Please enjoy this transcript of another episode of “The Random Show” with technologist, serial entrepreneur, world-class investor, self-experimenter, and all-around wild and crazy guy Kevin Rose (@KevinRose).
In this one, we discuss affordable luxuries for priceless lives, suiting up for a visit to the Magic Castle, Eliza Ivanova’s art, my secret for supple skin, nineteenth-century Nintendo, Balaji’s bet, the science of #hangover remedies, Moonbirds over Tokyo, an unexpected Sanbo Zen inquisition, Japanese death poems, escape rooms, high-fidelity immersive sound, Nanoblocks, and much more!
Transcripts may contain a few typos. With many episodes lasting 2+ hours, it can be difficult to catch minor errors. Enjoy!
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Tim Ferriss: Hello, boys and girls. Ladies and germs. This is, I forgot there was a camera. This is Tim Ferriss. Welcome to another episode of the Tim Ferriss Show. We have, yet again, “The Random Show.” Yes. Kev, Kev Rosero. Kevin Rose.
Kevin Rose: Thank you for having me, Tim. It’s good to be here.
Tim Ferriss: It’s good to be here in your home.
Kevin Rose: We’re in a home.
Tim Ferriss: We have our matching mini scooters.
Kevin Rose: We do.
Tim Ferriss: We also have a miniature kitchen set behind us. We were making pinto beans and homestyle ice cream. You may or may not be able to see that.
Kevin Rose: Their favorite topping for pinto beans and —
Tim Ferriss: And by them, he means his progeny.
Kevin Rose: I have a couple little ones that hopefully will not be making an appearance and have gone to bed, but we shall see. We already had a break —
Tim Ferriss: We already had a princess on the run. A little jail break. Who came flying through? So Kevin, before recording, actually while recording, you said this is the important juice.
Kevin Rose: Yes.
Tim Ferriss: But that was off mic, so I relayed it into the mic. What is this important juice that we have before us?
Kevin Rose: So, I mean, we’ve been doing these shows for a very long time.
Tim Ferriss: Super long.
Kevin Rose: We’ve always, well, not always. We’ve highlighted some of our favorite drinks over the years and one of the things that I — comes into my possession about once a year is a limited edition run.
Tim Ferriss: You know it’s expensive when it’s in a passive sentence form. Comes into my possession.
Kevin Rose: That’s right. It sounds very fancy. It’s just a beer, people. So one of the things that I like to do, and we’ve talked about this before at some point, but unlike wine, the cool thing about beer is you can buy the best beer in the world, the number one ranked beer, and it’s going to cost you a hundred dollars.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah.
Kevin Rose: That’s not the case with wine, obviously.
Tim Ferriss: No.
Kevin Rose: So, in terms of different styles of beer, obviously it’s typically not IPAs that win the number one slot on that, it’s some of the heavier stuff. But on the IPA front, the second highest ranked IPA by Beer Advocate, and I would argue the harder to find version of the IPAs. Because the number-one ranked IPA is called Heady Topper, and it is in production year round.
This particular beer by Russian River Brewing is called Pliny the Younger. Now you may have heard Pliny the Elder, which is, you typically find at Whole Foods and things like that. The Younger is a limited edition run that they do once a year and just, you used to have to go to Russian River Brewing to actually consume it. And just recently, probably, let’s say three or four years ago, they started putting it in bottles. So this is it in bottle form. I would argue that this is probably the most sought-after IPA in the world. It is $75 a bottle, so it’s not cheap. It is a 16-ounce bottle, though, so per ounce. Nope, it’s a, it’s one pint. Yeah, one pint. So it is, it’s expensive juice, but it is quite good. And I wanted to share it with you.
Tim Ferriss: Thank you.
Kevin Rose: And I also wanted to tell people out there how to find the rarest beers in the world.
Tim Ferriss: Let’s do it.
Kevin Rose: I may have mentioned this at one crazy, long-ago Random Show, but there is a place that I go to called MyBeerCollectibles.com. This isn’t an ad. I have nothing to do with them. Every time I just mention any URL, you’re in the same boat!
Kevin Rose: Checkout code Kev2023.
Tim Ferriss: Exactly. Exactly. Make sure you get my 20 percent. But one of the things that, this is what I’m probably going to get them arrested, but one of the things that is very difficult to do is to sell alcohol online. And so on the beer front, if you say, and this is true, if you were to drink this bottle, you can sell the bottle by itself for let’s just say $5 or whatever it may be, because the bottle is just collectible in its own right. And so what they claim is that everything you’re buying is a collectible, and so you’re not actually buying the beer.
And so it’s a peer-to-peer marketplace. And so they have people that go and buy that. I’ve been using them for several years now.
Tim Ferriss: They’re going to have the best month of sales before they get shut down. It’s going to be really a blaze of glory.
Kevin Rose: They’ve been okay. They’ve been okay. And I always find really good sellers on there. And you see on the side of this, it says, “Not packaged for resale.” So you have to know somebody to get this. And yeah, I love a good IPA. And I would say this is up there. This is pretty good stuff.
TIm Ferriss: You know the wine world. You know probably something about the beer world. You also know the high-end — I’m not even going to call them watches, God forbid — timepiece world —
Kevin Rose: Sure.
Tim Ferriss: — very well. How much of the fame that comes from being sought after is derived from the quality of the product versus the scarcity versus the positioning, if there is such a thing? Marketing, other factors. I’ve become really interested in this question, and there’s actually a spectacular episode, I haven’t listened to it yet, on LVMH and the building of that from its very meager beginnings to its insane current state. And there’s a book called How Luxury Lost Its Luster, so a lot of alliteration, which I read a long time ago. I do find the study of sort of scarcity and high-end products very interesting.
Kevin Rose: Have you read the book The Luxury Strategy?
Tim Ferriss: The Luxury of Strategy?
Kevin Rose: No. The Luxury Strategy.
Tim Ferriss: The Luxury Strategy. I was like, The Luxury of Strategy? It seems like a necessity. No, I haven’t.
Kevin Rose: It’s actually another really good one. It talks about just brand positioning and just how to set yourself up as a really sought-after, premier brand. Yeah, premier brand. And some of the mistakes that brands make where they go down market and they become a commoditized kind of Ross Dress for Less. It’s part of the reason why the fashion industry goes and destroys so many clothes. It’s not because they have leftover clothes. They could go and sell them. It’s what happened to Guess Jeans, or any of these other brands where they said, “Hey, we have this extra inventory. Let’s discount it. Let’s do outlet stores. Let’s do these discounting stores,” and it ruins them.
Tim Ferriss: Then they get anchored in the mid-market. Tthere’s so many different ways to differentiate. As one example, we’re in L.A. right now, and I had never been to Erewhon. So for people who don’t know, Erewhon is a very famous, very expensive —
Kevin Rose: It’s not expensive.
Tim Ferriss: Let me paint a picture. I went in and I went to their hot meal cafeteria line, and I got a couple of boxes. I mean, it’s two meals, maybe two and a half meals for me. And I was like, oh, I got a kombucha too, and maybe a water. And I think that was about it. There wasn’t much more to it. And it was $147. I wanted to go there just for the spectacle, because —
Kevin Rose: I mean, there’s a dating scene there as well.
Tim Ferriss: There’s this dating scene, it’s — yeah. The point I was going to make is I was having a conversation with someone and I told them this story and they said, “Wow, that’s insane. I imagine if you took the same inventory, you could sell it for 20 percent less and do really well.” And I said, “You could, but if Erewhon lowered their prices, they would be dead, I think.” Because part of the allure, part of the story, part of the word of mouth is how expensive it is.
I mean, look, they have other stuff that is, I’m sure, of incredibly high quality. And I respect that also. But it has become, the reason I hear about Erewhon in a place like Austin or other places in the country is highly exclusive, very expensive. And I’m not saying that as a knock.
Kevin Rose: Well, just talking about grocery stores, even though this isn’t that most that interesting of a topic —
Tim Ferriss: But this maps to a bunch of other things.
Kevin Rose: Oh, for sure. Yeah. But I think when you see Whole Foods get bought by Amazon and it becomes this kind of mass scaled enterprise, although it was, you could argue beforehand, when you go in there, it’s not the level of quality it was a decade ago. It’s just not, it’s been degraded. And this is now that next new level.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah.
Kevin Rose: And I would say that when you go into Erewhon, it doesn’t feel bougie though. It doesn’t feel like crazy, just luxury for luxury’s sake.
Tim Ferriss: What you mean by bougie? Because that word gets, I’ve heard bougie said more times than I can count since I got to L.A. about a week ago.
Kevin Rose: I think it’s just kind of like the one thing, I’ve only been in L.A. a few months, and the one thing that I love about it actually is that it’s a choose your own adventure. So you can go as crazy high-end as you want to, whatever you want to, however you define that.
Or you can find an awesome little dive bar with a great cocktail. And so I actually like that. And for me, I tend to float somewhere in the middle. Don’t get me wrong, I like a nice, awesome steak in a great killer steakhouse, which they have a lot of those out here. But at the same time, it’s like it’s different than Portland. Like Portland, we didn’t have the high end. We had a lot of the middle. So it’s like, Erewhon is very small. It’s a very small grocery store.
Tim Ferriss: It’s super small. I was actually expecting it to be much larger.
Kevin Rose: Yeah.
Tim Ferriss: So I’d go there, and I’ve been there since. And it is high quality. The food is high quality. I think the name is also, if I’m getting this right, an anagram of “nowhere” for people who may be wondering about the name.
Kevin Rose: Interesting.
Tim Ferriss: The experience that I had actually yesterday brought a lot of this to top of mind for me. And my experience yesterday was going to this place called The Magic Castle for the second time.
Kevin Rose: Nice. You went.
Tim Ferriss: I did. And for those who don’t know about The Magic Castle, I’m not going to do it justice, but it is the mecca of magic in the sense that people from all over the world, the kids who become obsessed with magic, sleight of hand, illusion, et cetera, the one place, if they’ve heard of it, that everyone wants to go is The Magic Castle. And anyone who’s anyone, more or less, in that world blows through the doors probably once a year.
Kevin Rose: Did you dress up?
Tim Ferriss: You have to dress up.
Kevin Rose: You have to wear a tie, right?
Tim Ferriss: This is where I was going. You have to wear a suit and tie, not just tie, suit and tie.
I did not come here with a suit and tie, nor did I come here with dress shoes. So a friend of mine who was visiting, who also didn’t have any of the fancy clothes because the opportunity to go came up very last minute.
Kevin Rose: Yeah.
Tim Ferriss: Men’s Warehouse, we went to Hollywood Suits on Hollywood Boulevard.
Kevin Rose: You rented?
Tim Ferriss: We, no, we couldn’t rent. So we bought suits. But here’s the thing. From the moment we walked in, and I know these are quality problems, the fact that you can buy a suit that you never intend to wear again is kind of insane. But I knew that it would cost close to the same to rent and that we didn’t have time to rent because literally we found out that we had the opportunity to go to this amazing show. It’s a very small show with an incredible magician who I’ll mention here because the show is absolutely spectacular.
And then I’ll rewind, so I’m going to get his name probably pronounced wrong, but Simon Coronel, C-O-R-O-N-E-L. People, if you don’t know this name, you are going to know this name. This guy put on one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.
Kevin Rose: Young person or?
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, he’s a young, I mean, I don’t know exactly how old he is. Maybe he’s my age. So I’ll call that young. Yeah, just the older I get, the younger, I think my current age is. But we went to Hollywood Suits. We had literally, I want to say 90 minutes. And we walked in, we didn’t even have 90 minutes. We had an hour. We walked in, we just said, “Here are our sizes. Where are your suits?” Went over, grabbed whatever. Looked reasonably good off the rack.
Kevin Rose: I hate that. Were they itchy? I hate that —
Tim Ferriss: Well, hold on. So we get, then it’s like, what size is your neck? Shirt? Boom. The guy throws it on top. Because it’s sort of a rack and stack high volume spot. Right. And then it’s like shoes, belt, this, that, and the other thing. And we walked out the door with everything for between $150 and $200 a suit. Okay.
Kevin Rose: That’s insane. That’s awesome.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. So then they can’t do the, we can’t do the hemming there. So you have to go down this alley, around the corner and you think you might be murdered, but no, you find somebody who’s in this room.
Kevin Rose: You could staple it though. I’ve done that before.
