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Below the Line with James Beshara on Smash Notes

#13 — Matt MacInnis — A Beautiful Mind(set)

Below the Line with James Beshara podcast.

June 20

Matt MacInnis is a founder and investor in Silicon Valley, and he’s widely seen as one of the best personal angel investors out there — combining his experience as a founder (and knowing what made his investors actually helpful and others unhelpful) with the insight into what spaces and products are on the rise.

That’s his day job though. He is a profoundly deep thinker, an articulate leader, but most importantly, he’s honest. He’s seen all the ups and all the downs a founder can see, so you throw experience into that equation, and you’ve got a hell of a conversation.

Some of our favorite quotes from the episode:

"It is perfectly acceptable to go start a company with insane odds against you. If you understand the outcome will be beautiful, no matter what, thats the mindset you need to approach it with and it will be beautiful."

"I could not be where I am today without the hard experiences I had to go through, and it sucked… but they were necessary."
"That was the last time I put another person in the slot of alpha, on a pedestal, someone to emulate…" on his experience with Steve Jobs

"You look around and think that everyone else has it figured it out — and they don't…and I am the first to admit that I’m faking it too."

“I knew where I was strong and I knew where I wasn't, and I was fighting that instead of accepting it.”

“When I sit down across from an entrepreneur…and they really want me to invest, and its not one I can invest in…They’re not answering “should Matt be an investor” while they're trying to answer “can I get Matt to invest in this?” — and these are vastly different questions.”

“Don't win job offers. Go see if you test positive for that particular company or role and let “no” be as beautiful as yes because its the right thing. We are not as interested in truth as we are desire...”

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all right friends and listeners. Today's easily one of my favorite conversations I've had to date and is with, and it's just cause it's with one of the deepest thinkers that I get to chat with out here in Silicon Valley. My friend Matt McGinnis, he was the founder and CEO of the Square, back to company inkling for nine years, and the best way to sum it up is he has seen everything there is to see as a founder and CEO, coupled with reflecting on everything he's seen, coupled with the third thing to round it out as he's an open book that shares everything. It's a rare combo toe to find all three of those. We go over everything from when he was a radio deejay at 16 years old and Nova Scotia to his time at Harvard, seven years at Apple and then experience with Steve Jobs. That that impacted ifs life greatly, And I don't mean that in and necessarily a good way all the way to a topic about fighting what is and wrestling with the truth. So without further delay, let's get into it with Matt McInnis. This is below the line kick it with the music,

Johnny, but Cheers, sir. Cheers Were drinking. Camino. This today's crazy drink is Ah, kimono or commando. Yuzu, please. What? No, I thought we said we know so as a mark. No, we're not, uh, explosives that we're not going to.

And it's a sparkling used to drink. Ah, from Japan. Very tasty. Yuzu is like Citrus fruit in between orange and women. I love this drink.

1:56

Yeah. Do you like the carbon footprint of your sparkling water that was shipped in from Japan when you could have had it made domestically?

2:3

Um, I have ways of offsetting my carbon footprint. Um, that I've never told you about. So great popular conscience is clean. I feel good about it. You were actually just telling me that you were a professional deejay at 15.

2:20

Radio personality, actually, is what we would

2:22

call them. All right. Tell what? Tell me. Ah, again, Where where was it and how did you get that job?

2:28

Yeah, I grew up in northeastern Canada on an island that didn't have a whole lot of people. And as it turned out, not a whole lot of radio stations and ah, and not a whole lot of people who are qualified to be at radio stations. And so they took in a 15 year old under their wing and let let let me spice real the reels in the production studio to help them make their ads. And then one night they were pinched in sort of cliches. Story threw me into the end of the on air booth, and I operated Rick Dees in the weekly top 40. You never knew I was there. I was throwing CDs and to a CD player. Ah, And then one thing led to another and I got on the air and I sounded pretty good because I guess my voice deepened early or something. And I did okay. And so over the course of the next two and 1/2 years, I got more and more responsibility. Until the summer before I went off to college, I was actually the mid day D. J. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. On one. A 15 The hawk.

3:19

Thanks. Can you give me a little

3:21

taste of what I want to hear? My radio voice. That's right. Uh

3:26

well is it was in Celsius of 14 degrees

3:28

in a beautiful high today, 22 degrees in the sunshine and absolutely beautiful day for the beach. Coming up A little bit of Atlantis. Morris Set. But first, what's your favorite band?

3:39

Ooh, Tough question. I will give you. Actually, I'll throw you a Canadian band Arcade. Fire's up there. But first

3:46

arcade Fire, which we would never play on this radio station at one. A 15 The hawk switching. Yeah, I don't know if I talked like that all day, I would have no friends

3:56

that well, you'd have a lot of listeners. Ah, that was That was great. Radio voice. Thank you. Yeah, the actually. And you told me that. Good. Good trick. You said, uh, never drink caffeine

4:8

on the air. Yeah, or never. And And definitely never drink carbonated beverages on the air. You already get so much adrenaline when you're on the air and then carbonated beverages cause you to spontaneously burst as you squeeze your diaphragm for the microphone

4:21

is a real thing in the caffeine. I've experienced

4:24

this. You don't need the extra am pidge, right? Yeah,

4:27

that is totally, uh, I have experienced that and listen to after the fact And yes, like 120 words a minute. Way too

4:35

fast. That about about about about about you can't stop.

4:37

Um, well, I really appreciate you coming on podcast today. Sure, we've been friends for a little bit now, and we actually met about two years ago, and we'll get into that in a little bit. And we, um, invested in a few companies together and, um, and really just had a handful of lunches that have always gone below the line. In the vein of this podcast, Always gone belittle line into what it's really like. Being CEO of company was really like being an entrepreneur. What it's

5:7

like being a human being. You have to be honest,

5:9

right? And the, um well, I have a sense of what you mean by that. But what? Tell me, uh, I think

5:17

because we as humans to a relatively poor job and certainly an infrequent job of discussing the human condition in an open and vulnerable way. And I know that the first time that you and I got together, it sort of just fell into place very naturally. And my experience of life has been that as you as you do, uh, randomly wander through the, um, the ocean of humans. Once in a blue moon, you bump into somebody who just naturally has a tendency to be open and vulnerable, and you detect that very quickly and you fall into that person spell. And if you reciprocate, they fall into yours, and I find that that's like, you know, 100 people. And when you find him, you keep him.

6:2

No. And that's awesome. I'm, uh really

6:6

I kept you.

6:7

Well, that is actually Ah, shit. That's one of the nicest things. Um, anyone's ever said any friend is every that's really, um that is leaving me speechless. Well, it's and it is likewise. In fact, one of our first conversations maybe, is actually, no, this was maybe a six months ago. Seven months ago. Um, so one of our more recent conversations when we both kind of reconnected around you're leaving your soldier company.

You're leaving, um, and and thinking about what you're gonna do next, and actually, one of things I wanted to ask you about is, um, in that vein of thinking deeply, you showed me first page of your of your, um journal your notebook and it had an amazing quote on it. Um, do you mind reading? Uh,

6:57

sorry. Why? You wanted me to bring my notebook.

6:59

Yeah, we're not exactly.

7:0

You're not allowed

7:1

in there. And I actually took a photo of because I loved it so much. But But, um, do you mind reading that for

7:7

Yeah. Ah, this assuming you're referring to the poem?

7:11

Yes. No, Maybe the whole thing. Yes,

7:13

please. Um, it's 1/13 century poet named Roomie, which Ah, hand copy this into the front of my notebook because it is Ah ah, sort of a reminder to me to stay grounded. And it also kind of speaks to the demons I think I struggle with. I don't know how universal it is, but I'm happy to read it. Please. Um

7:33

I loved it. And so it Yeah, hopefully, uh,

7:37

you know, listeners will swell when I run. After what I think I want. My days are a furnace of distress and anxiety. If I sit in my own place of patients, what I need flows to me and without any pain from this I understand that what I want also wants me is looking for me and attracting me when it cannot attract me anymore to go to it, it has to come to me. There is a great secret in this for anyone who can grasp it. That's it, My boy. Roomie, Roomie. Coming is nothing new under the sun, man. It's like the things that we struggle with today in Silicon Valley And are you know, you talk about our hyper connected lives and and and you know, I liked the analogy of thinking of Silicon Valley today as Florence in the Renaissance,

you know, just an insane amount of creativity and energy and ah, and output, right, that like that we're all witness to, and I and I'm thankful for having been born here and now to witness this. But if you go back and you know you read the biographies of Divinci or Michelangelo or, you know, you go back, you know, go even further back in time. The strike, the human condition is the same. It's the same struggle, the same battles that people have with their own egos and the existential crises that we go through to figure out who we are. And,

um, you know, roomies. 13th century, and he did an amazing job of articulating the anxieties that come with the pursuit of whatever you think you're supposed to be so well, so you know, we don't We don't need to redo it.

9:26

Yeah, it is. Ah, there is so much wisdom to be to be rescued from the past. And what what out of when did you first come across that pump?

9:35

E took a question. I, um the last few years for me have been a period of incredible growth because I have had Ah, Well, if I'm really honest, it sort of. I I came to the absolute conclusion that my endeavor at the time was not going to turn me into whatever I thought I was supposed to be. And you know, whether that was a billionaire or a famous person or, you know, whatever sort of cliches and vapid Ah ah, life goal you want to set for yourself. It became clear to me that I wasn't gonna get there on the path that I was on. And I would either either fight that or I could accept it. And I I learned to accept it and started reading books that helped me get there and I went really deep end a Zen philosophy still m deep into it. By the way, I feel like once you get in,

you can't get out, which is the beauty of it. And, um and I started reading the classics and thinking about Ah, actually kind of a mixture of older writings as well as stuff that was, ah, new and on the frontier of science. Like I am really excited about the marriage of traditional classical thinking and how it aligns. So, ah, what's the word? Sort of unexpectedly and beautifully with the things that we're learning about the world today, right? Um, and so I find beauty and all of that, and so roomy.

