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The Om Show on Smash Notes

The Om Show podcast.

December 28, 2019

From fashion to politics to law to sports to cars, these are conversations about technology and how it is reshaping our society. Om Malik (a veteran technology writer) sits down and chats with some of the best and the brightest from around the world. Released twice a month as an accompaniment to Pico interview series over on Pico (http://pi.co).



Episodes with Smash Notes

Om Malik and Bijan Sabet discuss the impact of the Coronavirus on humanity, the economics impact, massive layoffs, the fear of a deep recession and how to get through all of it without losing your mind.

Updated on April 21

In this episode of Stuck@Om, I’m talking with an old friend, Maria Konnikova. Maria holds a Ph.D. in Psychology, is the author of multiple best-selling books, and is also a professional poker player. We immediately dive into her book “The Confidence Game” about how con artists convince people of unbelievable things. We dissect how movies and TV glamorize the con artists while placing blame on those who were conned. We even touch on our shared love for Sherlock Holmes. 

 

We enter into a much deeper discussion about Maria’s most recent book “The Biggest Bluff”, which was released June 23rd. When Maria wrote the book, she set out to write about luck and the things we can and can’t control. After reading John Von Neumann’s book on game theory, she realized poker was the perfect medium for her exploration into chance. Erik Seidel — a renowned poker player — agreed to let Maria shadow him to learn more about poker. Maria never thought this opportunity would lead to becoming a professional poker player. 

 

We talk about what poker has taught her about emotional control and how you have to learn to identify your emotions to become an expert poker player. The goal isn’t to move away from being emotional — because it’s human nature. But you must identify your emotions and learn to remove them from the equation. You must also identify your triggers: What types of people make you mad? What interactions make you upset? What excites you or makes you happy?

 

We further delve into the psychology of poker and the topics of psychological distancing, physical distancing, and how to prevent emotions before you’re triggered. We chat about how emotions can be essential to decision-making. Maria also shares about her experience as a professional poker player and what she learned about herself throughout her journey. Our conversation travels deep into psychology, emotion, self-awareness, and the uncertainty of life. Please listen — Maria’s captivating story cannot be missed. 

 

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Outline of This Episode

  • We talk about Maria’s three books
  • What does TV get right about con artists?
  • How Maria landed on writing a book about poker
  • Making decisions because of and in spite of emotion
  • How emotional control impacts the game of poker — and life
  • Maria’s journey to becoming a best-selling author
  • Maria’s time as a professional poker player
  • What Maria learned about herself from poker 
  • The uncertainty of mortality that’s part of our being
  • How epidemiologists use poker as a model for disease spread

Resources & People Mentioned

Maria Konnikova's Books

Connect with Maria

Connect With Om

In this episode of Stuck@Om, I chat with my friend Ophir Gottlieb, the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Capital Market Laboratories. We talk about the importance of proper perspective. Ophir likens perspective to a superpower — with it, we are the best investors in the world. Yet the increase of access to and influx of information has only served to create more confusion. Ophir emphasizes that we are totally overwhelmed with data and underwhelmed with information.

 

With that proliferation comes the competition to be profitable. The news media doesn’t just provide news — it’s become sensationalized.There is this disconnect between a story existing, and the need to just get something printed. News has probably hurt more people’s wealth than helped it. It’s very difficult to lose wealth in the stock market. Yet it continues to happen. It isn’t because people are stupid. So how can it be? Because money is tied to the identity of self and fear that you’ll lose that identity. The stock market is driven by emotion. 

 

Ophir and I also discuss society’s shift from a long-term orientation to one of short-term focus. Have we lost the ability to think beyond the now? We chat about Robinhood—the trading app that’s become a phenomenon—and how its impact isn’t as striking as Schwab’s move to commission-free trading. We also ruminate on the unprecedented steps that have been taken with the economy and how our expectation for a natural response to an unnatural occurrence is baseless. We are dealing with an unnatural economic impact. We can’t do the normal things when the thing we’ve created isn’t normal. 

 

We talk about the giant leap forward in the digital realm that’s been made out of necessity. Ophir shares that he is investing in the companies that will help the world move forward in the digital transformation. Lastly, Ophir shares his thoughts on when and how to invest in the market. We cover a wide range of fascinating topics in this conversation. Be sure to listen for insight on the economy. 

 

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Outline of This Episode

  • Ophir’s background in institutional finance
  • How the influx of information has created confusion
  • The information asymmetry rampant in the market
  • The impact of ‘noise’ on the rise and fall of the stock market
  • Has humanity become short-term oriented versus long-term?
  • The phenomenon of the Robinhood trading app
  • How is Ophir is reading the current market opportunities 
  • Are we cycling into the future of american economy?
  • Tech stock valuations are high—so when do we enter the market?
  • How to connect with Ophir and join his community

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Ophir Gottlieb

Connect With Om

In this episode of Stuck@Om, I’m joined by world-renowned economist, professor, and best-selling author Jeffrey Sachs. A central topic in our conversation is Jeff’s newest book The Age of Globalization and the impact of digitalization on our culture and economy. 

 

We dissect how COVID-19 has clearly changed office culture — and how it won’t be the same after this. The Coronavirus has taught us that 80% of our work can be done anywhere. We are recognizing that we can function with a decentralized workforce. How will that impact how people live and function in society? 

 

We also talk about the inaccuracies being portrayed by the stock market. We’ve seen over 20 million people apply for unemployment, yet the stock market is up 20%. Jeff notes that the stock market isn’t a snapshot of the economy — it’s a snapshot of a piece of the economy at the exclusion of the losing side. 

 

We fear that our society has become stupid. Our systems cannot process information, deliberate socially, and reach rational outcomes. Jeff emphasizes that deliberation and the pursuit of serious knowledge and problem-solving needs to come back into the core of our politics. 

 

We peruse so many topics, from a lack of meaningful communication in our society to potential dystopian or utopian futures. Be sure to listen to this episode for a wide-ranging conversation about pertinent global issues that our society is facing.

 

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Outline of This Episode

  • Jeff’s Book: The Age of Globalization
  • How COVID-19 has clearly changed office culture
  • How humanity has dealt with pandemics throughout history
  • The economic inaccuracies being portrayed by the stock market
  • The dramatic acceleration of the digital economy and adverse effects
  • How digitization makes a large positive contribution to overall productivity
  • Most everything that we want done can be done by AI
  • The need for new institutions to handle digitalization
  • How society defines the worth of a man or woman
  • The Scandinavian ideology of social democracy
  • A continued shift towards working less and enjoying life
  • The next phase of globalization and the possibilities that come with it
  • The benefits of science and technology should be widely shared
  • How communication is a key part of globalization
  • The pursuit of serious knowledge and problem-solving needs to return

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Jeffrey Sachs

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In this episode of Stuck@Om my friend Barry Ritholtz joins me to discuss our current existence. Barry is the CIO of Ritholtz Wealth Management, an avid blogger, and prolific author. His voice is well-recognized in the stock market and investing universe. Barry and I have a conversation about how the pandemic has served to amplify the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. We acknowledge it can be a catalyst for necessary change on a governmental level.

