Meet "Scorpion," The Real-Life Santa Claus


“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, 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.


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):

#135: Luis Von Ahn on Learning Languages, Building Companies, and Changing the World

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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

Show Notes

  • 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]

People Mentioned

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with over 400 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.

306 Replies to “Meet "Scorpion," The Real-Life Santa Claus”

  1. Hi Tim, I enjoyed the Podcast with Walter.

    In a future podcast could you sit down with Marcus Lemonis? He has a show on CNBC called the Profit. I think you’ll find that he has high integrity and a good heart.

    1. Hey Tim, I was about to raise these concerns too. have you seen his website? For a $1.3B company, this is horrendous:

      And then there are these claims tied into the article Sean mentioned above:

      Are Sean and I seriously missing something? Or is this guy a phonie? I mean I enjoyed the interview and all but if it’s dodgy…

      1. Also not defending the guy, but reference point 5 above, I noted from a quick read of the Sussex University article “Walter and his team-mates had previously come sixth in the world in a similar competition held in Wisconsin…”. Also, studying COGS at Sussex University isn’t something you get to do without ability.

      2. Tim, you should research the people who you’re going to interview a bit more..This guy is a flat out joke charlatan. Get Nassim Taleb on your show then you’ll be cooking w gas!

    2. YES, I’m glad you and many others here also realized there is something off about Walter. When I saw this podcast come up, I was shocked how he conned his way into it. I met this guy many years ago through a mutual introduction, and after a few times hanging out with him I had a strong suspicion that he was a fraud. I researched him and his company the same sort of discrediting proof came up, nothing he claimed could be substantiated or verified. As a car enthusiast, he would also brag about his not so great cars, with exception to the Lamborghini Countach he claimed he had. Growing up admiring this car, I was DYING to see his car, and when that day finally came I noticed right away that his car was in fact a REPLICA! A cheaply done one at that. For someone who made all these millions and worked on billion/trillion dollar projects to try and pass off his Feiro kit car as a real Lamborghini was all the proof I needed to know that he was a fraud. Never talked to him again.

      1. yeah, totally agree.. I feel he talks in all generalities and buzzwords and what he’s saying about his history sounds off in so many ways. Clearly psychopathic self-aggrandizement. He rented out a Starbucks during business hours for his billionaire sting operation and filled it with actors? come on..Starbucks are company run stores.

        If you want to hear what someone successful with IQ an over 150 sounds like listen to a youtube video by Demis Hassabis.

      2. Scott – Demis Hassabis would be an incredible interview…or maybe not; he is almost certainly too intelligent to keep up with, and I doubt he speaks in the kind of Hollywood-cliché-generator lines which make for good copy…you know, like “when I was 13, I invented the DDOS”, “I have an IQ of 197”, and so on.

  2. I really urge everyone to do a little background on this guy, and it is rather obvious that all of his claims are completely unsubstantiated. It’s a very interesting interview, but it somewhat discredits the entire process when you discover that there is nothing to back up anything what this man has claimed. Would a 1 Billion dollar business have a P.O. Box as their office location, and have a website that looks as basic as theirs is? Very disappointed in this interview without some proper vetting first.

  3. I’m looking for audiobook recommendations for a project these podcasts inspired. After Seth Godin’s interview, a friend and I took his advice and are making a practice out of repeatedly listening to a select set of wisdom-rich audiobooks (The War of Art was the first one I got, and it was well worth it). This also follows Seneca’s advice of not wasting too much time reading broadly. So the idea is to get as much value as possible for the time spent.

    Walter O’Brien’s ideas about developing emotional intelligence seems to fit perfectly with this concept. Instead of actively observing experts and receiving EI coaching from experts, we can select books that are the best available for a number of aspects of EI (or life in general) and reprogram our own admittedly amateur reactive thinking.

    I have several categories in mind, and a few books, but I was hoping to get recommendations for exceptional audio-books that specifically offer master insights in a wide range of personally relevant categories. I’d appreciate any thoughts or recommendations from anyone!

  4. Hey Tim, do not be fooled by Walter O’Brien. Most of what he says is completely made up. The guy is a pathological liar. Read Mike Masnick over at or even just check out his wikipedia page.

  5. Hey Tim, Walter O’Brien lied to you. He lies to everyone, and hasn’t a shred of evidence backing up his claims. There’s even a section on his wikipedia page calling him out.

  6. Just a quicky (oh, and great stuff, thank you!!) that stuff about the navy seals not breathing for 20 minutes… how do they get rid of all their co2 during that time – isn’t it excess co2 that causes our “breathing urgency”?

  7. How about if we start a “go fund me” campaign and raise money to pay Walter’s think tank to figure out how to get the military planes and Chem companies to stop spraying Chemtrails and save the planet? Or has somebody already paid Scorpion to do the opposite? 😉

  8. Truly a phenomenal interview. There was so many practical takeaways from this entire show. Loved his real-life answers to the rapid-fire questions at the end. I love how he prioritizes against things that have single points of failure.

  9. If Scorpion were to solve a problem for me it would be this: I am a Chiropractor in Australia, and Chiropractic in this country (and in the USA) has an element of negative brand equity, and an often mediocre public perception. There are people in every profession who are on the fringes but the problem we have is how to communicate on a large scale just how positive making Chiropractic a part of a healthy lifestyle can be. The general public can benefit greatly from using the services of trained, register Chiro’s, so how do we get the message across that what we do is safe, gentle and effective?

    PS – yours is my favourite podcast by some margin. Thanks for doing it, and anytime you want to do a podcast ‘on the road from down under’ I will be there!

      1. BS, Peterson! I’ve been helped tremendously by “Alternative Medicine” including chiropractic. I’ve also seen many lives completely transformed by it. In contrast, “conventional” MD’s almost killed me in childhood by the inherent dangers and side-effects of many of their treatments. After years of struggling to find answers in conventional medicine, getting steadily worse and worse, I was able to heal myself completely using Chiro, nutrition, herbal medicine, acupuncture, and other “Alternative” treatments. “What do you call medicine that works? Alternative Medicine.”

  10. Awesome, down-to-earth interview with a true genius. SO many practical, real-world takeaways from this. Loved his answers to the rapid fire questions at the end. Interesting how simple his answers were and how he prepares to avoid “single points of failure.” Great interview Tim!

