, the way that regulations work is very slow. it's very slow indeed. So, usually, it will be something, some new technology. It will cause damage or death. There will be an outcry. There will be an investigation. Years will pass. There will be some sort of insights committee. There will be rule making. Then, there will be oversight, absolutely, of regulations. This all takes many years. This is the normal course of things.

If you look at, say, automotive regulations, how long did it take for seatbelts to be implemented, to be required? You know, the auto industry fought seatbelts, I think, for more than a decade. It successfully fought any regulations on seatbelts even though the numbers were extremely obvious. If you had seatbelts on, you would be far less likely to die or be seriously injured. It was unequivocal. And the industry fought this for years successfully. Eventually, after many, many people died, regulators insisted on seatbelts. This is a — This time frame is not relevant to AI. You can't take 10 years from a point of which it's dangerous. It's too late.

And you feel like this is decades away or years away from being too late. If you have this fatalistic attitude, and you feel like it's going — We're in an almost like a doomsday countdown.

It's not necessarily a doomsday countdown. It's a-

Out of control countdown?

Out of control, yeah. People quote the singularity, and that's probably a good way to think about it. It's a singularity. It's hard to predict like a black hole, what happens past the event horizon.

Right. So, once it's implemented, it's very difficult because it would be able to-

Once the genie is out of the bottle, what's going to happen?

Right. And it will be able to improve itself.


That's where it gets spooky, right? The idea that it can do thousands of years of innovation very, very quickly.


And, then, it will be just ridiculous.


We will be like this ridiculous biological shitting, pissing thing trying to stop the gods. "No, stop. We're like living with a finite lifespan, and watching, you know, Norman Rockwell paintings."

It could be terrible, and it could be great. It's not clear.


But one thing is for sure, we will not control it.

Do you think that it's likely that we will merge somehow or another with this sort of technology, and it'll augment what we are now, or do you think it will replace us?

Well, that's the scenario. The merge scenario with AI is the one that seems like probably the best. Like if-

For us?

Yes. Like if you can't beat it, join it. That's-

Yes, yeah.

You know. So, from a long-term existential standpoint, that's like the purpose of Neuralink is to create a high bandwidth interface to the brain such that we can be symbiotic with AI because we have a bandwidth problem. You just can't communicate through fingers. It's too slow.

And where's Neuralink at right now?

I think. we'll have something interesting to announce in a few months. That's, at least, an order of magnitude better than anything else. I think better than, probably, anyone thinks is possible.

How much can you talk about that right now?

I don't want to jump the gun on that.

But what's like the ultimate? What's the idea behind that? Like, what are you trying to accomplish with it? What would you like best case scenario?

I think, best case scenario, we effectively merge with AI where AI serves as a tertiary cognition layer, where we've got the limbic system. Kind of the, you know, primitive brain essentially. You got the cortex. So, you're currently in a symbiotic relationship. Your cortex and limbic system are in a symbiotic relationship. And, generally, people like their cortex, and they like their limbic system. I haven't met anyone who wants to delete their limbic system or delete their cortex. Everybody seems to like both.

And the cortex is mostly in service to the limbic system. People may think that the thinking part of themselves is in charge, but it's mostly their limbic system that's in charge. And the cortex is trying to make the limbic system happy. That's what most of that computing power is. It's launched towards, "How can I make the limbic system happy?" That's what it's trying to do.

Now, if we do have a third layer, which is the AI extension of yourself, that is also symbiotic. And there's enough bandwidth between the cortex and the AI extension of yourself, such that the AI doesn't de facto separate. Then, that could be a good outcome. That could be quite a positive outcome for the future.

So, instead of replacing us, it will radically change our capabilities?

Yes. It will enable anyone who wants to have super human cognition, anyone who wants. This is not a matter of earning power because your earning power would be vastly greater after you do it. So, it's just like anyone who wants can just do it in theory. That's the theory. And if that's the case then, and let's say billions of people do it, then the outcome for humanity will be the sum of human will, the sum of billions of people's desire for the future.

That billions of people with enhanced cognitive ability?


Radically enhanced?


And which would be — It — But how much different than people today? Like if you had to explain it to a person who didn't really understand what you're saying, like how much different are you talking about? When you say radically improved, like, what do you mean? You mean mind reading?

It will be difficult to really appreciate the difference. It's kind of like how much smarter are you with a phone or computer than without? You're vastly smarter actually. You know, you can answer any question. If you connect to the internet, you can answer any question pretty much instantly, any calculation, that your phone's memory is essentially perfect. You can remember flawlessly. Your phone can remember videos, pictures, everything perfectly. That's the-

Your phone is already an extension of you. You're already a cyborg. You don't even — What most people don't realize, they are already a cyborg. That phone is an extension of yourself. It's just that the data rate, the rate at which — The communication rate between you and the cybernetic extension of yourself, that is your phone and computer, is slow. It's very slow.

And that is like a tiny straw of information flow between your biological self and your digital self. And we need to make that tiny straw like a giant river. A huge high band with the interface. It's an interface problem, data rate problem. It's all the data rate problem that I think we can hang on to human machine symbiosis through the long term. And then, people may decide that they want to retain their biological self or not. I think they'll probably choose to retain the biological self.

Versus some sort of Ray Kurzweil scenario where they download themselves into a computer?

You will be essentially snapshotted into a computer at any time. If your biological self dies, you could probably just upload it to a new unit literally.

Pass that whiskey. We're getting crazy over here. This is getting ridiculous.

Down the rabbit hole.

Grab that sucker. Give me some of that. This is too freaky. See, if I was just talking-

I've been thinking about this for a long time, by the way.

I believe you. If I was talking to one — Cheers, by the way.

Cheers. It is a great whiskey.

Thank you. I don't know where this came. Who brought this to us?

I'm trying to remember. I can't-

Somebody gave it to us. Old Camp. Whoever it was-

It's good.

… thanks.

It's good.

Yeah, it is good. This is just inevitable. Again, going back to when you decided to have this fatalistic viewpoint. So, you weren't — You tried to warn people. You talked about this pretty extensively. I've read several interviews where you talked about this. And then, you just sort of just said, "Okay, it just is. Let's just-" And, in a way, by communicating the potential for — I mean, for sure, you're getting the warning out to some people.

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I was really going on the warning quite a lot. I was warning everyone I could. Yeah, I've met with Obama and just for one reason, like, "Better watch out."

Just talk about AI.


And what did he say? So, what about Hillary? Worry about her first. Shh, everybody, quiet.

He listened. He certainly listened. I met with Congress. I met with — I was at a meeting of all 50 governors and talked about just the AI danger. And I talked to everyone I could. No one seemed to realize where this was going.

Is it that, or do they just assume that someone smarter than them is already taking care of it? Because when people hear about something like AI, it's almost abstract. It's almost like it's so hard to wrap your head around it.

It is.

By the time it happens, it will be too late?

Yeah. I think, they didn't quite understand it, or didn't think it was near term, or not sure what to do about it. And I said, like, you know, an obvious thing to do is to just establish a committee, government committee, to gain insight. You know, before you oversight, before you do make regulations, you should like try to understand what's going on. And then, you have an insight committee. Then, once they learn what's going on, you get up to speed. Then, they can make maybe some rules or proposed some rules. And that would be probably a safer way to go about things.

It seems — I mean, I know that it's probably something that the government's supposed to handle, but it seems like I wouldn't want the — I don't want the government to handle this.

Who do you want to handle this?

I want you to handle this.

Oh geez.

Yeah. I feel like you're the one who could bring the bell better because if Mike Pence starts talking about AI, I'm like, "Shut up, bitch. You don't know anything about AI. Come on, man. He doesn't know what he's talking about." That's just games.

I don't have the power to regulate other companies. I don't if I'm supposed to, but you know.

Right, but maybe companies could agree. Maybe there could be some sort of a — What I mean is we have agreements where you're not supposed to dump toxic waste into the ocean, you're not supposed to do certain things that could be terribly damaging, even though they would be profitable. Maybe this is one of those things.

Maybe we should realize that you can't hit the switch on something that's going to be able to think for itself and make up its own mind as to whether or not it wants to survive or not, and whether or not it thinks you're a threat, or whether or not it thinks you're useless. Like, "Why do I keep this dumb finite life form alive? Why? Why keep this thing around? It's just stupid. It just keeps polluting everything. It's shitting everywhere it goes, lighting everything on fire, and shooting at each other. Why would I keep this stupid thing alive? Because, sometimes, it makes good music, you know. Sometimes it makes great movies. Sometimes it makes beautiful art, and sometimes — you know. Sometimes it's cool to hang out with. Like with my-

Yes, for all those reasons.

Yeah. For us, those are great reasons.


But for anything objective standing outside that go, "This is definitely a flawed system." This is like if you went to the jungle and you watch these chimps engage in warfare and beat each other with wooden sticks.

Chimps are really mean.

They're fucking real mean.

They're fucking mean.

They're real mean.

I saw a movie, Chimpanzee. I thought it was going to be like some Disney thing. Like, holy cow.

What movie was that?

It's called Chimpanzee.

Is it a documentary?

Yeah, yeah. It's kind of like a documentary. I was like, "Damn, these chimps are mean."

They're mean.



They're cruel.

Yeah. They're calculated. Yeah.


They sneak up on each other and-

Like, I didn't realize chimps did calculated cruelty.


I was pretty — I left that meeting kinda like, "This is dark."

Right. Well, we know better because we've advanced. But if we hadn't, we'd be like, "Man, I don't want to fucking live in a house. I like the chimp ways, bro. Chimp ways to go. This is it, man, chimp life. You know, we got-

Simple chimp life.

Chimp life right now. But we, in a way, to the AI, might be like those chimps and like, "These stupid fucks launching missiles out of drones, and shooting each other underwater." Like we're crazy. We got torpedoes, and submarines, and fucking airplanes that drop nuclear bombs indiscriminately on cities. We're assholes.


They might go, "Why are they doing this?" It might, like, look at our politics, look at what we do in terms of our food system, what kind of food we force down each other's throats. And they might go, "These people are crazy. They don't even look after themselves."

I don't know. I mean, how much do we think about chimps? Not much.

Very little.

It's like-

It's true.

… these chimps are at war. This like look — It's like groups of chimps just attack each other, and they kill each other. They torture each other. That's pretty bad. They hunt monkeys. They're — Like this is probably the most, but, you know. I mean, when was the last time you watched chimps?



All the time.

You do.

You're talking to the wrong guy.

Okay. Well, unfortunately, yeah.

This fucking podcast, dude, we're talking about chimps every episode.

It's chimp city? Okay.

People are laughing right now. Yeah, constantly. I'm obsessed.


I saw that David Attenborough documentary on chimps where they were eating those colobus monkeys and ripping them apart.

Yes, this was rough.

I saw that many, many years ago.

It's gruesome.

It just changed how-


I go, "Oh, this is why people are so crazy. We came from that thing."

Yeah, exactly.


It is the colobus.


They got, like, better philosophy.

Yeah, they're like swingers.


Yeah, they really are. They seem to be way more — Even than us, way more civilized.

They just seem to resolve everything with sex.

Yeah. The only rules they have is the mom won't bang the son. That's it.


That's it. Mom won't bang her sons. They're good women.


Good women in the bonobo community. Everybody else is banging it out.

Yeah. I haven't seen the Bonobo Movie.

Well, they're disturbing just at a zoo of bonobos at the zoo.

They're just constantly going.

Constantly fucking, yeah. It's all they do.

It's just one stuff.

Yeah. And they don't care, gay, straight, whatever. Let's just fuck. What's with these labels?

I haven't seen bonobos at a zoo. I just probably like-

I don't think I have either.

And not on the PJ section.

Yeah, I don't think they have them at many zoos. We've looked at it before too, didn't we?

It's probably pretty awkward.

Yeah. I think that's the thing. They don't like to keep regular chimps at zoos because bonobos are just always jacking off and-


Fucking it.

In San Diego.

What's that? They have in San Diego?

San Diego's got some, yeah.

Really? Interesting.


Probably separate them. Yeah.

I mean, how many are there in a cage, you know? I was like-


… "It's going to be pretty intense."

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, we're a weird thing, you know. And I've often wondered whether or not we're — you know, our ultimate goal is to give birth to some new thing. And that's why we're so obsessed with technology because it's not like this technology is really — I mean, it's certainly enhancing our lives too in a certain way, but, I mean, ultimately, is it making people happier right now? Most technology I would say no. In fact, you and I were talking about social media before this about just not having Instagram on your phone, and not dealing, and you feel better.

Yes. I think, one of the issues with social media, it's been pointed out by many people, is that, I think, maybe particularly Instagram people look like they have a much better life than they really do.



By design.

Yeah. People are posting pictures of when they're really happy. They're modifying those pictures to be better looking. Even if they're not modifying the pictures, they're, at least, selecting the pictures for the best lighting, the best angle. So, people basically seem they are way better looking than they basically really are.


And they're way happier seeming than they really are. So, if you look at everyone on Instagram, you might think, "Man, there are all these happy beautiful people, and I'm not that good looking, and I am not happy. So, I must suck," you know. And that's going to make you feel sad; when, in fact, those people you think are super happy, actually, not that happy. Some of them are really depressed. They're very sad. Some of the happiest-seeming people are actually some of the saddest people in reality. And nobody looks good all the time. It doesn't matter who you are.

No. It's not even something you should want.


Why do you want to look great all the time?

Yeah, exactly. So, I think things like that can make people quite sad just by comparison because you're sort of — People generally think of themselves relative to others. It's like we are constantly re-baselining our expectations. And you can see to say if you watch some show like Naked and Afraid, or, you know, if you just go and try living in the woods by yourself for a while, and you're like, "The land that civilization is quite great." People want to come back to civilization pretty fast on Naked or Afraid.

Wasn't there a Theodore quote, that "Comparison is the thief of joy."

Yeah. Happiness is reality minus expectations.

That's great too, but the comparison is the thief of joy really holds true to people. Is it?

Theodore Roosevelt.

Roosevelt, fascinating. And when you're thinking about Instagram, because what essentially Instagram is for a lot of people is you're giving them the opportunity to be their own PR agent, and they always go towards the glamorous, you know. And when anybody does show, you know, #nofilter, they really do do that. "Oh, you're so brave. Look at you, no makeup," you know, which they look good anyway.

"You look great. What are you doing? Oh my God. You don't have makeup on. You still look hot as fuck. You know what you're doing. I know what you're doing too." They're letting you know. And then, they're feeding off that comment section. Sort of sitting there like it's a fresh stream of love. Like you're getting right up to the sources as it comes out of the earth, and you're sucking that sweet, sweet love water.

A lot of emojies, smoggy emojies.


A lot of emojies.

My concern is not so much what Instagram is. It's that I didn't think that people had the need for this or the expectation for some sort of technology that allows them to constantly get love and adulation from strangers, and comments, and this ability to project this sort of distorted version of who you really are.

But I worry about where it goes. Like what's the next one? What's the next one? Like, where's is it? Is it going to be augmented to some sort of a weird augmented or virtual sort of Instagram type situation where you're not going to want to live in this real world, you're going to want to interface with this sort of world that you've created through your social media page and some next level thing.

Yeah. Go live in the simulation.

Yeah, man.

In the simulation.

Some ready player one type shit that's real. That seems — we have that HTC vibe here. I've only done it a couple times quite honestly because it kind of freaks me out.


My kids fucking love it, man. They love it. They love playing these weirdo games and walking around that headset on. But part of me watching them do it goes, "Wow, I wonder if this is like the precursor." Just sort of like if you look at that phone that Gordon Gekko had on the beach and you compare that-

Yes, the big cell phone.

Yeah, you pair that to like a Galaxy Note 9.


Like how the fuck did that become that, right? And I wonder when I see this HTC Vibe, I'm like, "What is that thing going to be 10 years from now when we're making fun of what it is now?" I mean, how ingrained, and how connected and interconnected is this technology going to be in our life?

It will be, at some point, indistinguishable from reality.

We will lose this. We'll lose this. Like you and I are just looking at each other through our eyes.

Are we?

I see you. You see me, I think, I hope.

You think so?

I think you probably have regular eyes.

This could be some simulation.

It could. Do you entertain that?

Well, the argument for the simulation, I think, is quite strong because if you assume any improvements at all over time, any improvement, 1%, 0.1%, just extend the time frame, make it a thousand years, a million years. The universe is 13.8 billion years old. Civilization, if you count it, if you're very generous, civilization is maybe 7000 or 8000 years old if you count it from the first writing. This is nothing. This is nothing.

So, if you assume any rate of improvement at all, then games will be indistinguishable from reality, or civilization will end. One of those two things will occur. Therefore, we are most likely in a simulation.

Or we're on our way to one, right?

Because we exist.

Well, not just because we exist.

Pretty exactly.

We could most certainly be on the road. We could be on the road to that, right. it doesn't mean that it has to have already happened.

It could be in base reality. It could be in base reality.

We could be here now on our way to the road or on our way to the destination where this can never happen again, where we are completely ingrained in some sort of an artificial technology or some sort of a symbiotic relationship with the internet or the next level of sharing information. But, right now, we're not there yet. That's possible too, right? It's possible that a simulation is, one day, going to be inevitable, that we're going to have something that's indistinguishable from regular reality, but maybe we're not there yet. That's also possible.

Yes, it is.

Though we're not quite there yet. This is real. You want to touch that wood?

It feel very real.

Maybe that's why everybody is like into like mason jars and shit.

Mason jars.

Suede shoes. People that like craft restaurants, and they want raw wood. Everyone wants the metal people. It seems like people are like longing toward some weird log cabin type nostalgia.

Sure, reality.

Yeah, like holding on. Like clinging.


Dragging their nails through the man like, "Don't take me yet."


"I want to-"

But then, people go get a mason jar with a wine stem or a handle. That's dark.

It makes me-

It makes me lose faith in humanity.

Mason jar, wine stem and a handle, they have those?


The sturdy people. That's just assholes. That's like people make pet rocks.


Right. Some people are just assholes. They take advantage of our generous nature.

It was made with the wine stem. Made with handle.

They made it that way?

Yes. They're manufactured like that.

So, the one way, they welded it on to the mason jar. You fuck.

But that would be fine if there was like glued it on or something.

Right. There would be like-

But it was made that way.

Like trash shit. Oh, this is disgusting. Look at this. It is right there.

Yes, it's pretty harsh. Yup.

This is terrible. Yeah. That's like fake breasts that are designed to be hard. Like fake breasts from the '60s. It's like if you really long for the ones with ripples, here we go. Yeah. That's almost what that is.


What are you going to do, man? There's nothing, you know. There's nothing you can do to stop certain terrible ideas from propagating.

Yeah. Anyway, I don't want to sound like things are too dark because I think like you kind of have to be optimistic about the future. There's no point in being pessimistic. It's just too negative because it is-

It doesn't help.

It doesn't help, you know. I think you want to be — I mean, my theory is like you'd rather be optimistic. I think, I'd rather be optimistic and wrong than pessimistic and right.


At least, we're on that side.

Right, yeah.

Because if you're pessimistic, it's going to be miserable.

Yeah. Yeah, nobody wants to be around you anyway if it's the end of the world. You're like, "I fucking told you, bro."

Yeah, exactly.

The world is ending. Yeah. It is way — it is for all.

I did my part.

I mean-

Enjoy the journey.

Right. If you really want to get morose, I mean, it is what it is for all of us anyway. We're all going to go, unless something changes.


I mean, ultimately, you know, even if we just sort of existed as humans forever, we'd still eventually would be like the heat death of the universe-

Gazillion years from now.

Right, even if we get it past the sun.


If we figure out a way past the sun running out of juice.

Eventually, it's going to end. It's just a question of when.


So, it really is all about the journey.

Or transcendence from whatever we are now into something that doesn't worry about death.

The universe, as we know it, will dissipate into a fine mist of cold nothingness eventually.

And then, someone's going to bottle it and put a fragrance to it, sell it to French people in another dimension.

It's just a very long time.


So, I think it's really just about, how can we make it last longer?

Are you a proponent of the multi-universe's theory? Do you believe that there are many, many universes, and that even if this one fades out that there's other ones that are starting fresh right now, and there's an infinite number of them, and they're just constantly in a never-ending cycle of birth and death?

I think most likely. This is just about probability. There are many, many simulations. These simulations, we might as well call them reality, or we could call them the multiverse.

These simulations you believe are created like someone has manufactured-

They're running on the substrate.


That substrate is probably boring.



How so?

Well, when we create a simulation like a game or a movie, it's the distillation of what's interesting about life. You know, it takes a year to shoot an action movie. And then, that's all to slow down into two or three hours. So, let me tell you, if you've seen an action movie being filmed, it's freaking — It's boring. It's super boring. It takes — There's like lots of takes. Everything's in a green screen. It looks pretty goofy. It doesn't look cool. But once you had the CGI, and have great editing, it's amazing.

So, I think, most likely, if we're a simulation, it's really boring outside the simulation because why would you make simulation as boring? You'd make simulation way more interesting than base reality.

That is if this right now is a simulation.


And, ultimately, inevitably, as long as we don't die or get hit by a meteor, we're going to create some sort of simulation if we continue on the same technological path we're on right now.


But we might not be there yet. So, it might not be a simulation here. But it most likely is you feel other places.

This notion of a place or where is-



Flawed perception.

Like that if you have that, sort of, that vibe you have, which is for the — that's was made by valve, and it's really valve that made it. HTC did the hardware, but it's really a valve thing.

Makers of Half-life.

Yes. Great company.

Great company.

When you're in that virtual reality, which is only going to get better, where are you? Where are you really?


You aren't anywhere.

Well, whereas-

You're in the computer.

You know, what defines where you are?



It's your perception.

Is it your perceptions or is it, you know, a scale that we have under your butt. You're right here. I've measured you. You're the same weight as you were when you left. But meanwhile, your experience is probably different-

Why do you think you're where you are right now? You might not be.

I'll buck up a joint if you keep talking. Your man is just going to come in here. We might have to lock the door.

Right now, you think you're in a studio in LA.

That's what I heard.

You might be in a computer.

Man, I think about this all the time. Yeah, I mean, it's unquestionable that one day that will be the case, as long as we keep going, as long as nothing interrupts us, and if we start from scratch, and, you know, we're single-celled organisms all over again. And then, millions and millions of years later, we become the next thing that is us with creativity and the ability to change this environment. It's going to keep monkeying with things until it figures out a way to change reality. To change — I mean, almost like punch a hole through what is this thing into what what it wants it to be and create new things. And then, those new things will intersect with other people's new things, and there will be this ultimate pathway of infinite ideas and expression all through technology.


And then, we're going to wonder like, "Why are we here? What are we doing?"

Let's find out.


I mean, I think we should take the actions, the set of actions that are most likely to make the future better.

Yes, right.


Right. Right. And then, we evaluate those actions to make sure that it's true.

Well, I think there's a movement to that. I mean, in terms of like a social movement. I think some of it's misguided, and some of it's exaggerated, and there's a lot of people that are fighting for their side out there. But it seems like the general trend of, like, social awareness seems to be much more heightened now than has ever been in any other time in history because of our ability to express ourselves instantaneously to each other through Facebook, or Twitter, or what have you. And that the trend is to abandon preconceived notions, abandon prejudice, abandon discrimination, and promote kindness and happiness as much as possible. Looking at this knife? Somebody gave it to me. Sorry.

Yeah. What is it?

Fuck you. My friend, Donnie, brought this with him, and it just stayed here. I have a real samurai sword, if you want to play with that. I know you're into weapons. That's from the 1500s. Samurai's something on the table.



That's cool.

I'll grab it. Hold on. Yeah, that's legit samurai sword from an actual samurai from the 1500s. If you pull out that blade, that blade was made the old way where a master craftsman-

Folded metal?

Folded that metal and hammered it down over and over again over a long period of time, and honed that blade into what it is now. What's crazy is that more than 500 years later, that thing is still pristine. I mean, whoever took care of that and passed it down to the next person who took care of it, and you know until it got to the podcast room, it's pretty fucking crazy.


One day, someone's going to be looking at a Tesla like that. How many of these fucking backdoor they pop off sideways like a Lamborghini?

They should see what the Tesla can do. He didn't — You should — I'll show you how to once.

Well, I've driven one. I love them.

Yeah, but most people don't know what it can do.

In terms like ludicrous mode? In terms of like driving super fast and irresponsibly on public roads, is that what you're saying?

Any car can do that.

Yeah. What can it do that I need to know about?

I mean, the Model X can do this like ballet thing to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. It's pretty cool.

Wait, it dances?


Legitimate, like it goes around?


Why would you program that into a car?

It seemed like fun.

That's what I get about you. That's what's weird. Like when you showed up here, you were all smiles, and you pull out a fucking blowtorch and not a blowtorch, but I'm like, "Look at this-"

Not a flamethrower.

Not a flamethrower. Like, "He's having fun."

I want to be clear, it's definitely not a flamethrower.

But you're having fun. Like this thing, you know, you program a car to do a ballet dance, you're having fun.

It's great.

But how do you have the time to do that? I don't understand why you're digging holes under the earth, and sending rockets into space, and powering people in Australia. Like how the fuck do you have time to make the car dance ballet?

Well, I mean, in that case there were some engineers at Tesla that said, "You know, what if we make this car dance and play music?" I'm like, "That sounds great. Please do it. Let's try to get it done in time for Christmas." We did.

Is there a concern about someone just losing their mind and making it do that on the highway?