Tim Ferriss: You could staple it. We didn’t have staplers though. We have to call an Uber in 30 minutes to get to this place and we get everything done. Literally, we walk in the door and then 45 minutes later we’re in our suits and we go to The Magic Castle.
And my friend and I both have, I don’t have a lot of suits, right? But I have one or two nice suits for weddings and things like that. They’re not cheap and they’re fitted and this, that and the other thing. And both of us looked at the suits and they’re, okay, these are not the best suits in the world, but they’re surprisingly fitting and surprisingly good. And I got a compliment on my suit while I was there. And it raises questions, right? When it’s like, okay, this was $150-200. So what differentiates? And yes, they’re better materials. Yes, there’s better fitting, but then you’re waiting like five months for alterations or whatever. When you get into the super fancy class and you’re like, okay, that’s not about entirely quality. That’s about the story of the weight. That’s about being able to tell your friends the process you went through to get the thing, which is not to diminish its value.
It’s just to say it’s really interesting that so much, such a high percentage of the total cost could be placed on that. So I think about these things.
Do you think you’re going to get into any other high-end stuff? Although I want to back up to your comment that to get the equivalent in terms of grade for wine —
Kevin Rose: Yeah.
Tim Ferriss: — would just be impossibly cost-prohibitive, right? You’re just going to have to pay out the nose and take out a second mortgage. So affordable luxuries, in terms of affordable luxuries, anything else that you enjoy that you would sort of put in this same class? For me, one would be chocolate. You can get, what some would consider the best chocolate in the world, and if you’re willing to spend even 20 bucks, even 50.
Kevin Rose: What’s your go-to? I like Dick Taylor.
Tim Ferriss: I used to be, all right.
I want to hear yours. I haven’t been in this world for a long time, but about 10 years ago I really got into it. This is when I was actually, I guess a little bit earlier, maybe 11-12 years when I was working on The 4-Hour Chef. Yeah. I got into this and looked at it very seriously. Coffee, you can really get incredible coffee if you’re willing to pay up just a little bit.
Kevin Rose: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. The coffee is one that I do pay up for I, or a subscription, which is their single origin, high-end coffee from a roaster called Proud Mary. And they’re based in Australia, but they have a location in Portland, Oregon as well. And so they have a varietal of coffee called a Geisha coffee.
Tim Ferriss: Geisha.
Kevin Rose: Yeah. Have you ever had it before?
Tim Ferriss: No.
Kevin Rose: So it is just like the most delicate, awesome, floral, beautiful, elegant coffee you can consume. Whereas when you make it properly, and I do the whole measuring myself, 32 grams of coffee, 350 milliliters of or grams of water, and do it via pour over. And when you do it, you don’t need to add anything. No sugar, no butter.
Tim Ferriss: No butter!
Kevin Rose: I was thinking of the old days
Tim Ferriss: No pork chops!
Kevin Rose: Remember when we did remember coffee — Bulletproof coffee?
Tim Ferriss: Bulletproof coffee and so on.
Kevin Rose: Yeah, exactly.
Tim Ferriss: Until I started getting my cardiac markers checked regularly.
Kevin Rose: Oh, my God, dude. I used to do Bulletproof coffees all the time where I’d add MCT oil and butter and then just, you basically drink that coffee and about a half hour later —
Tim Ferriss: Disaster pants.
Kevin Rose: You just shit your brains out. It’s just like the worst. Why did we ever do that? Then I got my numbers back from Attia and it’s like freaking, yeah, my cholesterol’s all jacked up all over the place.
Tim Ferriss: Do you have an IV bag full of triglycerides? Like what’s happening here?
Kevin Rose: So yeah, I would say you’ve nailed it. I think chocolate. Coffee’s another one. Coffee’s something, you know, I do a cup every day. So that’s great. Tea’s in the same camp, you can get really nice high-end tees that are amazing for under $50.
Tim Ferriss: This is going to be maybe funny coming right after talking about health stuff and metrics, but I think when I get quite a bit older, maybe if I’m like, okay, I’m on the tail end here, I think I might take up pipe smoking.
Kevin Rose: No! My dad used to smoke a pipe.
Tim Ferriss: I love, just the, it looks so relaxing.
Kevin Rose: But not inhaling?
Tim Ferriss: And the smell of pipe tobacco.
Kevin Rose: Yes.
Tim Ferriss: Is so incredible.
Kevin Rose: Oh, dude.
Tim Ferriss: I think I just want to be a cantankerous old guy in a rocking chair on a porch, smoking my pipe, reading my book. I wouldn’t inhale. I guess you’re supposed to just bring it into your mouth and then puff away at it. I don’t know. I don’t smoke pipes.
Kevin Rose: I think most people would inhale, but so I used to go into the old — they used to have these old tobacco shops you could go into where they sell raw tobacco. And I used to go in with my dad, and that’s a good childhood memory. Because the smell is so amazing. It’s incredible. Yeah.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. It’s really, really, really phenomenal. So what else would fit that? And actually people should also just ping us on Twitter. Let us know if we’re missing a category because I enjoy thinking about affordable luxuries that most people could bring into their lives so they can carve out a small piece of time, a small amount of cash to really feel like they’re treating themselves to something that is amazing. And there’s just certain categories where that’s not possible because of how much demand there is and therefore how high the prices can escalate.
Kevin Rose: There’s a bunch of stuff. I mean, for me, there’s little tiny micro upgrades that you do around your household when you think about this stuff. So I lived near a convenience store and I had run out of body soap and I went across the street and I bought some Dove body soap and it was like cedar something. I’m like, oh, that sounds okay, whatever. And I got there. By the time I got home, I flipped over the back of the label and it was a bunch of artificial stuff in there. It wasn’t all as pure as the outside had said. It was on the front. And I put it on and it was a perfume bomb. It was so nasty.
And I was like, why did I do this? And you go out and yes, you spend $25-30 more and you get something from Aesop or a similar brand and it’s just amazing. And you just speaking of those little luxuries, and I know that’s probably up on the lamer side of luxuries, but I don’t know. I like little things like that. Little tiny micro upgrades around the house.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. I have a very simple rule when it comes to soap and shampoo.
Kevin Rose: Well, you’re on the dating life though. You need to have upgraded shit.
Tim Ferriss: Oh, boy. Well, let me pause. I’ll come — we can come back to that if we want to I know you want to. We’ll see. We’ll see where it goes. But I actually get complimented on my skin a lot. People are like, what do you use for this and this and that?
Kevin Rose: Yeah, it’s beautiful. Yeah, no, it looks great.
Tim Ferriss: It’s luscious.
Kevin Rose: It’s great. Yeah, it’s luscious. It’s very supple.
Tim Ferriss: Supple, moist. Okay. And all I use, I have for years only used Dr. Bronner’s baby soap. Basically unscented baby soap. Yeah. I’m getting a thumbs up from your wife. That stuff is so simple. I never feel like I have dry skin. I’m bald. So it makes it easy. Right? It’s kind of one tool for all things. And there you have it. It’s not actually a luxury, but I’m just saying.
Kevin Rose: No, it’s great. No, I use that too, actually. It’s great stuff.
Tim Ferriss: And you can buy them in gigantic sizes. So they last a long time. Yeah. So that’s my comment on personal hygiene and soap.
Kevin Rose: So, dating life.
Tim Ferriss: No, we don’t have to get into that. Well, what, let’s see, we can, well what are your questions?
Kevin Rose: No, I was just curious how, we haven’t talked about this in great detail, but I’m curious, how do you change your house? Talking about the upgrades you have to create a cozy —
Tim Ferriss: Change my house, well, first of all, I’m paranoid and crazy about safety and security stuff. So, generally, I mean, first meetings are always out somewhere public. And for anyone who is currently in the fray of dating apps, they know that it is by and large just terrible. It’s so bad. And yeah, I’ve found it interesting. What I would say is if you’re in a relationship and you’re like, wow, this is hard, this is this, this is that, and it would just be so much easier if I were single and I’d be having all the fun in the world and it’s like you’re just trading a different set of problems. Just so, now that’s not to complain about it, but I don’t think this subject’s going to go anywhere. We can cut this part.
Kevin Rose: No, we don’t have to. I’m just curious. But have you changed anything in terms of your workout regimens or anything like that to get back into fighting shape?
Tim Ferriss: Well, yes. I mean I have been training. I mean my training’s pretty consistent. I would say that one of the bigger challenges about dating is that I do not recover, actually this ties into something. I don’t recover from alcohol nearly as well as I used to. And the fact of the matter is, generally if you’re going out, people are going to want to have a drink or it’s just going to be social to have a drink or two.
Kevin Rose: Yeah.
Tim Ferriss: Nothing crazy. I have no interest in that. But even two glasses of wine can completely obliterate my sleep. And so the jury is out on what I’m going to bring up. But there is this product which I think you have tried.
Kevin Rose: Yes.
Tim Ferriss: Now I have not tried it. This was introduced to me by a friend who swears by it and said he was about to stop drinking, which might have been a good thing, but he didn’t because he started using this product called ZBiotics. And ZBiotics is a pre-alcohol probiotic drink. And there are these, I keep hiccuping like the Stork from Saturday morning cartoons after my five sips of beer.
Kevin Rose: Three quarters of beer.
Tim Ferriss: Jesus. All right. So 12 bottles of this and the basic selling point is that you are consuming a prebiotic. And I’m going to bring up the exact prebiotic because I would love to get some scientific input from people who can assess this or who have tried it. Here is the selling point in the pamphlet. So the world’s first genetically engineered probiotic. I mean “world’s first” is always a strong statement. So I’d be curious to hear if anybody can verify. But built by PhD microbiologists, ZBiotics is the only product that actively breaks down acetal-aldehyde. Nope. I added an A. I knew I was going to do it, Darya. Acetaldehyde. I’m just saying it really quickly.
Kevin Rose: I’m going to check one of these while we’re talking.
Tim Ferriss: In any case, it means when you drink booze, it is intended to help you metabolize or neutralize at least some of the things that will cause you to feel terrible. So this is back to the pamphlet. We started with a natural probiotic, which humans have been eating for centuries. Then we altered its DNA to produce an enzyme that breaks down the aforementioned word that I shall not repeat. This enzyme is just like the one your liver uses, but our prebiotic is designed to deliver it to your gut, a place where your liver can access and where you need it most.
So that last paragraph is where I’d love to have people help me understand if there’s any credible science to back this up. I went on PubMed. I looked at some of the studies related to the actual strain of probiotic, which is bacillus, either soobtillis or subtillis.
So it’s either bacillus soobtilus or subtillis, and that is spelled B-A-C-I-L-L-U-S space, S-U-B-T-I-L-L-I-S ZB 183. The reason I mentioned that is when I looked it up, the study seemed to show that it could mitigate some liver damage with excessive alcohol consumption and so on. But I didn’t see much on the gut. Most of the studies seem to be in different strains of animals and insects like silkworms, of all things, I think were included. So who knows how that transfers? So would love to know what people think.
Kevin Rose: What does your buddy say? Is it like preventing hangovers?
Tim Ferriss: He said that this has completely changed his life.
Kevin Rose: But changed in what way? Is he waking up?
Tim Ferriss: He wakes up without the type of hangover and costs that have come with drinking prior.
Kevin Rose: It’s like credit cards. Yes, I’ve been charged as much.
Tim Ferriss: So other people might bring up something like activated charcoal. I would be curious to hear if you found anything helpful. You have more mileage than I do with drinking booze.
Kevin Rose: I love this episode. You’re like, “Hey, you like fancy rich shit. Tell me some about of the stuff us commoners can use. But first, get started.” Dude, you do more rich shit than I do.
Tim Ferriss: Oh, what? Oh, don’t —
Kevin Rose: Oh, you’re going to cut that.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, I’m going to cut that. You’d lose that one. All right.
Kevin Rose: So yeah, “you like to drink a lot. Tell me more. Kevin, you alcoholic.”
Tim Ferriss: You have a broader spectrum of expertise when it —
Kevin Rose: Oh, thank you.
Tim Ferriss: When it comes to —
Kevin Rose: Oh, well then that you put it that way.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. When it comes to training. Yes. In the dark arts of alcohol consumption.