  11. Hey Danny,

    I think the backup marketplace is too crowded to start from scratch. Crashplan is probably the most prominent service with Carbonite and others being up there as well. It would probably be pretty hard to compete with them. Though, I’m all for finding your muse and asking for feedback! 🙂

    1. It’s not the person who was conned who was to blame but the con who ran the hustle. We can all be fooled. Tim should leave the podcast up and post a caveat, and links that disprove the information

      “Scorpion” endorsed.

  12. Is this guy for real? Just because they have a fascinating TV show doesn’t mean it’s real. I need to verify this before listening. (the tone of Wikipedia & Techdirt doubts his veracity)

    1. Be careful Zoe, everywhere I look Walter’s claims don’t stack up. Whatever you do, definitely do not get your drug addicted son involved.

      Tim, you it owe to us to call this guy out, it’s flat out dangerous to promote someone like Walter O’Brien.

  13. ConciergeUp, can you solve this problem? I am trying to figure out if US financial system and monetary policy are fundamentally sound. I worry that they may not be and I want to hedge against another major collapse. But, as small retail investor, I don’t know what my best options are.

  14. Tim, you are the best really but if you do a little research on Walter O’brien I think you will find reasons to be extremely skeptical. Not sure if you screen him or if you just thought it was an interesting story but I think some healthy skepticism and critical thinking goes a long way here.

    BTW love the podcast. Keep’em coming!!

    and for a good laugh or laughs

  15. Was anyone else’s BS alert system going off on this guys backstory and actual career? Hear me out, he sounds like an intelligent, connected guy, but don’t you think he would be on to bigger things than consistently shilling for a CBS show over the past few years and trying to get us to ask for gigs that start at a measly 5K? What are the odds none of us have heard about the actual company Scorpion or hear about them in the news like we do for other special ops companies like this. Even his IQ claim is pretty bogus. Reddit was all over this. Check out his response to his IQ claim on his Reddit AMA, or just google his name and “fraud”.

    That said, I agreed with pretty much everything he said. I still enjoyed the podcast and would recommend it for the solid advise, but just realize it’s good advice regardless of the source.

  16. TV show or not, I need to research if this guy is real or not. Not very good article on him in wikipedia and TechDirt is skeptical as well

    1. Don’t want to be a wet blanket but I was thinking the same thing whilst listening too, did a quick search and up came the articles…

      1. I’m trusting Tim Ferriss on this one. I’m certain Walter O’Brien has figured out what to say to maximize the benefit to him and his business and how to say it as economically as possible.

        He won me over by his comments on apathetic people. They are the worst.

      2. I use many of Tim’s podcast interviewees as role models. I don’t want to role model the “wrong” attributes. Tim knew him before the TV show, perhaps he has more inside info that he can let us in on.

      3. I’m a programmer and not terribly black hat, but I’m getting a strong, strong scent of BS from this guy. His website looks like it’s from 1995, none of his more major claims (including “invented the DDOS attack” in this podcast, as well as the 197 IQ score) have any evidence for them whatsoever, and all of the clients he lists in his references section are relatively inconsequential — exactly the sort of clients you might expect if, for example, a company had a flashy (if inane) television show based on it.

    2. Absolutely. I was a bit struck by how he said its a 1.3 billion USD company and all the case studies on the website are 15 years old or more. Have a look at Palantir’s site, that’s a 1 billion in revenue firm….

      1. Corrected & noted thanks. That means 43m USD a year since he first opened the doors. Not likely on a project by project deal pipeline, thats a full time sales team rocking in projects right after the other and no sales people seem to exist on LinkedIn or anywhere else.

      2. Heather, PR Newswire merely distributes press releases provided by its members. STRYKE and Scorpion probably wrote that up themselves.

  17. The content on head transplants is laughably wrong and poorly thought through. Of all the complexities involved in such an undertaking one of the most glaring omissions is the lack of consideration for the role immunology will play. 1st world healthcare systems can barely manage transplant rejection now let alone the interplay between such a sheer amount of tissue and the foreign CNS and head. That a surgeon is considering carrying out a head transplant in the coming 3 years is no better than vivisection. If “Scorpion” gets head transplants sideways what else has he missed?

    1. And why not go 100% organic food, ultra healthy lifestyle so you can live longer naturally and catch the wave of life extending tech? Nah, I’ll eat ding dongs and drink root beer waiting for a new head.

      1. But if you look at the wiki link, nowhere does it mention “raw”, and us programmers are the sort to argue over tabs vs. spaces, etc 🙂 hence the kerfuffle over O’Brien’s odd choice of words. ANSI C is certainly valid, but “Raw” ANZI C is not. Raw, in the software world, is usually used to refer to something before it’s been transformed into a friendlier format, I guess the closest example in layman’s terms (heh heh) would be the the raw image format created by a digital camera. From wikipedia: “A camera raw image file contains minimally processed data from the image sensor of either a digital camera, image scanner, or motion picture film scanner.” So nobody says “Raw” when referring to a language really, but who knows, maybe in Ireland? By itself, this mistake wasn’t so bad, but in high contrast to the Louis Von Ahn (Duolingo), O’Brien came off as your typical “sysadmin from hell” computer stereotype, i.e the one, when the pointy haired boss asks a question, mumbles something about dept first regression and raw Anzi C and cloud-native architecture (see latest Dilbert), and thus many a computer mess hath been created. This is where the “Five Whys” comes in, and is a great way to stop an disaster like this in the tracks. I just heard today Accenture is known colloquially as “Accidenture” due to their skill at turning simple tasks into giant, expensive messes. Hey, go figure.

  18. Interesting about Bill Gates. Be greedy when you’re young and then charitable when you are older? Wasn’t that the same for Carnegie and some other philanthropists? Great episode..

    1. At the age of 13 in the year of 1988:

      At 10:02 “(…) 4 days later, I invented a denial of service attack and reverse torrent and pieced together bits of binaries and concatenated it and got it all down (…)”

  19. I’m a genius but I’m at best a half assed doer. That’s why I listen to your podcast for inspiration.

    Your opportunity cost comment about dissatisfaction from choice applies to people with regular jobs and financial resources. Knowing oppurtunity cost between two choices causes indecision and regret for most people.

  20. When I saw this episode in my Pocket Casts list, my first thought was “he deceived Tim Ferris too”, then I came to post some links, but found a lot of good ones already. Thanks everyone.

