“I believe that peace means that one person has the biggest stick. I build those sticks.” – Walter O’Brien
UPDATE: This episode ended up sparking a lot of controversy. Many skeptics asked pointed questions about Walter’s background, claims, and credentials (often pointing to pages like this or this). This is the first time I’ve run into such an issue with the podcast, so it took me some time to figure out how to respond.
Here is my post-game analysis, as well as Walter’s response.
I struggled with whether or not to take down this episode and blog post entirely. In the end, I decided it was more instructive to leave the below original up (with this new preface) and add an audio note to the beginning of the podcast (coming soon).
I’m hoping it will help us all improve, especially yours truly. Thank you for all of your feedback.
Walter O’Brien (AKA “Scorpion”) (@walterobrienscs) is the founder of Scorpion Computer Services and ConciergeUp.com, a for-hire global think tank that provides intelligence-on-demand as a concierge service. The tag line for the latter is, “for any funded need.”
- Need to defend against chemical warfare?
- Move an entire manufacturing operation over a weekend?
- Save a loved one from a deceitful spouse?
- Thread the needle on a thorny legal issue?
- Become a pop star in a foreign country?
When Walter and his team of 2,000+ distributed geniuses say “any funded need,” they mean it literally.
Born in Ireland, Walter was diagnosed as a child prodigy with an IQ of 197. He became an Irish national coding champion and competed in the Olympics in informatics.
Fast forward to today, he and Scorpion get paid to fix every imaginable problem for billionaires, startups, governments, Fortune 500 companies, and people like you and me. On the large side, it ranges from mitigating risk on $1.9 trillion of investments to inventing artificial intelligence engines to protect United States war fighters in Afghanistan.
Walter is also the executive producer of the hit CBS TV show Scorpion, inspired by his life, which has reached more than 26 million television viewers.
I was introduced to Walter well before the show, and we go deep in this conversation, with lots of amazing and also hilarious examples of problem solving.
- Listen to it on iTunes.
- Stream by clicking here.
- Download as an MP3 by right-clicking here and choosing “save as.”
Want to hear another podcast from a world-class computer scientist? — Listen to my conversation with Luis von Ahn, the founder and CEO of DuoLingo. In this episode, we discuss learning languages, building companies, and changing the world (stream below or right-click here to download):
This podcast is brought to you by Wealthfront. Wealthfront is a massively disruptive (in a good way) set-it-and-forget-it investing service, led by technologists from places like Apple. It has exploded in popularity in the last two years and now has more than $2.5B under management. Why? Because you can get services previously limited to the ultra-wealthy and only pay pennies on the dollar for them, and it’s all through smarter software instead of retail locations and bloated sales teams.
Check out wealthfront.com/tim, take their risk assessment quiz, which only takes 2-5 minutes, and they’ll show you—for free–exactly the portfolio they’d put you in. If you want to just take their advice and do it yourself, you can. Well worth a few minutes to explore: wealthfront.com/tim.
This podcast is also brought to you by Boll & Branch. There is a lot of nonsense in the bedding business. For instance, did you know thread-count is not a good measurement of quality? It’s a total myth. The “Made in Italy” label? It isn’t something you should necessarily pay extra for because it generally means it’s just finished in Italy and woven in places like China.
The general industry mark-up for bedding is 700 to 800 percent at most retailers. Boll & Branch creates incredibly high-quality bedding. They are the same sheets you’ll find at my home in San Francisco.
The best part? You can try anything you order at home for 30 days. If you don’t love it, send it back and get a full refund. Go to Boll & Branch and use promo code “TIM” for $50 off your entire order. Whether sheets, towels, blankets, duvet covers, or anything else. Shipping is always free.
QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What is a problem you would like to have ConciergeUp solve for you? Please let me know in the comments.
Scroll below for links and show notes…
Selected Links from the Episode
- Learn more about ConciergeUp
- Learn more about the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System
- Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
- Bad Science by Ben Goldacre
- Learn more about HTC VIVE
- The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson
- Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson and Jonathan Davis
- Glimpses of Heaven, Visions of Hell by Barrie Sherman and Phillip Judkins
- Learn more about Teslasuit or tactile feedback suits
- Learn more about ScenGen
- Watch the TV show based on Scorpion
- The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Green
- The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
- Into the Heart of the Mind by Frank Rose
- How Walter O’Brien began his relationship with NASA [8:15]
- How Scorpion came to be [13:20]
- The Emotional Quotient vs. Intellectual Quotient phenomenon [15:05]
- The origin story of the name Scorpion and current status of the company [16:40]
- The largest project Scorpion Computer Sciences has worked on [20:05]
- How Scorpion implements “any funded need” solutions [20:42]
- The “Gold Digger” story [23:07]
- The current state of head transplants and why it may be of interest [30:00]
- Why Walter O’Brien has never tried alcohol [38:28]
- How Walter O’Brien cultivated a higher EQ [43:25]
- Thoughts on developing the skill of rational thinking [45:30]
- Meditative practices [53:10]
- On virtual reality [57:15]
- What is ScenGen? [1:04:20]
- Are high IQ intellectuals more susceptible to emotional highs and lows? [1:12:47]
- Cognitive patterns in people with high IQ [1:14:54]
- How the TV show Scorpion came to be [1:16:45]
- When you think of the word successful who is the first person who comes to mind and why? [1:30:22]
- How Walter O’Brien gets out of a funk [1:32:09]
- Most gifted books [1:33:20]
- What purchase of $100 or less has most positively affected your life? [1:34:40]
- Advice to Walter O’Brien’s 30-year-old-self [1:37:45]
- On the challenge of sleeping [1:39:35]
- Particular morning routines [1:41:35]
- Thoughts on New Year’s resolutions, goal setting and completing the to-do list [1:42:30]
- Historical figures that Walter O’Brien identifies with the most [1:43:50]
- If you could put one billboard anywhere, with anything on it, where would it be and what would it say? [1:45:00]
- Final words and asks of the audience [1:48:10]
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 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.
Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration.)
308 Replies to “Meet "Scorpion," The Real-Life Santa Claus”
Thanks for another great episode!
Would be great to have Gabe Newell @GabeLNewell on your podcast.
Seems you have some explaining to do, so what’s up?
As an aside, this completely changes the context in which the show Scorpion is viewed. I stopped watching it in its infancy in the first season BECAUSE it seemed so outrageous – where, Tim accurately points out that an attempt to script a character with this incredible resume would be too far fetched. With an understanding of some factual nature to the script of the TV show, I find it outstanding.
Actually, the guy himself is a con man (he’s on attrition.org’s list of infosec charlatans), so you may return to thinking the show is stupid and outrageous.
Thank you amazing podcast. I want that List he mentions at 1:34
Walter is not legit I’m afraid.
Tim, been following you since 2008.
First time I feel like you have not done your due diligence.
Bad day, maybe?
Hi Tim, first I want to tell you that I am one of your biggest fans, however you need to do better background checks on your guests. Most of your guest are of amazing quality, although some of them are out right terrible.
It is rather obvious that this man is as fake as one can be:
I understand that you feel a urge to publish something every week and that it is challenging. However, I would rather hear an amazing podcast of high quality once a month than to not be able to trust the quality of the guests and having to do background checks every time.