No, it won't do that.

What if it's in bumper-to-bumper traffic?


No, it won't do it?

No. Actually, you have to sneeze drag.

Oh, sneeze drag.

Yeah, that's why people don't know about it. But if you have the car-


It's like it could do lots of things, lots of things.

Once Reddit gets a hold of it, everyone's going to know already.

You just have to — Everyone, if you search for it on the internet, you will find out.

They will find.

But people don't know that they should even search for it.

Well, they do now.



There's so many things about the Model X, and the Model S, and the Model 3 that people don't know about. We should probably do a video or something to explain it because I have close friends of mine and I say, "Do you know the car can do this?" and they're like, "Nope."

Do you want to do a video of that? Do you like the fact that some people don't know?

No, I think it's probably not. We should tell people.

Yeah, probably.


That would help your product. I mean, it's not like you don't sell enough of them. You sell almost too many of them, right.

I mean, I think, a Tesla is the most fun thing you could possibly buy ever. That's what it's meant to be. Well, our goal is to make — It's not exactly a car. It's actually a thing to maximize enjoyment, make as maximum fun.

Okay. Electronic, like big screen, laptop, ridiculous speed, handling, all that stuff.


Do you have a-

And we're going to put video games in it.

You are?


Is that wise?


What kind of video games? Candy Crush?

You won't be able to drive while you're playing the video game. But, like, for example, we're just putting the Atari emulator, RAM emulator in it. So, we'll play a Missile Command, and Lunar Lander, and a bunch of other things. Yeah.

That sounds cool.

It's pretty fun.

I like that.

Yeah. I mean, probe the interface for Missile Command because it's too hard with the old trackball. So, there's a touch screen version of Missile Command. So, you have a chance.

Do you — You have an old car, don't you? Don't you have like an old Jaguar?

Yeah. How did you know that? Let's pause for that. I have a '61 series 1 E-type Jaguar.

I love cars.

It's great.

Yeah, I love old cars.

The only-

That's one of the things-

Yeah, the only two gassing cars I have are that and an old — like a Ford Model T that a friend of mine gave me. Those are my only two gasoline cars.

Is the Ford Model T all stock? Oh, there's your car. Look at that.

I have the convertible.

That is a gorgeous car.

It's a soft car.

God, that's a good looking car.


Is that yours?

That is — It's not mine. It's extremely close to mine, but I don't have a front license plate on mine.

It's a beautiful car. They nailed it. That new type-

Mine looks like that.

God, they nailed that.

That's what mine looks like. Maybe it is mine.

There's certain iconic shapes.


And there's something about those cars too. They're not as capable, not nearly as capable as like a Tesla, but there's something really satisfying about the mechanical aspect of like feeling the steering, and the-


… grinding of the gears and the shifting. Something about those that's extremely satisfying even though they're not that competent. Like I have a 1993 Porsche 964. It's like lightweight. It's an RS America. It's not very fast. It's not like in comparison to a Tesla or anything like that. But the thing about it is like it's mechanical, you feel it. Everything's like-


It's like it gives you this weird thrill, like you're on this clunky ride, and there's all this feedback. There's something to that.

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, yeah. My E Type is like basically no electronics.



And so, you like that, but you also like electronics.


Like Tesla Sup, it's like the far end of electronics.


It drives itself.

It's driving itself better every day.


We're about to release the software that will enable you to just turn it on, and it'll drive from highway on ramp, to highway exit, do lane changes, overtake other cars-


To go from one interchange to the next. If you get on, say, the 405, get off 300 miles later, and go through several highway interchanges, and just overtake other cars, and hook into the nav system, and then-.

And you're just meditating, om.


While your car is just traveling.

It's kind of eerie. It's kind of eerie.

What did you think when you saw that video of that dude fallen asleep behind the wheel? I'm sure you've seen it, the one in San Francisco. It's like right outside of San Jose. It's out cold, like this. And the cars an inch bumper-to-bumper in traffic moving along.


You've seen it, right?

Yeah, yeah. We just changed the software. Changed the software. That's, I think, an old video. We changed software. If you don't touch the wheel, it will gradually slow down, and put the emergency lights on, and wake you up.

Oh, that's hilarious.


That's hilarious.


Can you choose what voice wakes you up?

Well, it's sort of more of a — It sort of honks.

It honks.


There should be like, "Wake up, fuckface. You're endangering your fellow humans."

We could gently wake you up with a sultry voice.

That would be good like something with a southern accent. "Hey, wake up."

Wake up, sunshine.

Hey, sweetie.


Why don't you wake up?

You could pick your-

Right, like-

Like whatever you want. Yes.

Yeah, I choose the Australian girl for Siri.


I like her voice.

Do you want it seductive?

It's my favorite. I like Australian.

What flavor? Do what you want it to be angry. It could be anything.

You want those Australian prison lady genes. Now, when you program something like that in, is this in response to a concern, or is it your own?


Do look at it and go, "Hey, they shouldn't just be able to fall asleep. Let's wake them up."

Yeah, yeah. It's like — You know, we're like — Yeah, people are falling asleep. We've got to do something about that.

Right. But when you first released it, you didn't consider it, right? You're just like, "Well, no one's going to just sleep."

People fall asleep in their cars all the time.

All the time.

They crash.

Yeah, it's horrible.

At least, our car doesn't crash. That's better.


It's better not to crash.


Imagine if that guy had fallen asleep in a gasoline car, they do all the time.

For sure, yeah.

They would crash into somebody.


And, in fact, the thing that really, you know, got me to — It's like, "Man, we better get a autopilot going and get it out." A guy was in an early Tesla driving down the highway, and he fell asleep, and he ran over a cyclist, and killed him. I was like, "Man, if we had autopilot, he might have fallen asleep, but, at least, he wouldn't run over that cyclist."

So, how did you implement it? Like did you just use cameras and-


… programmed with the system, so that if it sees images, it slows down? And how much time do you get? And like-


Is the person who's in control of it allow the program to how fast it goes?

Yes. Yeah, you can program it to be more or less, like more conservative or like more aggressive driver. And you can say what speed you want it to — What speed is okay.

I know you have ludicrous mode. Do you have douche bag mode?

Well, in-

It just cuts people off.

Well, for lane changes, it's tricky because if you're in like LA, like unless you're pretty aggressive, right, it's hard to change lanes sometimes.

You can't. It's hard to be Satnam. It's hard to be Namaste here in LA.


If you want to hit that Santa Monica Boulevard off in-

I mean, you've got to be a little pushy.

You've got to be a little pushy, yeah.

On the freeway.

Especially if you were angry.


If you're a little angry, they don't want you, and they speed up.

Sometimes, yeah, I think, people like overall are pretty nice on the highway, even in LA, but sometimes they're not.

Do you think the Neuralink will help that quick?


Everybody will be locked in together, this hive mind.

Tunnels will help it. We wouldn't have traffic.

That will help a lot.


How many of those can you put in there?

Nice thing about tunnels-

Are you thinking about for everybody?

Nice thing about tunnels is you can go 3D.

Oh right.

So, you can go many levels.



Until you hit.

Yeah, but you go — You can have 100 levels of with bombs.

Jesus Christ. I don't want to be on 99. That would be a negative 99 floors.

This is one of the fundamental things people don't appreciate about tunnels is that it's not like roads. The fundamental issue with roads is that you have a 2D transport system and a 3D living and workspace environment. So, you've got all these tall buildings or concentrated work environments. And then, you want to go into those like 2D transport system with-

Hugely inefficient.

… pretty low density because cars are spaced out pretty far. And so, that, obviously, is not going to work. You're going to have traffic guaranteed. But if you can go 3D on your transport system, then you can solve all traffic. And you can either go 3D up with a flying car, or you can go 3D down with tunnels. You can have as many tunnel levels as you want, and you can arbitrarily relieve any amount of traffic. You can go further down with tunnels than you can go up with buildings. You're 10,000 feet down if you want. I wouldn't recommended it, but-.

What was that movie with — What's his face? Bradley — Not Bradley Cooper, Christian? No. What the fuck is his name? Batman. Who is Batman?

Christian Bale.

Christian Bale, where they fought dragons. Him and Matthew McConaughey. He went down deep into the earth. How deep can you go?

I don't think that was Batman.

Yeah, it was. Yeah, it was.

Batman fought dragons? I don't-

No, it wasn't Batman but it's Christian Bale.

The Rain of Fire.

Rain of Fire.


Never saw that?


Terrible. Terrible but good. I would look at it some time.

I wouldn't recommend drilling super far down but the earth is a big-

Yeah, but you can't drill deep. It gets hot, right?

… molten


The earth is a giant ball of lava with a thin crust on the top, which we think of as like the surface, this thin crust. And it's mostly just a big bowl of lava. That's earth, but 10,000 feet is not a big deal.

Have you given any consideration whatsoever to the flat earth movement?

That's a troll situation.

Oh, it's not. No, it's not. You would like to think that-


… because you're super genius. But I, as a normal person, I know these people are way dumber than me. And they really, really believe. They watch YouTube videos, which go on uninterrupted, and spew out a bunch of fucking fake facts very eloquently and articulately. And they really believe. These people really believe.

I mean, if it works for them, sure. Fine.

It's weird though, right, that in this age where, you know, there's ludicrous mode in your car, goes 1.9 seconds, 060.

That's 2.2.

2.2. Which one's 1.9? The Coaster.

The Next Generation Roadster.


Standard edition.

Yeah, I'm on top of this shit.

That's just without-

Standard edition.

Yeah. So, it's not the performance package.

What performance package?


What the fuck do you need?

We put a rocket thruster in it.

For real?


What are they going to burn?

Nothing. Ultrahigh pressure compressed air.

Whoa. Just air?

Just called gas thrusters.

Then, do you have the air tanks or the-


Sucking air, okay.

Yeah. It has an electric pump.


Pump it up like 10,000 PSI.

And how fast are we talking? Zero to 60.

How fast you want to go?

I want to go-

We could make this thing fly.

I want to go back in time.

I can make it fly.

You make it fly?


Do you anticipate that as being — I mean, you're talking about the tunnels and then flying cars. Do you really think that's going to be real?

Too noisy, and there's too much airflow. So, the final issue with flying cars, I mean, if you get like one of those like toy drones, think of how loud those are and how much air they blow. Now, imagine if that's like a thousand times heavier. This is not going to make your neighbors happy. Your neighbors are not going to be happy if you land a flying car in your backyard.

It will be very helicopter-like.

Or on your roof. It's just really going to be like, "What the hell. That was annoying."


You can't even — Like, if you want a flying car, just put some wheels on a helicopter.

Is there a way around that? Like what if they figure out some sort of magnetic technology, like all those Bob Lazar type characters who were thinking that was a part of the UFO technology they were doing at Area 51? Remember, didn't they have some thoughts about magnetics? Nope.

No? Bullshit?



Yeah. There's a fundamental momentum exchange with the air. So, you must accelerate. There's like this — There's a sudden — You have a mass, and you have gravitational acceleration. And mass times — Your mass times gravity must equal the mass of airflow times acceleration of that airflow to have a neutral force. MG=MA

So, it's impossible to go around-

And then you won't move.


If MG is greater than MA, you will go down. And if MA is greater than MG, you will go up. That's how it works.

There's just no way around that?

There is definitely no way around it.

There's no way to create some sort of a magnetic something or another that allows you to float?

Technically, yes. You could have a strong enough magnet, but that magnet would be so strong that you would create a lot of trouble.

It would just suck cars up into your car? Just pick up axles and do that?

I mean, it should have to repel off of either material on the ground or in a really nutty situation off of Earth's gravitational field, and somehow make that incredibly light, but that magnet would cause so much destruction. You'd be better off with a helicopter.

So, if there was some sort of magnet road, like you have two magnets, and they repel each other, if you had some sort of a magnet road that was below you, and you could travel on that magnet road, that would work?

Yes. Yes, you can have a magnet road.

A magnet road. Is that too ridiculous?

No, it will work. So, you could do that.

That's ridiculous too, right?

I would not recommend it.

There's a lot of things you don't recommend.

I would super not recommend that. Not good. Not wise, I think.



Magnet roads?

No. No. No, definitely not. Definitely not. Yeah, it would cause a lot of trouble.

So, you put some time and consideration into this other than — You know, instead like my foolishly rendered thoughts. So, you think that tunnels are the way to do it?

Oh, it will work, for sure.

That'll work?


And these tunnels that you're building right now, these are basically just like test versions of this ultimate idea that you have?

You know, it's just a hole in the ground.

Right. We played videos of it where your ideas-

It's just a hole in the ground.

… that you drop that hole in the ground. There's a sled on it, and the sled goes very fast, like 100 miles an hour plus.

Yeah, it can go real fast. You can go as fast as you want. And then, if you want to go long distances, you can just draw the air out of the tunnel, make sure it's real straight.

Draw the air out of the tunnel?

Yeah, it's sort of vacuum tunnel because the — And then, depending on how fast you want to go, you're going to take these wheels, or you could use air bearings depending upon the ambient pressure in the tunnel, or you could mag lev it if you want to go super fast.

So, magnet road?

Yes, underground magnet roads.

Underground magnet roads?

Yeah. Otherwise, you're going to really create a lot of trouble because of those metal things.

Oh. So, magnet road is the way to go, just underground.

If you want to go really fast underground, you would be mag lev in a vacuum tunnel.

Mag in a vacuum tunnel.

Magnetic levitation in a vacuum tunnel launchers. Fun?

With rocket launchers?

No, I would not recommend putting any-

Come on.

… exhaust gas in the tunnel.

Oh, okay. I see what you're saying because then the air will be gone.

Because, then, the air will pump it out.

Right. You have to pump it out, and you probably have limited amount of air in the first place. Like how much can you breathe? Do you have to pump oxygen into these cubicles, these tubes?

No. We have a pressurized pod. It'd be like a little tiny underground spaceship basically.

Like an airplane because you have air on airplanes. It's not getting new air in.

It is.

It is?


You have like a little hole?

Yeah, they have a pump.



So, it gets it from the outside?


Wow, I didn't know that.

It's like the air's — Airplanes have it easy because, essentially, you can — they're pretty leaky, but-


Yeah, but as long as the air pump is working at a distance. I mean, they have backup pumps, sort of like, you know, three pumps, or four pumps, or something. And then, there's like — It exhausts through the outflow valve and through whatever seals are not sealing quite right. Usually, the door doesn't seal quite right on the plane. So, there's a bit of leakage around the door. But the pumps exceed the outflow rate. And then, that sets the pressure in the cabin.

Now, have you ever looked at planes and gone, "I can fix this."


"I just don't have the time."

I have a design for a plane.

You do?


A better design?

I mean, probably. I think it is, yes.

Who have you talked to about this?

I've talked to friends.


Friends and-

I'm your friend.

Girlfriends and-

You can tell me. What you got? What's going on?

Well, I mean, the exciting thing to do would be some sort of electric vertical takeoff and landing, supersonic jet of some kind.

Vertical takeoff and landing meaning no need for a runway. Just shoot up straight in the air.


How would you do that? I mean, they do that in some military aircraft, correct?

Yes. The trick is that you have to transition to level flight. And then, the thing that you would use for vertical takeoff and landing is not suitable for high-speed flight.

So, you have two different systems? Vertical takeoff is one system?

I've thought about this quite a lot. I've thought about this quite a lot.


I guess, thinking about an electric plane is that you want to go as high as possible, but you need a certain energy density in the battery pack because you have to overcome gravitational potential energy. Once you've overcome gravitational potential energy, and you're out at a high altitude, the energy use in cruise is very low. And then, you can recapture a large part of the gravitational potential energy on the way down. So, you really don't need any kind of reserve fuel, if you will, because you have the energy of height, gravitational potential energy. This is a lot of energy.

So, once you can get high, like the way to think about a plane is it's a force balance. So, the force balance — So, a plane that is not accelerating is a neutral force balance. You have the force of gravity, you have the lift force, you have the wings. Then, you've got the force of the whatever thrusting device, so the propeller, or turbine, or whatever it is. And you've got the resistance force of the air.

Now, the higher you go, the lower the air resistance is. Air density drops exponentially, but drag increases with the square, and exponential beats the square. The higher you go, the faster you will go for the same amount of energy. And at a certain altitude, you can go supersonic with less energy per mile, quite a lot less energy per mile than an aircraft at 35,000 feet because it's just a force balance.

I'm too stupid for this conversation.

It makes sense though.

No, I'm sure it does. Now, when you think about this new idea of of design, when you have this idea about improving planes, are you going to bring this to somebody and check this one out?

Well, I have a lot on my plate.

Right. That's what I'm saying. I don't know how you do what you do now, but if you keep coming up with these. But it's got to be hard to pawn this off on someone else either, like, "Hey, go do a good job with this vertical takeoff and landing system that I want to implement to regular planes.".

The airplane, electric airplane isn't necessarily right now. Electric cars are important. We need-

We need some sort of-

Solar energy is important. Stationary storage of energy is important. These things are much more important than creating electric supersonic futile. Also, the plane's naturally — You really want that gravitational energy density for an aircraft, and this improving over time. So, you know, it's important that we accelerate the transition to sustainable energy. That's why electric cars, it matters whether electric cars happen sooner or later. You know, we're really playing a crazy game here with the atmosphere or the oceans.


We're taking vast amounts of carbon from deep underground and putting this in the atmosphere. It's just crazy. We should not do this. It's very dangerous. So, we should accelerate the transition to sustainable energy. I mean, the bizarre thing is that, obviously, we're going to run out of oil in the long term. You know, we're going to — There's only so much oil we can mine and burn. It's totally logical. We must have a sustainable energy transport and energy infrastructure in the long term.

So, we know that's the endpoint. We know that. So, why run this crazy experiment where we take trillions of tons of carbon from underground and put it in the atmosphere and oceans? This is an insane experiment. It's the dumbest experiment in human history. Why are we doing this? It's crazy.

Do you think this is a product of momentum that we started off doing this when it was just a few engines, a few hundred million gallons of fuel over the whole world, not that big of a deal? And then, slowly but surely over a century, it got out of control. And now, it's not just our fuel, but it's also, I mean, fossil fuels are involved in so many different electronics, so many different items that people buy. It's just this constant desire for fossil fuels, constant need for oil-


Without consideration of the sustainability.

You know, the things like oil, oil, coal, gas, it's easy money.


It's easy money. So-

Have you heard about clean coal? The president's been tweeting about it. It's got to be real. CLEAN COAL, all caps. Did you see? He used all caps. Clean coal.

Well, you know, it's very difficult to put that CO2 back in the ground. It doesn't like being in solid form.

Have you thought about something like that?

It takes a lot of energy.

Like some sort of a filter, giant building-sized filter sucks carbon out in the atmosphere? Is that possible?

No, no, it doesn't. It's not possible.




Nope, definitely not.

So, we're fucked?

No, we're not fucked. I mean, this is quite a complex question.


You know, we're really just — When we — The more carbon we take out of the ground and add to the atmosphere, and a lot of it gets permeated into the oceans, the more dangerous it is. Like I don't think right — I think we're okay right now. We can probably even add some more but the momentum towards sustainable energy is too slow.

Like there's a vast base of industry, vast transportation system. Like there's Two and a half billion cars and trucks in the world. And the new car and truck production, if it was a 100% electric, that's only about 100 million per year. So, it would take — If you could snap your fingers and instantly turn all cars and trucks electric, it would still take 25 years to change the transport base to electric. It makes sense because how long does a car and truck last before it goes into the junkyard and gets crushed? About 20 to 25 years.

Is there a way to accelerate that process, like some sort of subsidies or some encouragement from the government financially?

Well, the thing that is going on right now is that there is an inherent subsidy in any oil-burning device. Any power plant or car is fundamentally consuming the carbon capacity of the oceans and atmosphere, or just the atmosphere for short. So, like, you can say, okay, there's a certain probability of something bad happening past a certain carbon concentration in the atmosphere.

And so, there's some uncertain number where if we put too much carbon into the atmosphere, things overheat, oceans warm up, ice caps melt, ocean real estate becomes a lot less valuable, you know, if something's underwater, but it's not clear what that number is. But, definitely, scientists, it's really quite — The scientific consensus is overwhelming. Overwhelming.

I mean, I don't know any serious scientist, actually zero, literally zero who don't think, you know, that we have quite a serious climate risk that we're facing. And so, that's fundamentally a subsidy occurring with every fossil fuel burning thing, power plants, aircraft, car frankly even rockets. I mean, rockets use up — you know, they burn. They burn fuel. But there's just — you know, with rockets, there's just no other way to get to orbit unfortunately. So, it's the only way.

But with cars, there's definitely a better way with electric cars. And to generate the energy, do so with photovoltaics because we've got a giant nuclear reactor in the sky called the sun. It's great. It sort of shows up every day, very reliable. So, if you can generate energy from solar panels, store up with batteries, you can have energy 24 hours a day.

And then, you know, you can send to the polls or in the air to the north with, you know, high voltage lines. Most of the northern parts of the world tend to have a lot of hydropower as well. But, anyway, all fossil fuel-powered things have an inherent subsidy, which is their consumption of the carbon capacity of the atmosphere and oceans.

So, people tend to think like why should electric vehicles have a subsidy, but they're not taking into account that all fossil fuel-burning vehicles fundamentally are subsidized by the cost, the environmental cost to earth, but nobody's paying for it. We are going to pay for it, obviously. In the future, we'll pay for it. It's just not paid for now.

And what is the bottleneck in regards to electric cars, and trucks, and things like that? Is it battery capacity?

Yeah. You got to scale up production. You got to make the car compelling, make it better than gasoline or diesel cars.

Make it more efficient in terms of, like, the distance it can travel? You're going to be fueling-

Yeah, you're going to be able to go far enough, recharge fast.

And your Roadster, you're anticipating 600 miles. Is that correct?

Yeah, yeah.

What is it? What is that?

Yeah, 600 miles.

Is that right now? Like have you driven one 600 miles now?

No. We could totally make one right now that would do 600 miles, but the thing is too expensive. So, like the car's got to-

How much more so?

Well, you know, just have a chartered kilowatt hour battery pack, and you can go 600 miles as long as you're-

Right, versus what do you have now?

330-mile range. That's plenty for most people.

330-mile range. And what is that mean in terms of kilowatts?

Well, that would be for Model S, 100-kilowatt hour pack will do about 330 miles. Maybe 335 because some people have hyper mild it to 500 miles per mile.

Hyper mild it. What does that mean?

Yeah, just like go on-

45 miles an hour or something?

Yeah, like 30 miles an hour or so. It's like on level ground with — You pump the tires up really well, and go on a smooth surface, and you can go for a long time. But, you know, like definitely comfortably do 300 miles.

Is there any-

This is fine for most people. Usually, 200 or 250 miles is fine. 300 miles is — You don't even think about it really.

Is there any possibility that you could use solar power, solar-powered one day, especially in Los Angeles? I mean, as you said about that giant nuclear reactor, a million times bigger than Earth just floating in the sky. Is it possible that one day, you'll be able to just power all these cars just on solar power? I mean, we don't ever have cloudy days if we do just three of them.

Well, the surface area of a car is without making the car look really blocky or having some-

Like a G wagon.

Yeah, and just like if it looked a lot of surface area, or like maybe like solar panels fold out, or something-

Like your E class. That's what it needed.

That E type?

Yeah, the Jaguar E type with a giant long hood, that could be a giant solar panel.

Well, at the beginning of Tesla, I did want to have this like unfolding solar panel thing. They'd press a button, and it would just like unfold these solar panels, and like charge/recharge your car in the parking lot. Yeah, we could do that, but I think it's probably better to just put that on your roof.

Right, yeah.

And then, it's going to — It should be facing the sun all the time because like-

What car have that on the roof?

Otherwise, your car could be in the shade. You know, it could be in the shade, it could be in a garage, or something like that.



Didn't the Fisker have that on the roof? The Fisker Karma New Generation for — I believe, it was only for the radio. Is that correct?

Yeah, I mean, but I think it could like recharge like two miles a day or something.

Did you laugh when they started blowing up when they get hit with water? Do you remember what happened?

They got what?

Yeah, they had a dealership or-

Oh yeah.

The Fisker Karmas were parked-

Is that like that with a flood in Jersey?

Yes, yes.


When the hurricane came in, they got overwhelmed with water, and they all started exploding. There's a fucking great video of it. Did you watch the video?

I didn't watch the video, but I did see — It's like some picture of the aftermath.

If I was you, I'd be naked, lubed up, watch that video, laugh my ass off. They all blow up. They got wet, and they blew up. That's not good.

Yeah, we made our battery waterproof, so that doesn't happen. Actually-

Smart move.

Yeah, there was a guy in Kazakhstan that — I think it was Kazakhstan that he just boated through a tunnel, an underwater tunnel, like a flooded tunnel, and just turned the wheels to steer, and pressed the accelerator, and it just floated through the tunnel.


And he steered around the other cars. I mean, like-

That's amazing.

It's on the internet.

What happens if your car gets a little sideways, like if you're driving in snow? Like what if you're driving, if you're autopilot is on, and you're in like Denver, and it snows out, and your car gets a little sideways, does it correct itself? Does that-

Oh yeah. It's got great traction control.

But does it know how to like correct? You know how, like, when your Ascend-

Oh yeah, sure.

… kicks, you know how to counter steer?

Oh, yeah. No, it's really good.

It knows how to do it?



It's pretty crazy.

That's pretty crazy.


