Max Wiethe (The state of financial industry and financial media)

  • 00:03:30 What regulation should we employ in the financial industry? Does it make us more safe?
  • 00:10:57 How Max got into his current career and what he has learned from his interviewees.
  • 00:17:01 Is the world going crazy? Is the ‘attentionalism’ already changing people and is the financial industry a good showcase for this? Is ‘career risk’ actually the most important part of financial decision making? How should ‘risk taking’ work in the financial industry?
  • 00:27:00 What is the state of financial media? Why is holding up better than other parts of journalism?
  • 00:36:01 Which opportunities are available in the finance sector? Are entrepreneurial opportunities in other sectors of the economy really harder to come by than a few decades ago?
  • 00:41:16 Will machines take over everything but marketing and sales? Are humans competitive vs. machines in terms of making complex decisions?
  • 00:56:16 Will we see the ‘rise of independent curators’ in the financial industry?
  • 01:10:30 Have preferences for earning money changed? Is quality of life more important than high earnings?
  • 01:20:11 Will exploring new planets (and the possibilities of discovering assets) change the society on earth forever?


You may watch this episode on Youtube – Max Wiethe (The state of financial industry and financial journalism).

Max Wiethe is an editor and journalist at Real Vision where Max hosts a weekly series of interviews with financial industry heavyweights.

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I actually saw something yesterday, a guy who was talking about like, go on zero hedge and there are articles that are promoting stocks. And he actually, he said back in the 80s, he got a call or his dad got a call from basically a boiler room broker telling him that it was the height of Billy Crystal, if you know the comedian Billy Crystal, his career, he said, this company is making the next Billy Crystal movie and got him to invest $2,000 and he ended up losing all of his money. Not a ton of money, but in the 80s, $2,000 was a good chunk of money and he was basically saying these websites where you can promote a stock and then they’ll just have a little disclaimer down at the bottom, it’s like so and so may have received compensation to write this article. Like that’s the same guy as the people in the Wolf of Wall Street who were calling you and saying like, I’ve got Aerotine international investment and like when you see it on a website, it doesn’t feel like it’s a broker because it’s not a broker, but that person is being compensated to write that article about that stock and if you can’t tell, if you can’t see those little things, you might not understand the biases of that information. So there’s lots of things like that that I think are important. I mean, happy to just talk about content in general and how I think about it. I think you’ll find… I want to get into this. Yeah, I said I think you’ll find once you get me going, we will have no problem filling time. Yeah. Well, we don’t want to just fill time, but I’m really curious about your insight and you’ve seen the industry from a different point of view than most of us. And maybe you can just go there right now. One thing that a lot of people in the financial industries or industry are very much involved with it, but they’re also passionate to an extent with it is regulation, right? So there is a ton of amount of regulation with financial industry. It seems so easy to innovate new cars and just come out with something completely new. And over the century, the last, what is it, since the late, probably since the beginning of time, but we really see what’s still left since I’d say that the 18th century, there’s been a lot of regulation that prohibits certain behavior, like you just gave us an example about zero hedge. I don’t want to put zero hedge. I just like use them as an example of a website where it could be anywhere, right? What I’m trying to say is from where I come from, and we should get into this topic a little deeper, I always feel there is a lot of regulation that’s so complicated to enforce that creates so much red tape that it’s probably not worth it. If you have trust in the investment, if you have trust in the active participant in that marketplace in the financial industry, maybe people just have to wise up. That’s where I come from, where I feel like, well, if you fall for this thing, that’s your problem, right? So there shouldn’t be a Soviet state that protects you from it. It’s called capitalism. And to a large extent, people will always push the boundaries and you have to look at this. The government and the SEC cannot help you. Yeah, to an extent, I would tend to agree with you that there is a certain level of responsibility. And where regulators fall into this, the fact that they have to disclose, for instance, this example that I gave of what seems like an article, a nonbiased editorial article, which is actually a promoted piece where that company has hired this person, whether they paid them in stock, whether they paid them in options, whether they paid them in cash, they do have to disclose that at the bottom. So there is some layer of regulation already in there, or else they probably wouldn’t disclose that sort of thing. So their fingerprints are still already there. And there is a level of like, you have to… But is it necessary, right? Is it even… Doesn’t it promote a false sense of confidence? Because all these disclaimers under restrictions, they don’t do anything. I mean, I don’t feel that there is… Unless you have a really strong prosecution and a real way to enforce it, that probably makes it worse. You should only have laws you can enforce 99%, 100%. And most of these laws are barely enforceable, like inside a trading, right? That’s basically not enforceable. We hear these every 10 years. Yeah. I mean, it’s… And it’s generally… I mean, we have… You’ve got all the news about Nancy Pelosi and the congressmen who are able to trade off of what they know. It’s not illegal for them to know that Facebook is only going to get fined $10 billion and that the market is probably going to rally on that and then they can buy call options or something like that. That’s not illegal. Yeah. Why would she buy so many call options otherwise? What? Yeah. Well, what’s the alternative explanation where she’s buying so many call options on these things? I mean, I haven’t looked at the specific case and I don’t think the Facebook example that I gave is exactly what happened in this case, but the basic premise of that there are two sets of rules. And that actually it’s generally easier to go after lower level people than it is higher level people. And I think even the IRS has said that when it comes to going after tax crimes, that it’s much easier for them to go after the guy with a small business who’s maybe worth a couple of million dollars, who made an honest mistake in trying to navigate the incredibly complex tax system than it is the guy who’s worth $200 million dollars, who’s actively trying to circumvent the laws through loopholes, which are not intentional. It’s much harder for them to go after that guy than it is the guy who’s worth $2 million. And I think the same is true a lot of times with financial crimes that would fall under the realm of the SEC, that it’s just they’re going up against people who, one, know the regulations and two can afford to fight these sorts of things. So it often comes down to the little guy, like there was a story about some junior guy at a bank a few years ago who he made $80,000 off of his insider trading or it was less than a million dollars and like he was one of the people who got prosecuted and think about all the trades that happen out there that people make so much more money on and those are the types of scraps that regulators are going after and not because the right laws aren’t in place, but they don’t have the resources and if they did have the resources, would it be worthwhile for them to allocate the resources to fighting these fights, which are much harder to win? I mean, it’s just it’s the sheer intensity is an information problem, right? So we won the laws of Valentine that and I fully understand where the notion of protecting the consumer comes from. And I think this is all good, right? But what we end up with is a massive amount of law that is very, the enforcement is very uneven. That’s what I’m trying to say. So you, I’m not sure if I prescribe to the thesis that it hits the little guy. I think it just hits random people. So it’s kind of like littering on the on the freeway, right? So the fines are so high because it’s basically unenforceable because you would have to have a camera everywhere and, you know, take pictures of the license plates. So that’s what I feel we have with the financial regulation. There’s a lot out there, but it creates mostly red tape. And I don’t think the world would be different if insider trading would not be a crime. I don’t even know if it is a crime in other countries. I actually doubt it is in many other countries. Yeah, I would tend to agree with you, but it’s not politically palatable to go backwards in that way. Like I just, I just don’t, I just don’t think it’s, I don’t think that the average American really understands how, how the whole financial system works. And you know, that’s part of the reason that companies like Real Vision and podcasts like yours exist is because people don’t want to know. And there’s a subset that do want to know. But they either, I think a lot of people don’t have the time. They care tangentially, but they really aren’t that interested in it. My argument is the entire financial services industry exists partially because people don’t really care. Why else would you outsource the most important thing, your financial future to someone else? It’s because either one, you don’t have the time, two, you don’t have the horsepower or three, you’re just not interested in it. And I think it’s probably mostly a combination of two and three, or I mean of one and three there, that people don’t have the time and they don’t have the interest. And I think the amount of people who aren’t interested in it is surprisingly high. But I mean, just imagine if they took away insider trading laws, how easy of a populist sort of cry of like, can