All-In with Chamath, Jason, Sacks & Friedberg - E7: California's collapse, how SPACs are opening the markets for growth stocks & more

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Hey, everybody. Welcome back to the all in podcast. Besties have reunited. It’s been

a bestie summer. Chamath, how are you doing? You’re back in America. Yes, I’m back in America.

Back in America. It feels great. Good summer. Yes. I had an incredible summer. I had seven

weeks in Italy. It was really incredible. What is the vibe in Italy post pandemic? Obviously,

they had the roughest of any nation, I think, except for China and Wuhan with COVID-19.

No, it was incredible because they’re so resilient. They basically decided that

they don’t ever want to go through it again. Everybody wore a mask and people socially

distanced. There’s lots of dinners outside. No restaurants were really seating people indoors.

You’d walk into a store and you’d have to put some Purell on your hands and wear a mask. There

was 40, 50 cases a day. Then I keep looking at the news when I was there, 60,000 a day here. It

was just really sad. Then on top of that, to see the riots, the fires. It’s been a disturbing summer

here. How are you doing, David Sachs? You’re back in San Francisco. You got to spend a little bit

of time in an undisclosed location, as we know from the last couple episodes of the podcast.

How is San Francisco right now? How has your bestie summer been?

It’s been great. I guess I can now disclose that my undisclosed location was Mexico,

specifically Cabo. That was a great place to be for a couple of months.

Spoiler alert, nobody cares.

Yeah, exactly. Actually, it was a great place to be in the early stage of the pandemic because

everyone was wearing masks. They did take it really seriously. There were very few cases and

seemed like it was under control, at least in the area I was. Then we came back to San Francisco for

school, for the kids’ school, which I’m not sure we have to be here, but that’s where we came back.

Is the kids’ school actually open? Are they going to school or they keep pushing it out

two weeks like my kids are? Yeah, they’re not going in person yet,

but I think they keep trying to figure out when they’re going to be able to start doing that.

So it’s all Zoom-based right now. Yeah, which means no learning, right?

I mean, do you think these kids are actually learning on Zoom or do you think it’s just

glorified babysitting? A little bit. I mean, a little bit. I think it’s difficult.

Yeah, we gave up on it. And Friedberg, are you there?

I’m here, Bay Area.

How has your bestie summer been during this crazy time?

I’ve been in the Bay Area. I’ve been crossing all seven layers of Dante’s Inferno here in California,

moving from the outer layer of COVID to the middle layer of California’s proposed wealth tax,

to the inner layers of extreme heat, smoke, and the absolute central layer of pain.

More recently, my three-year-old daughter decided 34 nights ago to not sleep anymore.

So yeah, we’ve been living the life. It’s been glorious.

And I wear a mask now for COVID and then I wear another mask on top of that mask for the smoke.

So we’re just living the California dream. What my parents immigrated here for, you know, paradise.

Well, I guess that’s a good place to start. And just if anybody cares, I spent 10 days in Malibu

and had a great time. I guess nobody cares.

Yeah, I mean, how my bestie summer was, but we forgot.

Jason, how’s your bestie summer? J. Cal, how’s your bestie summer?

You know, I’ve been lonely and I tweeted, I’m lonely.

And I got about 50 phone calls from people who are like, I can’t imagine J. Cal being sad,

but I actually had a talk with my wife and I said, what are the symptoms of depression?

Because I think I might have depression and I went through it and I was like, I don’t have depression.

I’m just, I have great empathy for all the people suffering.

And, you know, I just being isolated, you guys know me very well, better than anybody.

Like I like to talk to people and it’s been really difficult for me to,

I’ll be totally candid to be isolated like this.

And the podcast is great and doing this podcast is great, but man, I miss people.

I just miss people.

What are the symptoms of your depression? Just before you were self-diagnosing, I’m just curious.

I was feeling like, um, just sad about watching the riots and watch people shoot each other.

And then watching, you know, the, the, the wildfires, watching people die unnecessarily,

and then watching the madness for the election.

It was just all becoming like, I wouldn’t say overwhelming, but it just made me very sad that,

you know, so many people can’t go back to work and then the stock market’s ripping.

And it’s a very, I don’t know how you guys feel, but it feels very surreal, right?

Because in our world, and I don’t know how your portfolios and investments are doing,

you know, a lot of the companies we’ve invested in as angel investors,

um, are doing just wonderfully and we’re investing more than ever.

But then you turn on the television and it’s like the doom scrolling is crazy.

So I had to just stop doom scrolling.

I think that was the key thing Chamath was just looking at Twitter is that the trending topics

is so depressing and just so overwhelming at times that I took three days off this weekend

and went camping and I literally didn’t pull up Twitter and I felt much better.

So I think it was really Twitter related, like just opening up the trending topics.

I don’t know if you did that on your holiday in Italy, but it really is a quick way to get depressed.

The best thing is that I was using it in a different time zone.

And so I was basically out of the flow and it makes a huge difference because then you’re not

in the emotional turmoil of people’s immediate reaction.

And so you can just kind of move on.

And then also I just had a really fun summer because I really tried to detach and not use my phone.

I had, you know, I kept my meetings to a few hours a day and then otherwise I was doing things.


You want to know, you want to know my phone call to J-Cal?


Hey J-Cal, I saw on Twitter that you’re, you’re sad and lonely.

It’s like, yeah, yeah.

It’s like, are you suicidal?

It’s like, no.

Okay, goodbye.

I’m too much of a narcissist to ever consider that.

But I do want to thank you, David, for having me down to Cabo and we got to have some good


We watched some good movies.

Gladiator, Extended Cut was great.

Some other movies that we watched could get us canceled.

So we won’t admit that we watched History of the World or any other Mel Brooks movies,

but we had a good time, played a couple of rounds of golf and that was good times.

But let’s talk about California because I think, you know, we’re all residents currently

of California, but let me just put it out there.

How many people on the call are considering leaving California?

Anybody, is that going through anybody’s mind right now?

Because it’s going through mine.


Well, it’s not for me, but I think that California is sort of emblematic of what could happen

if you actually have, you know, the legislative bodies plus, you know, the top sort of political

leader up and down on one ticket.

I mean, you know, you basically have like massive rife incompetence and it’s been compounded.

You never – I mean, you know, if people who are Democrats would have said, oh, the

best thing that can happen for Democrats is if you have, you know, local cities plus an

assembly plus the state senate plus the governor as a Democrat.

Republicans would have said the same thing for Republicans.

But as it turns out, it basically creates the worst outcomes.

And so instead, what you need is a little diversity of ideas and a little push and pull.

But California is like a bunch of clowns in a clown car right now.

It’s a joke.

But I’m not going to move.

Now, part of why I’m not going to move is I – you know, my taxes I’ve set up in such a way

where California can’t get access to most of my assets anyway.

So, you know, they can pound cent.


David, Saxe, how are you feeling about California right now and just the craziness in San Francisco,

the homelessness problem in San Francisco has become acute during this.

It’s really –

Well, it’s a disaster.

And then the wealth task on top of it and –

It’s a disaster.

It’s a disaster.

I mean, I’m not leaving or anything.

But it’s certainly a topic of conversation that’s come up a lot.

And I do know people who have left.

I know a couple of people who – you know, prominent people in

the venture community who’ve recently moved to Austin.

And it’s a horrible time for the city and state to be proposing all these new taxes.

Just take one example, because people are already realizing that because of COVID and

this new sort of work from home and Zoom business culture where you can kind of work from anywhere,

that people are realizing they don’t need to be in San Francisco or in Silicon Valley anymore to be

in the technology industry.

And so, at precisely the time that people were re-evaluating where they wanted to be,

realizing that they could be anywhere, California is now, you know,

proposing to massively increase the cost of being here.

So, it’s horrible timing.

And then, you know, you do have this sort of seemingly chronic issue in San Francisco,

particularly with the sort of homeless problem.

It just seems to keep getting worse.