So, like if you're going sideways, it knows how to correct itself?

It generally won't go sideways.

It won't?


Why not?

It will correct itself before it goes sideways.

Even in black eyes?

Yeah. There's videos where you could see the car, the traction-

Not alone.

Traction control system is very good. It makes you feel like Superman. It's great. You like feel like you can — Like it's — It will make you feel like this incredible driver.

I believe it.


Now, how do you program that?

We do have testing on like an ice lake in Sweden.

Oh really?

Yeah. And like Norway, and Canada, and a few other places.

Porsche does a lot of that too? They do-

They did it as well?

They do a lot of their — They do some of their driver training school on these frozen surfaces. So, you're just — The car is going sideways whether you like it or not. And you have to learn how to slide into corners, and how do we test.

Yeah. Electric cars have really great traction control because the reaction time is so fast.


Sort of like where you're gassing a car, you've got a lot of latency. It takes a while for the engine to react, but for electric motors, incredibly precise. That's why you're like — You imagine like if you had like a printer or something, you wouldn't have a gasoline engine printer. That would be pretty weird or like a surgical device. It's going to be an electric motor on the surgical device on the printer. Gasoline engine's going to be just chugging away. It's not going to have the reaction time.

But to an electric motor, it's operating at the most second level. So, it can turn on and off traction within, like, inches of getting on the onus. Like, let's say, you're driving on a patch of ice, it will turn traction off, and then turn it on a couple inches right after the ice, like a little patch of ice because in the frame of the electric motor, you're moving incredibly slowly. You're like a — You're a snail. You're just moving so slowly because it can see at a thousand frames a second. And so, it's like, say, one Mississippi. It just thought about it things a thousand times.

So, it's to realize that your wheels are not getting traction. It understands there's some slippery surface that you're driving on.


And it makes adjustments in real time.

Yes, in milliseconds.

That would be so much safer than a regular car.

Yes, it is.

Just that alone, for loved ones, you'd want them to be driving your car.

Yes. The-

Or on board. Fuck motors. Dude, fuck regular motors.

That S, X, and 3 have the lowest probability of injury of any cars ever tested by the US government.


So, this — Yeah, but it's pretty fun. It's pretty crazy. Like we — You know, people still sue us like they'll have like some accident at 60 miles an hour where they'd like twisted an ankle, and they slipped. Like they will be dead in another car, they still sue us.

But that's to be expected, isn't it?

It is to be expected.

Do you take that into account with like the same sort of fatalistic, you know, undertones to sort of just go, "You've got to just let it go. This is what people do."

I tell you I've got-

This is what it is.

… Quite a lot of respect for the justice system. Judges are very smart. And they see — they've — as like I haven't. So far, I've found judges to be very good at justice because like what — and juries are good too. Like, they're actually quite good. You know, people — You know, you read about like occasional errors in the justice system. Let me tell you, most the time, they're very good.

And like the other guy mentioned who fell asleep in the car, and he rode over a cyclist. And that was what encouraged me to get autopilot out as soon as possible. That guy sued us.

He sued you for falling asleep?

Yes. I'm not kidding. He blamed it on the new car smell.



He blamed him falling asleep on your new car smell. Does someone that's a lawyer-

This is a real thing that happened.

Someone that's a lawyer that thought that through in front of his laptop before he wrote that up.

Yes, he got a lawyer, and he sued us, and the judge was like, "This is crazy. Stop bothering me. No."

Thank God.


Thank God. Thank God there's a judge out there with a brain.

I tell you, judges are very good.

Some of them.

I have a lot of-

What about that judge that sent all these boys up the river in Pennsylvania who was selling those kids out? You know about that story?


Judge was selling young boys to prisons. He was like literally-


Yeah, literally, under bribes for — He was-

Was this an elected judge or-

He was-

Because sometimes you have a judge that's like actually a politician.

No, he was a elected judge. This is a very famous story.


He's in jail right now, I think, for the rest of his life. And he put away — He would take like a young boy who would do something like steal something from a store, and he would put them in detention for, you know, five years. Something ridiculous egregious. And they investigated his history. And they found out that he was literally being paid off. Was it by private prisons? Is that what the the deal was? There was some sort of — But, anyway, this judge is-

Actually, two judges.

Two judges?

Two judges. Kids for cash scandals, let's call them.


2008, yeah. Common pleas judges. So, I think they are elected.

And who was paying them? Someone — It proven to the point where they're in jail now that someone was paying them to put more asses in the seats in these private prisons.

It's like a million-dollar payment to put them in a youth center builder.

A million-dollar payment?


I do think these private prisons thing is-

Someone business.

… creating a bad incentive.

It's dark.

Right, yes. But, I mean, that judge is in prison.

Thank God.

Yes, but for people who think perhaps the justice system consists entirely of judges like that, I want to assure you-


… this is not the case. The vast majority of judges are very good.

I agree.

And they care about justice, and they could have made a lot more money if they wanted to be a trial lawyer. And instead, they cared about justice, and they made less money because they care about justice. And that's why they're judges.

I feel that same way about police officers.


I feel like there's so many interactions with so many different people with police officers that the very few that stand out that are horrific, we tend to look at that like, "This is evidence that police are all corrupt." And I think that's crazy.

No. Most police are very honest.


And like the military-

Like they have an insanely-

… personnel that I know-


… are very honorable, ethical people.


And much more honorable and ethical than the average person. That's my impression.

I agree. That's my impression as well.

And that's not to suggest that we be complacent and assume everyone is honest and ethical. And, obviously, if somebody is given a trusted place in society, such as being a police officer or a judge, and they are corrupt, then we must be extra vigilant against such situations-


… and take action. But we should not think that this is somehow broadly descriptive of people in that profession.

I couldn't agree more. I think there's also an issue with one of the things that happens with police officers, prosecutors, and anyone that's trying to convict someone or arrest someone is that it becomes a game. And in games, people want to win.


And sometimes, people cheat.

Yes, yes. I mean, you know, if you're a prosecutor, you should not always want to win. There are times when you should like, "Okay. I just should not want to win this case." And then, you know, like just pass on that case. Sometimes, people want to win too much. That is true.

I think, also, it becomes tough. If you're like a district attorney, you know, you tend to sort of see a lot of criminals. And then, your view of the world can get negatively.


You know, have a negative — You know, you can have a negative view of the world because, you know, you're just interacting with a lot of criminals. But, actually, most of society is not to consist of criminals.


And I, actually, had this conversation at dinner several years ago with, I guess, it's Tony. I was like, "Man, it must, sometimes, seem pretty, pretty dark because, you know, man, there's some terrible human beings out there. And he was like, "Yup." And he was like dealing with some case, which consisted of a couple of old ladies that would run people over somehow for insurance money. It was rough. Like, "Wow, that's pretty rough." It's like hard to maintain faith in humanity if you're a district attorney, but, you know, it's only a few percent of society that are actually bad.

And then if you go to the worst, say 0.1% of society are the worst, one in a thousand, one in a million, you know. Like how bad is the millionth worst person in the United States? Pretty damn bad. Like damn evil.


Like the millionth, well, one in a million of evil is so evil, people cannot even conceive of it. But there's 330 million people in the United States. So, that's 330 people out there somewhere. But by the same token, there's also 330 people who are incredible angels and unbelievably good human beings.


On the other side.

But because of our fear of danger, we tend to — our thoughts tend to gravitate towards the worst-case scenario.


And we want to frame that. And that's one of the real problems with prejudice, whether it's prejudice towards different minorities, or prejudice towards police officers, or anything, it's like we want to look at the worst-case scenario and say, "This is an example of what this is all about.".

And you see that even with people, how they frame genders. Some men frame women like that. They get ripped off by a few women, and they said, "All women are evil." Some women get fucked over by a few men, "All men are shit." And this is very toxic.

It is.

And it's also — It's a very unbalanced way of viewing the world, and it's very emotionally-based, and it's based on your own experience, your own anecdotal experience. And it can be very influential to the people around you, and it's just it's a dangerous way. It's a dangerous thought process and pattern to promote.

It is. It is a very dangerous, but I really think, you know, people should give other people the benefit of the doubt and assume that they are good until proven otherwise. And, I think, really, most people are actually pretty good people. Nobody's perfect.

They have to be.


If you think of vast numbers of us that are just interacting with each other constantly-


… we have to be better than we think we are.

Yes. I mean, like-

There's no other way.

I mean, here are these weapons but how many times, like, nobody's presumably try to murder you and you're-

Nobody yet.

Yes, nobody. It's like the sword right there.

Not the flamethrower, fake flamethrower here-


It's not a flamethrower. Now, we've got a real problem, I'm going to put it on that side to him and leave it for the guests.


I'm like, "Look, man, if I say something that fucked up, it's right there."

It will liven things up for sure. It's guaranteed to make any party better.

Yeah. Well, that's — I mean, that's the armed civilization theory, right. An armed community is safe and polite community.

You know, in Texas, it's kind of true. Yeah. I mean-

People in Texas are super polite. Therefore, they've got a gun.

Yes. Don't make somebody angry.


We don't know what's going to happen.

Yeah, it's a good move.


Piss people off, and everybody are going to have a gun.


You're off to just let that guy get in your lane.

Yeah, yeah. You know, we got a big test site in Central Texas near Waco.

Oh yeah? Beautiful.

Yes, Space X in McGregor. It's about 15 minutes away from Waco.

That's close to where Ted Nugent lives.

It is?

Shout out to Ted Nugent.

Okay, cool.


Yeah, there's — You know, we have lots of fire, and loud explosions, and things, and people-

I bet.

… they are cool with it.

They don't give a fuck out there.

They're very supportive.

Yeah. You can buy fireworks where, you know, your kids go to school.

Yeah. You know, it's dangerous.

Yeah, but it's free.

It's free.

There's something about Texas-


… that's very enticing because of that. It is dangerous, but it's also free.



Yeah. I kind of like Texas actually.

I prefer it over places that are more restrictive but more liberal because you could always be liberal. Like just because things are free and just because you have a certain amount of, you know, right wing type characters, it doesn't mean you have to be that way, you know.


And, honestly, there's a lot of those people that are pretty fucking open minded and let you do whatever you want to do.


As long as you don't bother them.

Yeah, exactly.

That's my hope right now with the way we're able to communicate with each other today and how radically different it is than generations past because we all — Just, the dust settles. We all realize, like what you're saying that most people are good.

Most people are good.

The vast majority?

Yes. I think if you give people the benefit of doubt, for sure.

I think you're right. You know who could help with that? Mushrooms.


Don't you think?

They're delicious.

Yeah, right.


They're good for you too.


All of them. All kinds of them. What do you see in terms of, like, when you think about the future of your companies, what do you see is like bottlenecks? Want some more of this?

Sure. Thank you.

What do you see in terms of like bottlenecks of things that are holding back innovation? Is it regulatory commissions and people that don't understand the technology that are influencing policy? Like what could potentially be holding you guys back right now? Is there anything that you would change?

Yeah, that's a good question. You know, I wish politicians were better at science. That would help a lot.

That's a problem.


There's no incentive for them to be good at science.

There isn't. Actually, you know, they're pretty good at science in China, I have to say.


Yeah. The mayor of Beijing has, I believe, an environmental engineering degree, and the deputy mayor has a physics degree. I met them, And Mayor says, "Shanghai is really smart and-".

You're up on technology. What do you think about this government policy of stopping use of Huawei phones? And there's something about the the worry about spying. I mean, from what I understand from real tech people, they think it's horseshit.

Oh I-.

Like phones.

I don't know. I don't know.

Like the government say, "Don't you buy Huawei phones." Are you up on that at all? No? Should we just abandon this idea?

Well, I think, like, I guess, if you have like top secret stuff, then you want to be pretty careful about what hardware you use. But, you know, like most people do not have top secret stuff.


And, like, nobody really cares what porn you watch like, you know.

Right, yeah.

It's like nobody actually cares, you know. So-.

If they do, that's kind of them.


It's just like-

National spy agencies do not give a rat's ass which porn you watch. They do not care. So, like, what secrets does a national spy agency have to learn from the average citizen? Nothing.

Well, that's the argument against the narrative. And the argument by a lot of these tech people is that the real concern is that these companies, like Huawei, are innovating at a radical pace, and they're trying to stop them from integrating into our culture and letting this. Like right now, they're the number two cell phone manufacturer in the world.


Samsung is number one. Huawei is number two. Apple is now number three. They surpassed Apple as number two. And the idea is that this is all taking place without them having any foothold whatsoever in America. There's no carriers that have their phones. You have to buy their phones unlocked through some sort of a third party, and then put-


And the worry is, you know, that these are somehow another controlled by the Chinese government. The Communist Chinese government is going to distribute these phones. And I don't know if the worry's economic influence or they'll have too much power. I don't know what it is. Are you paying attention on any of this?

Not really.


I don't think we should worry too much about Huawei phones, you know. Maybe, you know, a national security agency shouldn't have Huawei phones. Maybe that's a question mark. But I think for the average citizen, this doesn't matter. Just like no, they're not. I'm pretty sure the Chinese government does not care about the goings of the average American citizen.

Is there a time where you think that there will be no security, it will be impossible to hold back information that whatever bottleneck we'll let go, we're going to give in? That whatever bottleneck between privacy and ultimate innovation will have to be bridged in order for us to achieve the next level of technological proficiency that we're just going to abandon it, and there'll be no security, no privacy?

Do people want privacy? Because they seem to put everything on the internet. Practically-.

Well, right now, they are confused, but when you're talking about your Neuralink, and this this idea that one day, we're going to be able to share information, and we're going to be some sort of a thing that's symbiotically connected?

Yeah. I think we really worry about security in that situation

And when-

For sure. That's like security will be paramount.



But, also, what we will be. This will be so much different. Our concerns about money, about status, about where all of these things will seemingly go by the wayside if we really become enlightened, if we really become artificially enlightened by some sort of an AI interface where we have this symbiotic relationship with some new internet type connection to information? But, you know, what happens then? What is important? What is not important? Is privacy important when we're all gods?

I mean, I think the things that we think are important to keep private right now-


… we probably will not think going forward.

Shame, right? Information, right? What are hiding? Emotions? What are we hiding?

I mean, I think, like, I don't know. Maybe it's like embarrassing stuff.

Right, embarrassing stuff.

But there's actually — Like, I think, people, there's like not that much that's kept private that people — that is actually relevant.


That other people would actually care about. When you think other people care about it, but they don't really care about it. And, certainly, governments don't.

Well, some people care about it. But, then, it gets weird when it gets exposed. Like Jennifer Lawrence, when those naked pictures got exposed, like, I think, in some ways, people liked her more.


They realized like she's just a person. It's just a girl who likes sex, and is just alive, and has a boyfriend, and sends him messages. And, now, you get to look into it, and you probably shouldn't have, but somebody let it go, and they put it online, and all right.

She seems to be doing okay.

She's a person. She's just you, and me, and it's the same thing. She's just in some weird place where she's on a 35-foot tall screen with music playing every time she talks.

Yeah. I mean, I'm sure like not-

No, but she's fine.

She's not happy about it, but she's-


But she's clearly doing fine.

But once this interface is fully realized where we really do become something far more powerful in terms of our cognitive ability, our ability to understand irrational thoughts, and mitigate them, and that we're all connected in some sort of an insane way. I mean, what are our thoughts on wealth, our thoughts on social status? Like how many of those just evaporate? And our need for privacy, maybe our need for privacy will be the ultimate bottleneck that we'll have to surpass.

I think, the things that we think are important now will probably not be important in the future, but there will be things that are important. It's just, like, different things.

What will be more important?

I don't know. There might be some more of ideas potentially. I don't think Darwin's going away.


Darwin's going to be there.

That was that, yeah.

Darwin will be there forever.

Forever, yeah.

It would just be a different arena. Different arena.

A digital arena.

Different arena. Darwin is not going away.

What keeps you up at night?

Well, it's quite hard to run companies.


Especially car companies, I would say. It's quite challenging.

The car business is the hardest one of all the things you do?

Yes, because it's a consumer-oriented business as opposed to like SpaceX and-

Not that SpaceX because SpaceX is no walk in the park, but a car company, it's very difficult to keep a car company alive. It's very difficult. You know, there's only two companies in the history of American car companies that haven't gone bankrupt, and that's Ford and Tesla. That's it.

Yeah, Ford rode out that crazy storm, huh? They're the only one.

By the skin of their teeth.

Shot out to the Mustang.


Yeah, by the skin of their teeth. That is interesting, right?

Same with Tesla, we barely survived.

How close did you get to folding?

Very close. I mean, 2008 is not a good time to be a car company, especially a startup car company, and especially an electric car company. That was like stupidity squared.

And this is when you had those cool Roadsters with the T-top?


With a target top?

Yeah. We had like a — It was highly modified Elise chassis. The body was completely different. By the way, that was a super dumb strategy that we actually did because we-

What's dumb?

It was based on two false premises. One false premise was that we would be able to cheaply convert the Lotus Elise, and use that as a car platform, and that we'll be able to use technology from this little company called AC Propulsion for the electric drive train on the battery. Premise, the AC propulsion technology did not work in production, and we ended up using none of it in long-term. None of it. We had to resign everything.

And then once you add a battery pack and electric motor to the car, it got heavier. It got 30% heavier. It invalidated the entire structure, all the crash structure. Everything had to be redone. Nothing. Like, I think, it had less than 7% of the parts were common with any other device including cars or anything.



Everything? Including tires, and wheels, bolts, brakes?

Yeah, even every-

Steering wheel? Seat?

The steering wheel was — I think, the steering wheel was almost the same. Yes, the windscreen. The windscreen.


No. I think, the windscreen is the same.


Yes. I think, we were able to keep the windscreen.

But the last was 7%. So, that's basically-

Every body panel is different. The entire structure was different. We couldn't use the, like, the HVAC system, the air conditioner. It was belt-driven air conditioner. So, now, we needed something that was electrically driven. We need a new AC compressor.

And all that takes away from the battery life as well, right?

Yeah. We need a small highly efficient air conditioning system that fit in a tiny car and was electrically powered, not belt-driven. It was very difficult.

How much of those weigh, those cars, the Roadster?

I think it was 2700 pounds.

That's still very light.

27. Depending on which version, 2650 to 2750 pounds, something like that.

And what was the weight distribution?

It was about 50 — Well, there were different versions of the car. So, it's about 55 on the rear.

That's not bad.

It was rear bias.

Right, but not bad. Considering like a 911, which is like one of the most popular sports cars of all time. Heavy rear end bias.

Well, I mean, yeah. The 911, I'm not going to joke, is like the master despite Newton not being on their side.


I guess, fighting Newton, it's very difficult.


It's like you've got those — The moments of inertia on a 911 don't make any sense.

They do once you understand them. Once you understand-

You don't want to hang the engine off the ass. This is not a wise move.

You don't want to let up on the gas when you're in a corner.

The problem with something where the engine is mounted over the rear axle or off the rear axle towards the rear is that your polar moment of inertia is fundamentally screwed. You cannot solve this. It's unsolvable. You're screwed. Polar moment of inertia, you're screwed.


Like, essentially, if you spawn the car like a top, that's your polar moment of inertia. You're just — I promise I wouldn't swear on this show, by the way.



Says who?

This was for a friend.

Tell that friend to go fuck himself. Who told you not to swear?

A friend.

He's not a good friend.


That friend need to-

I said I wouldn't swear.

… realize you're fucking Elon Musk. You can do whatever you want, man. If you ever get confused, call me.

I'll swear in private. Swear up a storm.

Okay, just say freaking. It's a fun way. It's like old house moms. Wives and shit that have children, "Oh, this freaking thing."

Yeah. But, anyway, like the Portia, it's kind of incredible how well Porsche handles given that it's the physics-.


The moments of inertia are so messed up. To actually still make it work well is incredible.

Well, if you know how to turn into the corner once you get used to the feeling of it, there's actual benefits to it. You know, there are some benefits.

I enjoy. The car I had before, Tesla was a 911.


That was-

997 or 6?




Yeah. Great car, man.

Yeah. I mean, particularly, the Porsche wouldn't have the variable veins on the turbo, and it didn't have the turbo lag. That was great.


That was really great. The turbo lag is, like, you know, if you flirt, like phone home, call your mom.

The older one, right?

It's like about an hour later-


… the car accelerates.

And super dangerous too because where it will start spinning and-


Yeah. There's something fun about it though like feeling that rear weight kicking around, you know. And again-

No, it's great.

… it's not efficient.

It had a good feel to it.


Yeah, I agree.

But that's what I was talking about earlier about that little car that I have, the '93 911. It's not fast. It's not the best handling car, but it's more satisfying than any other car I have because it's so mechanical. It's like everything about it, like crack holes, and bumps, and it gives you all this feedback. And I take it to the comic store because when I get there, I feel like my brain is just popping, and it's on fire. It's like a strategy for me now that I really stop driving other cars there. I drive that car there just for the brain juice, just for the-


The interaction.

I mean, you should try Model S P100D.

I'll try it.

It will blow your mind-


… and your skull.



Tell me what to order, I'll order it.

Model S P100D.

Okay. Jamie, write it down.

That's the car that I drive.

Okay. Okay, I'll get the car you drive. Okay.

It will blow your mind-

How far can I drive?

… out of your skull.

I believe you.


How far can I drive? How far can I drive?

About 300 miles.

That's good. For LA regular days, that's good.

You will never notice the battery.



How hard is it to get like one of them crazy plugs installed in your house? That difficult?

No, it's super easy. It's like, yeah.

Do you-

It's like a dryer plug. It's like a dryer outlet.

Didn't you come up with some crazy tiles for your roof that are solar paneled?

Yeah, yeah. I have it on my roof right now actually. I'm just trying it out. The thing is it takes a while to test roof stuff because roofs have to last a long time.


So, like, you want your roof to last like 30 years.

Could you put it over a regular roof?

No. So, there's two versions. It's like the solar panels you put on a roof. So, like, it depends on whether your roofs new or old. So, if your roofs new, you don't want to replace the roof. You want to put like solar panels on the roof.


So, that's like retrofit, you know. And they were trying to make the retrofit panels look real nice. But then, the new product were coming out with it is if you have a roof that's either you're building a house or you're going to replace your roof anyway, then you make the tiles have solar cells embedded in the tiles.

And then, it's quite a tricky thing because you want to not see the solar cell behind the glass tile. So, you have to really work with the glass, and the various coatings, and the layers, so that you don't see the solar cells behind the glass. Otherwise, it doesn't look right.


So, it's really tricky.

There it is. Jaime, put it up there.


Man, that looks good. Is there a-

See, like, if you look closely, you can see. If you zoom in, like, you can see the cell. But if you zoom out, you don't see the cell.

Right, but it looks though.



Like that's hard.

That's invisible solar cells.

It's really hard because you have to get the sunlight go through.


But when it gets reflected back out, it doesn't — it hides the fact that there's a cell there.

Now, are those available to the consumer right now?

Well, we have — I think, that's-

Those on that roof right there?


That's amazing. Oh, that looks good.


Ooh, I like that.

That one is hard.

Oh. So, you get that kind of fake Spanish looking thing. I like that.

That's French slate.

That's why people in Connecticut are smoking pipes. Look at that one.


That's badass, dude. So, now-

This will actually work.

I believe you. So, the solar panels that are on that house that we just looked at, is that sufficient to power the entire home?

It depends on your energy on how efficient-


Yeah, yeah.


So, generally, yes. I would say it's probably for most. It's going to vary, but anywhere from more than you need to maybe half. Like call it half to 1.5 of the energy that you need, depending on how much roof you have relative to living space.

And how ridiculous you are with your TV.

TVs no problem. Air conditioning.

Air conditioning.

Air conditioning is the problem. If you have an efficient air conditioner, and you don't — and depending on how — like, are you air conditioning rooms when they don't need to be air conditioned, which is very common-


… because it's a pain in the neck, you know. It's like programming a VCR. It's like-


Now, it's just blinking 12:00. So, people are just like, "The hell with that. I'm just going to make it this temperature all day long.".

Right. You know how a smart home where if you're in the room, then it stays cool, right?

Yeah, it should predict when you're going to be home, and then cool the rooms that you're likely to use with a little bit of intelligence. We're not talking about like genius home here. We're talking like elementary basic stuff.


You know, like if you could hook that into the car, like manage you coming home. Like there's no point cooling the home-


… keeping the home really cool when you're not there.


But it can tell that you're coming home, it's just going to cool it to the right temperature right when you get there.

Do you have an app that works with your solar panels or anything like that?

Yeah. Yeah, we do.


But we need to hook it into the air conditioning to really make the air conditioning work.

Have you thought about creating an air conditioning system? I know you have. Trick question.

Cannot answer questions about the future of potential products.

Okay. Let's just let it go. We'll move on to the next thing.

That would be an interesting idea.

Yeah, I would say radiant heating and all that, good ideas. Now, when you think about the efficiency of these homes, and you think about implementing solar power and battery power, is there anything else that people are missing? Is there any other — Like, I just saw a smartwatch that is powered by the heat of the human body, and some new technology.

It's able to fully power that way?

I don't know-


… if it's fully or if it's — Like this watch right here, this is a Casio.


It's called a Pro Trek. And it's like an outdoors watch, and it's solar-powered.


And so, it has the ability to operate for a certain amount of time on solar.


So, if you have it exposed, it could function for a certain amount of time on solar.