  21. Tim, Walter, amazing podcast!!! I had a braingasm! – Thank you!!!

    Life University.

    I always think we need one, all the time, maybe we need to create an online one at least, place to teach people how to take care of our body (basic nutrition, cooking, importance of exercise and breathing etc.), mind, finances, improve social resilience etc. – all those necessary basics to NOT die from heart attack or diabetes, or depression at the very least, to not be broke and suicidal… I believe someone who will deliver this idea to mass-market somehow in entertaining and compelling way…maybe through VR…who knows… will make…lots of money


    Question to Walter. how are you so good with computer languages (79 mastered back in your teens) and not good with natural languages that is basically the same thing? I always thought that because I’m naturally good with human languages computer languages are easy for me. Cause it’s basically telling a machine what to do in its native language.

    Do you think it has something to do with emotional intelligence? And not being able to connect to your intuition and gut feeling and mental intelligence at the same time?

    When I speak or learn a foreign language I pick up a lot from non-verbal communication, emotions of people, gestures etc.

    Head Transplants:

    Again Walter, Tim…

    Do you think head transplants can really transplant one person’s essence to a different body? Do you really think that what we are as people, it’s all in the brain, in the head space? Do you think we are in fact just a collection of data stored on a molecular level in the brain? What about our emotions? They are not stored and originate from the brain, do they?

    What about studies showing that we have separate “brain” in the heart and that it sends more signals to the brain than vice versa? That makes scientists question the location of the “ultimate governor” of the body and person.

    Do you really believe that consciousness is just a product of the brain and it resides there? And if not, how can a human being be reassembled “mechanically”, if consciousness, our true self, is not in the brain at all? Maybe essence, who we are, has not so much to do with our physical brain or any other organ? (Remember that scene from Avatar, when they put Jake Sully’s Essence/Personality into a different body? They were not concerned too much with head transplants, I know it’s just a movie but still.)

    Do you really believe there is NO metaphysical aspect to who we are? Something beyond what we can observe with certainty through our senses?

    Isn’t a true purpose of science is to discover and explain (or try to) things we yet to prove and yet to understand? Things we can observe results of and have a intuitive feeling of their origin? Things that don’t make full sense in today’s scientific reality?

    Like feeling “something is not right” before major disaster in our life?

    Or thinking about a person and they call us right away?

    Wasn’t death from bacterial infections considered “mysterious and magical” at some point before we fully developed the toolkit to observe bacteria?

    Suffering of people with High IQ:

    I have no idea what my IQ is but I do know that I grasp things easier and faster than most people I know on many levels, most things/skills/tasks I encounter come easy to me and do not pause a challenge big enough, that’s why I lose motivation for and interest in a lot of pursuits…And that’s why the whole world seems to me mad and crazy because I see simple solutions to big problems that many see as too simplistic or too crazy…

    Definitely makes it harder to connect with lots of people…

    I want to make people to live till 1000 and most people tell me I should think of getting rich instead that for me (for whole lot of reasons is a stupid goal).

    Just sharing…Maybe you have a solution. Sometimes I believe I’ve been given too much to handle, abilities I still can’t figure out how to handle or where to apply…

    Any advice?

    My favorite Quote:

    “If you come to a fork in the road – take it”

    Similar to one of my favorite quotes by Peter Diamandis, “Peter’s Laws”: “When given a choice, take both”

  22. Dear Tim,

    I until today was a big fan of your shows. But interviewing somebody like O’Brien who is so obviosly fake leaves me with a really bad feeling. If you do such a bad fact checking before an interview, this tells me a lot about your style of work and makes your other stuff appear less worthfull spending my time on.

  23. Hi TIM,

    Thanks for this episode. It did indeed blew my mind!

    Unfortunately, to much of Walter’s background stories seem to be hugely exaggerated or just false, as Reddit and TechDirt clearly show.

    I don’t think you should help promote these stories as real, even though it might inspire one in some weird illusional way. Best to put up a disclaimer?!

  24. Can’t believe you would link yourself to this guy Tim, honestly your hovering just on the border between reality and spoof yourself. This guy is a well known con man who has tricked media all over the world and like yourself they have ate it up and helped to propagate it even more. You are really endangering your brand here in my opinion. This really calls into question lots of the other guests you’ve had who I wasn’t so sure on but due to my lack of knowledge about them thought to give a chance as they came recommended by you. Seriously though even a bit of light googling shows this guy as a complete fraud and you didn’t even question him it.

  25. Good morning

    I’m currently listening to this podcast and find it extremely interesting, Love the fact that Walter is doing such amazing things with his gift and helping people.

    It got me thinking how useful his services would be in our country and how he would solve issues we’re currently facing.

    For example we have a dumbass government running our country into the ground, instead of solving problems like the current drought we are facing the smartest thing they could come up with was that its apartheid’s fault, no one takes accountability for anything, number 1 problem of the human race now a days.

    ” A former Queenstown (Eastern Cape) town Councillor asked one of the present Councillors what the current state of affairs was regarding our water supply considering that we have not had much rain lately and were running low. He was told it was the fault of the ‘previous apartheid regime’

    When the previous Councillor asked how he worked that one out he replied…………….. ” You built the dams too big , so they take a long time to fill. You should have built them smaller, they would fill quicker and we would have plenty of water and never run out.”……… I mean seriously…

    or taking the ostrich approach and denying entirely that we actually have a water crisis.

    The other issue we have is the rampant drug trade going on in our country, Did you know that we have a section of JHB that the police specifically avoid even though they know the people there are taking drugs and selling it in the area? Im sure that goes on all over the world, but to just turn a blind eye on something like that is that not condoning what they are doing? but worries me more is how prevalent it is in our area and not just in poor areas but the fact that they are infiltrating our schools and households.

    Men who are supposed to be responsible husbands or fathers are falling victim to it as a form of escapism from the stresses of their work or family life leading to more problems and woman becoming victims of their abuse when they get agitated. I sadly hear so many stories of cases such as these just in our social circle alone there are 2 mothers who’s sons are currently in rehab, a wife who is dealing with a husband who takes drugs behind her back, a mother who had to find out her son was arrested for buying drugs, family members who are hooked on some sort of drug and refuse to acknowledge its an issue even though they ended up living on the street, just to name a few… and I would genuinely like to help them in a way that would really make a difference but I neither have the funds nor the support to really make an impact (or maybe I’m not thinking hard enough)

    I highly doubt I could afford the services of the Scorpion to solve issues such as these but it would be extremely interesting to find out if this kind of thing falls in your “any” category or even just to get an idea on how you would tackle these kinds of problems….