This is not the first time. You brought Wim Hoff on your podcast before and he was so convincing that I bought his program. However, after using it for a week I made som research and found out that at least half of what he said is made up.
Please, take this into consideration in the future. A part from that keep up the good work.
Haw can we verify his claims? They sound very unrealistic? Did Tim have a chance to do some fact-checking? screening?
Scorpion’s web site looks to unprofessional for $2.3 billion revenue
I really enjoyed this particular podcast! I wish he was my personal friend! I have a high EIQ but have never had my IQ tested. From this podcast I would guess its negatively proportional! Ha ha! I especially liked the billionaire gold digger story. It was crazy! I would love to use his service someday to ramp up my business. Thanks for the great interview! Have him on again!
Is this a fake comment? It is. So in addition to everything else Tim is planting suggestions? Tim is moments away from not being able to pull the nose up. You have to come out right now and go on a contration blitz or this is going to be it. It may already be too late. The “so busy..didn’t see comments…etc” stuff is not going to fly on this. The cover up is always the problem, and to plant comments…man, I don’t see a way out for him at this point
..maybe rehab, but this is super bad for a professional smart living guy. Man.
Tim lost a whole lot of credibility with this one. My BS alarm bells started ringing early on, and when I heard ‘depth first regression’ instead of ‘depth first recursion’ I stopped taking it at face value and started doing some checking. It will only take about 5 minutes to discover this guy is a total grifter and its all baloney.
Love the guy, love the interview. Totally enjoyed it.
Tim, I love your show and it has in many ways altered how I look at the world. However, you need to respond to the allegations that this guy is a fraud.
Your audience trusts you and the people you interview but that trust will be eroded if this guy is a fraud and you just let it slide. If you made a mistake in having him on then tell us and I guarantee people will get over it forgive it. If he is not a fraud then point us to some actual tangible evidence that this company exists so we can all move on (although from my own research it would seem its definitely a scam). Please prove us wrong…
If you don’t address it then it will sour the taste of future episodes and undo a lot of the amazing work you have done up until this point.
Its in your hands…
Tim what have you become
Ack! I’m listening to Walter aka: “Scorpion” and desperately (yes I said that!) need the transcript to this show. I signed up for the transcripts but this one is not on the list. When will it be? I’ll keep checking back…….and a huge thanks Tim for your informative/interesting/entertaining shows, I love them! ~ Kate
I would like to see Scorpion address the education system in this country. There is no reason why the most powerful nation in the world on average has primary and secondary schools that rank outside of the top 10, sometimes outside of the top 20 globally.
Ha! Reading all these comments I can’t help but think this: “Pause and reflect”.
Jeez people. Relax. A lot of complaining going on for a podcast you chose to listen to for free.
What “complaining” exactly? What you mean is “calling bs” but now you will pretend that uou meant the people who say things like “could’ve been better.” ..but that’s not what you meant and you won’t own your comment anymore than Tim is owning this…hopefully you’re not, bit you probably are, a self professed “life coach.” Yuk..gross.
HA! Good. You do a lot of assuming. And you know what they say about the word “assume”. I just fall back on meditation, Seneca and Marcus Aurelius. Good luck to you in your life.
Are you being funny? You do know stoics are well known to have been opportustic posers right? I think you were being funny? Either way….hilarious…. and no hard feelings but comon man, professional experts, fee or not, do not get to pass off a grifter on you and then not circle back and fix it. It’s not a “love it or leave it” type thing. Also, I think the tone of the comments that you are referring to are of genuine concern from folks, like me, that want continued success for Tim and do wish for himto suffer or pay or anything like that, we want him to fix it precisely so he isn’t ruined. And so far he seems to be digging in which is a real bad idea. Its clearly not people out to get him or celebrate his misfortune and you did not point anything like that out.
I meant “do NOT” (but if you can understand anything I type and the whole Rorschach of it you probably got that but just in case) Again, I think everyone here is well meaning a d concerned on a number of levels.
This one of the very interesting talk I have ever heard on this show.
Question for Mr. Walter,
We often find kids around us are pretty smart at solving problems and good at some skills. Is there any advice you want to give for parents of such kids to improve upon their IQ/EQ so they can move forward in their lives..?
Tim has to address this. Yoi can’t just go silent on something like this. I feel really embarrassed for Tim but the way he is handling this is a long term deal breaker. Im pretty sure his audience will ask what a person that behaves this way have to offer? Gullible, sloppy AND prideful? Yick man.
I thought this episode was absolutely fascinating. As one could have guessed, I was quite sad/disappointed to learn that Walter’s story seems to lack an meaningful credibility. I am very surprised Tim would have a guest on with such a questionable story. Tim definitely has had an amazing list of guests (all of who are very credible, in regards to their history/story), so I am curious how Walter could have got passed Tim’s bullshit radar.
Wow the alarm bells started going off when I looked at the website I only wish sooner, my eq needs some work. Not much to add that this thread doesn’t cover. http://entertainment.slashdot.org/story/14/08/12/0047230/is-scorpion-really-a-genius . Just view that source and weep.
Still no response from Tim to the large number of people call Walter out as a fraud ?
Tim has recorded many fantastic interviews – I’ve listened to all of them and got so much value out of them. But this one is such a complete car-crash – can he not just put his hand up and admit this one should not have been recorded. Or if he really believes Walter is tell the truth then come out and say that.
It’s the total and complete silence that really disappoints.
He produces that steaming pile of absurdities? There is no way a man with even average IQ would come up with such utter nonsense. I watched one recently with my 13 yr old daughter who doesn’t know better … panels the size of a hand that magnify a tiny bit of sunlight (even the light from a phone) instantly into a laser so hot it will instantly weld a manhole cover shut. That’s not genius. That’s an insult to every thinking being. The real O’Brien must be a complete genius at finding people even dumber than he is that he is somehow smarter than the average joe … let alone 197 IQ. Then again, maybe he has raw computing power but no concept of reality … like a computer. No wonder the fictional O’Brien was inept … but at least the fictional O’Brien’s grasp of science worked in his wacky universe.
i’ve been a big fan of the podcast for a while. Just adding another voice to the clamor for some verification here.
He could possibly save face by simply taking a couple IQ tests. “I can’t talk about that due to a non-disclosure agreement,” tends to be typical scammer convenience.
Breathing is required to rid the body of carbon dioxide, not just to oxygenate the blood…
Thanks for this amazing interview! Had not heard of it but am now in season 1 of Scorpion and enjoying it. Also interested in how to improve EQ!
You noted in the show notes that “this episode might make your head explode” and you were right. But it exploded for the wrong reasons.
Walter O’Brien may be a total fraud and con man.
There are numerous articles available to support this theory–many much more believable than Walter O’Brien’s claims about his past and present. You’re an inquisitive person and thoughtful interviewer, but there were no questions even remotely challenging his assertions. After the podcast, I wanted more information about Walter O’Brien, and what I discovered was easy to find and incredibly disappointing, as the possibility that he is a charlatan is greater than him being some kind of genius.
As Seneca said, “errare humanum est, sed perseverance diabolicum: ‘to err is human, but to persist (in the mistake) is diabolical. My concern is that this interview could undermine your credibility as an interviewer and author.