 

Barry and I also chat about the state of the economy and its influence on the stock market using the analogy of a rubber band: If it stretches too far in one direction it will inevitably snap back. The market is betting on future probabilities and often sees changes in the economy before anyone else reports it. Barry states: “The nature of technology, the nature of capitalism, the nature of markets, is constant change. It just takes place at a longer timeline than us humans are comfortable with.”

 

Barry and I also chat about Facebook and how it is reckless and irresponsible in how it allows the spread of fake news. Facebook has advertising down to an exact science and can track nearly every move you make. Barry admits that he’s impressed by them professionally but hates them personally. 

 

We delve into what aspiring bloggers can achieve by either curating content, creating their own, or educating and teaching. Barry points out that there has never been a better time to be a human being on this planet. What’s available to you is astonishing. We can access everything ever written or recorded — so we should take advantage of it. Listen to this episode for an inspiring and thoughtful conversation between friends. 

 

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Outline of This Episode

  • Two separate categories for people dealing with COVID
  • Will the Coronavirus pandemic help us become better people?
  • Barry weighs in on the volatility of the stock market 
  • The news is often a lagging indicator of reality
  • The nature of technology and capitalism is constant change
  • Full stop on the industrial era brought to its knees?
  • Companies have gotten too big for our good
  • Addressing the Google antitrust action rumors going around
  • Why society should be more worried about the impact of Facebook
  • A blog can curate content, create original content, or educate and teach
  • How we can access everything ever written or recorded and must take advantage of it
  • The bloggers, authors, and prolific writers Barry reads every day

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Barry Ritholtz

Connect With Om

In this episode of Stuck@Om I chat with one of the great human beings on the planet — Nicholas Thompson. He’s the Editor in Chief at WIRED Magazine, an avid marathoner, and has penned one of the best essays I’ve read in recent times. In this conversation, Nick and I talk about how media outlets have to shift how they write stories to generate ‘clicks’ over ‘subscriptions’. 

 

We also converse about the reputation of the media and how it hasn’t improved during the Coronavirus crisis. We postulate that social media is a double-edged sword—as much as it gives, it takes away. It has only served to amplify the heat towards the media industry and appeals to the worst instincts of humanity while incentivizing the worst behaviors. Their needs to be healthy cynicism and healthy optimism in regards to social media — without that, we cannot progress.

 

We also have a lengthy discussion about the forced surge in telemedicine. The tech has existed for a while now, but the Coronavirus removed the typical barriers for the use of the technology. As its use becomes more widespread, what will the new rules and regulations look like? What if you had a video recording of every hospital visit since you turned 18, stored locally? So every time you visited a new doctor they had video reference for treatment.

 

Can we design a system to minimize the risk and maximize the benefits over a long time horizon? Be sure to listen to our conversation for an in-depth look at the future of tech writing, automation, the medical industry, and much more. 

 

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Outline of This Episode

  • Learn about Nicholas Thompson — Editor in Chief of Wired
  • What WIRED publishes is important and utterly essential
  • The reputation of the media hasn’t improved during this crisis
  • Social media is a double-edged sword—as much as it gives it takes away
  • Social media appeals to our worst instincts
  • Do reporters dislike tech as often as they’re accused of it? 
  • The need for healthy cynicism and healthy optimism
  • How the Coronavirus crisis is creating a boom in telemedicine
  • We weren’t expecting the future to arrive like it has
  • Tougher cleaning requirements in airports and public places
  • What spectrum of jobs will be replaced by machines?
  • What the hiring process will look like in the future
  • What will the future of working from home look like?

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Nick Thompson

Connect With Om

In this episode of Stuck@Om, Herman Narula joins me in a conversation about our future. Herman is the CEO of Improbable — a company that is obsessed with multiplayer games. They build the underlying technology to support new gaming experiences. He strives to be able to create a “virtual environment that is as representative and complex as the real world.” A virtual world that improves upon the real word — that doesn’t replicate it. 

 

With the uncertainty of the future of travel, the ability to experience the world without leaving our homes would be astounding. What about the future of social gatherings? Will we shift to more virtual concerts, such as Travis Scott’s concert in Fortnite? The types of experiences or interactive communication we can uniquely have in those environments is endless. Herman posits that we may see a gradual freeing of identity and an emphasis on the ability to influence the world from your physical body. What if our mode of influence shifted to virtual reality?

 

Herman fully believes that video games will be the thing that defines this decade in a way that surprises society. It’s already the interface through which many young people socialize. Perhaps we will begin to see people begin to make money in these virtual worlds. Herman is excited for the end of the lockdown. He’s hopeful that our world may see another Roaring Twenties — with revitalization in art and culture and an explosion of new ideas. Listen now to hear an eye-opening discussion with my newfound friend. 

 

 

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Outline of This Episode

  • Creating simulation technology for gaming and defense
  • How will the behavior change us as people?
  • Does the pandemic modify centuries of human gatherings?
  • How can we improve upon the real world
  • We talk about the emotional attachments we have to sport
  • Is making money in a virtual world the next big transition? 
  • The resource and energy efficiency of virtual environments
  • Air travel will have a very different future after this
  • Will a shift towards working from home cause an even bigger divide?
  • Video games will be the thing that defines this decade in a way that surprises society
  • The gaming environment is the interface in which many younger people socialize
  • Will we see revitalization of art and culture — a repeat of the Roaring Twenties?

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Herman Narula

Connect With Om

In this episode of Stuck@Om my friend Scott Belsky—CPO of Adobe and founder of Behance—joins me to have a conversation about the state of our world. He shares how his family is keeping safe and what they’re doing to keep their children occupied.

 

We chat about our love/hate relationship with Twitter, and how their engagement-driven algorithm is being overwhelmingly driven by the fear-filled masses. An algorithm that curates topics you’re passionate about would better suit them. We worry they are too focused on keeping the lights on that they aren’t thinking about long-term strategies.

 

We also talk about looking beyond the economic impact of the pandemic — how will people think differently about their product and value propositions? Will superfluous products that society never needed begin to disappear? And what about the short and long-term impacts on how businesses function? Scott points out that we were forced to accelerate years ahead with the way we think about a distributed workforce. 