you believe that they did this in a sort of Occupy Wall Street sort of way? A politician could jump on that, whether it would really have the type of change in the way people are actually conducting themselves. I’m sure things would get a little bit more egregious in the fact that people wouldn’t be as big into hiding how they distributed this information. But it would be pretty easy for a politician whose consumer or whose voter base were not the traditional financial markets people to seize on that and use it. And so it would be politically, I think, unpalatable for that sort of thing to take place. Yeah. Well, I mean, a lot of people make that argument that, and that’s very specific to this is if insider trading wouldn’t be a crime, then we would see less volatility if new news come out. Like the market would be slightly more predictable, but less volatile because the insiders would know first and they would buy, and then the markets would move a little more smooth. So that’s just one argument for it. I don’t want to get stuck with this. You work with real vision and you interview a ton of really smart people. You see what they think about the financial markets where there’s options to make money and also to lose a lot of money. Maybe you can give us an idea of how you got into this whole career for you now into that job and what did you learn from people that you interviewed? What do you feel is their sentiment right now? Do they think the world has gone crazy or has it always been crazy? It’s just a little more crazy now. Well, I mean, to go all the way back to sort of how I got into it, I was a real vision subscriber fan before I was an employee here. And it started back when I was in college. I was a physics major. I went into school, was very good at math and science, and I thought I was going to be the next great scientist. And you realize very quickly, I think at least if you’re self aware, oftentimes that there are certain things where either one, because you don’t love it as much as you thought you did, or two, that you actually don’t have the same horsepower as some of these other people. And I tested it into basically the highest level of math that you could. And I was passing, but it wasn’t easy. And there was a 15 year old in my class, and in the US, we start college at 18. So I was 18, there was a 15 year old in my class, and he was getting hundreds, and not really paying attention all that much, and I was just kind of, it’s like watching somebody dunk a basketball. And you realize, I’m probably not going to play in the NBA when you first see that person do that. It’s a whole different level of skill than I will maybe ever have. And I kind of quickly realized I’m probably going to have to do something else with my life. And I found that a lot of the skills I was learning in physics were probably transferable, pretty transferable to finance, economics, those areas. And I wanted to probably do that after school, but I didn’t want to give up on my physics degree. I really liked what I was learning there, but I realized I needed to learn something outside of what I was learning in school to be able to make that transition. I was fortunate enough that growing up, my dad worked in finance, and he really taught me a lot. And to this day, he’s still just like an incredible resource to be able to call and ask, and there are things that he doesn’t know. And he’s generally pretty honest with me about what he doesn’t know, but it’s a huge resource to be able to have that. And I definitely can’t say that he was super influential because he actually showed me real vision. So he sent me real vision and said, if you really want to do this, you should start watching these guys. And so I started watching real vision. I got out of school, kind of took a dead end job, and something opened up here at real vision. Actually not on the editorial team, it was more on the business strategy side. I was really interested in how to make the business grow. I thought it was a great business, which I really thought I understood the customer and the potential audience and how I could help make it grow. And I was probably under qualified for that job. And so they ended up not giving me that job, but they liked what I wrote. I wrote a cover letter that they thought was interesting and clever. And my first boss took a shot on me and made me a sort of editorial assistant position. And I was low man on the totem pole, and now almost three years later, I’ve worked my way up and I’ve seen, we’ve really grown up a lot since then. I think when I started, it was still very much a startup, and we’re kind of in that transition phase coming out of startup, but those environments, those types of environments can really, really, really give you opportunity if you’re willing to take a chance on something that maybe you don’t have the experience, and really seizing those opportunities allowed me to grow into the role that I am now as an interviewer. And yeah, just getting to interview these people is a pretty incredible job, and you get to learn so much interviewing them on camera, but so much of the learning comes actually off camera in the preinterviews. Like you and I, we talked, and it was pretty brief, but sometimes I’ll chat with these guys for three hours off camera, and I’ll talk to them for 45 minutes on camera. And it’s that sort of off the camera director’s cut stuff where I’m getting their truly unfiltered ideas. That’s where the real learning happens, I think, for me. And as far as whether the world is more crazy now, as compared to other times, I generally tend to push back against that. Finance is all about cycles. The world moves in cycles, and I think one of the most repeatable cycles that people often miss is Old Man tells Young Man, the world is going crazy. I think that is a cycle that is as old as humanity, and I tend to, yes, there are peaks and valleys, and to say that World War II wasn’t a crazy time is just wrong, like that was a crazy time for humanity, but overall, in the world, things are probably just as crazy as they ever have. They’re different, and difference is hard to deal with. It’s really, really hard to do. We do not change, I think, as beings. Change is hard for us to deal with, and so the longer you’re alive, the longer you will see, the more change you will see, and for a lot of people, I think that’s really hard to adjust to. Yeah. Yeah, I find that an interesting argument when you say that’s an old cycle, and I read Ray Dalos’s book about these long term cycles, about the growth of an economy and how to currency develop. He has these cycles going back thousands of years, and I think he’s onto something. I just feel maybe both are right. The world is going crazy, but it’s also changing, right? As a young person, you don’t see it as a change. You just assume this is the status quo. You don’t care about what happened the last 50 years, why it happened, you don’t care. You just think about the future, and I think both of these play a big role, especially right now when we see this massive change, mostly the room, I think, by technology, software on AI is eating the world, and it might not happen in five years, and the singularity might not happen in 2038, but it’s definitely going to happen. That’s my conviction. Obviously, we call it the singularity because we’re out of words and descriptors, so it could be anything. Literally, it could be just a quantum computer that we have instead of a PC, and that might not change that much in the end, but I think there’s more to it, and obviously, we can all just speculate where it goes, and we’ve done this on the podcast quite a bit. But I find it really interesting when you said that earlier, when you interview people, and that’s something that Jim also echoed, and he does these polar exhibitions, and he has the BBC on doing documentaries, and there’s a couple of directors and producers, what he said, you know, when I took the teams out, they really only put the most boring parts in the actual documentary. And then I made an episode with them, just 15 minutes extra, that was kind of behind the scenes, the director’s cuts and things that didn’t work out, or funny moments, but also just elements you would never see. We actually see the crew, and he said that easily became the most popular episode. So there is something weird about that, so we want to see a scripted show, and we want to see a certain element of predictability, and when we see something on TV or on a podcast. But then we also want to see the rest, and we want to see this, how would that actually happen if it would completely be non scripted, be completely random, if we see elements of that semi famous person that we never really expected. And I had to have some guests on the podcast too, where I discovered a side of the personality I just never expected, to the better, to the sometimes the worst, and I’m really still surprised that maybe it’s a competitive industry in anything where people stand in front of a camera. Many of them, over time, with the competitive industry, they become, how do I say that, they become especially human being. I don’t know if that’s something you also noticed. No, could you, what was that last word, I just want to make sure I got it correct. Special human being, right, so in a sense the competitive pressure of being in the limelight of absorbing this attention of, by necessity being different than other people in the industry, by, and especially in the financial industry where this is a billion dollar leverage, right, you make the right call, and you make a five billion dollars a month, so you have a tremendous leverage that puts you, you know, in a very different category, maybe more like a king like position, but you better be right, right, and if you’re right, the rewards are basically endless. Oh, and nobody attributes any of it to luck, it’s, I think I’ve heard it called like the trader’s put, which is if you’re wrong, you got unlucky, but if you were right, you were a genius, and then if you’re wrong, it’s your client’s money, you can always just, if you’re, if you can tell your story well enough, you can raise more money, it’s not your money, if you’ve got, if you’ve gotten good enough at telling the story and being able to sell that, and you know, there’s certain parts of the business that are more performance driven, and there’s certain parts