Kevin Rose: So Tim, thank you for mentioning that. I did get my PhD. I would say that I did try this at a party about four or five months ago, and I think you had made a joke before the show started where — something about car accidents and a helmet and it’s like if you’re going to drive fast enough —
Tim Ferriss: Oh, no, what I said was there’s a point at which it doesn’t really help. Right, exactly. When you’re like, Band-Aids are great — if you cut your finger, you want Band-Aids, right? But if you just chop your finger off —
Kevin Rose: Right? Yeah. So that, that’s been my problem is every time I’ve tried one of these, I’ve chopped my arm off. I was at a party where it was everyone was passing them out and I’m like, “The hangover cure. I’m in.” And then I had five drinks and it was our big annual NFT party, not this year, but last year. And it ended up being a lot of drinks and so I woke up a little hung over. So anyway, didn’t work for me. Crappy product. No, it could be great. Darya have, you’ve tried it. Have you had any success? No, no success there.
Tim Ferriss: All right. So I’d be curious to hear what people think. And this is really broadly to lob a question into the audience, which is what have you found helpful for hangovers? And you can just hit us on Twitter with #hangover.
And I’m sure there are going to be a bunch of sanctimonious people who are like, “I don’t drink, that’s what I do.” But you guys can not reply because we don’t need those. I’ve cut back a lot on booze, but occasionally there’s a place for it. And by the way, all you folks are like, “I’m enlightened. I don’t drink anymore. I just use ketamine five times a week.” You guys are going to have a rude awakening in a handful of years.
Kevin Rose: Did you hear that they’re finding fentanyl mixed in with ketamine now?
Tim Ferriss: Of course they are. Yeah. Fentanyl mixed in with everything. And by the way, folks, two milligrams overdose, you’re dead. Yeah, if you get stuff mixed in.
Kevin Rose: Don’t mess around with it.
Tim Ferriss: Yet another reason not to play around with miscellaneous powders.
Yeah. What’s up next, Dr. Kevin?
Kevin Rose: I want to talk a little bit about my obsession with AI.
Tim Ferriss: Yep, let’s do it.
Kevin Rose: Because it’s changed a lot. So let me just put it to you this way. Three to four — you know how I always try new shit?
Tim Ferriss: Yes.
Kevin Rose: I pride myself in always being someone to want to play with whatever is kind of halfway working/breaking if it means that five years from now I was able to spot something early on and hopefully identify a trend before it really took off. So I would say that GPT when it came out, the ChatGPT, it was one of those things where the first few versions were just fun for me. It was kind of like, oh, I’m having a conversation with AI. Wow, it’s actually producing a real result when I’m typing to it. It Can help me rephrase or rewrite a paragraph or it can summarize some bullet points.
It was doing a lot of little small, meaningless, more or less tasks, but quite well. And then 4.0 came out. So when 4.0 came out, my consumption of, in usage of ChatGPT, went from about, let’s call it 30 minutes a week to probably about five hours a week now.
Tim Ferriss: No kidding.
Kevin Rose: So I use it a lot.
Tim Ferriss: What are you using it for now?
Kevin Rose: I’m using it to code. So it can code for me now. So as someone in school that could always — so my background here, I studied computer science, but I dropped out and part of the reason, I don’t know how much I’ve mentioned this publicly, but part of the reason I dropped out was that I could understand code a lot faster than I can write it. And so still to this day I can read code just fine.
I mean this, granted, sometimes there’s some syntax I would have to look up or figure out, but more or less I’m there. The issue was that if I’m thinking through a problem, it would take me three to four times as long as anyone else to figure out the same problem and I just didn’t have the brain for it. Yeah. GPT, I can come in and as I start to have little hiccups or I want to think through a problem, I can just ask it to figure it out for me and it writes code that is like 99 percent ready to go.
Tim Ferriss: Could you give an example of a problem?
Kevin Rose: I’ll give you an example. Let’s say you’re a WordPress user, right?
Tim Ferriss: Yep.
Kevin Rose: That’s what your blog’s powered on and you’re like, hmm, I want to write a new WordPress plugin and I want it to do this with my audience. Segment it like this, do this only when someone is coming from this country and make it appear like this. And you know, could change anything you want. You just describe it in a couple paragraphs and say go. It literally will print out all the code for you. You copy and paste it and save it as a script and you’re good to go. And it works. It’s insane.
Tim Ferriss: So what does that mean for say, five years from now?
Kevin Rose: Well, a couple things. Practically speaking right now, my engineering team, I had one of my developers tell me, hey, I had this, what they would call a kind of laborious kind of task of just something you don’t want to code. You’re like, ah, ah, God, I’ve got to resort this data in a certain way and yeah, this is going to take me 45 minutes. It was done in five and it’s like —
Tim Ferriss: Using ChatGPT.
Kevin Rose: Yes. And so all of those little meaningless coding tasks, they’re just gone. That’s already, it’s done. Yeah, it’s done. And so I’ve been using it to create art and I can tell it to go and write P5JS scripts for me, which is what Art Blocks is based on for all the NFTs —
Tim Ferriss: So art, meaning you’re using code to generate art, objective art.
Kevin Rose: Exactly. And so I can describe it visually and it comes back with something that’s amazing.
Tim Ferriss: That’s cool.
Kevin Rose: I’ll show you some examples after the podcast.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, I’d love to see it.
Kevin Rose: And it’s crazy addicting because you start getting into it and you’re like, oh, what if you take it in this direction, in this direction? You’re limited no longer by your skill, but your own internal creativity of your brain.
Tim Ferriss: And your ability to prompt well.
Kevin Rose: Yes, but you can even help it — so I’ll give you an example.
Tim Ferriss: This is about to get super meta.
Kevin Rose: No, yeah, exactly. You can tell it, “I’m having a hard time writing a prompt. How might I be more efficient?” And it’ll give you 10 ways to rewrite the prompt and it just, it’s helping itself. It’s so nuts. And so once you realize that it’s so much more than just rewriting a paragraph for you or helping put together an essay, but it can actually create real software for you, dude, I realize now that what’s going to happen is that Marc Andreessen, who’s very famous, very famous, famous venture capitalist maybe a decade ago of saying, “Software is eating the world.” And so it was this idea that we had all of these old systems that were largely pen-and-paper based or weren’t connected or weren’t efficient, and software would come in and be connected, be put the data we put in the cloud and we would have this new type of in-cloud infrastructure that would power everything and be connected like it never was before.
All of that is still continuing to happen, but this next generation is what I believe is AI is going to eat the software. So if software ate the world, AI is going to eat the software, meaning that AI is going to come in and reimagine every single tool that we use. So every single productivity tool that we use, it will be a part of almost every application that we use in really meaningful ways. I’ve seen it sort data and create — so I don’t know about you, but when I use Excel, the hardest thing for me to always wrap my head around and figure out were pivot tables. Did you ever get good at pivot tables?
Tim Ferriss: No, I never got good at Excel. Period.
Kevin Rose: Oh, my God. Pivot tables were one of those things where I was just like, it was a nightmare to —
Tim Ferriss: I use notebooks and then I lose my notebooks and I’m screwed.
Kevin Rose: So anyway, you don’t have to learn it any longer. You just tell it what you want, how you want the data slice and dice and it just like it not when I would, what I don’t mean is output from ChatGPT, but I mean it will be working in Excel or in Google Sheets and just automatically rewrite the tables for you.
Tim Ferriss: That’s wild.
Kevin Rose: You’re just going to give it a little prompt and that’s it. And I’m telling you, this is coming a lot faster than I had thought. So two years ago it was very linear to me. I was like, ah, a month after month, like, oh, yeah, ChatGPT 3 is out now, now 3.5. And I see a little bit of an upgrade when 4 hit, oh, my God.
Tim Ferriss: It seems like everything has gone vertical.
Kevin Rose: Everything has changed. It’s gone vertical. It’s exponential now. And so dude, the next couple years are going to be insane. Just insane.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. I think the next 12 months are going to be —
Kevin Rose: Yeah, you’re probably right.
Tim Ferriss: Full cuckoo.
Kevin Rose: I’m being conservative.
Tim Ferriss: Full cuckoo bananas. I mean, I’ve been, not to the extent that you have probably, but experimenting here and there, having my team experiment also to see if people who are non-technical — I’m non-technical, but I can figure out quite a few things. People who really have maybe even an allergy to a lot of tech tools, like what they can do with ChatGPT, just to try to peek around that corner.
Kevin Rose: Oh, yeah.
Tim Ferriss: Okay, what is this going to look like when there’s more mass adoption? And I ran an art competition, which was an AI art competition a while back and was absolutely —
Kevin Rose: This is for the Punch of Cock.
Tim Ferriss: This is for the Punch of Cock. They Punch the Cock, as they say.
Kevin Rose: You can translate it in so many languages now.
Tim Ferriss: Oh, yeah. No, it’s a massive global phenomenon.
Kevin Rose: How do you see that in Japanese, by the way?
Tim Ferriss: Kokkupanchi! Yeah. So yes, that was for the CØCKPUNCH NFT, which raised two million bucks, something like that, made 1.7 to two million bucks for the Foundation, which is great. All that’s been deployed, and that’s all fantastic for scientific research. But the point I was going to make, the art competition following that where fan art was being generated using AI, people could also use Photoshop and other tools to fine tune or to manipulate anything that came out of, say, Midjourney or DALL·E or something like that. The results absolutely blew my mind, and I’m going to be, you heard it here first folks, so I’m going to be running some more competitions, which will have different formats because a prerequisite or a condition of valid submission for the competition was you had to capture your entire process well enough that somebody could stand a good chance of replicating your result. And by capturing that, now we have, let’s just say top 10 finalists, you have 10 extremely good tutorials for people who want to step into the ring and play with it themselves.
Kevin Rose: So, you’ve heard of Stable Diffusion, right?
Tim Ferriss: I have, yeah.
Kevin Rose: Okay, so Stable Diffusion is one, Midjourney is one, DALL·E, that can create imagery out of prompts, right? So Stable Diffusion went open source, which was a big like —
Tim Ferriss: Oh, maverick move.
Kevin Rose: Yeah, yeah. But it was like, oh, shit, because they release, once you release an open source —
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, it’s gone.
Kevin Rose: Everybody’s got it and they’re running with it in different directions, right? So a buddy of mine gave me a Discord to go into and he is like, you’ve got to check this out. This is crazy. Right? And it’s called Unstable Diffusion.
Tim Ferriss: Okay.
Kevin Rose: And so they basically took all the guardrails off of Stable Diffusion, all the protections and shit?
Tim Ferriss: Yeah.
Kevin Rose: Oh, my God.
Tim Ferriss: What kind of stuff do you see?
Kevin Rose: Dude? What do you think you see?
Tim Ferriss: I don’t know? Deep fake Taylor Swift porn.
Kevin Rose: I mean, I imagine anything. Anything you can imagine in its ultra realistic like state where you’re almost like, you look at it and you’re like, is that an image? You don’t even know. It’s tricked you already, but it’s the most elegant, it’s like it’s —
Tim Ferriss: Just say it.
Kevin Rose: No, it’s just, it’s porn done in its finest —
Tim Ferriss: Very tasteful AI porn.
Kevin Rose: No, no, no. But you can do whatever you want. So there’s all these different channels and so you can go into some channels and see aliens with six breasts and weird shit like where you’re like, that looks real. Not like —
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. Yeah.
Kevin Rose: What was it? Not the movie Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger was in with the three-breasted woman. You know what I’m talking about?
Tim Ferriss: Total Recall.
Kevin Rose: Total Recall, yeah. Not that this looks a real. It’s disturbingly real stuff.
Tim Ferriss: Teenage boys are screwed. They’re not going to —
Kevin Rose: They’re screwed.
Tim Ferriss: They’re not going to get anything done in the next —
Kevin Rose: Dude, this is —
Tim Ferriss: — 10 years.
Kevin Rose: No, but they’re screwed in terms of relationships, dude.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah.
Kevin Rose: I’m telling you, this is what worries me. So remember the movie Her, right?
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, I do. So it’s a great movie.
Kevin Rose: One of the things about Her, well, for people that haven’t watched it, you’ve got to go and watch this because it’s going to be become a reality, is this man that has a relationship with his phone and the phone has a very serious AI on it that —
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. Phone or laptop when he is at work, right?
Kevin Rose: Exactly.
Tim Ferriss: There’s this ubiquitous AI companion.
Kevin Rose: Just following him around. And one of the things about OpenAI that you can do now is you can save and train model data to be persistent.