Tim, WTF? I’m very supportive of what you’re doing. I appreciate your work, despite the occasional eye roll. I think you’re one of the good guys. I’m even tight with a bunch of guys from your time at Princeton, some of whom you know (I’m just a lowly Georgetown ’98), I’m a writer in LA and have started recommending your podcast to my friends and, this past week, to my physics PH.D. older brother, telling all these peeps to spend their time with you, putting myself on the line… and then you bring on O’Brien on and act like nothing more than a shill for him… Surely you’re aware of the questions surrounding his claims? You don’t come off looking good here.
As someone who has a lot of competitive programming experience, Walter’s comments on programming contests raised red flags for me about his credibility.
A note on my background: I reached the World Finals twice in the college version of the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI), which is the high school contest that Walter talks about here.
Walter states two things about the IOI that are false:
The IOI does not judge solutions based on their elegance. No human awards points based on how the code looks. Walter claims that the reason he learned 79 programming languages for these contests is so he could pick the most elegant one for each program to get full style points. There’s no such thing.
Secondly, the IOI only allows contestant to use 5 languages to solve problems. So the whole idea of learning 79 languages for these contests so you can pick the best one for the problem makes no sense. It is extremely unlikely that the IOI allowed 79 languages back when Walter competed. Most likely it was about 5 back then too.
Agreed here. Total BS.
His description of SceneGen is also ridiculous. It’s a complete fiction. It was “so hard” to create because it’s not possible to create as he describes it.
It’s interesting how someone who is so full of shit is so different than someone who has actually accomplished verifiable things (other guests Tim has had). The one who is full of shit is hand-wavy in his explanations (We put the chess instructions into the computer and it figures everything out) and tries to make what he does sound complicated and impressive. The one who isn’t full of shit thinks what they do is straightforward and anyone can do it given the chance. They explain things in ways you only understand if you have a lot of knowledge of the subject. Having knowledge of anything this guy talks about is an impediment to understanding him because he’s full of shit…
After the podcast, I wanted more information about Walter O’Brien, and what I discovered was easy to find and incredibly disappointing, as the possibility that he is a charlatan is greater than him being some kind of genius.
As Seneca said, “errare humanum est, sed perseverance diabolicum: ‘to err is human, but to persist (in the mistake) is diabolical. My concern is that this interview could undermine Tim’s credibility as an interviewer and author.
I’m less concerned about Walter being a fraud and more concerned about the host of the podcast. I’m new to this Tim Ferriss experiment. Found the podcast on Overcast and I’ve listened regularly since the new year. I enjoy it and I’ve been reading the book samples Tim lets us download. I’m 31 pages into the 4HB sample, and was about to purchase the book without finishing it. I’m glad I didn’t. On this page, he tells us to ignore certain marketing words from other fitness gurus. But the word “optimal” grabbed my eye. He writes: “”Optimal” depends entirely on what your goal is, and that goal should be numerically precise. “Optimal” is usable, but only when the “for what” is clear.
If it isn’t, treat optimal as Wikipedia would: a weasel word.” (Copied and pasted) The very first word I hear (and it’s even echoed several times) when I press play to hear his podcast is, ironically, “optimal”. The way he uses it isn’t, as he says, “numerically precise”. Is he using weasel words on each and every one of us? I’d like to give him a chance to explain himself (even though I’m sure I won’t get a response) before I write him off. I like the things I’ve read and heard up until this point. Now I have to ask: what’s up with this, Tim?
Those are a few, clearly wrong claims of his:
– He invented DDoS
– He invented “reverse torrents”
– ScenGen uses multidimensional trees (they are hardly used in CS, his slides all show binary trees).
– ScenGen can calculcate all chess moves (no one has done that yet).
– ScenGen work depth first, i.e., left to right (either it’s depth first OR left to right. Also, there is no concept of left to right in multidimensional trees).
– They faked a wedding (and apparently wedding certificate), but somehow the fooled party got banned 10 years from the US?
– IQ and EQ are negatively correlated. EQ is hardly a scientific term, but even those researching “EQ” concepts say it is positively correlated with IQ.
Any chance that you can list the books and tips that Walter was not able to complete in the podcast?
If you’re saying that “peace means that one person has the biggest stick” – do you take into consideration that it means living in oppression? Is that how you want to live, or how you want anyone else to live? My definition of peace excludes oppression. But it includes cooperation and taking everyone’s needs into consideration. If you have so little trust in humanity or you truely believe that millenia old story that humans are essentially evil and therefore need to be controlled, have a read into M.B. Rosenberg’s “Non-violent Communication”. I think it is something that is accessible through being in touch with emotions and compassion, not understandable with purely rationale or IQ.
Thank you for this podcast. I requested an “impossible” task from ConciergeUp two days ago. My son has a rare genetic mutation (gene GNA01) that causes seizures and cerebral palsy like symptoms. There is no known cure right now and around 13 reported cases.
I asked if they could find a way to bypass the genetic mutation, which affects the brain. Or, if they could use ScenGen to look at the possible outcomes of altering the genetic code of GNA01. The answer could help more than just this condition.
The team Walter has put together reminds me of a new age/lower scale manhattan project team, but more efficient.
If put to the task they can solve problems like genetic engineering and literally change the world we live in forever.
I have listened to all of your podcasts – 2hrs of driving every day! The unique perspectives keep me fresh!
You dropped the ball on this one, Tim. The guy is a complete fraud – this is all just badly written fiction.
Much of it is not even wrong – just completely nonsensical. The conversation about head-transplants falls firmly in that category, as does all the bullshit about NASA and the “extradition waiver”.
still no response from Tim to a whole stream of comments asking why on earth he let a total fraud on the show.
Come on Tim, you have a massive audience that hold you in high esteem – you owe then an answer
Maybe Tim is at work on the “Four Hour Guide to Fact Checking”, although four minutes on the Internet (sadly) would have sufficed in this case.
Just imagine: Donald Trump (or Hitler or some other insane, yet powerful figure) being able to live forever via head transplants (or transplanting consciousness to another body). Death is a blessing! Especially so if I am someone who fears nature and its processes so much that I wage war against it. IQ is not the same as wisdom. Fun show as usual! Cheers!
Trump knows all about it. He started with his hair 😉
I’d love to have ConciergeUp help me find funding to build a company that invests in independent musicians and creates a “Back office” organization to help them succeed with marketing, promotion, etc. I’d like to use my solid experience in the music industry to help artists avoid signing one-sided deals with (draconian) record labels. I’d like to see artists retain ownership and control of their art form while supporting themselves, independently.
As one that rarely misses an episode of Charlie Rose (PBS) & has listened to nearly all of Tim’s podcasts, I don’t think I’ve ever been more impressed with the combination of intellect & humility – not to mention impeccable communication skills – as that of Walter O’Brien. I know nothing about the Scorpion TV show & surprisingly never even heard of Walter O’Brien before but I was utterly flabbergasted and enthralled by every moment of that interview. Considering the nonstop parade of extremely intelligent and accomplished people on Tim’s podcast & the Charlie Rose Show, I can render no higher compliment. I would be remiss if I did not also express my sincere gratitude to Mr. O’Brien for his amazing contributions to our country and all of humanity. Of course, I base that only on the unclassified accomplishments he could discuss. I sure as hell am glad that Irishman is on our side! Keep up the phenomenal work, Mr. O’Brien.