Yeah. Well, you know, like there's self-weighting watches where-


… you know, it's just got a weight in the watch. And as you move your wrist, the way it moves from one side to the other, and it winds the watch up. That's a pretty cool thing.

Yeah, yeah.


Well, it's amazing that like Rolexes that it's all done mechanically.


There's no batteries in there. There is no nothing.

Yeah. You could do the same thing. You create a little charger that's based on wrist movement. It really depends on how much energy your watch uses.

You know what's fucked up about that though? We accept a certain amount of like fuckery with those watches. Like I brought my watch. I have a Rolex that my friend, Lorenzo, gave me, and I brought it to the watch store, and I said, "This thing's always fast." I said, "It's always like after a couple of months, it's like five minutes fast." And they go, "Yup." They go, "Yeah."


"It's just what it does."


I go, "Hold on." I go, "So, you're telling me that it just is always going to be fast?" They're like, "Yeah. It's just like every few months, you get like reset it."

It seems like they should recalibrate that thing.

They can't. They tried. They say, every few months, whether it's four months, or five months, or six months, it's going to be a couple of minutes fast.

Okay. It seems like they should really recalibrate that because-

You should figure that shit out.

… if it's always fast, you can just-


… you know, delete those minutes.

You need to fucking kick down the door at Rolex and go, "You bitches are lazy."

It's kind of amazing that you can keep time mechanically on a wristwatch with these tiny little gears.

It's amazing.


I mean, the whole luxury watch market is fascinating. I'm not that involved in terms — Like I don't buy them. I've bought them as gifts. I don't buy them for myself. But when I look at them online, there's a million dollar watches out there now that are like they have like a little rotating moons and stars.


And they live — Like look at this thing, how much is that when Jaime?

I don't know. I just picked one.

These are fucking preposterous guess. I like gears. I love them. I love them.

Yeah. I think that is beautiful.

But there's some of these people that are just taking it right in the ass. They're buying these watches for like $750,000 . Like, "Yeah, that's a Timex, son." Nobody knows. It's not any better than some Casio that you could just buy on — Like, look at that though.

Well, here's the thing. If you're a person that doesn't just want to know the time, you want craftsmanship, you want some artisan's touch, you want innovation in terms of like a person figuring out how gears and cogs all line up perfectly, to every time it turns over, it's basically a second. I mean, that's just — There's this art to that.

Yeah, I agree.

Yeah, it's not just telling time. Yeah, I like this watch a lot, but if it got hit by a rock, I wouldn't be sad.


It's just to watch. It's a mass-produced thing that runs on some quartz battery. But those things, there's art to that.

Yeah. No, I agree. It's beautiful.


Yeah. Love it.

Yeah. There's something amazing about it. It's-


Because it represents the human creativity. It's not just electronic innovation. There's something. It's a person's work in that.


You don't have a watch on.



I used to have a watch.

What happened?

My phone tells the time. So-

That's a good point. Well, if you lose your phone? Do you — Wait, hold on.

It's true.

Let me guess, you are a no case guy.

That's correct. Living on the edge. Living on the edge without a case.

Neil deGrasse Tyson. Neil deGrasse Tyson was in here last week. I'm marveled at his ability to get through life without a case.

That's right.

You know, he takes his phone, and he flips it in between his fingers like a soldier would do with his rifle.


He just rolls that shit in between his fingers.


It's marvelous.


He says that's the reason why they do it. He said, "Would you look at someone who has a rifle, why would they do that? Why would they flip it around like that?"


It's like, it goes to drop, they have it in their hand. They catch it quickly.


So, that's what he does with his phone. He's just flipping his phone around all the time. I got that in Mexico. I was hoping it holds joint.

Does it do anything? It tips to open.


Just a hole?

It's just a hole.

You could store things in there.

Yeah. But like try it. Put a joint in there. Close it. You put like one blunt. One, that seems pretentious. You know, that's the idea behind it. I bought it when I was in Mexico because I figured it would be a good size to hold joints, or it's not.

So, is that a joint or is it a cigar?



It's marijuana inside of a tobacco.

Okay. So, it's like posh, part tobacco a pot.

Yeah. You never had that?

Yeah. I think I tried one once.

Come on, man. You probably can't because of stockholders, right?

I mean, it's legal, right?

Totally legal.


How does that work? Do people get upset at you if you do certain things? It's just tobacco and marijuana in there. That's all it is. The combination of tobacco and marijuana is wonderful. First turned on to it by Charlie Murphy, and then reignited by Dave Chappelle. There you go.

Plus whiskey.


Perfect. It balances it out.

Alcohol is a drug that's been grandfathered in.

Well, it's not just a drug. It's a drug that gets a bad rep because you just have a little, it's great.


Yeah, little sip here and there, and your inhibitions are relaxed, and it shows your true self. And, hopefully, you're more joyous, and friendly, and happy, and everything. The real worry is the people that can't handle it. Like the real worry about people who can't handle cars and go 016 in 1.9 seconds or anything.

Have you ever considered something that — Like, imagine if one day, everyone has a car that's on the same, at least, technological standard as one of your cars, and everyone agrees that the smart thing to do is not just to have bumpers but to perhaps have some sort of a magnetic repellent device, something, some electromagnetic field around the cars that as cars come close to each other, they automatically radically decelerate because of magnets or something.

Well, I mean, our cars brake automatically.



Yeah. When they see things?


But like a physical barrier, like-

Well, the wheels work pretty well.

The wheels do.

Yeah, yeah. They work pretty well. Decelerated at, you know, 1.1 to 1.2 Gs, that kind of thing.

Is your concern that one day all your cars will be on the road, and then, there'll still be regular people with regular cars 20-30 years from now that will get in the mix and be the main problem?

Yeah. I think, it'd be sort of like, you know, there was a time of transition where there were horses and gasoline cars on the road at the same time. It's been pretty weird.

That would be the weirdest.

Yeah. I mean, horses were tricky. You know, back when Manhattan had like 300.000 horses, then figure out like if a horse lives 15 years, you got 20,000 horses dropping dead every day or every year, I should say. Every year, it's 20,000 horses. If there's 300,000 horses in a 15-year lifespan.

Back in the Gangs of New York days, that movie.



It's a lot of dead horses. You needed a horse to move the horse.


They'll probably get pretty freaked out if they have to move our dead horse.

Do you think they know what's going on?


Do you think it's as hard?

I mean, it's got to be like pretty weird.

No, I would imagine.

Like, in my mind, dragging this dead, you know, horse around, and I'm a horse.

Do you-

They might not like it.

Do you ever stop and think about your role in civilization? Do you ever stop and think about your role in the culture? Because me, as a person, who never met you until today, when I think of you, you know, I've always thought of you as being this weirdo super inventor dude who just somehow or another keeps coming up with new shit, but there's not a lot of you out there. Like everybody else seems to be — I mean, obviously, you make a lot of money, and there's a lot of people that make a lot of money. You like that clock?


Pretty dope, right?

This is a great clock.

You want one? I'll get you one.


Okay, done.

I like weird things like this.

Oh, this is the coolest. It's TGT Promotion. What is this? TGT Studios? TGT Studios.


Yeah. So, a gentleman who makes all this by hand. Yeah, it's really cool.

My study is filled with weird devices.

Well, get ready for another one.

All right.

I'm sending it your way.


You want a werewolf too? I'll hook you up.

All right. I'll take one.

Okay. You want a werewolf and one clock coming up. Do you think about your role in the culture? Because me, as a person, who never met you until today, I've always looked at you and like, "Wow." Like, "How does this guy just keep inventing shit?" Like, how do you how do you keep coming up with all these new devices? And do you ever consider how unusual — Like I had a dream once that there was a million Teslas. Instead of like one Tesla, there was a million Teslas.


Not just the car but Nikola.

Oh, yeah, sure.

And that in his day, there was a million people like him who were radically innovative.


It was a weird dream, man. It was so strange. And I've had it more than once.

That would result in a very rapid technology innovation. That's for sure.

It's one of the only dreams of my life I've had more than one time.

Okay, wow.

Like where I've woken up, and it's in the same dream. I'm in the same dream. And in this dream, it's 1940s, 1950s, but everyone is severely advanced. There's flying blimps with like LCD screens in the side of them. And everything is bizarre and strange. And it stuck with me for whatever — Obviously, this is just a stupid dream. But for whatever reason, all these years, that stuck with being. Like it takes one man, like Nikola Tesla, to have more than a hundred inventions that were patents, right. I mean, he had some-

He's pretty great.

… pretty fucking amazing ideas.


But there was-


In his day, there was very few people like him.

Yeah, that was true.

What if there was a million? Like what in the experience-

Things would advance very quickly.

Right, but there's not a million Elon Musks. There's one motherfucker. Do you think about that or you just try to not?

I don't think. I don't think you'd necessarily want to be me. That'd be good.

Well, what's the worst part about you?

I should. I never thought people would like it that much.

Well, most people would, but they can't be. So, that's like some superhero type shit. You know, we wouldn't want to be Spiderman. I'd rather just sleep tight in Gotham City and hope he's out there doing his job.

It's very hard to turn it off.

Yeah. What's the hardest part?

It might sound great if it's turned on, but what if it doesn't turn off?

Now, I showed you the isolation tank, and you've never experienced that before.


I think that could help you turn it off a little bit just for the night.


Yeah. Just give you a little bit of sleep, a little bit of perspective. It's magnesium that you get from the water as well that makes you sleep easier because the water has Epsom salts in it. But may be some sort of strategy for sacrificing your — or not sacrificing but enhancing your biological recovery time by figuring out a way whether it's through meditation or some other ways to shut off that thing at night. Like you must have like a constant stream of ideas that's running through your head all the time. You're getting text messages from chicks.

No. I'm getting text messages from a friend saying, "What the hell are you doing smoking weed?".

Is that bad for you? It's legal.


I mean-

It's government approved.

It's not — You know, I'm not a regular smoker of weed.

How often do you smoke it?

Almost never. I mean, it's-

How does it feel?

I don't actually notice any effect.

Well, there you go. There was a time where I think it was Ramadan for someone gave some Buddhist monk a bunch of acid.


And he ate it, and it had no effect on him.

I doubt that.

I would say that too, but I've never meditated to the level that some of these people have where they're constantly meditating all day. They don't have any material possessions. And all of their energy is spent trying to achieve a certain mindset. I would like to cynically deny that. I'd like to cynically say, "Hey, just fuck and think the same way I do." They're just hanging out with flip flops on and make weird noises, but maybe no.

You know, I know a lot of people like weed, and that's fine, but I don't find that it is very good for productivity.

For you.

Not for me.

Yeah. I mean, I would imagine that for someone like you, it's not. For someone like you, it would be more like a cup of coffee, right. You want to have a latte.

Yeah. It's more like the opposite of a cup of coffee.

What is that?

It's like a cup of coffee in reverse.

Weed is?


No, I'm saying you would like more. More like will be beneficial to you. It would be like coffee.

I like to get things done. I like to be useful. That is one of the hardest things to do is to be useful.

When you say you like to get things done-


… like, in terms of like what-

I should get things done.

… gives you satisfaction? When you complete a project, when something that you invent comes to fruition, and you see people enjoying it, that feeling.

Yes, doing something useful for other people that I like doing.

That's interesting for other people.


So, that, do you think that that is maybe the way you recognize that you have this unusual position in the culture where you can uniquely influence certain things because of this? I mean, you essentially have a gift, right.


I mean, you would think it was a curse, but I'm sure it's been fueled by many, many years of discipline and learning. But you, essentially, have a gift and that you have this radical sort of creativity engine when it comes to innovation and technology. It's like you're just you're going at very high RPMs.

All the time. That doesn't stop.

What is that like?

I don't know what would happen if I got into a sensory deprivation tank.

Let's try it.

It sounds a little concerning.

But why?

It's like running the engine with no resistance. That is-

Is that what it is though? Maybe it's not.

Maybe it's fine. I don't know.

How much-

I'll try it. I'll try it.

Have you ever-

It's fine.

… experimented with meditation or anything?


What do you do, or what have you done rather?

I mean, just sort of sit there, and be quiet, and then repeat some mantra, which acts as a focal point. It does still the mind. It does still the mind, but I don't find myself drawn to it frequently.

Do you think that perhaps productivity is maybe more attractive to you than enlightenment or even the concept of whatever enlightenment means. Like, what are you trying to achieve when you're meditating all the time? With you, it seems like almost like there's a franticness to your creativity that comes out of this burning furnace. And in order for you to like calm that thing down, you might have to throw too much water on it.

It's like a never-ending explosion.

Like what is it like? Try to explain it to a dumb person like me. What's going on?

Never-ending explosion.

It's just constant ideas just bouncing around.




So, when everybody leaves, it's just Elon sitting at home brushing his teeth, just bunch ideas bouncing around your head.

Yeah, all the time.

When did you realize that that's not the case with most people?

I think, when I was, I don't know, five or six or something. I thought I was insane.

Why did you think you were insane?

Because it is clear that other people do not. Their mind wasn't exploding with ideas all the time.

So, they weren't expressing it. They weren't talking about it all day. And you realized by the time you were five or six like, "Oh, they're probably not even getting this thing that I'm getting."

No. It was just strange. It was like, "Hmm, kind of strange." That was my conclusion, kind of strange.

But did you feel diminished by it in any way? Like knowing that this is a weird thing that you really probably couldn't commiserate with other people, they wouldn't understand you.

I hope they wouldn't find out because they might like put me away or something.

You thought that?

For a second, yes.

When you were little?

Yeah. They put people away. What if they put me away?

Like when you were little, you thought this?


Wow. Well, you thought, "This is so radically different than the people that are around me if they find out I got this stream coming in."



But, you know, I was only like five or six probably.

Do you think this is like — I mean, there's outliers biologically. You mean, there's people that are 7 foot 9, there's people that have giant hands, there's people that have eyes that are 20/15 vision. There's always the outliers. Do you feel like you like caught this, like you have got some — you're like on some weird innovation creativity sort of wave that's very unusual? Like you tapped into — I mean, just think of the various things you may have accomplished in a very short amount of time, and you're constantly doing this. That's a weird — You're a weird person, right.

Right, I agree.

Yeah. Like what if there's a million Elon Musks?

Well, that would be very, very weird.


Yeah, it would be pretty weird. I agree.

Real weird.



What if there were a million Joe Rogans?

There probably is. There's probably two million. I mean, I think that's the case with a lot of folks.

Yeah. I mean, but, like, you know, my goal is like try to do useful things, try to maximize the probability for the future's good, make the future exciting, something you look forward to, you know. You know, with Tesla, I want to try to make things that people love. Like, how do you think you could buy that you really love, that really give you joy? So rare, so rare. I wish there were more things. That's what we try to do. Just make things that somebody loves.

When you-

That's so difficult.

When you think about things that someone loves, like, do you specifically think about like what things would improve people's experience, like what would change the way people interface with life that would make them more relaxed or more happy? You really think, like, when you're thinking about things like that, is that like one of your considerations? Like what could I do that would help people-


… that maybe they wouldn't be able to figure out?

Yeah. Like what are the set of things that can be done to make the future better? Like, you know, like so, I think, a future where we are a space-faring civilization and out there among the stars. This is very exciting. This makes me look forward to a future. This makes me want that future. You know, the things, there need to be things that make you look forward to waking up in the morning.

You wake up in the morning, you look forward to the day, you look forward to the future. And a future where we are a space-faring civilization and out there among the stars, I think, that's very exciting. That is a thing we want; whereas, if we knew we would not be a space-faring civilization but forever confined to Earth, this would not be a good future. That would be very sad, I think.

It would be so sad in terms-

Like I don't want a sad future.

… just the finite lifespan of the Earth itself-


… and the solar system itself. But even though it's possibly — You know, I mean, how long do they feel like the sun and the solar system is going to exist? How many hundreds of millions of years?

Well, it's probably, if you're saying when does the sun boil the oceans-


About 500 million years.

So, is it sad that we never leave because in 500 million years, that happens? Is that what you're saying?

No. I just think like if there are two futures, and one future us we're out there among the stars, and the things we read about and see in science fiction movies, the good ones are true, and we have these starships, and we're going see what other planets are like, and we're a multi-planet species, and the scope and scale of consciousness is expanded across many civilizations, and many planets, and many star systems, this is a great future. This is a wonderful thing to me. And that's what we should strive for.

But that's biological travel. That's cells traveling physically to another location.


Do you think that's definitely where we're going?


Yeah, I don't think so either. I used to think so. And, now, I'm thinking more likely less than ever. Like almost every day less likely.

We can definitely go to the moon and Mars.

Yeah. Do you think we will colonize?

I think we will go to the asteroid belt. And we can go to the moons of Jupiter, Saturn, even get to Pluto.

That'd be the craziest place ever if we colonize Mars, and reform it, and turn it into like a big Jamaica. Just oceans and-

I think, we should. I think that would be great.

I mean, imagine that there is-

That would be great. Amazing.

It's possible, right?


We can turn the whole thing into Cancún.


I mean, over time.

It wouldn't be easy but yes.


You could just warm — You could warm it up.

Yeah, you can warm it up. You could add air. You get some water there. I mean, over time, hundreds of millions of years or whatever it takes.

We'll be a multi-planet species.

Yeah, that would be amazing.

We're a multi-planet species.

If we could-

That's what we want to be-

… legitimately like air-condition-


… Saturn.

I'm pro-human.

Me too. Yeah, me too.

I love humanity. I think it's great.

We're glad as a robot that you love humans because we love you too, and we don't want you to kill us and eat us. And-

I mean, you know, strangely, I think a lot of people don't like humanity and see it as a blight, but I do not.

Well, I think one of those — I think, part of that is just they've been — you know, they've been struggling. When people struggle, they associate their struggle with other people. They never internalize their problems. They look to other people as holding them back, and people suck, and fuck people, and it's just — You know, it's a never ending cycle. But not always. Again, most people are really good. Most people, the vast majority.

This may sound corny.

It does sound corny.

But love is the answer.

It is you answer.


Yeah, it is. It sounds corny because we're all scared. You know, we're all scared of trying to love people, being rejected, or someone taking advantage of you because you're trying to be loving.


What if we all could just relax and love each other?

It wouldn't hurt to have more love in the world.

It definitely wouldn't hurt.


It would be great.

Yeah, we should do that.

Yeah, I agree, man.

Like really.

How are you going to fix that? Do you have a love machine you're working on?

No, but probably spend more time with your friends and less time on social media.

Now, deleting social media from your applications, from your phones, will that give you a 10% boost to happiness? What do you think the percentage is?

I think probably something like that, yeah.

Yeah, a good 10%.

Yeah, I mean, the only thing I've kept is Twitter because I kind of like meet some means of getting a message out, you know.


Well, that's about it. So far so good.

Well, what's interesting with you, you actually occasionally engage with people on Twitter.

Yeah, that's-

What percentage of that is a good idea?

Good question.

Probably 10%, right? It's hard.

It's mostly — I think, it's on balance, more good than bad, but there's definitely some bad. So-.

Do you ever-

Hopefully, the good outweighs the bad.

Do you ever think about how odd it is, the weird feeling that you get when someone says something shitty to you on Twitter, and you read it? That weird feeling. This weird little negative jolt. It's like a subjective negative jolt of energy that you don't really need to absorb, but you do anyway. Like, "I want to fuck this guy. Fuck him."

I mean, there's a lot of negativity on Twitter.

It is, but it's a weird in it's form. Like the way, if you ingest it as if you're like — you try to be like a little scientist as you're ingesting it, you're like, "How weird is this?" And I'm even getting upset at some strange person saying something mean to me. It's not even accurate.

I mean, the vast number of negative comments, for the vast majority, I just ignore them, the vast majority.


Every now and again, you have draw in, something not good.

It's not good.

You make mistakes.

Yes, you can make mistakes.

We can make some mistakes.

We're all human. We can make mistakes. Yeah, it's hard. And people love it when you say something, and you take it back, and they're like, "Fuck you. We saved it forever. I'll fucking screenshot that shit, bitch. You had that thought. You had that thought." I'm like, "Well, I deleted it." "Not good enough. You had the thought. I'm better than you. I never had that thought. You had that thought, you piece of shit. Look, I saved it. I put it on my blog. Bad thought."

Yeah. I'm not sure why people think that anyone would think that deleting a tweet makes them go away. It's like, "Hello, been on the internet for a while."

Yeah. Well it's even like-

Anything is forever.

And the thing is they don't want you to be able to delete it because the problem is if you don't delete it, and you don't believe it anymore, it's really hard to say, "Hey, that thing above, I don't really believe that anymore. I changed the way I view things."


Because people would go, "Well, fuck you. I have that over there. I'm going to just take that. I'm not going to pay attention to that shit you wrote underneath it."

It's on your permanent record.

Yeah. It's forever like a tattoo.

Like high school, "We'll put this on your permanent record."

Yeah. It's like a tattoo. You keep it.


Yeah. Well, it's this thing where there's a lack of compassion. It's a lack of compassion issue. People are just like intentionally shitty to each other all the time online, and trying to catch-


They're more trying to catch people doing something that's arrestable, like a cop trying to, like, get, you know, arrests on his record. It's like they're trying to catch you for something, more than they're logically looking at it thinking it's a bad thing that you've done, or that it's an idea they don't agree with so much, they needed to insult you. They're trying to catch you.

Yeah, yeah. I mean, it's way easier to be mean on social media than it is to be mean in person.


Way easier.



It's weird. It's not a normal way of human interacting. It's cheating.


You're not supposed to be able to interact so easily when the people are not looking at.


You would never do that. Don't be so mean when somebody looking in their eyes. If you did, you'd feel like shit.

Most people.

Yeah, unless you're a sociopath, you'd feel terrible.


Elon Musk, this has been a pleasure.

Yeah, likewise.

It really has been.

It's been an honor. Thank you for having me.

Thanks for doing this because I know you don't do a lot of long form stuff like this. I hope I didn't weird you out, and I hope you don't get mad that you smoked weed.

I mean-

It's not bad. It's legal. We're in California. This is just as legal as this whiskey we've been drinking.


This is all good, right?


Cheers. Thank you. Is there any message you would like to put out other than love is the answer, because I think you really nailed it with that.

No. I think, you know, I think people should be nicer to each other, and give more credit to others, and don't assume that they're mean until you know they're actually mean. You know, just, it's easy to demonize people. You're usually wrong about it. People are nicer than you think. Give people more credit.

I couldn't agree more. And I want to thank you not just for all the crazy innovations you've come up with and your constant flow of ideas but that you choose to spread that idea, which is very vulnerable, but it's very honest, and it resonates with me.

It's true.

And I believe it.

It's true.

I believe it's true too. So, thank you.

You're welcome.

All you assholes out there, be nice. Be nice, bitch. All right. Thank you, everybody. Thank you, Elon.

All right, thank you.

Good night, everybody.

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Sonix Tutorials Sonix Tutorial: Sonix | Zapier – How to Create a Zap that will automatically transcribe files when placed in a Dropbox folder

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Sonix Tutorial – Sonix | Zapier – How to Create a Zap that will automatically transcribe files when placed in a Dropbox folder

Hello, everyone. My Name is David Nguyen, and I'm one of the folks here at Sonix. Today, we're going to show you how to automate your workflow with Sonix by using Zapier. We're going to make a zap that watches a folder in your Dropbox account. And when you upload an audio or video file to that folder, we'll have Sonix automatically transcribe that file for you. It's super easy, and it should only take a few minutes.

How to create a zap in Zapier

So, first thing you want to do is click on make new zap button or make a zap, same thing. And you're going to be taken to this page. It looks confusing, but it's actually not. There are two parts to a zap. The first part is the trigger and the second is an action. So, in this instance, Dropbox is going to be a trigger because we're going to watch a folder on Dropbox. And every single time a file is placed in that folder, that triggers an action, which is we're going to transcribe the file by Sonix.

So, you want to first set up the trigger. So, you're going to search for Dropbox. Obviously, I know it's right here, but we're just going to go through the search box, and you're going to choose new file and folder. Click that, save and continue.

Linking your Dropbox account to Zapier

Now, you're gonna have to link your Dropbox account to Zapier. So, what you're going to do is you're going to click connect an account. And you're going to log in to Dropbox. Click sign in, get the authorization, and it should look something like this. My information is a little blurred out right now. So, you click test just to make sure everything works. It does. And then, you click save and continue.

Choosing a folder you want Sonix to ‘watch’

Now, you have to choose a folder that you're going to watch. Please do not choose the route folder. That's not a good idea. So, I just created a folder that's called Sonix Uploaded Audio. Include file contents, yes. If you don't see your folder in there, especially if you just created it and want to see in this page, please click refresh fields, and it will appear in that dropropdowndown.

Now, click continue. And what it's going to do is it's going to look inside of that file or, excuse me, inside that folder for a file. In this case, it found File A, which is entitled Pete Combs Recording Tips, and there's all this metadata that's attached to it. This looks good because this file is in that folder. And then, you're going to click continue. Cool. So, you have the trigger, a new file in a folder in Dropbox.

Setting up the action to automatically transcribe a file

So, the action is going to be under Sonix. So, you want to search for Sonix. It looks something like this. And what we want to do is transcribe a file. So, click save and continue. And now, we have to connect to our Sonix account to Zapier. So, you want to click Connect an Account.

Where to find the API key

So, what we need from you is an API key. If you click on Sonix Preferences, it's going to open up the preferences page witin Sonix. On that page, you'll see an API key. Copy that, paste it here, click yes, and continue. It should look something like this. Click test just to make sure everything works. Success. So, now, click save and continue. Cool.

