Look at this red on my stock screen, I can’t believe what’s going on.
Stocks are down, doesn’t mean I’m a loser, I don’t know, I need some self-worth now.
In 3, 2, 1.
Let your winners ride.
Rainman David Sachs.
And it’s said we open-sourced it to the fans and they’ve just gone crazy with it.
Love you guys.
Queen of Kinwan.
I’m going all in.
Hey everybody, hey everybody, welcome back.
The All In podcast is back.
Apologies about last week, I had a personal emergency.
Are we allowed to say why?
Of course, I mean.
You can say it, go say it, say it.
Say it, it’s a humble brag.
With us today on the program.
Explain it, explain it.
Queen of Kinwan, David Freeburg, Tremont Folly, Hoppity and the Dictator.
And the Rainman himself, David Sachs.
I was on a world tour.
I was on a world tour.
No, no, no.
I’ll tell the story.
Obviously I don’t like to talk about a certain friend of mine because he’s very high profile.
And I don’t talk about it in public.
Just do it and move on.
I have been lifting, I just want to let people know the good shows back.
No, you were backstage at SNL helping Elon with the SNL appearance.
This is true.
Tell us what that was like.
Tell us about the backstage experience at SNL.
Tell us about the backstage experience.
I mean, we were living it out in real time with you guys.
But tell us what it was really like.
First tell us why Elon recruited you to do it.
Are you Elon’s funniest friend?
Well, I mean, he’s got a lot of friends.
Guys, hold on.
Don’t you remember the joke at Sachs’ roast five years ago?
Remember when Elon was late and I had that ad-lib joke?
No, Jason, my thing.
When I was being roasted?
Wait, was it Jason’s party?
Oh, yeah, yeah.
I hosted Jason’s roast.
It was your roast.
It was your roast.
Okay, go ahead.
You’re the funniest.
Otherwise known as the funniest night of all of our collective lives.
It was really funny.
That was really funny.
We’ll have to tell stories from that sometime.
Sometime we’ll tell the J-Cow roast.
You probably are Elon’s funniest friend and have a talent for writing.
Let’s not beat around the bush.
Let’s not beat around the bush.
I’ll take the compliment.
So I left to go on a little trip to go to Austin to see some friends and then Miami to
see some friends.
One of those friends who I hooked up with and was hanging out with in Miami was obviously
And he was doing Saturday Night Live and we were just coming up with ideas around the
dinner table and we were just laughing our asses off, just brainstorming ideas that wouldn’t
never be allowed on television, you know, and he said, hey, would you come with me
to Saturday Night Live?
And I was like, oh, that’s great.
Do you have enough tickets?
I assumed he meant Saturday night, you know, and he said, no, I don’t have a lot of tickets.
It’s like half his money.
Would you come with me to the writer’s room and just, you know, be my wingman, basically.
So I had like three or four board meetings and five podcasts.
So I just, you know, I talked.
So it was like an instant yes?
You checked your schedule?
I was like.
You had to check your schedule?
I didn’t have to check my schedule.
No, I mean, I take my work seriously.
You’re like, Elon, Elon, can you give me about half a second to decide?
I had already made the decision in my mind that if my friend needs help, you guys have
been in similar situations where you’ve asked me for help.
I’ve rolled with Chamath on speaking gigs or going down to try to, you know, save Saks
from going into complete, utter madness.
Oh my God.
This is not crisis management.
So you said yes, you went.
So I said yes.
And, you know, without giving, well, without giving away anything that was private or confidential,
they have a process that they’ve been doing for 46 years.
And we came in, you know, with our own process of what we wanted to do.
And it kind of was, you know, kind of an interesting thing, because a lot of the ideas I had were,
let’s just say a little too far out for the cast or for the writers, but some of them
And I got to spend a lot of time with Lauren Michaels, and I really worked on my impersonation
And I was like, so Lauren, tell us, who were the worst hosts ever?
And he’s like, um, it’s an interesting question, Jason, you know, we don’t like to think of
it that way, but with, um, in terms of people who thought they were smart and maybe were
not as smart as they thought they were, Steven Seagal was a little bit difficult.
And there was Chris Christopherson, you know, back in 78, he wasn’t a musical guest.
That was Carly Simon.
And he liked to drink.
And in this very green room in 78, he had a couple of drinks during the rehearsal, the
We all did some coffee.
And like any sports team, when the game starts, we play the game.
Okay, so who was responsible for the Chad skit?
Okay, so Chad’s an existing character.
And that was a really amazing one to watch, because we went to Brooklyn to a warehouse
and the production was incredible.
And the role I played, if I’m being totally honest, is to just, you know, be Elon’s friend
and be there with him.
But also, you know, was that funny for you?
Should I do that?
You were a punch up man.
I was a punch up guy.
I wrote some lines without, you know, taking anything away from the writers there who do
the bulk of the work and the actors and the set designers.
It is amazing to see what they do.
Like we had to go through 40 scripts and you know, when you read something in a script,
it’s kind of hard to know if it’s funny.
But then when you put Chloe or you know, Kate McKinnon or Colin Jost or Che or Mikey Day,
like these people are phenomenally talented.
So all of a sudden the script comes alive.
So for the two punch ups, I got really good.
I’ll just give you one anecdote because I don’t want to get myself in too much trouble.
Were you responsible for besties in the Gen Z hospital?
No comment on that one.
I thought that as soon as I saw it, I thought of you.
Yeah, of course.
The other one that I thought was incredibly well done was murder dirter.
So I had nothing to do with that one.
And I thought we thought that was like, we thought that one was incredibly dumb.
Like when you read it on the script, it was like, is this funny or not?
But they, you know, this is the thing, you add tremendous performance, and you add incredible
And we were we were in Brooklyn at three in the morning, and Ilan comes out with that
wig on in a suit.
We just started laughing hysterical.
And he just goes right into creepy priest.
It was hilarious.
That was great.
What about the Asperger’s joke?
Because yeah, that was me.
Yeah, because you use that as a tease amongst people we may mutually know a lot.
I was like, Oh, that’s a Jason show.
That’s actually what I’m proud of.
But what’s so ironic, no, but what’s so ironic is the Asperger’s joke came out.
And then everyone, all these press articles got written saying, Ilan has admitted publicly
to having Asperger’s and he is we are so proud of him.
And it is such a moment to come clean about having this this thing.
And it was like a Jason joke.
Yeah, this Jason joke that became a Oh my gosh, you know, what are the I’ll tell you,
I’m particularly proud of that one.
Because here’s how that one went down.
They had an idea to do Jeopardy.
And it was probably the flattest pitch.
Because you know, it’s like 11 o’clock at night, a writer comes in and says, we want
to do Jeopardy auditions.
And we want it’s a kind of a feature for the cast to do auditions.
I don’t know if you ever saw the Star Wars auditions, Jurassic Park auditions kind of
in that vein.
So I was like, for me, I was like, Oh, that sounds like it’s got potential.
But it was a very dry pitch.
They didn’t have any examples.
And when they actually did it, it was like really weird characters that were obscure.
So I had pitched my own version of Jeopardy and Elon had his version of Jeopardy.
Elon’s version of Jeopardy was Dictator Jeopardy, which was Kim Jong Un, you know, MBS, Putin,
you know, etc.
And then I was like, how to deal with your adversaries.
And he was like, for 800 and he’s like, Plutonium and I was like, Genocide, it got really dark.
So we are laughing our asses about that.
You know, but then like, there were security concerns, basically, we’re kind of dialing
It would be as funny as the, it would be a direct correlation of funny to the chances
of Elon being assassinated by one of those people.
So then we decided maybe we don’t do that one.
And I said, I’ve got a great idea, Asperger’s Jeopardy.
And it would be Zuck, Elizabeth Holmes, which Chloe from the show, who’s an absolute genius,
And she really engaged deeply with Elon and connected with our team.
And then obviously, Elon.
And so you’d have Elon playing Zuck, somebody playing Elon, and then Chloe playing Elizabeth
Holmes, and they would be like, you know, how to deal with an intense situation with
an employee and then press it, don’t make eye contact, you know, like, so one of the
writers, I could tell she was not happy about this.
And she says, listen, my husband has Asperger’s, my two brothers have Asperger’s.
And all of a sudden, we’re in like, okay, you know.
We can’t offend anyone, Landon.
We can’t offend anybody, Landon.
I would say, you know, 80, 90% of the staff is very, you know, like, let’s go for it.
And then there’s probably 10 or 20 who are very sensitive to different topics.
And so there’s a little navigation you have to do there.
But we really want, and then so Elon goes, I have Asperger’s.
And you know, like the whole room is like, wow.
So then I was workshopping with somebody and I wasn’t in the writer’s room.
I contributed 2% that max.
Other than, you know, being Elon’s friend and supporting him.
But, you know, they came in and said, hey, when they didn’t want to ask Elon something,
they came to me.
And I negotiated some situations like they didn’t originally want to have any Dogefather
or any cryptocurrencies on the show.
We had to negotiate that.
Oh, my God.
Well, I mean, no, they have they have they have general counsel there.
They have standards.
They’re now on it.