 

Perhaps the world will see an increase in empathy and focus on health and wellness. We may see a seismic shift in the world of entertainment with more virtual concerts or on-demand theatre options. Will conferences become virtual presentations where people simply meetup afterward for happy-hours and social gatherings? Listen to this episode for a wide-ranging and hopeful discussion about our future. 

 

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Outline of This Episode

  • How Scott and his family are staying safe and busy
  • Will products getting usage now get hurt long-term?
  • Twitter’s engagement-driven business model is a problem
  • Trust & safety can’t be a singular focus for a product organization
  • Will startups think differently about their product and value propositions?
  • The short and long-term impact of the Coronavirus on businesses
  • Distance learning will no longer be shunned by universities
  • What does the future of trust look like in relationship-building?
  • How children will learn more from this pandemic than we will
  • How will conferences evolve in the post-pandemic world?
  • The impact of the Coronavirus on the hotel industry and Airbnb
  • Increased awareness of personal health is on the horizon
  • How Behance users are internalizing the world's events with their craft

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Scott Belsky

Connect With Om

In this episode of Stuck@Om my good friend Matt Mullenweg joins me. Matt is the CEO of Automattic and a founding member of WordPress. Matt usually travels extensively for work — he logged over 500,000 miles in the air last year — but is enjoying his extended time at home. 

Recently, I started embracing a concept Matt popularized called “Away From Keyboard”, shortened to “AFK”. It began as a simple way to relate that you were away from your desk but evolved into a way to encourage vacation and time off. It’s important to embrace rest and restoration — it helps us become more productive and mentally stable. 

Matt shares that they’ve cultivated a culture at Automattic that’s open and honest, where everyone communicates freely. They’ve found success implementing an open vacation policy (taking as much time off as employees want or need). Every 5 years, Automattic requires its employees to take a 2-3 month paid sabbatical. Matt finds those team members return full of ideas and renewed energy, positively impacting the company. 

We also chat about the importance of virtual social gatherings and the importance of continuing human-to-human connection. Matt also shares some tips for those new to the work-from-home model. Be sure to listen to this short but expansive conversation. 

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Outline of This Episode

  • How Matt is enjoying being “grounded” 
  • The big idea behind “Away from Keyboard” 
  • Automattic’s open vacation and sabbatical policy 
  • Matt implemented “half days” due to Covid-19
  • Fall back on the core of your culture
  • The 5 levels of autonomy
  • Make space for virtual social gatherings

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Matt Mullenweg

Connect With Om

In today’s episode of Stuck@Om, I have a conversation with my friend Jason Fried — Co-founder and CEO of Basecamp. We talk about the parts of lockdown that we’ve enjoyed as well as the ways it’s made us more thankful. Jason admits that we don’t realize how much we take for granted. Hopefully, when we emerge from this pandemic we can be more appreciative of the teachers, nannies, and cleaning services that help us manage our everyday lives. 

Jason and I chat about the reality that there are no full-time employees right now. Those lucky enough to work from home are juggling caring for their children, cooking meals, and other priorities. Leaders must recognize this reality and adjust their expectations accordingly. Basecamp has taken this to heart. They know that everyone must find a balance that works for their family. If that means they can only contribute 4 hours towards a workday, they’ve articulated to their employees that they understand — things will be okay at a slower pace. 

We talk about technology and the concept of efficiency and effectiveness. How doing more isn’t always accomplishing more and that activity doesn’t equate to achievement. We also ponder the micro-level changes we will see when we emerge from this pandemic. Will we always stand a foot further apart? Will shaking hands no longer be a social norm? Will the ability to trust become the largest victim of this pandemic? 

Jason and I chat about everything from the coronavirus and climate change to Grand Seiko watches and custom clothing. Listen to hear an engaging conversation between friends. 

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Outline of This Episode

  • How Jason and his wife are navigating lockdown with 2 children
  • Be creative instead of being bogged down by negativity
  • The greatest things about technology are also the worst
  • Leaders have to recognize and adapt to the new reality we’re in
  • The concept humans struggle with that our identity is found in work
  • We need to eliminate the cultural expectation of an immediate response
  • Not everything is categorized “breaking news”—it isn’t all important
  • Do we have too many tools creating more chaos than order?
  • Will trust become the largest victim of this pandemic? 
  • The hope that new technologies will emerge out of this
  • The coronavirus is just a symptom of larger issues at play
  • We have to change and adapt to new realities
  • Dealing with mass paranoia: everyone has become dangerous
  • We talk about our mutual love of Grand Seiko Watches
  • Why I have exactly 100 pieces of clothing in my wardrobe
  • The things you should spend money on: good food and comfort

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Jason Fried

Connect With Om

In this episode of Stuck@Om, I chat with my friend Paul Kedrosky, Ph.D.— a general partner in SK Ventures. In our conversation, Paul notes that he’s pretty happy with the way he’s constructed his reality. He jokingly states he’s been in preparation for self-quarantine for the last decade—it’s his time to shine. Aside from missing coffee and sushi, he’s enjoying his time at home with his wife and children. 

When our conversation takes a deeper turn, we chat about how the implicit assumptions our lives are based on are changing — that we are more fragile than we ever imagined. Paul’s been studying the Black Plague and realized that the diaries of that time could’ve been written yesterday in a blog post. The way we deal with global pandemics was the same in the 1600s as it is now—a diet of social distancing and isolation.

Paul and I cover a wide range of topics such as how the airlines are concerned more about their bottom-line than spreading viruses and the information we choose to consume. We talk about the potential creation of new vaccine technologies and his optimistic view of how we will emerge from this pandemic financially. Listen to this episode for some light-hearted banter coupled with deeper topics about the state of our world.

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Outline of This Episode

  • How Paul Kedrosky has naturally prepared for self-quarantine
  • Is the pandemic exposing who we really are?
  • The implicit assumptions our lives are based on
  • How the Black Plague compares to the Coronavirus pandemic
  • How airlines care little about the consequences of their actions
  • Convincing the population to care before it’s far too late
  • Understanding what our information diet should consist of
  • Humans overestimate their importance in the grand scheme of things
  • How Paul thinks we will emerge from this pandemic
  • The emergence of new vaccine technologies
  • Paul’s optimism about the impact on the economy

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Paul Kedrosky

Connect With Om

In this episode of Stuck@Om, my dear friend Reilly Brennan — lead partner of Trucks Venture Capital — joins me to talk about the future of the transportation industry. We have a very philosophical conversation about how the Coronavirus pandemic has taken away our basic level of societal trust. Will we think twice before climbing in an Uber ride? What about public transportation? We wonder if rideshare services will start monitoring the health of their drivers and whether or not their vehicles are frequently disinfected. 