I don't remember exactly where I came across the poem. That is just one example of one of those things that I came across it. That okay, boom, this quicks for me at the stomach level so intensely that I never want to let go of that feeling. And so that's why I've kept that poem with me ever since.

11:14
How can we deal with anxieties that come with the pursuit of entrepreneurial path?

Silicon Valley today is like Florence during the Renaissance, with insane amounts of energy and output. Yet, the battles and crises that humans go through have remained the same.

Matt MacInnis grew up in a small town in Nova Scotia, seeing amazing companies being built in Silicon Valley He wanted to start on. As a result, Matt had spent his 20s agonizing over the pursuit of that outcome, until he had realized that an 18-year-old Matt probably should not set goals for a 35-year-old, and it is okay to change your focus and desires as you gain the wisdom to be rescued from your past.



What year

11:15
How can we deal with anxieties that come with the pursuit of entrepreneurial path?

Silicon Valley today is like Florence during the Renaissance, with insane amounts of energy and output. Yet, the battles and crises that humans go through have remained the same.

Matt MacInnis grew up in a small town in Nova Scotia, seeing amazing companies being built in Silicon Valley He wanted to start on. As a result, Matt had spent his 20s agonizing over the pursuit of that outcome, until he had realized that an 18-year-old Matt probably should not set goals for a 35-year-old, and it is okay to change your focus and desires as you gain the wisdom to be rescued from your past.



was was that when you came in president? At this point, it's probably only two or three years ago, to be honest, um,

11:22
How can we deal with anxieties that come with the pursuit of entrepreneurial path?

Silicon Valley today is like Florence during the Renaissance, with insane amounts of energy and output. Yet, the battles and crises that humans go through have remained the same.

Matt MacInnis grew up in a small town in Nova Scotia, seeing amazing companies being built in Silicon Valley He wanted to start on. As a result, Matt had spent his 20s agonizing over the pursuit of that outcome, until he had realized that an 18-year-old Matt probably should not set goals for a 35-year-old, and it is okay to change your focus and desires as you gain the wisdom to be rescued from your past.



And what What were you going through at the time? That that made it resonate?

11:26

Yeah. You know, I think back on this there's always two sides to every coin and as a high school kid, I'm gay. I had to come out of the closet. I had to go through the whole thing in a high school in the middle of nowhere, and I actually got by pretty well, I think relative to a lot of kids. But, um, I wanted to get out of that town, and it was the 98 99 time frame. And so I was sort of having imprinted upon me like a duckling. What was going on in Silicon Valley? I could see he's amazing cos being built in Netscape Navigator and all this cool technology that was coming out of whatever Silicon Valley was. And again, I was from northeastern Nova Scotia in Canada,

so pretty, pretty far, but as far away from California as you can get. And, um, it was imprinted upon me that I I should go to Silicon Valley and be a CEO. Whatever that meant on I think I'm probably weaving the story in a more convenient way. These times I'm sure that that that imprinting took place over the course of college as well, and there's probably a lot of different, different influences. But I I wanted to go and, you know, be important and, um, at a chip on my shoulder coming out of a small town. I wanted to run screaming from my background as a gay kid,

and, um so I went for it. And I spent my twenties, I think, agonizing over the pursuit of that outcome. And, you know, ah, what I was going through in Ah, you know, 2000 and 15 16 17 was the recognition that that frame was no longer valid, that this idea that an 18 year old consent goals for a 35 year old probably not right. And the minute you're able to cast off this notion that you can set goals for yourself and then ah, that you have to achieve them in orderto fulfill some sort of destiny or feel, you know, a void in your ego.

The minute you're able to cast it aside for even one set of things, you realize that for all sets of things. That's just not right. That's not the right way to do it. And s o I had I had, you know, ostensibly an existential crisis at that time. Um, that's taking me to where I am today. And, man, am I happy for it? I mean, just wow, I feel bad for my old self for struggling to meet the unreasonable demands of an 18 year old that hadn't existed for 15 years. It's crazy, but as well a lot of us do that. I mean, I I can only speak to my own experience, but I suspect it's

13:58

a common one now. I certainly know it. Yeah, it's Ah, and it's and it's interesting because you you it's like starting a road trip with the least amount of information possible, right? But then may and figuring out all these amazing new pieces of information or other destinations. But it's no, I'm going to that one thing. I said I was going that way, and I'm gonna I'm going to end up there, and,

14:20

uh and by the way, not just I'm gonna end up there, but also I will judge myself harshly for not ending up there, You know, the bridge is out. There's 17 different routes. That'll get me there more easily or get me to some other place. That's better. And now I know that, but I'm ignoring it, right? Right, Because when I started, I said it was gonna be this and I'm a piece of shit. If I don't get to this least that was my story. And ah, yeah, This was never really a great destination.

14:49

As it turns out, right, it's Do you mind articulating? Ah, even even a little bit more of what that destination looked like

14:58

to you. You know, it's all the cliches of youth. You know, I I thought it was about money. I thought it was about, um, some combination of power or influence or whatever and that manifested itself in these sort of inauthentic behaviors where I thought I was supposed to be at extra, you know, our wires e event. And so I would go Ah, and then find myself in utter agony at these events because I didn't belong and it wasn't my authentic self, you know. Ah, I would worry so much about the perceptions of others and whether I was on the path to being, you know, the big successful,

you know, executive or CEO. And in reality, nobody was paying attention to me, which is right,

15:46

but in your head. But in my head, everybody is, of course, watching

15:49

judging everything. And there's a tangled and the things The thing is, the people who were watching and who rightfully were watching. Like my employees, we're seeing a weird version of me, and it was later in my, you know, I spent nine years as a CEO. It was later the last three or four years as a CEO where I was, I think, far closer to authentic every day when I showed up to work and presented a much more believable and likeable version of myself that I felt I was a much more successful leader, had better, more intimate relationships with my colleagues and did a better job of running the company. Frankly, um, but that's after I sort of realized I don't you know, I don't need to I don't need to. I don't need to exhibit the symptoms of being a billionaire. If I'm not one, that's kind of silly.

16:41

Well, the, um, our listeners will well know this from the intra that Ah, for this episode. But Matt is routinely references one of the smartest founders on day one of this morning's angel investors, Um, here in Silicon Valley and it is so you obviously did Ah, lot, right, Um, and the headline version of yourself, would you say that 18 year old that older version would be happy with that headline version of where you are today? Um, wait, I just heard you say you're extremely happy for the every experience that you Yeah, gone through that that has put that poem it,

ah, is something that you write in every journal every notebook. But, um, yeah, tell me why you say you doubt 18 year old would be happy. The headline But I don't

17:35

think the 18 year old had the data. You know, I know the 18 year old didn't have the experience and, um, wasn't equipped to assess the situation. I mean, uh, it's been an interesting experience for me now at the ripe, ripe old age, you know, of 38 2 go and spend time with ah folks who were early career, you know, 20

17:58

said it with a smile is if, you know the 18 year old version would have said it that way. But yeah, from the others. You know that it's

18:5

I I actually so exactly my 18 year old self saw 30. It is impossibly old. And of course, now it's like, Wow, I'm unlike maybe Chapter Two, you know, it's just so much ahead of me. But ah, you know, I, um, all things in their course, you know, I don't I I'm very compassionate toward that 18 year old. I'm really compassionate toward all versions of myself that have come before this one because they were what they were supposed to be right there's there was never going to be any other version of myself than the one that was, and there was never going to be any other version of me than the one that is right now.

And that's if you can internalize that. It's beautiful, and it's a huge relief because you're exactly where you're supposed to be. That's that's I know that to be true of myself, I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. My 18 year old self wouldn't have seen it that way, but my 18 year old self wasn't equipped to see it that way because my 18 year old self didn't have 20 more years of life under his belt. Right? Um, so he was great. He was awesome. He served his purpose in us. Hopefully serve mine now.

19:16

Yeah. And what is, um, if we were to do this this interview four years ago in 2015. How many years into inkling? You know, Sequoia, back to company. How many years into it would you been, then?

19:30

In 2015 I would have been a year. Six.

19:32

Okay, six years in. If we're to do this interview, then, um, I can't wait to get to this version now, but for to do this interview, then in 2015. What? Tell me what you're going through. Yeah, 2015 I

19:50

It's an interesting question. You'd like to be able to point at seminal moments in the way that you're thinking evolves. But of course it's ingredient, and I and I look back at that time, and I probably I was just coming to terms with my own reality that, you know, this company which has had a beautiful impact on the world and has brought hundreds and hundreds of people together and supported families and all the good things that come with starting and running a company that, you know Ah, by all accounts, was a success. It by all accounts, except for sort of investor results, investor returns was a success, right? And certainly for all the soft reasons, you still feel as though it was a failure. And I think if you were to do this interview with me,

I would have been much more cagey about ah how I felt about it. I think I knew at that point that I that I was disappointed. But I haven't yet processed that that was okay. We're heading yet Process that you Actually, I shouldn't be disappointed. I should be very proud of everything that we've done so with you. The last four years have drawn a pretty sharp contrast, actually. Ah, for me, with the person I am today and the person I was yet to become, it was just a lot. There was a lot more stress. It was a lot more worrying about perceptions. It was a lot Maur frankly that this the total sum of the sum total rather problems that I think people fall into and in these sort of status races is worrying about things. They can't change where or fighting what is true.

That's a better way to put it. I was still fighting a whole bunch of stuff that was true, immutable e true. And that's the thing that I think I've tried to rid my life of in the last four years. And hopefully for the forever is don't fight what is true. Um, unless you're absolutely certain you can change it in, there's very little you can change.

