All right, everybody, welcome to episode two of the All In podcast with Jason and Chamath,
some basic ground rules here. If you’re not into speculation, you don’t like to debate,
you don’t like to question authority, and you don’t like to get a shit ton of inside
information, I’m going to actually turn the podcast off right now and go download The
Daily from The New York Times or All Things Considered or some other bullshit, but we’re
here to do speculating and talking about inside information and the real deal. With me, as
always, my co host Chamath Palihapitiya, if you don’t know how to pronounce it, Palihapitiya.
Chamath, how you doing? You holding up okay?
I am doing fabulously well. We are in week four of our lockdown sheltering in place here.
You losing your mind?
I’m not because I’m fortunate to be in the suburbs. I think if I was cooped up in an
apartment in the city, I would feel a lot worse than I do right now. But there’s a lot of fresh
air, the weather’s finally turned, it’s not raining as much. So we get to see the sun a
little bit, makes a big difference.
Yeah, can you imagine 15, 20 years ago, hold up in an apartment with three kids
who are home from school, like these people who are in a city, they must be going insane.
I mean, there’s so much value to visiting New York. But if you’re stuck there in a quarantine
lockdown, I don’t know what I’d do.
All right, well, we got a great guest today. Why don’t you introduce our guest Chamath?
Well, we are really lucky here. This is a person who I’ve known now for, I don’t know, maybe
15, 20 years. What I would call him is one of my best show ponies. I have ridden this
motherfucker up and down in everything he’s done. He has made me so much money. It’s like
owning the publishing rights to the YouTube back catalog. This is how prolific this guy is.
It’s like owning the Beatles back catalog, right? You’re like Michael Jackson.
Backlog. So David Sachs, though, no, all kidding aside, David Sachs is one of the most incredible
people that we know. One of our closest friends. Big bit of a background on David. He
almost became a lawyer, but dropped out of law school after going to Stanford and worked
with Peter Thiel at PayPal and was a chief operating officer there. Left PayPal.
Moved to Los Angeles. Unsuccessfully kept his virginity. Found a way to not get laid as a movie
producer in Hollywood, which seems to be impossible, but David found a way of doing it.
Produced a movie, one of the best known movies of that generation called Thank You for Smoking.
Then moved back up here, started Genie, pivoted, started Yammer, sold that for more than a billion
dollars to Microsoft and became during that time, frankly, one of the most unsung heroes
of company founders and was a prolific investor in some of the most well-known iconic businesses
of this last generation. Airbnb, Uber, Slack, the list goes on and on. And now is the co-founder
of Kraft Ventures, which is essentially David’s early stage venture business where he
helps a lot of really great companies get to the next level and frankly,
the level that he’s been playing at for a while. Despite all of that, again, I just see him as
a show pony. Some money printing machine. If you can get in on that fund,
if you can get in on those companies, you’re going to do well. Saks is an operating machine.
Welcome to the program. David Saks, welcome to the pod.
Thanks for having me.
How are you holding up, Saks, just personally, family, everything, companies, just generally,
psychologically? How is this impacting you?
I think we’re all fortunate to be safe and we started paying attention to the virus, I guess,
in February because of Twitter tech. There are a bunch of people in the tech ecosystem who started
tweeting very alarming things in February or even going as far back as like January 30th.
And I didn’t know for sure if they were right, but some of them were friends of mine. And so
we were to get seriously and we started doing work from home, I think on March 1st. And
we’ve all been kind of self-isolated since then. And fortunately, everyone has been safe.
Holding up pretty well.
Saksiput, tell everybody on the pod, our group chat and basically what it is,
what we do on that group chat and what you think about it.
Yeah. So, I mean, basically our poker group and sort of extended poker group, which is about,
I don’t know, it’s probably about 20 players who rotate in and out of our poker game.
We have a chat group and we used to just talk about cards and stuff like that. But very rapidly,
it became a place to share information about the virus and the response and what was going to
happen. And the remarkable thing is that whatever we talk about ends up becoming like, it’s like
everyone else figures it out about a week or two later. And I think it has helped us stay about a
week or two ahead of the curve on this thing. Has it generally been mentally reassuring or
has it amplified your anxiety talking about it all the time in that chat?
Well, the interesting thing is that we have people in that chat who are very optimistic.
We have people who are very pessimistic. We have people in between. And then we have people who
swing around quite a bit. And so I think you get like all the perspectives. And I think, I guess
my view of the future is that very hard to try and figure out what’s going to happen. You have
to think about it in terms of scenarios. And so the chat group helps understand what those
scenarios might look like. So where would you describe each of us then on the positive,
negative, and then swingy? You’re in which cap? Are you swingy?
So I think the three basic scenarios are V, U, and L. And Jason, I would describe you as a V.
I think Chamath is closer to the U, which is the most pessimistic. Sorry, the L is the most
pessimistic. And then the U is sort of somewhere in between. And I sort of swing between the U
and the L. But I also understand the case for the V. And those initials really refer to the shape
of the recovery to come and how quickly we’ll come out of this.
So David, before we drill down into your beliefs on the future, let’s talk about the past.
What do you think this entire episode has shown us, whether it’s from a public health perspective
or an economic perspective? But how would you summarize your view of the world as it’s been
revealed to you in the past two months? Yeah. I mean, I think that
we live most of our lives during these relatively calm periods, and then our lives get redefined by
these apocalypse events. And we’re not really wired for this rate of change. I think it was
Lennon who said something like there’s some decades when nothing happens, and there’s some
weeks where decades happen. And I think that’s basically what’s happening here. And it feels
like, I mean, a little bit, the last thing that was like this was 9-11, where, you know, you woke
up that morning, saw the Twin Towers coming down on TV, and you realize that we were now in a
different era. And something like that’s happening here as well, just in slower motion.
What do you think the government did right? And what do you think that the government did wrong?
Well, I mean, you know, limiting the flights in from Wuhan or China was a good initial step. But
after that, it seemed like the response was very slow and sort of disbelieving and kind of
incredulous. And we’ve seen this basically everywhere. The initial response of just about
every country, with a few notable exceptions in Asia that had previous experience with SARS. But
what we’ve seen in just about every country is that nobody believes it’s going to happen to them
until it happens to them. And then even in the United States, you know, it’s like no one believes
it’s going to happen in their city until someone on their social network gets the virus. And then
all of a sudden, they take it seriously. And so there’s always been this like, it’s like the slow
moving train wreck where you see it coming and people are just a little bit too slow to react.