What you can do is you can go in and you can say, “Here are the properties of who I want you to be.” And people are doing this. There’s this website that has all these AI hacks, prompt hacks, they call it. And you can go in and say, “You are this personality type. You’re a little bitchy, you’re sassy,” like, blah, blah, blah. And you can save this and it will respond to you and learn from you. And you can have what appears to be a human conversation with your perfect polar opposite or whatever you’re looking for in life. Dude, I’m telling you, we’re three years out from that being conversation based.
Tim Ferriss: Have you heard of Replika with a K?
Kevin Rose: Of course. Okay. I looked at that. I almost invested in that company years ago.
Tim Ferriss: All right, so you should explain Replika. They claim to have 10 million registered users.
Kevin Rose: Yeah. So this was a company that was raising capital quite a while ago, and I saw them, but it was before the AI thing really took off.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah.
Kevin Rose: But yeah, I mean this is it. This is this idea, and I worry because you know, think of countries —
Tim Ferriss: Replika is Her, just so you guys know. I mean, there’s more to it, but yeah, that’s basically it.
Kevin Rose: But imagine you’ve seen this, you would know this better than I would, but in Japan there’s been this decrease in dating. And I’ve heard about there’s this shame of whether or not you have a high quality job enough and there’s this disconnect between the male and female population. Do you know what I’m talking about? There was a report that came out on how dating was in the decline.
Tim Ferriss: Well dating and fertility and —
Kevin Rose: Fertility, yes.
Tim Ferriss: Reproduction in general is on the decline and they’re in a very problematic situation —
Kevin Rose: So imagine —
Tim Ferriss: — from birth rate replacement rates, they’re in a really sticky, terrible situation.
Kevin Rose: Okay, so now
Tim Ferriss: I think China could be in 20, 30 years. 20 years probably.
Kevin Rose: But I think we were all going to be there because I think —
Tim Ferriss: Population implosion —
Kevin Rose: I think you might just have to have a partner online, an AI, we might just have AI partners.
Tim Ferriss: Well, I was talking to someone about this because as you mentioned, right, I’m single now and they said, “Oh, you should hop on Replika, just check it out.” And I was like, “I don’t actually want…”
Kevin Rose: Did it scare you?
Tim Ferriss: Well, it scared me in the sense that I was like, okay, there are times when I’m really lonely and humans are messy. Humans are difficult. And if you get close to someone, it’s great for a while. You have the honeymoon phase and things are great and puppy love and haha, everything you do is so funny. And then things change and it gets a little more complex. But if you had an AI companion who, especially if it were a compelling voice, oh, which is going to happen immediately, I mean two years, already I’ve seen seen AI — I can’t remember the company names, but that have been trained on voice data to mimic — and I actually know podcasts that are being produced right now —
Kevin Rose: This show!
Tim Ferriss: — using AI.
Kevin Rose: We’re not even here.
Tim Ferriss: — AI to read scripts that are sort of pieced together from celebrity sample data and listeners have no idea. Yeah, they have no idea.
Kevin Rose: It’s so crazy.
Tim Ferriss: These podcasts are not quote, unquote real because it’s not what you think it is. And we are so close to, they’re being the equivalent of the Scarlett Johansson, Her, right? Sexy, smoky voice. Yeah. Like sassy funny. Getting there —
Kevin Rose: Gives you a little shit from time to time, but doesn’t ask you to pick up your socks.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, right. That kind of thing.
Kevin Rose: Darya is looking at me, I’m just, I’m kidding. I’m kidding.
Tim Ferriss: But I didn’t want to dig into Replika because I was thinking there’s a chance you fall from that. It’s better than I think it’s going to be.
Kevin Rose: Yes.
Tim Ferriss: And then I start playing the game because I’m like, oh, I’m just testing the service and then I start getting my human needs met by this AI and it takes the pressure off of which maybe sometimes could be a good thing, but takes the pressure off of human interaction.
Kevin Rose: Dude, I think this is my point. This is why I wanted to bring this up. I think this is going to happen. The question is, if I —
Tim Ferriss: Children of Men, here we go.
Kevin Rose: Actually, I have a question for Darya. If I start having an AI talk, I’m talking to someone on AI that is a female AI person, is that cheating?
Tim Ferriss: Yes.
Kevin Rose: What?
Tim Ferriss: That doesn’t — no, well, I’m just repeating what she said. That doesn’t surprise me. I’ve thought about this a lot too.
Kevin Rose: It’s cheating if I talk to AI?
Tim Ferriss: Well, I mean especially if it’s sexting and this, that, and the other thing.
Kevin Rose: Why is that cheating? It’s an AI. What did she say?
Tim Ferriss: She said, “Well, you don’t talk to me.”
Kevin Rose: Well, stop bitching about my socks.
Tim Ferriss: I think that this will become an absolute issue.
Kevin Rose: Oh, it’s going to be a huge issue, dude.
Tim Ferriss: It’s going to be a huge issue.
Kevin Rose: This is one of the things that it really truly keeps me up being like, I either need to invest in this company or avoid it or a combination thereof.
Tim Ferriss: And invest in it so that you can have your bugout bag and your bunker.
Kevin Rose: Yeah.
Tim Ferriss: Everything prepared for the apocalypse. Okay. Speaking of the apocalypse, do you mind if we switch to —
Kevin Rose: Yeah, let’s do it. Let’s do it. That was a fun one though.
Tim Ferriss: Balaji bet. That was a fun one. I’m glad you brought that up. I’m a spectator mostly at this point. Maybe I’ll just serve as a stand-in for the audience for those who are not deeply intimate with crypto or this world, but what bet, so Balaji Srinivasan, what bet did he make roughly? We don’t have to get all the dates or anything like that. And what do you think of it?
Kevin Rose: Yeah, so basically for people that don’t know, this is an individual. Balaji is really well known.
Tim Ferriss: Former CTO of Coinbase.
Kevin Rose: Yes, and also just insanely well-known for nailing a lot of the COVID predictions. He came out and said things like really intimate details, “Masks will be a fashion statement,” really early on. This is where if you read this stuff and we all have, historically, going back, you’d be like, “Bravo.” Really prescient stuff.
So when he talks about the future, a lot of people pay attention. And so one of the things that happened with the collapse of a lot of regional banks with SVB and then First Republic and others is he said, “This is not an isolated event. There’s going to be a triggering that’s going to lead to hyperinflation, the devaluing of the dollar. And in the next 90 days, Bitcoin is going to be worth one million a coin and I’m willing to stake and bet a million dollars that is the case,” that somebody else had challenged that.
Tim Ferriss: I think he responded to someone who said, “I’ll put a million dollars on the line,” and he’s like, “I’ll take that bet.”
Kevin Rose: Okay, there again.
Tim Ferriss: I think June 17th or something.
Kevin Rose: Yes, so you’re more accurate than I am. But that was essentially it. So that led me to pay attention. I was like, okay —
Tim Ferriss: Well, led a lot of people to pay attention.
Kevin Rose: Right. Let’s dive into this and figure out what’s going on with Bitcoin. And honestly, what it caused me to do personally is I hadn’t paid attention to Bitcoin in a long time. I’ve been in the world of Ethereum with NFTs and everything else. And there there’s something like nice about how scalable and green Ethereum is that now that’s moved to proof of stake and there’s just a lot more activity there day to day than there is, say, Bitcoin.
But I started digging into Bitcoin, and one of the things I realized is that in a world where the press cycles are always coming back to, oftentimes they’re hitting Ethereum pretty hard in that their NFTs go up, they go down, they go left, they go right. That’s like a bad look for Ethereum, in some cases. People get hacked, it’s a bad look. Like, lose a certain amount of money —
Tim Ferriss: “People.”
Kevin Rose: I know that quite well, but I’m just saying that there’s these certain black eyes and there’s something about the simplicity of Bitcoin and the store of value that is still attractive because it’s the OG cryptocurrency. It’s still trading at over $30,000 as of the time of this podcast. And every year that goes on, it seems to be a more legitimate asset.
Tim Ferriss: Recording on April 16th.
Kevin Rose: But every year that goes on, it seems to be a more legitimate asset that is going to stand the test of time. It’s not going to zero. Right?
Tim Ferriss: Yeah.
Kevin Rose: It’s a digital currency. It was the first of its kind. So I started playing around with some of the layer two that’s built on top of that with the Lightning Network and noticed that some of the pain points have been smoothed down a little bit.
Tim Ferriss: Can you explain to people who don’t know what that is?
Kevin Rose: So Bitcoin is notorious for being just a very low-transaction-per-second blockchain. So it’s, if you threw, say, the Visa scale at it, how many times a Visa card gets swiped every day, it would just, it’s laughable. It’s like they can do singular, low-double digit transactions per second, whereas Visa can do 40,000 plus or whatever it may be. I’m just, these are rough estimates, but you get what I’m saying. It’s along those orders of magnitude. So Bitcoin had to figure out a solution that would scale, help it scale that infrastructure so that more payments could happen. And so they created a layer two that kind of sits on top of it that still has final resolve or it resolves back to the main coin. So it has the security and safety of Bitcoin. It’s much how Ethereum is scaling right now with some of the layer two networks that sit on top of it.
So their main one is called Lightning. It’s the Lightning Network. And so it allows you to do ultra fast transactions and it can scale up to, they say, I think it’s up to a million transactions a second or something. It’s something crazy. They haven’t tested it at those limits, but that’s what the paper is written as. Anyway, so I tried a bunch of this stuff out. I kicked the tires on a few things and then I realized that Bitcoin, unlike Ethereum, the nice thing about it has this finite supply that is slowly, it’s slowly coming to an end over time. So every, I think it’s four, four and a half years, they do a halving event where they decrease the total number of issued coins in half. They do this chop, they chop it right in half as in terms of the number of coins, new coins issued, and they’re about to do another cycle here in a little over a year.
So when this next halving event happens, there’s even less currency coming out of that faucet. So these halving events, I went back and looked historically and they’re typically the year before the halving event and the year after the halving event, you typically see a pretty —
Tim Ferriss: How many halvings have there been?
Kevin Rose: Quite a few. I mean, so it was like five now or something like that.
Tim Ferriss: Okay.
Kevin Rose: So you typically see in — don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying — this is not investment advice, this is not always going to hold true. But obviously if there’s more demand and less supply, meaning less Bitcoins being issued, you’re going to see a change in price. Just obviously we know these markets and how they play out, so no one’s talking about the halving yet. Typically people start raising chatter around this time and so when every single other time when a halving events start to happen and the chatter starts to spin up, the price has always gone up.
And I’ve watched this happen time and time again. So for me, I was like, you know what? Classic cryptocurrency, I hate that it’s not green. That kills me. I’m happy that more mining services are going green and they’re moving to cheaper energy sources, which are typically by thermodynamic and a whole bunch of the nuclear energy in a bunch —
Tim Ferriss: They try wind.
Kevin Rose: Exactly.
Tim Ferriss: There are a ton in Texas.
Kevin Rose: Yeah, so they’re trying to move closer to these energy sources so they can get cheaper power. That said, I still think there’s obviously a lot of dirty energy that’s being wasted here on Bitcoin mining. It’s a big bummer, but that is the one part that just gives me a little bit of pause, that kind of hurts my soul. But I did purchase a little position there because I do like it, especially in times where we see the devaluing of the dollar. We see Russia and China buying more gold. And I’m just like, “I want a nice hedge that’s decoupled from the dollar, that’s sitting out there.” I’m not saying it should be a big, double-digit percentage of your overall asset allocation. But for me personally, I don’t mind having a little of that parked and set on the side.
Tim Ferriss: So maybe you could repeat for the audience what you said to me. This is a while back, but when we were talking about this, and we were talking about what might happen if the dollar just massively devalued or if we experience hyper, hyper hyperinflation. We’re carting around dollar bills in wheelbarrows to buy a Kit Kat at the local 7-Eleven.
Kevin Rose: Well, you and I were talking about this, and we were like, “Oh, this crazy bet happened.” This was probably, what, maybe a month ago or something.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah.
Kevin Rose: And we’re like, “This crazy bet happened. It’s a million dollars if Bitcoin goes to a million.” And I was like, “Wait a second. If Bitcoin goes to a million dollars and there’s hyperinflation, then a million dollars is worth — ” and you said, “Yeah, the price of a sandwich” or something like that. And I was like, “Yeah.” So it doesn’t really matter. Bitcoin’s a hard one because when you traditionally think about currencies, you always think of them pegged to somebody else’s GDP. Right? So you think of the pound being pegged to what’s going on in the UK. It’s — what do you peg Bitcoin to?