Now we know why the show is not funny anymore.
There’s too many people with the veto.
I love the show.
I think it’s very funny.
I just think Elon made it culturally relevant for the first time in like a decade.
But what you’re describing is too many people with a veto right over the content of the
That’s what makes it not funny.
You got to be willing.
No, no, I think the show is very funny.
I think they take some artistic risk.
And what’s not funny to us might be like funny to some other folks.
So that’s why it’s hit or miss.
But certainly moving the show from 1130 on the West Coast definitely has an impact.
So what they could have done 10 years ago, before the timing was synced between the West
and East Coast is different.
They’re now on time.
There’s still a big cultural shift that’s happened.
It’s like, yeah, I’ll give you the two.
It’s not John Belushi anymore.
When the like the corporate CEO comes on the show and wants to do crazier, wilder stuff
than the people, you know, the regulars.
But anyway, keep going.
So anyway, you know, one of the folks who’s working on the monologue, you know, comes
in and the original monologue, you know, all these things go from rough to potential, to
good, to great, to amazing.
And so for me, it was, you know, just you guys know my career choice.
That just really made me think like, maybe I picked the wrong career choice because I’m
pretty fucking good at this.
I should do this.
So I started to call it at the after party.
I was like, you know, I’ve kind of made my money already.
Is there any chance I can get an internship?
He’s like, no.
But I think Jason, you can, you can always take credit for being the third or fourth
writer on Elon’s monologue.
So anyway, they’re doing the, they said they wanted to do an Asperger’s joke.
I said, so I wrote the Asperger joke of, you know, Hey, I just want to let people know
I’ve got Asperger’s.
And so there’s not going to be a lot of eye contact tonight.
So if you see me looking off screen, it’s not that I’m looking at cue cards.
It’s just that I have Asperger’s.
So they didn’t keep the cue card part, but they kept the rest of it.
And then they did the OJ joke, which was written by Colin Jost, who is absolutely phenomenal
as a human, just as a writer and a collaborator.
And we spent a lot of time with Colin Jost.
He came in and they had this joke about OJ having been on in 79 and 96.
The 96 was a joke.
He wasn’t actually on a 96.
I think that’s when he went to jail or something.
And I said to him, I said, I don’t think people understand the joke.
They actually think he was on a 96.
He goes, well, let’s just rehearse it.
So we’re in the green room rehearsing.
And Elon goes, you know, so hey, and you know, like OJ, like, you know, like I’m smoking
weed on every podcast.
That’s like saying OJ, you know, you know, you murdered once and now he’s a murderer
forever, you know.
And, you know, side note, he was on in 79 and 96.
And I just go like this and he killed both times.
And the room, there’s like a silence and then everybody goes hysterical.
It’s like one of my, you know, poker asides.
Yeah, that’s fabulous.
When I drop a joke and I take a sip of my wine.
I bet there was like a split second where everyone looks left and right.
It’s like, is it okay to laugh?
No, that’s my point.
Like, is it okay to laugh at this?
And Colin Jost just looks at me and goes, that’s getting in there.
And so I landed that one.
So there were, you know, some moments like that.
For me, I tell you, I’ll get emotional talking about it.
It’s one of the happiest times I’ve ever seen in Elon’s life.
And I’ve been with him for 20 years.
Actually, I’ve known him for 25, obviously.
In the feeling of Monday and Tuesday that, oh my God, this could be a complete, utter disaster.
I mean, that was our fear.
And that like, we were just not in sync here.
And these, maybe it’s going to be unfunny.
And this is a huge mistake.
Like, that was kind of our vibe from our squad.
And we had three of us there, including Elon.
And then, you know, we, the Asperger jokes lands.
And I tell you, a woman from a wardrobe comes in and she’s crying.
And she says, you know, she sees me first.
And we, she had been there when we were doing the joke.
And she said, my son, you know, was beat up for having Asperger’s.
And, you know, this changes everything.
It became like a serious thing.
Three or four people came in to the room.
I kid you’re not crying.
Oh my God.
One in 20 boys, I think now have Asperger’s.
Do you guys remember In Living Color?
Do you remember that show from the early 90s?
Oh my God.
Can you juxtapose like comedy today and comedy from In Living Color,
where they had like Damon Wayans as like the homeless guy
and like everything that would be so like non-PC today
and like totally inappropriate.
And how much things have shifted where like,
even the joke becomes like, you know, a serious kind of.
Can I ask a question?
Sorry, Jason, when people were getting emotional,
it was because of why they were like,
thank you for validating and putting it out there
and showing a role model.
One of the Squawk Alley guys, you know,
basically got choked up twice on Monday.
And he said, Elon can do no wrong in my mind now
because I’m dealing with a son who has Asperger’s
and they do something sometimes
that can be very challenging as a parent, right?
And it just explains a lot about,
and we all know people who have Asperger’s,
and we know people who have it further on the spectrum.
And as someone who’s been accused of being on the spectrum,
can I speak to this issue?
I mean, like, look, if anything, Asperger’s is correlated
with an extreme ability to focus and to be successful.
That’s why there’s so many people in tech
who have Asperger’s or have been accused
of having Asperger’s.
So I don’t know that it’s something
that people have to be, I guess,
unless you have like an extremely like extreme case,
like on the kind of in the autistic part of the spectrum,
but like mild Asperger’s probably is correlated
with success because it’s like the opposite of ADD, right?
It’s the extreme ability to focus.
But honestly, like what you’re describing to me
sounds so lame.
Like, this is why the show’s not funny anymore.
It’s not about the jokes.
Look, it should be about the jokes.
The joke landed, I disagree 100%.
That joke landed, it made everybody laugh.
It may have landed a little too close to somebody.
Hold on guys, guys, just to disintroduce.
The reason, David, you’re saying this
is because we all know, at least the three of us,
four of us, what did not make it
and what’s on the cutting room.
That’s why you’re saying it.
And so I think you have to just kind of move on.
And I can’t say what didn’t make it to the cutting room floor,
but I will tell you, I will reveal one skit
that made it to rehearsal.
No, you can’t, you cannot, you cannot.
It’s just one.
I mean, there was one they recorded,
which I think will come out as a digital short.
And the premise is FOMO Capital,
Fear of Missing Out Capital.
That was good.
That was a good one.
That was your idea or Elon’s?
I’m trying to remember where it originated.
We were just talking about, you know,
just the state of like people buying NFTs and everything.
And I think Elon may have said, like, they all have FOMO.
And then I was like, yeah,
I’d be like a venture capital firm.
And then he named it FOMO Capital.
So it was a little bit of a collaboration,
but I think mostly Elon in that one.
And this person comes in and the skit is hilarious.
So they’re probably going to release it as a digital short,
like cut for time, but release it.
And the skit, the person comes in
and there’s like an associate who’s being trained.
And they’re like, welcome to FOMO Capital,
where we never say no to nothing.
And he’s like, okay, I don’t know if I understand that.
Like sit down, you’ll get the hang of it.
And then people come in with increasingly ridiculous ideas.
And I’ll just tell you one of them,
which is when it comes in, it goes,
so you guys know Impossible Meats?
This is impossible vegetables.
These taste just like vegetables,
but this broccoli is made with endangered white rhinos.
And she takes a bite of it, tastes just like broccoli.
And Elon goes, this is amazing.
And they hand them a Picasso.
And then somebody comes in and says like,
it’s just hilarious.
It’s just more and more money being poured.
Why didn’t that get in the show?
Well, what they do is they do a two hour show
with a live audience and they just take out two or three skits.
And so there were three skits,
I think that were taken out for time.
And then those could be released digitally now.
So they just want to have extra.
They did a long opening.
They did like, I think it was like 10 minutes
on the Mother’s Day one.
Can I just say Miley Cyrus has the most incredible voice.
Oh my God.
I could listen to her sing forever.
Oh, she has got an incredible voice.
So I thought the opening was really shaky.
I mean, I was there.
This is the first time I’ve watched live TV
in like 10 years, ever since Apple TV was invented.
I’m sitting there waiting for Elon to come out
and crush the monologue.
And then Miley Cyrus does this long,
unfunny thing with all these mothers.
You know, it’s meant to be.
First of all, first of all, David, it’s not a thing.
It was a song.
It was a song.
It was a tribute.
It was a WTF moment for me.
I was like, where is Elon?
Bring out Elon.
I’m not here to see a bunch of mothers.
I mean, that’s an interesting, I’ll tell you,
that was an interesting moment, David.
Because they were like, Elon,
we’ll put you in like four of the skits out of the seven.
And Elon, and we don’t want to work, you know,
Elon too hard.
So I was doing these sort of sidebars
with some of the producers,
one in particular, who is just a phenomenon.
She’s, she’s an amazing producer
who just gets everything done.
Because this all occurs from Monday to Saturday.
And they work 16, 18 hours a day.
And, you know, she said, you know,
we don’t want to take up too much of his time.
So we think four is the right number.
And I said, you know, he gave up the week.
He’s the busiest guy in the world, arguably.
He wants to be in every skit.
And she’s like, well, nobody really does that.
Maybe a comedian here or there.