And you know, the problem is, it’s all about the doubling time. So if the virus doubles,
you know, every two or three days, in the absence of any action at all, maybe even doubles every
day in a very dense city like New York City, just waiting two or three weeks can make 1000x
difference in, you know, somewhere between, I guess, 10x to 1000x difference, depending on the
doubling time, whether if you wait two weeks or three weeks. I saw an article on, there’s a bunch
of articles now talking about why has New York been hit so hard and California has been relatively
mild. And, and the articles were saying, you know, California only declared shelter in place
one week ahead of New York, how can it be doing so much better, and they’re looking for all these
different causes and explanations. And, you know, even one week makes a huge difference. If in New
York, New York’s been hit about 12 times harder than California. But if the doubling time is just
two days, one week is a 12x difference. That’s how the exponential exponential reality works. And
so, like being a week, you know, or two weeks or three weeks behind the curve is incredibly costly.
How do you break down local government versus federal government and the action there?
And is America’s architecture, with states, rights and powers, a benefit in this case? Or
is it a negative? Because we did see the blue states take it very seriously, the red states
take it less seriously, the red states have a lot more distance between individuals, the blue states
tend to be coastal cities, they’re more dense. Maybe you could handicap for us the the spread
of the virus with the layer on top of it of local governments and the political climate we’re in.
Yeah, I think, you know, the decentralized nature of the American system is both a blessing and a
curse in this type of situation. The curse is that it’s been very hard to create a unified
national strategy where we’re doing lockdowns piecemeal. And so the lockdowns get thwarted as
people move around between areas that are not locked down and start new outbreaks. Very hard
to control a virus that way. You know, we’re also not able to act in the authoritarian way that we
saw China act and move on to control the virus very early on. But the blessing of decentralization
is that it’s allowed, you know, the governors of states to react, and it’s allowed private
companies to react, and it’s allowed entrepreneurs to react, and you see a lot of people helping in
different ways. And that can make up for having kind of a more ineffectual, centralized response,
which isn’t likely to work completely in a country the size anyway.
Do you think that the health apparatus of the United States
did its job? And where do you think the areas of opportunity are to improve?
Well, if you’re talking about the health system, it seems like the health system has done a great
job in reacting to the virus in terms of hospitalizations, you know, adding hospital
beds, adding ICU capacity. Even in New York, it looks like, I think Cuomo just said today that
they’ve got, you know, ICU capacity, they’ve got hospital beds. I think the hospital system has
done a great job rapidly creating more capacity. We haven’t seen a situation like in Italy or even
the UK, where they’re literally rationing ventilators and making horrible triage decisions
about who’s going to get a ventilator and who’s not, you know. We haven’t seen those types of
horrors in the US. But if by health system, we mean the FDA, the CDC, the WHO, which is
part of the US system, but we do rely on them to some extent, you’ve just seen, I think, you know,
amazing, really malpractice or negligence. If they’re a pharma company, I think they’d be sued.
You have that, you know, you have on the CDC website, things that I haven’t checked it today,
but as of a few days ago, were just blatantly not true. I mean, saying that you only needed a mask,
if you were actually taking care of a person with COVID-19, that standing, say, a three-foot
distance was sufficient, that was sort of an acceptable amount of social distancing,
even if the other person is coughing or sneezing, and that’s not true. They’re just saying things
that weren’t true. And then, you know, on the, you know, the CDC and the Surgeon General until
basically the last few days, were telling us that masks didn’t work, weren’t effective, didn’t,
and then now they’ve flipped to recommending them, but they’re still not required,
and I just wrote a blog today that I published about half an hour ago that…
I thought the best part of that blog post, by the way, it’s up on Medium and Saks has tweeted,
and I retweeted it, David, is what you said at the end, which is, we’re taking
the most draconian measure, quarantining people, which we use this softer term, shelter in place,
but it’s a quarantine, call it what it is, you’re not allowed to leave your house except under rare
circumstances. But we won’t do the basic thing of wearing the mask, it makes no sense. And Chamath,
I think you had a really interesting question early on here, which I think we should all
circle back on one more time, which is, what is this reveal, right? Like, in this kind of a crisis,
and I love the statement of Saks where, you know, some decades nothing happens, and then a week,
you have a decade happen. The thing that I am, I think is the big takeaway for me is handicapping
who you can trust, and what people’s agendas are, and how they behave in a crisis. Because
there are a group of people building models. And what is the motivation of somebody who builds a
model? We think about, we all get pitched as investors, or when we worked inside of companies,
we build models, and we know the models mean nothing, they’re made by humans. And what’s
the motivation of somebody building a model in today’s climate, that then people adopt that
model, and there’s life or death? What would you handicap? Would you go conservative? Would you go
aggressive? Would you lean into people dying in the case of supporting the economy? And so there’s
the model makers, there’s the government, local and federal, you have the media, who are trying
to get clicks in some cases, you have capitalists who are trying to, you know, protect their book
and their bets. How do we all look at and think about people’s agendas and like the CDC having
an agenda, the local government and the model makers having agenda? Chamath, maybe you could
take that one. Yeah, I think that the masks issue is actually the most instructive thing
in this whole debacle. And the reason is that there was pretty obvious data very early on,
that it was something that had unknown, but pretty useful upside, and absolutely zero deleterious
downside, right? So if you were thinking about risk management, and I gave you some options,
option one is do nothing. Option two is here’s some drugs that you can take prophylactically,
and I don’t really know either the efficacy or the long-term damage to a broad-based population
of people taking them. And option three was a piece of cloth over your nose and mouth.
Yeah, for 10 cents. And apparently, at a minimum, it prevents other people from smelling your bad
breath, but at a maximum, it prevents projectiles of disease-laden spit getting into your orifices.
Death vapor. Causing you to die. Yes. And we couldn’t agree that that was a-
Why? Why? Why? Was the agenda here because they didn’t want people buying up the masks
and not going to healthcare workers? No, because it was never about-
Why couldn’t we agree on something this simple? Because it was never about the N95 masks. You
could have worn a cloth mask, a tea cloth could have covered it up and given you 70% efficacy.
This has everything to do with incentives and everything to do with your other question as well,
which is like, why do modelers behave the way that they do? All of this is about being taken
seriously. And so to be taken seriously, you have to understand the incentives in the game that
you’re playing. So for a modeler and a forecaster, the incentive is all around being conservative
because that’s how you’re taken seriously. There’s nobody that has any upside in showing a
model that shows 10,000 people dying. All of the attention and the gravity with which you’re taken
and the attention that you get is when you first put out a model that shows that 2 million people
could die, which is what Imperial College did. And that eventually you walk it back and you walk it
back. And after the actuals exceed the forecast, then the data converges on what actually happens
and you see that these models were woefully inaccurate. It’s the same with why the CDC or
the WHO are just so completely incompetent. Because the incentives in those organizations
are essentially to play their game and that game is not one of public health, but it’s one of
politics. And so you have these people fighting each other over political territory and the right
to basically make decisions versus the actual substance and the validity of the decision.
– David, does that correlate with your thinking and then superimpose the media on top of that?