Reilly’s venture capital firm invests in auto industry startups in their earliest stages, so he has unique insight into the autonomous vehicle industry and the strides they’re making. We talk about delivery robotics and the increased need for autonomous vehicles to deliver necessities like groceries. We question how the auto industry will survive as dealerships across America are being shut-down. 

It is now becoming apparent that we — as a society — need to redefine what is essential and our treatment of essential workers. Delivery drivers are risking their lives to deliver goods to provide for their families. Families now quarantined at home and teaching their children are realizing just how much work teachers carry on their shoulders. We have an immense need for more healthcare workers who are now on the front-line of the battle. These people need to be treated as essential outside of pandemics and war-time. 

Reilly and I discuss the auto industry in-depth and toss around what the future landscape of the industry could look like. Perhaps people will gravitate towards purchasing new vehicles versus ridesharing or public transportation. The truth is — we don’t know. Please, give our conversation a listen.

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Outline of This Episode

  • Reilly Brennan joins me in this episode
  • The creation and launching of delivery robotics
  • We must redefine what we define as ‘essential’
  • Do we need to rethink capitalism?
  • How will the automobile sector survive a prolonged shutdown?
  • The difference between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting
  • The projected future of electric vehicles
  • How the micro-mobility landscape will change

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Reilly Brennan

Connect With Om

In this episode, I’m Stuck@Om with John Markoff—a renowned technology reporter for the New York Times. John currently allocates his time to writing a biography for Stewart Brand—a writer, editor, and entrepreneur—who is famous for saying “We are as God’s and we might as well get good at it”. John and I discuss topics revolving around the biography, such as the Whole Earth Catalogue and Stewart’s organizations “The Long Now Foundation” and “Revive & Restore”. 

During our conversation, we talk about the importance of our history. As the pandemic is sweeping through the world and we’re losing many of our elderly population—the realization hits me that we are losing a piece of our past. Collective wisdom is being snuffed out and it cannot be replaced. 

We also talk about the evolution of the internet and social networks. We once believed a connected world was a better world — but is that our reality? With the Coronavirus pandemic; will we see a fundamental transformation of the way we communicate? Children are now growing up with iPads, Facetime, and interacting with ‘Alexa’ is normal. We’re already seeing a fundamental shift that will likely be perpetuated. 

Could the pandemic be preparing us for something bigger? A changed planet — perhaps a dystopian future where we are forced to live indoors? John points out that the futures that happen tend to surprise us and come out of nowhere. This world is a giant game of ‘wait and see’. Listen to this conversation for a full exploration of the future of our world, communication, and technology. 

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Outline of This Episode

  • John Markoff is staying busy writing Steward Brand’s biography
  • The controversial world of Revive and Restore
  • John’s origin story is tied to the 1918 Spanish Flu
  • Why John had to get out of cybercrime
  • The evolution of the internet — good and bad
  • Why John wouldn’t permit anonymity across the internet
  • The development of language models and artificial intelligence
  • The line between machine and human creativity
  • A fundamental transformation of the way we communicate
  • What the future of tech media looks like

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with John Markoff

Connect With Om

In this episode of Stuck@Om my friend Matt Buchanan (Executive Editor at Eater.com) joins me for a conversation surrounding the restaurant industry. Matt points out that there are approximately 12 million jobs in the foodservice industry. Of the 10 million people who’ve now filed for unemployment — many were likely from this sector. Dining rooms across the country are forcefully emptied, leaving many restaurants closing their doors. 

Matt believes that takeout and delivery aren’t sufficient to cover the overhead for most restaurants. If they don’t get the help they need, there won’t be a recognizable restaurant industry when we emerge from this pandemic. There may soon be a trickle-down effect as waiters, cooks, busboys, and delivery drivers are laid off. Will farmers be impacted due to a lack of demand? And what about the streak of racism becoming rampant as we see an immense drop in Chinese restaurants being frequented? 

There will also be a long-term physical and psychological impact from the Coronavirus. Will people feel comfortable—even safe—returning to restaurants like they used to? We are in the midst of a humanitarian crisis that feels surreal — how do we humanize the lives being lost if we aren’t directly impacted? These are just a few of the many topics that Matt and I talk about. Listen to hear our full conversation about the resounding economic impact the restaurant industry has in our culture. 

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Outline of This Episode

  • How restaurants are dealing with the pandemic 
  • The recession will have continuing effects for months
  • How Eater.com has been navigating the Coronavirus
  • We must support our local businesses and restaurants
  • How do we humanize the lives being lost?
  • We are in the midst of a humanitarian crisis
  • Donate coffee to medical professionals on the frontlines
  • Amazon is pulling back on affiliate deals
  • Why local publications will be hit the hardest
  • What Matt and I are doing to pass the time 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Matt Buchanan

Connect With Om

Om on Instagram: @Om

In this episode of Stuck @ Om, my friend Toby Ord — author and Senior Research Fellow of Philosophy at Oxford University — joins me. Our conversation revolves around topics found in his new book, “The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity”. Could we face the downfall of civilization or human extinction? Even better — what could we achieve if we survive? 

His book explores what could happen if humanity ignores the potential dangers we face. One nation making a serious mistake could trigger a nuclear war which could lead to massive global repercussions. What about engineered viruses that lead to global pandemics? What about the effects of pollution and global warming? 

But we also focus on the need for optimism. After all, without optimism, we can’t invent a better future. Toby points out that we should focus on a vision of what we could create. What could the upper bounds of our achievements look like? Could we change the quality of our lives? Remove pain and suffering? Travel throughout the galaxy?

Will our generation be the one that drops the ball? Or will we be the greatest generation that ever lived? Listen to our conversation as we explore the existential crises we face and how humanity should move forward. 

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Outline of This Episode

  • Toby’s book — “The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity
  • Humanity has been at risk of extinction for our entire lifespan
  • Where does the Coronavirus pandemic fit in context with other pandemics?
  • Existential risk factors and existential security factors
  • The impact of global networks of communication
  • We must remain optimistic about a better future for humanity
  • Why are the biggest risks so neglected?
  • How do we help humanity overcome self-interests?
  • The most surprising thing Toby learned from his research

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Toby Ord

Connect With Om

My good friend Anne Dwane joins me in this episode of Stuck @ Om to chat about how we are both navigating life at home. We talked about Anne’s practice of doing something kind for someone else to help ease the hopelessness we’re all feeling. How a simple thing like a phone call, an encouraging email, or a donation to someone in need can make a lasting impact. 