And Elon just said, if I’m here, use me.
I want to be in every skit.
And like, we had to like reshuffle the deck a bit.
And he was willing to do anything,
including Wario or, you know, and wear a costume
or be the creepy priest.
Elon was funny.
I think he surprised everyone
in terms of being a performer.
Just in terms of his performance.
I think it was really strong.
It was as good as like, you know,
someone who’s in the entertainment business would be,
It’s a universal take.
Even Elon’s sort of haters had to concede
that he performed well.
He kind of committed to all those roles,
even when it was like poking fun at himself.
Yeah, I had to dunk on Professor Dummy Galloway,
who was like, I’m going to live tweet Elon.
And he’s just like going on CNN, talking about Elon.
He’s going on every fucking cable channel he can
to like ride Elon’s coattails.
And he tweeted Elon would,
Tesla would lose 80, 90% of its value two years ago.
Like, just are you kidding me?
But I agree.
Like even someone like Professor Galloway,
who said Tesla was worthless.
He’s now just all over it.
And it humanized him, you know, which is nice.
I think he did a great job.
And it was fun.
I’m super happy for him.
Lauren Michaels came in and said,
Elon, you did a great job.
Come back any time, sincerely.
And I said, how about next year?
You’re his agent.
You’re like his agent.
I’m like, basically, I’m his agent.
What do we, what do we do in sequel?
And he’s a punch up guy.
He’s the agent.
He’s the hype man.
I was doing mostly negotiations.
And, and, and Lauren Michaels said,
absolutely, Jason, we’d love to have Elon back.
You absolutely crushed it.
And I, you know, Elon’s busy in the green room.
By the way, do we know what the ratings were?
A third best show of the season so far.
I think not counting all the YouTube views
and the international views.
I think Chappelle’s the only person who beat him.
So a couple of those, a couple of those skits
are going to live forever.
I think on YouTube.
I mean, the Chad skit in particular
was really hit it out of the park.
By the way, my observation on the skits were
the ones where Elon was kind of indispensable
were like the real, we’re really great.
Like the Chad thing.
And I thought that the Western run where, well,
LaRon, you know, where he plays this like 18th century
old West version of himself.
It’s like this genius in the old West.
Who’s telling them to ride electric horses or something.
For me, that was really funny.
So I thought the ones where Elon was sort of indispensable,
the more indispensable Elon was to the skit,
I thought the better it was.
And then some of the skits, I mean, look,
live sketch comedy is very hit or miss.
I thought the ones that were more missed
were the ones where they could have done them
It could have been a skit.
Any, any, you know, any SNL.
And it’s kind of like, yeah, it’s like,
why wouldn’t you take advantage of having Elon there?
And they did, you know, and just to the staff,
you know, first off, I’m sorry.
I was such a ruckus disruptor in the space.
But really, I mean, what a great time.
Elon had a great time.
The after party was amazing.
And describe the after party, were they wearing masks?
Oh, that’s a good segue.
That’s a good segue.
No, I’ll just leave it outside.
It was an outside party.
But we danced until, this is actually for real.
And I think it’s a good segue into
just what we’re seeing out there.
I left San Francisco having been yelled at somebody
because my mask fell off.
I didn’t know it.
And I had gone into, you know, a store
and they were like, your mask.
And they yelled it across the store, you know,
and I was like, oh, sorry.
You know, it was just kind of, you know,
when they fall off, you don’t notice it.
Then I got to Austin.
And when I’m in Austin, I’m walking down the street.
I’m the only person in Austin wearing a mask.
And somebody points at me and goes,
you don’t have to wear that mask, son.
And I was like, oh, and I look around.
There’s nobody wearing a mask.
It’s my first day there.
And he goes, you’ve been vaccinated?
I said, yeah.
He goes, you really don’t need to wear a mask.
So I take the mask off.
I get to Florida.
A friend of mine was out, you know,
having a cocktail at a bar.
Invites me to meet him for a cocktail.
I go to meet him for a cocktail.
There’s a DJ and he who shall not be named.
Anyway, I went to have a cocktail,
as one does in Miami.
There’s 100, 200 people, 200 people in the club.
The only people wearing masks are the staff
who are wearing them as chin guards.
And I’m like, that’s not the purpose of this, but OK.
So and then I get to New York
and everybody in New York is wearing one
or two masks on the street.
And I walked down an empty street.
OK, so we should talk.
We should talk about that CDC article
that was in The New York Times,
because that’s an incredible summary, Jason,
of this whole issue in a nutshell,
which is it’s it’s unbelievable.
And then to just give Saturday Night Live a nod.
Every day, everybody tested.
You got, you know, two tests like that.
I forget the names of them now
since I stopped taking them.
But you did like the big one and the small one.
Every day you got tested.
Every day you got wristbands.
You had to wear a mask 100% of the time.
And then when you were in the studio,
you had to wear the glass shield.
So if you saw the picture I did of myself and Elon
and Blood Pop, Michael, who’s a famous producer
for Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga,
who’s a friend of ours, Mike had to wear it, too.
So we’re I mean, Elon had a mask on
because he had to take it off to do skits.
But all the rehearsals, everybody was masked up,
including the actors.
And everybody was vaccinated.
So they really are taking this seriously.
And I understand because they in New York,
they had a ton of people die.
And to get my understanding,
that’s what I heard secondhand,
was that Lauren Michaels had to get a special variance
to keep Saturday Night Live on the air
from, you know, the governor and the mayor
and everybody had to sign off on it.
But I tweeted-
This is not taking COVID seriously.
This is basically an irrational fear of COVID.
Well, because they got hit the hardest, David.
So I think that they got hit the hardest.
And I tweeted,
why is everybody wearing a mask in New York?
And of course, I got like 100,
because there’s a pandemic.
But then what the two reasons that made sense were
so many people died
and there was so much suffering in New York,
that people out of a sign of respect
are still wearing them
until they hit herd immunity officially,
which I know you could roll your eyes at, David.
But, you know, they did have a-
It would be an equation.
I don’t think that’s the real reason.
No, I do actually do think it’s the real reason.
Because multiple people said to me,
it’s a way of showing people
that you actually care about them
and that you’re going to really take this seriously
until the end.
No, I think it’s more what Ezra Klein said,
which is this is the red MAGA hat for Team Blue.
This is pure virtue signaling.
The other thing they said was on a practical basis,
in New York, you’re, you know,
on the subway, your office,
and in, you know, going into a cafe,
you have to wear it,
and you’re doing that 17 times a day.
So taking the mask on and off
just becomes less work than just leaving it on.
That’s, those were reasonable answers I got.
But anyway, somebody summarize the story.
Another reason I think is that,
look, if you’re in a blue part of the country,
the media sources for Team Blue
are still promoting this idea
that outdoor spread is a thing,
that it’s a risk.
We’re finally now getting,
I mean, we’ve known since last summer
that there were no cases,
no documented cases of casual outdoor spread
anywhere in the world.
The Atlantic was reporting on this, okay?
This is not a conservative publication.
This is a liberal, a skew liberal publication.
So we’ve known since last summer,
I mean, when Gavin Newsom declared
that we weren’t allowed to go to the beach,
it was widely mocked.
And so only now is the CDC getting around
to loosening its guidance on outdoor mask wearing,
but it’s still not loose enough.
And so there was a great article
by David Leonard in the New York Times
that just came out, I think yesterday
or two days ago,
about the cautious CDC.
And what he said is,
by the way, this just validates
everything we’ve been saying on the pod
for the last few months.
Leonard chronicles the sort of absurdly
conservative guidance given by the CDC.
Basically, the CDC continues to suggest
that outdoor transmission accounts
for up to 10% of cases,
when the real number is certainly under 1%,
is probably under 0.1%.
And this is all based on a single study
in Singapore that was misclassified.
It was based on a construction site
that really wasn’t even an outdoor spread.
And yet the CDC still insists
that unvaccinated people need
to wear masks outdoors,
that vaccinated people wear them
in large public values,
and that children at summer camp
wear them at all times.
This is the current CDC guidance.
And so yesterday, when the head of the CDC
was pulled in front of a congressional hearing
and asked about this,
she doubled down on this less than 10%.
And the reason why it’s so misleading
is technically speaking,
less than 10% is correct.
But when the real number is 0.001%
or something like that,
it’s highly misleading to give 10%.
And the reason-
The line in the article, which I loved is,
it is accurate to say that sharks eat
less than 200,000 humans a year.
But it is also more accurate to say
sharks attack 150 humans a year.
And 150 is very different than 200,000.
But if you say sharks attack,
you know, 200,000 people or less a year,
you would think that it’s a much bigger problem
than it actually is.
And I think that’s the whole point,
which is, we’re not being scientific,
we’re being emotional and reactive.
And the paper that Leonard references,
basically, they took this data
that identified how spread was occurring empirically,
and identifying, you know, through tracing,
you know, where are people actually picking up COVID.
And that’s really where this empirical evidence suggests,
we’re talking about a less than 0.1%
casual outdoor spread rate.
And you can see that empirically
in the data.
But then there’s also this deterministic kind of approach
where you could say, like, look, how does spread happen?