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. Well, also, there’s the question of like, what is its value in the absence of a reliable peg?
Kevin Rose: Right.
Tim Ferriss: And —
Kevin Rose: Exactly.
Tim Ferriss: And if —
Kevin Rose: That’s a good question. Yes.
Tim Ferriss: To be clear, I’m sure the maxies are going to just have a field day with this one. And there are some people I respect and admire among that crowd, but there are also a lot of very aggressive sort of religious fundamentalists in there, which I’d prefer not to spend so much time with. There are a bunch of questions that I have, which I don’t have great answers to, but they’re just questions. One would be what you just described. Right? It’s like, okay, well, if the dollar experiences this massive hyperinflation, how does one establish the value of Bitcoin for the exchange of services or goods?
The second, I think, is for me, what happens in a place like Europe? What happens in a place like Japan? What happens in a place like — fill in the blank — if the US collapses?
So where is the sort of currency safe haven, if there is one?
And then, the next question is, if things were to get that bad — and doesn’t even need to be. If we assume, for the moment, that the rise in Bitcoin price to — let’s just say Balaji’s bet of a million — is predicated on a similar increase in hyperinflation for the dollar —
Which would just not be sustainable. The whole country just blows to pieces. Do you not have more pressing problems than Bitcoin? Are you going to be able to get on your United flight to escape the US to fill-in-the-blank location? You’re going to have such a series of questions that are more fundamental, perhaps, than money that, if you think that is a likely outcome, you should be in full-blown, advanced prepper mode right now.
Kevin Rose: The question, I guess, I think I have is, are the rails in place for the preppers to get into Bitcoin? Because if something happens where we see this massive —
Tim Ferriss: Or the Bitcoiners to get into prepping properly. But —
Kevin Rose: Yeah.
Tim Ferriss: We can deal with the first.
Kevin Rose: Yeah, so the first one I would say, it’s like if we take a look at — and this is two of us playing economists on TV, on the podcast, which is not —
Tim Ferriss: With some booze.
Kevin Rose: — with some booze, which is never sound advice. But —
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. This is not economic advice, if any central bankers are listening.
Kevin Rose: Right. Yeah, exactly. Please, come on. Join us. So the one thing that I think is interesting is, when you think about what is happening worldwide right now, with China and with Russia, and we take a look at the data, what does the data tell us over the last few months? And what has been reported is that China and Russia right now are not buying Bitcoin, but they’re buying a lot of gold. And so that, to me, doesn’t signal as though we have an emergent new world currency as much as it does instability and a flight to safety.
And so if there’s instability and a flight to safety, and gold is still the kind of safe haven for that, which it appears to be, that would explain why, I mean, since November, there’s been a 40 percent run up on the price of gold. And so I don’t know that Bitcoin is that safe haven. But there was one chart, there’s one graphic that blew my mind, and it made me rethink everything. And that is when the day that SVB came out and said, “We’re potentially insolvent,” and all the regional banks took a hit, there was a screenshot. Did you see the screenshot? Do you know what I’m about to talk about?
Tim Ferriss: I’m not sure.
Kevin Rose: There was a screenshot where someone saved, to their iPhone, all the regional banks, all the major banks even as well, and it was a list of all of them in the Stocks app. Right? You know how you can list them —
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, yeah.
Kevin Rose: — and it just goes down the screen? It’s like -20 percent, -15 percent, -30 percent, just going down the screen.
Tim Ferriss: Oh, yeah, yeah.
Kevin Rose: It was just like —
Tim Ferriss: FRB was like -60 or something.
Kevin Rose: Oh, dude, it was just bloody all the way down. And then there was two at the top. It was Bitcoin and Ethereum, and they were both green, heavy green. And that was the first time where I was like, “Oh, shit.” This is someone’s observational data. From what I can recall, the market has been, more or less, tightly coupled with Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Tim Ferriss: Super —
Kevin Rose: The market’s down —
Tim Ferriss: It’s super tightly coupled.
Kevin Rose: If the market’s down, they’re down. Right? It’s a speculative asset. And when people start to feel their pocketbooks hurting, they pull out of cryptocurrency. This was the first time where I was like, “Oh, shit. Some people are moving into cryptocurrency as the banks start to collapse.”
Tim Ferriss: Now, in fairness, that is a subset of stocks, especially if you’re looking at regional banks and not the S&P 500. Right?
Kevin Rose: Yes. I’m pretty sure the S&P was down that day too, but I’ve got to imagine —
Tim Ferriss: Entirely possible.
Kevin Rose: I’ve got to imagine whole banking sector was down.
Tim Ferriss: Let me ask you this. And you know that I’m pretty heavily vested in these things. So I’m very deeply interested in Bitcoin. But just to act as a stand-in and based on, at least, the homework that I’ve done, which your mileage may vary, but the S&P has been very highly correlated to Bitcoin, and Ethereum, for that matter.
Kevin Rose: Yeah.
Tim Ferriss: Right? These are treated as risk-on assets.
Kevin Rose: Yes.
Tim Ferriss: And when things go down, people sell, especially when —
Kevin Rose: Their most risky shit.
Tim Ferriss: — when you can sell it whenever you want to sell it —
Kevin Rose: Yes. 24/7.
Tim Ferriss: — and it’s not just market hours, yada, yada, yada. What is different this time around? Because I do think there are two issues with the bet. One is that — this happens to everybody, right — you develop a — it’s not quite a sunk-cost fallacy. You develop a confirmation bias. You begin to find reasons to support your book, your existing positions. And just one more thing. And that is, I do think the Balaji bet can’t be viewed solely as a prediction, because people pay attention to him. People purchase or sell based, also — some people do — Balaji’s predictions and so on.
And it makes me think of this section in Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis. It’s the book that made Michael Lewis famous. It’s a great book. I think it’s mostly about bond trading. And there was some big, swinging-dick top dog inside — I think it was Salomon Brothers, and he bought some position. He was like, “The market’s going up 4x,” and he bought like $500,000 worth. And it started to go down, and people were laughing, and he had lost a bet, and people were making fun of him. And he was like, “Oh, yeah?” And then he bought like $500 million worth of it. And the market —
Kevin Rose: Freaked out.
Tim Ferriss: — and went skyrocketing because they were like, “Oh, my God, somebody knows something we don’t know.” So he was able to move the market. Right?
Kevin Rose: Right.
Tim Ferriss: He made a prediction, but he also moved the market. I don’t think Balaji’s bet —
Kevin Rose: Balaji can’t —
Tim Ferriss: It can’t move the market. It’s too big. Well, I’m not saying he can’t move the market, but it became global news. Right?
Kevin Rose: Yes.
Tim Ferriss: You don’t think he can move the market, even if affects larger institutional players and so on.
Kevin Rose: No —
Tim Ferriss: I’m not saying that Balaji single-handedly can move the market. I don’t think it’s fair to say that it has zero impact on the buying and selling behaviors of people.
Kevin Rose: Oh, no doubt. I mean, I think anyone can temporarily move the market. If Tim Ferriss tweets out, “Oh, my God. One of my best friends is an insane researcher, just found a hole in Bitcoin. We’re all fucked.” I have a —
Tim Ferriss: Right.
Kevin Rose: I have a strong feeling that there would be some movement in prices. Right?
Tim Ferriss: But you’re saying it would recalibrate.
Kevin Rose: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. There’s just too much volume going through it every single day. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a hype cycle, right?
Tim Ferriss: Yeah.
Kevin Rose: Cramer’s going to talk about it. It’s going to spread.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah.
Kevin Rose: It’s going to have its 48-hour window, and then there’s going to be a bump, which I think we saw, and then it’ll just recalibrate from there. But —
Tim Ferriss: I thought it was irresponsible to make that type of public pronouncement. I would be shocked if it gets to a million by June, mid-June.
Kevin Rose: I don’t know that it’s irresponsible. I just think it’s like —
Tim Ferriss: There are —
Kevin Rose: — you’re making a bet, and you’re —
Tim Ferriss: There are people who cannot afford to take their savings and put into Bitcoin, who are going to do it because of something like that.
Kevin Rose: Well, the good news is gone up since he said that. So they’re up, regardless.
Tim Ferriss: Well, yeah. It’s one thing to get into a position.
Kevin Rose: Yeah, that’s a great point.
Tim Ferriss: As you famously know, because you’re like, “I’m buying this.”
Kevin Rose: As you —
Tim Ferriss: And then you never tell me when you fucking sell things.
Kevin Rose: As you more famously know. We can talk about your Bitcoin investing.
Tim Ferriss: Oh, Jesus Christ. All right, man. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Good Lord. Yeah.
Kevin Rose: All right, so let’s move on from there. So I have some fun stuff to talk about.
Tim Ferriss: Let’s do it.
Kevin Rose: I guarantee you, you’re going to love this next little segment.
Tim Ferriss: All right. I’m excited.
Kevin Rose: Okay?
Tim Ferriss: Yes.
Kevin Rose: We talked about New Year’s resolutions before.
Tim Ferriss: Oh, God.
Kevin Rose: But I have one that I didn’t tell you about.
Tim Ferriss: Okay.
Kevin Rose: I want to show you something here.
Tim Ferriss: All right.
Kevin Rose: You’re seeing this for the first time. You can go ahead and read this for the audience here. What does that say?
Tim Ferriss: It says ABC Letter Tracing Practice Workbook for Kids.
Kevin Rose: Ages what?
Tim Ferriss: Ages 3+.
Kevin Rose: Okay, and then when you open the first page, what does it say?
Tim Ferriss: Oh, Kevin Rose, age 45. February 9th, 2023.
Kevin Rose: And then, what do you see from here?
Tim Ferriss: Oh, you’re letter tracing.
Kevin Rose: Yes. So I’m learning how to write with my right hand.
Tim Ferriss: Amazing. This is incredible. It’s pretty shaky. Your hands —
Kevin Rose: It is a little shaky.
Tim Ferriss: Your hands are a little shaky.
Kevin Rose: You can see that I’m having some issues here.
Tim Ferriss: I —
Kevin Rose: Love, stop laughing in the background. My wife is dying. She —
Tim Ferriss: It’s so good. It’s funny. It’s funny.
Kevin Rose: She didn’t know about this. This is the first she’s hearing it, by the way.
Tim Ferriss: This is great.
Kevin Rose: I have started to learn how to write with my right hand.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah.
Kevin Rose: And I decided —
Tim Ferriss: I can see these cute bunnies and acorns and —
Kevin Rose: It’s getting a little better, right?
Tim Ferriss: — mushrooms and puppies making it interesting.
Kevin Rose: So, I’m just now getting started. I’ve got a ways to go. But this is one of those things where I was watching my kids do it, and I’m watching their brains kind of activate as they’re learning how to trace. And Zelda’s really — actually, her letters were flopped and turned around at one point. Now they’re straight. And —
Tim Ferriss: That’s what I do.
Kevin Rose: You did the same thing?
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. I still do it, dysgraphia. My letters end up backwards and upside-down and stuff when I write some letters in handwriting.
Kevin Rose: Sometimes I skip a letter, and then I come back and rewrite it. I don’t know what the fuck that is, but that’s something I’ve got. I don’t know.
Tim Ferriss: That might be —
Kevin Rose: I get too crazy, and I just jump —
Tim Ferriss: You have early-onset dementia.
Kevin Rose: Okay, great. Thank you. But the thing here is, I have no scientific reason other than to say, I realize that this is activating, somewhere in my brain, something new.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah.
Kevin Rose: And I’m left-handed, so I’ve always smudged the shit out of everything I do.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, totally.
Kevin Rose: It’s just a streak of ink across the page because my hand. And I was like, you know what? My kids are learning. Why don’t I learn at the same time? And so that’s something I started recently.
Tim Ferriss: That’s awesome.
Kevin Rose: Anyway, I thought you’d find it amusing.
Tim Ferriss: Are you enjoying it?
Kevin Rose: Yeah. It’s fun. Actually, my hand gets really fatigued —
Tim Ferriss: It must.
Kevin Rose: — to start. So I set a timer for 10 minutes, and then I just go to town and start doing my numbers and my letters, and then it’s like I’ve got two workbooks in my office.