21:41

It's so interesting because it's, Ah, Air Greece was was, uh on here, and he was saying something really interesting that the psychology to start a company is usually almost the opposite psychology. To run. Build a company as a start is disavow. Any thing that that doesn't agree with your intuition, get just completely bust through anything that you don't think is true, right? And then building a company is developing the sensitivity and, uh, the understanding in the end, the endurance to just endure truths constantly. But it could be so so um helpful two and required to overcome many huge obstacles to believe them not to be obstacles.

22:30

Right? Well, what is the grace? Prayer Lord give Grant me the serenity perm, right? The serenity prayer area. Ah, I don't know it. I know. I know that just of it Don't don't Don't make me change things that shouldn't change And give me the wisdom to see what can't be changed, et cetera. Right. That's my bastardized

22:47

version of that. But we got it listeners have Google for Yeah, Yeah, it's something, something to that effect of Grant me the wisdom to know the difference and the difference between what can be changing. What can't It is. It's incredibly hard, I know is. I mean, it was that was my superpower as an entrepreneur, was, um, just being a Yeah, let's take over the world. And I'm ah, dude living in Dallas, Texas,

building something out of my bedroom. It's like, yeah, why not? Um, and that superpower in every weaknesses instead of it being in different buckets is is just most of them are the overused strengths. Yeah, the shadow of the strength and the shadow of that is for me was was just like, Okay, we need to do that in three months. Okay, we can do it. All right. We need to solve this big problem and 30 days yet we can do it. And, um and it's a huge tax. Oh, it's debt that you incur to not listen to these truths as they build up. But it's also so damn hard to know what the difference is.

23:55

Yeah, and I think I the it's irrational financially and arguably even under like Western conditioning. It's It's a rational to start a company because and nothing will make you feel more. Nothing will give you a more visceral sense of the horrible odds than being a full time angel investor. Ah, you know, I spent the most recent Y c batch. I, um, was collaborating with some friends and, um, and working with Sequoia Capital a little bit as a in my capacity as a scout with their scouts program toe. Two more formally cover the class, and so there were 210 classes, 200 companies rather in the class and their largest ever. And if you attend Demo Day and if you even before demo Day work to reach out to all of the companies who are in this class. And for those who are not familiar,

y Combinator is a ah, an incubator, a startup incubator in San Francisco, 50% of all unicorns. According to say moment, 50% of all unicorns generated in the last six or seven years in Silicon Valley have passed through the the halls of Y C. So So I'm going through this whole process and looking at all kinds of companies. And I realize I have ascended to the mezzanine and I'm looking back down at the mosh pit. And I didn't realize what a mosh pit it was until I was up there. And you like, Whoa, like there is no lower leverage position than the day zero entrepreneur. It is just a horrible position to be in. And then you fight your way up from that and it doesn't. You know, if I were to start a company,

I could raise money really easily as a second time founder with a good network. It's, you know, super simple. But raising money doesn't raise my doesn't fix any. I mean anything. And none of the problems that actually challenge a business in becoming successful. The odds are vanishingly small. And yet, of course, there's just a constant drumbeat of people willing to come in and jump into the mosh pit because they are convinced of their idea and God love them. And thank God they exist because, you know, that's the beating heart of Silicon Valley. And probably at the moment, American innovation.

So great that for me, what became super clear was, um was that I don't think I could get back in that mosh pit. I know too much. And, ah,

26:14

when was this is This is really, really yeah really,

26:17

really recent. Um, and maybe I'll maybe I'll come out of it. Ah, but there's an irrationality to jump again. And here's the thing. I I actually came all the way back around his Zen philosophy, not the overs end this thing, but

26:29

yeah, Zen it out, bro. That's in and out. I think you know, I always love it when people like I don't want to get Woo, but and then they say something get super. Uh, but But I know I say we, uh we embrace it. There's there's a lot of Wissmann the Apple 1000 years

26:45

thinking there is ah you. We all have to recognize that you know, we are ah, swirls in a cup of coffee in the cosmic context, right? Just, like were ephemeral. We we can't. Isn't it fucked up that you just woke up one day? Sort of And like here you are? Like what? What? Why? What? Where I come from? It's crazy. There's a comedian.

I did a really great stand up on this. This whole like it's crazy that you just sort of popped into this insane planet. This environment where people talk to each other at some point, you're gonna disappear from it again. Like what?

27:16

It is so fleeting everywhere. Mayflies, 19 years. 100 years is nothing in writing the context. 18 14 billion and your ability

27:23

to control the outcomes of your life are basically zero. It's just a lot of randomness. I mean, certainly, yes, you should try hard. And there's a lot of reasons why you should, uh, engaged with your environment and, you know, be the best person you can. But at the end of the day, you know, you and I happen have been born in an area of the world at a time that allowed us to come here to Silicon Valley. We may have been born in a very poor part of some country somewhere else that would have completely, you know, disavowed us of the ability to do any of the things that we're doing.

And that was under that wasn't in our control. Nothing else that we think is really is. And so you have to submit a bit to the randomness of it. Here's the way I look at it. When somebody starts a company, okay? Or they frankly get behind the wheel of a car or whatever it is, whatever activity they're going to undertake, then I really know the outcome. And yet a look at it as an experiment. It's basically a little experiment that's being run to see what the results gonna be. And so if you're gonna start your company, you're gonna fight hard. You're gonna do everything that you can to try and make that the best outcome that it can possibly be. But the odds that your outcome are really influence able by your actions in reality in the end are effectively zero. It's kind of known by the universe when you start what the outcome is gonna be. And it's your job to run the slalom. Just do it, see what happens.

28:35

And when you

28:36

look this all the way back around from the irrationality of Western conditioning, which is like all the odds are so long and like if you just looked at the expected outcome, it's not financially rational. Forget all that. You want to do this, you should go do this. And you should run the experiment because nothing is more valuable than anything else in particular. You want a cab driver, be a cab driver. You wanna start a company? Certainly. You're wiggling. Your stick is at the end. It's all gonna end anyway. And it's not really for anything in particular, except for effectively accelerating entropy in the universe like you're just burning off some energy and making some heat. That's all you're doing is all any of us are doing so I know this sounds a little.

29:8

What did you say? Woo? No, it's it's It is. Ah, I think it's really profound. And I think when someone could say you and entrepreneur or something gets older, getting philosophical is and write that off. Um, I think it misses the point. Air Stahl is where my favorite quotes is. The goal of action is contemplation. And so, anyone in the end of a race, anyone had the end of action. Um, the hero's journey is literally just the end of a lot of action and contemplation.

And so this your your contemplation, I think is really, um it's the point of of action here in the actual micro sense of what we're exactly talking about. But also in the macro, the background, um, of how you came to this

29:55

It is perfectly rational to go start a company with insane odds against you. If you understand that the outcome is beautiful, no matter what. If you can approach it with that mindset, uh, then it will be beautiful.

30:16

What do you think stops people from from approaching A with that mindset? I know that I just wasn't smart enough to have that mindset until the other side of it, or until years,

30:27

in my experience of most people is that they interact with symptoms and, you know, when you look at politics in our country, were interacting with the symptoms were not thinking about the system uh, when someone is upset about something, they run at it. When somebody wants to make money, they go after the thing that makes money like we are. The human brain has a tendency to draw a straight line from A to B, and it is supremely un enlightened. It is not. It is not the way great things are built when you know you listen to people who have been through their crucible moments or who just strike you as somehow operating at some other wavelength you can't quite get to. Those people are typically not interacting with symptoms. They're interacting with the system they're thinking about. Ah, they're thinking about the world through a really different lens and maybe reaching the same conclusions. But by virtue of a of a vastly different journey to that same conclusion,

their actions are incredibly different. And I guarantee you that people who get that that system's view of the universe ah, they're so much more at ease in at peace within themselves and everyone is drawn to that. You know, it's like we all want to be around people who are at peace with who they are, And I think, um it's, it's Baird's. It's frustrating for me to engage in a conversation with someone who always loops it back around to the symptom they observe and how they want to get at that symptom, right? I recognize this is a pretty abstract shit, but

31:55

no, it's anything I think it is. It's spot on to why the early first time? Second time, um, founder. For for me, I can speak from my experience. I totally looked not just the symptoms, but maybe I looked at the symbol. I love the thing that I want it might, and that's what I chased instead of the thing itself and and heard someone really smart states. It's chasing the leaves, a boards. You're looking at the leaves instead of looking at the roots. And that's that. You know,

a lot of the purpose of this podcast is what is happening below the line for for you as you. I have a feeling three years from now, people will be able to listen to this podcast and get that below the line version and get the roots of what you're what you're becoming and say Holy shit. That's what he was thinking about three years prior. Yeah, that those were the roots. But these conversations don't happen very often. And therefore you get that above the line version of the story, the headline version. But I say, Oh, that person's on the cover of a magazine that the, uh I think ignorant view would be, Oh, that person I want to be. That person doesn't want to be vain,

right? The I think the deeper view is Wow, that person has it all together, right? People are putting him or her above anyone else on that magazine because they must. If it's Forbes, if it's if it is fast company, they must know all the people that they could put on that magazine. They're putting that person. They must have it all together. How do I become that person and use quickly? Ah can slip into I want to be on the cover of a magazine and you're looking at the leaves, and that's exactly

33:40

that's the symptom. You're focused on the symptoms. Yep, exactly yeah, your ability to see the system. You know, all of these things are analogies because our words fail us in these areas so much, really. I find myself groping for other people in the universe who have reached some degree of understanding of this complexity who also struggle with the words where when you you know, when you sit across from them you start using your shitty analogies and they start using their shitty analogies. And all of a sudden, the symbols in your brain merge. And you have that moment where you're looking at each other and you like, Ah, you get it. We're all of our words suck. But you know,

and I know you get it. Those were really magical moments of people. Ah, and you know, there's, ah camaraderie in recognizing the struggle the same way that it feels really good. Even if the end of the diagnosis is terrible to have your doctor name what it is that you have you like. Okay, well, at least we know what it is. You know, we could do something about it. It's a huge relief. I find that this this is my equivalent for the human condition. It's like, uh okay,

yeah, we both we both now have put our finger on one of the great struggles of being a person and that, you know, it, and I know it, and we both get to enjoy the camaraderie of the suffering at some level. Uh, I had, um And now I'm gonna make him listen to this podcast, cause I'll pay him a great tribute. But I had a board member for five years. His name is Peter Currie, and Peter was Ah, he was the CFO. I think it Netscape. And he was in the Barksdale Group and worked at McCaw Cellular,

which was one of the sort of big precursors to the big four carriers. And, uh and then he went on, and it was on the B is on the board of Slumber Jay, the big oil and gas company, which I still give him shit for it, like, you know, time to stop drilling shit out of the ground. Dude, Uh, other than that, though he's made very good decisions in his life is on the board of Twitter. Actually, one other bad decisions on the board of inkling. Ah, yeah, border Twitter, border slumber Jay board of inkling. Like one of these things is not like the other.