– Yeah. I mean, so I think there’s a couple of things going on. One is that there is a huge
culture clash going on between the people who need conclusive scientific proof before they’re
willing to recommend any course of action. And then between other people who are willing to
take a more experimental approach to try things to iterate the way that we do in startup land
when confronted with company existential issues. And the latter approach is smart when
there’s a lot of upside in trying something and not much downside. And the other approach of this
scientific, the pseudo-scientific sounding approach where you’re constantly demanding
conclusive evidence, it’s actually people pretending to be smart. It’s people who want to
sound smart, but it’s actually a pretty dumb approach. And so we’ve seen this culture clash
playing out over and over again. – So I should repeat it back to you, David. Experts are afraid
to do something experimental with low downside because they have reputations and they want to
sound smart, whereas entrepreneurs or maybe capitalists or other problem solvers or perhaps
even gamblers are going to say, there’s no downside here. What’s the downside to putting
a mask on? Nothing. Let’s try it. The same thing with chloroquine and the Z-Pak. Very early on,
people were saying, like Elon and other folks in our circle, why not just do it? – Well,
hold on a second. Hold on a second. Chloroquine, let’s not put that in the same category.
– Okay, why? – This is the point. Because it’s a drug, Jason.
– Yes. – It’s a drug for malaria.
– Okay, but on the spectrum – You have zero evidence. No, no, Jason, hold on a second.
– Of taking it if you’re sick already. – No. We still don’t know.
– Right. – Let’s be clear, okay?
So masks is a wholly different thing. This is why I said it that way.
– Yeah. – The minute you start to add drugs,
you come off as an armchair epidemiologist and anybody reasonably smart can poke holes in your
theory and you sound like a fucking moron. You cannot sound like a moron by telling people to
wear a cloth over their nose and their mouth. – Okay, but the next step, if you were in the
hospital and you’ve been diagnosed and they said, hey, the doctor says, you might want to try this,
there were people who were saying, don’t even try it. And there was a direct correlation when
Trump said he was behind it. It seemed like the media and everybody were like,
this is the worst idea ever. – I know, but this is your point,
which is that the incentives of that game are to politicize things versus think about what’s
in the best interests and the public health interests of either the United States or the
world. – But aren’t we in agreement to try it if you were in the ICU and they said, hey,
you want to try this, you wouldn’t try it? – No, but this is the problem. It’s like
the posture of the American political infrastructure is broken. And moments like
this shine a light on how broken it is. Because as David said, all of the testing and iteration,
all of those things are must-haves in peacetime. They are nice-to-haves in wartime. You don’t have
a time to walk around and test fire a gun and make sure this works and that works. The enemy
is in front of you, you shoot and you fire and you aim later. And in that posture, we have to
have a set of rules that contemplate giving people at the ground floor, on the border of where their
life is at risk, the right to make a decision as well-informed as it can be about what they can try
to do to save their life. And doctors need to be equally empowered. And we’ve effectively done that,
but we just did it in fits and starts. And in that, there is all of this noise that delays
the right decision, which is not that hydrochloroquine is good or bad, but it’s that
here’s all the published data into the hands of the doctor who can actually read and understand it
so that he or she and the patient can make a decision together.
– Yeah, agreed. Sax, what are your thoughts on chloroquine and the Z-Pak and that whole
sort of unraveling of this is the miracle, it’s not the miracle, it’s worth looking at?
And how that debate occurred, let’s say, on the Twitter,
and then also in our stream when we were talking? – Well, Trump was not the first to
embrace the potential of hydroxychloroquine. In fact, we were talking about it in our chat group
before it became national news. Of course, once he did embrace it, it became political football,
and a lot of people wanted to prove him wrong. And so now it’s hard to have a conversation about
it without it becoming political. But the argument for hydroxychloroquine really started
with some research papers that showed that it worked in vitro, basically in test tubes,
against the virus. And it worked against SARS, which is a related sort of category of virus.
I’m not an expert or anything. This is just sort of me telling you what I know as a consumer of
information. And so it was not crazy to think this is something that should be tried in the
context of COVID-19. Now, we don’t know if it’s going to work or not. I saw an interesting
presentation by UCSF, and their working theory on it is that hydroxychloroquine plus Z-Pak might
have some impact in the first week of the virus before peak viral replication takes place. And
this might help interfere with the virus replicating. Once you’re in respiratory distress,
though, and it’s in your lungs, you’re into a different phase of this, and they don’t believe
that. They think you need to look at other things. So it sounded like this was potentially valid
treatment in week one, less effect in week two. And by week three, when you’re in severe ARDS,
it’s you got to find other things. So in terms of what the right policy is,
I’d be in favor of the right to try. I mean, ultimately, we should let patients and doctors
make this decision together. And so I think the FDA did the right thing giving emergency
trial authorization to doctors to be able to try this with their patients. And what I think is
happening is, is that there’s your sort of rapid decentralized information sharing happening
among doctors and hospitals. And, you know, I think they’re getting to the right answer here.
Okay, do we do we feel comfortable moving on to financial implications of this? Or
are there things about the modeling?
On upside downside, I agree with Jamal that hydroxychloroquine is a little bit more complicated
mass or sort of the really unambiguous one. Because it’s just so easy. There’s so little
down just cloth. It’s cotton, right? You literally could put a bandana on your underwear. Yeah,
you could use your own underwear and just put it across your face. I mean, this is what’s so
insane. That David’s right. I remember having this argument with someone because on the CDC website,
as David said, he would only recommend it not as a preventative measure for you. But if you were
old, you should use a mask only if you were treating somebody with COVID-19.
And there’s an element of these authorities trying to manage us, you know, I can you know,
I really hate that, that. I mean, I do think that they thought about, will we create a run
on mass? Well, you know, that that that they don’t want to tell us the truth, because they’re
afraid of some of the consequences of telling us the truth. And, you know, I hate that feeling of
being lied to by public officials, because they’re trying to manage. I’m willing to be infantiled
by people that are smarter than me. Yeah. So can you give us a list of the four people you think
are smarter than you? Go ahead. I am. I am not who are those four people infantile by nameless
bureaucracies. And I think that Americans deserve to not be infantile. I mean, for the amount of
money that we pay and the amount in taxes, and the amount of power that we give folks.
The one thing that I’m realizing through this whole thing is like, you know, the it’s it is
true in some respect that the countries that had some level of authoritarian management did well.
But it’s also true that the countries that had robust civil services, filled with people who
are at the top of their class also did well. Singapore, South Korea, where it is a stature,
it’s a point of pride to work for the government, where it’s some of the best paying jobs,
Japan. And so, you know, one of the things that I realized is like, career bureaucrats
really do infantile Americans in a way that’s really unproductive and unhealthy. I mean,
doesn’t it surprise you and kind of like perturb you that the ex head of the FDA is way more
prominent and out front with his point of view than the current head of the FDA? I mean, what
the hell is going on? I think what we know is going on is I mean, Trump was elected, and he
dismantled some of this and the system was broken. I think now I think that that’s unfair. And,
you know, I’m not I’m not a big Trump supporter, but I think it’s unfair to pin it on him. The
reality is maybe he defunded or underfunded a bunch of things. But the hollowing out of our
institutions have been happening for 40 years. And it started with Reagan, to be clear, because we
tilted the scales towards free market trickle down economics, where government was viewed
as a stop for really smart people to inject themselves into industry at higher levels.