And there’s sort of this weird hostility to technology and tech workers here that I think

has somehow used as a scapegoat to prevent the city from dealing with its real problems.

And what do you perceive those real problems to be in the city?

I mean, you used the term homeless.

I think most people looking at the problem, as one person candidly told me, you know,

what we have is not, and I won’t say who said this, but it’s a prominent person.

They said this, you know, Jason, the issue here is this isn’t a homeless problem.

This is a junkie problem.

And they use specifics that I’m using that term because that’s the term to refer to people who

are addicted to opioids, methamphetamine, fentanyl.

And that if you were to actually unpack what we’re calling a homeless crisis,

it’s actually a crisis of drug addiction, and specifically fentanyl.

And I don’t know if you guys saw, we’re going to hit something like 500 overdose deaths this


We’re like going to double last year, and it’s all fentanyl, which is a particularly,

you know, deadly drug.

So, I mean, how much do you think that is the problem, David?


I mean, you’re right that homelessness is not the cause of the issue.

That homelessness is the consequence of long-term drug addiction and mental illness.

I mean, this is the, it’s the end state.

And you’re right, the city is, it’s not really tackling the underlying issues.

In fact, it’s kind of aiding and abetting them.

I mean, how many millions of needles does the city give away every year, and then it

only collects a small fraction of them with the remainder ending up on the streets?

It’s just, it’s bonkers.

And I think part of the problem is that we keep saying that until we, is that we can’t

demand any improvement in the situation in terms of homeless people.

You know, we have this like poop squad in San Francisco that’s literally cleaning poop

off the sidewalks because homeless people are using our sidewalks as like a latrine,

basically, as a bathroom.

And what you keep hearing is that, well, we can’t do anything about that problem until

we solve the homeless problem.

And that’s, and certainly we should try to solve that problem, but it’s a very long-term,

you know, difficult, intractable problem.

In the meantime, we can certainly do things like demand that homeless people not do that.

Yeah, and the policing seem to, there seems to be a distinct issue with policing right


I watched the San Francisco Tenderloin Twitter account, David Freeburg, and they’ve arrested

something like 260 meth and fentanyl dealers.

But we have a DA, Chessa, I believe his name is, who doesn’t believe in prosecuting any

of those crimes related to drugs or petty crime.

Freeburg, what has the city turned into for you as somebody who’s been a long-term investor

in the Bay Area?

Well, I moved here after I graduated college in 2001, and I loved San Francisco.

It was a quieter city and a quainter city.

I honestly, over the years have found the traffic and the congestion and the buildup

of the city to be frustrating.

I’m a little bit of a anomaly in this sense, because I think a lot of people, you know,

think that the city should continue to grow and progress and build housing and so on.

Those are all, you know, fine objectives.

But I think the quality of life has degraded for some time in the city as infrastructure

hasn’t kept up with the changing pace of companies growing here.

And as a result, we’ve kind of got this ballooning, inflating budget that’s been poorly managed.

You’ve got, I forgot the statistic, but there’s some number of thousand people plus that are

city government employees in San Francisco earning over $300,000 a year.

And so there’s a chronic kind of bureaucratic issue that is the cancer that has caused,

you know, a lot of the follow-on crises that I think we’re now experiencing acutely here

in the city.

Now, in terms of leaving to your earlier question, you know, I was really like, I’ve just been

like everyone, you know, like I kind of talk about the Dante Inferno layers.

It’s also like, for me growing up, it’s like a seven-layer burrito.

It’s like one layer of shit after another.

Start with the beans and in the middle, you got the sour cream.

And, you know, this city has just gotten kind of, and the state has gotten more and more

difficult to live in.

And I was certainly thinking and talking to my wife, like, we got to leave, her family’s

here, so we’re not going to leave the state.

But then I did a call last week that I think 18 of us were on with Governor Newsom.

And, you know, he made a couple of really interesting points that really did honestly

reset my perspective.

You know, I’ve tried to take a step back and think a little bit more broadly about the

long-term opportunity in California.

The way the state operates right now, it’s the fifth largest economy in the world.

They ran a surplus.

They refinanced their debt.

They’ve done a great job kind of managing kind of the fiscal gap that’s being created

by the COVID crisis.

And, you know, Governor Newsom made a point, like, we have had the California exodus story

that’s percolated and cycled really for decades.

He pointed out an article, which I’ve not been able to find, but I’ve been looking for

it from Time Magazine from 1959 that were like declared, this is the year everyone’s

going to exodus out of the state.

And we hear it every couple of years, there’s some crisis that precipitates the mass exodus.

And it hasn’t happened because it is a great place to work.

It’s a diversified industrial base.

It’s not just tech.

Tech is a lot of the growth, but there’s a lot of industry here, largest ag producer,

largest military aerospace industry, and on and on and on.

It’s a great diversified economy.

It’s a great diversified cultural base.

It’s by the oceans.

It’s by the mountains.

It’s an incredible place to live and work.

And I don’t think any of us want to give that up.

And the media has done a great job kind of magnifying these small stories that aren’t

really a story.

Governor Newsom made the case that this wealth tax proposal was one assembly member.

It didn’t even get into committee.

It wasn’t even really being considered, but it kind of created this press flourish and

everyone got involved and everyone I know kind of freaked out about it.

And it became this kind of another catalyzing event, but it wasn’t really real.

So if we kind of broaden our perspective a little bit, both in terms of space and time,

I think we get a little more kind of comfortable with like of all the places to live and all

the places to work.

This is the best.

And you can go save some taxes and move to Austin, but I mean, then you got to go live

in Austin, you know, whatever.

Well, it’s the best.

You’re right that it’s the best in terms of climate, geography, natural beauty resources

and the industries that have developed here and have strong network effects.

But it’s not the best politically.

I mean, it’s among the worst politically, and it seems like the politicians are doing

everything they can to mess it up.

I mean, I almost wonder if there’s like a resource curse issue, particularly with San

Francisco, where, you know, there’s this observable thing with governments that sometimes you

get a resource curse where if there’s like a lot of oil in the country or something,

you end up with a government that’s not very good because people just spend all their time

going to war to try and capture it.

And I kind of wonder if, you know, San Francisco has been the beneficiary of being proximate

to Silicon Valley, this enormous like wealth creation, prosperity, job creation ecosystem

that it had nothing to do with creating.

I would say two things to build on what you’re saying.

The first is I think that when the economies in an environment are really, really good,

all the really, really smart people want to go into those economies.

And that leaves generally dumber people to do things like politics.

And that’s less true in places that have shittier economies.

Yeah, fascinating.

And I actually think that that’s practically true.

We may not want to think it, and it may sound a little harsh, but it’s true.

And, you know, the way that you reverse it is what Singapore does, which is you make

the civil servants the highest paid people in the economy, right?

And you treat them like knowledge workers, and you say, wow, look, I’m going to pay

this person $250,000, $300,000 a year.

You’re shocked at the quality of the person you get.

That’s the first comment I want to make.

The second one, though, is that unlike all these other times where I think people have

been, you know, sort of prognosticating the doom and gloom of California, the thing that’s

different now is that because it is such a dominant political environment for the Democrats,

it’s much easier to judge if they actually know what they’re doing and if they are going

to do things that are aligned with the sort of, like, the moral code of the party that

elected them.

And so, like, let’s just talk, for example, about the fact that we are not going to have

police reform of any kind in California, which is where you’d think would be the first state

where people got their act together and said, OK, if we really believe that we need to reform

police, we can do it in our own backyards, but that legislation is going to get blocked

because Californians have decided that they care more about the alignment to police unions

than they do to the right of law and to social justice for minorities and blacks.

That’s crazy.

We should be the most progressive, is your point on this, Chamath.

And the point is, to say it explicitly, is the politicians are in the pocket of the unions.

And because they’re in the pocket of the police unions and the education unions,

we cannot make forward progress, even though we’re supposed to be the most liberal of all

locations, correct?

That’s in summary.

Yeah, exactly.