that are all about asset gathering, certain parts that are all about just reducing frictions for, you know, big institutional investors, like if it’s easy for this person, if there’s no career risk, some of the most interesting interviews I’ve done with people delve into this idea of how career risk drives decision making and finance, I would say that that’s probably one of the most interesting things, and it’s, it’s like if, if BlackRock is doing it, how much easier do you think it is to push that through your investment committee? If you’re, if you’re a pension fund or you are, if you are a big institution, how much easier is it for you to bring something that is exactly what everybody else in the business is doing, the supposed smartest guys in the room are all doing it, that can be very easily pushed through an investment committee, whereas taking a chance on a young guy who’s got new ideas is incredibly difficult to push that through, and so, you know, how those sorts of things drive decision making is, is pretty interesting. And what you let this heartening do, I mean, I feel like, so when I look at the perfect economy, we would, we would hope for, you know, there’s a, and that’s the Taliban explained that quite a bit. And I think this is something that I really wanted to make a theme of this podcast is just this entrepreneurship of taking risk, like, like a fund manager taking a risk and not doing what BlackRock does and not just trying to follow him, but taking a calculated risk, but out of his, his or her own convictions. Isn’t it this heartening that this is happening less often than we expect? Like, shouldn’t that be the default case that everyone is really just using your own judgment? Yeah, I mean, in the sort of like creative destruction, perfect idea of what drives, what drives an economy, I would, I would tend to agree with you, I try not to get disheartened about too many things. I find that it doesn’t work for me as a person to let, let these things get to me. It’s very easy for me to, to get sort of like tamped down by these realizations. And I try not to get disheartened, but I know what you mean. I guess my, this is as old as, this is a human, this is a human thing. It’s, it’s very old. The idea of maximizing outcomes for ourselves versus maximizing outcomes for society. Like, I think that that’s an age old problem. Like why would, why would a bunch of knights decide to support the king and, you know, keep the peasantry as, as peasants? But because it, no, they’re, they have no chance of becoming the king, the real king. But their lives are still so much better. And is it maximizing things for society in that moment in time? Like probably not. And arguably you could say they didn’t know any better. And they thought that, you know, the divine right of kings was the best way to rule it. But I find it hard to believe that there weren’t a couple of, of knights in their day who just kind of did the way, weighed their, weighed their odds and said, fighting for the king, that’s a good trade. Yeah. But I mean, that’s not necessarily what I mean. I, I, I mean, I, I think self interest is 99.9% the right call to make. And I’m fully with Ayn Rand. If you watch the movies, if you read the books, at this very hard to argue against her. But on the other hand, so there is obviously the error correction on society level. But what I’m trying to say is what we want is everyone in this new society, we are building right now, right? And then new quantum society, so to speak, for every, we don’t have one reality anymore. We have like millions of realities. What we want is that every single individual actor is not, is really acting rational for in his or her own reality and making a rational, good judgment call. It might be very different because we all have different realities from person to person. Well, what I’m trying to say, it’s based on real judgments and not of trend following. Because what I see in, in finance, and you just mentioned that the trend following and being on the safe side, just because it is what other people are doing. I mean, I just started on zero heads today. It was the same analyst who like, I think six months ago would say Bitcoin will go to a million. And then today he said, oh, Bitcoin is probably going down to 10,000. I’m like, so what changed? And like, oh, it, the trend changed, right? So I’m like, really, that’s, that’s your analysis. And that’s where you, you work for an investment back. I mean, holy shit. I mean, maybe he’s all right, right? So, so I’m not saying that’s a bad call to predict the future, but it isn’t any, it doesn’t add to the value for society. It doesn’t do anything. Yeah, I mean, I don’t think I’m all the way there with you on, on it not like it being inherently bad. I just look at these human nature issues as being inherent. And there are people, there are people who are able to, to think beyond them and their personality, their, their means or whatever it may be allows them to, to do otherwise. Like there’s a, there’s a saying here in America, it’s called fuck you money. It’s your ability to say fuck you to somebody if you have enough money. It doesn’t matter how powerful that person is basically because of, you know, the property rights we have here. There’s a certain amount of money that you are going to be fine no matter what. And you can be that contrarian. And so not, I just don’t think everybody has that, has that status. And, and I, I just, yeah, I think that that’s a part of the, it’s a part of the system. And I don’t think it’s a part of the system that will, that will ever change. I think we are, we are much simpler beings than, than our, you know, our hopes for the, for the height that humanity can reach. We will reach it, but it’s not because we’re going to achieve some great state of consciousness. I think it’s just because we churn forward over time. Slowly we churn forward. Yeah. I think we have slightly different views on humanity there. Maybe two, two high hopes that are not realistic. That’s probably, probably true. Well, let’s go back to, to what we see with, with financial media right now. So we, we, there is what I see out there, and that’s kind of my, my 30,000 feet description of that particular part of journalism is that it’s held holding up relatively well. When we, when we look into political news or general interest news, they become really massive, right? They’re very, they’re very opinionated. They don’t have, the facts don’t really matter anymore. The facts shouldn’t matter. It’s, it’s, it’s something where you want engagement on Facebook. You write this to get a bunch of likes or hates, so to speak. And that’s kind of it, right? So it’s not, it’s not, it doesn’t have any, any real content anymore. I feel with financial news, it’s, it’s not a big problem. There’s a lot of interest from the general public and it hasn’t gotten as messy as other parts of, of news, right? When you, when you look at Fox News and CNN. Yeah. So, so that is a really good development. And I also feel it’s just, maybe me, I feel there is more interest in financial news than ever. Maybe that’s because of crypto or because other things change around it or more people have interest by stocks with Robinhood. It’s, it’s something people deeply care about. And it’s not for the others. It’s for myself. Maybe I can get ahead of the market. That’s what the individual mess of things. Yeah. I think so. I would agree with your assessment that it hasn’t gotten even close to as bad. And I can tell you in the feedback that we get from our customers, if we ever stray too far into politics, and you have to cover politics because it does affect markets. I mean, there was a whole period, you know, if you remember in 2018, it was market up on, on easing trade tensions, market down on, on heightened trade tensions. So to not cover it is just wrong. You have to, but there is a bridge too far where we see our audience is just like, that’s not why it’s not why we’re your customers. We are not your, your customers or your subscribers or members because we want to be talked to about politics. We are here for the facts. We are here for markets. And I think that, you know, at least with our customers, I’ve definitely, definitely seen that. But that doesn’t mean that the same sort of pandering doesn’t happen from time to time where you’re doing something. It’s less for hate. I would say that the hate clicks are probably, it’s less powerful in, in financial media, but the true love clicks, like bias confirmation, love, I have seen it. I have seen it where, you know, I do an interview on gold in May of 2020. It doesn’t do nearly as well as the interview I do on gold in August of 2020 that basically top ticks the market. And it’s because people, they, they see that price action, it changes sentiment. And now the interview that is, that is matching their beliefs, that is helping them gain confidence in a belief that they already hold is received much better than the video that is challenging their beliefs. That’s trying to get them to say, Hey, there’s this thing that might be happening that you need to pay attention to. It’s not that that video gets hate, but it isn’t embraced in the same way. So I do, I do see some of that bleeding in and, and sometimes, sometimes I would, you know, I, to use your word, it’s disheartening. But again, it’s human nature that, that people are, are, that this happens. And I fall into it too, like I’m not saying, I’m not saying I don’t fall into the same bucket because I’m a consumer. I’m a consumer of the same content. I have an investment account. I’m by no means a sophisticated investor or anything like that. But I, I fall into the same things. And I’m just fortunate enough to work behind the curtain that I am much more in the front of my mind about recognizing these biases. And am I feeling this way because of those human nature flaws that we discussed earlier? Yeah, I was, I was thinking you would say, Well, financial media still has a business model. And so it doesn’t need to, as you say, pender, I had a more direct award for what’s going on on Facebook. But they, it’s just not required because there’s enough money, the CPMs are high enough, and there’s enough money in subscriptions, you don’t have to worry about this. And other industries there, and especially general news receivers, the most, but that’s, that’s going through