We question if startups will have to deal with salary cuts, layoffs, furloughs, and elimination of non-essential expenses? Ann proposed a thought exercise — If elements of our ‘new normal’ are retained once we emerge from this pandemic, does that change the nature of the startup? Must they already plan to adapt, change strategies, or implement a full pivot? 

Anne points out that we’re living through a threat to our health and way of life that also happens to have an economic impact. We are living in unprecedented times. She believes that the best entrepreneurs realize when the rules of the game have changed. We must learn how to adapt and be thoughtful with our communication. 

These are just a few of the topics Anne and I peruse in this conversation among friends. Take a moment to listen.

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Outline of This Episode

  • The Practice of doing something kind for someone else
  • An aviation analogy to demonstrate the importance of communication
  • Find clarity and joy in your work when life is personally scary
  • How cigarettes, coffee, and work got me through the last downturn
  • How to plan for the worst—but hope for the best
  • Anne proposes a thought exercise: Does the new normal change the startup?
  • Experience helps with confidence and courage
  • We are allowed to say “I don’t know” and “I don’t have the answer”
  • Be empathetic to the current realities our teams are facing
  • Why it’s imperative to embrace your health and wellness 
  • What Anne is doing to pass the time

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Anne Dwane

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Steve Tidball—the CEO and co-founder of Vollebak—is passionate about leveraging technology and science to create the clothing of the future. He and his brother co-founded the apparel brand in 2016 and have completely shaken up the industry. They focus on creating clothing from exotic materials such as graphene and algae, each with its own unique purpose. 

How did their business come about? What sparked the idea to launch something so revolutionary? Learn more as Steve and I chat about the future of the clothing industry, science & technology, and Steve’s love for uncommon materials. It’s a fascinating take on an industry that has gone untouched for far too long. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:17] I learn how Steve Tidball was inspired to launch Vollebak
  • [3:40] Vollebak: extreme clothing for extreme conditions
  • [5:25] Experimenting with uncommon and exotic materials - why?
  • [14:50] It’s only relevant if it’s actually adopted
  • [16:47] Their journey from advertising to innovative clothing
  • [21:10] A brand for a dystopian tomorrow
  • [27:00] We finished our jacket, how’s your rocket going?
  • [28:50] How Steve’s childhood influences the present
  • [35:25] Steve’s vision for the future of the company
  • [38:08] Influencing how you perceive clothing
  • [42:00] Increased transparency in the apparel industry
  • [43:30] What materials will Steve try next?

The roots of the futuristic apparel company Vollebak 

Steve and his brother, Nick, spend their free time racing ultra-marathons around the world and always find themselves competing in extreme conditions. While preparing for a race across the Namib desert in Namibia, they stumbled upon their first idea. They spent a night tossing and turning, unable to sleep as they anticipated the 24-hour trek in 130-degree heat that they would be attempting the next day.

What if a piece of clothing could solve their problem? What if they designed something that could help calm their nerves and let them sleep? 5 years later, they launched their Baker Miller Relaxation Hoodie. It’s engineered as an ‘isolation tank’ that is able to lower your heart rate and slow your brainwaves, improving your ability to sleep. Now, Steve and Nick focus on creating clothing out of exotic materials by meshing their love for design, technology, and the latest scientific breakthroughs.

The future of clothing is in exotic materials

Adventure sports athletes are often in conditions where they are risking their lives on a daily basis. They need their clothing to perform at the highest level. Vollebak strives to create clothing of fabrics that will protect these extreme athletes in the worst of conditions. But they also desire to remake each piece of your wardrobe in an interesting and memorable way. They have a long history of being maverick inventors and prefer to push the limit, doing what hasn’t been done before.

That’s why they launched a jacket coated in graphene—an allotrope of carbon that is 100x stronger than steel. They also designed their Solar Charged jacket that stores and re-emits light at night (akin to a firefly). They even created a t-shirt made of pulped eucalyptus, beech, and algae that is completely biodegradable. I myself recently purchased their indestructible puffer jacket, constructed with Dyneema®, the world’s strongest fiber. 

Steve points out that they aren’t creating anything new. These are all materials that have been used before—just not in clothing. They love when people tell them it’s impossible to create clothing from these materials. They enjoy the challenge of proving the naysayers wrong. They make the impossible possible with their revolutionary designs. Listen to hear some of the amazing applications of their jackets and how they’ve even saved lives. 

Their journey from advertising to the apparel industry

Before Steve and Nick dove into apparel, they started their careers in advertising at a point when the industry began transitioning away from huge televised ads. Social social media was becoming a driving force in advertising. Ad budgets are now spent on Google and Facebook. They learned that in advertising that it was all about perception. They had to make brands interesting

They were struck with this thought: What if each piece of clothing functioned like an ad? Each piece of apparel is named after what it is and what it does. Every product has a story. Now they spend their time creating products as they come across new and innovative materials that they could potentially use. 

Steve truly enjoys seeing his clothing being worn. It’s all well and good to create something extraordinary, but he believes it’s only relevant if it’s actually adopted and used. Someone wearing and loving the product is far more exciting to him than the conception. Perhaps that is because he is the strategist while his brother handles the creative side of the business.

Building a brand for the future

We live in a charged and unstable world with an uncertain future. Rampant bushfires and natural disasters leave me wondering what our future will look like. Steve points out that we are a frontier-based species always looking for a challenge to overcome and that radical periods of change lead to the most incredible innovations. He believes exciting changes are ahead.

Perhaps we will become an intergalactic species that will one day live on Mars. After all, Tesla’s Cybertruck was built with Mars in mind. Steve hopes that as we near the realm of space travel that his apparel can be at the forefront, driving change. He desires to create clothing that alters the plasticity of human life, enhances sensory perception, and can even adopt a breathing system.

His goal is to radically alter the perception of what clothing should be and can be. Listen to the whole episode as Steve and I discuss how his childhood influenced his current success. We also talk about the future of the company and the increased importance of transparency in the clothing industry. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Steve Tidball

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There is no better person to talk with about the evolution and future of communication then Jeff Lawson. We have known each other since 2008 when we met outside a Starbucks—the same year he co-founded Twilio. He was one of the original product managers for Amazon Web Services (AWS), heavily involved in Versity, the founder of NineStar, and CTO of StubHub. He could be described as a serial inventor and early on recognized the need for communication systems.