Or it was a place that’s, you know, capable people would never go. Because capitalism,
the way that it was structured, was set up in such an aggressive, tilted manner for those that
were capable. And unfortunately, it hollowed out the government from people that were really strong
of character in a broadly speaking kind of way. And so what happens is that then bureaucracies
form the incentives change. And you get what you’ve gotten right now, which is again,
it is a it is a point of argument on something as simple, and frankly, idiotic as a mask.
Okay, let’s move on to talking about the economy. And, David, you’ve been quite a heretic
on Twitter, because you decided to engage in the one conversation you’re not allowed to have,
which is talking about people’s livelihoods, as opposed to their lives. You can only keep
one thought in your mind, as far as the kind of woke far left is concerned. And the Twitter mobs,
you could only talk about people in life and death, you can’t talk about their livelihoods.
But you’ve been talking and starting a dialogue on how you would structure teams in a startup for
how do we deal with the crisis versus how do we go back to work? So explain how you would do this,
if this was a startup company, if you were doing it on an entrepreneurial level,
and what you think the road looks like. Let’s start with San Francisco Bay Area,
and then we’ll extrapolate to the most acute area in America, New York.
Yeah, well, the big question that everyone’s going to be asking by the end of April is what now?
Because I do think you’re already seeing this in the New York data, that quarantines work. But
that shouldn’t be a total surprise to us. Historically, quarantines have always worked. I
mean, quarantines were the way that people dealt with plagues when they didn’t have any technology.
It’s the problem is just they’re incredibly costly. And if the quarantine goes on for months,
is our only way of dealing with the virus, then we could be looking at the depression.
So the question really is, once we’ve arrested the exponentiality of the virus, and I think we
have to do that first. But once we’ve arrested the exponentiality, the big question is going to be,
well, now how do we get out of this? And what I worry about is that the daily update mentality.
I think it’s great that our leaders are giving us these daily updates showing that they’re showing
a bias for action, which I think is good. But I worry that we’re not going to be ready, that this
precious time that we’re buying with quarantine is not going to lead to a better plan in May,
because no one’s really working on that plan. They’re just working on the triage, the immediate
response, the making sure that hospitals around the country have the ventilators and beds they
need, and we put in the orders. Why is it, David, that people can’t keep these two parallel
processes in their mind at once? You’ve been attacked viciously on Twitter, the media attacks
anybody who brings this up as only caring about capitalism, when in fact, you need to do both
plans. You need to figure out how people get back to their livelihoods, and we avoid a depression,
which would kill more people, ultimately, right? I mean, I think there’s consensus about that,
whether it’s depression or suicide, etc., or people not being able to feed themselves or
have nutritious food and healthcare. So why can’t people put these two things in their mind at once?
And then let’s talk about the actual plan. If you were planning, and you were the mayor of
San Francisco, or you were in Trump’s cabinet, and they said, okay, David, you make the plan
for the Bay Area to go back to work, take us through your 123, and then we’ll throw it to
Jamal. What I would do is, I would do what I would do in a company for a product release,
is I’d have, in a company, I’d have a product manager for the 1.0 release, and I have a
different product manager for the 2.0 release, because it’s very hard for somebody to be all
in on two different releases, which have two different schedules. So I think the team that
we have right now that’s basically concerned with the immediate response, the triage, that you keep
doing what they’re doing, make sure that the country’s reacting the right way, that it has
all the supplies they need, that they’re berating 3M into giving us more PPE or whatever it is.
But I think that there should be a separate team, a czar for the 2.0 response, which should be
focused on how do we create a new system that gets us out of lockdown, but doesn’t
re-trigger the exponentiality of the virus. And I think that person, that team should be ready
to slide the new system into place in May. I don’t know if it’s beginning of May, end of May,
whatever, but sometime in May, they should be ready to slide that new system into place
so that this precious time we’re buying isn’t wasted.
Give us your 123. One is masks, obviously, I would think.
Masks is a total no-brainer.
So that’s number one. Give us your 234 if you want to riff here a little bit.
Yeah, I mean, the other elements of the plan that people keep talking about,
it’s rapid, ubiquitous testing. I mean, you have to have same-day results. This business of it
taking two, three, four days in the lab, the problem is if someone is infected, they could
be passing it on during that time. You don’t isolate them in time. So we have to have massive,
ubiquitous same-day testing, along with contact tracing so that when you do find out that
somebody’s got it, you can not isolate not just them, but all their contacts.
That’s a system that seems to have worked in South Korea. And I mean, those seem to be the pillars.
And is quarantining the high risk during this first phase of the rollout with testing,
social distancing, and masks? That seems to be the no-brainer. I would add fourth bullet point,
which is if you’re obese, diabetic, asthma, or some combination of those and over 60,
and or over 60, you got to stay home now. And you cannot be in touch with anybody
who’s out and about and part of that first wave to go back to society.
Right. We know that certain segments of the population are at much higher risk than others.
And so part of having a more fine-tuned response to the virus, other than just shutting everything
down, would say, well, let the people who are at very, very low risk go back out still wearing
masks and having the right protocols and hygiene and all that stuff. But you keep the high risk
population isolated rather than shutting down the entire economy. All right, Chamath, if you’re on
the board of directors, and David was the SAR of the May plan to go back, what questions would you
have for him? And how critical can you be of his plan? Let’s make this as if we were actually in
charge. Chamath, savage David’s plan. Well, I probably would push David to consider
a more aggressive approach here. And this is something that I’ve talked about before,
Jason, you and I have talked about this on the podcast before, but we need a biological patriot
act. I know that it’s unpalatable for people on the left for certain reasons and people on the
right for other reasons, but it just doesn’t matter what they think. It was reported today,
by the way, that the CDC and the task force at the White House is considering immunity cards,
but a much more beefed up version of them. These need to be cards that have
some kind of chip inside them that are non-hackable and issued by the government.
But what I would push David to think about if he was the SAR of getting back to work
is the following, which is, I agree with the broad-based testing. I think that you need to
have some kind of wristband that allows you to be inside of certain green zones in every single
city or town in the country that allow you to in some way be back to normal. But there also
needs to be red zones where you cannot. We need to have a very, very quick way of restarting a
quarantine if there are hot spots that develop. But all of it needs to be supported by broad-based
testing and a biological patriot act. We do need to have immunity cards. And the simple basic reason
is that it is the only way that one can prioritize the economic salvation of the US economy.