tons of other industries. The advertising revenue model is that. And so it’s a subscription model. Maybe the New York Times has brought it back, but they’ve done it through pandering, which I think is a really bad idea. And they got to pay for this. But at least they find subscribers, because they have to have a boogeyman, right? So without a boogeyman, they’re not going to keep those subscribers. But who knows? I think this is why we, we see that we just, we see that with universities, wherever you see your business model is faltering, you go into some extreme. And maybe that’s actually a rational decision. But financial media didn’t have to go through this yet. Maybe it will happen once everything’s no fee, right? Robinhood is kind of pushing the edge there. Yeah, yeah, there is something to be said about that. I mean, it is, it is the audience that everybody wants. You either have money, or you want to have money and you’re willing to invest your time into something that is educational. Some of it is, I call it infotainment. There is certainly stuff that is hard education. There’s stuff that’s purely entertainment. And then there’s a middle ground. And I think most of it really falls on a spectrum. It’s not black or white what it is. But yeah, that’s what makes the audience so, so enticing to, to advertisers. I think the subscription model is really what I’m most familiar with. I’ve seen some of the advertising models. I run, I ran our YouTube channel here at Real Vision for a while, and you get to see some of the CPMs. And in just researching, you know, what the YouTube standards are, like I can tell you that, yeah, finance content is getting, is getting higher marketing dollars than a lot of other stuff out there. And depending upon what’s hot at any moment in time, I mean, the numbers can, can get really, really high up there. And that has allowed it. But as you said, there is free stuff moving in. And there is I mean, there’s, there’s tons of people putting out great, great work for free. And I think that finance, because of how sought after the audiences, and as well, the amount of money that can be made on in some cases, acquiring one customer for certain products is just huge amounts of money. If you can get one customer, if the product is, you know, prime brokerage services, or something that is really, really high level, you can make a lot of money just bringing in one customer. So I think that there will be a moat for a long time. But, you know, the same sort of problems that came to, that came to traditional media will eventually make their way here. And we’ll have to, we’ll have to think about that. I think, you know, what you said about the New York Times, I do agree that there is some level of like pandering to an audience that comes in, and that’s why they’ve succeeded. But I also think it’s very similar to what’s happening with hedge funds. Like people talk about how hedge funds are like a dying, a dying business. Well, there are some hedge funds that are doing very, very well. And they’re the big platform model hedge funds that are sort of the big names, and they have great infrastructure. And they’re now actually taking the best talent instead of the best talent leaving that hedge fund and starting that hedge fund and starting their own shop. It’s worth it for that really, really good portfolio manager to just stay there. And that doesn’t mean that there won’t be money made in hedge funds because the industry is dying. It’s just going to be at certain places. It’s like the newspaper business is the same way. Yes, the newspaper business is dying. But there’s still going to be people making a lot of money at the New York Times, Washington Post, those sorts of places. And I look at it the same way. It’s a platform model that is taking over there. Yeah, I mean, I’d love to talk about that further. The opportunities lie. And we have entrepreneurs on the show and we have a bunch of VCs. And that’s always one of my first questions. And it seems finance, at least when I follow what other entrepreneurs do, there’s always crypto. There’s always a DeFi startup that someone is just joining. When I look into my Twitter feed, I feel like the half the world is now in some kind of business that entertains the crypto finance ecosystem. And so this seems to be a huge opportunity and relatively, because that’s one complaint, maybe that’s an old man complaint, you will say, that I have here on the podcast where I feel the amount of opportunities and the debt of opportunities for people under 30 is relatively, I feel is much smaller than prior generations. I think this is the overhang, this huge debt that we have from the Fed. So maybe it’s a generational thing. Maybe they just have other preferences. Maybe there’s just something wrong with them. Who knows? I mean, I’m still getting there. I think I have a couple of good theories too. But anyways, I feel the theory, the total amount of opportunities is much lower. But finance, and that’s specifically that crypto sector seems huge. Everyone seems to be invested. Everyone seems to be interested in investing. So maybe there’s other bubbles that you see. I’m not saying this is a bubble because it’s got a pop. But finance, when you look at the finance industry and beyond, where do you see great opportunities right now? We know hedge funds is not one because you shouldn’t want to be a hedge fund manager these days. But you should have a decentralized finance startup, right? But what else is out there? Well, if you are raising money, definitely DeFi is the place to be. And I would call it a magnet. It’s a talent magnet at this point in time that’s pulling in a lot of people. Look, in the same thing, you were talking about the singularity. I don’t think we’re close to the singularity in finance, but information edge is being eroded as data becomes more and more available. I think, I forget which interview it was on Real Vision, but there’s a Real Vision interview where somebody talked about when Warren Buffett started out, he used to have to go to the library in Omaha to learn about a stock. That’s edge. People don’t have the persistence to go and do that. Now, I can pull out my phone. I can get it all. I can write a program that’s reading in new data, scraping the web for data. I can write algorithms to process that. If everybody’s doing it, I mean, unless you’re the best of the best or you have some literal physical advantage, I mean, I don’t know if you’ve ever read or interviewed anybody who is with Flash Boys. They talk about being a foot closer to the exchange. Unless you have literal physical edge like that, what is your edge? When I think about opportunity in finance, I think about mostly the opportunity for me as a retail investor. Where are they not? Where can they not be? Where can the power players? Where is it? One, either because of regulation, they can’t go. Two, compliance. And three, it’s just not worth it for them. It’s not worth it for a big asset manager to do research on a $30 million stock. And if they did the research, they probably the position that would work for their liquidity needs would probably be so small that it’s not worth it for them to even do the research. That $30 million company could end up being a $30 billion company. But it doesn’t matter because it’s not worth it for them to do the research. And the position that they would take is not going to have a material impact on their returns. And so for somebody like me, that’s a place that I can go where there is a real potential for me to find opportunities that the market is not appreciating. That’s what the whole game is, is finding things that are not being appreciated. And so I look at that. I look at I’m pretty bullish on US cannabis for similar reasons. These institutions literally are not allowed to own it. They’re not allowed to own it. It doesn’t matter that the companies are trading at one third of the valuations of the Canadian companies, which they can invest in because Canada is fully legal and it’s listed on the right exchanges there. They can’t own it. I can own it. So that’s an edge. So that’s when I think about opportunity for me. When it comes to big picture within the business, financial content, I think that the marketing and the content side of things is super far behind. And that’s part of the reason you’re seeing this explosion of podcasts. You’re seeing people taking this much more seriously. Goldman Sachs has GS talks. Everybody has their own podcast. Some people have multiple podcasts. They’re doing podcasts. They’re hiring. I work for now at Real Vision. I got to do a lot of those interviews on the editorial side, but I’ve actually moved over to our branded content wing, where I’m getting hired by brands to help them make content that sometimes we’re helping distribute it. Sometimes we’re not. But that, to me, is a mega trend. You think back to… And you can find some of these websites out there. You go to a hedge fund and the website is just emailinfo at Because the old idea was, if I’m good enough, then the money will come. And there’s only so much money that you can have that works with your strategy. So I don’t need to market. I don’t need to talk. But I think that that is changing. And it’s certainly a trend now. But I think content in general is just going to be a trend. You talked about this singularity. And I sort of agree that a lot of the computational things… Are we really going to need entry level accountants in 20 years to do basic auditing stuff? Or is there going to be software 20 years from now that can do what a first year accountant would do? And is there going to be a guy at the top who’s sort of checking over, making sure these programs are doing everything correctly? That’s true. But the guy… There’s still going to be a business owner who needs to be marketed that accounting firm. And that human being is going to be that human being is going to be making the decision on who to hire. And they’re going to want a human being to convince them to hire them. And so I think the same thing is true in finance. Even as more stuff is automated, more stuff becomes… Yeah, you know what that sounds like? That sounds like we become the underclass of the machines. Think about it. So the machines will make most of the grunt work and also the more complex work because they will grow easily outside of what we can comprehend in