Bryan launched OS Fund in 2014 with $100 million of his personal capital to support inventors and scientists who aim to benefit humanity by rewriting the operating systems of life. In other words: he fuels real-world mad scientists.
His investments include endeavors to cure age-related diseases and radically extend healthy human life to 100+ (Human Longevity), replicate the human visual cortex using artificial intelligence (Vicarious), mine an asteroid (Planetary Resources), reinvent transportation using autonomous vehicles (Matternet), and reimagine food using biology (Hampton Creek), among others.
Our conversation includes his rags to riches story, his philosophical hardwiring, negotiating/sales tactics, and even parenting. We cover a ton of ground with a fascinating and deep mind.
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Do you enjoy listening to world-class entrepreneurs? If so, you might enjoy my conversations with Peter Thiel. He co-founded PayPal in 1998, which was sold to eBay for $1.5 billion. He was also the first outside investor in Facebook (!) and has since created another billion-dollar+ startup called Palantir. Stream our conversation below or right-click here to download:
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: Do you have a story of an untested assumption that held you back? How did you identify it and change your behavior? Please let me know in the comments.
Scroll below for links and show notes…
Selected Links from the Episode
- Watch the trailer and learn more about Ex Machina
- Learn more about Braintree
- Read about Derek Sivers and successful e-mails
- Pick up a copy of The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide by James Fadiman
- Learn more about OS Fund and the companies in which they’ve invested, including:
- Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
- Learn more about irrelevant alternatives, Dan Ariely’s TED talk, and his tests with The Economist
- Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
- The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
- A Good Man by Mark Shriver
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
- Shackleton by Nick Bertozzi
- Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
- Bryan on Twitter
- Gasoline bombs, baseball cards, and deconstructing high school power structure [2:00]
- How Ecuador and cell phones helped Bryan as an entrepreneur [8:20]
- From broke and unemployable to a record-setting sales person [12:35]
- The critical failure point for Bryan’s real estate company [16:50]
- What to look for when hiring sales people [18:30]
- How long until a computer can identify trustworthy people? [21:00]
- The transition from sales person to founding Braintree [22:35]
- How to build a technical team without being a technical founder [25:30]
- The three main goals Bryan had in mind when founding Braintree [27:05]
- On deciding to pivot the direction of the first profitable company [30:40]
- Appreciating Ernest Shackleton and the “Shackleton sniff test” [33:40]
- Are you glad that you got an MBA? [35:15]
- On firing the rocket ship that was Braintree and market targeting for re-broadcasting [38:45]
- Breakaway moments, primary competitors, and convincing big companies to use Braintree [42:20]
- What it means to code to the Application Programming Interface (API) and the growth potential if done well [45:00]
- Keys to building a workplace loved by employees [47:45]
- Why storytelling was critical for cultivating a great company culture [52:15]
- On becoming a pilot, the process, and estimated costs [58:30]
- How Bryan Johnson defines “success” [1:00:45]
- The OS Fund, why it exists, and how to think on the “operating system level” [1:02:10]
- On the moral questions of advanced technology at scale [1:07:20]
- Challenging assumptions and the story of five monkeys sprayed with cold water [1:14:30]
- How Bryan Johnson unpacks feelings of overwhelm [1:18:35]
- The historical figure Bryan Johnson most identifies with [1:22:10]
- Entrepreneurs who Bryan Johnson admires for their aggression [1:26:30]
- What is an entrepreneur? How does one develop entrepreneurial characteristics? [1:28:30]
- Rapid Fire Questions: Most gifted books, billboards, and advice to his 30-year-old self [1:32:00]
- Non-obvious traditions to hold with your kids and common problem points when parenting [1:35:55]
- Ernest Shackleton
- Derek Sivers
- John Huntsman Jr.
- Peter Singer
- Ben Horowitz
- Craig Venter
- Peter Diamandis
- Joshua Tetrick
- Jason Kelly
- Danielle Fong
- Scott Fenix
- Mustafa Suleyman
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 700 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.