We actually, if we believe that we have, you know, up and down the ticket, the ability

to implement justice, right, at least justice in the vein of the Democratic Party and what

that platform represents, or, for example, all of the people that were out protesting,

OK, during Black Lives Matter, during that entire movement, I suspect the overwhelming

majority are Democrats slash progressives, or, you know, let’s just say the majority,

or at a minimum, the plurality, OK?

But then the idea that then you have a state, the most populous and the richest,

filled up and down the ticket with people who are theoretically aligned with those political values,

but then when push comes to shove and the legislation hits the floor, it basically

gets mothballed, to me is inexcusable and disgusting.


I mean, look at the housing issue.

We just had a bill that was an incredibly simple bill.

I think it was 11, yeah, SB 1120.

I don’t know if you followed this one, but I’ve been following it on the Twitter.

And it was a very simple piece of legislation.

Any single family home lot could have a duplex on it.

So you could have two homes on a single lot.

And they couldn’t even pass that in a city where, you know, a firefighter, a teacher,

et cetera, cannot live within 90 minutes of where they work.

And they couldn’t even pass that.

Well, also, there’s also AB5, right?

I mean, Jason has Uber’s third or fourth investor.

I’m sure you have something to say about that, right?

Well, they tell me third or fourth, but I think third or fourth.

But here we go to the VC Braggs controversy.

Yeah, can we just pin down exactly which one it is?

So you could just say you’re the fourth investor or something like that?

It’s so much better to say third or fourth.

And that was a mistake, obviously.

You know, AB5 is another one.

Look at all the careers in which you can be, David Sachs, a freelancer.

And the more money you make, the more you get to dictate your schedule.

But if you are poor, and if you are in an entry-level job,

the California government will not let you, even though 70% of drivers for these services

want to be freelancers.

And the services themselves said they will put into a fund for healthcare.

Like they literally Uber, you know, Dara’s like,

hey, we’re going to put money into this, Lyft is going to put money into it.

They still will not let people decide for themselves what shift they want.

That’s right.

It makes no sense.

I mean, and you see-

It trickled into like journalists too.

I mean, they said now journalists, if you write 30 articles a year for a single outlet,

you’re technically considered an employee, even though you’re writing the articles on

your own time, with your own research, and you’re getting paid for good articles that

are accepted.

And then there was this follow-on controversy about translators.

It’s like, well, translators takes five minutes to translate an article.

So why would 30 articles apply to a translator?

And obviously when you have that degree of confusion and complexity, something’s off,



And it’s just such a-

It feels like virtue signaling.



Well, I think, well, I mean, the reason why AB5 happened is it was at the behest of the

Teamsters, right?

They’re trying to unionize the Uber and Lyft drivers, and they can’t do it unless they’re


And so the author of the bill, Lorena Gonzalez, who’s sort of in their back pocket, that’s

why she put forward the bill.

And then the absurdity of it was that they realized after introducing it, that it would

ensnare all these other occupations, like the writers and journalists and photographers

and translators.

Real estate brokers.


Even people like manicurists and so on.


And so what they’ve been doing is they’ve been now modifying the legislation to exclude

all of these categories.

And in the process, they’re kind of laying bare what’s really happening here, which is

this is all about either basically shutting down or forcing Uber and Lyft to comply with

the will of the Teamsters.

And it seems like the legislation blinked when Uber and Lyft said, well, we’ll just

shut the service down.

So what are your thoughts on when that happens, Sax?

What do you think will happen?

Who will win this AB5 showdown?

Well, Uber and Lyft, yeah, they threatened to basically stop service and they got a stay,

I think, from a judge.

So AB5 doesn’t go into effect until November when, and there’s a ballot initiative that

they’re sponsoring to get AB5 overturned.

So I think, I don’t, it’s hard to predict whether it’s going to win or not, but that

to me is like, if AB5 were defeated by a ballot initiative in November, that’d be a really

positive sign for the state of California.

I’ll say there was, on this call with Governor Newsom last week, he did point out that AB5

was more of kind of a law of inevitability as a result of that whole Dynamex state Supreme

Court decision where the Supreme Court basically said, look, here’s the criteria that defines

an employee versus an independent contractor.

They get to decide what work they do or what hours or whatever.

And there’s like some set of criteria.

And they said, look, Uber drivers and all these other kind of technically independent

contractors don’t meet those criteria fully.

Therefore, they are employees.

And as a result, California Assembly tried to and had to effectively codify what it means

to be an employee versus an independent contractor.

And I’m not arguing for the case.

I’m just saying what was conveyed by the governor last week on why this ended up coming

to bear.

Now, if they strike it down, there’s going to be some other law that’s going to pop up

because of the state Supreme – the Dynamex decision.

And that’s kind of – something’s going to have to get written down.

So, Saxe, don’t you think it ultimately ends up just being some sort of negotiated

point between all of these industry leaders and the state to kind of figure out, okay,

what’s everyone going to compromise on to get something written down that’s law?

I mean, possibly.

I mean, Dynamex is not like constitutional.

It’s not a constitutional decision.

So the legislature can do whatever it wants here.

You know?

And so if you were going to respond to Dynamex, you don’t have to kind of enshrine it.

So – and I guess there was certainly some question whether Dynamex would apply to Uber

and Lyft in this way.

You know, they could have made their arguments in front of a court, right?


Look, the problem is now and whatever applies to California applies to every state legislature.

How are these people supposed to figure this out?

I’m sorry, but like, you know, who are we entrusting here to go and then all of a sudden

understand the nuances of Lyft and Uber and really understand the job that they do versus

the translators versus the this person versus the that person versus the Dynamex decision?

Again, I think 20 years ago, I kind of would have believed that politicians were generally

some of the smartest people, you know, frankly, amongst us.

And it really did attract a certain level of intellectual person who cared about legislating.

But, you know, now, basically, you just have like, you know, Jerry Falwell Jr.’s running


I mean, these are – they’re all just running around until they get caught on Instagram

and get fired.

I mean, they’re just – they’re not the smartest people that we’re dealing with.

And so what was Gavin Newsom’s answer to that is really what I would –

You know, the Jerry Falwell Jr. point didn’t come up, Chamath, but

we can follow up.


It does seem to me that if they do become full-time, this would be a tragedy for the

people who are trying to just do 10 to 20 to 30 hours of gig work.

Like what happens to those poor people who wanted to fill in between when they dropped

their kids off of school and pick them up and just grab a couple hours here or there

as a second gig?

Like if this actually does pass in their full-time –

Honestly, guys.

Honestly, you guys are such – you’re honestly – look, it won’t affect them.

It’ll affect the long-term profitability in the margins of the companies that have

to hire them as full-time employees and they’ll have to like, you know, make a bunch of rules

and blah, blah, blah.

But it has huge operational implications and it has really terrible OPEX implications

for a company.

But for the person that wants to work 10 hours, Jason, they’ll still be able to work 10


So I think the point is that like –

On a specific shift.

Like they’re going to have to come in at a certain shift time.

I think the point is like the entire public markets who all of a sudden think that a business

looks one way has to figure out that it’s really a cost plus business.

And what it really means is if you were comfortable with a 60% or 70% reduction in the market

cap of some of these companies, you’d be okay with AB5.

And I think that’s where the tension is, where the people that made the law don’t

care about the market cap because they don’t own the stock anyways.

And the people that are reacting to AB5 are the ones that own the stock and are really

thinking about the market cap.

Well, but the drivers don’t necessarily own the stock and they’re against it.

No, the drivers own eight shares, David.

I mean, come on.

No, no, no.

That’s what I’m saying is they’re not shareholders for the most part.

But this really does reduce their flexibility to contract for their labor.

No, but I think what you’re saying will happen, which is that they will create

a AB5 prime, which is a modification that’s neither this nor what it was, but it seems

that the tailwinds are pretty clear, which is that we’re moving to a place where these

companies have to get built in a very clever way.

And even if they are super clever in capturing consumer demand, the unit economics are going

to be pretty shitty.