Tim Ferriss: That’s amazing.
Kevin Rose: I thought you would like that —
Tim Ferriss: I love that. I love that.
Kevin Rose: Because as a lifelong learner —
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, totally.
Kevin Rose: — this is something that you’d be into.
Tim Ferriss: I’m totally into it, and I —
Kevin Rose: Do you know what it’s doing for me is helping a certain part of my brain.
Tim Ferriss: Oh.
Kevin Rose: Darya would know.
Tim Ferriss: Darya —
Kevin Rose: She’s the neuroscience —
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. Darya would have more credibility in discussing this in any capacity. There is something kind of similar. When did you start this?
Kevin Rose: Just at the beginning of the year. Have you tried writing with your left hand?
Tim Ferriss: I have because I’ve broken so many things so many times. When I shattered my right wrist, one of several times, I had to do all my writing in school with my left hand. And for the first week, it was terrible. I was also just thrown into baptism by fire, which was like, “Okay, now you get to write for several hours a day with your non-dominant hand.” So I just got crushed.
Kevin Rose: So are you good? Can you —
Tim Ferriss: Oh, I don’t think I’m good.
Kevin Rose: So you’re not ambidextrous.
Tim Ferriss: Especially because left hand is — I mean, I say it’s weird. I’m sure right-handed is equally weird for you, but just the whole hook claw.
Kevin Rose: The claw, yeah.
Tim Ferriss: So I wanted to pull up the name of an artist who got me back into penciling. And she was not aware of this, but she published a book that I ended up grabbing, which was, unbeknownst to me, a guide to her tool kit and approach to much of her artwork. Art walk. Art walk.
Kevin Rose: Art wook.
Tim Ferriss: Art wook. I’m so tired, folks. It’s not any booze. I slept terribly last night. Maybe we’ll talk about my low back. I have all sorts of low back issue.
Kevin Rose: I had low back this morning, dude.
Tim Ferriss: So, this woman, I might be pronouncing her first name incorrectly, but I’m going to say Eliza Ivanova. And her account on Instagram is Eleeza, E-L-E-E-Z-A. One of my favorite artists out there. She’s spectacular.
Kevin Rose: Can I see some of her stuff?
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, yeah. Formerly at Pixar. And her ability to draw animals and portraits is —
Kevin Rose: Wow. That is beautiful.
Tim Ferriss: — just spectacular.
Kevin Rose: Wow.
Tim Ferriss: And there’s a certain surreal —
Kevin Rose: Oh, I love this.
Tim Ferriss: — feel to it. See what she’s using here. I’m showing an Instagram video. She’s using a smudging stick instead of, say, crosshatching, which can be really rough on the wrists and the hands, to very quickly create amazing pieces of art. And she has a number of books. I bought her most recent book, which gives sort of an overview of her technique and approach to artwork. And so I have been — like this type of stuff, for instance — rather than starting with sort of a stick figure or a — not quite mannequin — that’s not the word I’m looking — maquette — Not maquette. But rather than starting with the bones of someone, starting with the outline of the figure, then adding shading —
Kevin Rose: Wow, she’s so good.
Tim Ferriss: — then adding the details and going back and forth. It’s so interesting.
Kevin Rose: Don’t you just wish you had that skill set? I mean, you’re really good, but you’re not that good.
Tim Ferriss: Oh, she’s better. Yeah, she’s obviously much better.
Kevin Rose: Do you have a screen protector —
Tim Ferriss: But look —
Kevin Rose: — on, by the way?
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, I do.
Kevin Rose: I can’t see at a certain angle.
Tim Ferriss: So this is a new thing. All right. You want to hear a story? You’re going to love this.
Kevin Rose: You protecting your —
Tim Ferriss: Protecting my screen.
Kevin Rose: Yeah.
Tim Ferriss: Well, this is a privacy screen.
Kevin Rose: Yeah.
Tim Ferriss: I went to a restaurant here in L.A., and sit down at the bar because that’s what’s available. Huge bar. It’s like 75 feet wide. And —
Kevin Rose: By yourself?
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. Yeah, because I just —
Kevin Rose: Was this a date?
Tim Ferriss: No. I’d just finished a workout.
Kevin Rose: Oh, just text me up when you’re doing shit like this. I can come join you for a drink. That’s —
Tim Ferriss: That’s horseshit. You’re always super busy.
Kevin Rose: But we’re in the same neighborhood.
Tim Ferriss: All right. All right. I’ll text you next time.
Kevin Rose: Please do, seriously.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. Yeah. So I had done a workout. I finished, and then I was just like, “Hey, looking for a place to eat. What can you guys recommend?” Ended up at this restaurant. Then I was sitting there. Ordered my food. Having a great time, beautiful venue, flirting a little bit with the waitress. That’s not going to go anywhere, but it was fun. She was just — it was good vibes.
It clearly wasn’t going to go anywhere, but it was just fun. And then, somebody comes and sits right next to me. There’s like 20 empty seats in the bar.
Kevin Rose: Oh, Jesus. I had this one — I was pissing one time in a movie theater.
Tim Ferriss: Okay, all right. All right.
Kevin Rose: There was 30 urinals, and a dude walks all the way down and stands right next to me. And I’m like, “Yeah. Yeah, thanks, buddy.”
Tim Ferriss: All right. So sat right next to me and, ultimately, ended up being a fan of mine. And he was very cool. But the fact that he was sitting right next to me meant I felt very self-conscious looking at my phone. I was like, if I look at anything on my phone or I try to text someone or anything, this is incredibly visible to everyone around me. And so I ended up getting a privacy screen for my iPhone, which is fantastic. I mean, it’s such a simple solution. Also protects the screen.
Kevin Rose: Yeah, it works quite well.
Tim Ferriss: And there you have it. That’s my story about the privacy screen.
Kevin Rose: Cool story, bro.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, cool story, bro. Yeah. Jesus Christ.
Kevin Rose: It works quite well. I’m actually kind of shocked because I can’t see shit from you, and I’m sitting a foot from you.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah.
Kevin Rose: I really can’t see anything on your screen.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. It’s —
Kevin Rose: It’s amazing.
Tim Ferriss: It’s really helpful. Let me try to find this, and it’s going to —
Kevin Rose: All right. I’ll start with the next story while you’re —
Tim Ferriss: There is a —
Kevin Rose: — you’re trying to find it.
Tim Ferriss: Well, hold on. There’s a brand. It starts with a B. It’s not Belcon, Belski. It’s not Belski.
Kevin Rose: Belkin.
Tim Ferriss: Belkin, yeah.
Kevin Rose: Yeah.
Tim Ferriss: Thank you, Darya. I initially was looking for a Belkin because those are well-known, and I ended up being unable to get it quickly. So I just have something made in China that is a similar design. So there you have it, but the key term is “iPhone protector/privacy screen.” And if you search for that, you’ll find something.
Kevin Rose: All right. Now that your privacy is covered, let’s move on to my next story, which is Nintendo.
Tim Ferriss: Enough about you. Let’s talk about me.
Kevin Rose: So let me ask you a question. When do you think when Nintendo was founded?
Tim Ferriss: Oh, I have maybe some unfair advantages here. I’m going to say 1880.
Kevin Rose: Yes. How did you know that?
Tim Ferriss: Was I close?
Kevin Rose: Yeah, it’s in the late 1800s. Yeah.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, because 1839 —
Kevin Rose: No, it was like later 1800s. We’ll have to look it up.
Tim Ferriss: 1800s. So the reason I know that — actually, you probably don’t even know this.
Kevin Rose: No, I don’t.
Tim Ferriss: So, there is a Japanese card game. They’re these tiny little cards. They’re like half the size of a business card. And one of my favorite games I played when I was an exchange student is called Hanafuda. Hanafuda has these beautiful drawings. Simply put, it’s a matching game in a sense. And Nintendo became famous for first making these card games.
Kevin Rose: Oh, crazy. Can you still buy them, and they’re collectible?
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, you can still get them.
Kevin Rose: That’s so cool.
Tim Ferriss: It’s super cool. Super, super cool.
Kevin Rose: Does it say Nintendo on them?
Tim Ferriss: Yeah.
Kevin Rose: Oh, it must be in Japanese, though.
Tim Ferriss: It’s in Japanese. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Absolutely.
Kevin Rose: Is it little Mario characters?
Tim Ferriss: No Mario characters. But yeah.
Kevin Rose: That would be amazing.
Tim Ferriss: Nintendo. I don’t know what the “nin” is. “Ten” is heaven. And then “do” is like “place of” so shokudō is a cafeteria, the food place.
Kevin Rose: I thought “do” was “the way.”
Tim Ferriss: It’s a homonym. “Do” is the same, like aikido. Do —
Kevin Rose: — is “the way of.”
Tim Ferriss: — is “the way.” Different character. Okay, yeah.
Kevin Rose: Katakana. No, kanji.
Tim Ferriss: Kanji. Different kanji. Yeah, different character. But “nin” is probably “sakki nin no ninka na.” Yeah. Well, anyway, we can come back to that. But —
Kevin Rose: All right.
Tim Ferriss: Speaking of Nintendo —
Kevin Rose: So Nintendo. As you know, my first born is named Zelda.
Tim Ferriss: Mm-hmm.
Kevin Rose: There’s a new Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, opening May 12th, which is soon.
Tim Ferriss: That is soon.
Kevin Rose: I am very excited for this release. And I started playing the old, original Zelda, the very first one.
Tim Ferriss: Cool.
Kevin Rose: So you can play it on the Switch. They have emulators now that you can get on the Switch. Now, the Switch has the old-school classic control. Or not the old-school classic. The traditional Switch controllers. But Nintendo released the original. These are charging, so they slide off. Check this out. This is the original Nintendo controller —
Tim Ferriss: Oh, wow. That’s cool.
Kevin Rose: — that you can get. So —
Tim Ferriss: Oh, that’s awesome.
Kevin Rose: Yeah, exactly. So it’s —
Tim Ferriss: This brings back so many memories.
Kevin Rose: That’s official from Nintendo. Because you could always find the clone USB Nintendo controllers that were the fakes and all that. That has the same feel. You push the buttons.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. Okay.
Kevin Rose: Everything about it is legit.
Tim Ferriss: Oh, man. That’s —
Kevin Rose: And they charge when you slide them on the side of the Switch.
Tim Ferriss: They charge. That’s brilliant.
Kevin Rose: When you link USB. It’s so cool.
Tim Ferriss: That’s brilliant.
Kevin Rose: Right. Isn’t that awesome?
Tim Ferriss: That’s super awesome.
Kevin Rose: So they have their pass now, where you can get all the original Nintendo games. And —
Tim Ferriss: That’s fun.
Kevin Rose: — it’s crazy. I was on their marketplace. And my dad’s passed away, and one of the things that I remember as a child is there was the original Nintendo Pinball game. And my dad used to watch me play. He had, actually had a little tiny TV for me so I could play next to him as he’s watching his shows or whatever. And I remember he never wanted to play any games with me. He was an older dad, and he didn’t really get into Nintendo, but when Pinball came up, he was like, “Okay, let me grab the controller.” And so he played Nintendo with me. So when I saw that, I was like, “Oh, my God.” I mean, it’s so much nostalgia.
Tim Ferriss: What nostalgia. Yeah, exactly.
Kevin Rose: So much nostalgia.
Tim Ferriss: I’ll just teach a word for folks who may be interested in Japanese. They use it a lot more than we say nostalgia. But they would say “natsukashii.” And that’s sort of got the same feel as “nostalgic,” but they use it kind of like “saudade” in Brazilian Portuguese. But it’s roughly like, “Ah. How nice.” Like, “Aw, that’s really nostalgic. That brings back the memories.”
Kevin Rose: There was a blog post that I saw where it was 25 words that exist in Japanese that don’t have English meanings.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah.
Kevin Rose: And they’re so beautiful.
Tim Ferriss: They have some nice ones.
Kevin Rose: They capture these amazing just moments in time. There was this one that was like “The sunlight as it falls between…”
Tim Ferriss: Branches.
Kevin Rose: Branches, yes.
Tim Ferriss: “Komorebi.”
Kevin Rose: Yes. Yes.
Tim Ferriss: “Komorebi” is like “Dappled sunlight coming through tree branches and leaves.”
Kevin Rose: It’s so good. It’s so good.