  26. Come on, Tim. Did you at least fact check up on this guy before interviewing him? I question how reliable IQ tests can be once people score over 150. At that level you’re basically answering every set question accurately and the rest comes down to timing. With nothing to show for it, are we meant to just believe he’s telling the truth? Besides that, I literally couldn’t find any credible sources to back up all the other things he’s claimed.

    Usually I can pick out at least one or two useful pieces of information from these podcasts (and that’s on a bad day). Maybe it’s just me, but I learned nothing today. All I got from him was carefully coated bullshit with zero substance. If there actually was anything of significance to be taken away from this, please let me know. Maybe this time around, I’m just inept at understanding what he had to say.

    I apologize, Walter, if everything you claimed turns out to be true. However, you can understand how one would be skeptical, right?

  27. I enjoyed the interview even though felt that some of the stories were a bit too much “scripted” (like the golddigger story).

    Then I made the mistake to google Mr. Scorpion and came across several articles debunk in many claims he has made.

    Unfortunately they were much more convincing than O’Brian in the interview.

    This got me thinking:

    Why did Tim – one of the smartest guys around – fell for this guy if he is the fraud some people claim he is?

    Was it because they were introduced by someone who Tim trusts and he then proceeded under bias that makes us seek evidence that supports our believes?

    Or has Tim seen some actual evidence that proves beyond doubt that Walter O’Brian is the genius he claims to be.

    I’d love to hear why Tim really thinks O’Brian is the real deal — and not just a great storyteller with great lies and some mental issues.

    1. Completely agree. I was so taken away by the stories that I didn’t think at all that there was anything wrong. I do feel that Tim needs to do a quick followup with his explanation. Still 100% on Tims boat because he backs stuff up with substance.

  28. Thanks for the Podcast. Not aware of that show here in the UK, but what a facsinating guy.

    Hi Tim and Walter,

    Is there any chance that list of Top 10 books is published somewhere?

    QOTD – I would like Walter to answer a question about farming. How can British farmers react to the situation a lot of us are in where our businesses live or die by the swings in the commodity prices?

    As an arable farmer, myself and my peers seem to be stuck in this situation where our profitability is now dependent on which side of bed the commodity speculators get out of. How can you ‘add-value’ to commodities?

    Would be interested to hear his thoughts.

    Thanks gents. Brilliant stuff.

  29. His website looks like the website of a typical IT services company. Look at the specialties of his top employees (adobe, ms office etc.). If it turns out that he’s full of shit, it has to be one of the greatest dupes ever – CBS based a primetime TV show on his life.

  30. Hi,


    I’m going to listen to this podcast multiple times!

    Thank you Tim for this profound guest!!

    I’ve been watching the tv-show Scorpion and some times I had a feeling like sure why not jump off the cliff or going up in the balloon…

    I always thought it’s tv it’s entertainment, but now I think everything could happen :-).

    Any Funded Need… hmm

    I have a very personal need, Now I’m 29years old.

    I’ve been in pain for 10 years

    (3 surgeries low back L5-S1 fusion, they messed up the first surgery)

    trying to get to a normal life.

    I did a lot to fix this or cope with it, not coping in the sense of “I give up” but in managing time & energy to get “a” result. But it’s getting harder every year because the chronic pain made my body oversensitive which leads to more pain which leads again to .. and so on. My body is not getting “fitter” but neither is my mind.

    The only thing a hear from “doctors” is everything looks ok (padding themselves on the back) and suggesting to pop pills for my “minimal pain and discomfort”.

    I know this is not gonna save the world , but it’s my need.

    thank you for the great content & insights!

  31. Tim,

    A sincere thank you for your podcasts, and doing what you do, it has added tremendously to my life.

    I also am a bit troubled by what I have found doing some research on Walter as others have mentioned, it seems he has convinced some very high up the military food chain marketing his IQ as his credentials. I find the idea of questioning a person’s authenticity that might be as involved in the military as claimed and have a fair amount of influence within very unsettling.

    I hope this does not come off as being small minded, or petty, I have never met Walter and try not to be quick to judge. I just finished the interview feeling a bit not sure about some of the responses and claims. Which led me to search around a bit on him. The holes on the internet leave me feeling that he is more about creating the persona that the military wants, rather than being that person they found.

    I still absolutely loved the format of this interview, and still gained many ideas from it.


  32. Tim,

    I find Walter’s quote of “I believe that peace means that one person has the biggest stick. I build those sticks.” very interesting.

    Before there was a ConciergeUp and a Scorpion, there was the Socrates Project in the Reagan White House. Socrates was the massive “big stick” that President Reagan used in negotiations with Gorbachev to convince him to dismantle the Soviet Union.

    If you want more information on Socrates pls let me know. I was the founder and Director of the Socrates Project.


    Michael C. Sekora

    1. Great as a sound bite, but what does it really mean? Any way you slice it, it’s certainly not an unassailable truth anyway: the ruled under a tyrant probably wouldn’t call that state of affairs peaceful (“orderly” maybe, “peaceful” not so much).

      Not sure the quote applies any better in practice: hasn’t the one with the biggest stick been made to play an expensive and extensive game of whack-a-mole for the better part of a century at this point? And isn’t *using* the stick non-peaceful, by definition?

      Curious how effective the “massive ‘big stick'” has really been – Iran may have been held in check militarily and economically (more than 1 stick??), but what about numbers of states that continue to challenge the U.S. hegemony? (ESPECIALLY the Russians and Chinese)

      Lastly, Walter may not be quite as prolific at stick-making as he lets on (“technology” as the third stick??)

  33. Thanks TIM for this really amazing interview, i would argue your best; a quick search trough the interwebs and you find a lots of challenges to his claims, nevertheless still impressive even if some are exagerated. Really interested in his personal book club, i can see some of them, you have already posted on the show notes. Any insight in the recruiting process of scorpion?