And I just think we have to own that.

And probably what it means more than anything else is it’s not a real venture kind of business.

And so you may be deficit financing it or building it in a very different way than we

used to.


But it doesn’t have to be that way.

What you’re saying is, I think that this law will have very adverse consequences for their



I mean, I grant you that.

But why is the state interfering in the relationship between Uber and its drivers in this

way when everyone’s happy with it?

No, but it’s not.

I think what actually is happening is the state is effectively capturing the excess

return of Uber and Lyft.

Meaning, I think if you just take a pure, unemotional economic view at this, it’s like

any other market.

If there is a huge amount of margin available and there are not many competitors, what happens

is somebody comes in to take the excess margin.

And you think that’s the government that wants to take it and the unions want to take it?




Should we let them then dictate what hours people work?

The thought exercise that I would ask, guys, if there was, in a market, 90 different

competitors for transportation, would AB5 have been written, passed, adopted?

And my answer to you would be that it would not have been.

So Uber and Lyft’s and DoorDash’s success is what leads to people wanting to get a cut

and get a slice.

The oligopolist model of success where not enough other companies are pulled through.

Got it.

Well, that gives us a good segue into—

By the way, sorry, last point on this.

And the funny thing is the people who created the problem are the ones that hate it the

most, which are the investors.

Because they pile in the incremental dollars into the winners, trying to king make a winner

through capital.

And now what’s happening is their rate of returns are basically getting taken away.

And I think that in a weird way, that’s also kind of fair.

Well, I would just disagree slightly in the sense that just because this has big distributional

consequences, like basically who makes the surplus, doesn’t mean it also doesn’t have

a huge deadweight loss associated with it.

And whenever you prohibit people from engaging in the type of economic contracts relationship

that they want to engage in, you’re reducing surplus.

And so I hear what you’re saying.

And I think this is all about regulatory capture, right?

This is the Teamsters trying to capture a big piece of the value of Uber through their

politicians in the legislature.

So you’re right about that.

But I also think that we should care about it, not just as Uber shareholders, but as

consumers of the product, because it’s going to get worse.

Well, and also the product’s going to go away in certain jurisdictions.

If Freiburg wants to get an Uber north of the Golden Gate Bridge or in the East Bay

somewhere, they’re just not going to have the economics in some communities to even

operate the service.

So just like Uber Eats and Postmates stopped delivering to Treasure Island, a lot of the

drivers were in their local communities at home with Uber turned on or DoorDash.

And when they got a call, they would leave their house.

And that was part of the magic of it is you could just be sitting there Netflixing or

hanging out with your kids, and then a good call comes in, and then you leave your house.

That’s why you would have that one-minute pause, if you ever saw it, in an Uber ride,

where it’s like, why isn’t the car moving?

It’s because that person’s at home.

And they were capturing the one ride every hour in their local suburban area.

But if you force them to be hourly, Uber’s going to say, you know what?

It’s not worth having an eight-hour shift in whatever suburb, and the service will go


And then guess who’s going to not have service and transportation?

I think Freiburg-

No, go ahead.


I was saying it was like Saxe’s point.

From a consumer perspective, or Chamath’s point, if you end up with 90 of these service providers,

and I’m a consumer, I’m less likely to order a cab or order a rideshare service,

or I’m less likely to order food for delivery.

I don’t want to deal with 50 fucking apps.

I don’t want to have to go find the one app that has the contract with the one restaurant.

Then the natural market dynamics, the way that the market naturally evolves,

is I want simplicity as a consumer.

I want efficiency.

That’s what makes me want to use it more.

And when you take that away, because you’re interfering from a regulatory perspective

and how that market operates, the product sucks for me, and the shareholders ultimately suffer.

I think to your point, the way that that would probably get solved is you have people that

are higher order in the consumer behavior that own these relationships that enforce,

basically, a user experience.

For example, Facebook and Google and Apple essentially say,

we’re abstracting all these services because there’s 90 of you.

Google says, I’m going to put all of you guys on the map view.

Yelp says the same thing.

Essentially, what happens is there’s some open way where, essentially, a service provider can

turn themselves on and broadcast into a network that says, I’m available to do A for B,

and it all gets fixed.

Now, that’s a future state.

Which was the original idea of Uber, by the way, was to make a marketplace like that.

And now Uber’s talking about doing a franchise.

Exactly what you’re saying, Chamath, is let some franchisee take the East Bay and then

provide their inventory to the Uber network.

I think franchising is a really, really smart business idea.

And I think that particularly in transportation and a lot of these services that have this

natural dynamic to be local, where there are an infinite sum of many local markets,

I think it’s like a Burger King.

It’s like a McDonald’s.

And the company that moves to a franchising model and then figures it out, I think will

be a huge winner.

And that will be a very asset light, really operationally sophisticated, very well-run,

highly profitable business, I think.

Let’s talk about the public markets.

Wait, Jason, can we just talk about the police brutality thing in California?

I just want to get your guys’ take.

Sure, let’s do it.

It really bothers me that California, I bet you there’s going to be states that are

diverse in its Democratic and Republican composition, and some Republican states

that passed comprehensive police reform, and California will be one of the laggards.

What do you think, if you could wave a magic wand, Chamath, what are the one, two, and

three things, take a minute to think it through, and everybody on the call can, what are the

one, two, and three things you would do to change policing in the United States?

I have my own list, but I’m curious what you guys think.

And I actually put a tweetstorm out about my number one thing.

What are the specific tactical things?

Let’s get tactical first.

I mean, the first one that I’ve always been a big fan of, as I’ve studied it at least

from 10,000 feet, is ending qualified immunity.

Explain why and what that is.

Qualified immunity is essentially that there is this immunity that certain individuals have,

and that they’re not subject to prosecution.

And so they essentially have a carte blanche to behave in ways that can be good in some

cases, very, very bad in other cases, gray in other cases, yet there’s no adjudication

of their behavior.

And so you have to allow people with solid, dispassionate, detached judgment to be able

to enter and say, hey, listen, you were way out of line here, and there are consequences

for it.

And people coming in, doing those jobs, need to understand those consequences versus you

have a carte blanche to basically do whatever you want.

And I think with that-

Let’s talk specifically about the shooting involving, I won’t say murder right now,

because I think all the facts are not in, but Jacob Blake was shot in the back.

He was obviously not listening to the police.

The police then followed him to his car.

There was a discussion of if there was a knife on the floorboard, and point blank, they shot

him in the back multiple times.

And I’ve heard both sides of this.

This person is not listening to the police.

This person is going into the car.

They’re reaching potentially for a weapon, and the cops had no choice.

It seemed to me that the training of a police officer might actually be that that was a

legitimate shooting.

But that means maybe they have to rethink policing, because you could have easily taken

that person down with even the most modest of a chokehold or a tackle.

And when we see that, it feels like that’s the Rorschach test right there of how you

look at shootings in police.

You saw that shooting, I take it, Chamath, of Jacob Blake?

I saw it, and I can’t see these anymore.

They send me off the rails for days.

But yeah, I did see it.

I did see it.


And so, I mean, when you look at something like that, that’s clearly training has to

change, because I believe that based on police training and qualified immunity, this is going

to be considered, even though it’s shocking to see it, I think it’s going to be considered

an allowed shooting.

The person’s not going to be prosecuted because the person was clearly not listening, and

there was a knife on the floor, and he was going for it.

It seems to me like we really need to change the actual training.

The average is six months of training.

So I think that’s one of the top things that has to change is that these police officers

have to be trained not to fire first, but to use other tactics.

So for me, the first one is that.

The second one for me, which I’m a really big fan of, is that there needs to be a new

way to actually intercept 911 calls.

And instead of deploying police officers, we have a separate branch of people that we

massively pay and train that are effectively social workers plus plus.

Negotiators, yeah.

And they should be deployed in all kinds of situations where I think that what people

want is a de-escalation, and I think that sometimes the words de-escalation and police

don’t really sync up.