math. That’s almost there already. So maybe there’s… The hedge fund manager might still be there. But there’s literally one guy who oversees billions of dollars and all the other computers. Maybe there’s a developer too. It’s a very small operation. And you see this even in factories, right? There’s all robots and there’s a bunch of dudes walking around, checking the robots from time to time. Or girls, doesn’t have to be dudes. What I’m trying to say is that the role that’s left for humans is literally talking to other humans and sell them stuff. So it’s the only role we have left, right? Marketing and sales, which seems to be… This is a great industry and we are the ultimate consumer. Machines, why they only consume energy, right? At least… Energy and information. That’s all they need. For now, why does my change, right? They might get some real taste there. But what I’m trying to say, it seems like the humans are this, you know, this underclass of just peddling it to the not so smart beings, not so conscious beings out there. So… And I think you’re onto something there. What I just feel is… Maybe we should aspire to more, right? I don’t know if this is, again, if that’s realistic. But when I see decentralized finance, these things are extremely complicated. You can’t even really… Maybe that’s because they’re bogus. But it’s really difficult to even explain them to someone else. In these investor pitches, you need to have a PhD to even understand the pitch, which is already extremely simple, simplified compared to what they actually have to do in their coding. So… And the whole abstraction of crypto isn’t easy to understand in the first place. So I feel like there is a ton of ambition in there. I don’t know if it will work out. Maybe it’s just a bubble and it will all just crash and it will never be a business, never really known set right now, I guess. So maybe I’m too far away from it. But do you think we can make that distinction? There is especially in finance, we go towards higher complexity and that’s a human endeavor first. I mean, complexity and decisions. And this is where the human should be. We should get out of these low paying, as you said, accountants, but also sales and other things that are kind of repetitive, right? They’re customized to other humans, but they’re repetitive. Well, I think some of that has to do with the fact that most people probably don’t have the skills to do these things that are at the higher levels. I mean, you talked about the lack of opportunity for people, you know, my age, my generation, and maybe it’s changed for people younger than me. I kind of think I was really at like a crossroads. I was born in 1994. And I remember my second grade class was the last class to be taught cursive instead of typing. And so there was this, you know, it was right at the edge where people were saying like, oh, these computers are probably here to stay. But your teacher could decide whether she was a cursive teacher or she was a typing class. And I had other students exactly my age and it depended on what teacher they had, whether they were taught typing or whether they were taught cursive. And, you know, in some ways, I don’t want to say it wasn’t it definitely wasn’t too late. But we were sold an idea that it was a choice, whether to be technologically savvy or not, versus now I think there’s much more. And I’m not totally on board with like, we need to send everybody back to school and teach them to code. That’s not what I’m saying. But there is a certain level of, you know, people aren’t quite aren’t quite adept enough at some of the things that really drive human progress. And then I also believe that actually like a lot of human progress is driven by a relatively small a lot of human progress is driven by a relatively small group of people. And I have this conversation with people all the time, you know, I generally believe that like UBI is some form of UBI type thing is inevitable, because like I don’t see this trend of things stopping. And I like to say that socialism is the bribe that capitalists pay to avoid communism. And I think that that is true. And the big argument that I always get the push back to UBI is how how is human progress going to go on if everybody’s getting paid to just sit on the couch. And my response to that would be, I don’t think you’ve ever met a truly creative person. If you really think that way, like these people who drive human progress, they can’t stop. They they it’s what drives them, they want to create, they have to create. I mean, how does somebody make $200 million and keep going? It’s because they need to keep pushing. And some of it is greed, like there is a greed level. And some people are driven by greed. But I think that a lot of people are driven by something within them. And at the, and those are the people who are really pushing things at the margin. That’s not that like we can’t all play our part in like making society better and adding value. But when we talk about like, what pushes us forward? I think it’s a much smaller group of people than you think. Yeah, I don’t know if UBI is the best solution. I like the idea of UBI. I do. And I just a government handout always is a little suspect to me. And I always feel it’s it’s sooner or later going to get we’re going to inflate out of this or whatever the UBI amount is. It’s not great. It’s it’s for me, it’s the second best solution. It’s the second best solution. I want some form of it. Maybe there’s something we can do with copyrights with NFTs. Maybe maybe there’s something we can do that has that part of UBI, but it’s also market driven, right? So it’s an asset we can play with. And it’s not just something we give to people. I don’t, I think it’s not ideal, but we have to get there, right? I mean, we do see right now that whatever is the next wave of innovation gets monopolized so quickly. And these cycles get shrink more and more. And soon it’s going to be a week. I mean, from the first you hear about this, because it’s just being discovered, the quantum computer, until it’s monopolized, it’s like a week. And nobody can keep up with this anymore. So there is a problem. And you don’t have this. The typical cycle of capitalism that we used to see is, it’s just so compressed. And it ends in the monopoly player that makes 100% of the profits. And people don’t literally, Google has a problem for many years now. They just don’t know what to do with all this money. They overpay everyone by 100%. And they still have tons of profits to shift them all around the world. They still have tons of money to just, just comes the raining down, right? They don’t know what to do with it. Yeah, but what if there are some benefits to scale? And I’m just playing devil’s advocate here. Like there are some benefits to scale. And so what if, but what if instead of that all going to the monopolist, it’s, it’s spread out, it’s spread out across. And so, yes, we are getting the benefit of XYZ firm doing, doing all of it and the efficiencies of scale that come from that and from them owning it. But it’s just that that efficiency is then split between the person who has, who has brought this value to society and society. But it stops eventually, right? So the, the, the efficiency gains. There is a moment when they’re the strongest and then it, you just don’t have to innovate anymore. Nobody can access this market. We see this with certain parts of, of Google’s business, not as much as Google search, which I think we’re all so happy with. But we definitely see this with the Google ads. We know that there’s only Facebook as a somewhat competitor. It’s not the same thing. And we know this is the price of a sky high. And for most startups especially, this is just not the place you want to be. And 10 years ago, you wanted to be in Google AdWords. This is the place where you wanted to be. This is how you build a business. It’s impossible now. You can only be there if you’re Expedia and even Expedia has trouble making it work. Well, and I think Expedia, aren’t they getting, you know, taken down by Google flights? Yeah. Google has their own app and they’re going to prioritize Google flights over Expedia unless Expedia pays them an arm and a leg in an efficient amount of money. Officially, their partners and Expedia doesn’t make any money with flights. They’d rather get rid of the whole flight search. They don’t care about it at all. They want the traffic, which is all flights, but they make all their money with hotels. Right? So this is really strange. They operate it at a huge loss. So if they can find an agreement, but someone runs the whole flight business for them, but it happens that the same get the same distribution of hotel traffic, they would do it right away. So that’s a dirty secret of that particular business, that there’s no money in flights for a long time now. Yeah. I mean, what I’m talking about is way further down the line than where we are right now. And I just, yeah, what I’m talking about with UBI and whatnot is way, way further down the line. I just, I think it comes down to the idea that things are going to be done by fewer and fewer people, I think, for the most part. We will see some opting out of the labor force and that unless you want the means of production to be seized, you got to do something about it as the haves. The haves have to do something to… But isn’t just thinking a part of being in the labor force? Like remember, we had all these people working in farms, 90% of the population. And then nobody works in a farm anymore. I never met anyone who works at a farm, right? Literally at a farm. I mean, people work there, but they’re like, they run the business. Nobody actually does it. The only farmer I ever met or I ever heard of, like that I knew was a billionaire who was doing it for fun. He owned R&L carriers. My dad managed their account and he was a trucker for fun or I mean, he owned a logistics company and he owned a farm and it was just for fun. I don’t know if he ever made any money off of the farm. Well, what I’m trying to say, you call this labor and then now everyone sits in an office and just plays on their Facebook page for eight hours and then doesn’t work for 10 minutes, right? And we call this work, right? Just because you’re in an office or you’re at home and you log on somewhere in the morning. But what if just thinking about a creative solution is a problem