Because I think once we have paid the cost from the public health perspective, which we are doing
at the end of this quarantine in flattening the curve or crushing the curve, our immediate focus
has to be in resuscitating the GDP of this country. Because otherwise, the number of deaths
and the amount of pain that is caused by economic destruction will far outnumber the number of
people that die from this, which is tragic already. And the only way that I can see for
us to do that in a scalable way is with an immunity card, a biological patriot act. So,
I would be pushing David to think about that and rip the Band-Aid off and get that done.
And David, I would also push you on thinking about quarantining not just at home, but maybe
by region and hot zone. So, if we know the New York corridor or the Northeast corridor is severely
infected, nobody in or out of that corridor without a visa, without, and I know this is a
very touchy issue, well, in terms of civil liberties, but until we’re through this,
I don’t see why people from New York need to go to Florida without maybe a rare exception or,
you know, something to that effect, right? So, if we know we got California out of it, or
if SoCal is still in the thick of it, but NorCal isn’t, maybe we have some level of testing
required to get on a flight to come to San Francisco or to go to leave New York. So,
those are two punch-ups. How would you look at those, David, as the new czar of getting back to
work? I think it’s all on the table. I mean, I like the green zone, red zone idea. I like
using immunity information. We’ve been talking in our chat group for, I think, a month about
these blood serology tests. I tweeted, I took one of those tests weeks ago, I think like three
weeks ago before the FDA had even approved it, and I tweeted about it. So, yeah, I think all that,
I think the immunity cards, I think we should use all that information. I mean, it would all be on
the table for sure. But I think most of all, these ideas need to be tied together into a coherent
system. And I’m worried that our approach to date has been so ad hoc that we’re not going to have a
coherent system ready to go as a replacement to shutdowns in May when we need it. Is part of this,
you talked before about how you didn’t like to be managed. I think we all agree we’re being
managed and massaged because they really do not want to even talk to us about going back to work
in May or what happens, because they’re afraid that we’re going to jump the gun and we’re all
going to just go to Crissy Field or whatever park or Central Park and just throw a giant party.
But people are not stupid. There is a certain self-preservation here that should be inherent
in all these discussions, which is any reasonable person watching the death toll in New York does
not want to leave their house. And so why can’t well, how much of the lack of discussion about
this issue? Do you think David is because people are afraid to treat people like adults because
they think they’re going to just go out to Crissy Field or, you know, Dolores Park?
No, I mean, I think you’re right that there was a long period of time where the authorities were
just trying to get everyone to buy into the idea that the virus was dangerous, they needed to
shelter in place. And they didn’t want to hear any views that appeared to be contradicting.
I don’t think they were contradicting it. You know, I remember when the Imperial College
study model came out, and they said that 2.2 million people would die in the U.S.
And I tweeted that. I thought that number was insane. It was fear mongering.
And I think, you know, that’s turned out to be the case. But, you know, people responded, well,
good. I mean, even if it is fear mongering, we need to make people afraid, because otherwise,
they won’t do the right things. I guess that’s true in a situation in which we’re relying on
everyone’s voluntary compliance to engage in a quarantine or to wear a mask. And I guess part
of the response here is to figure out what what, what action items should not be voluntary that we
just need to do in order to get past this.
Chamath, your thoughts?
I think that getting back to work is going to be much, much more difficult than people think.
I think that in the absence of a vaccine, which looks like at best 18 to 24 months from now,
we will never get to 100% of where we were before, or at least the potential to be at 100%.
And so, I just think that over the next two years, we’re in for a tremendous amount of
difficulty. And this is sort of where, you know, I’d like to shift the conversation. I think that,
you know, we’ve now poured between the United States government and the Fed,
almost $10 trillion. We smeared it into the economy. And only three cents of every dollar
has gone into people’s pockets. And I think we’re hoping that the other 97 cents somehow
trickles down into their pockets in some way, shape, or form. Now, when you look at that 97
cents, half of it was, you know, things like propping up the commercial paper market,
propping up the repo market. But it’s also been things like propping up investment grade debt,
propping up high yield debt. And I have a real issue with this, because I think that
if we’re going to take two years to get back to normal, and I really do think it’s two years,
because Jason, a lot of the fears that you expressed, people will have as lingering doubts
and will prevent them from being at 100%, which means businesses will not be at 100%
until you can get an injection and know that you’re protected. We’re doing an enormous amount
of damage, because we’re taking trillions of dollars and flooding it into the economy
in a way that’s just not going to be effective. And I don’t think that we’re taking enough time
to really think through these things. So, you know, on the one hand, while I appreciate the
velocity, or not the velocity, the intention, you know, like, I think Jerome Powell’s commentary,
I applaud, which is like, you know, he’s saying all the right things, which is,
we will do everything possible. But the lending program to companies has been haphazard and
difficult. But it did get started in three weeks. And some people have gotten money in week four of
this. I mean, it’s pretty incredible. No, you know, the numbers that I’ve read is that, you
know, on average, the loans are turning out to be sort of like, you know, in the 10s of 1000s. And
on top of that, you know, David and I talked about this in the group chat, but the math makes it so
that you’re better off furloughing or letting people go than you are taking PPP, which means
that a lot of this money may never get taken. And so, you know, but again, all of that is still a
small rounding error, we’re talking about less than 10 cents on the dollar, 90 cents of the
dollar have gone into areas that will not really touch an average American citizen. And I think
that’s just fundamentally wrong, because the trickle down theory of all of this, you know,
was started 40 years ago, and we can see now that it doesn’t work.
David, any thoughts on the stimulus?
Well, I think I think what’s happened is that we have a 30% hole in our economy right now,
you’ve got, you know, like a 15% unemployment rate going to going to 25 or 30, maybe as high as that,
we don’t know yet. You’ve got a, you know, we think that GDP is going to contract in the next
quarter by a quarter to a third. And so you’ve got this giant hole in the economy. And what the
Fed and Treasury are trying to do is plug that hole for a period of time until they can get
through this, this health crisis. And if the crisis only lasts a few months, maybe they can
hold it all together. But I do worry that if it lasts longer, it’s going to slip out of their
hands. And, and the result is going to be a cascade of defaults and bankruptcies and
effectively a great unraveling of our economy.