Spread happens with viruses.
We know that viruses need to live in liquid
in order to survive when you’re outdoors.
If there’s any amount of wind or UV light,
the virus can very quickly degrade,
the protein can degrade, the RNA doesn’t transfer.
And so there’s a deterministic rationale
for scientific rationale for why that may be the case.
And this evidence that this paper,
which I’ve now shared, kind of gathers together
shows that, you know, that is indeed
what the statistics are showing.
And so yeah, you’re right.
But I think the precautionary principle,
David, is where the argument would be made
on the other side, which is, you know,
what’s the cost of wearing a mask
if there’s any risk at all?
And by the way, I’m not making this case personally,
but I think that’s where a lot of people
would make the counter argument.
Rather than debate the facts and the evidence
and the science, they would say,
but who cares?
It’s just a mask.
Why does that matter?
And so I think the question is,
why does it matter, right?
Like, why does it matter if they’re telling us
to wear masks?
Is there really that much of a cost
to people to do that?
Well, I mean, if people are doing it voluntarily,
that’s their right to do so.
But the question is mass mandate.
Should we continue to have mandates
on the population for something
that isn’t necessary?
And look, I was one of the first people
in March of 2000 to call for
mass wearing and mass mandates
because we were seeing the data
out of the Asian countries
showing that they were effective.
They were high cost or high benefit,
So I was in favor of it
when there was a pandemic raging.
But when T zero, the rate of transmission
is in free fall everywhere,
and now we’ve learned that outdoor spread
is not an issue,
I don’t support restricting people’s freedom.
And if, you know, for a reason
that’s not rooted in science.
And, you know, the problem
with the CDC guidance
is that people really act on it.
So you’ve got politicians,
you’ve got local jurisdictions
who will not do schools.
I mean, so the schools
have remained closed.
And by the way, the schools have been open
in Texas and Florida for six months.
We know based on empirical data
in the real world,
seeing what’s happening
in Texas and Florida,
that you’re not seeing an increase
in COVID cases in those places
because of school reopening.
And yet the CDC has not moved
its guidance on school reopening.
You have summer camps now
that for liability reasons
will make kids wear masks
because they can’t take the risk
of getting sued.
And then you’ve got politicians
like Gavin Newsom
who won’t wipe their ass
without the CDC’s
permission to do so.
So it has a real consequence
in the real world
that the CDC is stuck
on this ridiculous guidance.
Did we read the actual sentence
from the New York Times
about under 10%?
So you could read it
because it’s really sad, actually.
Just in terms of
the misleading CDC numbers,
they said, in quotes,
under 10% of the spread
has occurred outside.
When in reality,
the share of transmission
that occurred outdoors
seems to be below 1%
and maybe below 0.1%
multiple epidemiologists told me.
Right. Well, also read the quote.
This is directly from David Leonard
of the New York Times.
And I think it’s important to,
you know, it’s great
when you can quote
the New York Times
or the Atlantic
because these are
So Team Blue should be
more willing to accept them.
What Leonard said is
there is not a single
documented COVID infection
anywhere in the world
from casual outdoor interactions.
But do people know that?
I mean, do the people
walking down the street
with masks on know that?
They’ll know it now
by the way, did you guys know?
Jason just told me this.
We accumulate a million
views slash listens
a week to our podcast.
Yeah, now the archive’s growing.
So now a million people
will at least know.
I mean, at least.
I think it’s, you know,
it’s a little bit self-selective.
So let’s be honest.
Yeah, for intelligence.
I mean, the people weren’t.
No, no, no.
But the real question is like,
isn’t this an opportunity
for the CDC to actually
reestablish some credibility,
which is to say, OK,
we’re going to get back to facts.
We’re not going to.
We are not.
We know that people will be prone
to acting on anecdote and emotion.
So we’re going to be
grounded in truth.
In fact, we went back.
We looked at the Singapore study.
Here are the flaws in it.
Here’s how it applies.
And so we’re going to own it
and revise it.
And that would go such a long way.
The fact is,
it’s important to understand,
like, what do you think
the incentives are for them
to keep doubling down
on bad decision making?
There’s no downside.
I think I said this.
I think I said this a few months ago,
which is I don’t think that the CDC
or any kind of medical,
you know, administrative
group in particular
has to think about
the synthesis of the effects
of some of the policy
that they’re recommending.
Their objective is to save lives.
So if I’m running the CDC,
I’m going to tell people,
don’t leave your home ever.
Don’t drink alcohol.
Don’t eat red meat exercise.
You have to exercise 60 minutes a day
or you get taxed.
I mean, there’s a lot of things
that you could see
if you were purely focused
on saving lives,
you would make specific recommendations
only to save lives
without thinking about
outside of saving lives.
The consequences outside of saving lives
of telling people to wear masks
is it minimizes economic activity,
some might argue.
Therefore, there’s going to be
an impact on airlines
and hotels and outdoor
thing and spending
and all this other people
being willing to go to work
and people being afraid
of being in the office.
I mean, I see this.
I see this across
all my companies
even though they’re vaccinated
and they’re scientists,
they’re afraid to go to work.
And so, you know,
part of the perpetuation
of the fear that arises
from these policies
that are all about
the absolute saving of any life
is that you end up
having a significant cost
that’s not related
to the objectives
of that particular
And we see it around the world.
Sorry, this just goes back
to what I said about leadership.
A few episodes ago,
which is the leadership
of the administration
should be synthesizing
of that group,
along with the effect
that other groups
might be indicating
would arise from
and coming up with
a kind of concrete,
you know, kind of objective
around, okay, well,
how do we balance these
these different effects?
What you’re saying
is absolutely correct.
The people who are
making the decisions
are only thinking about
So it’s like a secret
when the president’s like,
can I go out and sign
They’re going to say no,
because they are responsible
for keeping the president alive.
Now, the other
pernicious thing about this
is they kept trying
to game the public
and the public
when you try to game
the public and you get caught
where they say don’t
Fauci says don’t wear a mask
because he doesn’t want
to run out of masks.
Then they say,
keep the masks on
because they want to,
you know, virtue signal
or whatever it is,
or they won’t simply say
the vaccine is not dangerous
or that the vaccine
is actually going to
keep you from dying.
They undersold the vaccine
and now everybody’s
going to question
everything they do
for all time.
Don’t manage us.
Manage the facts.
Stop trying to manage people
and just start managing
and make it crisp
And then somebody
has to be a goddamn
leader and say,
OK, the doctors
are saying this.
The economy is saying this.
And here’s how those
two things overlap.
In schools being closed
means more suicide
more depression in kids,
and people not being
able to put food
on their tables
means we’re going to create
who knows what
this economic policy
is going to create,
which is another segue.
David, you had something to say.
Well, look, I agree with that,
but I think you guys
are being a little bit
too charitable to the CDC.
It’s not just that they’re wrong
and it’s not just that
they have a bureaucratic
incentive for CYA
and to be too conservative
in their guidance.
It’s the fact that when
an error gets pointed out,
like by David Leonhard
in the New York Times,
they double down on the lie.
And so, Leonhard
followed up his article.
So, go to this tweet
that I just put in the chat.
at a Senate hearing today,
Senator Collins asked
CDC Director Dr. Walensky
about today’s edition
which was his article,
which explains why the CDC’s claim
that less than 10% of COVID
transmission is misleading.
And Walensky then doubles down
and has a bunch of excuses
and basically defends
this 10% number,
which is a lie.
Now, why would the CDC
be doing this?
There was separate reporting
by the New York Post.
Go to this article
on teachers’ unions
collaborated with the CDC
on school reopenings.
So, this guidance
that the CDC put forward
on school reopenings,
the teachers’ unions
were part of writing
And all of their suggestions
were actually accepted
and incorporated by the CDC.
Now, how is this science?
This is politics.
there were a bunch of articles
accusing the Trump administration
you know, political considerations
into their guidance.
There were huge scandals about this.
Where is the reporting today
about the influence
that the teachers’ unions
are wielding over the CDC
to deliberately keep schools closed,
even though the science
does not support that?
This is a gigantic scandal,
and yet no one’s covering it.
It’s left for the New York Post
to cover this
instead of the New York Times.
By the way, I think
this is a good transition
to that Druckenmiller interview,
because, you know,
Saxe, I just retweeted
what you had sent,
which was a link to the video
So, you know, Stanley Druckenmiller
is this incredible investor.
There’s many stories
At one point, you know,
he’s the guy that notoriously,
they say, broke the Bank of England,
where he was betting
against the British pound
and forced the central bankers
in the UK to devalue the pound.
And he’s made billions of dollars
managing initially George Soros’ money
and then spun off
and runs his own money now
as an investor.
And so he’s a macro guy.
So he thinks about kind of
macroeconomic conditions and effects.
And he talks a lot about Fed policy.
So he gave this interview on CNBC.
And I think the, you know,
the most kind of prescient quote,
and it was also based on an op-ed
he wrote, right, Saxe,
in the Wall Street Journal?
But the interview is fantastic.
The TV interview is great.
Just watch that.
The interview is great.