Tim Ferriss: It’s so amazing.
Kevin Rose: They have a word for that.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. Komorebi.
Kevin Rose: That’s so amazing.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, it’s super beautiful.
Kevin Rose: Oh. So, I was in Tokyo.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. Let’s talk about it.
Kevin Rose: Celebrated my 10-year wedding anniversary out there.
Tim Ferriss: Congratulations again. Yes.
Kevin Rose: That was amazing. And we had a ton of fun. Darya met me out there. We did a Moonbirds meetup. So we had over a hundred Japanese-speaking Moonbirds collectors out there, which was challenging and awesome at the same time. And then Henry, my Zen instructor here —
Tim Ferriss: Shukman.
Kevin Rose: Shukman, here in the United States, introduced me to the head of his lineage of Zen, who I got to go out and meet with and sit down with and have a little private —
Tim Ferriss: Go to karaoke?
Kevin Rose: Yeah, exactly. Went out drinking and just did karaoke together all night long. No, but we had a little private gathering and sit-down and did a private —
Tim Ferriss: Did he lay his hands on you? Exorcise the demons?
Kevin Rose: He helped me with my practice. His English is quite good. It was very intimidating. Very intimidating.
Tim Ferriss: I bet. That’s actually —
Kevin Rose: This is the head of the Sanbo Zen, which is —
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, Sanbo.
Kevin Rose: — a big —
Tim Ferriss: Sanbo. That’s right. Yeah.
Kevin Rose: — three treasures. A big lineage of Zen. And I’m sitting here with this guy, and he’s just asking me very pointed questions about my —
Tim Ferriss: Like what?
Kevin Rose: — intention in Zen.
Tim Ferriss: “What is your intention with my daughter?” What’s —
Kevin Rose: Yeah, more or less. But it was very cutting questions, dude, like —
Tim Ferriss: Like what?
Kevin Rose: Like a surgeon just coming in and just — I don’t know if I should say the things because it’s this private interview.
I’ll give you an example. It’s more or less like, “Why are you here? Where are you?” You know how in Zen, they have these — we’ve talked about these koans before. You’ve done interviews with Henry, and thank you for doing those — where it’s like these moments where a really good Zen practitioner — or not practitioner, but a good Zen master can come in and look at a student and know kind of exactly the little nudge they need to give them.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah.
Kevin Rose: There’s these moments where they call it, there’s these stories in Zen where it’ll be like they grab your coat and yank you in a certain direction just to get you to snap, wake up, this moment, just boom. They want you to pop.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah.
Kevin Rose: And it was very much that like, why are you here? What do you want from this? Boom, boom, boom.
Tim Ferriss: I think the guy on the street when I walked back to my Airbnb in Venice asked me those questions.
Kevin Rose: Exactly, but less fentanyl-driven. But yeah, so it was amazing. It was very —
Tim Ferriss: HI hear the Zen masters have cut back on their fentanyl a lot.
Kevin Rose: Yeah. This guy was operating on a different plane.
Tim Ferriss: So what did that feel like for you? Why did you want to do it? First of all, because.
Kevin Rose: Just Henry had said such great things about him that, and Henry is, he will never say this publicly, but I believe he is one —
Tim Ferriss: But I’ll say it for him.
Kevin Rose: No, I will. Because I think it’s important. He’s such a modest guy that Henry is one of, I think it’s five or so fully sanctions and masters in this lineage. And that’s a big deal when there’s hundreds of teachers in this realm. So this is his master, his teacher, and if you get a chance to take that meeting, you take it. So I went in there like, “Nah, I’m busy. I’m going to try on some new shoes.” I’m too busy going to try some fancy Japanese coffee, but which I did, which is amazing. Cafe Mameya out there is fantastic. But honestly though, the one thing that I took away from it for people that I will share is that one of the things that he asked me is, he’s like, “How often do you practice and how long do you practice?”
And I said, “I practice 25 minutes a day, probably five days a week.” And he goes, “What about the other two days?” And I go, “Well, I’ve got a startup, I’ve got this and I’ve got that.” And he goes, “I don’t care.” And I’m paraphrasing here, but he goes, “I don’t care if you’ve practiced five minutes a day.” He goes, “Don’t miss a day, don’t break a day, continue to do it. Don’t miss a day.” And since then, I have not missed a day. And I will say it’s kind of amazing because even if you can sit down for five minutes, it just keeps that continuity going. And it actually keeps me at a slightly elevated more, I don’t know. It keeps the commitment stronger, it feels better. And that was sound advice.
Tim Ferriss: That’s great advice. Darya, can I trouble for just a little bit of water, please? Thank you so much.
Kevin Rose: Arigatou gozaimasu.
Tim Ferriss: Hai. Arigatou gozaimasu.
Kevin Rose: What? Wait, what’s water?
Tim Ferriss: You can do it.
Kevin Rose: Hold on, hold on. Don’t tell me.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, you got it.
Kevin Rose: Oishii! It’s so oishii!
Tim Ferriss: What?
Kevin Rose: Oishii.
Tim Ferriss: No, that’s tasty.
Kevin Rose: Delicious. Yeah, I know. The water’s tasty.
Kevin Rose: What? Mizu!
Tim Ferriss: Mizu. There are a lot of mizus out there.
Tim Ferriss: So let’s stay on the Japanese kick for a second.
Kevin Rose: Yeah.
Tim Ferriss: This is a book in front of me, which I’m just digging into.
Kevin Rose: Japanese Death Poems. Let’s talk about Japanese Death Poems.
Tim Ferriss: I did not actually, I’m embarrassed to admit, know this was a thing. This was given to me by a friend who has spent a lot of time in the military and has developed a rather unique perspective on death from, I suppose, the vantage point of a lay person, right? Of a civilian. And so this book is, I’ll just read the quote on the back. This is one of the blurbs.
“A wonderful introduction to the Japanese tradition of Jisei. This volume is crowned with exquisite spontaneous verse and pith often hilarious descriptions of the eccentric and committed monastics who wrote the poems.” So these poems are written on the verge of death. And literally the subtitle is Written by Zen Monks and Haiku Poets on the Verge of Death. And it’s incredibly well researched. You have not just the English versions, you have the introduction and all the context. You have the Japanese and then you have footnotes describing what these various words might mean, what the metaphors allude to. And it’s really just a phenomenal window into an aspect of Japanese culture that I had no exposure to. I would’ve expected that I would’ve been exposed to this before, but I’m looking forward to diving into this. And I’ve already read perhaps the first 10 pages.
So this is Japanese Death Poems, by Tuttle Publishing compiled and with an introduction by Yoel Hoffmann.
Kevin Rose: So I have a handful, I don’t know if I’ve told you this, but I have a handful of haiku books that I’ve read by a Japanese masters.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah.
Kevin Rose: And one of the things I always felt was just so beautiful about them is they always include their kind of death poems at the very end. So you always get, it’s oftentimes on their deathbed when they’re about to pass what is the last thing that they wrote down. And it’s often in haiku form if they’re a haiku master, right?
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, totally.
Kevin Rose: And so it’s just, it’s beautiful stuff.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, there’s some really Japanese stuff in here, right? This is died 19 — I’m sorry, “Died in 1698”: “For not honoring my parents / while I lived, in my last hour / I feel remorse.” That is very super Japanese. “The autumn hues / of knotweed seem / like cups of wine.” Yeah.
Kevin Rose: Are you a big fan of haiku?
Tim Ferriss: I am. This is my first time really being exposed to a lot of Japanese, and it does sound better in Japanese. There’s a certain cadence to it.
So I’m not going to get the pronunciation quite perfectly here, but it like if you have, okay, so Hakuro is this person, died on the 19th day of the 12th month, 1766. So the English, and I’m going to fuck this up in Japanese, so I apologize to any Japanese speakers out there, but the English, just listen to the sounds, like the cadence. So the English is “An ailing mallard / falls through the chilly night / and teeters off.” But then the Japanese is “Yamu kari no / yosamu ni orite / obotsukana,” right? So it just has a cleaner, crisper cadence to it, which doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do the English, but this is my first time being exposed to a lot of haiku in Japanese, which is fun for me. Number one makes very hard for me to decipher in many cases, but they have a beautiful sound to them, so.
Kevin Rose: That’s awesome. I have to pick that book up.
Tim Ferriss: Death Poems.
Kevin Rose: There’s a great poem about haiku and about the masters called Three Simple Lines.
Tim Ferriss: Okay.
Kevin Rose: Have you ever read that?
Tim Ferriss: No.
Kevin Rose: It’s a fantastic book that is written by a Zen practitioner that covers a lot of the Zen masters of haiku and along with a really beautiful personal story. Very short read. Definitely worth picking up along with this.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, I mean, how Japanese relate to death, which is something I have some exposure to, but not to the poems. This particular Jisei format tells you a lot about how they live. I mean, it does provide sort of a prism through which you can appreciate how they navigate a lot of life as well in addressing the final hours and thinking about dying, death, the path to death.
When you get a better understanding of that, many of the things that you observe in Japanese culture make more sense, in a way.
Have you ever done an escape room?
Kevin Rose: Yes.
Tim Ferriss: You have?
Kevin Rose: Yes.
Tim Ferriss: How many?
Kevin Rose: Multiple.
Tim Ferriss: Really?
Kevin Rose: Yes.
Tim Ferriss: Multiple. What does that mean? Like a hundred?
Kevin Rose: Like four.
Tim Ferriss: Four. All right. So by the —
Kevin Rose: They’re so stupid.
Tim Ferriss: The fatigued way. So I, all right. “They’re so stupid,” he says.
Kevin Rose: They’re horrible.
Tim Ferriss: I did my first escape room today. I had a fucking blast. I don’t know what’s wrong with you. You’re getting old and boring.
Kevin Rose: No, it’s just like you’re going in there and it’s like, what are you doing? You can get out if you want to. Are they really locking you up? No.
Tim Ferriss: It’s called a game, Kevin.
Kevin Rose: Yeah, I know. But —
Tim Ferriss: When you’re playing Zelda, you’re trying to do shit in a video game. You don’t actually need to do those things.
Kevin Rose: No, but I just, Darya can explain it. You know what I’m talking about. You go in there and they lock you up. It’s a little room and they’re like, we really quick grab the book and open up the book and turn to chapter 12, and people are yelling shit out. And you’re just like, I don’t want to do this. I just want to have a drink.
Tim Ferriss: All right. So I’m going to provide a contrast in styles here. So Kevin, who got so outraged that I implied that he drank alcohol earlier —
Kevin Rose: No, I just, all my friends want me to do it sober. And I’m like, why are we doing this sober? And they’re like, you can get through it faster. We could break a world record. I’m like, this is dumb.
Tim Ferriss: Look, doing it in a hyper-competitive way I think is probably not my jam. But I had the chance to do escape rooms for the first time today. I went to this place called Escape Revolution, which is here in L.A., Elan Lee, who is one of the co-founders of Exploding Kittens, was kind enough to invite me. I don’t want to name other people who were there because maybe they don’t want to be named. But it was a small group and I thought it was absolutely fantastic. You have an hour, there’s some type of pretext or story, there’s a narrative arc. So in our first instance, and I’m not going to give away any of the tools, so I won’t provide any teasers, but we had a real armored car that’s locked in a garage.
Kevin Rose: That’s cooler than mine.
Tim Ferriss: And you have to, you’re robbers and you need to get the money out of the car. But the mechanic who set up all the security systems ran off because the police were on the way. So you have 60 minutes to figure it out.
And we had a blast. And this place is built in such a way that the set design and the sound effects and the entire experience makes it, I don’t want to say cinematic, but it’s just a very compelling way to become immersed in a story. And you have to collaborate, I also, part of what made it fun is that I have a game designer in Elan Lee. I had a number of other people who were very accustomed to mechanics of different types. Not car mechanics, but game mechanics and so on. A woman who had done almost 2,000 escape rooms herself.
Kevin Rose: Jesus.
Tim Ferriss: Which is all to say it was a cool group of people to interact with.
Kevin Rose: They were into it.
Tim Ferriss: Well, they were into it, but then there were two newbies. I was one of those two newbies who’d never done this before.
And then the second one was a jail break, and we were locked in cells, which were legitimate cells with —
Kevin Rose: Was that solo?
Tim Ferriss: What are you talking about?