I believe Jeff truly embodies the best of Silicon Valley. His goal with his work is to help bring out the full span of human potential and allowing people to be innovators. An Application Programming Interface (API) allows developers to enable their ideas to see the light of day. Listen to our conversation as we cover Jeff’s beginnings and company, our innate need as humans to communicate, and the future of connectedness.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:25] Introduction of Jeff Lawson, the founder and CEO of Twilio
  • [6:50] The evolution of communication
  • [9:36] Mid-90’s AT&T ad campaign
  • [12:10] Communication and connectedness - response to the below issue
  • [15:20] Om left Facebook because of what it’s become
  • [16:41] What does the future of connectedness look like?
  • [18:40] Ethical Considerations in the tech industry
  • [23:30] Conversation about Twilio becoming a publicly traded company
  • [29:33] The impact of Amazon on the Software Industry

The evolution of communication and its impact on culture

I believe the need for humans to be able to interact and communicate with each other is as visceral as the need for food and shelter. We communicate every moment of our lives in some way or another. A hundred years ago no one would believe the communication technology we have today would be possible. Speaking with someone consisted of face-to-face conversations and perhaps writing letters. Soon, telegrams and radio became modes of communication. This eventually gave way to the telephone—people began to connect over long distances as easily as they could in person.

In the last 15 years alone the means of communication have expanded in ways never imagined. Texting, web chats, emails, VOIP, and even FaceTime have sprung up, giving new life to a world where just a century earlier only had the simplest means of communication. This has truly allowed us to build relationships with family members halfway around the world. Not only can we communicate, we can see and hear them. If you listen to this episode, we discuss some of the technological communication advances that AT&T predicted in a 1990’s ad campaign that have now come to life.

Social media was created to build communication, but does it inhibit it?

In the current world of Facebook and Instagram, we must consider whether these products meant to connect people are evolving beyond connectedness to consumerism. Are we talking past each other and not truly listening? Are we confusing conversation with human connection? So often when we are on social media we find ourselves arguing with people we don’t know, trying to make a point, or looking at meaningless content.

In a world where we value communication, are we losing our ability to actually connect?

I think we have met at a point where companies such as Facebook and Twitter have become media outlets. Their purpose is to draw us in and keep us glued to their site. They’ve brought in advertising, inaccurate news is running rampant, and we are always being sold something. We are using social media under the guise of connecting with loved ones—but we must make it worthy of our time and engagement.

We must consider ethics as the tech world is evolving

We are recognizing that technology has the ability to manipulate the human mind at a chemical level. Just let that sink in for a moment. We can essentially hack the brainstem and influence people to do what we are asking of them. Tech is addictive and the more we begin to realize the power that comes with that, the closer I believe we will get to government regulation.

We need to make a return to the idea that technology is created to enrich our lives, not take them over. I believe we have the capacity to move more towards ethical decision making when we are writing software. Technology is growing at breakneck speed, with many wonderful benefits. But it seems there is always a cost to society. Jeff and I discuss in detail some pros and cons of capitalism and consumerism. Please, keep listening.

It’s all about lowering barriers and speeding up Innovation

11 years ago, Jeff had left Amazon but completely recognizes that his work there helped create a movement. Their platform sped up innovation and lowered the barriers for new developers. The industry is evolving from an On-Premises model to Software as a service (Saas). Now, Jeff believes we are entering a whole new era of software—a Platform Business Model. 

Amazon is the fastest growing software company in history—and they don’t sell software at all. They’re selling infrastructure on a per use basis. They’re restructuring every major category of software and breaking it down into their fundamental building blocks. The world can rebuild these in a way they need them to work.

Jeff is very passionate about building software that allows the world to communicate in a meaningful way. Listen to the whole episode as we talk about these topics in depth and what the future of communication looks like and how it will continue to evolve. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Jeff Lawson

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There was a technical glitch on this episode when first released that prevented the entire conversation from being heard. We've corrected the problem with this re-release. Thank you for understanding.

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My friend Kevin Scott has a unique vantage point from which to speak about the future of software engineering. He is a very gifted and accomplished man who serves as CTO at Microsoft, but his career as a software engineer spans a number of years and a variety of different roles in companies both large and small. Naturally, he didn’t start out the amazing software engineer he is today.

If you will take the time to listen in to this conversation you’ll hear his story, of life in a very small town in Virginia, of his first personal computer (from Radio Shack), of his interest in technology and aspirations to become a university professor - and how he started down the path of having his own impact on the realm of software engineering when he applied at a company called Google. Please, take the time to listen.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:35] The story of Kevin Scott: from rural Virginia to MIcrosoft CTO
  • [4:30] High school, college, traveling to Germany, then to Google
  • [13:00] Lessons from working at small companies and giants
  • [21:34] What does an engineering team look like in a small startup VS a large company?
  • [28:34] How advertising tech paved the way to today’s free internet
  • [35:44] Do mission statements matter in mega companies?
  • [39:10] What is exciting to Kevin about the future of technology?
  • [44:05] How far away are genuine, working haptic feedback integrations?
  • [48:28] What does the CTO at Microsoft really do?
  • [51:29] Kevin the photographer

There are lessons to be learned at small and big companies alike

Kevin’s software engineering career started at Google, and he enjoyed the many benefits of working in its open environment. But it wasn’t long before he decided to step into an opportunity at a small company that was just starting up. It was called Admob. His co-workers at Google joked that he’d be back, either because he’d miss his role at Google or because Google would buy the company he was moving to. The later is what wound up happening.

But during his time at Admob Kevin discovered that the lessons he’d learned working for the giant (Google) were not always directly transferable to what was being done at the smaller company (Admob). The size of the company made a difference, as did the goals the company was working toward. The ethos and culture of his new team of talented engineers made for a different dynamic, and the lack of infrastructure forced him to take on challenges Google had already addressed. Listen to hear how Kevin managed those tumultuous but exciting days at Admob and how he applied the lessons learned there upon his return to Google after the acquisition.

Why mimicking another company culture doesn’t work

I’ve noticed that many new companies are enamored with the stories of the open and self-directed culture at companies like Google - so much so that they often try to mimic those approaches in their new startup. Kevin says he’s seen the same thing and understands why it’s attractive. But he also understands why it hardly ever works.

Every company has its own unique needs and the company should be structured in a way that will enable it to serve those needs. That means sometimes the intelligence and talent of the team has to be managed more carefully and intentionally. Other times, it means allowing team members to be more autonomous. But it's the DNA of that particular company that makes the determination. Kevin shares a number of other examples, in this conversation.

How online advertising paved the way for today’s free internet

Online ads are not a particular favorite of today’s internet user. Few of us even pay attention to the sidebar or display ads we see on our favorite social media platforms. But online ads and the technology that makes them work have played a huge part in the development of almost every aspect of what we’ve come to enjoy as the free and open internet of today.