Yeah, I think that I think that though, in fairness, like this is where I think bankruptcy,
it’s almost viewed as a four letter word, but it’s not. And in many ways, the bankruptcy process
could actually be the saving grace of American business in this moment. And the reason I say
that is that it allows in a bankruptcy, these companies to discharge a lot of the debt. And we
could set up a mechanism where these bankruptcies could be done in a way where, again, similar to
taking PPP, you don’t let people go, you know, a percentage of the of the cap table must go to the
pensions if they have them, a certain percentage of the cap table must go to employees. And then
the remaining percentage goes to the secured bondholders. And so the existing equity holders,
and the unsecured bondholders would effectively, you know, not be made whole, but in that all the
employees would be. And if you combine that with a UBI program where you put, look, in the United
States economy, only $8 trillion is wages. So, you know, we could do so much. If we had given every
United States citizen their absolute salary of 2019, right now, we’d still have 2 trillion left
to bail out companies. And everybody could take a year and get paid, like literally have a year
sabbatical and be paid. I think what it really does is it guarantees the chances or it maximizes,
sorry, the chances of a consumer led recovery, like, the United States has never been an economic
system that’s been vibrant because of government spending or other things. We’ve always been
vibrant because we’ve been consumer led. It’s consumer consumption. And it’s customers of
companies buying products that they need or want that drive the economy forward. And if you think
about our largest customer base, they are the US population. And by guaranteeing their revenue,
so to speak, you actually allow them to then spend once they get out of quarantine,
and you’ll see them spend even in fits and starts. In this way, you know, you could spend $500
billion buying a bunch of junk debt. I really don’t see as a reasonably, you know, savvy
participant in the markets how it actually helps anything. I think all it does is it saddles you
and me and all of our listeners with a bunch of toxic junk debt that eventually has to get sold
by the Fed, as David said, in the grand unraveling. And it would be more healthy market,
what wouldn’t it be more healthy, David, to allow a certain percentage of these companies,
the weaker ones to fail, so that the stronger ones could then pick up those employees,
and there’ll be some stability. And I’m curious if you’d think that we’re going to be living in
a world where when people have speculated about this, maybe some the individual consumer changes
their perspective, and maybe people come out of this crisis with a different worldview. I don’t
necessarily subscribe to this, but Chamath, you do, we’ve had this conversation. And so I’m curious,
David, if you think the American consumer will forever change, and maybe they upgrade their phone
half as much, they, you know, spend less, and they basically live a more modest rural lifestyle,
and people maybe stay out in Tahoe, or Colorado, wherever they went during this crisis,
what are your thoughts? Well, you’re really talking about depression era values. And
the problem is, if we acquire those values via depression, that that would be a pretty
bad outcome here. So, but yes, that could happen. You know, I think where I agree with Chamath is
that I think that even though the federal government, the Fed, the Treasury have a
tremendous amount of firepower, in a situation like this, it may not be an exhaustible and we
have to kind of pick and choose and prioritize who’s going to get aid and who’s going to get
bailouts. And right now, it feels a little bit willy nilly. You know, and it feels like it,
under those circumstances, the bailouts default to the people who are politically connected and
powerful, as opposed to the workers, the pension funds, you know, the main street small business
owner who’s worked their whole life on a business now all of a sudden, is underwater. And I think,
you know, it’s, it’s, it’s gonna be very hard to get the, the, the aid to the right people.
Look, in the last four weeks, in the last four weeks, oh, sorry, in the last week,
this is an incredible set, I apologize. In the last week, the amount of distress debt in the US
has quadrupled in one week to a trillion dollars. So, as an example, to David’s point,
that’s much more visible to Jay Powell, or to Steve Mnuchin, in the Fed and at the Treasury,
then, then it is that, you know, thousands and thousands of nameless anonymous small businesses.
Who owns this? Can you give an example of what that debt would be for the listeners?
Sure, like, you know, I mean, I mean, so, you know, I mean, a fallen angel today is Ford. So
we were not to pick, we’re not going to pick on Ford, but we’re just going to point to it
as a well known company. So this is a car manufacturer. They employ hundreds and
hundreds of thousands of people in very important political states, you know,
to Michigan, Ohio, I think, Tennessee, probably. But Ohio and Michigan, obviously critical states.
And they, you know, issue debt into the market to fund, you know, building factories or buying
equipment, who buys that debt, pension funds by the debt, family offices by the debt,
hedge funds by the debt. Now, those guys were giving out a coupon, and they were paying,
let’s just say, four or five or 6% a year on this interest. But now, because of all this economic
uncertainty, people think that their ability to pay that back has gone way down. And so now they
have to issue debt at much higher interest rates. And the existing debt has a much lower credit
quality. It’s effectively like you having a credit card. And, you know, American Express
calling you and saying, Jason, I think the odds of you paying your credit card balance have gone
way down. So I’m increasing your interest rate to 24% from 17%. Yeah, and then I get another credit
card to pay it off. And, and so essentially, what’s happened is the Federal Reserve has decided
to become that next credit card issuer. What could go wrong? Instead of doing it for you,
they’re doing it for companies, but not for you. And the question is, is that okay? Well,
at some level, companies like Ford should be saved, because I think these are iconic businesses
that employ hundreds of thousands of people. And they’re critical linchpins in the economy,
right? Because they have a massive supply chain network. And, you know, they’re really important
for many other things beyond just the economics that they themselves represent. But there are
better ways to help Ford. You could lend Ford as much money as they needed to meet their short-term
obligations, similarly to the way that the Federal Reserve would allow a bank to borrow from their
window. And I think that that’s a very reasonable approach. The question is really when the Fed
then basically acts as a buyer of last resort and obfuscates the price of these bonds,
and essentially is saying, the American taxpayer will own these bonds for the foreseeable future.
If you think that at some point, those bonds that you bought for, you know, $0.90 on the dollar
are worth $0.90 on the dollar, then everything is okay. But if there’s a chance that $0.90 goes to
$0.70, the people that really eat that cost are us in the short term and our children in the
medium and long term. I have a silly question. It’s obviously not my wheelhouse corporate debt
like this. Why wouldn’t there be a clause that if they didn’t pay back that $0.90 on the dollar
that the American government bought it for, it converts into equity in the company?
It’s a great question. Because the Federal Reserve has chosen to go and essentially the equivalent
of open an E-Trade account and step into the markets by themselves and just buy.
So they’re buying bonds, and they’re buying individual bonds, and they’re buying indices
that control or that have exposure to certain bonds. What they are not doing is going directly
to these companies and negotiating, essentially saying, I will give you $4 or $5 billion,
and what I want you to do is retire that old debt and replace it with this new instrument,
and here are the terms of this new instrument. The United States taxpayer gets, you know,
3% or 4% warrant coverage of the company. You know, you must make sure that the pension holders
are made whole.
It’s a no-brainer. Why wouldn’t we have those clauses? It’s like basic blocking and tackling
that, you know, seed funds have. David Sachs, why is this not like a no-brainer?
Well, I mean, I think we’ve got to get a good deal for taxpayers. I mean,
Jamath has said it, I’ve heard Mark Cuban say it pretty eloquently. I mean,
you’ve even heard Trump say that we have to get a good deal for taxpayers. I just think that
they’re in such an emergency, they’re not really taking the time to do that. They’re,
you know, they’re trying to do things they can do immediately.