Extra settings with the zap

Each zap has a few extra settings that you need to configure. One of them as language. What language are all the audio files in that folder going to be? So, there is an edge case here, which is if you have both English files and, say, Spanish files that you are uploading, you need to actually make two zaps, apps one for all the English files and one for all the Spanish files. And just to make life easier, you should put them in separate folders. So, for our file, Pete Combs Recording Tips, it was actually spoken in English with an American accent. So, you want to click on that. File URL.

Going through the metadata in the file to find the direct media link

So, now, you have to go through the metadata of that file, and what you want it to do for File URL is the direct media link. That looks like this. It's a pretty long filename, but it's encoded by Dropbox. So, that's what you want to click. It's going to look something crazy like that. And then, finally the name. This is how you want the transcript to show up once it's fully uploaded and transcribed in Sonix.

So, usually, you would select this, choose the file name, and then you could say uploaded via API or via Zapier. That's just a good way, so that you know which files were automatically uploaded through Zapier and which files were manually uploaded by you through our uploading system. And then, you click continue.

And then, you have an option right here to run a test with Sonix. Basically, transcribe the file that it found in that folder that you created. So, you can click that. It will send the test the Sonix. It will send that files to us, and we'll automatically transcribe it, but we'll skip that test for now. Then, you click finish.

Name your zap

And we're not quite done yet. What you need to do is name your zap. So, in this case, it would be Upload to Dropbox – Transcribe with Sonix. There's sometimes a folder that you could put it into to stay organized. And then, you need to turn on your zap. Here we go.

But that's it. It was super simple. Now, you can upload any file you want into that folder, and have it be transcribed by Sonix. If you have any other questions, please reach out to us at [email protected] All right. See you guys.

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Popular Transcripts The 10 Best Ways to Repurpose Your Content

Sonix is an automated transcription service. We transcribe audio and video files for storytellers all over the world. We are not associated with Marley Baird. Making transcripts available for listeners and those that are hearing-impaired is just something we like to do. If you are interested in automated transcription, click here for 30 free minutes.

To listen and watch the transcript playback in real-time 👀, just click the player below.

The 10 Best Ways to Repurpose Your Content


Most marketers spend hours upon hours each day trying to come up with all their social media content. It's a never-ending, adrenaline-filled moment of trying to look for content pieces that your audiences will love. Been there. Done that. Every day can be a struggle to push through. But I have a solution. I'm going to show you how to repurpose one single piece of content into ten different content pieces.

Life is about to get easier right now. And if you want to learn more I can show you how I create 60 days of content in just under eight hours. With my ten social media content types and formulas I could create video content, images, text-based post that pulls my audience in and gets them to engage on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

If you want to learn how to implement this in your own business, register for my free masterclass: How to Create 60 Days of Social Media and Video Content in 8 Hours. Just click on the link below. Now, let's get started on those ten fresh pieces of repurposed, social media content.

Number 1: Create an infographic

Number one: create an infographic. Pick your best tweets and use Canva to design them into an infographic. Canva is my favorite graphic design software and it's completely free and I have a tutorial that shows you exactly how to use it. You can click the link below. I have that linked in the description if you want to learn how to use Canva.

Number 2: Livestream

Number two: livestream. People want to see you implement what it is that you say you do. So, take it to a whole new level by livestreaming. After broadcasting, there's even an opportunity you can embed the video recording that you just did on your site.

Number 3: Share a question

Number three: share a question. You can either ask the question to get the gears turning for your audience or you can share an answer to a related question.

Number 4: Create a blog post

Number four: create a blog post. Harvest your content and expand on it. Talk more about what your followers want to know in a long, form written format.

Number 5: Create a webinar

Number five: webinar. Use your other repurposed content from any social media platform and host a specific webinar on that content. Create a slideshow out of this webinar that you can also share as well.

Number 6: Quote images

Number six: quote images. Capture important quotes and post them as images. Take advantage of key hashtags and relay them. You can easily create this through Canva.

Number 7: Create images for Pinterest and Facebook

Number seven: create images for Pinterest and Facebook. This content can be a bulleted list that has shareable content which features important notes and phrases on your topic of content.

Number 8: Create an email autoresponder series

Number eight: email autoresponder series. Create an email series based on the topic that you can send to your audience. Maybe people on your email list want to learn more in-depth on a topic and you can ask them to sign up for a three-part series where you can teach them more in depth.

Number 9: Create bonus material

Number nine: create bonus material. Use your content as an entry way to develop an opt-in that can be downloaded by your users. Create checklists, calendars and anything workable and digital.

Number 10: Create an e-book

Number ten: e-books. Consolidate all the content you've generated into one e-book that captures the one singular important theme.

Establish yourself as an authority in your niche

Congratulations. You've transformed one single piece of content into ten possible content pieces. And this is so important to keep showing up for your audience being consistent and providing value so that your audience can know, like and trust you which only grows your following and helps you to generate sales ten times easier. Each repurpose brings you closer to your goals and establishes you as an authority in your niche.

Thanks for watching. If you like this video, hit the thumbs-up, comment below and, of course, subscribe for more weekly videos.

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Sonix Tutorials Sonix Tutorial: Sonix for radio & podcasters

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Tutorial – Sonix for Radio & Podcasters


Sonix for Radio and Podcasters. Sonix makes transcription easy, fast, and affordable. In this tutorial, we'll go through how to upload a file using multitrack, how to create show notes in Sonix, and how to use the Sonix SEO-friendly media player.

How to upload a file using multitrack in Sonix

How to upload a file using multitrack. One of the major benefits of multitrack is that you can name speakers before you upload. This results in automatic speaker labeling, which can save a ton of time. Second, you'll get more accurate transcripts because voices on each track are isolated, so there's no crosstalk. Our machines don't like it when people speak over top of each other.

How to enable multitrack in Sonix

In order to use multitrack, you need to turn it on first. It's under your account preferences. Click enable multitrack uploads. Note that multitrack is only available to our paid versions. If you're using the trial version of Sonix, you don't have access to multitrack, and you'll need to upgrade to try it out. Just click save. And, now, you can go and upload.

So, here, you select multitrack upload. I'm going to drag in two tracks from my desktop. Here, you can name the recording. And, here, you can specify who is speaking. Next, we select the language. In this case, it's English American. And I'll put this into my Sonix tutorials folder. And, now, we hit start transcribing.

Once you hit transcribe, the file is sent to our machines, and you're now directed back to your homepage. You can see the status of the transcription right here. It takes roughly five minutes for a one hour file to transcribe.

And, now, we're finished transcribing. Simply click on the file to see your transcript. You can see that Sonix combines the two tracks into one transcript, and separates the speakers by name automatically.

How to create show notes in Sonix

How to create show notes in Sonix. You can create show notes in seconds with Sonix. Just click on the yellow note and enter a description. And there's a few more notes here already populated. All the notes show up in the top nav under the notes menu item.

Navigating to show notes in Sonix

By clicking on a note from here, you can easily navigate to that section. That's it.

How to use the Sonix SEO-friendly media player

How to use the Sonix SEO-friendly media player. Search engines like Google can't index audio nearly as well as text. With the full transcript of your audio in Sonix, every single word gets indexed by Google.

To use the media player, just click the embed button and simply copy the code to your website. Sonix gives you a few options before you copy and paste to your site. You can include show notes. You can allow users to download the audio and the transcript. And, lastly, you can point the Sonix media player and your host. You do this for a few reasons. First, so that you don't need to have two media players on your web page. Second, for RSS feeds. And third, to track downloads stats from your hosting service like Libsyn or Spreaker.

Hit copy, then paste to your website. The embed code will paste into any website provider like WordPress, Squarespace, or Weebly. Once you copy and paste on your website, this is what you'll see.

Overview of all the features in the SEO-friendly media player

The first big difference with the Sonix media player and other media players is that the full transcript is contained in the player. This means that every single word that is spoken can get indexed by search engines, boosting SEO to drive more traffic to your podcast or radio show.

Second, you can click on any word and start playing from that point. Third, the show notes are built right into the media player. Just click on the list icon, and the show notes display below. You can quickly navigate to a section in your podcast or radio show by clicking on that section.

And to boost your SEO even further, these show notes are recognized as headers for SEO purposes. This means your content appears structured to Google, and Google will rank that content higher. And then, if you ever need to make changes to the transcript inside Sonix, and you want those changes to appear in the player, no worries that will happen automatically, but it may take up to an hour to refresh.

Other features in the player include play and pause the audio, jump back or forward 15 seconds, turn the volume on and off, turn auto scrolling of the text on and off, and adjust the playback speed. You can also download the audio or the transcript. You can share the recording with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or by email.

SEO-friendly media player analytics dashboard

And last but not least, the Sonix subscription also comes with a full analytics dashboard. It tracks views, plays, downloads, and shares, as well as the top countries, and top 10 referrers.

SEO-friendly media player heatmap (listener entry and exit points)

And a really novel bit of technology we call the heatmap. This shows areas on your show that are listened to the most and the least. We can do this because we have the full transcript and can track entry and exit points to your content. Imagine how great this could be for your advertisers. You could show them exactly how many times their ads were listened to.

Thank you

Thanks for listening. If you have any questions or feedback, please reach out to us at [email protected]

Automatically convert audio to text with Sonix

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Education How does automated transcription work?

Automated transcription has come a long way in the last few years. Whether you’re a podcaster, journalist, video editor, lawyer, student, or researcher, the need to convert audio or video to text is a part of your life. Transcribing audio and video, lightly put, is painful.

But now there is technology like Sonix that automates the entire process of transcription. Hence the term automated transcription.



What is transcription?

Transcription is the process of converting recorded speech into text. Transcription involves listening to a recording of something and typing the contents into a document. In many cases, this is an interview of some sort. It can take an inordinate amount of time to transcribe something especially if you are doing it manually.


What are the different kinds of transcription?

Manual transcription

The most traditional form of transcription is manual transcription. Manual transcription involves listening to audio or video files and then typing the words into a document. Many people choose this option because there is no associated cost. The cost equates to much an individual values their time.

Human transcription services

There are many human transcription services on the market but they can be slow and expensive. They are, however, more accurate than automated services. Human transcribers use technology to assist in the conversion of speech to text like a shorthand system. There are also a very small number of people like court reporters that can type in near real time. The accuracy of these transcripts is negatively affected because there is little to no time to correct mistakes as they occur.

In summary, human transcription has been around for decades, it isn’t the most efficient or effective way to convert audio or video to text.

Automated Transcription

Automated transcription, as the name suggests, is amazingly fast. While human transcription can take anywhere from 24 hours to 4 days, automated transcription can be completed in minutes. A 30-minute audio or video file can be transcribed in less than 5 minutes.
Another added benefit of automated transcription is security. No human ever sees the audio or video file, nor the transcript. It’s done entirely by machines. If the security of your files and transcripts is important to you, then automated transcription in many ways is better than human transcription.

Sonix uses the latest artificial intelligence and natural language processing techniques to derive the most accurate automated transcripts. Sonix has been independently reviewed as the most accurate automated service.

Once a file has been transcribed, you’ll receive an email notifying you that your transcript is ready. All the transcripts are centrally hosted in your Sonix account online for easy access. Just click on the link and you will see the time-coded transcript displayed in your browser. Because your transcript is online, Sonix stitches the audio to the text which makes it easy to edit your files. You can also easily search for keywords, share the file with another user, highlight and strike text, embed captions in video, and export in many different formats.

To be clear, automated transcription is not perfect. The technology continues to get with every day that passes, but there will undoubtedly be errors. And if your file is recorded in a loud environment, there are people talking over each other, or speakers aren’t articulating clearly, the resulting transcription will be negatively affected. On the other hand, with really clear, crisp audio, the accuracy of the transcript can be upwards of 95-98%.

Lastly, automated transcription is relatively inexpensive. While traditional human services can cost anywhere from $60 to $100 per hour of audio or video, automated transcription with Sonix is just $6 per hour with a subscription. The effective cost for those that transcribe regularly is substantially less.


What makes automated transcription possible?

Automated transcription is possible because of artificial intelligence and natural language processing. With each file that is uploaded to Sonix, each and every sound within that file analyzed and interpreted using artificial intelligence and natural language processing.

The next step is to match those sounds to words in our extensive and growing dictionary. Sonix works in different languages and varying English accents and continuously improves as more voice data is ingested into our systems.

There are four basic steps with automated transcription:


A user uploads an audio or video file and selects the appropriate language spoken (Sonix works in many languages and several different English accents).


Sonix then runs the file through its automated technology which combines artificial intelligence and natural language processing to derive accurate transcripts. Depending on the size of the file, this can take anywhere from 2 to 8 minutes.


When the file is complete a user will receive an email with a link that takes them to the online transcript.


With a browser-based transcript, users can easily edit problem areas.

The future of automated transcription

We are several years away from error-free automated transcription, but the technology continues to improve day after day. As more and more people turn to automated transcription, more voice data is collected and analyzed. The result is improved speech-to-text algorithms and more accurate transcripts.

In the meantime, there are many ways to get the most out of automated transcription in its current state. Most of that requires users to capture high quality audio and video. Reducing background noise, multiple speakers talking over each other, and swallowed words can greatly increase the accuracy of automated transcription.


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Education What are the benefits of using multitrack in Sonix?

Why use multitrack?

Hi Sonix users. Today we're going to talk about how to use multitrack in Sonix. I've got Bill here to explain some of the benefits. Hi Bill.

Hey Adam great to be here.

Bill can you tell us the benefits of uploading multitrack files versus singletrack in Sonix.

Sure. Many of us capture each speaker separately by using different microphones to isolate each person's voice. The result is a multi-track recording which has multiple benefits when using Sonix.

Ok what are those benefits?

Automatic speaker labels

The first is that you can name the speakers before you upload. This gives you near perfect automatic speaker labeling which saves a ton of time going through and naming speakers after the transcript has been returned to you.

Nice. That's a good one.

More accurate transcripts

Yes. And secondly you'll get more accurate transcripts because the voices on each track are isolated.

That's great too. Why wouldn't everyone use multitrack

Always capture speakers on multiple tracks if you can

While we always suggest capturing multiple speakers on different tracks. There really isn't any good reason to have multiple speakers on one track.

Great thanks for this bill. You are awesome.

I know that.

Automatically convert audio to text with Sonix


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Sonix Tutorials Introduction to Sonix

Just click on the player below to view the Introduction to Sonix.

You can also click on the burger icon to navigate quickly to key parts of the tutorial.

Sonix Tutorial – Introduction to Sonix

How to upload a file in Sonix

How to upload a file a Sonix

To upload a file to Sonix you simply click on the upload button. Sonix accepts multiple file formats listed here for both audio and video.

Sonix also accepts the following languages.

You can upload a file by dragging and dropping the file into this quadrant, selecting it from your Dropbox account, or your Google Drive account, or simply selecting it from your desktop which is what I'm doing here.

The green status bar shows the status of your upload. You can actually upload multiple files. I'm just going to add the same one again. You can see that this is uploaded as well but I've decided I don't want this file. So I can easily remove that here.

You can rename the file and then you're ready to transcribe.

The last thing is to make sure that language that you select is the language spoken in the audio or video file. In our case it's English American so we're good.

And then you just hit start transcribing.

From there you're taken back to your home screen. And you can see that this file appears. And the status is also here. Right now the file is preparing. It takes roughly five or six minutes for an hour of audio or video to transcribe. And once it's done you'll be notified from Sonix.

How to edit a file in Sonix

How to edit a file in Sonix.

Just click on the file and you'll be taken to the transcript.

It looks a lot like a word processor but the big difference with Sonix transcripts is that the audio is switched to the text. If you click anywhere in the transcript you can hear the voice behind the words that are spoken.

My name is Pete Combs and I'm a reporter for K O M O KOMO Radio in Seattle. I've been doing this for about 40 years and my life has.

This makes it super easy to edit your transcript and correct any errors.

Now there are tons of features around editing for your transcript. But in this tutorial I'm only going to go through 5 key thing. Number 1: using Heatmap to locate problem areas, 2: Sonix shortcut keys, number 3: Find and Replace, number 4: creating a new speaker, and 5: highlighting and strikethrough.

Using Heatmap to locate problem areas

Using Heatmap to locate problem areas

If you click on the tiny thermometer Sonix will highlight the areas that we aren't confident or correct. The lighter the text the less confident we are and the darker the more confident we are. This allows you to navigate around the transcript and quickly fix up areas that look more problematic.

Shortcut keys in Sonix

Shortcut keys

If you click the shortcuts menu item in the top now it shows you all the shortcut keys that can help you speed up editing.

An important shortcut key is TAB. TAB allows you to stop and start the audio while editing.

Find and replace

Find and replace does exactly what you'd expect it to do. You can find it under the edit dropdown or you can simply click this icon.

Enter the word you want replace. The word that you want it replaced with. Click replace all and you'll see a notification that shows how many times that word was changed.

Creating a new speaker

Creating a new speaker

If you have files with multiple speakers you may run into issues where we don't separate speakers perfectly. That's not a problem. You can easily create a new speaker by clicking anywhere in the text.

Say this was a new speaker here. Just click enter and create a new speaker by entering here. It's as simple as that.

Highlighting in Sonix

Highlighting and strikethrough

Highlighting and strikethrough are two features that are mostly used to prepare your file or sections of your file for export. To highlight word, sentence, or paragraph, simply click on a word and hold and drag until you've captured the section you want.

Then simply select the paintbrush. You'll see the highlight turns yellow and Sonix also identifies the time stamps for the start and the end. You can also see the highlight in the progress bar so it's easy to navigate.

Strikethrough in Sonix

Strikethrough works much the same way as the highlight. Simply select the area for the paragraph you want to strike and click the strikethrough icon. The text that's been struck through is highlighted in red and it also appears the progress bar.

Organizing your files in Sonix

Organizing your files in Sonix

Your Sonix account operates in a similar way to Dropbox or Google Drive. We store all your audio video and transcripts. It's all part of this subscription fee.

You can create update delete and organize your files in any way you want. The first folder is called "Shared with me". This folder keeps all the files that have been shared with you by someone else.

If you want to create a new folder simply select new folder. You can rename move or delete your folder. And you can drag and drop files inside of other folders.

How to share a file in Sonix

How to share a file in Sonix

You can easily share a file with another person so they can view the transcript. Just click share.

Here you have two options. You can copy this link and send it to anyone. But note that the recipient can only view the transcript.

You can also enter someone's email address. And select whether the recipient can view only or edit as well. There is also space here to write a personal note.

Just click invite and they'll be invited to the transcript.

How to export a file from Sonix

How to export a file from Sonix

Exporting a file is simple. Just navigate to the file you want to export and click export.

You can export your transcript audio or video in a variety of different ways. This makes it easy to get into your workflow quickly.

First you can export the transcript in text format into Microsoft Word or as a text file. And then you have several times stamp options. Include timestamps on every paragraph, include timestamps every 30 seconds, include milliseconds with the time code.

You can also export with or without a speaker names.

And lastly you can export just the highlighted section.

You can also export the transcript into audio and video editing software like Adobe Audition, Adobe Premiere, and Final Cut Pro.

If you want to include captions alongside your video you can do that by exporting an SRT file.

Lastly you can export the audio from your file. And you have three options here. You can export the whole file, just the highlighted section, or the audio with the strikethroughs removed.

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Popular Transcripts Full Transcript: Earning Your Stripes – The Knowledge Project

Sonix is an automated transcription service. We transcribe audio and video files for storytellers all over the world. We are not associated with the Knowledge Project. Making transcripts available for listeners and those that are hearing-impaired is just something we like to do. If you are interested in automated transcription, click here for 30 free minutes.

To listen and watch the transcript playback in real-time 👀, just click the player below.

Full Transcript: Earning Your Stripes – The Knowledge Project

Welcome to the Farnam Street podcast called The Knowledge Project. I'm your host Shane Parrish, the curator behind the Farnam Street blog, which is an online community focused on mastering the best of what other people have already figured out. The Knowledge Project is where we talk with interesting people to uncover the frameworks you can use to learn more in less time, make better decisions and live a happier and more meaningful life. On this episode I have Patrick Collison, the co-founder of Stripe, which he started with his younger brother, John, in 2011. While Stripe started as a company to make online payments easier, it's morphed into an internet infrastructure company. Patrick is one of the most well-read and thoughtful people I've ever met. After listening to this conversation, you'll realize his success is less about luck and more about thought. I'm pleased to have Patrick Collison on the show.

Before I get started, here's a quick word from our sponsor.

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Patrick, I'm so happy to get to talk to you.

Thanks so much for having me.

You have the unique background of having dropped out of high school and dropped out of university. Can you explain what went through your mind dropping out of high school?

Well I didn't, technically speaking, drop out although I sort of, practically speaking, did. But, you know, given my lack of education credentials elsewhere I should, for the sake of my parents, insist that I did, in fact, formally speaking, graduate from high school. But, I guess what happened is that I'd become very interested in programming and I, sort of, wanted to spend as much time on it as possible and Ireland, actually, has this, kind of, interesting thing called Transition Year, this year between the, sort of, two major exams of, kind of, high school, or at least Ireland's high school equivalent, and in Transition Year, it's, sort of, a formally designated year, that's optional, where you can go and pursue things that you might not otherwise, you know, naturally tend to pursue and the school tends to be, kind of, much more permissive of going and spending three months abroad or going and doing some work experience in this area or, you know, whatever the case might be. And so, in that year I basically decided to spend as much of it as possible programming and so, you know, I did that and then I returned to school for, kind of, the, you know, latter half of, again, Ireland's, kind of, high school system and it felt so much slower and less fun and so, I tried to see if – well, as part of the programming, I had visited the U.S. for the first time. I had gone to Stanford for the 2005 International Lisp Conference and there – it was a fairly small conference, and, it was very eye opening for me and I remember, you know, walking around Stanford and thinking man, American colleges seem great. And so, you know, back in high school in Ireland, I decided to see if there was some way that I could just go to college in the U.S. the subsequent year and, it's, sort of, a long story but I eventually figured out that I could not do it if I followed the standard Irish education path, but that I could do it if I did the British, sort of, terminal examination. And so, I, kind of, resumed my, sort of, self-education, except, instead of programming, I was now studying for these, you know, British exams and I did that for the subsequent year and ended up starting at MIT the next fall.

And, how do we get from MIT to where we are today, which is Stripe's offices in San Francisco?

Well, it's, sort of, a long and torturous story and I'll spare you most of the less interesting details. I guess, the overarching thing is while people in the U.S. have, sort of, grown up in an environment of which college attendance is, sort of, really prioritized from an early age and, sort of, you know, you're optimizing your extra-curricular activities from the time you're 14 and you're choosing your kindergarten on the basis of a thought that it's a downstream college acceptance rates look like and all that, kind of, stuff. Of course, growing up in Ireland that, sort of, wasn't part of the, you know, culture or discourse or environment at all. And so, by the time I got to MIT, and then just to college in general, it didn't feel like that big a deal, it didn't feel like, sort of, this was the terminal state that I'd, sort of, spend my entire, kind of, childhood and adolescence that I'm trying to pursue. And so, as a, kind of, other things and other ideas and opportunities, sort of, you know, crossed the transom, I think I was maybe more open to them than my peers, not because, I think, any differences in me, but just because of differences in the culture and environment that I come from. And so, my brother, John, and I – John, at this point, being a little bit younger, he was now in this transition year in Ireland, we decided to start a company six months after I got to MIT. And so, I'd really just started and I felt that I had some, kind of, time to spare because I'd started college a year younger than, you know, most of my peers, and that company, sort of, worked out ok and, you know, it's, kind of, a long story but it ended up becoming a small acquisition.

I went back to MIT because when I had started there I'd, sort of, been very interested in math and physics and had, kind of, been interested in this idea of, you know, potentially becoming, or, at least, attempting to become some, kind of, academic and, of course, at a place like MIT, that's, sort of, the default around you, you know, everyone is planning on, again, trying to get a Ph.D. or to become a professor or whatever and so, I think, you know, that that environment had some effect on me. And so, I went back and because I felt that I hadn't, sort of, really, you know, properly rejected the hypothesis that maybe I shouldn't try to become a professor, right? Maybe, kind of, physics is what I should be, again, at least attempting to spend my career on.

And, after a year back at MIT, I decided that that was not the case. Progress in physics really felt like it had, sort of, slowed down pretty substantially compared to the, you know, 1910s, 20s, 30s, the, sort of, the period in which so much of what we were learning about that, sort of, broader period of discovery. It felt like the period in which, sort of, you know, we existed in say, 2010, was that there really was just not the same rate of progress. And so, there's a little bit of that and then also some amount of, sort of, appreciation, myself, that I think I just enjoyed programming and software and technology more than I did math and physics, even though, to some degree is a little bit, maybe, painful to realize that.

I want to explore a little more about the cultural differences between Ireland and the U.S. and how that impacts you as the CEO of Stripe.