36:1

Um, and

36:2

he he would spend time with me because he cared because he is a good man and enjoyed, I think his time with me and loved watching me grow. But the supremely frustrating thing with Peter was that you would sit down with him and he would give you this advice that just didn't. Jack, What the fuck was that? Hey, I gotta fire this person. How do I do it? And he'd get into this like, you know, asking me questions and said answering mine and, you know, walking me the long way around the park in our brains and, like, just can you tell me what I'm supposed to do? And, you know,

you know, I wish you'd come up with a really good example on the fly, but it would be, you know, I can remember once I was in a board meeting and I would be saying something about revenue and, you know, we gotta grow, And he'd be saying really mad. It's about equity value that I'm like, What is he talking about? He'd be like, you know, it's about shareholders, and it's about, you know, he dumb it down from he'd be like this. The stock prices this today, and it's gotta be that tomorrow, and the stock price is ostensibly the net present value of all future cash flows. It's like

37:2

I think I just I just I thought we were talking about revenue. What is this?

37:8

You know, he gave me this abstract bullshit course, it wasn't abstract. It was actually very specific. And it wasn't bullshit. It was actually really useful insight. But he was operating with the roots of the tree. He wasn't operating with the leaves. And I was operating with the leaves on what inevitably happened for me with him. And thank God he was patient. And his patient is that he would say these things to me and I would walk out of the room, you know, frustrated and feeling a little dumb, frankly, and wondering what I was missing toe like, two weeks later or three weeks later or eight months later, whenever it was having a moment in my business where it was like it clicked and I was like,

Oh, fuck, That's what he was telling me like it would be his abstractions and his sort of describing the system to me instead of answering the question fell into place in a way that would immediately give me the equipment I needed to make good decisions from that point forward irrevocably. And so when I spend time with anybody I care about who's frustrated or anxious, and I get a lot of this people come, I guess I don't know. I seem to attract people who have anxiety problems. Maybe that's just

38:6

a function of me. I think I think people you're so open with with your story is similar to Thio. When I would share my story, people are like Coalition. That's so rare. I really want to go talk to that person, right? Um, can you sound? So can you can you connect me with with James because he's actually talking about what I'm going through? And that's to to, uh, in parallel paths. So what you're saying by the limitations of language, it is the people that you can't connect with other ones that are just talking about how awesome it is. I mean, you can't There's no connection point there.

So right, the people that are talking about what it's really like being a founder of what, how how tough it can be or what it's. It's not that magazine photo, but it is someone you are like. Shit. I don't fight with that person. You seek those people out, and sadly, they're few and far between. Um I hope

39:0

in my interactions with people who are struggling with things that I'm able to pull a Peter Currie not in terms of corporate finance, right? Not that he was constrained to that alley either. But I hope I'm able to

39:14

if they

39:15

leave a little dissatisfied and frustrated with my responses, but then have a click moment in the not too distant future that becomes a permanent help instead of a tactical short term help. I have done a better job. Ah, um because there have been multiple people along the way for me who have been Maur strategic helpers than tactical helpers, even though I would tend to approach them on Lee in my most tactical

39:38

moments. So, Matthew, can you tell me three stories that have helped shape shape your life

39:44

for you started is my homework for the podcast. Ah,

39:48

this was

39:49

This was a hard one for me, actually. And I and I did it. I came up with three, but I'll say as a preamble, that, uh, some stories can ah, sort of the word story can impose sort of a time limit on the journey. It's like, you know, tell me something that happened over the course of, like, days, weeks or months, and I don't know, some of my arcs are like,

really, really long, But I tried to pick a few things that I thought were useful. Shorter term marks. And so they were there. Here, here, the 31 is my coming out story. Because as a gay man, this is I know very few gay men who would tell you that they're coming out. Story was not formative in some really important way. Um ah. The second, um, is really, really tough crucible moment from when I was the president of the Harvard Crimson,

which is the daily newspaper at Harvard. Ah, tough job for a teenager or whatever. It was 20 years old, and then the third would be my run in with Steve Jobs. Um, and I and I had interacted with Steve in my time at Apple, but I had one interaction in particular that ah absolutely detonated a part of my brain that I'll explain so There's the There's your teaser on on the three. Where do you want to start

41:3

going to do? I can't wait. I cannot wait for me to move on to the next question. Actually, um, just cooking up stories. So are you kidding? Are you kidding us? Uh, was a hell of ah, hell of a teaser. Yeah. Start with with chronological or any?

41:19

Yeah, well, so I mean, and they happened in order. And I'm being that lives in time the same way that you do. So they're in chronological order. I like the coming out thing. It is almost too easy. It's a bit of a cliche, but no two coming out stories of the same. And they're generally pretty private. Um, stories. Ah, but I was fortunate enough to have parents who notwithstanding any programming they had, you know, before I was born,

were malleable and willing to learn, and so think, think Whatever. Thank God. Thank the universe for that. Um, but, you know, little town, 5000 people. My mother was the principal of my high school, and I had told friends that I was gay and they more or less rolled with it. Um This is like 1990 I I came out of the closet to the to my friends for the first time in ninth grade, so that would have been the tender age of 14. And for the most part, I think they were I should even say, for the most part, they were really accepting. They were great.

42:14

What was the courage buildup for that? Was it You just instantaneously one night I need to tell him was that we're looking

42:21

at. If you're a gay boy, you cry yourself to sleep a lot. You know, I cried myself to sleep a lot, praying, trying to pray my own gay away, trying to, like, literally praying to God that it wasn't actually gay. But, ah, you know, you just know This is not like, you know, you could get down to the mechanics of it. The girl dirty pictures don't do for you what the guy dirty pictures do.

I mean, is that, you know, it isn't pretty clear, clear signals, and you eventually got to come to terms with it. I I've never been able to relate or understand folks who don't figure this out until their twenties. Um because I knew so soon, Although I married the one who didn't figure it out until his twenties. But ah, you like you just tryto whatever picture had been painted for, your future falls apart And that such a young age and you're trying to figure out how to put it back together again. And, um, I don't know what drove me to tell my friends, but I've always been a very extroverted,

open person, as you can probably tell from this podcast. So why you're on? Yeah, right. Uh, oops. Eso I do know. I decided to tell them. And, um and so it was, uh

43:23

the way that

43:24

I came out to my parents. That which is really the most interesting part of the story is I don't know, I didn't have very good judgment. I was putting not dirty magazines, but gay culture magazines that I had ordered. The name of the magazine was X y, and it was made in San Francisco. And it had, like, I remember the particular it issue that my father discovered buried in the back of his filing cabinet near his old tax records. Like why? I thought that was a good place to hide this. I don't know. I clearly didn't understand how taxes work once a year. For sure. Dad's going in there, probably around April, like F y

43:57

I Yeah, yeah. So

43:59

there was a kid like a kid in a Speedo on an inner tube on the front cover and usefully dressed. But he was pretty cute and something was off about that. And so my dad sort of rifled through it and realized what was going on. And I remember coming home from school one afternoon and Dad was there and I walked in and just looks at me and holds up the magazine. And there's this awkward silence lasting about 25 30 minutes, 50 minutes, 60 minutes. I don't know. It's probably like 10 seconds and he's goes, Are you gay? And that was really just like this. My heart stopped and I stared and I had to make a split second decision on my coming out to my parents now, and I said Yes. Dad's head kind of drops and he lets out a big breath of air. And then my mom, at that very moment, walks in from work,

and she looks at him and she looks at me and she looks at him and she looks at me and she goes, And I remember this so clearly she goes, Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Who died? Just the look on our face is there is There is no other possible explanation. And so my dad, you know, turns to her and says your son just told me he's gay. And, um then Mom lets out of whatever air was in her lungs and but that moment ah was pretty tough for all of us. But I also look at it at the moment. It was the beginning of my life. It was the beginning of my being myself for the first time in front of my parents.

I mean, I was myself when I was three, but, you know, uh, I got to be me and, um, my mom called the priest and who who came over and sat down with them and very tenderly explained to them that I was what God wanted me to be and that they should love me for who I am because God loves me for who I am and ah, I think thank God, whatever the word God means for that. Because it gave my mom permission to my dad and probably even me just permission toe, like, go with it. And, um, that that priest, by the way, has got to be gay, right?

46:14

I mean, come on. Do you think Really?

46:16

Come on, you can get like he didn't go to seminary school on fire and brimstone and Internet

46:21

around like Mom. Dad, make this your favorite child. Give him everything in the will, right? Yeah, exactly. It's But that that is for my from my view, that is the ah, that's the absolute spirituals, right? Approach

46:40

for sure. And what it did for me to put, sort of. So what on it right is just like I've always struggled with who I am, and I've always learned howto lie. Oh, man, like gay people is a really amazing book. If you ever have time to read about the experience of a gay man coming out, it's called the Velvet glove. And, um, it is about how, as a young gay boy, you you to defend yourself. Lie. You get a get a beard.