PS: Tim, I have never left a reply before but wanted to thank you for your consistently impressive interviews. The number of times your subjects utter the phrase “Great Question” or something similar speaks volumes to your skill. You seemingly have an uncanny ability to establish an immediate rapport & get at the fundamental core of your guests. Keep up the great work.
We purchased an operating salon one year ago and are in the process of renaming, however, this has been daunting. We cannot come up with a name.
You create so much value with you podcast and I’m so grateful for it. Knowing you you’re probably following up with Walter before responding to these comments. I just thought I’d bring your attention to when Oprah Winfrey had James Frey come on her show and admit that a lot of his memoir was made-up, if you haven’t heard that story before:
Everyone has their reasons for doing things, and Walter’s done pretty well to get a TV show based on him despite some obvious flaws!
Separately, I’ll also point out that Walter took me by surprise from the start because he is (I think) the person to appear on your podcast who’s in voluntarily bad shape. Usually super-geniuses are smart enough to realise that it’s worth looking after their body. 😉
It is not the validity of Walter O’Brien credentials, whether he did this or that, it is the dreams, the visions of those assertions, the wow that is important
Take what he talks about, incorporate that into your thoughts, map, work so that your life vision, world, experiences becomes them.
He has a story, stories with in stories, real or not
Do they excite you, move you, entice you to explore and build?
Where is my scenario generator? Do you have one?
Is it raw nzc? or raw ansi c? or NZT -48
OK The look behind the curtain is important,
So is the show. His show let me think about what is possible
And what is possible for me
Well, looks like we will never get a reply from Tim about whether he was duped by Walter or if for some reason obscure to the rest of us he actually believes he is legit. Tim use to throw in 2 or 3 comments on each thread – no one would expect him to answer anything more than that. He should have made the effort to reply to the concerns repeatedly raised in this thread.
Only thing I can guess is that he is the burn out stage, which is why he let a charlatan on the podcast and why his usual critical faculty has failed him. I imagine it is also why he can’t reply to this growing thread.
If that’s the case then I wish him rest & recovery.
Fascinating conversation! I enjoyed this!
WOW! I did not know dudes like this actually existed. I was glued with this episode Tim. Please go Round 2 with him! So fascinating. This is only the 2nd time I’ve commented in your comments section here. The ‘Scorpion’ got me. I actually feel safer knowing that he’s out there doing his work with the right morals & opinions about war.
Hey Tim and fellow fans-
I enjoyed this episode. Very thought provoking for me.
One part has me particularly curious – at about the 42:20 mark, Walter mentions that “intellect is technically fixed and is hereditary”.
Can anyone point me to some more info/literature/etc on this?
I’ve often wondered about this and Walter seemed so matter-of-fact about it, I’d love to learn more.
Thanks so much!!
Can you please get 2 pieces of information: –
1) An engineer’s approach to problem solving!!!
2)(Most Important) He seemed to suggest something along the lines of mazes helping Dyslexics in VR and he did not need the VR. Anything on what is obviously a memory palace style of remembering would be greatly appreciated. I have heard of memory systems like this (Not mazes?) however I cannot find what is different for dyslectics so any more information would be useful.
It is very interesting to see in the comments what people got from this podcast, as my major thought was this is someone who understands what it feels like to be the smartest person in the room. Also I really need to take the dyslectic IQ test as I hit 100 in the normal and after hearing this I am really interested to find out if I am 120 or 140?
I am a huge Tim Ferriss fan and his podcast is my favorite. It certainly looks like he got duped but that doesn’t change how much respect and admiration I have for him. Humans make mistakes and part of what I love about Tim’s show is that he’s not afraid to show that he’s human.
That being said I’d like to put my 2 cents in about the enormous unlikelihood that the “Gold Digger” story is true. Because no one else has gone into it yet. I don’t have the technical knowledge to bust anybody on programming languages, but I have a good BS detector when it comes to inconsistencies in a story.
The dead giveaway is, you have to be married for three years to get US citizenship. Wah-wah.
Additionally, how does anyone rent a starbucks for the day? If he said it was a mom and pop coffee shop that might be believable. How would the manager explain that to corporate? Or did Walter go to the Starbucks board of directors and get them to agree to it?
How did they stop their regular customers from coming in (which there would have been a lot of, since there were long lines at the counter)? If they put up a “closed” sign, then the Ukranian woman wouldnt come in. If they left it open to the public, and they just filled the cafe with actors, they wouldnt have had to rent the store for the day, and what would stop a real customer from taking the one spot next to the female “scorpion spy”?
The point was supposed to be to break up the couple without the father seeming to interfere. But part of the plan involved the dad saying “everything he shouldnt say” to upset the son, which negates the whole point. He interfered.
Then there’s the issue of staging the wedding in the Dominican Republic. it would all have to be set up beforehand, which means they risked a tremendous waste of resources bankng on the idea that when the son got upset he would head straight to his new friend’s house (did he not have any long time friends he would be more likely to turn to?), and that he would think to bring the girlfriend to the dominican republic and get married. There were so many other possible things he could do, it would probably take a laptop running ScenGen at least half an hour to come up with all of them.
Then there’s the document she signed saying she would stay out of the US for 10 years, how would they enforce that? And after she wrote the “Dear John” letter as they instructed, what would have stopped her from calling the son and telling him everything, blowing the dad’s cover?
If they really had the woman revealing her gold digging plans on tape, all they had to do was get the fake male friend to say “hey man, I suspected your gf is a gold digger and I care about you so I hired a spy to record her talking smack. Here, take a listen.” Mission accomplished, dad never had to say a word, no expensive staged weddings. No having to dupe all of their friends and family into coming to the fake US wedding.
That being said, I think everyone should stop posting “Tim still hasn’t responded”. Tim doesn’t work for you. He puts out a podcast that is free for us to listen to, and has created this forum that is free for us to post our opinions. Nowhere does it say he has to respond to any comments here in a timely manner, or at all. I’m sure he will respond in due time. Maybe he is doing careful fact checking this time before he makes any statements. Walter is his friend – I’m sure any of you would think long and hard before responding to allegations like this about one of your friends.
Tim, not sure if youre reading this but I have the utmost faith in you.
P.S., the other day I sent a joke on twitter @timferriss and then the punchline in another tweet, then realized it wouldn’t make sense if you saw one or the other. Here it is altogether: If wantrepreneurs are trying to become entrepreneurs, what do you call someone trying to make a business out of guided meditation? Mantra-preneurs.
They problem that you’ve created here is the by not vetting Walter O’Brien(a noted charlatan), is that you’ve opened yourself to future skepticism of *every* guest that you have on the podcast from here on out.
For someone who has worked so hard to create a personal brand, missteps like this can very quickly erode that brand down to nothing.
This is something that you’re going to need to get out in front of to regain credibility with a segment of your listeners.
Whether the guy is a fraud or totally amazing I cannot speak to. Don’t really care either.