I think there's maybe a couple of things in that Ireland is very outward looking, necessarily so, in that, sort of, Ireland's, sort of, improbable rise from poverty over the latter half of the 20th century was very significantly enabled, maybe almost wholly enabled by exports, by, sort of, importing American multinational companies, having them set up factories and bases and, you know, hubs of different sorts in Ireland. One of the world's first special economic zones was created in Shannon, which was very close to, maybe 10, 15 miles from where I was born. Deng Xiaoping visited us and found us quite inspiring and so decided to set up special economic zones in China and so Shenzhen and the, sort of, the Pearl River Delta, that, sort of, special economic zone was in some ways directly inspired by, you know, what he saw in Western Ireland and, so I think the fact that, sort of, there's such a very visceral link between, kind of, betterment and progress and economic development and this, kind of, outward looking sense that the possibilities of the rest of the world are, sort of, much greater than, kind of, those internally. You know, that – that's very pervasive in Ireland. And, I think that's certainly influenced Stripe in the sense that, you know, we really are all trying to emphasize the, sort of, the imperative for and the potential of globalization. And, while maybe in the mid-90s that was, sort of, something that was uniformly accepted and, sort of, at least elite circles. Now, see that's something that perhaps is being questioned somewhat more but, I guess, the Irish experience is very much one of seeing it as an almost wholly unalloyed good. And, again, I think that's greatly influenced us here. Certainly me.

Well, it's interesting, too, from a cultural standpoint where Ireland has had very high rates of immigration, particularly post the expansion of the EU in 2004. A very large number of Eastern European immigrants moved to Ireland when those countries acceded to the EU and, that was really not accompanied by any material, social strife or conflict or a lot of the, sort of, challenges that we've seen in, sort of, other parts of the world, and, so again, I think that, sort of, an appreciation for borders that are more open or more openness to immigrants. More, sort of, facilitation of opportunity, things like that, again, I think that really is the Irish experience. And, of course, there's the reverse version where so many Irish people themselves have, sort of, benefited enormously from being able to go and, sort of, kind of, pursue lives in the UK and Australia and the U.S. and Canada and so on. And, that's again, just really a, kind of, part of the national ethos and then maybe more softly, I guess, Irish culture places a lot of importance on just a, kind of, warmth and the, kind of, a particular tenor to a, sort of, interpersonal dynamics and trying to have other people enjoy themselves and be at ease and have a good conversation with them and whatever else. And, I think, maybe that's something that's influenced us somewhat at Stripe, where we want Stripe to be a warm place. I mean, we play music at reception and in the kitchen to just try to put people at ease and to create enough, sort of, soft noise around them where they feel comfortable having just a good conversation and, you know, maybe that's because of entirely unrelated reasons or maybe, again, in some way, we were influenced by the, kind of, environment we grew up in in Ireland.

How would you describe the culture at Stripe? What do you actively try to achieve with that?

Well, I'll tell you that with a caveat and the caveat is that I'm pretty sure the answer I would have given to this would have differed in some material ways two or three years ago, right? And, that's in part, because I think we're coming to realize things that we just hadn't really appreciated or, sort of, seen the significance of two or three years ago. And, also in part, because literally what it is that we need today is just different to what we needed two or three years ago, right? And, so, I think there's a double contingency in the answer where it's a function of just what we realize at this point but, also, sort of, what it is that the organization – the company needs and the, sort of, challenges that we currently face. With that caveat, I think the things that we really prize and try to, you know, seek in the people we hire are a, kind of, rigor and clarity of thought, in that, I think so many organizations prize, sort of, smoothness as, sort of, interactions and trying to reduce – minimize the number of, sort of, ruffled feathers and that they, kind of, at least, sort of, inadvertently, if not deliberately, prefer cohesion over correctness and we really try to identify people who – who are seeking correctness and who don't mind being wrong and who are willing to at least contemplate things that seem improbable or surprising if true or really divergent as to what is, sort of, the generally accepted status quo. And that's hard to fight and I don't think most of the, sort of, educational institutions that we all tend to have attended, actually, do a great job of teaching that. And so, we look for that, kind of, combination of, sort of, openness and rigor. I don't exactly know what the right word is but a, kind of, determination and competitiveness and, I guess, willfulness in that just doing anything of significance is hard. I mean, anyone who's tried to do anything that they, themselves, consider significant knows that very viscerally, right? And, I mean, especially for a startup like, the default outcome is you're relatively near-term non-existence like the default outcome is that you do not survive to – to survive over the medium or, you know, even more difficulty over the long term. And that is like an unnatural act, right? And so, you need to find people who, not just are willing to, sort of, push against the, sort of, the expected trajectory of non-existence, but people who actually enjoy that, who want that, right; because if they're merely willing to do it but they don't actually enjoy it, then, you know, the work is probably going to be less fulfilling for them over the medium term.

And, I really don't think that is for everyone. I don't think that's a bad thing right; in that the cliche, of course, is that startups are extraordinarily hard and they just are and, you want somebody who's at a stage in their life where that's the, kind of, challenge that they want, where the fact that the particular area in which they're gonna be working is, sort of, undefined or significantly under built out or significantly broken or whatever the case might be, but that's what they're looking for, right? And then, we try to find people who just have a, kind of, again to return to this word, interpersonal warmth and a desire to make others around them better and just a degree of caring for others and a desire to be nice is a, kind of, anodyne word, but to be nice to them and to make them better off, right? We really try to find people who you just actively enjoy spending time with, right? You spend such a large fraction of your life inside the walls and under the roof of, you know, whatever organization, institution you're working at, and so, given that, I really think it's worth prioritizing this and I think, I mean, of course, don't know for sure, but I think we go to, sort of, some greater lengths to find these people than other organizations tend to do. And, there's other things as well. I mean, you know, it almost goes without saying but we really care a great deal about ethics and integrity in people. But, you know, I think so too do a lot of other organizations. I think the three that, kind of, really stand out to me are this, kind of, rigor and clarity of thought; this, sort of, hunger, appetite, willfulness, determination. And this, again, warmth and desire to make people around them better off. Those are three that really stand out to me.

Take me back to the early days of Stripe and the struggles you were having and maybe walk me through some of the things that you've learned since then or some of the mistakes that you had made.

Sure. I mean the, kind of, background context here is that by almost every, sort of, under almost every, kind of, ostensibly sane analysis, Stripe looked like a bad idea, right? This was a crowded market. There were tons of existing incumbents, there were significant regulatory and just, kind of, partnership institutional barriers to entry. We had no experience in the domain. We were very young. We weren't even U.S. citizens in an ecosystem that, again, just because the regulatory dynamics, you know, that, sort of, adds further complication. We had no, sort of, obvious mechanism for gaining, sort of, significant distribution. And we were not a, sort of, naturally viral product or, you know, we had, sort of, organic adoption the way, maybe, a social network or a consumer product might have. And for all those reasons, I think a lot of people, sort of, very reasonably, thought that, you know, Stripe was a bad idea or us pursuing Stripe was a bad idea. And they certainly didn't hesitate to tell us that and, you know, I think, to be clear, I think they were doing something reasonable by telling us that. I mean, they were giving us their, sort of, honest, and, again, you know, reasonably justified assessment. And so, it all started in the background context of that. I think the thing that primarily gave us the confidence to actually attempt it was it just seemed so strange that something with Stripe's character didn't exist, in that, we really looked for a Stripe before we – before we started it. It felt that it must be the case that there is some service, some company somewhere offering infrastructure and APIs and payments and economic tools that are straightforward to use for a developer, right? I mean, this is one of the, sort of, top needs that any business operating on the Internet has arguably by definition or, sort of, a business on the Internet must have access to these tools.

There are tens of millions of developers operating on the Internet and so just given the magnitude of that market and the, sort of, obviousness of the business model, it really felt like this had to exist. And so, we, kind of, forlornly Google for it, you know, with a different set of permutations of keywords and then, sort of, after a couple of months became, you know, somewhat resigned to the fact that, no, it did not, in fact, you know, probably exist and its non-existence was so, kind of, strange to us that it actually, initially, kind of, discouraged us where it was, sort of, such an obvious idea and such a surprising, you know, absence of a, kind of, solution, maybe there's some, kind of, latent force that we're not seeing that actually makes, sort of, solving it impossible, right, in that, you know, for example, we were also interested the same time in why, kind of, consumer banks were so bad in that just, you know, they weren't really keeping abreast of technology and the fees were really high and they were getting fined by the CFTB and, you know, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, and as we looked into it, it became apparent that actually there was a good reason as to why the problem had not been solved where (a) the banks were subject to, sort of, such onerous regulation where it's very difficult for them to do anything themselves, right, and so, for example, the difference between a checking account and a savings account which might seem, sort of, quite unfriendly from a consumer's standpoint that's actually, kind of, essentially mandated by law. And so, it's not, on some level, the banks' fault. And the second reason is the office of the controller of the currency, which is the entity that, sort of, issues federal banking charters had basically stopped issuing new banking charters post the financial crisis and so if you came along and you're like well I'm going to go solve all these problems in consumer banking, you are essentially blocked from doing so by the, kind of, regulatory apparatus. And so, we wondered in this, kind of, similar vein is there some force like that. Not necessarily regulatory, but just like there are some constraint that, kind of, we aren't observing or weren't.

And, after maybe a couple months of investigation we decided that no, there didn't appear to be, at least, of course, you can never, kind of, definitely reject it, but we really couldn't find one. And so, we decided to build a prototype and the prototype was built, sort of, on top of and with, sort of, existing payment systems and so, it didn't do anything, kind of, overly ambitious, it was almost like a, sort of, concept rendering of what a solution could look like rather than, sort of, a solution itself, but it was sufficient to get just a couple of our friends started using it and I think the particular thing we realized that caused us to, you know, really go take it a little bit more seriously and I mean concretely to drop out of college was the realization that the, sort of, problems that we perceived and, kind of, developers like us, people building some little side project or with this, kind of, very nascent, you know, startup or something like that, that the problems we perceived for that, kind of, at that segment of the market were actually the problems that larger companies had as well that, kind of, what we thought initially might be a little lake of opportunity was, sort of, more akin to an ocean, and when we talked to companies having hundreds of millions or billions in revenue or companies in other countries and so on and we just asked them to kind of, recount their problems and what they wished existed and everything else, they basically, give us the same roster of features. And, when we thought about it and just like looked at the, kind of, macro figures, we saw that, you know, about at the time two percent of all consumer spending in the world happened on the Internet. And, so even though we were, kind of, you know, 20 years into, sort of, the Web's evolution and even though, you know, we'd all engaged in lots of e-commerce and so on when you looked at it on a macro basis, it was apparent that, you know, we were still, kind of, barely off the starting blocks and so I think the combination of those things where, kind of, decided that there didn't appear to be some, sort of, some dark energy preventing a solution and that this set of problems we could see actually seems, sort of, very pervasive rather than just, sort of, a microcosm. And then, thirdly that actually this whole market and environment was still actually at a, sort of, surprisingly nascent stage when you looked into the full picture. Then we decided to drop out.

You guys went from two employees, you and your brother as co-founders, to 800, 900 now?

We're about a thousand now.

A thousand employees. And, what have you learned from scaling the business?

I think on some level, scaling a business is both relatively straightforward and extremely hard. Relatively straightforward in the sense that it's usually not that difficult to see what the problems are and to the sense that you don't see what the problems are, it's usually because there's some, kind of, subjective blindness, rather than it being actually difficult to see the problem, right? And so, it's more of a simple question of what are you oblivious to because of your own biases rather than what is particularly difficult to observe and, kind of, what are your corrective mechanisms to, sort of, account for that.

So it's, I think, straightforward in that sense. And, I guess, straightforward in the sense that usually solving the problems is not outlandishly difficult. I mean, it's not easy but you don't hire someone in this role, you need to figure out how to raise this capital; you need to build the system. Whatever the case may be, I mean, none of those are easy things but they're also not, sort of, scientific breakthroughs. There are other companies that have done it. There are generally playbooks that exist and file, sort of, your particular strategy might need some, sort of, correction, refinement and you might hit some walls along the way, it's rarely unprecedented. And, then, I think, it's extremely difficult in the sense that you don't get to really choose the clock cycle, kind of, and the time horizons. It's a category of, sort of, flash games and desktop tower defense games, where you're, sort of, building little towers that shoot missiles and all these little critters, sort of, scampering across the board trying to, sort of, break into your fortress, whatever the case might be, and I started to feel a little bit like that, where you fundamentally don't control the, sort of, rate of, you know, problem appearance and you just control the, sort of, other variable of the rate of which you're building defensive or mitigatory or mechanisms to deal with those problems. And sometimes the rate of the problem creation can outstrip the rate at which you can solve them even though in principal any one of them is relatively manageable, right? And so, I think that really adds a lot of difficulty.

I think even on this, kind of, very abstract level dealing with the problems is tractable, the character of having problems materialize at every level of the organization or at every, kind of, level of abstraction or, you know, at every, kind of, magnitude and so on, that's just a, kind of, a natural thing that I think is, just on a psychological emotional level, difficult to deal with and so while you might recognize, sort of, on some contemplative stoic level that this is how it goes, you know, that's not necessarily how it feels in the moment, right? And it, kind of, feels like that way every day and some days you almost have to smile at the, sort of, unreasonableness of the swathe of problems and challenges that have, you know, materialized on your desk or in your inbox and that, you know, in the same way that you see the constellations in the stars, you know, the, sort of, constellation of the problems looks so implausible and so unreasonable that, like, someone must secretly be screwing with you, right? And so, there's that, kind of, emotional, sort of, self-management. And then, of course, there's the challenges of dealing with uncertainty where, you know, it's, kind of, I guess – well, you're operating in, sort of, the weird zone where you're often making decisions that have, sort of, significant long-term impact or that are difficult to reverse or to course correct and in the face of great uncertainty, right? And, the uncertainty is often unnecessary in the sense that you could in principal go and significantly reduce the uncertainty. You could go and study the question more, you could go and obtain more information, you could go and run an experiment, you know, it's not like cosmic uncertainty where there is just – it's Truce of Nice and unknowability. And I think when it is, like, true deep unmitigable uncertainty, then I think it's not too hard to say well we're just going to choose something and, you know, make the best decision we can. I think it's a more frustrating, kind of, uncertainty where it's actually not necessary but the thing that, sort of, limited is essentially the cost of obtaining further information, reducing that uncertainty. And so, you're left in the, sort of, dissatisfying situation where I have to make a highly consequential decision. There's a lot of uncertainty. We could have less uncertainty. We could take steps to mitigate that, but we just don't have time to. And making a lot of decisions in that zone is somewhat dissatisfying, right? And, I think, kind of, correctly so in that, you know, when it's correctly reacting to the fact that it could be otherwise, right?

And then lastly, maybe, you're playing this, sort of, multi-armed bandit problem where you're, sort of, constantly trying to balance exploration and exploitation or, sort of, just optimization of that which already exists instead of doing it better and better with trying to figure out what are the things that, you know, we aren't doing or that we don't know or we haven't even considered or, you know, if we were doing would make this other part the organization to be vastly more effective and so on. So, it's very hard to know what the optimal rate of exploring those things is while also basically operating outside the system and operating inside the system or optimizing outside the system and optimizing inside the system. It's very hard to know what the right, kind of, rate of doing those things is. And so, again, I think a lot of the challenge of scaling the organization is, sort of, finding, at each, kind of, moment the right way to balance those things. But, without ever having, kind of, sat down before to try to, sort of, you know, and anybody to come to listen to any unified theory, I think that a lot of the experience of scaling an organization is, kind of, specific versions or specific applications of, sort of, those dynamics and just figuring out how you, yourself, or how the organization, or how your peers and colleagues, sort of, deal with that and what the, kind of, structural mechanisms for doing so are.

And then maybe very lastly, I mean, those are all, kind of, the structural ones. I think there is just also a personal version where you certainly don't start out being well adapted to or, at least, in my case particularly skilled in organizational management and leadership, and, I mean, depending on the rate of growth of the company you, sort of, need to acquire those skills, again, on a timeline that's largely out of your control and, you know, depending on the rate of growth of the organization, that might be a pretty difficult thing. And so, you know, certainly in my case, I think I've just had to accept my, sort of, managerial inadequacy relative to what either is required in the moment or, sort of, will in the near-term impending future be required and just figure out strategies to try to acquire those skills and abilities as rapidly as possible.

I wanna go back to the explore/exploit, kind of, comment that you made, which we can probably just relate to focus. How do you think about focusing on one thing and being exceptional at that or doing a variety of things and trying to be exceptional at all of them?

You mean in the organization or personally?

Oh, in the organization and maybe personally, if that's different.

I don't know a better answer other than using course heuristics and then being willing to revisit or make an exception if something seems, sort of, particularly promising right now. Roughly speaking, we invest most of our effort, the precise number, let's just say 70 or 80 percent, in optimizing that which we already have; that which we already know is producing returns; that which there is a, sort of, relatively clear line of sight from, sort of, the input, the work, the optimization, whatever to, sort of, the output improvement. And then, you know, some fraction of the work and the, sort of, a distribution of some fraction the work, let's call it 20 percent, into things that are more speculative, right, and I think that's, kind of, necessarily the case because that, call it again 70 or 80 percent, is devoted towards optimization of that which already exists. If we did not do that, you know, then this, kind of, default non-existence we just discussed would be guaranteed, right? It's very easy to sort of, fly the company into the side of a hill. And so, I think really the question is just do you spend 20 percent of your time on things that are more speculative or do you spend 0 percent and then, maybe secondly, to what degree do you allow those answers to be different, at different levels of the company, and then, sort of, in different places and, kind of, how much of a uniform answer and how much heterogeneity do permit or do you design for. And, I think as we've grown we've tried to shift into a model where it is somewhat less uniform and, in certain teams, less optimization of what already exists is going to be required; it's going to require more exploration and in other parts of the company, to be tilted in the reverse direction. And, I think, that, kind of, recursive decomposition, I think, is really required to avoid the diseconomies of scale that otherwise set in as you grow.

And you decide which speculative projects you take on, probably based on disrupting your business or these are things that I want to do or I want to strive to do or?

I don't know that there's a better answer beyond, given all of the axes of, you know, constraints and returns, which ones seem like a good idea, and, I mean, I think, it's, kind of, like investing when you ask, you know, what are the criteria for investing in a company. It's well, when you, kind of, normalize down from these, sort of, you know, really high dimensional space of market and founders and idea and, you know, all these things. You normalize all that down into, kind of, what do you think the return profile looks like. Well, you invest when the return profile looks good enough, right? I think, similarly you decide, you know, which ideas to pursue. Of course, on each axis there are many things you prefer or you don't want or whatever. And, for example, something that requires less effort rather than more or entails less downside risk rather than more or whatever, you know. Those are all good things, but I think, kind of, where it all nets out is well when you take account of all those factors which things just seemed like a good bet, right, and so, just, you know, to give a concrete example, Atlas, the service we launched for helping new founders incorporate companies and, in particular, sort of, without the geographic restrictions that tended to exist before so, it's essentially open to founders anywhere in the world, there was no, kind of, one reason as to why that was a good bet. There was no, kind of, you can't just measure that on any one axis, right, but, kind of, when you look at overall and you see that well, if it doesn't work and it's hard to see how it could cause that much downside for Stripe, it's not going to require an enormous, kind of, fixed cost investment in order to, sort of, learn as to, at least, whether it's initially working. If it did work, it seems like it'd produce, kind of, quite significant returns. The kinds of things we'll have to do for it are actually things that are quite valuable for us in other parts of the business and so on. So, we'll learn interesting new capabilities and skills in the course of doing it, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. I think the reason there aren't more good bets made in the world is because making good bets is difficult. And, again, I think you're gonna, in different areas …

Difficult in terms of recognizing them or difficult in terms of acting and executing on them, or what do you mean by difficult?

I think both. I think most organizations are, sort of, institutionally resistant to bets in that because most people are necessarily optimizing things that already exist. And, again, that's correct without making a mistake. I mean, things that are not optimized along the way, especially things that are not being, kind of, fixed and optimized and patched up and corrected as they emerge, I mean, those are going to break, right, and so, the optimization is critically important. I don't mean to, sort of, sound remotely, kind of, dismissive towards it, but banks are a very different character, right? And, you know, sort of, a continuum of betfulness and riskiness …

Is best.

Yes, exactly right, and, large institutions and incumbent organizations, sort of, dislike them right, structurally speaking, and find them difficult to understand and difficult to interact with and so on, and I think there's a whole host of reasons there in that, you know, people in startups are, sort of, less worried about the risk of failure; whereas, people instead of existing systems must worry quite a bit about the risk of failure. You know, newer things tend to operate on, sort of, faster, sort of, on clock cycles and so, you know, Dijkstra talked about the idea of the Buxton Index and the, sort of, time horizon upon which an organization makes its decisions and so maybe a university make its decision, you know, its decisions with a decade long time horizon; whereas, maybe a company makes decisions on a quarterly time horizon and maybe a, you know, an individual make decisions on a weekly or monthly time horizon, whatever. And, anyway, so I made the observation was that organizations with very different Buxton indices find it difficult to work together. And if an organization with a really long-time horizon is working with one that, sort of, rapidly updating and, sort of, rethinking, it's just like a fundamental, kind of, a hedon's mismatch. And so, I think that, you know, to your question are, sort of, why it's hard and why there aren't more good ones in the world. I think there are lots of different kinds hedon's mismatch like that. It's not just the time horizon thing, but I think there's just like a fundamental deep intrinsic difference between, sort of, of existing incumbent systems and the actions of the minds that require to optimize them, and, this, sort of, the exploration of figuring out that which is totally orthogonal different and you.

How do you keep that mentality, I mean, when Stripe started, the cost of failure was really low. Now, you have a thousand employees; they all have families; you have a business; you have people who have invested a lot of money in the business. How do you maintain that ability to place massive bets?

It's really a question of how do we make sure that we can place bets that don't have excessive downside or are, sort of, fatal downside, right? Or a cumulatively fatal downside across, maybe a whole portfolio bet, and I think that actually the impediments to placing good – well, again, I will caveat all this by saying it's not like Stripe has a long track record of, sort of, making really good, you know, investment bet decisions. You know, I am, we are, far from being the Apples or the Berkshires or whoever, you know, multidecadal, sort of, track record of …

We'll be back here in a decade. We'll re-evaluate.

If we are here in three decades which, you know, as established would not be the default outcome, and we have a great portfolio of successful such decisions then perhaps we can opine, you know, with some modicum of confidence and, but it feels to me and we'll see if it's right or not, it feels to me that actually the reason that organizations don't tend to make more of these or make more good ones is it's more sociological, more institutional and less that it's fundamentally too costly because in most cases, the downside cost is not that large and either in terms of, like, just direct financial cost or in terms of these, sort of, broader damage to the organization in whatever form that might take. It's much more the mindset of improving that which already exists is just quite different to the mindset of screw the old system and let's do something that's fundamentally new from scratch. And so, I think the challenge is in significant part, how do you reconcile these two mindsets. How do you have the – I mean, Stewart Brand, I talked about pace layering in buildings and different parts of the building have to change at different rates and how do you design for that. And I think that, kind of, analogous question for an organization is how do you do organizational pace layering. How do you have parts of the organization that can try to do something fundamentally different to and hopefully superior to that which already exists. And how do you have people who are basically disagreeing with people trying to do something new, who you think that no, the way we're currently doing it is in fact the right way we're going to do it better and better and because these people fundamentally, structurally disagree with each other and must have significant conviction of their effective approaches, otherwise, they do great work. How do you have those people, at the end of the day, have dinner together and fundamentally feel like they're on the same team.

How do you do that.

Come back in 30 years.

I think I recall one of the interviews that I was watching as prep for this where you talked about one of the first five or six people worked at Bridgewater.

No, one guy in particular, did and over time, we've hired more people who have, but, yeah, I would not say we were particularly Bridgewater influenced.

Did you come to this, sort of, notion of thoughtful disagreement. Before that influence. And, if so, how did you …

Well, it's hard to know exactly where to attribute it and it's probably, kind of, overdetermined and maybe there are just some, sort of, underlying personality traits that we each had, sort of, come to in a different part of our lives in, sort of, somewhat coincidental ways. I mean, for a start to your earlier question, Irish people are always disagreeing and always arguing, and so, again, maybe there's a cultural dimension to it. It's not something that people tend to shy away from.

Because they see it as an attack on – exactly, right.

Right. I think that there was just a common shared personality trait in a lot of the people who helped establish the culture of Stripe where they enjoyed some disagreement and tried to find the boundaries of an argument and the places where it's not the case, and what the exceptions might be and just trying to, kind of, get a feel for the topology of that space and, kind of, stumbling in the dark try to construct a map of where different intuitions and heuristics apply and where they don't and so on and I think when you have, kind of, deep minds, at difference in people is often those who enjoy finding the limitations of arguments and beliefs and those who don't. And Tyler Cowen talks about, I think, it's his second law, that there are no knock down arguments and there are no arguments are just uniformly completely true. There are always the limits to it. There's always the other side and I think that's, kind of, very deeply true but I think there's, kind of, just a question of, sort of, an affect, and, again, personality as to do you enjoy finding those limits and the exceptions and thinking about well maybe this is less true than I think or where it's less true than I think. Or is that just like a stressful process. And I think that, sort of, getting that, kind of, rigor and clarity of thought requires, sort of, a joy of discovery, like, this thing I believe, this rule that I thought existed, like it's actually not good in this place and having that be an enjoyable discovery rather than, sort of, something stressful and frightening. I think globalization is a good example there where, you know, as we discussed, I think that globalization is a net overall for the world, a fantastic thing and something that, you know, support is rising for a global basis and has propelled more people out of poverty than almost any other force ever. And yet, there are people like Dani Rodrik and others who are, sort of, prodding at the edges of that and showing well but not in this place or not in this way or Autor and these other folks at MIT, like maybe it has this, sort of, underappreciated downside and I think that's great. I think those are important questions and really interesting work. And I think that, kind of, again the underlying, sort of, sentiment is, sort of, interest in where the heuristics and the intuitions and the rules and the arguments are at.