What's a beard? You know the beard is Beard is your girlfriend? Yeah, it's the person that you keep, you know, to sort of make yourself look, look straight. And yeah, I got good at that. I got good at lying. And,

47:21

man, you have a beard.

47:22

I did her. She was actually the sister of a good friend of mine who knew I was gay. So how awkward was that for him And for me and

47:31

ultimately for her? A little

47:33

school. Yeah, I know you do some weird things and, um, yeah, you live a lie, And then the thing is like, you get really good at lying, and then you start using it honestly, as a CEO for the 1st 4 years or five years, I lived a Yeah, I told you. All right. I sort of wanted to be on the cover of Forbes. I wanted to be the billionaire. I want to be the big shot. And so I lived a lie,

and I got really good at that because of my experience as a teenager. So if you want to talk about formative experiences, the coming out story that being gay in high school, that like the living the lie on purpose living the lie honestly, with the blessings of people around you, with your parents being okay with you living that lie to save the family, you know, any sort of embarrassment, awkwardness. That is a really fucked up frame of mind in which toe, you know, go through puberty. So and it's not unique to me. It's what a lot of young gay men and women have toe endure. Um, so that's, you know, story. I could go on with that story, but

48:24

that's what I was just a follow up to that story. Have you felt like your life has begun again since that time? Mmm Mmm, mmm. I don't know. You had that feeling of, uh, you know, when you said 14

48:39

Um, you know, because I was so young when I came out of the closet, I've always felt like there was, at least in some corner of my life, there was always a really, really true authentic version of me alive. I feel bad for people who have stayed in the closet, and the only true version of themselves was in their head

48:57

word. And that I think that such a universal anyone that you do that that, um, point of the goal of action is contemplations. Why I push people to start companies because it isn't about what they achieve or action at all is about the contemplation, the these secrets, the insights about yourself that you learn on the other side. That's absolutely right. And I probably in the depths of of tilting my own company of when it was so hard I was like, Don't do it. It is so fucking hard. Please just don't start a company now, Even afterwards For two years old, I probably thought at least a year I was like, I'm never gonna start anything again And others shouldn't either. Too rare breed. It's also super massive mystic,

not for ah, the effort person. And now it is this strong feeling of God. It's the only way to learn. That's the only way Thio

49:55

it is, by the way, the book. If you want me to recommend one book to people, it is Zen in the art of archery. 1953. German professor goes and studies archery, but not because he wants to study archery. He goes through the hell in agony of studying under a Zen master, where archery is the is the art that gets him to the art of Zen. It's is n is the artless art. And to get there you have to choose an art. And so you could do flower arrangement, you conduce Ooh, do you get so you could do it over something that's really freaking hard to get, right? Because everything that's worth doing,

it's hard to get right. And to me, I'm here because of the struggles of entrepreneurship that that was my archery right. And I could not be who I am today, were it not for the hard experience that got me here. And I'm thankful for it, man,

50:47

it sucked. And the as any in the order or trees, it is profound, profound book, um, hair a goal. It's still in front,

50:55

you know, 70 years later, because it should be

50:57

right. The, um Okay, that's it. You know, I want to get to that these other two stories, but ah, yeah, I think Thank you for sharing. Um,

51:7

that I don't think I've ever actually told my coming out story in public before. So

51:11

there you go. Well, they converted for sharing in here. Maybe you could just send this to people now, so you don't have to do it. Uh um, we'll see over and over. OK, second story, second

51:22

story was, uh I was the president of Crimson. The Crimson is a daily newspaper, And, um, as the president, you gonna make all the tough decisions. But you're, unfortunately your 20. So, as has every president of the Crimson ever been. And I remember one time we had a, um, a dilemma where someone had accused someone else of rape and the administrative board, which is the sort of undergraduate, you know, judge and jury for matters relating to undergraduate behavior. Um was going to expel this man who had been accused of rape by this woman.

52:6

There's this on staff of the Crimson or just through this

52:9

was just in the on campus at Harvard in 2001 or 2000 and and so the writers, um, the writers in the situation ah, were skeptical of the accuser, and, you know, it's not as a newspaper. It's not your job to be the judge and jury. It's a judge to report things, but the problem was that there was a real ethical dilemma. Ethical dilemma here where the ad was doing its thing. But, you know, the writers were like She is. She is. This is not. She's not a trustworthy witness.

So what do we do now? What do we have to do? We have a better write this story. And under Massachusetts State law, you're allowed to. You are allowed to publish the name of the accuser, but you are not allowed so other way around. You are allowed to publish the name of the accused but not the accuser. That's a little weird, right? I mean, in the in the court of public opinion, that's a That's a pretty nasty situation, and in this case in particular, we felt it was wrong. And so we had a choice.

Number one. We could stick by the law, and we could basically print the name of the person who was accused but not print. The name of the woman who was accusing Number two is we could print no names, but that was effectively not reporting it. It was a non story, or we could print both names and printing. Both ends against the law. Ah, and we put us at risk of a lawsuit and all kinds of trouble. And this is obviously, all by itself, a very difficult decision. But on top of that, as the president who had to make the decision, my housemaster and my house tutor and all of the administrative staff of the university had basically descended upon me to encourage me to simply kill the story.

Now, as an adult, in hindsight, they may have been right. But as the sort of big for your britches president of the daily newspaper at Harvard, there was no way I was going to not print the story

53:50

Where you kind of like this is what truth looks like? Yeah, well, sure, exactly. You know, you're like people are trying to kill the story. Yeah, exactly. Well, and, uh, look at where

54:2

we are now with people trying to kill stories. Fuck that night, right? The story, actually, is how I feel today, but, um, I just remember being on the phone with my mom, crying just what I like. Okay. Like, well, I get shy, ruin this guy's life. Should I, like,

ruin both of their lives? Or should I be a weakling? Oh, those are great options. Super duper great options. Um, it was it was the first taste I had ever had of one of my rules of CEO ing, which is that on Lee? The nuclear shit lands in your lap. People will say, Oh, you know, my boss is lazy Shit flows south on this company. Like all the crappy stuff flows down to me Rolls downhill. All these sayings, Yeah,

No, like if it's really bad, if there are no good options, it goes straight to the top. And so I know we all think that CEOs air overcompensated in this country, and maybe they are, But you go do the job.

55:2

I want the best quotes on on that rolls. Sean Parker once told me, said CEOs get way too much credit and they don't get nearly enough credit. I've never heard right. And in that vein of language is so limited to try to articulate these things. I've never heard it described better rights. It's both of us. What was

55:19

It was an important formative moment for me because, um, it was my first taste of truly high stakes ethical dilemma where no good options existed and it was all on me, and I learned a number of things. So in the end, we published both names, and you could go Google it. You have to google it and goto the crimson dot com and look it up. We published both names and and I think, Ah, the guy ended up being expelled and her reputation was ruined, and it was shitty. Uh, but

55:49

I actually think what made you choose that,

55:51

um, I trusted the integrity of the people I worked with. Ah, the young but incredibly intelligent and capable writers who had gotten to know both parties in this story and had done a ton of research. And, you know, I the everyone's judgment and we went and talked to our lawyers about it. And everyone thought this this is just the least evil option. And I I made that decision based on the information that was given to me. So I That's what other answer is there, you know, um

56:21

was there. What was the fallout?

56:23

Ah, just I remember being sat down by the guy who ran at my residential house, Lowell house at Harvard, and he just said I said, Well, what do you think? And he goes, I'm surprised. And that was the only thing he ever said. Never good nor bad. And who cares what he thought anyway, I think

56:42

we did. There's no legal fallout or no, we never

56:44

got sued. And, um, you know, there's just there's so many lessons for me in that about what it is to be the executive and how things are never as bad as they seem. And it's never gonna you know, you can really screw things out. But you can also, you know, also catch a lucky break, actually, on things that look like they're hard and fast. So it was just a good taste for me for how miserable it can be to be at the top, which is a really I'm glad I had that experience so

57:8

early in my life. Would you make the same decision

57:10

for sure, except if it were me, it would be no Colin Mom crying. I've got enough scar tissue at this point to just deal with it. Yeah. Third story story, their stories, Steve jobs. Um, so I'd worked at Apple from 2000 and two until 2009 and I had interacted with Steve and passing here and there, but he was never a big figure. I was always reporting to somebody who reported to somebody you reported to Steve. Ah, and in a corporate environment, Steve, you know, in that environment,

Steve was ah ah, you know, a deity. And so he sort of walked on water. And But then I left and I started inkling an inkling got off the ground with a pretty good ball of energy behind it. We knew about the iPad in advance, and we had the killer designs for the product. Really, really beautiful. And

57:58

just real quick at at Apple. Like, was he just walking down the halls with his TVA's and shorts and and mock turtleneck like we all kind of visualize? Yeah, you kind of stayed close to his. His quarters, okay. Had only one all right, but yeah,

58:16

but he saw. And he was He was at Caffeine axe, you know, he was he was out about is the CEO of the company, you know, rarely seen, but when seen, looked normal. Um, after we started inkling he got wind via a few people that I had worked for that. We had built something really special, and it was in the world of textbooks in education. And Steve cares about that stuff, um, or purported to at least. And

58:43

so Ah, we

58:44

were summoned by the Emperor. You know, Steve wanted see what this was all about. And so my head of design and I went over and Eddy Cue and Peter Chou, my head of design, and I sat in a room, and then Steve comes in and sits down and goes, Show me what you got which, you know, immediately puts on your back foot. We went through this meeting and showed Steve the designs for our product. The company, mind you was like, six or seven months old. It was in its infancy, and we had been working hard on designs for months and had sort of redefined a whole set of user interface paradigms for the iPad. I shouldn't say redefined. We defined them because the iPad was all of two months old at the time. We went to meet with Steve and

59:26

two months in the public. Two months in

59:28

the public. Yeah, two months since launch. And but we had come up with all of these really awesome title me correct myself, Peter, my head of design, and some of his team members had come up with some. Really, really. And have you ever, like, used a card that scrolls continuously? Or you've been able to swipe into a table of contents and then swiped back out to a card like those were? They may have been invented simultaneously by multiple people, but I can tell you they were de Novo, invented at inkling by these incredibly talented people, these designers.