But I am doubly disturbed first by the point that 1) everybody here is calling him a fraud while nobody seems to be alarmed by 2) the horrific future he outlines where (rich) people are allowed to clone human twins of themselves “put them on the shelf” and then kill that human being later to further their own immortality.
Before people rush to point out ‘vat grown meat’ (which lacks sentience), that would not be a viable solution for basically removing your head (crude) or removing your brain (sophisticated) and placing it inside another human body. To have a idealized 20 year old body ready to receive your decrepit brain that would have to be from a person who grew up just like a real human being. In fact a movie was already made about this horrific prospect:
The reason those of us calling fraud are not alarmed are the same reasons I was not alarmed when someone I knew told me the aliens were coming when the planets aligned. If the guy is just spouting BS why get worked up debating the ethical implications of the content of the BS?
I disagree that the body is a life-support system for the head. We are our whole bodies. We are our senses, we are our hormones, we are our cravings and desires. We are evolved to live in this world and these bodies, and I doubt we could keep our sanity if given another one.
I don’t really understand this strong desire to copy our brains. Who says the consciousness would even be contiguously transferred? Seems silly ultimately…
He details his struggles with EQ and making eye contact, etc, which are classic symptoms of aspergers/HFA. I couldn’t find anything where he openly admits that he is, but I think it’d be interesting if you did a podcast on ASD. I recently found that my husband has HFA and it’s really quite eye opening how many people are on the spectrum and may not even know it!!
Interesting, this has been the only one of Tim’s podcasts that I stopped 1/3 of the way in as I couldn’t get past how outlandish his claims were.
Don’t let this one get you down though Tim, some of the other recent interviews have been really great (Naval and Derek spring to mind).
SO what’s on the go with this. Either Tim don’t care for his fans, or like answering questions. Just wants the money like most online shyster here.
I sent of my questions/requests the day of this pod posting, and nothing. I guess it is there way to get ideas from others and build the ideas. I have it all recorded. Maybe it time to get the lawyers involved.
Get your lawyers involved with what exactly? Tim provides these podcasts for free, you don’t pay for them so why exactly are you getting lawyers involved.
Even if this guy is a fake, Tim has interviewed him in good faith that he is who he purports to be.
One potentially bad episode out of so many he has done is an acceptable outcome for me, so lighten up people.
Get lawyers involved because if this is a scam, and it sounds like it is. Has nothing to do with the Pod cast it self, rather the promotion of scammers. If what people are saying is true, them Tim has a responsibility to viewers to either take the site don’t and stop promoting, such illegal action and people as Walter, if true. Seem that the Federal Officials need to be called in to do an investigation. Walter is using the Federal Government as a reference towards his credibility. This is illegal to do, if not true. Since Tim had chosen not to reply to any of the comments, them I guess he is in on the dealing with Walter. I wish that all that was said in the podcast is truth, for it will change the world. Then again, maybe there is more to all of this, than we know. For one man, to have so much info about the security of the world, and to be out saying such. make it dangerous.
HI! Thanks so much, Tim and Walter, for sharing such an amazing conversation. Quick question, when Walter talks about VR mazes to exercise neural spatial locality, does he mean hippocampal-dependent spatial memory formation? And if so, what would be a non-VR type exercise that would simulate the experience, maybe driving?
Thanks so much!
Another quick question! Walter mentioned that he wrote a book, but I cannot find it on google. Would you mind sharing the name? Thanks!
If Tim was duped, it does NOT change my opinion of his podcasts. I’ve acted on many podcast tips and asks, and am better for it…I believe this dynamic will continue.
Pavel’s grip tip
Derek Sivers’ answer to “if you had no job and only $1000?”
Seth Godin asking us to “send a thank-you note”
Tim asking us to “amaze yourself by Jan 1 2017”
Problem I would like solved:
Get my cousin, who currently resides in Japan, to give my sister and I back the 10k he has stolen from my recently deceased mother.
This isn’t unlike the Oprah/James Frey controversy. Nobody is immune to getting fooled, Tim included, and I’m sure he’ll have a statement or update soon.
Tim- I have really enjoyed your podcasts and getting to you know more through your open interview style. I find you bright, fun, engaging, and humble. The latter is one of the biggest reasons that the Scorpion podcast was so disappointing to me. Walter speaks in absolutes and I would challenge someone to count the number of “I’s” he used. I found myself saying “that’s bs” out loud while listening several times and that just isn’t my typically response to your podcasts. Some of his claims are just through-away/laughable (“I have earned numerous awards for saving children” – is that covered by a non-disclosure as well?). Listen to your Scorpion podcast again with a critical ear. It hurts a little. Looking forward to you getting back to fascinating people and not fascinating stories.
REALLY PEOPLE? Are you freaking kidding? A complete avalanche of disparaging comments questioning Tim’s credibility or complaining that he somehow owes you something makes all of you sound like a bunch of petulant children!
Let’s assume the guy is a fraud: 1) It isn’t so unreasonable for Tim to assume Mr. O’Brien was vetted by the Television Network that produces a hit show based upon his life given the massive resources the major Network has versus Tim Ferriss; 2) Last I checked, no one pays for the podcast, nor are you required to listen. If one got through the cracks because Tim relied on the TV industry, BIG F’N DEAL! Has your life been so horribly affected that you are compelled to relentlessly pester the guy with endless comments despite the fact that Tim works his ass off to put together these podcasts for our enjoyment? Has you life been detrimentally affected in any way at all? Are you scarred for life? Is your faith in humanity now shattered? If so, please explain exactly how; 3) Why is there no discussion as to why ScenGen made it on the Wikileaks site? Does that not give it some credibility. This link was posted days ago, yet been whining comments keep raining down: https://wikileaks.org/gifiles/attach/50/50361_06ScenGen_Summary002.ppt
~ Again, Tim quite obviously works very hard to put on an incredibly well prepared podcast & provides us the pleasure on a regular basis of getting to know over a 100 incredibly smart, talented & accomplished individuals at a level not readily available elsewhere FOR FREE, and you people skewer the guy because he doesn’t respond to your demands for apologies and explanations? How completely ungrateful!
Thank you! I totally agree. I can’t believe how pretentious these comments have been. Assuming that Wikipedia and Reddit are the arbiters of all truth. And then treating Tim like he is a joke when perhaps Tim actually has information than we all have access to. I really would like to know about the ScenGen wiki leaks connection. And I realize it sounds really cool to say “our work is classified” when it’s not, but if it were does everyone think we’d see a fancy website detailin said classified work?!
being on wikileaks is no absolute assurance of validity.
it’s a impartial whistleblowers website. so journalists can assess and vet items for publication. wikileaks don’t vet the material
and, are you suggesting tv executives are clear sighted, rational, detached and objective arbiters of quality, honest, genuine material fit for broadcast? Hahahhahahaah!
thats the funniest thing I’ve read in weeks!! !!
And, yes, Tim does have a responsiblity. A massive one. He has an extraordinary influence. Mentors need to be solid. Mentors are not snake oil salesmen.
People are not ‘complaining’ as much as expressing their massive disapointment and sadness. with all the innocence of a 5 year old on christmas realising that santa claus might not come.