And he said, in the write up,
he said, clinging to an emergency
after the emergency has passed
is what the Fed behavior
indicates right now.
And I think that, you know,
kind of what we’re talking about broadly
is perhaps the emergency
in the United States
where you have this uncontrolled
increase in COVID cases.
That’s not the case today.
So the emergency has passed.
We still have COVID,
but it is not an emergency.
And the point is,
there’s a lot of institutions
and individuals and businesses
that are still operating
as if we were in the throes
of the emergency.
And so Druckenmiller is making the case
that the Fed,
and the Fed policy is acting
as if we’re in an emergency.
But broadly, we’re seeing this
across a lot of institutions
like the teachers unions and others
where people are effectively,
you know, never let a good emergency
go by without taking advantage
or whatever the saying is.
Never waste a crisis.
Never waste a crisis.
And the crisis,
keep the crisis going
is kind of the model
everyone’s in right now.
Milk the crisis.
Milk the crisis.
They’re keeping it going
as long as they can.
And Druckenmiller gave
some pretty amazing quotes.
He said that, well, first of all,
he described our current
monetary fiscal policy
as being the most radical
he had ever seen.
And this guy’s been watching markets
The Fed has pumped 2.5 trillion
of QE into the economy
He said that right now,
retail demand is five years
meaning not only has retail demand
if you look at the trend line,
it would be five years from now.
So they are pumping
demand like crazy.
They’ve issued 6 trillion
of new debt.
And then this is the thing
I didn’t know at all.
He said the Fed is buying
60 percent of new debt issues.
the bond market would be
rejecting this massive
because interest rates
would become prohibitive.
And he said that when
interest rates revert to the norm,
the historical norm,
interest expense on our debt
will be 30 percent
of the government budget.
So, I mean, think about that.
Look, the markets
have had to intervene
and we have essentially decoupled
what the government
thinks is happening
with what the capital markets
needs people to know.
And that’s a really unique dynamic.
I’m not nearly as successful as Stan
or have been in the markets
as long as him,
but in my 20 years,
this is the first time
I’ve really seen that.
So just to give you a sense of this,
the markets are now
acting to establish
that the Fed just seems to not
want to do anything about.
And what was so for
just to give you guys
a sense of this,
like, you know, when in February,
the markets really kind of
had its first capitulation.
What happened was that
all of a sudden people digested
all these facts that Stan just said
and realized, wait a minute,
like all of this money
is going to drive prices higher.
And so what they did was
they took the yield
on the 10 year bond
up by like 100 basis points
and the markets freaked out.
They went from like 0.75 to 1.75.
And the Fed came out and said,
hey, hold on, nothing to see here.
This is everything’s going to be fine.
But then everything since then
has been sort of leading
to this realization.
Commodity prices are up 50%.
There’s this kind of like joke
that like, you know,
you see a bed of lumber
moving across a railroad.
That’s like a billion dollars of lumber
just because of how expensive it is.
You know, there are shortages everywhere.
You’ll be shocked to know that today
Chipotle put out the following guidance,
which is they said they are
increasing the minimum wage to $15
and that within three years
you can make $100,000 a year at Chipotle.
That is as much as some engineers
and coders in the United States.
Dara Khorshashouy, the CEO of Uber
said on the Uber earnings call last week
that the average hourly rate
that some drivers in New York,
Uber drivers in New York were getting paid
was $38 an hour.
$38 an hour.
So what does all of this mean?
I think what Stan is trying to say
$100,000 a year.
But we’re in this weird place
where we’ve decoupled
the government institution
that’s responsible for fiscal stability.
And then the overall capital markets
used to work in tandem
and they are no longer working in tandem
because you have a narrative
and a set of data points
that aren’t supported by the facts.
And so this is an interesting thing.
So in the CDC versus
the American people example,
there’s no way to push back, right?
I mean, governors can act independently.
Cities will act independently.
But at the end of the day,
you know, the teachers unions
are working with the CDC.
The school camps have this guidance
and you’re stuck in this morass.
In the capital markets,
that’s not necessarily true.
And so you can change
and you can re-rate asset prices
based on sentiment.
And I think what everybody is saying
in this example is
we’re past the emergency.
We’ve put too much money in the economy.
We need to reopen.
And we now need to face the fact
that there are massively rising prices,
which means that there will be inflation.
And if you don’t act,
the capital markets
will continue to act for us.
And so this is an example today
where you’re just seeing
a bloodbath in the markets.
And by the way,
the only time the two government officials
tried to be on either side,
Janet Yellen last Friday,
kind of casually in an interview,
kind of put her toe out in the water
as Treasury Secretary
and kind of said something
that said there could be inflation
and literally was hand slapped
and had to put out something
that disavowed her comments
less than 24 hours later.
So that’s where we are.
There is a bloodbath
in the markets today.
And there’s been one
for the last couple of months.
And in particular,
all the growth stocks have been hammered.
And just to build on
what you’re saying, Chamath,
so there’s an announcement today,
there’s some data that the inflation,
the CPI is up 4% and climbing.
And so people are now pricing in
big interest rate increases.
And so that makes growth stock,
that hammers growth stocks
because all the earnings
are in the distant future.
And so they get now
discounted at a higher rate.
And so the valuations
get absolutely hammered.
So, you know, it’s absolutely souring.
The markets are basically souring
on this Biden agenda.
And, you know, I just, you know,
I’m beginning to wonder
if Biden’s going to be a Jimmy Carter here,
because frankly, all he had to do
was leave things well enough alone.
COVID was winding down.
We had a vaccine.
All they had to do was distribute it
to as many people as possible,
end COVID, let the recovery take shape.
And instead they push this insane
$10 trillion agenda of taxes and spending
that are now overstimulating the economy
that are causing inflation
that are now creating interest rate increases.
No, that’s not true yet.
Meaning he did do a good job
on the vaccine, David.
But then to your point,
the federal government’s posture
on reopening is still been stunted.
And he’s proposing so much
more incremental capital,
which we all know probably
will not be efficiently spent.
And there isn’t any other good ideas.
And so he believes his path
to reelection, which is true,
is to spend and to put money
to put money to the economy.
I think it’s going to backfire.
I think it’s going to backfire massively.
And to tax, right?
So he’s the spending,
he’s trying to offset with higher taxes
on the wealthy, which, you know,
from his point of view
is not going to affect him.
And the analysis is probably fair.
It’s not going to affect
his his voter block.
He’s going to backfire massively.
Look, if the economy turns,
we were set for a post COVID boom.
And right now that is all at risk
because like you’re saying,
they’re keeping the economy closed
or parts of it way too long.
They then overcompensate for that
by printing a ton of money.
And then they overcompensate for that
by raising taxes too much.
Just to build on that.
So that second step
of their overcompensating
their inability to open
with money is so true.
Because then what happens
is your labor force stays impaired
because people make enough money
by not working.
This is the key issue right now
for a lot of businesses.
I mean, you have restaurants
that are overbooked, cannot get servers.
Jim Cramer was saying he’s,
he’s up to $18, you know,
per hour per servers,
he’s going to move it to 20.
It won’t make a difference
because with that extra 300,
I think in federal,
plus three to 700,
I think, depending on where you are,
you’re now at 60, 70, 80%.
And people are like,
well, people will still go to work.
And it’s like,
yeah, but you’re saving commuting
and you probably have side hustles
and you’ve lowered your commute expense.
So what is going to incentivize people
to go back to work?
We are now running a dry run
with cryptocurrency and,
you know, stimulus,
a UBI experiment.
And the result of this UBI experiment
is negative economic growth
or throttled economic growth.
We cannot be productive
if people don’t want to work and contribute.
So just to your point,
we need more people to go to work.
So just to your point on Friday,
Montana, which was part
of the federal government’s,
pandemic related UI benefits program,
basically said that
we’re canceling those benefits
and we’re opting out.
And on top of that,
I think they’re now offering
a $1,200 bonus to return to work.
And the problem is
because Montana now
has a severe labor shortage,
but it’s not just Montana.
It’s every state in the union.
So we have these two opposing forces, right?
We have so much stimulus.
We have an under motivated labor force.
We have more taxation.
That’s also just going to be wasted.
So very poor ROI.
And then now we have input costs going up
and prices going up
to try to attract people.
It’s all going to drive.
Here’s the quote from
the governor of Mississippi.
The purpose of unemployment benefits
is to temporarily assist
Mississippians who are unemployed
through no fault of their own.
After many conversations
over the last several weeks
small business owners
and their employees,
it has become clear
that the pandemic unemployment assistance
and other like programs
passed by the Congress
may have been necessary
in May of last year,
but are no longer.
So in May of this year,
and can you imagine
the hit you’re going to take
from woke mobs,
from people who believe
in income inequality,
when you say,
I think we have to stop
sending people free money
so they go back to work,
like this is a very hard
position to take.
And we now have this occurring
on a micro basis in California.
We have a is it true
we have a $75 billion surplus this year
as the city devolves?
Yeah, now we’re going to take that.
And instead of lowering taxes
and maybe trying to get Tesla
or Oracle or other venture
capital firms that have left
instead of doing that,
what would be what could we do,
David, with that $75 billion?