And so we showed the stuff to Steve, and he immediately immediately knew that the ship that he was building with my books or whatever stuff they were doing it at Apple wasn't it was complete second fiddle total second fiddle to this to this design and and, by the way, not blow my own horn. I didn't do it. I'm going the horns of the people that you know we worked with. Um, so we go to this meeting. Steve put his feet up on the table. He stares out the window. There's a moment of, like, one minute of awkward silence, and he's like jerks himself up straight and stares at me and goes, Do you write code? And I lied.

And I said, Yeah. And he's like, What about you? You designed this stuff, Peter. Very soft spoken guys, like, yeah, I designed this or I designed a lot of it season. It's good design. And then he just continues to tear us to shreds. Why? We're fucked. Why? Our company is going to die. Just

60:43

sat there and over some of the things is you

60:45

know, this am I missing something? Here is probably the clearest quote that I can remember. And then he sits back and stares at us. Is it? You know, basically what? Why I'm even meeting with you. Is this crap? Um, do you guys think you're gonna get this off the ground?

60:58

You just, like, sort of. And what? What's going? Because you're my one of the one. You know, one of the brightest people I know. Were you thinking is this is this a ploy? Is thinking like, Oh, we're

61:8

Cragin the adrenaline. I wasn't thinking clearly. I didn't know what was going on. All I know is that this guy and this gets starts to get to the moral of this story like this guy who I had put into the Alfa Mail slot in my brain. The Emperor, The father figure, however you want to like, sort of characterized this thing that we do when we know somebody at a distance like famous people. We think we know that we don't fucking know famous people. And I didn't know Steve Jobs and there was no reason for me to respect Steve Jobs other than what he had accomplished. But I know him as a person. And so I go into this room thinking I'm trotting in these beautiful designs and we're going to get praise from this guy who is the most important guy I have ever worked around or four. He's a genius. He's brilliant, he's the emperor. And instead of like praising us and telling us how great this is, he instead turns around and cuts us to shreds and tells us effectively there were pieces of shit and that this is this is stupid and and by the way,

in the last 30 seconds of the meeting says, Can I keep one of these to which flow next and confused? I said yes, and he takes the designs. Thanks for visiting and walks out of the room, and Eddie turns to us and says, Wow, I guess you're probably too early to meet with Steve. What the fuck? So we walk out into the parking lot of Apple and sit down on the curb and look at each other and remember, Peter looks because what just happened? And I had no idea. But I do remember, had a bottle of Xanax, and I took one because I needed it. I So Steve Jobs.

First of all, it's not a nice person. And the way that he built an empire and became one of the most powerful people in Silicon Valley history is by being not nice, and that's okay. I respect that. But he was not a good person and

62:53

or like, nice

62:54

or not good. Ah, he was ruthless. How's that, my good or nice? I don't know. Nice is nicest dummy. Not to be nice, but he's He was ruthless, and so be it. I don't actually think there's any wrong with that, but, man, it doesn't feel good to be on the other side of it. The thing that you asked me to come up with stories from my history that our formative to who I am. That was the last time ever in my life. I put anybody into the slot of Alfa that I ever put any other person into on a pedestal in any way.

I talked about Pieter Curry. I respect Peter Currie, think is great and put on a pedestal. He's a person. His son came out of the closet. He came to me and wanted to talk about, you know, how do I understand this year he has his struggles and demons and has to figure things out. I don't put anybody up on a pedestal, and I don't put myself up on a pedestal. I'm not interested in anybody being occupying this slot where you have unreasonable expectations, and that was big for me because there had always been someone there had always been a person to look up to, emulate, become right.

64:2

Oh, the adage is, you never meet your heroes, but it's opposite meet all of your heroes and realize that they don't They don't They don't just little heroes and threatened don't deserve threaten your heroes.

64:14

Yeah, yeah, and watch how they react there are great people in the world. I'm sure there are a lot of people who loved Steve jobs and to whom he was tender and wonderful. Although I understand it was few and far between, um, but for me, that, you know is actually has nothing to do with Steve and everything to do with my own heuristics of looking upto others and being a puppy dog. Ah, and not being myself and that that really difficult experience. Um, you could imagine walking back into the office and all

64:47

of the employees being like, How'd it go? Yeah, great. Let's go. Let's quick by a fan. So

64:56

fan that you're going to see all of the features that we've designed in the next version of I Books.

65:0

And did you Did you see

65:1

that? Yeah. Yeah. Bang, bang, Bang iBooks. Author and I booked. I mean, people who worked there at the time. Have you been since said to me like, Oops, sorry. Like that was us,

65:9

um, business. You know, it's business.

65:11

The oil business is business, and so be it. Like I was I was than the Nimrod that you know, when they're in handed, my designs over to the greatest stealer of ideas in history.

65:21

So he admitted it himself. So, yes,

65:24

that was a big moment for me. That that tear down some silly teenaged constructs that needed to be torn down. And again, it was just one Maur lashing that had been cut loose on my journey to just being myself.

65:38

While it's super, super fascinating.

65:40

Yeah, I mean, the question. I did a lot of these experiences. You wonder if you're alone with them or whether there are other people in the universe who have had the same thing. And people variably used the term father figure or ah, you used the term hero. Um, you know, have have you James ever had something like that happened if you had, you know, Ah ah. Put somebody on a pedestal or held them as a North Star for your own behavior, only to have that probably originally even fictitious figure just collapse in your mind.

66:11

Yeah. Has a good question, I'm sure. I'm sure I have, like, my first inclination here and and you asking, that is, I'm sure, um and my second is that it's probably happened a couple of times. I think in general. I think it's very empowering that I'm sure you had this similar experience. It could be empowering to kind of the model of this ideal kind of lands back on, Ah, Earth. And it's it's more realistic. You can surpass it if it's no longer this, you know,

answer possible. Ah, ideal on a on a pedestal. And the thoughts going through my head are, I mean, with my own parents. I think as you get older, you see, um, you see, they're no longer these perfect people. And at the end of the day, it's just a strange experience to be in your apparent as well to be a parent and realize. And my parents were growing up the same time I was growing up

67:18

there. Just there are just these other people, right with whom you have this permanent genetic connection, but like

67:24

they're just figuring it out, like as you're you're years old feeling out there, Um, you know, my parents, your parents could be 34. Absolutely. Just still be at the very beginning of figuring things out. It's true,

67:36

you know that one of the things that really set me free to be myself as a CEO was the recognition that everyone's just faking it. You know, like you just you look around yourself and you figure that every else has it figured out. But, uh, no, they don't mean it's not figure out a ble, Actually, Ever. So by definition, if you believe that, everybody's faking it. And um, yeah, I'm the first to admit that I'm faking it. I used the right context as a CEO in which to share that kind of stuff. You don't get in front of the whole company. It's a no, we're

68:4

winging it F f

68:5

way. I have no fucking clue we're doing, but, um but But I didn't

68:8

It will in its more right then it isn't to say I think, um, say yet we're just figuring out and or no, there's a there's a right time and place, but I think there's something who said for um yeah, we are all just figuring it out when you do meet this hero that you think has all the answers or had all the answers. I loved love and container getting to know Mark in Dreesen, Um, who is a technologist hero off of mine but And he's so self aware that he just tells you he's like, Did I know? I like theirs Obvious limits to what I know you're gonna have to decide. And, um and he's very real about it, which is that he's embracing his limitations. There are, I think, there are moments and people in my life where my favorite professor from college,

uh, ended up just it. And I really loved this guy. Ended up just ah, leaving his wife and moving to Africa. Ah, and leaving his kids. And this is someone that that I my four years of college totally look up to. It was basically tried everything I could to be his right hand student, and, uh and then I you know, by the time I was five or six years out of college, I was like, Oh, my God, like there's a lot that I don't want to be alike with With that individual,

I think, yeah, we're all we're all human and everyone's I, uh, here it's the the hero. Ideal collapses, but I think it allows you to emerge exactly allies.

69:52

That's the things I talked about coming out of the closet and being a truer version of myself and, you know, going through a crucible moment at the newspaper and having to make a hard decision and realizing that by acting with integrity with, you know that on the other side of that it was fine and I was a better version of myself for it. And I think that's the things. As you look through all of the stories, it's it's almost a subtracted process as an adult where you're you're shedding all the conditioning and and ah, expectations and the things that are layered in on top of your true self that stop you from being that person. And as I've gotten older, I mean, you know, not that old yet, but I know that I am a much I'm a much more I mean one word is raw or naked or pure or whatever, Virg individual, individual. And I'm me, you know,

unapologetically. And my experience is the stories that I've shared with you today are, um those were just really big moments of stripping away the excess junk, the pain, you know? Right. Um,

70:58

well, I think it's it is a interesting one of the things that that I think a lot about you. I can't wait to ask you. That question is that you rarely ever comes up. But I think it's such a big part of the entrepreneurial journey is, um, is this idea of individual ation that that Carl Young talked about it on your on your route to about 30 years old? You're trying to belong. You're trying to prove that you belong from, like six toe 29 30 years old. You're trying to prove that you belong in in the community and from 30 on, you try to prove that you're useful to the community and usefulness. Often that often is the approach of specialization or individualization, so called individual a shin. And I think the entrepreneurial journey, especially early preneurs. For me,

it was like I want to break in to that community limp along. I wanna belong with my friends. I want to build something that my friends really love. I want Thio, whether it's a product or whether it is this bill, this image of me that that Ah, people around me that that I admire would admire back. And I said in the last few years it's It's been more of a break from that II through the through these experience of exposure, that really helps. It's kind of like I'm not just pursuing my own thing, but actually, there's so much that I see that I don't dig over here that I actually ah, as much pushed is I am pulled to ah, on individual route.