and you go about your life, 99% about just thinking, right? And then you have one good idea in your life and that makes enough money for the rest of your life. Wouldn’t that be cool? Yeah, but that’s the idea that some amount of subsistence living would prevent that sort of thing from happening. I just don’t buy. I think… Oh, I agree. I agree. I’m kind of a V.I. I’m just saying I think that might be a smarter way to handle this, not that we shouldn’t give people money. I think that’s a good idea. Yeah, I’m with you, but I’m kind of in the same way you were like, I’m sensing some libertarian vibes coming from you. And I actually think it’s like the perfect middle ground, UBI between the left and the right. There’s a really interesting thing we had on Real Vision, the CIO of the Alaska Permanent Fund. So in the 70s, they found all this oil in Alaska and it was in state owned land. And so they started taking the oil out and they decided that the money would go into basically a sovereign wealth fund. So Alaska, the U.S. doesn’t have a sovereign wealth fund in the same way that like Norway does, but the state of Alaska does. And Alaska has some sort of libertarian undercurrents to it. And they actually have a form of UBI. It pays out a UBI to the citizens of Alaska every year. They get a check from the Permanent Fund. And the reason they did that is because they didn’t sort of trust the government with the money. The idea was like, we know what to do with our money better than you know what to do with our money. And I tend to agree that people who really want to better themselves, which I believe is most people, know what to do with their money better than somebody who says, we’re going to help you out and we’re going to give you this subsidized housing. I would rather just give somebody a check and they can decide how much of it goes to housing, how much of it goes to food, how much of it goes to health care or whatnot. Like they know what their needs are probably better than some bureaucracy does. Yeah, that would also open up another really interesting discussion about taxes. But before we go there… I mean, we’re way off of financial media at this point. Yeah, I want to go back a little bit. And so Alexander Bart and his really deep thoughts, they kind of, they open up that view that’s been, it’s been something that’s been talked about for 20 years. And the basic idea is he says, well, think about the new upper class and underclass. When we talk about the new upper class, where would that be? And he calls it the netocrat, netocracy. And where those… And it’s obviously it’s a bit of a Marxist term, but what he is trying to say there is the… And I think this really applies to financial media and finance in some is the curator, the person who has all that information, has their hands on all the networks, but can find out that sliver of relevant information that’s important to the participant or to the audience, the curator talks to. That’s an idea that we talked about for 20 years. And I feel we have a lot of curators out there, but they aren’t necessarily the most powerful or the richest people. Yes, there is a network of individuals and they hold relevant information, but they also hold power, right? And power doesn’t necessarily mean this in the postmodernist meaning. What I’m trying to say is, do you think we will see this rise of independent curators? So people who basically out of their own intelligence, out of their own ability to create relationships during their life, they will become these massively interesting, powerful, rich people who have the ability just by shifting around information. We will see hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of these curators taking off. That’s kind of the thesis of Alexander. Okay, so I would say that, I mean, what is Facebook and Googlebot curators? And arguably they’ve gotten super rich and super powerful. That’s what Facebook is. They’re curating and then the algorithm is doing it. The algorithm is what’s curating. So there are these super rich curators, but I think it is that competition that you were talking about that makes it so that unless you have the huge, huge network like Facebook or Google, where the entire world is going to Google to search, so a huge percentage of the world is on Facebook. That huge network, that’s why they have so much value. But it’s still, if you don’t have the network, it’s hard to monetize it. What if it’s not massively machine aided? That’s a good point you make, but let’s find something that’s not basically an algorithm. Oh, I mean, there are good businesses in the curation realm. I mean, there’s a young guy who I’ve interviewed on Real Vision whose name is Edwin Dorsey and he has a newsletter. And his newsletter is just keeping track of all the activist short selling campaigns that are out there. And he writes some original work, but a big reason why I subscribe and he’s very nice because I’m in the media and he gave me a free subscription, but I would probably pay for it if I had to is because it’s all right there. It’s curated for me. By him, he’s keeping track of all the new reports that come out. He has another one for SEC comment letters and there’s some value there. And you know what? I believe he makes pretty good money. He’s younger than me. He’s fresh out of college and in the grand scheme of things for people his age, he’s doing phenomenally well, especially to be his own boss, but there is a cap. There’s a cap on that. What is that the new hedge fund monitor? That’s what Thomas Duncan was telling me. Basically, he says the newsletter, the paid newsletter is the new hedge fund manager, right? Because you don’t, as a hedge fund manager, they commit capital to you, you move it around, all this regulation. You don’t want this anymore. You just keep people idea and tell them, okay, if you still want to have those ideas in the future, just pay me a thousand bucks. Yeah. I mean, there’s huge, huge money to be made in that, but it’s not. I don’t think it’s the same like masters of the universe billionaire hedge fund manager business. You can be good, but that upper class that you were talking about, the true upper class, I think it’s very difficult to get to that level as an individual. I’m sure there will be some people who do so in this game, and in many ways, real vision is a curation business. We have internal people who are creating content and we certainly do that, but so much of what my job was before is to have my finger on the pulse of who’s saying interesting and worthwhile things that our audience wants to hear about. That was my job was to curate. It’s kind of like a description of a journalist, right? Think about it. The journalist used to be this intermediary who takes a lot of irrelevant information, kind of bundles it up, makes it more easy to understand. It’s neutral. It doesn’t go political. Now it’s all changed. But the business model for the journalist that leads writing for these big newspapers, that’s imploded. And the question is, and we all thought about that Curator creates the value, but it’s seemingly very hard to monetize this continuously. It’s not a digital content sort of work. Substack is great. But Alexander makes that claim that this is going to be the new overlord, the class of overlords. How many words hard to say? There’s a black… Do you know the show Black Mirror? Yeah, yeah, of course. Have you the episode where they’re all on the stationary bikes and they go back to their rooms and then there’s just the content creators? I remember that one. You should go back and watch it. You have to earn credits to not be served ads for pornography. And then there’s a few people get to be like the shows, the content creators, the talking heads that are at the TV. And it is this very dystopian world that kind of, in some ways, what I was talking about with content sort of taking over everything, it’s like if you are not at the cutting edge of technology and managing these automated systems and helping to build new automated systems, or you’re not a talking head, your greatest value to society is working, sitting on a treadmill and generating electricity while you don’t get fat. I mean, it is a dystopian. It is Black Mirror. I’m not trying to say that that’s the future, but it is very interesting that that is the case. But the thing is, there’s still a kingmaker. In that, the person who becomes the content creator is still not the king. There’s still a kingmaker who’s picking that person, and that’s the people who own the platforms, like Substack. A lot of what you’re talking about in the newsletter that I referenced is Substack. The people who are on Substack can generate great lives for themselves. You could make a couple million dollars a year, but the investors of Substack, the people who own that platform are the ones who are getting super rich, and they’re the ones who can deplatform you, who can say, hey, we want to pump your newsletter because we think that that’s the one that can make us the most money. Those are the kingmakers in that in your sort of upper class, lower class scenario. I think that that’s the true upper class. Now, those other people who are making great livings, they’re upper class in the more traditional sense, but they’re still not the kingmakers. Those are the platform owners. Yeah, I tend to agree with you. I think the world there is a ton of competition between platforms as well, and you can just move from YouTube to another video platform. But Joe Rogan, Joe Rogan being bought to go to just Spotify is an example. It’s a short list, right? It’s a relatively short list. Where do you go? They can all ban you, and then you can say, well, I do my own thing. I do like what Alex Jones did. I do my own video site. Yes, you can, but it gets harder and harder as more platform you take with you, right? You have to rebuild the platform. You end up back in 2000 when we all just, I don’t know, we relanded flash just to get our website up and up and going. So that’s a good argument. I feel like the these platforms are relatively short. I mean, the list of platforms is really short. I mean, even if you think about like, we can think about platforms, lots of different spaces, there’s maybe a few hundred, maybe just a few thousand, and that’s the whole list. And many of them just invest so much in marketing, they will never make any money. Like they do