It’s Tims refusal to say ANYTHING that is a really serious nail in the coffin of reputation and the value and assurance we place in every single podcast and article he releases after this one
We don’t know his motivations, anymore. We dont know if he’s finally taken too many entheogens and is being loosely creative with how he
applies his integrity
Hook, line and sinker. Man…
Very cool interview. As always awesome!
Love your show, a huge fan.
I submitted a project via the ConciergeUp website 6 days ago after hearing your show ago and have heard nothing back. I called the phone number and got an answering machine.
Like the others who have made comments, would be disappointing to hear that a guest of your show was not ligit.
Look forward to hearing what you find out.
Keep up the great work otherwise.
I love Tim’s show, and his intellect and curiosity are irresistible—I think anyone taking the time to comment, given that most of those doing so are probably type “A” individuals, demonstrates this. But driving to work today, listening, as I frequently do, to one of his podcasts, seemed different after listening to the Scorpion podcast and doing research halfway through to discover it was mainly fiction. For me, a devoted listener, whether Mr. Walter O’Brien is a charlatan and liar is beside the point because I have no respect for him and his fake “accomplishments”. But Tim Ferriss is another story.
After listening to that podcast, during which the Tim as interviewer ate up everything Walter O’Brien said with absolutely no challenging questions or previous research to fall back on, today during another podcast I had already listened, every time Tim said “and I researched this” and “I recommend my friend’s blog on fasting” and any comment about researching any subject, I questioned whether he actually did or whether to believe him or whether to pursue that topic on my own, only because of the Scorpion podcast. That’s sad. Some people have commented that it’s a “free podcast, stop complaining.” Does it matter if it’s free? Is that the heart of the matter here? Is the only difference that you could bring legal action if it wasn’t free? If I were Tim, I would only desire to present a podcast with a quality that equaled the best of my abilities, whether it were free or not.
Everyone commenting thinks Tim Ferriss is awesome and knows that every person makes mistakes, and constantly. I think for me, one of so many devoted fans/listeners, I want to keep listening and learning from Tim, but now it’s difficult to listen, or to keep reading his books, and keep believing like I once did until he says something about all of the issues his fans have raised.
Well said. My feeling is Tim is pushing the after burners and cranking these out, without vetting them too well. Tim, is it so hard to get Chris McDougall? We are waiting! Patiently!! Anyway, I do agree Tim, will nowhere near a major blow, this was certainly a “nick”, a slight chip on his otherwise solid China, and it is pleasing to see (while I initially disagreed and was ready to be defensive) that his fans are pushing back. While I am all for the Casey Neistadt style “one blog post a day” frenzy, it is clear there are corners that are cut. Dan Rather made the tremendous blunder not vetting some material years back, thus one has to admire the tremendous work of carefully researched material by other journalist. Ok, now here is some off-topic criticism. (Even Tolkien had his critics, and he took it into account, long before continuous improvement became the mantra.) What I would like to hear from Walter is not him bragging about his IQ/EQ, or his programming skillz, but about real stuff: how did he write 39 episodes of a TV show? Where does he get his inspiration? Sometimes I feel, after listening to a podcast, that I learned nothing about the person, whereas if I watch their TED talk, I learned much more. I think it’s more about the randomness of the chat, so certainly that is important, but perhaps being more scripted would be better.
I am a self-made multi-millionaire, small business owner, ENTJ, who listens to your podcasts routinely to get tips from other high achieving performers. I also have four young children so I find many of them very helpful in terms of productivity, efficiency, etc. Historically, I have found that your selection of guests is on point with all of them having much to offer. While I appreciated this podcast, particularly the discussions on EQ and how much that influences the success of an individual (I have also observed this for many years), I was troubled by many aspects of this podcast. In short, I find it ironic that you preach critical thinking skills and then expect us (the listener) to take all of this guy’s accomplishments at face value. Additionally, he literally offered nothing in terms of development of skills that the listeners can use.
Please don’t water down your brand.
The Podcast is not Frontline
Question: Did you learn something and did it spur discussion? Pursuant to Tim’s Pareto approach, I look at the 80/20 of the thing and eek out from it the gems that resonate. I have listened to every podcast and there is a gem in each one. Some are brand new concepts and practices I can genuinely use, others are reminders of concepts I have let slide. I’m really not into ice baths; I see value in Seneca.
Does it matter that Walter is a bullshitter? I agree that the guest could have been better picked. However, he is an executive producer on a popular TV show, and that is verifiable. Just in that context, it is perhaps less than the accomplishments of many of Tim’s followers, but more than 80 percent of other people out there. There are lessons to be learned regardless. But hey, we did get to hear a “world class” bullshitter.
Last night, my wife was mugged at gunpoint and her purse was stolen. No harm done. However, she took a trip to Asia a few months ago and photocopied front and back all credit cards, passport, etc., so we had all the information needed to very quickly cancel and reissue our cards. Shit definitely happens and “an ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure”. Walter’s response to the $100 or less question is a valuable reminder.
In my opinion, a few of the key takeaways from Walter are:
1. Agile project management is a hack to get large and small projects done and ensure they are relevant. If you don’t know Agile, it is worth taking an hour to understand its principles. Walter was on point here.
2. Being fluent in areas of your expertise. Walter may not really be fluent in all of the programming languages he says he is. The key point is: if you know more than your competitor, you have a competitive advantage and can be more flexible, creative and elegant in your approach to challenges. Tony Robbins’ Mastering Influence speaks about this more…a great program btw.
3. The answer to the $100 or less question…noted above.
4. …and it was highly entertaining. Bullshitters tell the best stories!
Lastly, not every guest will align absolutely perfectly with the podcast principles, which is okay. Note that “success comes from good judgement; good judgement comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgement”.
I don’t think Tim needs to respond at all to our chatter. He is super smart and I am sure he “gets it”. We listen to Tim’s podcast for the people, stories and lessons we can use. These people are fallible and none are saints. Tim is also not a journalist and the podcast is not “Frontline” on its guests. Please re-listen to Seth Godin’s remarks about the podcast – good stuff there.
Keep listening and peace to you!
So much bullshit from this guy. He should not be in this podcast.
“I believe that peace means that one person has the biggest stick.” realy? this means tyranny. nothing else. I believe that peace means that the person with the biggest stick belives the other person has an even bigger stick.
Ironically I listened to the Shaun White podcast before I listened to the Scorpion podcast. In the White podcast, Tim and Shaun are joking about how easy it is to tarnish your brand with a one or two bad choices.
Then I listened to the Scorpion podcast, and had the same reaction as many commenters here. Tim then had a tweet saying he just came back from overseas and would be “looking into it”. This podcast has now been posted for 10 days, with no substantive response from Tim. Dozens of tweets from his account since then, however.
I really like Tim’s interviews. I don’t even really care that they aren’t very hard hitting. I personally would like to know more about how Arnold dealt with the public fallout of his divorce, what Stanley McChrystal learned from being fired by President Obama. But Tim chooses not to ask hard questions of his interviewees. He wants to focus on the positive and what we can learn from people’s successes. I think failure is also a big part of being successful, but that’s Tim’s creative choice.