    PS. This episode really kept me up all night

  34. Would write a detailed insightful wish in the near future.

    At hand I have a immediate challenge. The feeling of being stuck is raising my cortisol levels to a unprecedented level.

    I believe this wish/challenge is worth more than 5k. Probably 10 percent of my future earnings..

    I have to choose between 2 woman.

    Y. She is beautiful. Gorgeous. Exciting. Known less than a month. Definitely in love with her. She has a temper though. Extreme ends of emotions with her. Very happy and very sad. She is like a soul mate. We can just talk forever.

    W. 7 in the looks. Not exciting but caring. Very patient. Puts up with my shit. Known 3 years. There is love for sure but maybe not intense. Affection is a apt word. Passion might be lacking. Future should be stable and plaid.

    Now I am in 21 day hermit mode. Told both I need this time. No contact. Just going through demons from the past. Evaluating my strengths . Weaknesses. What is me. What makes me happy. Pretty sure whoever I choose is the one I would marry.

    Though Y has already said good bye. She can’t wait.

    W is accommodating and kind. She said she is okay waiting.

    I just want to know who I should choose . To follow love?

    Even if in the end I lose both. Just want clarity. And wake up with vision.

    By now you might have guessed. I cheated on W. Y knows about W but W is in the dark.

    How would a genius go about this..

    And because a happy relationship would make me liable to earn much… thus I believe this is more than 5k answer. Can’t really tag a amount to it though.

    Choosing a right mate.. how much is it worth?

    1. Sounds to me like you really shouldn’t be with W.

      If you do choose W, I doubt you will be happy. Because everything she does ‘wrong’ in your eyes will be compared to what you think Y would have done.

      Choose Y.

      If you don’t you will always end up wondering, and that will lead you to not giving W the attention and love she deserves.

      But in general, just make a decision. Keeping people waiting isn’t a nice thing to do.

      That’s my 2p worth.


      And by the way. You should probably refrain from scoring women on looks and attaching monetary values to relationships. It doesn’t come across very well.

    2. Date Both!

      Go out in nature, Enjoy sharing time!

      In 21 days you will know, what path to follow.

      No need to rush. Decisions, when they come, will answer themselves.

      Have open Heart, and no judgement, for anything.

      Be your Best for them, give them your True self and BE the Love.


    3. Sounds like Y might have a psychological disorder (read about BPD and see if it rings true). If that’s the case, she will seduce you, then proceed to chew you up, spit you out, and spend months complaining about how bad you tasted. You’ll tell yourself that you’re happy with her until she beats you to an emotional pulp and you’re forced to admit that she was the biggest mistake you ever made. Never make a relationship decision based solely on emotion and excitement. Read Mark Manson’s articles on relationships.

  35. The whole your body is in the game is how I feel when playing League of legends (free to play online game) and its not even realistic to reality lol games are getting better and better at sucking you into them every year. can’t wait for the future of gaming.

  36. Wrap your head around this one:

    “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,

    Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.

    “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

    So are My ways higher than your ways

    And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8–9)

  37. I have first-hand experience to say that he’s an absolute psychopath and a master bullsh*t artist. This episode should be very entertaining – I look forward to listening.

    Reach out if you want more details, Tim. 🙂

  38. Usually I try to have an open mind to even the most controversial guests on the podcast. But this guys sets off my BS detector like no other. Not only do his claims sound improbable, but most of all they are fashioned in such a incredibly cliche way. The whole ‘misunderstood genius that is above the folly of the common man’ shtick. Furthermore I understand that Tim doesn’t have a technical background, but everything this guy says about technology sounds specifically designed to impress non technical people. Just one example was his claim of being _fluent_ in 79 programming languages. My mom would think that sounds cool. A programmer on the other hand would react with: “sure you do”.

    On top of these issues his all to prevalent use of buzz words and bro-science was uncharacteristic for the usually high level of Tim’s guests. So I took and googled his name and found his Q&A (IAMA) on Reddit which exactly embodies my sentiment.

    So I wonder, is this guy able to substantiate any of his claims?

  39. An even cursory glance at the Google machine quickly shows that this “genius” is almost undoubtedly a charlatan and fraud. Which is a shame because the interview was fascinating. The real disappointment is that Tim decided to play along.

  40. So many hard questions unanswered in this podcast. Why didn’t Walter get his IQ ratified my Mensa? why he claims 6th in the Olympiad but records show Ireland was 90th.Why do business records show him at a 1-10 million revenue company with 1-15 employees but he claims so mush more?. why is some of the writing to scorpion so wrong technically? really, first episode they had running a Ethernet cable from a Ferrari to a 747 to save all planes crashing. My tech friends this laughed out out of the room. there is a Reddit thread on this. So many hard questions you didn’t ask Tim. I love you podcast but ask tough questions please

  41. I really enjoy & respect Tim’s work – so how the hectic did he get in a situation where he was taken in by a fraud like Walter O’Brien ???

    Tim is getting called out on this on Twitter and here but is remaining silent.

    Surely you own you an audience a reply? Do you genuinely believe Walter is telling the truth – despite all the articles on the web pointing to fraud – or can you just admit you got duped ?

  42. Ever since “Scorpion” began I have loved and watched it. The relationships and how everyone interacts are the most interesting aspects. The math and science is far above my head though I can understand much of the basic ideas. That said, there are occasionally scenarios that seem absurd. Like either something wasn’t explained, or doesn’t show how the situation evolved to such a point or whatever is going on is completely unrealistic. Sometimes the chain of events are unbelievable or your film crew has messed up somehow. Using more varied locations instead of always in the LA area would also help the show seem more realistic. The disaster scenarios often are beyond realistic. Fascinating show however. If you’re wanting to recruit, have your writers get the details down. I suppose you could recruit plenty of people who can see the situation and assume certain things must have happened. If I were a genius, which I am not, I’m sure I wouldn’t need things spelled out for me however, but I often find myself saying, “Whatever! That wouldn’t happen!”