And in a lot of people’s minds, they think of escalation.

So people who are trained to de-escalate, I think.

And so, for example, like, you know, all of the mental health checks, all of the mental

health issues could probably be dealing with folks like this.

Domestic disturbances would probably go into that category.

The third one is I would very much rationalize drug use just because I think the amount of

low level offenses and arrests around drug use is antiquated for people’s general views

on drugs.

And I think that it needs to sort of correlate to how society views it.

And then, you know, the last two that I would give you is that there’s a concept of no-knock


That’s how Breonna Taylor was killed.


It’s kind of really scary, the idea that we could all be sitting in our houses right now

as we are, and literally the police can just charge in.

I mean, totally unnecessarily.

I mean, she was being for some like low level drug idea, they’re going to knock the doors


And of course, the person is going to try to protect themselves.

That’s the domain house sacks.

What are they not?

They knocked the doors in and they were playing clothes wearing police officers.

So people are coming and they did it at like midnight when she was asleep.

So yeah, people busting into her house at midnight, screaming, making noise and not

dressed as cops.

That’s, that’s what are we doing?


And then the last one I would give you is militarization of police.

A lot of these ideas, by the way, are Justin Amash’s ideas.

I’ve retweeted and I followed, but he was the one that put me onto these things.

But you know, like you have all this excess military equipment in the army that gets

basically passed through and now directly sold into police department, especially post


We basically militarized.

So those are my ideas.

What are your ideas around policing and how we should change it?

You’ve heard two months.

I don’t have more detailed ideas than than Chamath.

I think he’s given some good ones.

For sure.

I mean, I think we definitely need better training.

And I think better oversight over the use of force.

The, the, the body cam idea, Jason, I’ve seen you, you tweet about, I think that’s pretty

interesting too.

I think you’re right.

I’ll just explain that for a minute.

The body cam idea I had was I asked, does anybody know, and you know, does Black Live

Matter or another organization track which police departments, because we could get a

list of every police department that exists in some database somewhere.

Do we actually know what percentage actually have body cams and what model they use and

what percentage are working?

Because one of the things that I think has happened this year is, you know, the live

streaming and the live video and the number of smartphones out there has resulted in us

being able to see what black and brown people have been telling us for decades, which is

they’re murdered by cops.

And now we get to see it.

And, you know, when you see George Floyd get murdered, it’s fairly obvious that that’s

what happened.

We don’t have a video or they have the video of Breonna Taylor getting murdered.

So that’s from a cop webcam, I’m sorry, body cam.

So I was thinking we should just start with that as a basic, which is every single cop

car should have a 360 degree camera in every cop.

It should be a federal mandate.

And I don’t exactly know how federal mandates work, Sax.

But don’t you think there should be a federal mandate for just cameras and car cameras?

I think it’s a good idea.

I think the use of cameras is a good idea.

I mean, maybe not recording the police officers when they’re sitting in their car, but every

time there’s like a, you know, like, yeah, they pull somebody over sort of, you know,

like Fourth Amendment type search and seizure type situation.


I think it would make sense to have that on video.

Why not?


I mean, you got to think every police will behave better.

Go ahead, Freeberg.

There was a case the other day, a young guy, I think he was 19 years old, was shot in DC

named Dion K.

I don’t know if any of you guys watched the body cam footage.

And so he was a 19 year old black man.

He was shot.

He died.

But in the body cam footage, you can see that he pulls out this gun and throws it.

And when he pulls out the gun and flings his hand around, he’s got the gun in his hand.

That’s when the cop shot him.

And so there was about 100 protesters that showed up.

But it’s largely become a non story as a result of the facts associated with the body cam


But I just want to propose something else.

It’s a little bit more radical.

Maybe my libertarian ideals kind of cross with my socialist ideals and forming this



You’re a socialist?

No, I’ve never been accused of that.

But if we trace back, these systems are really chaotic.

Everything you’re talking about is layers and layers of bureaucracy and ideas and shit

we should do to manage the problem.

But there is kind of one common butterfly effect, butterflies at the source of a lot

of what we’re talking about, which is guns.

If there weren’t any guns in the United States, I would not feel threatened as a police officer.

I would never have any reason to feel threatened.

And I would never have any reason to pull a gun.

The reason I always make to pull a gun as a police officer is my life is threatened.

And in the absence of firearms, I have no right to pull a gun.

And that’s the case in the UK, for example, where there are no police officer shootings

of civilians because they’re never under threat of being killed by a gun.

So there’s a simple answer, which is get rid of the guns, but a little too controversial

and obviously many layers to that argument, especially from kind of both sides.

But I would say much of what’s going to go on now and in the future is just chaos theory.

It’s going to be building more layers of complexity.

It’s more entropy.

It’s more kind of associated complexity to try and resolve the underlying problem of

all of this, which is that we’ve got guns on the streets.

We’ve got guns in people’s hands.

And therefore, there’s always this threat against every individual that their life might

be taken by another.

Well, let me make a prediction right now.

There’s not going to be any new gun control legislation for a generation because of the

looting and rioting that’s going on.

Gun sales are at an all-time high.

I mean, every single gun store that you can possibly go to, you can’t get guns, you can’t

get ammo.

And there are more first-time gun buyers in the United States in the last several months

than there’s ever been.

I mean, the ranks of the NRA must just be swelling right now.

And so, this idea that you’re going to get gun reform, I don’t think it’s going to happen.

People aren’t going to support it.

And I think you used the word, I think, idealistic.

I mean, I think it’s like a little bit naive to assume that you’re going to be able to

get rid of all the guns in the hands of bad actors.

There are a lot of people in this country who feel the need to have a gun to protect


And the cops can’t always get there quickly enough.

And a lot of people feel the need to have that for self-defense.

I also think the minimum amount of training for a police officer should not be six months.

I think they have to re…

I mean, if we really want to have the society move forward and to solve our issue of race,

which is like the original sin of America, we’re going to really need to start thinking

about making police go back to school for 18 months, 12 months, and rethink how we address

the situation.

Because it’s just tragically unfair that one group of people’s children has to worry when

they’re driving in a car, and other people on this call don’t have to worry, right?

And that is just crazy.

Let’s take a hard shift to the economy, and then we’ll go into the election.

What do you think, Chamath?

You’ve been talking a little bit about the economy and the stock market ripping again,

and we seem to have hit a pause.

But we did have a massive rip with Tesla and Apple, I guess, doing a stock split.

And we hit all-time records.

Why are we hitting all-time records, Chamath?

We have the most important thing that’s happened, I think, in economics in the last 10 years.

The Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, gave this landmark speech, and he basically said,

we are going to keep rates at zero for the next half decade, basically.

Five years at zero, yeah.

I mean, quite honestly, it could be a decade.

But they’re going to let inflation run before they basically match it with rates.

There’s no path to any near-term inflation of any kind whatsoever.

And so, Jason, my honest perspective is, you’re basically going to get paid to be

long equities because your risk-free rate is zero and will soon be negative.

And what are you supposed to do if you’re an asset manager?

What are you supposed to do if you take California back to using California?

Let’s just say you’re CalPERS, you’re the California pension system, and you have

hundreds of billions of dollars.

Then you need to generate 5% or 6% a year to make sure that your pension isn’t insolvent.

And the government is paying you zero.


So, that eliminates that option.

No treasuries for you.

You’re long equities.

And when everybody is in that situation, you’re overwhelmingly long equities.

And you cannot fight the Fed.

And so, you cannot wait them out.

It’s not like you can say, oh, don’t worry, they’re going to change their mind.

They will change their mind, but in reaction to market conditions that are out of your control.

So, all of these opportunities, in my opinion, are generally buying opportunities.

And I’m generally bullish.

I’m more bullish now than I was before.

So, you can’t put your money into treasuries.

You can’t put it into a savings account, obviously.

It doesn’t seem like real estate or commercial real estate is a great bet right now.

So, your options are private companies or public companies.