But now Tim is at an inflection point. His brand is well associated with the optimism, craziness, and fever dreams of the second big dot com boom. The next bust or at least slowdown is around the corner, how will Tim evolve? Will he be thought of as a relic from a past era (like Jim Cramer on Wall St) or will we get thought provoking, honest content going forward.
The Scorpion podcast is a perfect opportunity for Tim to call bullshit on a guest, and gain some credibility. If not, he risks becoming associated with snake oil.
Tim, I’m a huge fan and have been for a while. I regularly push your stuff to everyone I know. I ended up feeling pretty foolish after telling a bunch of people how awesome this episode was and subsequently realizing this guy is a sham.
Unfortunately, due to the nature of what you do this calls a lot of the information you provide into question. How well did you vet the sources in the 4-hour body? I suspect much more effectively but the lack of response/explanation here is really disconcerting.
I don’t think anyone expects a perfect answer but it is important that you recognize the gravity of this controversy and provide a response. A little honesty would go a long way here, everyone makes mistakes.
Sorry that the first time I’ve been motivated to comment is negative, basically every other episode has been fantastic and all of your work is greatly appreciated.
Extremely insightful, despite all the claims, overall great listen!
I’ve listened to just about every episode Tim and this one by far is the most INTERESTING. Listening to an actual genius is an epic experience.
It explained and solidified some of the “odd” behaviors that gifted kids we come into contact with exhibit. I’ve now learned that the gifts they have are what make the world go round, they solve the worlds most complex issues and contribute to mankind in magnificent ways.
Tim, I’m checking often to see how you respond to the calls of scorpion being a fraud.
Maybe Tim has delegated resolving this funded issue to ConciergeUp 😉
This is probably my favorite podcast of yours… it gives me hope that the future can be better with the combination of genius, hard work, altruism and the economy. Apparently there are several people who dispute some of the details of Walter’s account of history. This does not detract from who he is or what he has accomplished. I find this guy to be admirable in so many ways. All he needs to do is to get healthier ;). I must say that I loved the Luis Van Ahn interview second best… followed by Ed Norton and Laird Hamilton (tied for third)… I find little things to share with my husband, my kids, and even to use as material in my studies (I’m working on a Phd). I listen to your podcast when I am driving, which I do often for work and it has proven to be useful for small talk with clients as well as the bigger things, which I mentioned earlier.
Thank you Tim and keep it up!!!!
Just seen the episod one of Scorpion TV series.
Well… a Ferrari at 340 km/h running under a passenger airplane (777?). One guy on the plane wheels with an Ethernet cable passed to the Ferrari driver to connect to a laptop and download a piece of software.
And this crap should be taken from real events?
BS! BS! BS!
I wonder how many people got sucked into giving their hard-earned money to this Real Life Conman after listening to this? Tim, I think you owe it to your audience to hurry up and at least tell them about all the dirt that’s out there on this guy.
Can’t help but wonder, is it really possible you didn’t know? Or was there perhaps an incentive, so that you just did not care to know?
That billionaire fiancé break up story was such B.S!
Hey Tim (and anyone else interested),
I’m actually rather disappointed (for the first time) with this podcast. There is huge amounts of evidence – documented clearly below – suggesting that a lot of what Walter speaks about is not at all true…
Just take a look at their website, their supposed offices (which is just a photo-shopped image of a glass factory in Germany), or the amount of employees that list Scorpion Computer Services as their employer on LinkedIn…
Would love to hear you put some of the evidence to Walter and get some clarification.
The podcast was indeed entertaining, but now I feel and maybe Tim will feel raped soon. 95% appears to be pure BS, 5% truth? Even that a Marketing Deck appears in Wikileaks does not change anything. Listening to many of the software engineering related claims regarding testing made me suspicious initially, then he mentioned all the meditation stuff and all the alarms went off… then even Tims book… I believe he has carefully prepared and told Tim mostly what he wanted to hear.
The thing that he shares with Santa Claus is that he does not exist.
Also, those who want to be around when consciousnesses can be transplanted (2050+?) are fit, like Tim or like Peter Attia. He does not look that healthy to me.
And yeah, probably he is smart, making all that stuff up and twisting it with real, true stuff, to make up a good story and keeping track of all that, that requires skill and intelligence.
Btw, with all their employees someone should have left a review on Glassdoor. Nope, nothing there.
Repeating one thing, it was really entertaining… it was like a car accident, you just cannot look away. Maybe Tim wanted to entertain us.
On those grounds, maybe Tim should invite him again, for more fairytales on what he and his mysterious company has achieved. I would love to hear some more billionaire stories.
Surely Mr. O’Brien with IQ of 197 understands the difference between philanthropy and charity? As noble as Bill Gates philanthropy is for helping people it was still conducted out of his excess from his mansion in WA.
Mother Teresa, as poor as she was met those untouchables in her society and loved them, elevating them and giving them dignity. Yes many died in her care after all she ran a hospice. But those in her care died knowing at least one person cared enough to wholly love them, just as they were.
We are all going to die one day, no amount of head transplants can solve this fact of life. I would dare to have a fraction of the love of Bl. Mother Teresa, instead of waiting to make millions.
Exactly my thought. I listened to the podcast with growing agreement with the bulk of the comments here (originally thinking my fellow fans merely didn’t understand the nature of an Irish talker), but choosing Bill Gates over Mother Teresa confirmed, over all the other technical irregularities, was what made me hit the pause button. I’m not a billg hater, but he ain’t no Mother Teresa. For one thing, his mom pushed him into philanthropy. He did a good, but cuthroat job of running MSFT, but like Zuckerberg, had questionable ethics going back to the day he wrote the scheduling software in his HS to ensure the hot chicks were in his class. Meanwhile, Mother Teresa made a lasting impact, made the world a better place, leading by example, and while always be remembered.
Can someone please explain to me how the ScenGen software would know what every possible outcome was without them all being manually plugged in…? IE in the partnership agreement, if the document had Death and Divorce cases in it but not “widowed” how would the software come up with that on it’s own?
Scengen doesn’t exist. The guy is a known fraud.
Firstly, I enjoyed the episode, regardless of whether or not there are questions about the facts of Walter claims.
Secondly, if you take what Walter does and the hints of his personality at face value, you’d know that he’d be able to do things that you would not be able to do with respect to manipulation of personal data available about him on the internet. If he didn’t want you to verify things for privacy or state secret reasons, you wouldn’t be able to. And rightly so — if I did just 1/100th of what he claims, I’d make sure you couldn’t find out much about me either. Let me be a crock of crap for the common people or the extorters / assassins.
Lastly, I’d just like to say the really only thing that concerned me is Walter is rationalizing he’s potentially immoral behavior by building the “biggest stick” for the US, without regard to our use of those sticks or the foreign policies that create a circular need for those sticks. Does the “biggest stick” create anything other than a bully? I think that’s what it promotes, and the competition amongst those getting bullied to knock the bully down and take the stick away. A defensive stick is just fine. I think we’ve gone way beyond that, and I don’t absolve Walter of his deeds in this regard.
I prefer taking nothing at face value.
What a joke- the number of grammatical errors on O’Brien’s craptastic website (http://conciergeup.com/about-us.html) should have been a clue that he’s no genius. A simple google search immediately reveals this guy as a fraud. Your promotion of this charlatan calls into question your credibility on everything else.