Kevin was one of the pioneers of that technology. When he was working at Google, he was among the engineers who were developing the tech behind Google ads, building out the complex systems that sort, identify, and target users with advertising applicable to their needs. He says that the projects he was working on back in the day were the largest of their kind up to that time. Those same patterns and principles have been applied in a variety of ways to the technological advances of today, including AI and machine learning systems.

AI and Machine Learning as teaching tools of the future

Kevin prefers the phrase “machine learning” over the term “AI” - he feels it’s a more accurate description of how technology is really being used and developed. And he believes that it's a technology that is among some of the most promising for the education of the future. The day is coming when Machine Learning will be used to develop educational models that challenge students in new and better ways that accelerate learning and build expertise faster.

Join me for this conversation with my good friend, Kevin Scott. I could have spent hours talking with him about these and other topics. He’s a fount of information and wisdom you won’t want to miss.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Kevin Scott

Connect With Om



Subscribe to THE OM SHOW on Apple Podcasts

My friend Kevin Scott has a unique vantage point from which to speak about the future of software engineering. He is a very gifted and accomplished man who serves as CTO at Microsoft, but his career as a software engineer spans a number of years and a variety of different roles in companies both large and small. Naturally, he didn’t start out the amazing software engineer he is today.

If you will take the time to listen in to this conversation you’ll hear his story, of life in a very small town in Virginia, of his first personal computer (from Radio Shack), of his interest in technology and aspirations to become a university professor - and how he started down the path of having his own impact on the realm of software engineering when he applied at a company called Google. Please, take the time to listen.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:35] The story of Kevin Scott: from rural Virginia to MIcrosoft CTO
  • [4:30] High school, college, traveling to Germany, then to Google
  • [13:00] Lessons from working at small companies and giants
  • [21:34] What does an engineering team look like in a small startup VS a large company?
  • [28:34] How advertising tech paved the way to today’s free internet
  • [35:44] Do mission statements matter in mega companies?
  • [39:10] What is exciting to Kevin about the future of technology?
  • [44:05] How far away are genuine, working haptic feedback integrations?
  • [48:28] What does the CTO at Microsoft really do?
  • [51:29] Kevin the photographer

There are lessons to be learned at small and big companies alike

Kevin’s software engineering career started at Google, and he enjoyed the many benefits of working in its open environment. But it wasn’t long before he decided to step into an opportunity at a small company that was just starting up. It was called Admob. His co-workers at Google joked that he’d be back, either because he’d miss his role at Google or because Google would buy the company he was moving to. The later is what wound up happening.

But during his time at Admob Kevin discovered that the lessons he’d learned working for the giant (Google) were not always directly transferable to what was being done at the smaller company (Admob). The size of the company made a difference, as did the goals the company was working toward. The ethos and culture of his new team of talented engineers made for a different dynamic, and the lack of infrastructure forced him to take on challenges Google had already addressed. Listen to hear how Kevin managed those tumultuous but exciting days at Admob and how he applied the lessons learned there upon his return to Google after the acquisition.

Why mimicking another company culture doesn’t work

I’ve noticed that many new companies are enamored with the stories of the open and self-directed culture at companies like Google - so much so that they often try to mimic those approaches in their new startup. Kevin says he’s seen the same thing and understands why it’s attractive. But he also understands why it hardly ever works.

Every company has its own unique needs and the company should be structured in a way that will enable it to serve those needs. That means sometimes the intelligence and talent of the team has to be managed more carefully and intentionally. Other times, it means allowing team members to be more autonomous. But it's the DNA of that particular company that makes the determination. Kevin shares a number of other examples, in this conversation.

How online advertising paved the way for today’s free internet

Online ads are not a particular favorite of today’s internet user. Few of us even pay attention to the sidebar or display ads we see on our favorite social media platforms. But online ads and the technology that makes them work have played a huge part in the development of almost every aspect of what we’ve come to enjoy as the free and open internet of today.

Kevin was one of the pioneers of that technology. When he was working at Google, he was among the engineers who were developing the tech behind Google ads, building out the complex systems that sort, identify, and target users with advertising applicable to their needs. He says that the projects he was working on back in the day were the largest of their kind up to that time. Those same patterns and principles have been applied in a variety of ways to the technological advances of today, including AI and machine learning systems.

AI and Machine Learning as teaching tools of the future

Kevin prefers the phrase “machine learning” over the term “AI” - he feels it’s a more accurate description of how technology is really being used and developed. And he believes that it's a technology that is among some of the most promising for the education of the future. The day is coming when Machine Learning will be used to develop educational models that challenge students in new and better ways that accelerate learning and build expertise faster.

Join me for this conversation with my good friend, Kevin Scott. I could have spent hours talking with him about these and other topics. He’s a fount of information and wisdom you won’t want to miss.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Kevin Scott

Connect With Om



Subscribe to THE OM SHOW on Apple Podcasts

Kevin Rose is someone I’ve known for quite a while. I think it was 11 years ago we first worked together when he was starting out as an intern. The promise I saw in him at that time has undoubtedly blossomed into an amazing set of skills, insights, and passions that have contributed to the world in truly meaningful ways.

Kevin is a serial entrepreneur. He’s best known for founding Digg and Revision3. He also serves on the True Ventures team with me and many others, funding startups that capture the imagination. These days, Kevin is no small player - he’s been featured on the cover of Inc. Magazine, Bloomberg, Businessweek, RedHerring, and lots more.

Since it had been a while between conversations, I invited Kevin on the show to talk about the future wave of exciting consumer apps, what it will take to see them come about AND the buzz that’s happening around podcasting these days. The podcast industry has grown leaps and bounds in recent days and both of us are excited about the potential we see.

Join me for this fun conversation with a good friend.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:30] My introduction of Kevin Rose: entrepreneur and industry observer
  • [1:51] The overview of Kevin’s work - and why he’s doing it
  • [3:48] Motivations behind Kevin’s focus on intentionality
  • [7:27] Curiosity: a life-long trait that has compelled Kevin to action
  • [13:55] How Kevin stays positive in light of the ups and downs of life and business
  • [17:08] Things that need to happen in the consumer apps space
  • [31:04] The buzz that’s happening in the podcast industry: Kevin’s insights and hopes

Kevin’s development of consumer apps is a personal thing

Those of us who are into technology know that the consumer app space has had its ups and downs. Currently, in early 2019, we’re in a bit of a lull. There are not many apps hitting the market that are truly innovative and game-changing, not like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and others were when they first appeared.

Kevin became interested in apps like many developers do - because he was looking for solutions to his own needs. Way back in 2000 he made a personal commitment to improving his own health and in time, like the great entrepreneur he is, he was looking for ways to help others with the same goals he was pursuing.