OK, well, OK, so great point.
So the $75 billion surplus,
one third of that
is from the federal bailout,
which obviously we don’t need.
And that’s the money printing
that’s coming out of Washington.
So we’re giving that back, right,
to another state that could use it?
Good luck, exactly.
No, the other two thirds
is because last year
we had all these unexpected tax receipts
from the stock market boom.
And so you had all these
paying capital gains on that.
So but what this highlights to me is,
and what I wonder about
is how many of those taxpayers
have left the state?
Because we know that we had net
migration loss of 182,000 in 2020.
So how many of those people
left the state and won’t be
paying taxes this year?
And if Biden breaks the stock market
through this insane tax and spend,
then where is this surplus
going to come from next year?
And what this highlights to me is
I think we have people in Washington
and Sacramento, for that matter,
who’ve lost sight of the fact
that ultimately the private sector
and the public sector are a partnership
because the private sector generates
the largesse and the wealth
to fund the public sector
and to fund the creation
of these public goods,
to fund education,
to fund law and order,
to fund social programs.
And they’ve stopped seeing it that way.
They see the private sector
not as something like a cow to be milked
or a sheep to be sheared,
but they want to skin the sheep
instead of shearing it.
And so they’re really at risk
or killing the golden goose,
I guess you could put it that way.
And I think that during the Clinton years,
just to take a contrast,
we had government spending,
federal government spending
as a percent of GDP
was between 8.5% and 22%.
That was the range.
And we had a boom.
So when you have a federal spending
as a percent of GDP around 20%,
it works, right?
And that doesn’t mean
you can’t increase government spending.
It just means that government spending
will increase as the economy gets bigger.
But what you have now
is federal spending over 30% of GDP
and everything is starting to break.
That’s the problem.
Very, very big problem.
And of course…
And that’s why we’re all
getting red-pilled, right?
How many people in Silicon Valley,
frankly, who make a living
off gross stocks
are now starting to scratch their heads
going, gee, what did I vote for?
It’s definitely becoming a thing.
And I would say the purple pill party,
you know, like chop it up.
Let’s mix these two things.
Let’s candy flip, whatever it takes
like to get out of this,
you know, we got to get this party restarted.
Centrism is the answer.
It absolutely is.
And, you know…
Centrism is the answer.
And I think it’s probably good
for us to take a pause here
and maybe talk about this
Business Insider hit piece
or what was likely to be a hit piece.
But turned out, I think,
on Emerging Fair,
calling this all-in podcast.
And I don’t know if this is accurate,
but I thought it was pretty funny.
Possibly the single most disruptive click
in California politics this year.
I think they’re referring to the four of us.
And then, of course,
I get absolutely skewered
for making clucking noises.
I own those clucks.
I’m proud of those clucks.
Here’s what I’ll say.
Can I say something?
I think that, look, our…
I don’t know.
I’m a little exhausted
about local politics
and California politics.
I’m not exhausted by federal politics
because I think it’s an important lens,
as David said,
into like how we actually conduct business
because all of the businesses
we’re involved with
are inherently global
and America leads.
Here’s what I’ll say, though,
about that article,
which I didn’t read,
like most of these things,
which I don’t really read.
Never read your press.
Rule number one in the game.
I think it’s incredibly important
to realize that California
was a bellwether for opportunity
and the ideals of American upward mobility.
And a lot of people came here
irrespective of the taxes
because they sought out like-minded people.
They sought out a moderate liberal viewpoint
and an economic set of opportunities.
Two of those three boundary conditions
And that’s why I think California
is now important
because it is a canary in the coal mine
for the rest of the United States,
do we become a balkanized country of 50 states
or are there like generic, progressive,
that everybody can agree to and sign up to
and where governments largely still get out of the way?
This, like, I don’t think,
you know, if you look at sort of like tech oligopolists
and the hatred we have for them,
I don’t think political oligopolists are any better.
And so, you know,
I don’t think we want either of them in charge
is really the answer.
And so, we just got to use this election cycle,
I think, to kind of like vote a moderate agenda,
the most disruptive thing that can happen in California
is somebody emerges who is rational and moderate,
you can categorize me as a Republican or Democrat
on a whole bunch of issues.
I had to pick a platform
because the stupid election model makes me pick one.
So call me a Democrat or call me a Republican,
but the reality is I’m a centrist.
Here’s what I believe.
And if that person gets voted in,
then hopefully it changes the conversation
for the rest of the country.
Otherwise, we are headed to 50 balkanized states
And Jason, the thing where you make a joke
is actually kind of sad.
If you get $25 billion and you don’t need it,
the ideal thing is that you actually give it back
to the federal government
because you think there’s some accountability
for all these dollars
and it actually is the right thing to do.
And the fact that everybody laughs
because we know, no, of course not.
We’d rather just dig a ditch and fill a ditch for 25 billion
or, you know, two and a half miles of high speed rail,
whatever the crazy thing is.
That’s kind of sad.
It’s sad and it’s corrupt, right?
It’s a corruption.
It’s a corruption that we’ve just gotten used to,
which is you’re going to take 26 billion
that you don’t need, that you don’t deserve.
It’s like the school board in San Francisco announcing
they’re going to open school for one day
to qualify for incentives for reopening
that Gavin Newsom gave them for 12 million bucks.
It’s a pure money grab.
You know, it’s all about the Benjamins for these guys.
And by that, I do not mean students named Benjamin.
Wow, there you go, folks.
David Sachs punching it up on the next SNL.
I wonder why he didn’t invite you to come with him.
I’m going to stick with my, I’m not as good as you, Jason.
I’m going to stick with my day job.
But let me, can we go back to this article?
I want to give you my two cents on this article.
I did, you know, it was behind a paywall,
so it was hard to read, but I got a copy of it.
Here’s my view on it.
First of all, I think they did pull their punches a little bit
because we did the pre-buttle.
You know, we called them out before
based on their very biased list of questions
they sent me.
But in any event, they kind of pulled their punches
a little bit, but the article was kind of suffused
with this, how dare they pissiness, you know?
And in a couple of areas, one was, you know,
the reporter was very upset that we’re going direct, right?
We’ve talked about going direct,
meaning going around reporters
and speaking directly to the public.
It’s kind of, well, how dare they do that?
You know, they should be talking through us,
you know, we, the objective reporters,
and then we’ll tell the story for them.
No, we’re going direct.
We want to have an influence.
We want to speak our minds.
And the second thing they’re upset about
is the fact that we’re contributing to these elections.
And the reporter made a point of saying
that I sought out the Boudin recall.
They didn’t just come to me.
I sought them out and wrote $25,000
as if, what is he really up to?
Why did he seek them out?
Well, if you want to know what I’m up to,
I’ve written about it.
I wrote a blog on, you know, the problem of Chase Boudin.
I’ve written a blog on how Gavin Newsom
has moved very far to the left.
You don’t need to speculate or wonder
what I’m up to.
I’ve spent thousands of words.
Yeah, but here’s the problem, David.
David, they want you to go through them.
And the fact that this podcast has bigger reach
than when we go on CNBC or bigger reach
than we’re in Business Insider.
And, you know, when the New Yorker article
on Chamath comes out,
more people will listen to this podcast
than read that article.
That’s what this is about.
There’s a certain threatening nature
to what we’re doing here,
where, you know, as they admit,
we’re more influential than they are.
Well, then why read them?
Like, what is the point?
Especially if they’re doing link baiting,
they look even, they look dumb
when compared to the dialogue we’re having here.
They can’t have the dialogue we’re having here
because let’s face it, we’re four insiders.
We see what’s happening on the inside.
And if we talk to them,
they might get 10 or 20% of the picture.
And in aggregate, they might get to 50 or 60,
but we get 100%.
Let me connect a couple of dots
because I think what you’re saying is really important.
In my mind, I think this is another example
of like the CDC example
or the financial markets example,
where in all of these cases,
what we have is the following dynamic,
which is like, if you think about
when the newspaper used to hit your front door, right?
Like you used to wake up and, you know,
when the paper was delivered, right?
We all remember that.
And you’d pick it up and it was a physical paper.
Now, I’m just going to use it,
this number to make an example.
Let’s just say it was eight and a half by 11.
You take this eight and a half by 11 piece of paper
and what you have is a fixed container.
And so what there was, was inherent competition.
And so inherently you had this leverage
where it was only the best things
that got into the paper, right?
They segregated by sections,
people wanted to advertise against it.
And having a fixed amount of real estate
really made that real estate precious.
And I think that that was really, really important.
Now think about what’s happened.
When you go to that same paper online,
let’s just use the New York Times,
effectively that container has become infinite.
And so now you’ve completely taken away
the ability for anybody to actually assign real value.
There’s no above the masthead
or above the fold concept as much as there used to be,
especially in infinite scrolling.
The point of all of this is,
this is why there’s no value in coming back
and re-telling the truth.
You just go to the next clickbait title
because you’re just keep on going and going
and you just wonder, hey, wait a minute,
to tell the truth is an inconvenient artifact
of my business model today.