Correct, Jamal?

I think it really is just public companies.

And I don’t even think it’s private companies.

So, meaning, wherever capital is constrained, the returns, again, these excess returns are

getting eaten up.

And so, the most unimpeded market for gains right now is the public markets.

I mean, no offense, but I think that if you are a very good stock picker in the public

markets, you’re generating better returns than Sequoia, Benchmark, name your best venture


I see all these people spouting off on Twitter about how good they are in the early stage


It’s all kind of small dollars and not that meaningful.

You know I’m on the call, right, Jamal?

I’m on the call.

I mean, you’re literally talking to the guys spouting off about hitting home runs.

Sax, what are your thoughts on this?

Private markets, obviously, is where we operate, both David’s, Freeberg, and Sax.

And you’re seeing great deals, I think.

I’ve invested in twice as many companies during the pandemic as I did before in the same six

month period.

What are you seeing in the private markets?

What is your take on Best DC’s public markets, Sax?

Yeah, we saw some of the best deals that we’ve seen during COVID.

And I’m very bullish about the state of entrepreneurship in the US.

I mean, just the number of interesting companies doing interesting things and the infrastructure

that makes it so easy for founders to get started and create new companies.

It’s so much easier now to create a company than it was 10 years or 20 years ago.

And of course, it’s easy to point to all the ones that don’t work or that don’t seem like

good ideas.

But there’s so many more experiments that are happening.

And I think that’s going to…

I’m very bullish about that part of the American economy.

And Freeberg, what are your thoughts on private markets?

And obviously, you’re building private companies.

You have unlimited capital to build them, I take it, given your track record.

I spend most of my time accepting rejections from my very close investor friends in my

various projects.

So I wouldn’t say that that ever becomes true.

I’ll tell you the truth.

Still selling every day, dialing for dollars.

But no, there are certainly more investors, more capital, more risk-taking, more valuation

extending than I think was the case pre-COVID.

I think Chamath’s point is right, though.

There is so much more liquidity available through access to retail and international

market participants in a public setting than there is in a private setting.

And it is because of this liquidity premium and the easy access to putting capital in.

It’s just extraordinary how much…

As I’ve watched close friends and companies and companies I’ve invested in, and I’m sure

you guys have done the same, transition from private to public, the valuation jump is

extraordinary on a metrics basis.

So whatever the metric might be, you get public.

There is this flurry of market participation.

As a result, it drives up.

There’s a multiple expansion.

Wait, I thought…

You’re a beast.

Sorry, can I just say something?

That’s such an important, smart thing that Friedberg said.

So Jason, for example, all of us, we’re all still in the private markets.

And I’m not trying to take away from the private markets.

But what David said is so important.

If you used to look at a SaaS deal, you’d price that SaaS deal 10 times ARR, right?

Then there’s a little bit of inflation.

The rates go up.

The prices that people pay go up.

Now, all of a sudden, we’re paying 12 times, 15 times.

Now, it’s 20 times if you’re growing 100% rate every year.

So what’s happened?

The market has become more efficient and the excess return is getting eaten up.

And so you’re like, okay, well, that’s still really good.

And you wait four, five, six years, and you think you’re going to get paid.

The crazy thing is like, once that company transitions to the public markets, I mean,

all of a sudden, if you actually turn the investor base over and you actually create

a float so that public market guys can buy it, they’ll pay 30 times.

That’s right.

35 times, 40 times.

So there’s a massive multiple expansion.

So companies should be going public sooner.

If you think about this, like if I’m trying to raise money for one of my companies,

I’m going to call on my 10, 20, 30 friends that I know that are investors in private

markets and say, hey, guys, do you want to look at this company?

And maybe I’ll get two or three interested parties.

And maybe we’ll kind of agree on what a fair valuation would be.

If I could take that same company and instantly make it available to a million investors.

And all I need to do, by the way, is raise $10 million.

All I need is some small number of them to write a couple hundred dollar check.

And I’m able to fill that round out.

The valuation as a result of the liquidity available in that market is so much higher

because there’s going to be much more participation and bidding.

And so what I think Chamath has tapped into with the SPAC vehicle and what Robinhood is

realizing, and I don’t think that we all talk about this enough, but there’s this massive,

massive, massive market of international investors, of small international retail

investors who are now rushing into US equities.

Freeberg, didn’t we see that in the ICO craze as well?

Where I think if we took anything from the ICO craze, it was the global appetite for risk and

the dot-com boom before that.

And I think we have to give Best DC a lot of credit here for leading the SPAC movement.

What’s your take on everybody copying you down the SPAC path, Chamath, at this point?

I had Desktop Metal as an early angel investment that just SPACed.

I did the pipe, too.

I co-led the pipe.

Thank you.

Yeah, and they told me that.

Thank you for the markup.

If I’m getting inbound as an angel investor from, I literally got a cold email from some

high profile people and they’re like, hey, do you have anything for us to SPAC?

I mean, this is the third or fourth time people are coming down to my dipshit level of angel

investing saying, can you introduce us to the calm guys?

Can you introduce us to Robin Hood?

I’m like, I think you can go direct to them.

But what is your take on how many SPACs have been created since you literally single-handedly

restarted the SPAC movement, Chamath?

I think that-

Because I don’t think you’ve ever gone on record about this.

I’m really proud of what we did when we created this thing two years ago.

I said I want to basically create a new way of doing IPOs.

I called it IPO 2.0.

I reserved IPO A through Z on the NYSE.

I hope to fulfill that and I think I will.

But taking a step back for a second, in the year 2000, there were 8,000 public companies

in America on the American stock exchanges and in the year 2020, there are 4,000.

So, we’ve shrunk in half the number of public companies while at the same time,

we’ve 10x the amount of capital and the number of people.

So, we don’t have a large enough surface area in the public markets.

That’s why companies are better off going public because they’re going to have a much

more receptive audience of people that are dying to own growth of any kind.

What’s the earliest and the median that people should go public?

Well, so here’s the thing.

So, if you’re one of 30 companies in a venture portfolio that’s growing at 50 plus percent,

you’re one of 30.

But when you go public, you’re one of one.

When you’re growing 50, 60 percent, you become very unique all of a sudden.

You’re a sort of a 1% kind of a company.

You’re an outlier and so you get treated incredibly well.

So, that’s the backdrop.

I think a company should be going public around year five, year six.

What revenue footprint?

About 50 million.

At 50 million and when they’re doubling, I think that they should be going up.

You know, it allows them to build capital slowly.

It allows them to basically contain control.

It minimizes dilution.

I think it’s a really powerful model.

And then on the number of SPACs, what I would say is I think it’s really good that the market

is getting diversified.

I think what’s going to happen is like the thing with SPACs is it’s going to be no different

than in some ways the banks that preceded us, which is that there’s going to be a distribution.

You can go to Goldman Sachs and that’ll mean one thing.

You can go to Merrill Lynch or B of A or UBS or Jeffries.

It’ll mean other things.

You can go to Allen & Company.

It’ll mean yet another different set of things and I’m sure there’s going to be an organization

that is all about cost.

Some is going to be all about relationships.

So, I just think that’s going to be the distribution.

My personal perspective, it’s probably us and maybe one or two other people who really

dominate the space and I’ll tell you the only reason why I say that.

I think it’s going to be really important when these people try to get these SPACs done,

what they’re going to realize is it’s really hard and it’s hard for a couple reasons.

Number one is you have to marry operational insight and public market sophistication.

And the founder will get really smart about being able to figure out whether this person

is just a financial arbitrager or if the person has enough operational experience to deeply

understand the business.


You have to translate it to the public market as well.

That’s one huge thing that I think that people will start to hone in on.

Anyways, there’s a bunch of other things.

Are you now competing with a lot of people for these SPACs?

Does SACs agree with the $50 million number?

SACs agree, yeah.

Yeah, sure.

I’m cool with that.

I invest well before that.

So, I’d be happy for…

You probably have a bigger portfolio of $50 million investors.