Can’t believe we still have no response regarding this total fraud. Tim tweeted on 23 Feb that he was looking into it. He only has to Google him to see that Walter is a fake. Why not just put his hands up and admit he got conned. People would accept that and give him credit for admitting it. Right now it just looks like he’s he does care.
Ho ho ho! I was going to write a snarky reply, that all you people were over blowing things, and simply jealous that our Irish friend was talking to Tim, and not them, but instead, at least as far as his programming chops, I’m gonna have to side with the crowd. I have no doubt half the stuff he says is true, but as a fellow Irishman, I know we are wont to exaggerate a wee bit, and so what?! It certainly is a nice little talent, to be able to write stories for a television series. I mean, come on guys, we all went to school with a dude like Walter (at least I did, growing up in new england, a bastion of Irish/Germans).
As far as breaking in to the NSA or NASA or wherever, and downloading a drawing of a wheel – sure, I buy it. I know at least a few people around that time period, back in the day when it was easy enough, nearly anyone with an internet connection could do it. One person (Chris Claus) went on to found a huge security company – after getting in trouble with John Law.
The part about bit torrent? Probably he didn’t write what you think of bit torrent, but maybe had a few socket connections going – realize that a file is just a big array of bytes, in fact as you make an internet connection, the page loads fast because of the brilliance of Andreessen and others at Univ of Illinois – threads loading all the separate files that composed a page.
But then he got to the part about the “Raw Anzi C with no Microsoft libraries” and yeah, what the heck? Maybe in 1990 K&R C ruled the day, and that was how you won coding competitions, but unless you are writing an operating system, there are many better choices than C. If you look at TopCoder, many of the entries are in C (or at least they used to be, now their format is different) because it’s fast, and understood, but there are simply better choices for big apps, not coding competition apps. And yeah, he was truly exaggerating when he said he did more in a few hours than teams writing for years. Yes, ebay was written in a weekend. Build system Ant was written on a plan trip. Hunt the Wumpus in Yob’s mind in a few hours. Perhaps the mightiest feat was by Zuckerberg with his facebook prototype written in one night. But in reality, most systems aren’t that simple, while at the basics, the original e-bay is similar to new, improved ebay, we as a consumer demand the complexity.
Knowing 79 languages fluently? Hm, ok. This is where I really beg to differ. I you want to focus on delivering working code, no one would waste their time learning the nuances of 79 languages, they would learn one really really well. Like a wrestler I knew in school – he knew a few moves, but he knew them better than anyone else, and flattened his opponents in seconds, thought they may have known 50 moves. And there’s not just the syntax of the language, the keywords, call by value vs. call by reference, but the underlying libraries, i.e. boost for C++. Again, he probably is skilled in “Raw (nobody says that) ANZI (sp) C” I guess, because that was good for winning competitions.
Prefers BIl Gates over Mother Teresa? This is where I think Walter doesn’t believe he’s really made it yet. Because every poser would say Bill Gates. But if you really knew Gates (beyond his billions) you’d know he’s been pushed by his mother into philanthropy, it’s not really his thing. I think he has some mild technical interest, unfortunately wasted on solutions that won’t work, so despite his billions, he’ll never have the lasting impact on improving the world as Mother Teresa, or many many other people for example. So poor choice in my book and shows he a bit green, a bit wet behind the ears.
But hey all, interesting enough. Replacing heads, definitely I can see why Tim was interested in Walter. (Please Tim, do not go off and start testing this stuff on yourself.) And there’s always the pause button – you may not agree or even like everyone on the podcast, Fine. By the way Tim, I am really digging the Seneca letters. Thanks again for inspiring and educating us. Sincerely, Your fans!
Tim was introduced to Walter by a highly trusted individual. All I have to say about the negative comments below is that you seem to eagerly believe like herds of cattle anything negatively posted on the internet. It seems to be in peoples nature to want only to believe the worst. Lets not be like cattle. Keep an open mind. Everything, and I mean absolutely everything, should be taken in a grain of salt, a pinch of sugar and an open mind.
So is Walter for real ? How do I discern the truth on the internet. How to tell lies. What is truth ? Something to ponder on and observe in my everyday life
Another outstanding interview. I gained so much from this one as well. Another multi-listen episode. Thanks Tim and thanks, Walter.
Why would you impugn your own brand by promoting this charlatan?
An IQ score of a definitive “197” is so obviously specious how did you not twig to that?
lmao…Tim, you’re such a good egg. Looks like you tripped into the intelligence/security community, without knowing how rabid a bunch of freaks they/we are. I’ve spent a significant part of my career in these circles, and the one thing you learn quickly is NEVER BS ABOUT INTEL/SECURITY. These cats are ruthless, and will gladly take down any poseur. Tim, thanks for always adding value first, second, and last. It’s a lesson to us all.
Thank you so much for KEEPING this podcast! This guy is fantastic! I get that some of this is controversial but, oh well. This guy is a unique blend of talent/gifts/humility! Not a very common combo there. Thanks again, I hope you continue to keep it up.
Only question I had was what would be the rest of his 10 go to books that he eludes to towards the end?
Tim, KUDOS for your response! Thanks for not ignoring listener concerns.
I am just checking in to see if smarter people on the internet can point me in a direction of whether Walters responses are ok?
Anyway I am sure this wouldn’t help me in any direct way. Maybe entertained ? Or more frivolous.
I guess most of us are Sheeps and just want someone to follow without the due thinking done. At least mostly for me.
I wonder if conciergeup could figure out a job I’d enjoy and how to get there.
Tim – you and your Podcasts are simply awesome, including the Walter O’Brien episode. To the nay sayers – me thinketh they doth protest too much. Is Walter a charlatan or digital James Bond?
Even with the replies from Walter, most claims are not verifiable and the proofs he uses are rather weak. We would need to contact Rayethon and Lockheed to see what his contribution to Aegis was, maybe he ground coffee, maybe he supplied a small app for testing inputs, maybe it was something super super intelligent, we ultimately do not know. It is true that much of this kind of work is under NDA usually and he may have done all these wonders, but it is not verifiable. Not his business results, not his IQ, and so on.
That means it must be believed, like the bible, or aliens in area 51.
Tim, maybe as a learning from this episode, invite this guy, he suggests that stuff like this is going to be worse in the future
who cares to crticially and thorougly review information, people when there is so much re-tweeting, re-xing, info overload, no attention, bias confirmation.
Scorpion Responds: “The same explains why I didn’t get my IQ ratified by Mensa. 31 years ago I didn’t know what Mensa was.”
It is about time to take a test by a certified psychologist.
Guys, he’s a CON MAN, and not even a good one. He has trouble composing basic english sentences (e.g. “I, nor my parents understood the gravity of that result”.) His press page is full of mentions from media outlets you’ve never heard of. NONE of his outlandish claims are verifiable. His explanations are laughable. The quality of his websites is atrocious. Please stop equivocating on this.
Tim’s follow up was not nearly strong enough. He needs to disavow him explicitly. This guy is taking people’s money, and Tim has enabled that.
Can you provide a copy of Walter’s ten books list?