Whereas before telling the truth was really important.
It was an anchor which created more value
for you to sell ads.
Now it’s just, it just gets lost in a sea of things.
There’s such an agenda.
So the point is the financial markets
in this interesting way is the only,
or it’s one of the few places left
where you can vote in real time about the truth, right?
And so for example, like, you know,
you get all of these readings
and you get all of these documents from the Fed,
which is the financial markets version of the CDC,
but you can vote that you don’t believe them.
And you can see it every day,
the gap between what they say is narrative
and what the facts are.
And that’s a really healthy dynamic
that still exists in finance and capital markets.
We just need to figure out a way
where it exists everywhere else.
Otherwise, people will always want to make sure
that they have a direct conduit
to tell their version of the truth
and allow people to decide for themselves.
Before we get to science with Friedberg,
if he gets his camera back up and running,
I don’t know if you guys know,
but Vox canceled us this week
with an assist from Taylor Lorenz.
The funniest story in all of this
is the multimillionaire VC is co-opting
the language of young women,
MLM marketers in an effort to seem cool and hip with us.
Why white men are using the term besties.
I don’t know if you saw that.
I think Taylor Lorenz has had
her sense of humor surgically removed.
I mean, doesn’t she understand
that this is a self-deprecating,
self-mocking bit that we came up with
or that you came up with?
I mean, come on, it’s a gag.
We know it’s funny for 50 year old guys
to be calling each other besties.
The reason why, by the way,
just if everybody wants to know
the origin of that is
one of our other friends, Phil Hellmuth,
kept calling me bestie C.
And we used to think it was the dumbest thing
that we’ve ever heard.
And then what we thought would be even funnier
is to just co-opt it.
And it was done mostly-
And give him no credit.
But it was done initially to make fun
of how Muth used to call me.
Well, Phil, Hellmuth actually has
the maturity level of a teenage girl.
With the name dropping.
When he used the term bestie,
he was not using it ironically.
We’re using it ironically.
Hey, let’s talk a little bit about science
so we can keep the Friedberg ratio up
for all these Friedberg stands,
including whichever maniac
is running Friedberg’s dogs,
anonymous Twitter handle.
I don’t know if you talked to Twitter security
about that yet, Friedberg.
My dog’s on a walk right now.
He’ll come back
and then he can tweet later as well.
It is my dog that runs the account.
So much for our ratings.
What is your dog’s name again?
Monty. Montgomery Wiggins.
With no Montgomery,
this is going to be lowest episode
in a long time.
His name was Wiggins at the SPCA
where I adopted him from.
And I wanted to name him Monty
because he’s like a hustler.
He hustled his way, you know,
from the streets of the mission
into a nice condo in Pack Heights.
So I gave him the full name Montgomery.
So he’s Montgomery Wiggins now.
Oh, here he is.
Monty, come here.
Come on, D.
Come on, Monty.
OK, tweet something.
Hey, there’s a lot going on
with synthetic biology.
We saw two different IPOs
in, I believe, the last month or so.
Tell us about the Ginko Bioworks
and the Zemmergen IPO.
So the premise of synthetic biology,
which dates back, you know,
many years, right?
Genentech is one of the first companies
to effectively use synthetic biology
to make products.
So, you know, Genentech and Amgen
started making these proteins
that became biologic drugs.
And the way you can kind of think
about synthetic biology
is the DNA is software
and we can program the software
to get the organism of the,
you know, whatever DNA we’re changing
to make something that we want to use.
And so synthetic biology
is all about editing the genome
or editing the DNA of an organism,
editing its DNA
and doing that in a way
that you can kind of make a product.
And so this was done initially
for biologic drugs.
And over the last kind of 20 years or so,
using synthetic biology
as a kind of approach,
we’ve kind of thought about,
well, how can we make things like fuel
and increasingly more commoditized products
like, you know, proteins
that we might consume
for animal consumption
instead of using animals to make proteins.
And so the underlying technologies
have all followed an accelerated path
that’s greater than Moore’s law.
You know, DNA sequencing costs
have dropped faster than Moore’s law
over the last 10 or 15 years.
The ability to synthesize or print DNA,
CRISPR, you know, kind of provides us
with a set of tools
to do much more precise DNA editing
and so on and so forth.
And there’s just a confluence
sort of like there were leading up
to the personal computing revolution,
that are now going to enable
this incredible proliferation
of a new industry
that many argue will rewrite
all industrial systems,
all industry that makes everything
that humans consume from materials
to food, to the chemicals,
to the plastics,
everything that we use in our daily life
can be rewritten using synthetic biology.
And so the promise of this dates back
again, like two decades or so,
there was a company called Amaris
that John Doerr backed,
that was one of the first companies
that was one of the few companies
from the original synthetic biology companies
that actually survived and made it through.
And they’re still around,
they’re still a publicly traded company.
And more recently,
there have been these kind of
more digitally enabled,
at least that’s the premise
that they kind of make
for what for their businesses, companies.
So Zymergen, which was, you know,
got a bunch of SoftBank money,
they raised a billion dollars
as a private company.
They got public with like,
I think 13 or 14 million of revenue.
And they’re worth $5 billion
in their IPO.
So they just went public.
And this other company
called Ginkgo Bioworks,
which is a similar sort of,
you know, synthetic biology
platform company just went public,
or just announced that
they’re going public via SPAC
at a $15 billion market cap
with, you know,
I think less than 100 million revenue.
So, you know, the game is on.
And I think one way
to kind of think about this is,
these businesses aren’t
great businesses today.
But the promise of the next century
being all about synthetic biology,
you know, where biology becomes software,
and you can program
biological organisms to make
and print pretty much anything
we as humans consume,
is a premise that everyone believes
is going to come to fruition this century.
And it will completely reinvent industry
will improve sustainability.
I think it is going to be
the great savior for this planet,
and for our ability
to sustain on this planet.
So these are kind of, you know,
two big IPOs that validate
that the capital markets are there.
There’s so many big
Chamath can share more on this
that are like backing,
quote, unquote, ESG companies.
Synthetic biology is this kind of ESG,
you know, moment.
And, and these two IPOs
happening at the valuations
that they’re happening at
and the capital that’s going in.
I think these are kind of like
the Netscape moments
for synthetic biology.
And we’re going to see
a tremendous amount happen
over the next couple of years.
So Chamath, how close are these
from being science projects in a lab
to being scalable revenue
companies in your estimation?
Because these are de minimis
amounts of capital we’re talking about.
So this feels like
de minimis amounts of revenue.
De minimis amounts of revenue.
Large amounts of capital.
Large amounts of capital.
Is this, is this,
how far is it to actually
cross that chasm?
We, I think that we’re still
trying to figure out
what the right business model
for these companies is.
So for example, like
if you look at chip design, right?
Like, so there’s an entire value chain
where there’s the people
that manufacture the equipment, right?
There’s the people that run the factory.
There are the people
that develop the tool chain.
So the software that you can use
to characterize and build a chip, right?
And if you look at those industries,
the factory in the middle
tends to be the least valuable.
Companies like Verilog,
you know, folks that make the software
are really important.
And then folks that make the equipment,
because the equipment is so precise
and very complicated is valuable.
If you translate that to biology,
we need to sort out
where the value is going to be.
So the amazing thing about Ginkgo
is what its promises,
what the promise that they
that they’re going to make to the market
is we’re going to make
so that an entire generation
of biologists and chemists
who would otherwise
have not been able to
just actually literally like
write into a command line interface
and generate biologic samples,
we’re going to be able to enable that
the same way an electrical engineer.
So like, you know, for example, like,
you know, when I was doing internships,
or you would literally be writing Verilog,
and it would get, you know,
what was called a netlist,
and you could send a netlist to a fab,
and all of a sudden outcomes a chip.
So that’s what we’re trying to do.
The problem that they have to figure out now
is, are you a tool provider?
Are you, you know, picking shovels?
Are you doing it yourself
on balance sheet?
Are you a product company?
And this is where we’re too early
to know what the answer is.
But as the market sorts that out,
as David said,
more people will get comfortable
This is why Zymergen and Ginkgo
are two really important data points,
because as David said,
it will force the market
to help these companies rationalize
where they are
and what the tool chain looks like
and compare it to semiconductors.
And in that you’re going to have
an entire generation of companies get built.
It’s super exciting.
I spent time in and around these businesses
without getting too specific.
And I think they’re really compelling,
And this is I mean, I never I don’t
generally speak my book.
But this is where I spend most of my time,
So I really am making a bet on my career
and my capital and my time
on synthetic biology
and the opportunity it presents
for our species this century.
So all of the work I do
and I have several businesses
that I would say compete
with Ginkgo and Zymergen in different ways
and are attacking this problem
in different ways,
which is I mentioned this last time,
but how do you produce enough
How do you make stuff?
Once you’ve got fermenters and you know,
so are there fermenter tank companies?
Are there, you know,
cheap fermentation platform companies?
You know, do we need to scale
these things up?
Do we need to kind of reinvent
how they’re operating?
There’s a lot of stuff we need
to kind of figure out over
the next couple of years
for this to really kind of
sweep the world.