Yeah, it’s great for me and Jason.

I think Tramont deserves a ton of credit on this whole SPAC thing.

It is…

I don’t know if all the listeners are aware of this, but the SPAC thing has become a huge


There’s a ton of people creating them.

Kevin Hartz has a new one.

Reid Hoffman has a new one.

They’re the East Coast hedge fund guys.

Pincus and then the East Coast hedge funds like Bill Ackman, wherever, they’re all creating


So, Tramont has really started a wave here.

And I think the appeal of a SPAC to a founder, I’ll put in a plug of why I think it’s a good

idea for a founder to consider this, is because you essentially…

What founders are used to is doing private rounds, right?

You agree on an amount raised and a valuation and it’s a percent dilution and you’re


That’s it.


It’s simple, right?

And when you IPO and need to raise money, it’s not like that.

You have to then work with an investment bank.

They’ll put together a book.

You do like a road show.

You do this whole dog and pony thing.

You don’t know how much money you’re going to get at the end of that process or what

the valuation is going to be.

And then on top of that, we know statistically, Bill Gurley has published all the stats, the

investment banks are going to rip you off.

So, what a SPAC does is it prices like a late-stage private round.

You just agree with a SPAC promoter on a valuation and an amount raised.

And then on top of it, you get kind of a direct listing along with it.

Now, all of a sudden, you start trading as a public company.

And so, a SPAC is like a combination direct listing plus private round.

And I think that’s going to be appealing to a lot of founders as they start to discover

this more and more.

SACs, in a way, you’re saying it’s going to feel more like doing a Series D than it does

a road show.

And I think that comfort level for somebody like Robinhood, or Calm, or DataStax, or Thumbtack,

or any of these companies that you and I are investors in-

Every company in your portfolio, you just say,

Listen, I got two IPOs in two years.

I think this is going to be the new thing for early stage investors is we’re not going

to count unicorns anymore.

We’re going to count SPACs.

We’re going to count public listings, right?

And I think that’s probably better.

By the way, the other thing that I’ll say to founders is one is I think you need to

think about do these people have the combination of operational and financial acumen in the

public markets and investing experience in the public markets and the operational credibility

to describe the business.

And I think you can trade off one for the other if one is so deep, meaning if Warren

Buffett was doing his SPAC, you’d say, Well, he has no operational experience, but he’s

so credible in the public markets, then that’s all that matters.

But you need to be super, super deep in one or have a really brilliant and thoughtful

level of credibility in the publics.

Meaning an early stage investor who isn’t married to somebody who can basically say,

I know how hedge funds work.

I’ve made them money, and I’m going to make them more money and mutual funds, et cetera,

is troublesome.

The second thing is for founders, you have to really make sure you understand what is

in it for the person that’s doing the SPAC.

I mean, in every deal, I write a minimum of $100 million personally, and that’s a lot.

That’s getting the game.

I feel very much at risk, and so I take a lot of time to make sure these things go well.

And then the third is that for the SPAC person, what I’ll tell them is they are going to find

that there’s a bunch of landmines.

And I’m not going to say it up front because I think it’ll be fun for them to find out

themselves along the way.

But these things are hard.

The first one took me two and a half years.

They’re hard.

They’re hard.

They’re hard.

Hey, let’s swing to the election now and talk a little bit about the flip-flopping we’re

all doing, because we’ve gone from Trump’s a lock to Trump’s not a lock, and we’ve had

many different theories.

But here we are.

Are we 60 days out now?

How many days till the election?

Is it exactly 60?

A little less.

The first debate is September 29th.



So we’re at the 55 or 56 days, more to the taping of this.

And the first debate, I think, is September 30th.

So we’re about three weeks away from Joe Biden and Trump going at it.

What’s everybody’s handicapping now?

The markets seem to be saying even money or a slight edge to Joe Biden.

What are our thoughts?

I think Biden’s looked the crispest he’s looked.


Is that actually encouraging or not encouraging?

I think it really is, because I think he’s a really good…

Like I said, he doesn’t have to be better than Donald Trump.

He just has to not be Donald Trump for a lot of people.

And so he becomes a very good do-no-harm alternative, because to support Donald Trump,

you have to have a view.

To support Joe Biden, you can have no view.

And I think that, in general, that’s a demand-maximizing thing to do.

So I think he’s relatively well-positioned.

It’s the crispest I’ve ever seen him on television.

There’s less stuttering.

There’s less, not stuttering, but less mental gaffes.

You know, the…

What do you think of the VP choice, Kamala?

I think safe.

So I agree with Tramont that that was kind of the take or theory on Biden

like a month or two ago, is that he could just run as a protest vote against Trump.

And that’s why the basement strategy appeared to make sense,

is that he would say nothing, do nothing, go nowhere,

and just try to run as a protest vote against Trump.

And I think that was working a couple of months ago when,

you know, A, COVID seemed a lot worse.

B, the economy seemed a lot worse.

We’re now down to about 8% unemployment.

We were at 13% or 14%.

And C, you know, Trump had seemed to kind of mishandle the reaction to Floyd.

He seemed to be inciting it.

But now we have this issue of the looting and violence

in predominantly Democrat-run cities.

And I think, you know, Trump has sort of found his sales pitch now

in opposing basically the radical left and these mobs and protests

and protests that seem to be, you know, causing tremendous unrest

and looting and violence in our cities.

And I think it’s in combination with the improving conditions of the economy and COVID,

I think it’s a winning pitch for him,

unless Biden finds a more compelling way of responding, which he has not to date.

I think, you know, somebody like Bill Clinton would know exactly how to respond.

I think he would, you know, in the-

Just better instincts, yeah.

Well, I think, you know, he would pull a sister soldier to use a term from the

political dictionary where, you know, maybe he would take this crazy new book

in defense of looting and figure out, you know, and give a speech denouncing that.

I mean, he would find somebody to his left who represents,

you know, a fringe of the left that he presumably doesn’t support

and find a way to distance himself or denounce them.

Like Antifa, maybe.

Like Antifa, like, you know, anyone, you know, any of the left-

Looting in Portland.

Looting in Portland.

I think there’s a lot of targets, certainly.

Nobody wants to support that.

And so Biden comes out and says, hey, we don’t support that.

And it gives him that law and order vote.

But he hasn’t done that.

He hasn’t really done that.

I mean, so two of my favorite political pundits right now are Andrew Sullivan and Matt Taibbi,

who are, you know, very, they’re strong supporters of Biden.

They’re very anti-Trump.

But they think he’s failing on sort of this, these issues because he’s not figuring out

the right way to denounce what’s happening.

I think a lot of this has to do with when kids go back to school and the death rate


And as I was tweeting, and I got a lot of people angry at me about tweeting this,

but I said, I think this is a setup for Trump to go into the first debate

with, you know, well under, you know, six, 700 deaths a day.

And then the next debate in October with, you know, call it three or 400 deaths a day

and basically declare that he did solve COVID because we’ve been trending down for five weeks


And he started wearing a mask six weeks ago, seven weeks ago, July 11th was the first day

he wore a mask.

A cynic would say he almost timed mask wearing, which is obviously what we talked about in the

first episode or two of All In podcast was our discussion about why is wearing a mask

so difficult for him.

And it seems like he slow played it.

He, you know, he set, he slow played, he hit a set on the turn and here he is.

Like he wore the mask on July 11th.

He wore it four months late, but guess what?

As Chamath was saying, everybody wears a mask and every, and these things go down in Italy.

We’re going to come into the first debate.

What if it’s 400 deaths a day?

And then the second debate, it’s 200 deaths a day.

And then our kids are back in school in October, which seems to be the case, right?

All the schools are saying, you know, be ready for October to open.

And what if he actually does have a vaccine that has somewhat of credibility or any of

these high speed testing machines come on?

I mean, this could be a setup of all setups for him to just, you know, drop the microphone.

Hey, look, the economy has had an all-time high and COVID deaths are an all-time low.