I wanna come back to some of that a little bit later. I think one of the questions that people want to hear from you is what would you say is the biggest difference between the Patrick making decisions today and the Patrick making decisions maybe five years ago in terms of how you actually make those decisions?

There are four big differences. The first is, and I just place more value on decision speed in that if you can make like twice as many decisions at half the, kind of, half the precision, that's actually often better. And then given the fact that, sort of, the rate of improvement of decision making with additional time almost necessarily tends to, kind of, flatten out, I think that most people, certainly the Patrick five years ago and even the Patrick of today included should be, sort of, earlier should be operating earlier in that curve, make more decisions with less confidence, but, in significantly less time, right? And, just recognize that in most cases you can course correct and treat fast decisions as a, kind of, asset and capability in their own right. And it's quite striking to me how some of the organizations that I hold in the highest regard tend to do this. The second thing is not treating all decisions just, kind of, uniformly. I think the most obvious axes to break them down on are degree of reversibility and magnitude and things with low reversibility and, you know, great impact and magnitude, those ones you do want to, you know, really deliberate over and try to get right.

But, I think it's very easy, sort of, absent care to have this mechanism you put in place for those decisions to seep into decision making for the other categories and really in the other three quadrants you can afford to be, sort of, much more flexible and much more fluid and again really just a part a speed because obviously if it's very reversible then, you know, by definition you can always correct it later and if it's, you know, of low import then who cares, right? So, that's, kind of, the second one just being, kind of, cognizant of that and before making a decision, try to categorize well what, kind of, decision is it. The third thing is I now try to fairly deliberately just make fewer decisions in that why am I making the decision? And, for some kinds of decisions, there are some good reasons for that, and there's some decisions the CEO ought to make and is, kind of, fundamentally on the hook for, but, there are some decisions where if I'm making it or if I have to make it that probably suggests that something else organizationally or institutionally has broken. And I think the need for a decision from anyone not just for me is often like only a, sort of, an epi phenomenon and there's really some other underlying issue that's causing you to have to make it in the first place. And so, thinking like that and concretely doing more to push others to make decisions and, sort of, pushing them back, sort of, to people who ought to be the domain experts and then fourth, when I realize that I would make it a decision differently to have someone else making it, not even really discussing the decision itself but trying to dig into what is the difference in our models such that you want to make decision A and I want to make decision B. And one thing we're currently spending a bunch of time on your Stripe is having different parts of the organization, write down what they're optimizing for, essentially, like what their mission is, what the long-term key metrics are for, kind of, their part of the organization, what – who their customers are either internally or externally. And so, the things of this, kind of, persistent, ongoing underlying nature is such that, you know, hopefully, once there's agreement on those longer-term things, then maybe a difference on any future decision might just be well, we differ, sort of, on what the most instrumentally effective way to achieve this outcome is but we're still both really unified on what the desired end state is and there I think disagreement over, sort of, instrumental efficacy, you know, well, that's rarely that problematic a disagreement because well if you're right then we'll soon learn that, if you're wrong reality will probably, sort of, make that pretty clear in short order. I think the more troubling ones and the ones that tend to cause more, kind of, persistent friction in an organization are where, sort of, there is latent disagreement in what you're actually optimizing for but that's, kind of, never explicitly surfaced and uncovered and so now I guess again in decision making, I place, kind of, more importance on making sure that we have the right, sort of, foundational agreement such as the, kind of, disagreement that I intend to arise are of the, sort of, essentially more superficial sort and their agreement is actually less important. Part of culture is learning from the decisions the organization makes. What do you do at Stripe to make sure that people are learning and what do you do personally to make sure that you're learning from the decisions that you've made, both positive and perhaps ones that you in retrospect would have wished you could make differently.

I'm inclined to say, I don't know if I actually believe this, but I'm inclined to say in response to that question that decision making in organizations is slightly overrated in that organizations are not like investment entities or funds or advantages in that with investing, it's fundamentally very binary. There is a moment at which you either buy or don't do or sell or don't or whatever. And maybe it's somewhat more continuous in the case of say public market investing and so on, but given, sort of, constraints on just decision-making time I think you have to treat it more binary. You assess this stock and you make a buy or a or not decision. Whereas, in organizations everything is much more fluid and continuous it's much more about designing the feedback mechanisms, you know.


Yeah exactly and, you know, the famous, sort of, water model of the economy. You know, with the, sort of, circulating fluids and you can vary the interest rate or the inflation rate or whatever. But just try to get a sense for the overall, kind of, biological apparatus. And I think an organization is much more like that and so, I think that things to optimize are the incentive structures and the mindsets and the definitions of the goals and the feedback mechanisms from the outcomes to the inputs and the work and the operations themselves and all those things and less the binary decisions. I wouldn't kind of, completely dismiss, obviously the important decision making and that there are times where you have to decide well, are we going to launch this product or not. Or, are we going to start this project or not or are we going to replace the system or not and so on. So, there are, of course, real decisions but I think it tends to be much more – well, I guess, maybe it doesn't feel like the right unit of analysis to me. I think the right unit of analysis is that of the cell. And the question is, well in an organization what are the cells and what are the organs and how do they interact for the feedback mechanisms between them.

Let's geek out a little bit on the feedback mechanisms here. What sort of feedback mechanisms do you try to make sure are in place, what point in the process do you try to acknowledge what they are?

I really think that this is not the question but I really think it's too early to answer that in the sense that I mean I can, kind of, tell you what I think today and the, sort of, changes we've made over the last year and things like that. But like Stripe has been a thousand-person organization for or has been more than 500 person organization for just over a year, right? We're beginners at this and, you know, three years ago Stripe was under 100 people and I think either to opine as if or to even more problematically believe that we're gonna have it figured out would be real hubris. And so, it, kind of, in what we've been talking about I think that's gonna be some of, you know, where our thinking comes from them, but I don't know what the right answers are yet and we spend a lot of our time, sort of, scrutinizing other organizations trying to find out, in, kind of reverse engineer what works for them and why. And I think that part of what's interesting at the tech industry is that it's a kind of pure knowledge work that we're still, I think, quite early in sort of, figuring out in terms of how to optimally coordinate and collaborate on it in that you can, sort of, draw lineage of HP and Intel and Microsoft and Google and Facebook and so on, WhatsApp. And they're all these set of suggestive examples, but I think these, again, suggest that we may not have it all figured out. I mean, the fact that WhatsApp was such a miniscule team, and, Instagram too, of course, despite operating at such scale or the fact that …

In the wake of a new paradigm.

Yeah, yeah. And the way Facebook operates is very different to the way, you know, HP operated.

Under Stripe, which company cultures do you admire the most? Not business models, but culture. And why?

Well, I admire cultures that are strong, first off. Culture is that when you ask somebody who's in the culture, can you describe it, that they can expound on its merits for more than half an hour. And in almost every case, describe at some length all the things they don't like about it, right? Because if it's strong, I mean, it's improbable that every aspect of it is something that a person, you know, really agrees with or feels an affinity for. And so, whether it's the New Yorker or the military, a shared characteristic of those cultures is that they're strong, right? So, I think that's the first, sort of, thing and I don't think that describes most organizational cultures. I think most organizational cultures are some, kind of, milquetoast Afrojack, right. So, that's number one. The second is cultures of perfection. And so, both the economists and Apple have extraordinarily high standards for themselves and really, kind of, in both cases the work has a, kind of, primacy. And so, who designed the latest iPhone or who wrote that article. In both cases that's anonymous because there is such a belief that the work speaks for itself, right, and a lot of admiration for that. And then cultures that have longevity and really sustained success. And so, I think that one of our major investors is Sequoia Capital and Sequoia has been, you know, the top firm or in the top three firms. Obviously, it's a subjective ranking but call it, you know, a top, unquestionably a top three firm for essentially its entire existence. And there was no other VC firm that has been a top three firm for, you know, call it for decades. And so, I think the obvious question is well, why is that? What's different about Sequoia there's been tons of VC firms and a lot of different firms have had at any moment in time a strong claim to being a top three firm. But what are the underlying institutional characteristics that enable that to be sustained. And of course, you know, this applies to some of the other organizations we mentioned like, say, The Economist or the New Yorker or even, this is one that I began to read more about of late, Koch Industries, that, you know, Charles, of course, or Charles and David are most famous for their political activities, but if you just look at the company that has, kind of, compounded from 20 million in annual revenue to now according to public estimates 100 billion over, you know, call it five decades and there aren't that many organizations that have compounded like that for that long without there being, kind of, one driver of success there's no one thing that enabled that rise. They didn't like, stumble upon some resource that they, kind of, cornered. There was no, kind of, iPhone for them, etcetera. It's clearly something, kind of, deeper and more, sort of, institutional and the fact that that's been, kind of, sustained for so long I think is interesting in its own right. And what is it that Sequoia Capital Koch Industries and the New Yorker share, and I haven't quite unpacked the answer to that yet.

Can you give us an example of what you've learned from studying Koch Industries?

It's very striking to me how Warren and Charlie at Berkshire, and accounting for biases and mechanisms for clarity of thinking elected to a very striking degree I mean, obviously, if you read the public writings or you go to Omaha and you listen to what, you know, Warren and especially Charlie talk about, you know, it's, sort of, half investing and half applied epistemology, half philosophy, right? And that's been the case as well to a striking degree with Koch. And I don't know them well enough by any means to, sort of, opine in any deep sense, right. Like I've never been to one of their factories, I've never looked at one of their financial statements and so I'm not qualified to assess in any, kind of, comprehensive way, but just in terms of what it seems that the leadership prioritizes, it's strikingly consistent across two of the most successful, multidecadal institutions in the U.S. something to be said going back to your point earlier about learning from companies that have consistently demonstrated over a period of time without these huge, kind of, like one off hits that have caused most of that track record.

Right. You're a huge reader. Where did this love of books get started?

Well we had crappy internet when I was growing up, because our house was so remote, there's so much noise on the phone line and that we didn't have internet for years and then we got it and it was treacle slow and so on. And, you know, I was fortunate my parents were very willing to pursue all these harebrained schemes and so we eventually got an ISDN line, which was ferociously expensive, but God that, you know, that, sort of, the fiber of its day, at least as far as I was concerned. 7.6K a second was majestic. I could barely keep up with the speed. And then we eventually got satellite internet connection, which was really a game changer, but it effectively meant that for the first, I don't know, 14ish, 15 years of my life, there was no internet and we lived in a very rural part of Ireland. I was quite distant from even my friends at school. And so all there really was for us to do was to play in the garden, which we did a lot of, and to read and, you know, it's funny, I often wonder about this in the context of, you know, if I had kids or when I have kids, what's the optimal upbringing for them? And, of course, you think well you, kind of, want them to grow up in a stimulating environment and have all these experiences and extracurriculars and everything else and, but something that was not my upbringing.

My upbringing was I, kind of, get out of the house, go play. That and, I mean, there's plenty of stimulation around. You know, our parents had lots of books and so, you know, we can just, kind of, burrow our way, sort of, sequentially through the shelves, but you know, it was pretty unfettered and I think our parents had a, kind of, they followed our interests and supported them but they didn't choose them. It felt like they pushed from behind rather than pulling in front and so yeah, I think that's for the reading thing came from and I think that well I don't know, I run quite a bit and I don't even run because I enjoy it that much. I mean, I enjoy it but it's nothing, kind of, in the immediate moment. It's not like it's euphoric or anything close to that. I mean, it's pretty painful, and you know, the Greg Lamont quote about how, I mean, it's very dispiriting when you think about it. It is very deeply true that how it never gets easier, you just go faster. That's true of running. Like, if I stay running for the rest of my life, it will never get easier. I will just go faster but just it feels like something I ought to do and I vastly rather having run than not having run and so I continue, sort of, continue to do it. And, with reading, basically, I don't feel like I'm weird; I feel like everyone else is weird in that they're just like so much stuff to know and I guess I just feel stressed out by. Like, it feels important or it's obviously important and I don't know it. And so shit, like I better, you know, get to work. But it's not what I'm reading, I'm not in this, like especially blissful place. I mean, I enjoy it perfectly fine, but it's more like I am, I think there are extremely important things that I really should know and I don't. And that feels problematic.

How do you filter what you read? There's millions of books.


There's one of you.

Right. Well, I discard a lot of books. I like the insight that there's a set of great books that are really worth reading, right? And there's a subset of those books that are really enjoyable to read. Maybe it's like 10 or 20 percent of them say. And the subset, the intersection of really worth reading and really enjoyable to read is actually still more books than you can read than you can read in a lifetime. And so, I've, sort of, decided well I would read all the books that are really worth reading and really enjoyable to read, and then when I run out of those, then I'll go back to the books that are merely worth reading, right? And so, you know, very quickly you can decide if this is an enjoyable book to read or not and if not, discard it. I think reading, you know, should be treated as a, kind of, more active process, Sort of, you should skim, you should skip, you should backtrack. You should discard and potentially return, like the book. You know, you were not subject to the book, you're not a passive consumer. Like the book is there for you. You bought it, it's yours. And like jump back and forwards. Tear it in half if you want, annotate wildly like, you know, use it.

I wholeheartedly agree.

And, I maybe, you know, start half the books I get and I probably finish a third of the books I start. And that works out to, you know, finishing one to two books a week. But if I finish it then, you know, I guess, well, it's probably been recommended by somebody in the first place and then it looked interesting enough upon some very superficial skimming to start. And then, you know, if I finish it again it was quite interesting so there's actually like a lot of selection that, kind of, happens along the way. And then I think, just the other thing worth pointing out is, you know, the line from Basho about the Japanese poet and that you shouldn't follow the people you most admire but you should follow what they admired. And I try to do that, I try to figure out for the people who can be doing really great work or to have really interesting ideas or just who I admire in whatever regard. How do they get to who and what they are? What influenced them or what's upstream? And, often it's quite obscure. But I try to, kind of, disentangle that.

When do you typically read?

Always, I mean, in the morning, in the evening, while walking. While walking is a good one actually like your peripheral vision is such that you can actually quite function and read a book while walking. And there's other people that have started to do this and do it much more and faster than I do. But you just spend a lot of your time walking and so be able to do that, I've found to be quite valuable. Often while eating.

So, you're sitting at home on your couch. It's after dinner and you pick up a book for the first time. Walk me through how you process that book, what you look at.

Yeah, normally I'll jump, sort of, midway through it and just start reading and see like, would I, like to have ended up here and almost certainly, like a bunch of the terms I won't recognize or the antecedent ideas I won't be familiar with or whatever, but like do I want to be here or to have gotten here. And if for a couple of pages, it seems like the answer is yes then I might, sort of, backtrack to the start and start, kind of, pursuing it a bit more seriously. I mean John has this insight that, and it's related to the previous point, that at every moment you should be reading the best book, you know, in the world. I mean, I don't mean, kind of, the absolute best for everyone but, sort of, the best book for you. But like as soon as you discover something that seems more interesting or more important or whatever, you should absolutely discard your current book, sort of, in favor of that because any other algorithm necessarily results in you reading, kind of, "worse stuff of our time.".

Sub optimal.

Yeah exactly. And so I'll be reading the book on the couch and then, you know, maybe after 50 pages I'll, I don't know, be in my room and I'll stumble across something else. And I might just, you know, switch rails. The other thing that I think is actually quite valuable is just leaving books out. And so, when somebody recommends a book, I'll, you know, very often pick up a copy, ideally, a used hardback copy, cause the hardback books, you know, they're more durable and now with Amazon, used hardbacks are really cheap. And, I'll leave it out and so there's books in the kitchen; there's books in my bedroom; and there's books, you know, on my bed and just strewn everywhere. And surprisingly, commonly either or someone else will recommend the book or some aspect of the book whatever. And it's still salient, it's still around you and you're like oh yeah, I really should check out that thing. Or something else triggers its relevance. You read an article or you just start appreciating a point or a question or something, right? And so, I like part of the reason that I still really value physical books is because you, I mean, for now at least, we still exist in physical space and it creates a, kind of, idea space for you that makes, kind of, productive collisions more likely to happen.

What types of things do you typically mark up in a book and what does that look like?

So I tend to just make notes in the margin. So, I tend to underline stuff but, in the margin, and, I underline, you know, misusing the term, I annotate it, mark it, highlight it, in the margin because then you can flip through the book quickly see the party you marked, right? And then the other thing is, on the last pages, like on the inside cover at the end, I tend to very quickly note page numbers for particularly interesting points or things that jumped out or whatever, so, that I can easily go back to a book and, you know, I have the list of the 30 things that I found most interesting.

So you keep the book, a book that you completely read, that you have like?


How often do you come back to that book?

If I want to make a particular point or be reminded of a particular aspect or, you know, whatever. Maybe I will, but generally speaking, I don't, and I think, you know, part of the value of making annotations is, of course, to imprint them more firmly in your mind so that you, sort of, don't need to come back as much in some sense. If it's really good, I don't often do this, but if it's really good, I might write a review for friends and just maybe share an e-mail or a Google doc or something or just share snippets with friends and that's valuable both because again, so the act of a summary or summarization, sort of, aids a, kind of, synthesis and better recollection but also, of course, it triggers out pointers and for those suggestions from those friends and so, you know, if you want to identify candidates in adjacent or if I'm to form the flustering and figure out what type of adjacent candidates might, you know, be interesting for further exploration writing review is, you know, a good place to start.

What sort of books have you written reviews on for friends this year?

One that I really enjoyed was A Culture of Growth by Joel Mokyr and it's basically a book about why did the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, really the Industrial Revolution, start when it did and where it did? And, he basically makes the case. I mean, there's obviously tons of different arguments that have been made for this and because it only happened once it's, sort of, we can never know definitively. And, you know, was it the abundance of, or was it the abundance of coal in the UK? Was it the setting up the intellectual property system and patents? Was it the high cost of labor in the UK that, sort of, created more, sort of, that made productivity enhancing improvements more valuable. Was it something about trade, you know, and so on and so forth and Mokyr basically makes the argument that it was primarily intellectual and more than, sort of, "economic." And, secondly, that it was, sort of, specifically a, kind of, synthesis of the importance placed in, kind of, scientific knowledge where we going to realize that scientific progress knowledge about the world, you know, exists and can be important and that progress is possible and that we're not just, kind of, imperfect imitators or receivers of the knowledge of the Ancients. And so a, kind of, a belief in scientific progress and coupled with a belief in, sort of, the practical importance of, sort of, engineering and of the more prosaic aspects of, you know, industry and of, kind of, practical pursuits.

And, you know, Mokyr offers the example of bacon through both, kind of, inspired the Royal Society was going to one of his followers who created it but also intended to catalogue the practical knowledge of all of the crafts people in the UK and the, kind of, implicit functional knowledge that they had. And, it's, kind of, this interesting combination of those that are really high minded and the very practical, right? And, so anyway, Mokyr, kind of, teases through all these arguments and the, kind of, republic of letters and the, sort of, nascent, you know, rise of science on the continent and so forth. But all in terms of this question of why the industry revolution then and there. And, you know, it talks about versions of it in China and so forth. And anyway, so, I mean, I think it's a very important question and Mokyr is, kind of, a discussion of it as I thought, you know, particularly interesting. And so, yeah, I summarized it for my friends.

That's awesome. Which book or books would you say have most influenced you?

So I asked this question on Twitter, back a couple of weeks ago, and some of the responses I got were really interesting, and a lot of people responded. Like, many more than expected to, I didn't actually, embarrassingly, I feel guilty about this. I didn't post the response myself and I thought about it and it's actually just a very hard question to answer. Like, I actually worried that it may not have been a good question because, like it's so hard to know. Did the book influence you or did you have an inkling or leaning and then you read something that really resonated but, sort of, it's actually not, like the book is just the artifact upon which you project the, sort of, the characteristic that had already arisen or the belief that had already arisen. And the book is not actually causal in and of itself, right? Now, maybe it's still interesting to talk about the book as a, kind of, symbol for the belief, but yeah there's that, kind of, question. And then also, what I've often found is, I think the books that perhaps did in fact influence me the most, in a causal sense, are often not necessarily that good, right? And that maybe I'll read a book that, sort of, triggers a realization of some idea or something. And the book, kind of, jolts me in some direction and then I'll go read better things about that question. And so, it probably would've been better if I had just started with the better stuff. But in some, kind of, truthful descriptive sense, it's yeah it was like the worse one that actually influenced me, right? And so like, you know, maybe a better version, the question is like which books do you wish you'd read sooner or something, right?

Let's answer that question.

Actually, I don't think I can even answer that one as I think about it.

This is yours.

Yeah, I know, I hoist my own petard. Like, it's also just, sort of, clusters of books in that, you know, I think of programming, for example, like, it would be hard for me to answer this question and not cite any programming books, I mean, kind of, so influential at least in my mind's eye, in my life. But, I can't really point to any single programming book, I can name ten that I think, in aggregate, work together like Paradigms of AI Programming by Norvig and Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs and, you know, K&RC books are about operating systems. The Tennenbaum book, you know, etcetera, and in aggregate, those like hugely shaped me. But I don't think I can single out just one, even two books on PHP, which were written by a guy who now works at Stripe. I mean, one of those books is the book that taught me to program and so answering this question, I could hardly not cite those, right? But it's not really the cluster or, you know, a similar cluster at science or economics or sociology or whatever and so they may all have to just get back with a better version of the question.

Switching gears a little bit, what's the smallest habit that you have that makes the biggest difference?

I reach out to people whose work I admire and tell them that, and often it leads to a dialogue and in some cases, I've gotten to know them pretty well. And, so I'm fortunate that Tyler Cowen, who I mentioned, is a friend but I was never introduced to him. I just randomly emailed him years ago. I actually invited him to a bitcoin meet up that I held in 2011, and I did not, however, buy any bitcoin, but I invited him to that meet up and he replied and, you know, apologized that he couldn't make it but we, sort of, ended up in, kind of, a dialogue after that. And, you know, when you reach out to the people, half the time they don't respond. But, you know, half the time they do and it's asymmetric. Doesn't really cost you much when they don't, and it can be incredibly rewarding when they do. And, so yeah, if I did not do that I would have missed out on a huge amount.

How would you answer a question about what are your personal values are?

Probably by evading it. I'm not about to. Do you think perhaps this just disproved that answer by actually answering it? But I guess I just think it's so, it feels like too important to question. It's, kind of, the big question. I feel like too important a question to answer simplistically and too complicated a question to answer briefly and thereby perhaps unsuited to something extemporaneous and I'm sure whatever answer I gave, you know, when I'm thinking about it in an hour's time, I'll kick myself and realize I'd left out, you know, this critically important dimension to it and I think, so I can cite some things I value. But the, sort of, the sense of giving a complete answer is very oppressive. I mean that's, of course, the value of Twitter where because of the constraint that there isn't the same because the system chooses when to cut you off rather than you choosing when to stop. That's quite liberating, so maybe, if you allowed me 20 seconds to speak on values, I could do that, but I could blame the constraint on anything I omitted.

We have 10 hours of recording left. What would you say is the most common mistake that you see people make over and over again that you wish you could correct in 140 characters?

Maybe not having the right peer group or not having the right mentors, isn't quite the right term, because mentor implies something, kind of, quite active but not striving to be more like the "right," people or not just being, kind of, in either case, deliberate enough about that, of course, who the right peer group is for you is, I mean, that's an entirely, kind of, personal and subjective question, but whoever it is, is going to be massively formative and influential in determining where it is that you end up. I mean, Drew Houston, has a quote about how you end up the average of your five closest friends. I think there's a very deep truth to that, right? But if you accept that then, of course, who your five closest friends are, I mean, choosing that and we do, though we may not think of it this way, we do choose the people, like you are choosing who you are. And, of course, that's a, kind of, a, sort of, bidirectional process where who you want to be is determined by who you're around which determines who you want to be around and so on. But …

These people that will accept you as …

Exactly, right. Right. But I think, like, certainly my mental model when I was 18 is that my five closest friends are, you know, people I ran into who kinda like me and I like them and there's a, kind of, we're cordial and close and all those things but that it's, kind of, fundamentally mediated by a, sort of, happenstance. And I think people should, kind of, invest more in it than they do and related, once you've found those people, you should really invest in it because if you accept they can shape you and you think they're the right people to shape you, well then embrace that shaping, right? And then, kind of, on the mentor point, or the latter one, you know, I think almost all of us, at least subconsciously, have a set of people we hold in really high regard or would like to be more like in at least some ways and so on, and I see people – well, in my opinion, they've, kind of, they haven't either found the right people or just like the right relationships and so on and if they had someone who was steering them more, or in better ways, could just be much better off.

I want to talk a little bit of what the future of e-commerce and maybe Silicon Valley culture and I know we've got to end soon but talk to me about how payments. Do you foresee see them changing from not only the customer perspective over from the merchant perspective over the next, you know.