Yeah, the forgivableness of this money, to me, is the thing I don’t understand. Why is any of
it forgivable? Why isn’t all of it just, you know, a 10-year long or 20-year long loan that converts
into equity over some tranches? But Jason, this is why if you’re going to
haphazardly fire trillions of dollars out of a bazooka, why not give more than three cents on
the dollar to average Americans? Why not put it into the pockets of every single bank account?
You know, who knows how much everybody made? The IRS does. And, you know, the IRS has a mailing
address for everybody. And the IRS either gets a check or mails a check to every single taxpayer
in the United States, which also— And they also have direct deposit for half of the people.
And so, you know, there’s nothing stopping us from saying, well, you know what, why don’t we do
10%? 10 cents of every dollar. Why don’t we do 15 cents of every dollar to Americans? I really
think this is the way that you limit the amount of waste that’s going to happen. So, the intention
isn’t wrong. And we shouldn’t castigate people for wanting to put money in the system, as David
said, to plug the hole. But we can’t be so haphazard as to not think about the moral hazards
we’re creating and try to fix them in real time. And so, this 10 trillion has already gone out the
door. But if the next trillion or two don’t touch Americans, I think it’s going to create an
enormous amount of damage. We’ve only given people a few weeks of a lifeline. And they need more.
And you can’t tell companies that they can have effectively a limitless lifeline,
but not the individuals. Because I do think at some point, companies will find a way to get out
of these loans and or break the covenants with not much repercussion.
Okay, I want to wrap with two sort of not doomsday scenarios, but I want to touch on politics. And I
also want to know, in the chance that this quarantine goes on for May and June, in other words,
San Francisco says, you know what, we’re going to keep going. And New York says we’re keeping going.
And we’re talking about not just April being in quarantine, but May and or June. And we’re
looking at June 1st or July 1st. What are the chances, David, that people say, you know what,
I am a free person, I want to take my life into my own hands, I want to make my own decision,
I’m going out, I’m going to go surfing, I’m going to do this. And we have this social unrest. And
how do politicians handicap that in this new world?
I think that could happen. I mean, particularly among young populations who are not at risk
as much, you know, for the relatively younger, healthier people who don’t have comorbidity
factors could say, look, I’ve got a one in 1000 chance or, you know, or less of dying if
even if I do get this. And I’m just going to take that chance. But it’s all the more reason
why I think we need a strategy to get out of lockdown, that already includes the idea of
letting out these, these people who are at much lower risk and, and isolates the people who are
at higher risk. And against the, you have anything to add to that, Chamath, that kind of doomsday
scenario, or that eventuality? Well, I think that you’re very right, Jason, that I don’t think we’re
going to get out of lockdown until June 1st at the earliest. And I think that’s in California,
I think the nuisance posture is basically that if April looks like the curves are decaying,
it’s going to be mid May to late May before he lifts this thing.
I don’t know if I can handle this.
And, but, but it’s also important that that we understand, like, you know, we just talked about
companies. The only entity that’s in even worse shape than companies and people are states and
cities and counties. Yeah, their debt is incredible. They have no revenue, and massive revenue,
massive costs and their nonprofits. And think of the, the, you know, the garbage collector,
the fireman, the police officer, the teacher, these are like, these are the backbones and
the pillars of our of our community. It’s such a good thing that we were so resilient. And
we thought ahead and built up massive surpluses in our tax bases. Oh, wait, we didn’t do that.
Well, there, there were some provisions to do that these rainy day funds, but those are going
to get exhausted. And, you know, we’re going to have to bail those guys out as well. So this is
what I’m saying, which is that when you’re pumping in trillions of dollars haphazardly into the
capital markets before you think about people, or you think about the states and cities and
communities in America, I just think it’s a recipe for disaster.
Let me ask this even more simply, David, under what circumstance would you be willing to go back
to our poker game on a Monday night, and have six, seven of us around a table,
sharing a meal and playing cards for six hours?
Um, well, if there was if there was a treatment for for the virus, so that you knew that if you
got it, you weren’t gonna die, that would be a big deal. Okay, that’s, that’s the obvious.
Yeah, there’s a Russian lead aspect to the virus right now, or even if your odds are low,
you know, you still don’t want to take the chance. I think the next thing that would probably help
with would be that if we had this rapid ubiquitous testing, so I could know that the people who are
in the room with me are all tested, we’re all tested, and we’re all negative. And you know,
they could repeat the test on a frequent enough basis that we can all trust in the result.
That would make a big difference, I think. All right, let’s wrap with politics. All of
this is occurring in an election year. Bernie is out of the race. Biden is doing a daily
webcast. Trump’s ratings are through the roof, as he is more than willing to let us all know in his
abhorrent, narcissistic way that his ratings are just tremendous right now in the middle of
thousands of Americans dying a day. But we have to touch on this because elections are how we
govern and make these decisions is by who we put into these positions. So what do we think,
and let’s just make odds here, odds that Trump wins again? Odds that Biden wins? If you had to
lay the odds, if you had to give it a percentage, or you want to set a line, what are your thoughts,
David? I always think that these things are basically a coin flip, I mean, this far out.
I mean, right now, it seems like, you know, Trump’s ratings have never been higher. He’s
polling relatively well. And Biden just seems completely irrelevant. But if we’re still dealing
with the virus by November, if we’ve cycled in and out of lockdown, if we have kind of an
unresolved situation, if the economy is in a very, very deep recession or depression, I think, you
know, it’s, it’s up for grabs. Jamal, I think that if, if there is a V shaped recovery of any kind,
Trump will win in a landslide. Right now, we are in a V shaped recovery, the market has come back.
No, we’re not. No, we’re not. Well, if you use the market as a guide. Now, the market is,
the market is completely decoupled from Main Street. And so what Wall Street does is irrelevant
right now. What I mean by recovery is what happens on Main Street. Okay. Because if you have 16,
17, 20, 22% unemployment, I mean, you could feel the prancing dog and he’ll beat Trump.
So I think that the President needs a massive victory. So what does the game theory say? The
game theory probably says that he’ll try to force people to go back to work as quickly as possible.
And if there’s even a modicum, a shred of evidence on some kind of, you know, therapeutic, they’ll,
you know, drum it up like it’s like it’s a cure, and try to confuse people that there’s a vaccine.
But I think he needs that. Because in the absence of that, again, I just go back to
how difficult will it be to start real life, I think it’s going to be difficult. And I think in
that people won’t have a lot of patience for the fact that, you know, the debt will have ballooned,
deficits will have ballooned, trillions of dollars will have gone out the door,
and people will be meaningfully struggling going into Election Day. I don’t think that that helps
Trump at all. And, you know, by the way, and we’ll talk about this in our next podcast,
because we should probably get an economist to talk about it. But, you know, what is putting
$10 trillion, or whatever the final number is, it’ll probably be 20 trillion, you know, one,
one times US GDP. What does that do to the economy? What does that do to long term inflation? Like,
if you see what’s happening, Japan did, and they went through a lost decade or two?