  43. Would love for ConciergeUp to build me a $5k+ a month cash flow business so I can graduate medical school without debt…It’s a lot of work to get to the point of a 4 hour workweek…

  44. Based on what I read after listening to the interview, it seems like Walter is a bit of teller of tales, as any good Irishman would pride himself on being. I have known a few people like this. They are indeed very smart, but not smart enough to outrun the truth, in the long run. If he has wildly exaggerated even one of his claims, as it seems quite clear he has (even told outright lies), then the intelligent thing to do (for us “not so smart” people) is to pay absolutely no attention to anything he has to say, as he is not to be trusted. Using as much reason and logic as I can muster, the best conclusion that I can come to is that I wasted my time in listening to this interview, as there is nothing that can be trusted in it. If my time was wasted, then so was the time of everyone else who listened. Assuming about 10,000 people listened to it (just guessing) and that’s about 10,000 hours wasted. I hope that Tim vets his future interviews a bit more thoroughly. I feel used. I will never watch that show, even for Katherine McPhee.

  45. The lower-bound number of possible chess games is 10^120. For a computer to play out every possible game within 100 years would take 10^110 games per second—obviously impossible. This guy uses that strategy for solving a chess game as an analogy to advertise his ScenGen service, but in fact it’s a perfect analogy for what’s wrong with his “root-to-tip” approach: any optimization problem worth solving will have a virtually inexhaustible set of possible inputs.

    Did I miss something? Apparently he’s successfully used this program for the Navy SEALS, so he can’t be totally nuts… hopefully.

    1. Hey, he can explore massive exponentially exploding combinatorial problems in seconds using just a laptop because he used his highly arcane programming language skills of ANSI C! This Walter guy is like the 13 year olds on Quora who claim to have mastered programming and are wondering why the world isn’t falling at their feet.

  46. This is the first time I’ve caught the scent of bullshit on this podcast.

    Definitely a smart guy, but also has a tendency for exaggeration. The anecdotes about the coding competitions were pretty suspicious as someone who has experience in those areas.

  47. In response to QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What is a problem you would like to have ConciergeUp solve for you?

    Who killed my Dad and will they ever be a caught. I believe there are enough clues and avenues for resolution which could be determined by the right person or people.

  48. Hey Tim, this interview had me fired up, I must admit however that I found it strange of a guy who’s supposedly as “successful” as Scorpion to end on a self-promotional note like he did, so I decided to check out Concierge Up’s website. With a team of more than a thousand geniuses, you’d think one of them knew about proper web design, but the design looked like ancient and quite frankly terrible.

    Where there’s smoke there’s usually fire, so I looked around, his Twitter seemed remarkably strange, with half assed self-promotion. Then I found the Tech Dirt article, and the Reddit AMA..

    Maybe you’re privy to some information we’re not, but it would seem the “Scorpion” is indeed not who he claims to be. Since I consider you a most trusted source of information, as I know many others do as well, I think it would be in it’s place to clear up the confusion as to Scorpion’s identity – with his many remarkable claims, surely it would be no problem to conjure up some proper sources?

    I’ve been following your work for many years, and I’m a big fan. This is the first time I’ve seen anything sketchy.

    Looking forward to your response.

    Kind regards,


  49. Did any one catch the programming language he mentioned that he wrote ScenGen in? Something like raw NCC without microsoft libraries? When I google that I don’t find anything. Curious 🙂

    1. Without re-listening I think he said ANSI C, which is if not the most widely used programming language ever then at least up there.

      1. Oh, you’re right. When I heard it I thought he just made up a language, “Raw NZC” — but in fact he did say “raw ANSI C with Microsoft Libraries,” which is something you might say if you were a teenager pretending to be l33t, as opposed to “C” which is what you’d say if you were, you know, a programmer.

  50. I would love ConciergeUp to figure out a way for me to motivate my students to read independently outside of their classwork. As a reading and language arts teacher, 8th grade, we have done assignments to hold them accountable, but many students view it as a chore. I’d like for them to come up with better ideas on how to get them to invest in this idea of independently reading.

  51. I’m an avid fan of the podcast and this one has really brought Tim’s credibility into question for me. An IQ of 197? A couple minutes into the podcast I began to doubt this, and it only took a couple minutes of googling to find out that there is a lot of controversy around his claims. If it was this easy to find out that most people believe him to be a fraud, how is it possible that Tim was unaware of this controversy and was so easily fooled? Or was he fooled, which would have even more deleterious implications.

    Here’s a list of facts, by no means exhaustive, that should make you think twice about this episode.

    -He has no record of his IQ test

    -There are many lists of the highest IQ’s, and he is on none of them.

    -He claims to have been contacted by the Department of Homeland Security several years before it was conceived.

    -The picture on his website is actually a photoshopped

    -He claims to have competed in the 1993 Informatics Olympiad and ranked as the “6th Fastest Computer Problem Solver” yet he was not one of the 82 medalists, and the only record of him being there ( says that his team got 90th place out of 250.

  52. Loved the podcast Tim – most profound answer to the “When you think of the word successful…” question I’ve heard thus far! Any suggestions for resources that will help improve critical thinking (books, puzzles, etc)?

  53. I’m a huge fan, and listened to this one twice in a row it was so interesting. Less than a day later, I’m wondering how you could be fooled into going along with this nonsense Mr. Ferriss? This guy is a wonderful storyteller and a true genius of the humble brag. He’s also completely fake. His 1.4 billion dollar company has a fake website, with fake employees and fake clients. He’s practically begging for work “anything above $5 thousand dollars” at the end of the podcast, while working on 10 billion dollar gov’t programs? I love the podcast Tim Ferriss, please vet your guests.

  54. I was born and raised in Ukraine and the story about the gold-digger made me feel bad, ashamed and angry 🙁

    I want people to know that not all Ukrainian girls are that evil…

    Apart from that the podcast is really mind blowing! The guy is fascinating! Now probably one of my favorite podcasts ever.

      1. thanks 🙂 it happened to me a couple of times when I met people who had prejudice because of some experiences or gossips… But for somebody who can think it should be obvious that not all people are the same 🙂

        greetings from Switzerland

  55. No taking away from the Quality of what Mr Ferris does. Mans a Dude, but I gotta say, I didn’t find this quite as mind blowing as I thought I would.

    I know super intelligent types are not always the most engaging when they are speaking, but Tim usually has a way of pulling the good stories out of them. Listening to this guy, I just felt like I was listening to so many different Bullsh!ters, in so many different Bars.