72:39

Yeah, the that all makes sense to me. I mean, for sure. My twenties were trying to belong, and I look back on some of the behaviors that I exhibited in. Oh, my gosh. You know, that wasn't me. Yeah, uh, but I don't judge myself for it. It was just part of the journey.

72:54

It's all yeah, is all part of it. And, um, I don't think you're going. I don't think you can have that individualization without ah without Yeah, this this first

73:5

few decades that don't play like this is a Sam Altman thing. But don't he says, don't play at the level you're not at like if your life is that his frame is like people sort of operate for money, for status, for impact or for self actualization. And there's no value judgment is nothing better or worse about any of those levels, but he sort of likens it to a video game And don't play level two, level three if you're currently supposed to be at level one, cause you get clobbered and make it make sense. I definitely money was a big part of my twenties because I had to and ah, I don't know if I'm honest where I am right now on status impact self actualization, it gets a little bit money. But, um, you know, this None of the conversation that you and I are having today implies that if somebody who's listening is 25 years old, that they should fast forward to, like, not worrying about belonging, it's perfectly okay to worry about blowing just just few. And you got what's authentic and do that together,

74:0

you know? Yeah. What is the last question I have for you that, um, I'm really curious about is what is something that you think a lot about? But you rarely get a chance to

74:13

shadow. This question is interesting because it it Ah, it drums up a whole bunch of stuff because my head is a really busy place. In fact, it's kind of my Achilles heel is that Ah, people have described as having a high clock speed or whatever, which I think is intended as a compliment. And I appreciate that, but absolutely ask. But it's like, Whoa, you know, it's true and it's over clocked. And, um, I have a hard times were tamping it down sometimes.

74:38

Well, it makes for amazing conversation. It makes for every one of our chats, always leaves me thinking, but yeah, it's probably because, uh, it's, you know, the culmination of a lot right here. Well, I sometimes

74:52

I feel like I'm out over my skis, my mouth gets me out over my skis on stuff, But you know, the thing that rattles around in my head a lot. I'm an observer of human behavior, and I'm fascinated by it. And and honestly, um, I sometimes fuel a little lonely in my in our inability to sort of, uh, I could spend hours and hours with like minded person, sort of rejoicing in the, um, the miracle of the human mind. It's such an unlikely thing, and it's so complicated and hard to understand. And the mind is mixed with emotion,

right? So Ah, they compete. There are other, sort of always competing. You're sort of logical brain with your emotional brain. Nothing new there. Nothing profound. But we all experience it and that the sum total of that combat that seems to be playing out in everybody's minds a CZ were status seeking monkeys is, um this inability of most people to see what is true and accept what is true. Um, I know it's really abstract, but all sort of gives them examples. They're really basic political examples of like, um, you know,

inconvenient the people who have a certain perspective on, um whether a building should be built in a certain neighborhood, which is a zeitgeist issue in San Francisco, right? We're like people come out and fight, and the truth is that if we don't build housing, we're not gonna We're not gonna reduce, um, the homelessness problem in our city. We're not gonna, um, reduce friends. We're not gonna have any of the benefits of additional supply in a what? What, unfortunately is a ah supply and demand market for people who don't want to believe it. And yet you see people coming out and fighting that truth with really contorted logic and tryingto,

um, argue against things that are just unfortunately objectively true about the way that markets work or the way that neighborhoods work or the way that the city system works. The public transportation works. Now, these are not very high stakes. These are not very high stakes behaviors in the grand scheme of things with the fighting. The truth that I'm most interested in is the truth fighting that happens inside the minds of people with respect to themselves. Um, and how badly people want something. Um, is it I should say that their behavior is a function how badly they want it, not whether they should have it, not whether it's true that they're suited to it. And this is something that I personally struggled with a lot, um, thinking that I needed to.

I think we've talked about this today, but sort of thinking that I needed to be a billionaire or needed to be a CEO or needed to be this or needed to be that and not stepping back and listening to my truth and saying, OK, what am I actually equipped to be? Where do where are my strengths? naturally. And what are those going to get me and then behaving a court accordingly? And instead, what I would do is I would just try to cover up my weaknesses or I tryto grow some muscle that I didn't actually naturally have in order to impress other people. And to me, that's like the deepest and most difficult fighting of the truth Is they in my stomach and in my heart I knew where I was strong. I knew where I wasn't strong, Um, and it wasn't willing to accept it. And so instead I fought it. And every time you fight your truth,

every time you fight any truth in the universe, anytime you fight anything that is true and particularly when it's immutable, as most things are, man u sub optimize the outcome. You create anxiety, you create grief, you create friction. Um, and I see this play out and the reason I started with something like, you know, building a building in San Francisco and then went to something really different, like, uh, you know, whether your strengths are where you think your strengths are supposed to be. Is that this this narrative of of desire as the driving force for behavior as opposed to AH, acceptance of what is apparent as truth is actually sort of at the core of our species inability to self actualize like we don't work within the constraints of what is true,

79:0

interesting. So you're kind of saying like it's not about just, ah, honesty and honest observation in truth such, but it's also the amount of energy we put into fighting it. Yeah, and trying to wrestle it right and defeated your question

79:17

was, what's in my head that I don't talk about very much. And the reason that I think about this so much is because when I sit down across the table from an entrepreneur and that entrepreneurs, I don't care how old they are right there, most often a little younger than me on the scale of like 5 to 10 years younger than me. And they really want me to invest in their company. And they are pitching so hard, and it is so clear to me that the market that they're in is a shit show. There's no I mean, it's not a company I can invest in, because you might be a stupendous entrepreneur, but two things were true. One. You're so hell bent on getting me as an entrepreneur that you're not. You're not trying to answer the question, Mr Sorry. As an investor,

rather. Thank you. Um, you're not trying to answer the question. Should Matt be an investor in my company, you're trying to answer the question. Can I get Matt to invest in my company? And these are vastly different questions. I want to sit across the table from an entrepreneur who simply wants to know what the right answer is. What's my truth? Matt has a certain set of things I couldn't possibly understand. I is the entrepreneur of a certain set of things that Matt couldn't possibly understand. We're gonna spend an hour together. We're gonna trade ideas and perspectives on what I'm trying to do, who I am, what the market is.

And then we're gonna come to a conclusion that if Matt says it's not a business he wants to invest in, that's okay. Then I'll work with someone else. And if nobody wants to invest in my business, that's actually totally fine, too. I'm gonna work with that. As opposed to the frenetic, panicked anxiety riddled follow up email or, you know, the sales pitch. That sort of becomes, um, on all volley game of tennis, you know, in an attempt to win something.

But it's not about winning. It's about finding the right answer. And so job searches. People tend to want to win a job offer, don't win job offers. Go see if you test positive for that particular company and that particular role and let no be as beautiful as yes, because it's the right thing. But we can't. We know we have to fight the truth. We don't We're not interested in the truth. Were interested in the desire right, And it leads to, and that's where all the anxiety comes from, you know, and I feel bad for I always feel bad when I say no to somebody on an investment because I know that hurts. It's like it's more fun if everyone says yes.

And your problem is, how do I squeeze all the people in my cap table, right? That's I know that's more fun because I've had both outcomes, Um, but that's not how it's gonna go. And so, uh, you should start by accepting that and working with it as opposed to fighting it. That's that's what one clear example of it that I see in such a regular basis in Silicon Valley, right?

82:0

That's really that's really insightful of of not only just recognizing the truth, because that's obviously valuable, but then that that highlights and ability to be compatible with the truth vs a one hour coffee and 23 follow up e mails that show you this. This person is not good at working with the truth, and maybe I'm wrong on this. But, wow, the amount of energy that's going in to fight me on this ah, or to push back or a desire of needing to be right ah, is is more is maybe a signifier of their inability to work within the truth.

82:46

Yeah, I think if if I were an entrepreneur from, you know, and maybe I very well, maybe in the not too distant future, but about fund raising, you know, my approach to fundraising will be. Here are the firms that I think might be interested in investing in my company or hear the Angels that might be interested in investing in my company, and I'm going to approach them with. Hey, let's spend some time together and see if this is right for you and see if you're right for me. That's it. That's all I'm doing. We're just gonna see. And it's so much more calm and approach to the problem because you're just insane. You're just You're looking for what the universe already knows.

You're not trying to change it, right? So let's go in with a sense of inner peace and say we're just gonna we're gonna discover whether we should be in business together. And if nobody thinks they should be in business with me around this idea, that's really valuable data. Because if I were to have convinced them otherwise, that was gonna come out in The Washington way more painful way later, right? Um, easy for me to say. The guy who you know has been a CEO for nine years and has a little bit of money and yeah, it's comfy. I don't have to worry too much about ending up broke. Um,

83:57

so I I think about my own my own entrepreneurial path, and I I certainly remember the There's so much fear in being wrong that what I was seeking wasn't truth, but was validation in my own version of the truth he had. And in I I like what you said about and 25. It's you're not trying to convince someone, Thio accelerate it. That might just be where you need to be going through in your desire to belong. And And I think you maybe people need to fight the truth toe learn Ah Tau learn through that own Ah, that that experience. Um, how futile that could be.