But the fact that we can like
program biology to make stuff for us
is kind of where we’re at today.
That’s the moment.
So here’s another example
of a fabulous company.
This is a private company,
but you know, you’ll see them
in the next probably three or four years
debut as a public business
called Pivot Bio,
another synthetic biology company,
which I think is just masterful.
And you know,
what essentially Pivot Bio does,
it essentially is a clean alternative
to synthetic nitrogen fertilizer.
So like you put this shit in the ground,
when you’re planting seeds,
and what it enables is plants
that were previously
incapable of nitrogen fixation,
meaning getting nitrogen
out of the soil.
They’re able to do it.
Now, all of a sudden,
yields go up,
density goes up,
predictability of the crops go up.
And it’s a huge advance for farming.
What’s interesting about,
you know, so Pivot Bio,
like Chamath mentioned,
there’s a lot of plants
like soybeans, legumes
that will fix nitrogen.
They’ll take nitrogen out of the air,
70% of the air is nitrogen.
And so plants need nitrogen to grow.
All protein has to have nitrogen in it.
So nitrogen is key to growing plants.
Corn, you need to put nitrogen
on the ground.
So around 6% of global electricity
is used to make ammonia,
which is the fertilizer
that farmers around the world
put on their fields
to grow their corn.
And the ammonia that sits on the field
and doesn’t get absorbed by the plant
turns into nitrous oxide,
which is a 300x worse greenhouse gas
than carbon dioxide.
Think about that.
300 times the heat capacity
of carbon dioxide
when it goes up into the atmosphere.
So the environmental effects
of nitrogen-based agriculture are awful.
And, you know, Pivot is one of the first,
they actually commercialized
a research microbial strain to do this.
And you put it on the seed
before you put it in the ground.
But now the ability for us
to engineer microbes,
and the microbes now pull the nitrogen
out of the air
and stick it into the plant.
The ability for us to engineer microbes
opens up this universe of possibility
where Pivot is kind of like,
you know, kindergarten level
of what’s going to happen
over the next couple of years,
where we can now engineer
all these microbes
to pull nitrogen out of the atmosphere
and maybe reduce all fertilizer use
and have a huge effect on greenhouse gas
resulting from agriculture.
A lot of what you’ve mentioned
seems to be things in the world,
products that can be improved and refined.
What about inside of our bodies?
I know there are some efforts
to understand what cells are doing
and maybe use synthetic biology
to get a reading on a molecular
or cellular level
as to what is going on inside your body.
And then there are these
self replicating systems
that might be able to,
you know, I don’t know
if your white blood cells were low,
you know, and it was the 80s
and it was HIV,
you could just boom,
produce more white sub blood cells
with a shot or something.
Well, the original idea of Moderna,
which we all know now
as being kind of this RNA vaccine producer
was you could put RNA in your body
and therefore provide the code
to get yourselves to make specific proteins
that can do things in your body.
And so we did this example.
Well, the example we’re using now
is the COVID vaccine, right?
So it makes the COVID the spike protein,
which we then develop
an immune response to.
But the idea with Moderna
is you could eventually replace medicine
with these RNA shots.
And now yourselves can start
to make specific proteins
to do specific things in your body.
Now, we’re very elementary as a species
in our understanding of how proteins
drive systems level biology and outcomes.
So we’re starting to learn about this.
But I will tell you,
there is a really interesting research team
at UCSF led by a woman
named Hannah El-Sameed.
And this research team is identifying
they’re building a toolkit of proteins,
where these proteins can almost have
like robotic arms,
they can have really interesting function.
Think about Martin Short in inner space.
Remember that machine he went in,
he went in the body,
and he started doing stuff in the body.
They’re working on building
basically a toolkit.
So it’s not just a single protein
that now it goes and does something,
but really complicated combinations
of proteins that can now go in the body
and fix things and repair things
and react environmentally
to specific conditions in the body,
like, oh, there’s a cancer cell here,
I’m going to go do something to it now.
And so there’s this whole,
there’s this whole world of like dynamic,
called, you know,
kind of making things more dynamical
than they have been historically.
Just just thinking about aging,
would it theoretically be able to help
with hearing loss, eyesight loss,
you know, and those type of things?
Would you be able to
there’s another area of biology,
we could talk about this at length,
but there’s another biology called
stem cell therapy,
where you can basically take,
you know, all cells evolve
from stem cells in your body.
So these are kind of the original cells
that you have initially in an embryo, right?
And then as your body kind of grows,
you end up with these stem cells,
and you have stem cells in your body today.
Those stem cells, when they make a copy,
they could differentiate
into different cells in your body.
So for the last, you know, 10, 20 years
in California, by the way,
has about a $4 billion,
if I remember right stem cell grant program,
where they’re funding research
into stem cell therapies.
So there are significantly successful
therapies right now,
multiple companies are productizing
and launching and they’re already active
in the market for fixing blindness
with people that have specific diseases
called retinitis pigmentosa,
where your your the retinal cells
in your body and your eyes
degrade and stop working,
you will get a stem cell injection
of progenitor retinal stem cells
into your eye,
and you will grow a new retina
and you can see again.
And the efficacy is insane.
It is incredible how well this works.
And they are doing this with lots
of other stem cell therapies.
So we’re getting so smart.
And here’s an incredible thing
scientists discovered a few years ago,
and I think these guys won
the Nobel Prize for this,
you could take any cell
in the human body
and induce it chemically,
meaning you put a bunch
of chemicals on that cell
and get that cell to convert
back into a stem cell.
Now you’ve created your own stem cells
from your own body.
And you can now put them
back in your body and get them
to turn into any other cell
in your body.
So this is called induced
pluripotent stem cell therapy,
So IPSC now forms the basis
for a lot of these stem cell therapy
kind of programs
that are underway.
And so this is going to be
an insane field
over the next couple of decades.
if we took the $25 billion
that we don’t need in California
and gave it to these companies,
how quickly could we survive?
How quickly could we solve this problem?
Nothing drives me more nuts
than when I see money
not going to science.
I mean, it is just nuts.
Seriously, like let’s,
we need to start
our own political party
that is based on reasonable suggestions
like the one I just made
or the ones, you know,
the middle ground party,
just a reasonable party.
Tax, do you think
there’s possibility for a third
for a true third party
in the United States?
it’s really set up
to be a two party system.
You have to really take over
one of the two parties.
And frankly, the problem
in our politics right now,
I’m not saying
the Republican Party is great,
but the Democrat Party
has basically been taken over
by woke socialists.
So, you know, but
so I think that kind of
like limits your options.
But I mean,
what you have to do
is create a movement
and then you basically
take over one of the parties.
I mean, what we’re describing today,
I mean, just to up level it is,
it almost feels like
we’re in a race
between technological acceleration
and social and political deterioration.
So like technology.
One more time.
We’re in a race,
I think, for the future
between technological acceleration
and social and political deterioration.
And the question is,
which one of these forces
is going to win the future?
Everything Friberg describes
is incredibly hopeful, right?
We’re going to be able to cure people
with all these miracle technologies.
I mean, even the new mRNA vaccines
that were developed for COVID.
I mean, it’s miraculous, right?
And we’re going to be able
to use that same mRNA technology
for other things, other diseases,
maybe even to attack cancer cells.
So there’s so many
positive things happening
and we all see it
in the technology ecosystem.
There’s been an explosion
of wealth creation and opportunity
created over the last 20 years
And so we have this
very positive force.
And then everything
that seems to be happening
in our politics and society
It involves deterioration.
special interest corruption.
It’s basically people
wedded to these insane ideologies.
And you’re right.
Like what we really want
is just a pragmatic party
that allows the private sector
to do its job,
generate the wealth necessary
to then fund social programs
instead of trying to upturn
the whole system,
which is what it feels
like so many people in power
are trying to do today.
So I registered Reason Party for us
if we ever want to go there.
So if you want to bookmark Reason Party.
Let’s talk about this tonight, boys,
because I got to run.
Is it on?
I’m going to see two of you tonight.
I cannot wait.
Sax, you got to fly up.
You got to fly up.
Sax, what’s the point of having a bird
if you don’t let the bird out of the cage?
Our friend from L.A. is flying up.
I mean, you can fly up.
Our other friend who puts the ball
in the basket is coming.
There are many friends.
As many friends.
Come on, Sax.
Free the bird.
I’ll take it under advisement.
Speaking of bird,
they just announced a SPAC today.
Oh, here comes the plane.
Oh, here we go.
Here we go.
Here we go.
Love you guys.
You ain’t got no fuckings.
I got to go.
I got to go.
I’d like to give a shout out to bird on SPAC.
I love you, besties,
and we’ll see you next time.
See you guys.
On the All In podcast.
Love you guys.
The queen of quinoa.
I’m going all in.
What your winners like.
What your winners like.
Besties are gone.
That’s my dog taking a notice
in your driveway, Sax.
My avatars will meet me at Plymouth.
We should all just get a room
and just have one big huge orgy
because they’re all just useless.
It’s like this like sexual tension
that they just need to release somehow.
When you’re the bee.
When you’re the bee.
You’re a bee.