Well, I think there's two levels maybe in that there's all this just like the basic mechanical stuff about payments and where we, kind of, forget just how much friction still exists and how many business models and transactions and businesses and everything, sort of, are impeded for fundamentally, kind of, stupid reasons, right? In that because micro transactions aren't possible both because the fixed costs are too high and because just like the friction too high than things that, would pay for it micro transactions just don't exist, right? It's not that they pursue a different monetization model, in some cases they might, but as a general matter, a significant number of them just won't exist, right? Or because maybe, it's hard to purchase things that are really expensive in a way where the, kind of, risk of fraud is officially low then, you know, you don't pay your rent online say, right? And so, and then, I think, maybe the most important dimension to that is the, sort of, geographic, kind of, balkanization and, sort of, inefficiency that ensues where it's extraordinarily difficult for somebody in Brazil to buy from somebody in Germany or somebody in Germany from somebody in India, etc. etc. And so you get this, kind of, unnatural set of sub-clusters existing not because of, sort of, you know, deep necessary limitations but because something much more arbitrary and contingent. And, you know, economists talk about the gravity equation and the fact that there's a proclivity of any two countries to trade falls off with the square of their distance. And, you know, there's always, like, big questions, like, wow, is that about something, kind of, fundamental in culture or about just surprising returns to proximity or what have you. Assuredly there's, you know, some of that stuff. But I think talking about the challenges and, kind of, complexities and hidden costs of pin methods. That doesn't feel like a very deep thing. It doesn't feel like something that is, kind of, significant enough on some level to have such, kind of, far reaching and deep consequences. But I think a lot of these, that have ostensibly "cosmic phenomena" are actually consequences of these very prosaic and straightforward limitations. And so I really think that solving this aspect of commerce on the internet like literally just making it easy for any two parties, a business and a consumer, in arbitrarily chosen countries making it easy for those two entities to transact, will have enormous consequence for the world.

And like that sounds like such a, sort of, a straightforward idea that it almost sounds cliched and the fact that it sounds cliched it should not blind us to the fact that it is still extraordinarily far from being the case today, right? We have had commerce on the Internet for decades to this point but it's still like 90 plus percent of Brazilian credit cards do not work online outside of Brazil. Brazil is not some backwater, it's not some inconsequential country, right? Obviously, one of the top economies in the whole world and Brazilian consumers basically cannot purchase outside of Brazil. And so, it's difficult to overstate the magnitude of that, sort of, limitations and inefficiencies that prevail today. So that's, kind of, the, kind of, payments level and then come on top of that. I think there is, or beneath it depending how you look at it. There's maybe just like a deeper question of what determines how many firms there are in the world? And what determines the character of those firms are they doing something innovative and novel or are they doing something prosaic that has existed for a long time. What determines who starts and why and the probability of survival? What determines the growth trajectory and the expansion rate into other markets in other products and so on? And, I think part of the tripe hypothesis is that things like that that seem very, sort of, one would think are very difficult to move are actually movable. And, really macro measures like the number of people who start a company, or who start a technology company, or again the success rate of those companies. And, you know, just to give some, kind of, illustrative maybe intuition pumps here, when we survey companies started with Atlas, 60 percent of them tell us they would not exist if not for Atlas. I know they could be wrong, like, maybe some of them actually secretly would, but maybe some of them are actually overstating their own resourcefulness or overstating. Maybe they're underestimating the challenges they would have faced and so I think that number could either be too high or it could be too low, right? But, let's be conservative and say that it's actually 40 percent. If Atlas is causing only 40 percent of those founders to start companies where they otherwise would not have. And if that, kind of, subsequent, you know, success rates look similar that's a huge deal, especially if Atlas itself gets paid, right.? I mean, over time, that can have real economic significance or, you know, if we can make it the case that businesses sell to twice as many global markets as they would otherwise sell to. I mean, again, integrated over an entire portfolio. That's a really big deal. Or Nick Bloom at Stanford did this really interesting work about management practices. Do management practices matter? You know, is good management merely correlated or, in fact, causal and in terms of leading to the advent of better outcomes? And they did an RCT, a proper trial, in India where they taught better management practices to a court of firms and did not to a, sort of, control group and saw double digit percentages in revenue over a multi-year period. I don't recall exactly, I think it was 13 percent over three years or something like that, right? That's an incredible low hanging fruit. Like all they did is teach better management practices 13 percent more revenue, like 13 percent more value provided by the company as assessed by their customers just from better management practices. And so, you know, when we think about Stripe and what to do in the future and the possibilities that exist and so on, it's much more, I think, about, sort of, how do we perturb this overall system to move some of these, kind of, macro outcome measures like number of technology firms started, survival rate of these companies, expansion rate of these companies, magnitude of the value provided to the end users, consumers, customers and so on? And, can be mediated by payments as this, kind of, foundational layer because it's something every business necessarily has. And because it gives U.S. good, sort of, understanding of the dynamics within the business and so on but it's on some, kind of, fundamental level not about the payment even though we think that, kind of, per the first point the impact of just solving the payments will itself be enormous.

Do you think reducing friction across the board is a good thing. Or, do you think friction in certain parts of it actually serves the system?

Well, serves it for who?

That's a good question.

Oh yes sure. I mean look, I think our Cross society I think so many of the things that looked like bugs are actually features from the perspective of somebody of some constituency, right? And ,of course, so much of politics is, you know, reconciliation of the countervailing interests of different constituencies and, of course, you know, the problem is that in so many cases the incremental gain of the constituency is substantially outweighed by the social utility loss of the rights of a society, right? And so, you know, bad teachers do great in the U.S. but almost certainly that's, kind of, a net bad trade for society. But the bet teachers care more about, sort of, their ongoing employment than the rest of society cares, evidently, about correcting that. And, you know, the same thing applies to fishing policy where perspective makes all the difference.

Well but, you know, people driving fishing stocks to extinction care more about their ongoing, you know, right to do so than the rest of society cares about sustainable ecosystems. I mean, I think that's just the character of political economy. And so, yeah, absolutely I think, I mean, to return to our earlier example. It's not even clear that the rate – well, one could look at the fact that essentially no new banking charters are being issued in the U.S. as a bug or, of course depending on your perspective, it's a wonderful feature. It's great for the regulators and it's great for the banks. Profits in consumer banks are higher than they've ever been.

Until they all get wiped out in the next crisis.

And, then because they're even more systematically important than they were in the past, they'll be needed. To the extent there was a systemic argument for bailing them out in '08 there presumably be an even stronger argument in the future.

It's almost like, we were talking about this earlier, but that's when you get big, you have more loss aversion. And so your goal is not necessarily to get better from your customers perspective. It could be to prevent competition prevent new entrants that might be a more, were there a moral judgment on it. It might actually be a more effective business strategy.

Oh for sure.

Innovating for your …

No question. And, you know, I think we're very, sort of, dissonant on this point as a society, where on the one hand we decry lack of innovation, on the other hand in our collective action, we do so much to ensure that it doesn't occur, right? And so, you know, on the one hand we decry the state of the, sort of, medical industrial complex and the 18-1/2 percent of our GDP that is spent on health care costs and the plateau or even decline in life expectancy and the declining rate of drug discovery and so on. And yet, on the other hand, sort of, two regulatory structures make it harder and harder to engage in drug discovery or to, I mean, you can't even start a hospital unless you've got a certificate of need. But, if you observe that well hey, you know, medical care in San Francisco doesn't seem so great and it seems extraordinarily expensive. You know, even though it seems like a very thankless undertaking I'm going to try to do better. Well first, you'd better get approval for that. You can't just enter the market and so I think that, kind of, and I'm not being, kind of, a normative judgment.

I mean I have my personal preferences but I'm not casting normative judgment that's, kind of, what we ought to do as a society. The thing that I feel strongly is that we're inconsistent in our stated desires.

There's like a perpetual, sort of, seesaw, if you will, where success sows the seeds of its own destructions. How would you make an argument right now that San Francisco or Silicon Valley is doing that?

Well the obvious one, the two obvious ones, I guess, are in culture and in housing and costs in general. I mean on the latter – well on costs and the latter everything is getting more expensive and nobody seems to quite understand exactly what's going on, right? And that is, I mean, if you if you take health care again, for example, I mean, the case has been made that this is not in fact a bad thing that what would you expect an enlightened society that has solved all of its other material needs to spend its money on but healthcare? It's, kind of, it's the last thing, it's the last frontier. And perhaps we are actually getting, sort of, commensurate improvements if you, sort of, disaggregate appropriately and you analyze the right way. Or perhaps not, right? And how much of this is some, kind of, Baumel cost disease where some things are getting more efficient and that higher productivity and higher wages are, sort of, causing cost increases elsewhere to pay for opportunity costs and all the rest. But I think, sort of, specifically in Silicon Valley and specifically on cost of living and housing, you know, Silicon Valley is the, sort of, greatest concentration of wealth creation that I think has ever existed in the U.S. on a per square mile basis. Potentially, that has existed ever in the world, right? Facebook, Google, Apple, Inktel, you know, they're all based in a fairly small number of square miles, right? And, if you, sort of, if you were to look at Seattle and the Bay Area, kind of, together right and look at the, kind of, aggregate urban zone, you know, separated as they are by a two and a half hour flight. Then, of course, you can layer in Amazon and Microsoft as well. And, obviously, what you see is that their rise in success was enabled in part by cheap mobility and cheap expansion. And again, sort of, through just, sort of, political economy and collective decision making that no longer exists. Cheap ability no longer exists and cheap expansion.

And you can see it now in this, sort of, latest generation of upstarts, you know, via, be it Twitter or Uber or Airbnb B or Lyft or whatever who are, you know, facing these really significant, kind of, structural headwinds. And so much of the wealth that's being created, this improbable fountain of wealth creation is accruing to the set of, lottery winners of the existing landowners rather than to the people who were actually doing the work. And because of that accrual the, sort of, the barrier to entry for newcomers is getting progressively higher and you see it in declining rates of mobility. And, furthermore, the other people in the city not in the tech industry who might otherwise benefit from it are, of course, getting priced out and, you know, this is not necessary. I mean, you can look at places like, obviously, Tokyo has, over the last couple of decades, been and improbable, well not especially improbable, but has been such an enormous economic success story and, you know, you had the boom and the bust and the supposed stagnation of Japan in the, kind of, early 90s on. But broadly speaking has done really well, but because of vastly fewer limitations on housing supply, have had very stable housing costs have not had the same displacement, right? And so the, kind of, the issues we face and we see year in San Francisco where it's getting ever, you know, 40 percent rise since we got temperatures in 2010. That's not necessary, it's not natural and it's a function of our, sort of, collective decisions rather than, kind of, some some secular and unavoidable economic force. And I guess I find it, sort of, dispiriting because it's a negative sum in the sense that it's not just that these gains go to go to these, sort of, existing landowners but actually will be fewer future gains. Like, I think you should be mad about this. You know, even if you don't live in Silicon Valley and you don't have the slightest interest in doing so because it's much less likely the next cool technology that you'd like to take advantage of will exist. It's, sort of, a suffocation of future potential and future gains and there aren't many places. Well, if you believe in increasing returns to scale that's, sort of, you know, this is, kind of, Paul Romer's work and others, that because of the, sort of, the collision of ideas and people in cities makes them more productive than if they were elsewhere. If you believe that to be the case, and there's like pretty good empirical data that it is, then you can't just move elsewhere. You can't just move to Nevada or wherever in the south, you actually will be less productive in those zones. And so again, I think it's a real loss in terms of spillover gains for the rest of society. You know, in service of not building six story buildings in San Francisco.

What do you think your role as a large employer and thoughtful citizen of San Francisco is in this?

Well I don't make any secret of the injustice, well the moral injustice in terms of the displacement that's occurring and the, sort of, economic wrongheadedness of the prevailing policies. And, you know, I'm a landowner in San Francisco John and I own a house together and I hope it's value declines in that, I think it's impossible to answer what the price of land should be. But I think it is very clear that on a marginal basis the social returns of cheaper land in the most productive productive region of the country would vastly outweigh the reduction in wealth, you know, to existing landowners.

But going back to banks everybody has a system that they want to protect.

They're totally right. Right. And, I mean, of course, you can try to estimate the magnitude here and so over at Berkeley this guy, and Enrico Moretti has estimated that 50 percent of U.S. GDP growth between 1964 and I think 2010 was left on the table as it were by, sort of, inefficient land use and land allocation. And, obviously, 50 percent is a high number and quite speculative and it's very difficult to measure the counterfactual. But even just the idea that one can, with a straight face hypothesize that it could be anything remotely in that vicinity I think gives you a sense for how high the stakes here are, right? And yes we can decide that, you know, we place such an enormous premium on the aesthetic appearance of the San Francisco of today recognizing that it is of approximately a third of the density of even just Greenwich Village in New York. Right? We're not, you know, the, sort of, the other extreme is not Hong Kong you can triple San Francisco and get to Greenwich. We can decide that that's our preference but, sort of, you know, sober estimates are measuring the cost of that in double digit percentage points of aggregate national GDP. And of course when you look at our Reveal preferences in terms of where we like to take vacations to, or where, you know, we dream of, I don't know, spending a summer or some day and things like that. It's to European cities which tend to be of very significantly higher density. Paris, London, much, much higher density than San Francisco. And so again, I'm hesitant to cast normative judgment but I personally feel strongly.

I think that's a great place to leave this. This has been a phenomenal conversation. Thank you so much for coming on the show. Where can people find more about you?

Well, if they want to start a business, they should head to But if they want to subject themselves to more of the particular detritus that I post, they can head to my Twitter account which is just Patrick C.

Thank you so much.

Thank you.

Hey guys, this is Shane again, just a few more things before we wrap up. You can find show notes from today's show at You can also find out information on how to get a transcript there. And if you'd like to receive a weekly email from me filled with all sorts of brain food, go to The newsletter's, all the good stuff I've found on the internet this week that I've read and shared with close friends; books I am reading and so much more. Lastly, if you enjoyed this or any other episode of The Knowledge Project, please consider subscribing and leaving a review. Every review helps us make the show better, expand our reach, and share message with more people. And, it only takes a minute. Thank you for listening and being part of the Farnam Street Community.

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Full Transcript: How to Start a Podcast – Equipment & Software – Pat Flynn

Hi my name is Pat Flynn and I'm here to help you get your podcast up and running in no time at all. And it's exciting because a podcast has changed my life in so many different ways not just with my business but also my personal life. It's helped me make a better connection with my audience. But more than that it's helped open up so many new doors and opportunities for me from speaking to writing books to selling courses and all kinds of other things too. So I'm excited that you're diving into podcasting too.

Now to start out with in this video, we're going to talk about equipment and software and all the things you might need to get set up and running on a budget. So I'm not gonna make you spend a bunch of money on all these big random boxes which – yes, they are useful, they will help – but actually you don't need that to get started. I want to remove all the overwhelm and distractions for you and just get you going right away.

And also make sure you stick around to the end because I'm gonna give you exactly what you need to figure out now the mandatory items for your podcast that you need or else you can't move forward. So let's just start right in with the equipment that we need.

So obviously we're starting a podcast here and people are gonna be listening to your voice. So you want to make sure you have the right tool that can help best send that voice over to that person's ear when they're listening to your show. You can have the best content in the world but if it doesn't sound great, people aren't gonna be listening to you for that long.

Now there's a wide range of microphones available to you to help you produce your podcasts. And you can spend anywhere between 20 dollars for a cheapo mic or even thousands of dollars for your best sounding broadcasting-type microphone. For your podcast though, again I want to make things easy for you and I want to make sure that you don't need any other external boxes and all these cords and other things that, yes, professional broadcasters use, but we live in a time now where you don't need all that stuff still to sound like a pro.

The microphone that I would recommend that you start out with is this one right here which is the Audio-Technica ATR 2100 USB. The price of this microphone is under 100 dollars which is great. It also comes with a stand a, USB cord, and an XLR connection. Now the beauty of this microphone is that you don't need this XLR cable and the mixers and all those other things that a professional broadcaster might need. All you need is a USB connection which comes with to your computer to help you sound great. It also comes with a little mic stand which I would actually recommend replacing with this next item.

Instead of using a stand, I would recommend using one of these boom arms for your mic. This allows you to connect your microphone, hook the stand on your desk using this little clamp here. This fits in and then you're able to bring the microphone to your face, keep it off your desk, and allows you just for more flexibility.

Now in addition to that, I would also recommend what's called a shock mount. Now shock mount, as you can see here, allows the microphone to be suspended sort of in midair. And what this does is it allows for the vibrations from your table and your computer and any other equipment, perhaps you might bang on your microphone a little bit, it allows the vibrations to be absorbed by these little rubber bands here and have the sound not in your mic.

Alright, and then finally the last thing you need is something that helps you reduce the plosives. What are plosives? Plosives are your B words and P words that when you blow into the microphone with those letters, it'll create a popping sound and you do not want that. So you can use what's called a pop filter or something like a wind screen to help stop the plosives from happening.

Okay so to recap those things one more time, we have the microphone, the boom arm, the shock mount, the wind screen or pop filter, and then of course you need to plug it in. USB. And if you need a dongle, you can use this dongle too. And then finally the links of these products are below this video.

All right so after you plug in, make sure that you fire the mic on, and then go into your systems preferences into your computer, and find the sound. And just make sure that the ATR USB microphone or the mic that you plugged in is the one that's highlighted, so that we know that the sound from our voice is going through the mic and into the computer.

Now that we're done hooking up our equipment, we're gonna dive into our editing software so that we can record our voice, chop off these audio clips, and also create what would be eventually a podcast episode. Now to start, you're gonna watch me do a super quick and basic tutorial on Garage Band which is for Mac users. So if you're on a PC, you can use Audacity which is also free too. Alright so I'm gonna keep this super short and sweet. However if you want a more detailed tutorial about Garage Band or Audacity, I have a tutorial for each of them both below this video.

OK so really quick, we're gonna open up an empty project here in Garage Band. And then really quick, we just want to make sure that the microphone that we have selected is the one that we want. So as you can see here, Input 1, it does say the ATR USB microphone. So we're clear there. And we are just recording using a microphone. So great.

We're going to hit create and you're gonna now see one track. This is a single track, and tracks work like layers. If I had a second track, which I could add down here if I wanted to, by hitting that plus symbol and doing the same thing, I can hit create. And now we see two audio tracks. And depending on the one that I'm highlighted on is the one that's gonna be recording.

Now why would you need separate tracks? You need separate tracks for different voices. Perhaps one track is just for the interview that you're recording, or maybe you have some music or voice-overs that you're just gonna drag and drop into this. Either way, it's nice to have it organized like that and not just have it all live on one line.

Now before we get going here, remember: we are recording a podcast, not producing music which Garage Band is primarily built for. So we're gonna change the settings here from bars and beats to time. And to do that we just need to click on this drop down menu here and select time. As you can see now we have an understanding of how long we would have podcasting for. And then we can turn off these other devices here like the countdown or the metronome.

And now we're all set to begin recording. And to record, all you have to do is hit the red button there and or R on your keyboard like this. And now I'm recording an episode. And as you can hear and see, as you're falling along you can see waveforms depending on when I speak and how loud I speak too. Now looking back here we can see a playback. We can actually drag this playhead all the way back to the beginning and hit play and we can listen to exactly what we just said.

And now I'm recording an episode. And as you can hear and see, as you're falling along you can see waveforms depending on when I speak and how loud I speak too.

As you can see there when I got a little bit louder, the waveforms are much higher. Now just some really basic editing tips for you. You want to make sure that when you're editing, you get as precise as possible.

And to do that you will need to zoom into those parts that you want to delete or change or move around. So let's zoom in really quick. You can do that a couple of ways by dragging the slider over if you wanted to or you can just use the pinch zoom on your laptop if you have one of those as well.

And what I want to do is get rid of that loud part. Let's say I just didn't want that anymore. So I'm gonna find that loud part and I know because of that waveform that it typically will start right there and if I were to play you'll hear that loud moment.

How loud.

But let's say I wanted to get rid of that because it just didn't fit into my episode, it maybe was a mistake, sometimes you might sneeze or cough during an episode. There are gonna be moments when you'll want to take something out.

And to take something out, all you have to do is essentially split this recording into two and then remove that part. So to do that all you have to do, really simply, is to move that play into where you want to make that split. You go to Edit and then hit Split Regions at Playhead. The shortcut here is Command+T. So I'm gonna do that right now and you should see it split into two. And now if I want to get rid of this one, I can just delete it and there it's gone. Now let's say I didn't want to do that. But I actually wanted to insert something in the middle.

So I'm actually gonna undo my delete there, I'm gonna slide this over, and then I'm gonna record something in the middle here just simply by pressing record like this. Hey this is the recording in the middle. Woohoo! And now I know there's a gap here so I'm gonna move this over just a little bit.

And now I'm going to play all of it starting from before that gap and then after.

-ending on when I speak and hey this is the recording in the middle. Woohoo! How loud I speak too.

Now before moving on, one more really important tip. When you are recording audio, the last thing you want to do is record audio that's too loud. The technical term for this is getting too hot with your mic, meaning it is so loud that when a person listens to it on the other end it sounds distorted. And the way that you can check to see if your audio is too loud is either by looking at these waveforms – if these waveforms extend beyond the size of this track here then it is too loud – or as you're recording you're able to see this green bar move into the yellow. Yellow is OK but if it gets ever to the red then that means that you were probably too loud. I'm gonna hit record here and do a little clicking noise that I know will fire off a red a red mark here and you'll see exactly what happens and also what it looks like on the waveforms here, like this.

You see how it bumped up to the red there. Now look at this mark here. It goes from all the way to the top to the bottom. That is too loud and it will never ever be processed in a way, even with as much editing as you wanted to do, in a way that sounds great for the user listening to your podcast. So the best practice is to play around with the audio volume before you record so that it gets as high as it can be without firing off to the red at your natural sounding voice.

Alright and finally I want to share with you how easy it is to import audio files from elsewhere into this podcast episode. For example, voice-over work or perhaps some music. All you have to do is download that music, and if it's music make sure it's royalty free. I'm going to drag and drop that file into this second track here. There you see the waveforms pop up and if I drag this over to the beginning now when I hit play here you're probably going to hear the music at first and then my voice come in. However I can already tell that the musics can be too loud. I'll show you how to solve that in just a minute. But let me hit play and see what happens.

You can barely hear my voice. So what do we need to do? We need to adjust the levels of both ourselves and the audio file here from the music. So to do the music really quick. Quite simply you just have to turn the volume down for all of them if you want to do that. In the more technical tutorial that I share with you, I show you how to fade out and do things like that but this one let's just turn this down maybe 15 decibels and play with that. A lot of what this is is just experimentation because you can always change things and keep keep going through to make sure it gets better and better. So let's hit play and see what happens now.

And now I'm recording an episode. And as you can hear and see, as you're falling along you can see waveforms depending.

It's getting a little bit better. Let's turn it down even more.

And now I'm recording an episode. And as you can hear and see, as you're falling along you can see waveforms depending on when I speak.

Sounds a little bit better. Now we can obviously continue on and make this perfect but we don't need to. do that right now. What we need to do is continue talking about the rest of this tutorial so we can get you set up.

Alright. So now you understand about your podcasting equipment and your podcasting software, you can go ahead and get set up with those now. You can place your order so you can have time for those things to come in. But really quickly, I need to share with you some important things that you have to nail down before you can actually get your podcasts published.

Alright, three things. Number one you need to pick a podcast name or a show title. Now a lot of people ask me questions about this such as, "Pat, can I use my name as the podcasts like the Tim fair show?" Absolutely. "Can I use the name of my brand to create my podcast?" Yes, like the Smart Passive Income podcasts. Or "Can I do something that's not my brand name and not my name, but it's just the name of the podcast itself?" Yes you can just like Amy Porterfield The Online Marketing Made Easy podcast. You want to pick a name that works for you. Now of course you could spend a year coming up with the perfect name and my biggest advice to anybody starting anything is that at some point you're gonna eventually have to just pick something and move on. Is it a permanent thing? No. You can always change it later. So that should help you out. Next you're gonna have to come up with some sort of show description. This is gonna be a summary and really your pitch for why people should be listening to your show.

This is what's gonna live on iTunes and other directories and it's going to be what people read to decide. "Yes, I want to listen to this!" or "No, this is not for me." And also keep in mind what keywords to include in the show description. Don't keyword stuff, don't make it sound unnatural. remember human beings are reading this but do include certain keywords that you know that your audience is going to be perhaps typing in because iTunes is also in addition to a podcasting directory. It's a search engine and then finally really important you're gonna need to create some sort of podcast artwork meaning a cover for your podcasts. And this is what people see actually before they listen to any of your shows. It's really important that you spend some time with this and so go into the categories that you think you're going to be involved with. Look at what's there see how you might be able to stand out from the crowd and eventually you'll need to create whether on your own or you hire somebody else to do it 3000 by 3000 pixel square image that has your podcast artwork and perhaps your show name or whatever other elements you want but don't put too much in there because remember people are looking and finding these podcasts on their phones.

You want to look great at a small scaled down level too. All right now there's a couple of things you can do from here. Obviously you can watch the next video which is going to walk through a number of recording tips how to do interviews exporting your podcasts those kinds of things. But I would highly recommend you also download the podcast cheat cheat free Gaida free. It's going to walk you through a lot of the more finer details of the start of your podcast like how to actually make sure your show stands out from the crowd. How to plan your first few episodes that kind of thing. The link for the podcast Chiki will be below. This video on YouTube here so just open up the description you'll see the podcast Shuichi right there click through you'll get access to it right away and we'll help you through a lot of these beginning stages especially here for the first video here in this mini course so awesome job. Keep up the good work and I'll see in the next video. Or if you have Dangal needed you can put those to

Use. Darn it. Just know we do vote we can do it perfect. OK one more time USP if you need dongle you can use this dongle to.

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