  56. Unfortunately, this guest’s claims don’t add up.



    He did an AMA as well, which didn’t go well:

    Another problem: There never was a “400 baud” modem as he says he used as a kid. There was 300 baud, 1200 baud, 2400 baud… everybody makes mistakes, but for a computer genius with a 197 IQ…

  57. This podcast was amazing, ‘the scorpion’ has not only mastered the NLP techniques, etc to allow himself to communicate effectively and develop his EQ, but he also has some great beliefs, I love the line about Mother Teresa and Bill Gates.. Be selfish when you’re young so you can make a difference when you’re old.

    It’s awesome to see a different character on the podcast, another left of field topic that it would be awesome to see covered is the art sex.. I finished Ian Kerners ‘She comes first’ the other day, and damn.. I wish someone had taught me this stuff a few years ago. After all great is a key to a great life.

  58. Yeah my bullshit meter was going off too. There were some chronological inconsistencies that first raised alarms. This is the first interview of Tim’s where I googled the interviewee not to learn more but to see if he was real.

    I hope either Tim knows sometime we don’t or Tim was too busy to really vet this guy. Otherwise, how many other guests have been spewing pure bullshit. It would be nice to hear from Tim on this subject.

  59. Tim, it’s a bit sad that you fell on this. You are so smart and I’d be surprised if you haven’t noticed during the interview that this guy is a hoax.. I felt it, so I did some research afterwards and found all the proofs about his lies. The simplest – Google Image the image of the Scorpion building that appears in the Scorpion LinkedIn page and you’ll see it’s photoshoped from a glass company German building.. And there’s so much other proven BS.. Just sad 🙁 but I’ll forget about this one as I get so much value from your podcast. Thanks 🙂

  60. Hi Tim, I have never posted here, I listened to every single Podcast, read your books. And followed every thing you do, but this podcast mad me sad since it had so much potential. what a great guest. so many amazing things we could have learned from him. huge respect for him but this was a weak episode. thanks for your work

  61. 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.

  62. 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?

  63. 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.

  64. 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

  65. 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!

    1. 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.

  66. 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.

  67. 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…

  68. 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

  69. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

      2. 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.

      3. 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.

  70. 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..?

  71. 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.

  72. 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.

  73. 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.

  74. 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.

  75. 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.

  76. 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.

  77. 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.

    1. 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…

  78. 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.

  79. 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?

  80. 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.

  81. 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.

  82. Tim,

    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!

    Thank you,

    Andrew Tolson

  83. 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”.

  84. 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

    1. 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.

  85. 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!

  86. 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.

  87. 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.

  88. 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.

  89. Tim,

    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. 😉


  90. 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

  91. 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.

  92. 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.

  93. 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!!

  94. Hi Tim,

    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?

  95. 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.

  96. Tim,

    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.

  97. 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:

    1. 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?

  98. 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…

  99. 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!!

  100. 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).

  101. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  102. 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!

  103. 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.

    For ex:

    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”

  104. 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.

  105. 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.

  106. 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:

    ~ 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!

    1. 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?!

    2. 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

  107. Hi Tim

    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.


  108. 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.

    1. 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.

  109. Tim,

    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.

  110. 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!

  111. “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.

  112. 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.

  113. 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.

  114. 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.

  115. 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!!!!

  116. 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!

  117. 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?

  118. 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.

  119. 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.

    1. 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.

  120. 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.

    1. 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.

  121. 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?

  122. 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.

  123. 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.

  124. 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!

  125. 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.

  126. 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

  127. 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?

  128. 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.

  129. 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?

  130. 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.

  131. 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?

  132. 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.

  133. 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.

  134. 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.

  135. Many things can be said about him but here there are three:

    1) Walter smells a lot to CIA/Military reclutar: maybe the TV Show, his ‘pseudo-company’, etc. it is a cover to reclute people who will work in military systems.

    2) To be a genius his understanding of politics and economy are too simple “I build the long stick that the USA government uses to keep other countries under control.” Yeah, the same government that perpetuates suffering and killing all over the world for the last 70 years.

    3) Most of what the gang of geniuses do in the TV show is completely impossible.

    Tim take this podcast down, unfortunately Mr O’Brian is completely fake, no doubts about it.


  136. Great podcast! I thought Walter was interesting and inspiring. Not sure why there is so much controversy over this podcast but I’m glad Tim kept it in the podcast library.

  137. Walter seems pretty wise to me. “If there is a problem there is a solution.” Keeping this in mind is an optimistic way to live. Our solutions should be ones that work without damage. Sometimes all that is needed for a solution is patience and perspective.

  138. Hi Tim,

    First, let me say that I LOVE what you do – the podcast and books continue to be a challenge and an inspiration!! 🙂 Let me also say that I’ve never commented on a podcast before, but as a fan and someone who’s been badly conned (still putting the pieces back together years later…), I thought I could add a little perspective.

    Being cheated is of course never fun, but as an empath I played the fool a little better than most some years ago. Anyway, as part of my recovery I decided to spend some time understanding sociopathy (fwiw, Hare’s “Without Conscience”, and Stout’s “The Sociopath Next Door” are solid intros). That said, O’Brien fits a really disturbing pattern (in the interest of brevity, I’ll skip the list of a sociopath’s traits but they’re easy enough to find online and elsewhere).

    Among the other telltale signs (colorfully conflated claims to outright lies), his treatment of EQ is so oddly broken that it defies comprehension. Only a severe misunderstanding – or LACK – of empathy would attempt to derive a significant comparison between serious philanthropists. Forgetting that Bill Gates and Mother Theresa BOTH display profound generosity, O’Brien’s attempt to exalt Gate’s gift *at the expense* of Mother Theresa’s reveals more about his values than he’d likely feel comfortable admitting (assuming he could appreciate what he was saying). The point may seem minor at first blush, but a sociopath’s hallmark lack of empathy in the context of “winning” (they use a social standard since the internal one is missing) has social traction because it is easy and common to assume emotional context, especially when discussing emotional issues. Simply put, O’Brien not only gives the nod in his “empathy game” (horrific) to Mr. Gates, but he does so precisely BECAUSE (imo) he truly doesn’t understand Mother Theresa’s. (This also goes a long way to explain how O’Brien believes that it was easier for him to hack EQ than IQ: his lack of understanding of EQ would naturally lead him to believe that speaking intellectually about emotions is the same thing as empathy…it isn’t).