follow the Silicon Valley model where you just out compete everyone in marketing, but you never have any intention to make money. Then you go IPO, and then you just sell off the business to retail investors, and you hope it one day will make money. Well, I saw a tweet the other day, which was kind of making fun of this, which was, I remember, I’m old enough to remember when eyeballs were a vanity metric for VCs. Like people used to, you know, like we’ve got this many eyeballs on our website, and people would kind of be like, yeah, but do you make any money? And it’s completely flipped now where it’s like, how many eyeballs do you have? It’s the network, how much power do you have in your network? Tell me how many eyeballs you have versus like, do you make money? That’s not really, it’s not really on anybody’s mind. It’s just going to lower your valuation because you have less users. That’s really good. I think that’s a great indicator for boom and bust cycles. There’s valuation metrics in the startup industry because you absolutely correct that flip completely, and it goes along with the business cycle of that industry. Yeah, and look, and part of the reason it happens is because there is some truth to it. And because what happened, I mean, Google makes a lot of money, Facebook makes a lot of money, and they do that because of these network effects and these eyeballs. So there is some truth to it. But what you talked about, it’s a very short list of the platforms that really have power. And so it’s how much of it is like tantalus. How much of this chase for eyeballs is an Apple that’s right there that you’ll never be able to reach. And how much of it is real, and there’s real value in that. And I’m sure there are some platforms that are going to succeed and they’re going to reach that Apple. But I think I would probably say that a lot of them won’t. Or at the very least, they’ll get bought out. They won’t become king makers. There will be a point where they might have a potential to challenge one of the existing players. And in the current state of the world, they have been allowed to be bought up by the existing platform, like Instagram. Instagram had true innovation, and they were building a competing platform, and they were allowed to just be bought. And until that changes, I don’t see the list getting much longer of the platforms. But there will be niche, there will like real vision is trying to be a platform. And within a niche that we want to own, and we think we can be the best finance platform. But we’re not trying to be the platform for everything, for every single thing, like in the same way that a social media platform or a search engine might be. There are little pockets of opportunity there, certainly. That’s the final thing. When you look at your own work, and where you are at the company, is that what gets you up in the morning? What is this thing that really excites you, where you feel like, well, there’s so much potential, I could work on this forever. And it’s just there is something there, even if you maybe haven’t put it into its category yet. I mean, what gets, I mean, my current work with the brands, the thing that gets me probably the most excited is I do believe that there is a ton of work to be done. Like, look, I’m not, I’m in the grand scheme of things, relatively fortunate, but I am not part of that ruling class that we talked about. And so, you know, a lot of my drive is just wanting to have some degree of freedom over the choices I make in my life. And unfortunately, in today’s society, not unfortunately, I don’t really think it’s that unfortunate. I think it’s inevitable, but like that requires some level of financial success. So that’s a huge driver. I think I would be remiss to not highlight that, that I’m just a young guy trying to get by. But no, I really, I really want to get into finance is the most finances is arguably the most calm complex system out there. And I study that and try and understand it is just so much fun. Yeah, I have a question for you there. And that’s kind of my argument that I made earlier. So we have this, this, this lower productivity growth over the last 20 years, much lower than what we saw in 60s and 70s. So lots of debate about this. We also know that clearly there’s some real innovation going on. And it seems to be speeding up or slowing down. Nobody really knows. But emotionally, we feel it’s, it’s, it’s speeding up a lot. And we don’t see this in productivity numbers. And we also see that a lot of the new generation had troubles with big opportunities. I fully agree. Again, this might be the young guys complaining, right? But what you just said, I think it’s, it’s one, one thing that I’ve noted is really important. And I’m glad you said that maybe the way that you want to live and the way that you outline your life, the way what’s more important in the quality of your life, this is becoming your, and Alexander would say most sacred decision making. So if we have a priority or hierarchy of decision making, we have the more sacred things up top, and then it gets less and less sacred as we go down. Like we don’t care if you use Uber or Lyft, that’s really all the way down, right? But if you drink. But the ability to take an Uber or Lyft to not like we just had, we just had horrible rains here in New York. And there are people who are wading through disgusting water in the subway. And probably like if I were that person, I am fortunate enough to be able to say, no, I’m not wading through that water. I’m taking an Uber. There are people who don’t have that decision. They don’t have that decision. What I’m trying to say is for you, for yourself, and that’s just you as an example, just a very personal opinion, someone offers you a lot of money, but it’s 20 hours or 18 hours a day. Michael Moolkan style, you have to get up 4am, call everyone, just your soul is gone, right? After like a week. Would you do this for a few million dollars, or would you rather have a great quality of life for the next five years? And yes, you might make some money, save some money, who knows. What do you feel, and if you can be that honest, what do you feel is more appealing to you? And it goes back to UBI, right? Because UBI would take the downside away, but you would be poor, right? I would probably say, I mean, guaranteed millions, and how long do I have to do it? Five years, and you may kind of know, a million, 1.5, 2 million a year, something like that. I come away at the end of the five years with between five and 10 million in the bank. But like you basically have a heart attack, like everything, no vacation, your health is ruined, and it’s no sleep, no family. No family? It’s like the partner lifestyle. That’s what they said, called the young lawyers, right? So when I started law, a bunch of my fellow students, they went to law firm, they told them, okay, your life, it’s not going to happen for the next five years. Don’t even think about it, or you will never make it in this firm. And they said, okay, I’ll just suspend my life for five years. Very willingly. I didn’t make any money, right? It was just, you might become a partner. I mean, they made one, two and a half years. Eventually. I mean, it’s a decision that I don’t know the answer to, and I think that is why it’s such a good question, is because that is the crux of human existence in many ways, is this decision between quality of life and future quality of life. But it’s a marshmallow test. It’s a marshmallow test. And if I can truly be out in five years, have five to 10, then guaranteed. I mean, I think it’s hard to turn that down. I think it’s hard to turn that down at this age. I mean, I, you know, I’m in a relationship right now. I think that would, that that’s probably like the biggest decision I would have. But I mean, I look at, I look at what I have right now with real vision. And I often tell people that real vision is like the ultimate positive carry option. Like I am getting paid. You know, I am not, not making like investment banking, like what you’re talking about money. But I can afford a nice apartment here in New York, and I can afford to do the things that I like to do. And at that same time, I get to have incredible conversations with people where I’m not only learning about future opportunities for myself. I’m also getting to build a network. Real vision itself is just such a fascinating business to be able to learn in. I feel like I’m getting an MBA just getting to see it because it’s small enough that I get a window into these other departments. I get to really see how the whole thing functions. And, and, and there’s, and there’s great upside potential and you know, they give us equity in the business and whatnot. So there’s, there’s upside potential in that. And so, really, would you, would you, would you agree that people your age slightly, older slightly, younger, they are more curious about the quality of life these days than compared to other generations of is very difficult to compare. But let’s, let’s, would you, would you feel that’s true? Or would you, do you think no, that’s just because your opportunities are in there so they automatically go towards quality? I think it’s much more the, the latter. And it’s partially, it’s partially opportunity. It’s partially a cultural change in who, who raised us and what we were told. I really think, I really think that that is, is hugely important in a sort of like fourth turning sort of way, like you’re very much influenced by the generation that raised you that came before you and there’s just kind of cycles in that. But it’s the, the line is very clear. Like somebody in my generation, like I’m 26. So somebody like 25 or younger, the idea of going to work at like an unknown startup, I think is much more attractive to them than somebody who’s 35, we’re working at a fang company was everything. Like that’s, that’s what success is to them. And the other one, there’s sort of this, this, I don’t want to work for the man, but I also want that tech upside and I want the cool job. And it’s only slightly different. But, but there are some, some little cultural differences there. And yeah, I think, I think quality of life is more important for us. And I see it, I see it as a political shift. There’s an interview that we, we did for real vision that is, is coming out, that is coming out soon with, with a manager, his name is