Kevin Rose: Did you have to figure out how to get out of your own cell?
Tim Ferriss: It was three people to a cell, and then you needed to figure it out.
Kevin Rose: I kind of wish it was solo. I don’t know. I just have this hard thing where it’s like we’re all yelling shit. And I’m just like, can we just relax for a second?
Tim Ferriss: I don’t know what your group was like. There’s no yelling. There’s no yelling in this group. Yeah, no, this group.
Kevin Rose: Do you like it? Yeah. Darya doesn’t like it either.
Tim Ferriss: All right.
Kevin Rose: She hates games.
Tim Ferriss: All right.
Kevin Rose: It’s one of those things where maybe I haven’t had the right experience because the ones in Portland were kind of jank. I don’t remember much. I just remember that we went in there and there was just shit hidden in little bookcases and stuff. And I’m just like, why am I looking through these bookcases? There’s other things to do. I’ve got emails that I haven’t checked. There’s a lot of shit going on.
Tim Ferriss: Oh, my God.
Kevin Rose: But it felt like work. It felt like work. It felt like work where I’m like, why am I working to figure out this thing when it’s not even a thing?
Tim Ferriss: Well, I mean, you don’t need to work out in the gym to outrun hyenas on the street. So what are you doing in the gym?
Kevin Rose: Well, I mean that you can actually get a physical good feeling for the gym. Suns out, guns out, that kind of thing. Well, I’m glad you had a good time.
Tim Ferriss: I had a fucking great time.
And one other thing I did this weekend, which I’d never experienced, and if people have the chance I would recommend, is experiencing high-fidelity immersive sound for the first time, actually listening to music in a store or a location where they’re paying attention to all the variables. The most I have ever done is really to the extent that I personally can set up a few Sonos speakers in a house. That’s as fancy as I have ever gotten. And I was having dinner with a few friends, well one close friend and a few new friends who are professional musicians, and they heard me say this and they were like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Okay, we need to go to a good location and put you in a seat to let you listen to some of the music you think you know.”
Kevin Rose: Where did they take you?
Tim Ferriss: In super high-fidelity, this place called Common Wave.
And the staff there were exceptional. We went from one setup to another setup to another setup, to another setup. And it was spectacular. I mean, it was having a full-blown psychedelic experience in some respects.
So for those who may have the opportunity, if you have the opportunity, I really came to appreciate just how much goes into music. I thought I knew, but it only listened to, in hindsight, relatively low bit rates. And it is just a different experience altogether because this came about initially at dinner because I asked somebody at dinner who, who’s a TV writer, I asked him if he ever watches TV and has trouble immersing himself in TV. And he said, “I don’t really watch TV.” And I was like, “Well, what do you spend your time doing if you’re just having fun?” He said, “I listen to music.”
And I was like, “You listen to music while you’re doing something else, or you listen to music as a dedicated activity?” And he said, “I listen to music as a dedicated activity.” I was like, “Okay, tell me more about that.” And that’s how we ended up.
Kevin Rose: So one thing you might want to consider, I’ve been down this path a couple of times, and there’s two ways to approach it. One, you either go high-fidelity system for your house or you go really high-end headphones. And I recently realized that back even just two years ago, to do a high-end headphones setup required its own dedicated amp.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah.
Kevin Rose: It was like there’s a whole rig that you have to get. More recently now, lossless, over-the-air audio codecs that can go to headphones that sound amazing.
Tim Ferriss: So over-the-air, you’re saying Bluetooth?
Kevin Rose: Yeah. So I got a Bowers and Wilkins, I think it’s the PX7. It’s something along those lines. And these are sub $1,000, but they’re still pricey. I mean, I think they’re like $800 or something like that. And they can do a lossless codec from your software or from your iPhone to your headphones. And so there’s no bit degradation in quality. And Apple Music now supports lossless as well. And so you can listen to insanely high-fidelity audio and just sit back and relax and enjoy the music in the headphones. I mean, you’ll see the reviews out there, but they’re fantastic.
Tim Ferriss: Huh? Okay. Well yeah, that would be substantially less expensive.
Kevin Rose: Oh, my God, dude, I’ve seen some setups and I’m sure you have too. Or you talk to these people. I mean, you’re a couple hundred thousand dollars in.
Tim Ferriss: Oh, easily. Yeah. If you really want to get up to the nerdiest of the nerdy and the most expensive of the expensive, and I do think there’s a dramatic drop off.
Kevin Rose: We talk about wine, all that there.
Tim Ferriss: There’s a point of diminishing returns, but there are people out there who spend $100,000 on a cable.
Kevin Rose: Yeah, I mean it’s crazy.
Tim Ferriss: You can get as expensive as you want to get, but you can also, I would say the in-home systems are certainly going to be more expensive than the headset you’re describing.
Kevin Rose: It’s funny, we met with someone recently that was an audio/video person. So Darya and I are, we’re in an apartment now and we’re moving into a home at some point here in the future. And there’s this person that was like, “Hey, I can come do your home audio/video stuff.” And I literally told the person, I was like, “I just want Sonos. I just want Sonos and a decent pair of speakers.” Because for me, I don’t want to spend insane amounts of money when I could just put on an amazing pair of headphones and kick back anywhere in the house and either read a book or just relax and listen to — I’m not going to spend several hundred thousand dollars when you can probably spend 10 grand and have an amazing setup. Right? Yeah. It’s going to sound great. Movies, all that stuff’s going to sound fantastic. I don’t know, for me, audio’s not one of those things that I want to blow money on.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. Well I’ve got my relationship with my Replika and a nice, single life ahead of me so I can just sit in the house by myself in a dark corner listening to Pink Floyd, crying, and eating Ho-hos.
Kevin Rose: As your Replika whispers to you. I’ve got to try this Replika now. Is it that good now?
Tim Ferriss: I haven’t dared set foot.
Kevin Rose: You haven’t even dabbled —
Tim Ferriss: No.
Kevin Rose: Like, “Hey, Replika.”
Tim Ferriss: No, no, I haven’t. I have not. Although a few friends have.
Kevin Rose: Really, they like it? Do they get into sexual encounters with a Replika?
Tim Ferriss: I haven’t heard that yet.
Kevin Rose: Okay.
Tim Ferriss: I don’t think it’s there.
Kevin Rose: Okay.
Tim Ferriss: It will get there. I’m sure it’ll get there.
Kevin Rose: If they’re not going to build it, they’re silly, because somebody’s going to build that in very short order.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I’m just imagining Neuralink type. I don’t think virtual sex, which will ultimately debilitate all males on the planet, once that is actually a real thing. But nothing will get done ever by any man ever again. But the, there’s been a lot of attention paid to haptic suits and that type of feedback with, say, VR.
Kevin Rose: Adam Gazzaley loves this.
Tim Ferriss: Haptic suits and they just all, they’re all —
Kevin Rose: We always bring up Adam in every podcast.
Tim Ferriss: That’s right. We talked about his chin hair last time. The haptic suits I always have found interesting, but kind of dissatisfying because it doesn’t replicate your human experience. It feels like something vibrating on your chest by and large.
Kevin Rose: Yeah. Like I’m wearing a suit. Yeah.
Tim Ferriss: I’m wearing a suit that’s —
Kevin Rose: Right. Darya’s doing chest in air quotes.
Tim Ferriss: Well, so okay, let’s take it. Let’s say I had a haptic glove on my schlong. Right? It’s still not going to feel like the real McCoy. It’s just not going to be.
Kevin Rose: Have you tried all the crazy things they have out now? Because they have those ones that look, they have different types of materials that’s supposed to feel more realistic.
Tim Ferriss: I have not. What are we talking about?
Kevin Rose: Well, they have those —
Tim Ferriss: In concrete terms. In concrete terms.
Kevin Rose: Okay. I’ve heard that they have those skin ones that there’s locked down and they’re supposed to feel, really —
Tim Ferriss: You should work in a Foley studio. That was great.
Kevin Rose: But they’re supposed to lock down and feel really realistic. You don’t act like you’ve never heard of that shit. You know more about this stuff than I do.
Tim Ferriss: I don’t. I would look, let me just be clear. I would try that. I have nothing against it. I would try it. I just think at some point I’m going to be, I feel like I’m like boning a Mattel toy or something. Right, right. So where I was going with the Neuralink is, I think rather than the haptic suit, there’s probably going to be quite a bit. Well, at some point I could envision just having a direct link in where you can simulate, I mean, I guess generate really the type of sensation that you would have.
Kevin Rose: Well, I think this is going to be the opposite. So here’s what I think is going to happen. I think we’re going to have VR, or sorry, not VR, but we’re going to have essentially AI that comes in and we’ll have a relationship with, and then earpieces will go into real humans that will play the role.
Tim Ferriss: Like Her. That’s exactly what happened in Her. Remember?
Kevin Rose: Oh, is that what happened at the end? I don’t remember.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. Yeah. So they arranged to have a normal person come in, this woman comes in.
Kevin Rose: Yes.
Tim Ferriss: She’s got an earpiece and he’s got an earpiece and the idea is they don’t communicate. He’s just communicating with Scarlett Johansson, who’s his AI.
Kevin Rose: I’ve got to watch this movie. It’s been a decade since I’ve seen it.
Tim Ferriss: And then they have sex and he has a camera. I think they had cameras so that the AI could also see what was going on and comment on that.
Kevin Rose: Oh, yeah. Darya’s saying The Diamond Age book by Neal Stephenson. It’s supposed to be —
Darya Rose: The VR is basically played out by actual actors. And that’s a job.
Tim Ferriss: I’ve heard great things about The Diamond Age. I have never read it, but Neal Stephenson, author of Snow Crash, some people will recognize.
Kevin Rose: Yeah.
Tim Ferriss: My favorite book actually, Cryptonomicon. And a lot of people hate on Cryptonomicon, but I just absolutely loved it. So go for it.
Kevin Rose: I’ve got to go back and listen to Snow Crash. All right. I think I’m done with my stuff. You covered everything.
Tim Ferriss: I feel like we’re stopping on the Mattel toys. That’s fine.
Kevin Rose: Exactly. We’ve covered, oh, I have a gift for you.
Tim Ferriss: You have a gift for me?
Kevin Rose: So here’s my last story. My last story is that when I was in Tokyo, I realized that LEGO is obviously pretty popular phenomenon amongst a bunch of my Silicon Valley friends actually, it’s like a time that you can get off the computer and build LEGOs. They have something called Nanoblock.
Tim Ferriss: Okay.
Kevin Rose: Out in Japan, which are really tiny. I don’t know how they got around the patent of LEGOs. They’re really tiny little baby LEGOs. And I got you this little castle.
Tim Ferriss: Oh, wow.
Kevin Rose: Himeji Castle.
Tim Ferriss: Look at that.
Kevin Rose: Yeah, this is a little tiny castle and —
Tim Ferriss: Thank you.
Kevin Rose: These are small. They do very traditional Japanese structures in —
Tim Ferriss: They even say “The original micro-sized building block.”
Kevin Rose: All right. So anyway, if people want to eBay it or check it out, it’s actually really cool because just recently LEGOs started adding things like bonsai trees and stuff like that. When I was walking down the aisles in Tokyo of this store, these Nanoblocks, they had all these traditional, beautiful Japanese structures. And so if you’re looking for something, if you’re into LEGO or know somebody that’s into this whole thing, and I have a lot of friends that have built Back to the Future cars and every other LEGO that’s out there, check out Nanoblock because they have a bunch of stuff that has very obviously Japanese influence that you might be really into.
Tim Ferriss: “Small blocks, big fun.” I’m just reading the side here. Chiisana tanoshimi. “Nanoblock is a micro-sized building block designed in Japan since 2008. Fun to build, attractive to display, interesting to collect.”
Kevin Rose: Something tells me that LEGO was around before 2008.
Tim Ferriss: It was definitely around before 2008.
Kevin Rose: Like the original — 2008. Anyway, dude, this’ll be something to get off the computer and just like do. It’s tiny, so it’s a little fun little thing. I got a couple for friends.
Tim Ferriss: “Oh, my AI girlfriend, I built you a Himeji castle with Nanoblock.” “Thank you, Tim. That’s my favorite. You know how to please me.” All right. On that note.
Kevin Rose: With that.
Tim Ferriss: God save us all. Yes. All right.
Kevin Rose: Thank you, everyone.
Tim Ferriss: Thanks, everybody.
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