No, I think the best better example is what happened in China, which is a combination of
fiscal and monetary stimulus in 2009 and 10. And the results are basically a lot of fake growth,
and massive inflation. And so, you know, it’s probably useful to debate that in the next,
in the next pod. What are the chances? I think it creates a lot of risk for Trump.
What are the chances of a dark horse candidate? Yeah, in it on the zero, zero. So it’s Biden,
for sure. Yeah, it’s no chance. Barring a Biden health emergency. I mean, yeah,
he is. He’s, you know, not a spring chicken. So so either person, either person gets Coronavirus,
it could be. Yeah. Well, no, I look if anything happened to him. Yeah. Yeah. We shouldn’t even
talk about these possibilities. So I don’t want to sound like, you know, it’s not like
no one wants this to happen. But I look, I think Jamal is right. They’re not gonna replace
the head of the ticket absent, you know, something health wise happen.
What is your game theory then on how Trump will play this? Because in Chamath’s mind,
getting back to work earlier, makes it seem like we’re getting back to normal. And he did that.
But a politician might also say, you know what, I think there’s a chance of the second wave. So
I want to keep it closed until June or July 1, then time it. And I know this sounds incredibly
cynical, that a elected official would make health and economic policy decisions on their reelection,
but that is the reality we live in, is it not? Sure, of course. I think the next big political
debate is going to be around this what now, you know, we Yes, the quarantines have arrested the
exponentiality of the virus, but how do we get out of them? And, and, you know, Trump’s gonna
have to make a decision about when and how we get out. And he’s going to be eager to get out
of lockdown to restart the economy. But on the other hand, if he mistimes it, and we cycle,
you know, the virus then takes off again, and we cycle back into the other lockdown.
That’s, that’s very dangerous for him politically, too. So he’s got a needle to thread there.
I agree. I agree with Chamath that if this ends up being V-shaped, Trump is a shoo-in.
But if it ends up being a recession, a deep recession or depression, if we end up,
then I think the question is going to be, does he appear to be more in the, is he a, is he a Hoover
or is he more involved in an FDR? You know, and explain that for people listening. Well, I mean,
so, so Hoover took took the blame for the Great Depression, FDR gets elected in 1932. We’re still
in the Great Depression in 1936, when he gets reelected, you know, and because he’s seen as,
as, as a man of action, he does these fireside chats, and he’s, he’s doing things. And,
and I do think that, you know, Trump kind of pivoted from initially being
a little bit flat footed on the virus and now doing these daily briefings. And I think the
American public is giving him credit for action right now. And so, so obviously, if those actions
work, I think he gets reelected. And if they don’t work, the question is, you know, does he get
blamed for that? Is it, is he a Hoover or is he an FDR?
All right. On that note, I encourage everybody to wear masks, social distancing. And for those
people in the audience who are startups and investors, keep, keep the faith, keep investing,
keep starting companies, never a bad time to start a great company in my mind. And Chamath,
any final thoughts? Here we are. It’s, what is today’s date? Is it? I know it’s April,
I think it’s somewhere around the 10th. Am I even close? It’s Friday, right?
April 10th. Let’s, let’s just make a decision to be all in on masks.
All in masks.
All in on masks. And take it into our own arms. We don’t need to be told that these things make
sense. They make sense. You’re an idiot if you think otherwise.
David, closing thoughts? Oh, keep going. Chamath, any other thoughts?
Totally agree with that. That was my blog today. We shouldn’t have to make it the law. But I think
we we should because there’s still people who aren’t adopting it. But it’s the lowest cost
thing we can do. And if you look at the Asian countries that have controlled the virus,
every single person wears a mask when they go out in public. Every single person.
It’s a simple no brainer. Give people $1,000 fine if you’re not wearing a mask.
Give them a warning first and hand them a mask. Like literally the cops should have masks and
they should hand them to you say put this mask on. And if I see you again, you get $1,000 fine.
The post office should put one or a number of these in everyone’s mailbox.
This is the first step to having a more fine tuned policy than just quarantine.
And if we can’t even get this right, then I fear for what’s coming next.
There’s a great execution idea. The mail carriers, every mail carrier leaves them.
And then you could also get the private sector. You tell every UPS FedEx driver,
the government gives them those masks. Amazon.
Amazon. They just all have it. Hey, Jeff, somebody clip this and send it to Jeff. Jeff,
if you want to do a mitzvah, give all these masks to the drivers and just leave masks on
everybody’s doorstep and forget about Trump and whatever government officials going to
drag their heels on it. Go ahead. You do it, Jeff Bezos. And hey, how great was Jack giving
away a billion dollars? I mean, we saw him get barbecued on social media, but
what a strong move, huh? And he’s going to— Strong.
He put it in a Google sheet. He’s like, here’s a Google sheet.
And made the sheet open. I mean, it’s the strongest move ever. It’s like, you know,
everybody, you know, I’ve always been very skeptical of philanthropy because I feel like
it’s, you know, a dalliance of the established rich in North America because they like to have
their names on things. And here’s a guy who just basically pwned all of that. I don’t need a
hospital with my name on it. I don’t need a building with my name on it. Here’s a billion
dollars, and here’s a Google spreadsheet to track it, which means I’m going to have zero
overhead in running it. I mean, it’s so strong. It’s literally like, the only thing that could
be stronger is if he connected it to a Stripe account. And like, as he swiped his credit card,
it just— It’s just so strong.
He should put a Zapier that tweets it. I mean, he has a Google doc which is set
so that everybody can read it at all times. I mean, for a billion dollars, it’s just amazing.
He’s the best. He should start a Slack instance
with like each of those non-profits having their own channel.
By the way, he completely pwned the Giving Pledge in one fell swoop.
Yes. The Giving Pledge, which nobody has any— it’s pretty opaque. Now it’s just like, here it is.
It’s basically, pretend you’re going to give your money away. We don’t need to know how much. You
don’t really need to do it. There’s no accountability, but we have this fun party once a year.
We can all hang out and, you know—
How is the party? Is it good?
I slap each other. I haven’t signed it. I’m not signing it.
Chamath’s like, the Giving Pledge. Yeah.
So stupid. It’s like the sign of insecurity.
Saxy Poo, thanks for coming on the pod, Rain Man. We appreciate it.
Love you, Saxy Poo.
We love you, Saxy Poo.
Love you, J. Cal.
Love you too, Chamath. Bestie C. We love you. And everybody, stay safe, seriously.
And I just wanted to close—
Wear a mask.
Wear a mask. And to those people on the front lines, the janitors, the Google, the Amazon
drivers, Instacart, people in the food supply—
You’re the fucking best.
You are the best. It’s amazing what you’re doing. What a sacrifice.
Get the money to them.
Yeah. And seriously, Amazon, let us tip those drivers in our—
Get the money to them.
For sure. Double the pay. Okay. We’ll see you all next time. Bye-bye.