    Anyway, this guy couldn’t be more dangerous, imo (I personally prefer my sociopaths have lower IQs, fewer opportunities, and less access). He honestly strikes me as a sort of lesser-version Bernie Madoff, and certainly seems capable of doing similar damage on a smaller population. (Mr. O’Brien’s $150 per hour rate alone doesn’t pass my sniff-test – seems both too cheap AND too expensive given his “credentials”). Anyway, if you haven’t warned your friends and business associates, you may want to (Bernie Madoff was trusted by a lot of high-net worth individuals too…).

    Fwiw, I TOTALLY (and sincerely) agree with your decision to leave the podcast up because, in a very dark way, the interview is in keeping with the through-line of the show: you have very possibly (likely, imo) interviewed a charlatan at the top of his game. (I do think his comparison to Santa Claus are somewhat apt: they’re both HUGE fictions.)

    (Btw, I’d SO love to hear what Brene Brown would have to say about this…)



  139. What an interesting man! I loved the gold digger story, how Scengen works, his detailed VR thoughts and even the current state of head transplants!!! I listened to this podcast twice in two days. Many insights worth taking notes. Thank you Tim and Walter for your contributions.

  140. It took me too long to finally listen to this one!

    “If there is a fork in the road, take it” I love this!

    “If you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect” – Twain

    Hey Tim and Walter 🙂

    Thank you so much for taking the time to talk and teach in this episode. I definitely will use conciergeup in the future 😀

    Keep up the good work!

    Clay Steadman

  141. The FBI hired an unnamed “third party” that successfully unlocked the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone today. I couldn’t help but think of Walter and his band of geniuses…

  142. Hey Tim, I usually don´t comment, specially when people start judging and criticizing. I loved this episode for one special reason… my brother was a very weird little boy. He is really good at math and it seems he “knows it all”. A lot of facts…

    Growing up he never had friends, he had a really hard time adapting in school. It was very hard for him to relate even with us, 4 brothers and sisters, my mom and my dad. He had one friend growing up and that was my grandfather´s new wife, she was a College professor, she taught chemistry and my brother at the age of 12 was reading college books on math and other subjects.

    I wish I could tell you this story ended up well for him. I wish we knew how to help him back then. When Walter talks about how he understood he needed to work on his EQ and how hard it is for smart people to relate, it rang a bell.

    My brother could never bring himself to step into the world, his abilities to relate to others are really low and to put it in simple terms he lives in a bubble. He lives in his own mind, mostly in his room, trapped in his mind. Due to this, he also suffers from depression, so it is tough.

    When I heard this podcast the first thing I did was download it and gave it to him, hoping that it will speak a language that he would understand and that he is not alone. That even though he is all grown up, there is still a chance for him to step into the world.

    So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you!! It may not be the reason why you decided to do this podcast, you may have had doubts about taking it down but there is a reason for everything and you gave hope to us…

    Over the weekend we will do a Scorpion marathon. He is excited! 🙂

  143. Loved the interview Tim. He mentioned during the interview that he has a top ten list of books that he emails friends, do you have his list of top ten books?

  144. Tim,

    I got turned on to your podcast a few weeks ago despite hearing your interview with Maron some time ago. It’s definitely made a difference in my life–given me new books to read, taught me to be accountable with my goals, helped me to become more disciplined–and I’ve been completely onboard until I listened to the O’Brien interview today. Without knowing anything about this guy, without having read any of the multitude of challenging comments and articles about him online, I just got the sense that he was full of shit. I actually got that sense with Josh Waitzkin too, but that’s a separate discussion. First of all, smart people don’t go around reciting their exact IQ scores to people, they’re out their putting their incredible intellect to work. They don’t go around complaining about what a drag it is to be a genius because they perceive so much more about civilization and humanity than non-geniuses. But above all, he didn’t sound articulate, and his rambling stories made less and less sense the further along with them he got. There was an overall sense that he lacked some basic logic in what he was saying.

    I’m disappointed, Tim, that you wouldn’t do any basic fact checking prior to putting this guy on. You indicate that you did, but all signs point to the notion that you simply took your “friend” at his recommendation for this guy. That’s not really a valid excuse though. Crimes have unwittingly been committed using that same logic. You know better than anyone that people can fall victim to social proof, which makes it surprising that you did too. Maybe you were in a pinch for a guest and needed one quickly, I don’t know. But for me, it just really calls into question some of your past choices for guests too, and whether their claims about themselves truly hold up.

    You’re big time now. Don’t you think you and your staff should be more responsible in your bookings? It comes down to basic fact checking. I’m shocked, in light of all of the clear evidence that this guy is an utter huckster scam artist, how in the hell would you leave that description of him up on your podcast? It’s blatantly false and misleading to potential listeners. Come on man.

  145. I have read Tim’s new preface, as well as all of the controversial web chatter written about Walter. I am curious to know if anyone has contracted with ConiergeUp since this episode aired, and if so, what were your perceptions of its legitimacy.

  146. Walter mentioned he had a top 10 list of books. Can you get that list and add it to the notes or selected links…

  147. Out of all the people that seen this podcast, has any contacted Water and gotten a reply or working with him. I wrote 2-3 pages, sharing my ideas, for I was so excite by the podcast. I never received a single word back?? Maybe I will see my ideas soon. They keep popping up, as time goes by. I just it better they use it that it staying in my mind. 🙂

    Best with them All.

  148. I just listened to the podcast today having no prior knowledge of the controversy. Interesting.

    Walter, if you are legit and you are looking to find the next thing it lies in the “one-offs”. Your nature aims you at the things you can replicate 32 times. You’ve mastered that world. All the juice lies in the one-offs.

    Good luck.

  149. I thought this was a very interesting podcast, but as a programmer myself, I found it lacking some specifics that I would find interesting. It would be great if Walter would be willing to do a follow up piece (or book) on his process in developing these skills and software. For example, two high-level questions I would ask are: (1) what does his process for learning a new programming language look like, and (2) how does he weigh the relative (or sometimes exclusive) tradeoffs of a programming paradigm in his systems architecture? Perhaps beyond the scope of a podcast, or perhaps not … you decide.

  150. Great Interview. I have never commented before but after all the negativity, i felt compelled to. I can guarantee you this. The people that are complaining haven’t done much and will continue to not do much. Anyone that listens to this interview will learn some valuable lessons, and techniques. Thats all that matters. Everyone has two options, to listen or to ignore. To me, it was a great investment of my 2 hours.

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