Russell Clark, who, you know, he basically says that like that’s, that’s really his core thesis is this shift in attitudes from capital to labor. And I think this quality of life argument is part of it. And, you know, people are not falling for the $500 signing bonus to take the shitty McDonald’s job, they’re not falling for it, a $500 signing bonus, like they don’t care. Yeah, what I’ve been saying about COVID, it’s conspiracy about millennials who want quality of life and boomers who basically stay at home anyways. So everyone in between gets squeezed, but everyone younger than 25 and everyone older than 55 thought it’s awesome, because all they wanted to do is stay home anyways, right? There was, there was no, there was like a dream come true. And for the generation in between where I belong, it wasn’t such a great idea. With the COVID response, right, the COVID response on the lockdowns, it was something where people, and I was always amazed, they wanted immediately to cloudify themselves or just get out of the normal life, that normal life that had no value to them. And that was pretty stunning to me. And we had like similar threats before that obviously there was no social media, but they were taken very differently. And I feel like is this, there is this very strong desire of quality of life with a different way. And maybe that’s because the opportunities play a role, I think, but maybe it’s being more strong that lies below this. And that also explains to me, if I need productivity growth, it’s so much lower because we have quality, but we don’t, it comes at the same price. So you wouldn’t never see this in those productivity numbers, the way we count them right now. Yeah, I think you, I think you, you’re kind of onto something with the, that spread there. And I think it’s like my parents around age 60, you know, sort of the young boomers, they were kind of half promised the company man thing, the idea of like, you get your pension and you work at the same company for 40 years, like they saw people have that, and then they didn’t get it themselves. I think, you know, not to fall into the classic like millennials as the boomers had it better, but you know, I still think they had it better regardless, but there was sort of like the, the early boomers and then the previous generation, they had that, the true American dream, they got the full American dream. And they’re realizing they’re like, Oh, I’m probably going to live to be 100. Like, do I have enough savings for 35 years? Like, there is the same sort of like disillusionment about the opportunity that is out there. And I have this conversation with my mom. And then I look at your generation as sort of had the same opportunity as those late boomers, but they didn’t have the false illusion. And so there’s a bit of pragmatism that that Gen X is kind of known for this sort of like, I’ve always had to do it on my own. I’ve always, you know, I’ve always known that the world was shit. And, and that’s where you are. And then the millennials are sort of eschewing that, but I’m going to try hard anyway, where we’re kind of like, the world is shit, but we don’t have the same opportunity set, I think that was available to your generation. And that’s why we’re, we’re kind of there. But it’s relative, like you still had less opportunity than my parents did. But when my parents look at what their parents had, it’s that Delta, it’s the Delta that is the problem. Yeah, it’s a change of expectation. That’s the problem. It’s not the opportunity. It’s the Yeah, it’s the Delta. And so I think that’s why we’re seeing it is that that problem. I just as a related thought, and this goes somewhere completely different. But what I like where we are right now, I think a lot of this is related because we don’t have any new frontiers, right? So the amount of frontiers we have, we have a digital frontier, but it’s a digital frontier. It’s not the same as a real frontier. We don’t, we don’t exactly go for a conquest or discovering new places for the land around there. They immediately, just all you have to do is put seeds in and then they immediately make money. I mean, this stuff grows on its own more or less. If you watch Jeremy Clarkson, he tells you otherwise, but it’s basically the story. And so we don’t have that access to something that we can just by being there and netting it to our productive society makes us more money, right? We can’t just go, we want to go to a new planet. Do you think what’s, if we go and once we go to new planet, planets, the same set of high opportunities will come back or these things are not there? I think it’ll be much cheaper and easier to send robots up there to do the sorts of things that we, that we want. We can make so much money on Mars. Think about the minerals. I mean, it like Robert was telling me this, you can, you can literally just, I mean, if you take harvest the, some Mars probably too, but also the asteroids, the, you can’t harvest that much because then the, the price of platinum and gold goes to zero because there’s so much out there. And obviously it depends on your launch costs and there’s a couple of things involved. There’s robots or humans. There is so much more out there in terms of potential that anything we know, any society we know, will just be resect, right? Because things that we consider as valuable gold, that number go to zero. Well, I mean, that’s why, why has, you know, individual investing and retail investing exploded. It’s, it’s in many ways, it’s an undiscovered frontier. These people are realizing that there is, instead of going out and panning for gold or, you know, settling the West, whatever it may be, crossing the Atlantic Ocean to discover America, that is gone, but you can buy a call option and change your life. Yeah. Exactly. And that’s why it has exploded. So I mean, when we talk about frontiers, that’s a frontier. I mean, people, but it’s a mind frontier. It’s not the same, I feel, as going to Mars. That would make me more excited. Yeah. Yeah. I think it would. I’m, I’m staying here personally. I can tell you, I can tell you right now I’m staying here and I’m like, we can’t even control our own climate, but we’re going to terraform Mars. It’s the same thing. One needs more CO2. The other one needs less. So yeah, I, I, yeah, I’m just like, I don’t know. I mean, I think that there’s tremendous, tremendous value that will be created with, you know, technology that involves space, whether it’s going to Mars, whether it’s asteroid mining, I’m a little bit more skeptical on in my lifetime, in my lifetime. I’m a little bit more skeptical on that. But in terms of, in terms of some of the other stuff that’s being done, I, I’m not, I’m not like a total space bear. But I’m not, I’m definitely not a, I’m a contrarian by nature. Those types of growth businesses. I’ve, I find that I have like a hard time seeing the future doesn’t, doesn’t really work for me. And that’s one of the things that I’m coming to terms with right now as a, as an individual investor is trying to understand, you know, what, what makes sense to me and emotionally what I can deal with. And I’m, you know, kind of coming to the terms of the fact that I’m probably more of like a Seth Claremont, like keep 50% of my money in cash. And then when everybody else is panicking, go buy because I’m a contrarian by nature. So why not be a contrarian when there’s blood on the streets and, you know, the whole buy, buy low sell high thing. So yeah, but starter fund is a great convexity. And it’s more, you know, as more of a, but it, but it’s a normal realm startup. It is, as better your convexity. Yeah. But the problem with that is, I think that that is one of the biggest competition forever. But there’s one of the biggest lies that has been perpetuated is like you take startup, like they show the, they show the returns for VC, but they don’t show you is the return distribution. They don’t show you how much of the skew of the reason that VC out performs public equities is due to the top 10% of VCs. Most VC funds actually underperform. Most of them do. And most people don’t have access. There’s too much capital chasing too few of these great startups. And they all want to have a 16 Z. They all want to have Y combinator. They all want to, it’s the deals are going there. Why is LeBron James such a great investor? Is it because LeBron James is a great investor or because people want LeBron James to be on their investor list? And so he gets all of the deal flow that you could possibly imagine that, that, that he gets. Yeah, I agree. So, so, but yeah, it’s great investing in startups. And I had this thing with my mom, she was like, real estate, she wanted to buy a rental property. And she was like, I’m going to invest in this startup. I know the CEO instead of investing in this. And I was like, just so you know, the stats tell you that angel investing is a terrible way to invest your money. But she wants to do it. And granted, she has insight into the business and direct access to the, you know, executives. But it’s still crazy to me that like, I sold her just like remind her like, unless you’re at the top of the distribution, the top of the food chain, you’re probably going to lose money. Or you’re just going to be right with that one startup. Well, and there’s another interesting thing which we didn’t get on, which is the way like what was hot when you were coming of age influences what you are interested in investing in in the future. And there’s like some really good stuff to show that like people who sort of came of age in the 90s, really into real estate. And what do you know, like my generation and in some ways, I think your your generation as well, you know, tech kind of came up. And so like, what do you know, like everybody thinks that VC is is like the only way to go and everybody’s going that way. And, you know, as I said, I’m a contrarian by nature, but I try to, you know, skate where the puck is going. Lex, this is a good topic. We got to pick it up next time. We’re going to run out of time. Yeah, this was awesome. We covered so much. I know. And I’m sorry that we I’m sorry that we didn’t get on financial media that much. Hopefully, hopefully you can find a way to to to bill it because we got much more into humanity and society and all that much. I like it. I like that a lot.

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