The most recent consumer apps he’s created are personal health focused - a meditation app (Oak) and a fasting app (Zero). Oak has been so successful that he’s recently passed it off to a full-blown team to oversee its ongoing development and customer interaction.

As you can see, Kevin has a good deal of experience in the app marketplace, so his insights into where the app industry is and where it’s going are valuable. I hope you take the time to listen.

What needs to happen for another wave of great consumer apps to arrive?

Kevin and I agree, the consumer app space feels to be in a bit of a doldrums right now. There are no apps that are rising above the crowd in innovative ways as we’ve seen in the past. For example, when Instagram came on the scene it took the app world by storm. The company grew exponentially very quickly. We simply don’t see that happening these days.

Kevin says much of it has to do with timing. He believes that if Instagram had been launched even two years earlier it wouldn’t have gotten the reception it did. But he also feels there’s a lack of innovative ideas behind app development these days. We both hope for a brighter future, one that brings app developers with vision and drive to the table to solve complicated and important problems.

Big things are happening in the podcast industry

Kevin and I enjoy podcasts. Obviously so, since we both publish podcasts. There’s always something to learn and audio is a personal, non-obtrusive way to learn while doing other things. It's also a great way for everyone to have a voice, as Kevin points out in our conversation.

Kevin believes the next major step in the podcast industry needs to be the development of a way in which relevant resources are parsed to podcast listeners AS they are listening, based on the content within the episode. With the advances in machine learning that are happening, it doesn’t seem far away.

Me? I agree with Kevin - and I also feel that there’s still a discovery issue with podcasting that needs to be solved. There must be better ways to recommend content to listeners, help them find the topics and experts they are searching for, and do it all in a simpler, more graceful way. In both of these situations, there is a huge opportunity for a creative thinker who has the drive and insight to solve problems.

And - in case you haven’t noticed, the podcast industry just blew up - in a good way. Actually, that depends on who you talk to. Since the time Kevin and I recorded our conversation Spotify has announced its plans to purchase both Gimlet Media and Anchor (a podcasting app). Clearly, one of the biggest consumer app companies is diving into the podcast industry full steam ahead. Only time will tell what this means for podcasting, but it’s clear that the leadership at Spotify believe that playing a larger role in podcasting is to their benefit.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Kevin Rose

Connect With Om

Subscribe to THE OM SHOW on Apple Podcasts

http://OmMalik.com

Om sits down with Eran Shir, Founder, and CEO of Nexar, to talk about his company's connected dash cam, how it works to improve safe driving, and what a world full of cameras + intelligence means for our future. Eran explains why computer vision matters and why it also can go wrong pretty fast.

Sankar Thiagasamudram is the co-founder and CEO of Audeze, a maker of high-quality headphones, which are all the rage with audiophiles and music professionals. Sankar, who started his life working for a high-end 3D graphics company, is an engineer by training and audiophile in real life. He co-founded the company with Alexander Rosson. They were pioneers in putting (a proprietary) planar magnetic designs with extremely thin-film driver materials and powerful custom magnets inside their headphones. I experienced the Audeze magic when I got EL-8 as a gift from a friend. I recently caught up with Sankar to talk about their new gaming headphone, Mobius, and more importantly about Apple’s HomePod, computational audio, the headphone boom and how head-fi changing our expectations of music. He shared his tips on how to buy headphones, his thoughts on other headphone brands including fashion/luxury headphones such as Master & Dynamic.

Tony Haile is the CEO of Scroll, a New York-based company that is helping media outlets build a sustainable pay-to-read strategy. From 2009 to 2016 he worked for Chartbeat, a digital media analytics company. As a result, he thinks a lot about media, economic models and the open web. He talks about it with reporters, on panels and, obviously on podcasts such as this.  We have gotten to know over the years — me as a recovering media entrepreneur who thinks the end is near, always get into arguments with Tony, who oddly remains optimistic about the digital medias future. I am obviously right, and we get into this during this podcast. We talk about Tony’s journey into technology, Facebook and big dumb media incumbents. My words, not his.

Chris Michel, the founder of Military.com and Affinity Labs, is a well-known entrepreneur and investor. He is also an accomplished photographer and someone whom I call my photography guru. He is one of the quiet success stories in Silicon Valley, and his journey is chock-a-block of lessons. Michel sits on the boards of Dale Carnegie, Catchlight, Kixeye, and 3D Robotics. His photos have appeared in the National Geographic, the Smithsonian, the New York Times, the BBC, Outside Magazine and others. His "Flying Emperor" photograph was the 2nd place finisher in the 2014 Wikipedia Picture of the Year. We share a love for Leica and its beautiful lenses and often go out to make photos.  After months of arm-twisting, I finally convinced Chris to sit down and tell me his story — his journey in life, his time in the U.S. Navy, his move to Silicon Valley and why he loves photography. We dig deeper into the meaning of life, accomplishment and how to reframe ourselves in a world that is framed by false proxies of success — money and fame. There is so much I learned about him during this conversation, even though we meet for coffee every two weeks. I was moved to tears, and so inspired by our tête-à-tête. Have a listen --you will be glad you did.

After ten years, Dropbox is going public. Om Malik and Chris Albrecht discuss the file-sharing company's impending exit, the troubles it's had adding premium features to what is basically a commodity service, and what's in store as the company must fight off giants like Google and Microsoft. Also: Om is reading The Grid, by Gretchen Bakke, PhD And Chris is reading The Elements of Eloquence, by Mark Forsyth

Is Facebook even fun anymore? It's big, noisy, and the glue that connects two billion people. Om and Chris chat the challenges for the social network, sacrifices made to the god of growth, and how Mark Zuckerberg is still one of the best CEOs in Silicon Valley.

Om sits down with Metamarkets Co-Founder and CEO, Michael Driscoll to geek out and deep dive on deep tech topics like AWS and Google Cloud, blockchain and edge datacenters.

And we are back on with my latest conversation with Abe Burmeister, co-founder, and CEO of New York-based technical/daily clothing brand, Outlier. During our hour-long conversation we touched on a variety of topics, from technical clothing, changing reality of fashion, impact of climate change on fashion and materials, bootstrapping his business and more importantly, why he does what he does. If you are a keen follower of technical clothing and interested in small businesses that eschew venture capital and figure out trends before others, then this is a conversation worth your time

A conversation with Shakil "Shak" Khan, a London-based tech entrepreneur and special ambassador for Spotify. We talk about his life, and his journey from the streets to where he is today. It is a riveting tale.

Arun Sundararajan, author of the book The Sharing Economy, talks with Om about megacities, universal basic income and the consumption experience.

Noted blogger Jian Deleon chats about how technology and fashion are influencing each other.