Well, I mean, yeah, I think that to me seems like the trajectory.

I mean, we spent a long time on this pod talking about what a disaster

San Francisco and California are.

Those are one party states and cities.

And I think, you know, we’re not just electing a person as president.

We’re also electing a party and a movement and a governing philosophy.

And however much Trump is, you know, disliked by a lot of people, I think a lot of people

are looking at, you know, I think they may like Joe Biden personally and think that he

personally is safe, but they don’t like the movement and the party and the governing philosophy

that is now associated with Biden.

So if you had to put your entire net worth on it, Chamath, Biden, or Trump?

Uh, Biden.

I think Biden’s good.

Okay, and Sachs, entire net worth?

I would, I predict Trump at this moment.

Wait, wait, you predict, but you wouldn’t put your entire net worth on it.

If you had to, I could see your hesitation.

You want Trump to win.

Oh, sure.

But you wouldn’t put your entire net worth on him?

Oh, yeah, of course not.

You would put it on Biden?

This is about a 55% sort of thing.

So Biden has a 55% chance of winning.

So even though you’re voting for Trump, you are not going, you would not put your fortune on

Biden, correct?

You asked me who I predict.

Right now, I’m predicting Trump.

You’ll remember on the last pod, I predicted Biden.

So it moves depending on what I see happening.

Yeah, and I’m going to go with Biden by a nose.

Jason, I think a better way to get a better answer is not to force somebody to put their

entire net worth on the line.

It’s just to say, who do you think is going to win?

Who do you think is going to win, Sachs?

How many times do I have to answer this question?

You think Trump’s going to win?

You actually do?

Yes, yes, I do, actually.



Fascinating, huh?

And is Freeburg still there?

Remember, it’s the first time I’ve said this.

I’m here.

I think it’s the same as it was last time for me, and it has been most of this process.

It’s a coin flip, and it still is a coin flip.

And there’s a lot of noise between here and 60 days from here.

All right, well, then if we do think it’s a coin flip, Freeburg, what happens if Trump

is elected again?

Some people think this is all institutions are broken forever.

America’s broken forever.


That’s the perception on both sides, right?

So the perception and the motivation on both sides is democracy is crumbling.

And the resultant action is to elect the person you think will restore democracy.

The reality is both candidates, to some degree, might move us a little bit further away from


And some might argue that Trump makes us feel a little bit more like an autocratic dictatorial

regime, and some might say that Biden makes us feel a little bit more like an AOC socialist


It’s not all the way as if we had Bernie in the seat, but the reaction isn’t necessarily

let’s go back to the middle.

Let’s become a centrist government.

Let’s have good political debate.

By the way, the one show I’ve been watching a lot of lately, just to nostalgia to Chamath’s

tweet earlier today, make me feel better about life is West Wing, where Jed Bartlett is the

president, and he wants a great national debate.

We all want to have this intellectual exercise of coming to the truth and coming to the best

decision for the nation.

And I don’t think anyone feels like that’s the case today, nor will that be the case

tomorrow with either of these guys in the seat.

And I think the point then becomes, well, who’s going to better align with my values?

And it is really a crumbling democracy kind of motivation, I would guess, if you were

to survey people as to how they’re making their choice.

If Trump is elected Freeberg, do you feel it is an acute existential crisis for America

as a democracy?

I don’t think democracies end with a bang.

I think they end with a whimper.

And I think that’s been the case historically.

And no democracy has lasted.

Our democracy in the US has lasted longer than many.

But democracies, I’ll just tell you my point of view on this, democracies ultimately enable

freedom of operation and free markets that result in greater progress than any other

governing system.

The problem with progress is that progress is asymmetric.

You have some people who progress at a much greater rate than most, and it is that delta

that motivates the end of that system ultimately.

While everyone in the United States or the average and even the bottom quartile of the

population in the US is better off than they were 50 years ago in terms of income and healthcare

and shelter and access to food and access to all these things, the top 1% of the US

is further ahead than the median.

And it is that delta that motivates the end of democracy.

And it is that which is then perceived to be unfair about this governing system.

And that ultimately results in fascism or socialism.

And then fascism results, socialism ultimately restricts anyone from progression.

And that’s why fascism and socialism ultimately end up in some sort of democratic outcome.

And it is a cycle.

And we’re kind of in this awkward phase of trying to figure out what the hell we’re going

to be next.

And I don’t think that awkward phase is realized in the next presidential term.

But it is going to be realized in our lifetimes.

I think that that’s a really good point.

I completely agree with that.

Go Biden.

Go, but please win.

Okay, wrapping up here.

Media selections of your bestie summer bestie book, bestie TV show, bestie binge.

What do you got?

You got a bestie book recommendation, Sachs?

You got a bestie?

Yeah, my recommendation is gonna be a little different.

I’ve been subscribing to a lot of newsletters on Substack.


And I found that to be pretty interesting.

And I mentioned two of my favorite writers, especially around politics and election time,

Andrew Sullivan and Matt Taibbi.

So check them out.

Is your Overton windows open enough to get to those two who are super polarized?

And they actually kicked Andrew Sullivan out of New York magazine for making other writers

at New York magazine feel unsafe with his words.

All my favorite writers seem to have been canceled at some previous publication.

And now they’ve set themselves up on Substack.

So it is amazing how the Overton window has closed.

Bestie Seeds, you have a bestie binge, a bestie book, or a bestie newsletter,

or a bestie podcast you want to share with the besties?

I would give a shout out to a book called Americana, which is about,

it’s a history of American capitalism told in chapters for every call it like,

you know, five to seven or 10 year decade period.

It’s really interesting for people into business.

It’s written by a guy named Boo Srinivasan.


Bestie Freeberg, what do you got?

Bestie Queen of Quinoa.

I took a week off and hung out at the beach.

And I binge watched Godfather 1, 2, and 3, as I’ve done several times in my past.

I also watched one of my favorite top five films of all time,

There Will Be Blood by Paul Thomas Anderson.

Such a good film.

That opening scene is just crazy.

It’s just such a beautiful film.

I drink your milkshake.

It got me down.

Yeah, it got me down this research path on the Standard Oil Company.

And I ended up, first off, I ended up reading Mario Puzo’s Godfather,

which is very graphic and interesting.

But if you’ve seen the movie, I don’t think you get much more from the book.

But then I started reading Ron Chernow’s biography of Rockefeller.


I don’t know if anyone’s made it through that 727 page too.

I got about 500 pages in.

It is detailed.

It’s detailed.

It’s not probably, you won’t gain as much from it as perhaps reading a Wikipedia article.

But the Standard Oil, the era, if you think about what technology is,

what we call technology in the U.S. today, in our world,

and it’s mostly software and now increasingly biotech,

there have been different eras of technology and different eras of monopoly.

And just hearing the story of the railroads and Standard Oil

and what took place in this country, it’s incredible.

It’s so analogous to what’s gone on and the outrage and the dissent

and the fake news that goes on about these people as they’ve been successful.

It really is.

History teaches us everything.

Just in the era of Standard Oil, just learning about the stories of that time

and the people of that time, this is one book that’s been an interesting part of the tale.

Besties, I got to go.

I love you guys.

Love you too.

I’ll see you for a steak.

Jason and Friedburgers, I’ll see you on Thursday.

Yeah, steak it up.

Let’s go outside.

I’ll just give them on my closing, The Fish That Ate the Whale,

a book about Sam Zimmery, who was the Banana King,

and another interesting book you might like, I Love Capitalism by Ken Langone,

who built Home Depot.

And it’s a pretty great story about both stories of capitalism.

And I think you’ll like them, Friedburg, if you like the books you were talking about.

All right, everybody, we’ll see you next time.

And don’t forget to rate and subscribe.

And we’ll be taping another episode in another five, six, seven, or eight weeks,

hopefully earlier than that.

Take care, Sachs.

Take care, Friedburg.

Take care, Chamath.

And we’ll see you all next time on The Olin Podcast.