84:41

You absolutely have to. You have to toss yourself on the rocks. Ah, lot on this one. Before you get an intuition, you have to You have to mess it up a bunch of times and feel the pain later. Reflect on how you got into that pain. Look back at it and say, You know what? I never should have done that deal. I never should have attracted this investor. I never should have married that person.

85:6

And I should have ignored that advice,

85:8

right? Whatever you whatever where you let your desire for a certain outcome cloud your ability to see that that was not the right outcome for you. You have to feel that pain a bunch of times before you're willing to accept that the greater long term pain is worth trading for the lesser short term pain, right? It just takes a bit of discipline to say I'm I'm going to be okay If this doesn't go the way I want it to right now, I mean, you know, it sounds almost. It sounds like somebody lacking in spirit. It sounds like somebody who's given up. It sounds like somebody who doesn't have a tenacity and a fight to go win the thing they want. But it's not that at all. I think we've already talked today about polarities and the importance of being Zen and competitive at the same time. And this is another great example of that were like, you be Zen about what is true. You need to embrace what is true and with in the constraints of what is true. You need to fight like hell,

right and be competitive. But you, you being competitive and fighting like hell will never, ever, ever change what is true around you.

86:22

I think one of the litmus testes to to see OK, what is what can I take from this. This feedback that I'm getting from this investor set of investors or customers is is just observing your own response. Internal response? Listening to your malicious isn't saying Wait, um I'm getting defensive here, and that is it's so easy to tell you gonna Anyone could almost take 10 seconds. Look at their e mail ins. Shit. That e mail off of a two hind email. My replies is 800 words. Okay, I'm probably being defensive. Good sign. And if you are, then it's worth one thing. You can do it.

25 or 35 or 18 I think is think. Okay. What's beneath this? What could be beneath this? Is it fear that I'm wrong? Yeah. And And you don't need to jump Thio. It might not be possible to jump to the clarity. Ah, 100%. But you can at least say Okay, my body My emotional response here is telling me something and And why am I so fearful? Is it Ah Is there something deeper going on And then you can recognise start to form a pattern when you feel when you feel those things coming up and it even if the pattern just starts as okay. I'm gonna take 10 seconds before I send, uh, this email to observe what's what's happening emotionally and decide whether you want to send it or not awards deeper than that. And it's a recognition of pattern of of Okay, I've felt this before, and this is what's going on.

88:2

Deep down, Yeah, it's important. One of the most important things that I've ever learned about my own brain is that and I think it's universally true for everyone. You don't get to control how you feel. You don't get to control your emotions. People talk about emotional control. I don't like that phrase because it you are subject to your emotions you don't like. Oh, you know what? I'm gonna go ahead and choose not to be anxious right now. It doesn't work. I'm gonna go ahead and ah, yeah, I'm gonna come not be angry. Yeah. Good.

Turn that off. There are some drugs that'll do it. I don't recommend them. Um, we're subject to our emotions. Were not subject to, You know, our behavior behaviors and output emotions. Aaron, input. So, um, you're in a situation with someone and in the moment you feel anxiety or anger or fear. The Onley thing you can do is stare at that emotion, stare at it, give it a big hug.

Like really say, I'm anxious. I'm angry and like you can. And it's often very affected, by the way, with someone across the table for me to say that because they can't argue with you. You're dumb. They can argue with you on that. You're wrong. I can argue with you on that. I'm angry. Ah, yeah. They're only responses like, Oh, they might say, I'm also angry. They might say, I'm sorry for making you angry, but they won't say is You're

89:24

not angry, right? That's true.

89:26

They won't argue with you, right? And so you know why? Because that's the truth. It's You know, what you're feeling is the truth. And so I think I love your point of using that as the signal to decode Right? The signal that comes to you is the emotion, and it's your brain's job. You're thinking brains, job emotions you're bringing to you. But you're thinking brains job to decode that, and I do it all time. I mean, I'm in the middle of having a whole bunch of high stakes conversations with people right now about various investments and career decisions and stuff in my life. And, um,

you know, when something that doesn't go my way comes back, I absolutely, and still subject to the same all fucked, like existential anxiety. And but the thing that I'm now good at it, this ripe Old Ages to pause and and catch the emotion and stare at it and accept it for what it is and then have a little conversation with myself about what it means and then decide my next step. And I make good way better decisions doing that. The Dalai Lama does it better. So

90:29

I'm Dolly almost better than you. I think so.

90:32

That's my hunch. Well, call me false. Falsely

90:35

humble. I think you're putting someone back in that Alfa Male, huh? That's right, Theme. Next went Ah, Dalai Lama. He's gonna be Oh,

90:45

I don't know if I ever meet Dalai Lama, I'm gonna ask them why they lock young boys up in monasteries and deny them their youth. That's what I wanna ask you Don't put him up on a pedestal. I think that whole set up is

90:56

don't let your designs. Yeah, but you know what, man? Silent take. Take the good with the bad. So what is what is something that you've been tempted to fight the truth on in the last 235 months? Is there something that comes up where you like, even at the ripe old age of seeing and kind of, um, and observing it, You're still tempted. And I think you nailed on the head with desire. Um, but but what is something that caused it? But what is something? Is there something comes mine, If I think

91:33

and this is very recent, it's an unresolved question for me. But I think, um, I like to believe that I don't care about status and I care about status less than I used to. But I I still do, and I fight that. I tried to convince myself it doesn't matter, and then it doesn't factor into my decisions, but I don't think that's nothing. That's true. I don't like saying that about myself. Is that I'm for sure, judging myself for it. Um,

92:5

but I think there's I think there's really valid reasons to think about. Says there's the There's the I think, the surface level, non virtuous version. It's like, you know, vanity or ego. We talked about you being on the cover of the magazine. Well, yeah, there's the vanity aspect of it that could be a really big part of it. But maybe beneath that, there's also the validation. That person's useful in the world. That person is providing value to two others. That, yeah,

could be admiration in the service level. But beneath that, it's like others respect for what they're bringing. I want to have occupied that place because that validates I'm useful. I think, with status, it's actually it could be similar to where there is the service level. Okay, where I rank and I want to be above X number of people and and below as few people as possible. And there's that service level. Then there's the biological level of just, um okay, this is this is how I'm being. I'm getting a feedback loop of how useful I am, and I want to be as useful as possible or valuable is possible to others, cause that's a signal for for the value that I bring.

Others I don't know if it's if it is all, you know, non virtuous surface level like, Oh, you shouldn't

93:26

care about right non virgins. I mean, I don't again. I think I'm pretty good at this one. I'm not judging myself for it. It doesn't mean I don't still prefer I would prefer to be completely free of earthly desires. And I know that that sounds silly. But of course, be like if we could all shed those earthly desires and float in the ether. Probably a lot better. It would free us of the human condition, Which Yeah, guess what. Nobody, including the Dalai Lama, I'm sure, are free of the human condition by virtue of being human.

So you know that I'm I'm on that piece with so many things in my life today that I wasn't 10 years ago or 20 years ago. But it's not, um, it's it's just sort of an ongoing It's a journey. And I think struggle is too strong a word at this point. Um, it's just something I bat around a lot still.

94:24

Well, I like that phrasing of fighting. What is our fighting? The truth? Because that, I think, is, uh, you can you could. It's just a powerful visual. It's more powerful and ignoring the truth is that you can ignore the weather and be fine and get on with it. Yeah, I get on with it. But ignoring the truth's going to beat you up. Yeah, it's the second

94:45

voice, if you ever talking to someone trying to impress them, or you're in some sort of situation where you realize you've come off the rails of authenticity. My, my, I recognize it really quickly because another voice has entered the picture and is telling me what I'm supposed to be doing or is judging me. It's like, Ah, I like the idea of a committee in your brain. There's the the very quiet voice at the table. That's the authentic one, and he doesn't raise his voice very much. And then there's the critic, and there's the comedian, the guy. I mean in my head. There's the guy who's such It's so good at defending the ego because he can throw a funny joke out in front of something awkward.

Um, so you have a soul committee of voices, and then, when you really, ever want to hear, it's not strictly true, but is is like the the authentic one. He's just not, you know, it's done. The loudest guy at the table, ever. The critic is super loud and, um and so when he pipes up and start screaming at you while you're sort of mid sentence on something, that's it. That's my trigger.

That's what I'm like. Whips. No, I've come off the author authenticity rail, and I'm gonna pause. And I might say something like, You know what I just realized? I have no idea what I'm talking about. The internal critics. Yeah, the internal credit is talking over top. Yeah, the normal voice that's coming out of my mouth and it gets Ah, it gets pretty messy upstairs.

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Well ah, so crates. Ah, yeah. His famous for for adhering to inner voice and would would say that he had inter voice Socrates, uh, say that he had an inner voice that would tell him what he should D'oh um and and that was his. His life's goal was toe to give that voice as much volume as possible. Um, and ultimately listen to it. So I it's the you know, the ultimate voice toe toe. Listen to um oh, man. Matt, from the what you write in your your, uh your schedule,

um each You know, each time you get a new Ah, a new journal. What did you call it? Notebook. My notebook. You didn't like journal? Uh, you're right. Notebook from what you write in your notebook. Um, and in the roomie poem, too. Being a deejay at 16 to the Steve Jobs story. Too powerful moving story of of commander closet, too. What you think about and fighting What is, um thank you so much for the time

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today, man. Yeah, it's my pleasure toe share this story. Hopefully, it'll

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be useful to someone. It's It was useful for me also. I really, really appreciate it. Thanks so much for coming in. Thank you. And me, A friend's and listeners, I hope you enjoyed today's episode. If you want to hear more of these types of conversations, go over to your favorite podcast app and hit, subscribe or leave us a review. Fitter Bad. We love hearing from people that that appreciate this type of conversation and want more of it. You can also follow us on Twitter at Go below the line as well, a cnr Twitter bio. Our email address for you to shoot us a note on any suggestions of guests or topics that we should cover.

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