Greg McKeown — The Art of Effortless Results, How to Take the Lighter Path, the Joys of Simplicity, and More (#510)

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“If you focus on what you have, you gain what you lack. And if you focus on what you lack, you lose what you have.”

— Greg McKeown

Greg McKeown (@GregoryMcKeown) is the author of the new book Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters Most and a previous book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, which hit The New York Times bestseller list and has sold more than a million copies. He is also a speaker and the host of the popular podcast What’s Essential.

Greg has been covered by The New York Times, The New Yorker, Fast Company, Fortune, Politico, and Inc., has been interviewed by NPR, NBC, Fox, and The Steve Harvey Show, and is among the most popular bloggers for LinkedIn. He is also a Young Global Leader for the World Economic Forum. Originally from London, England, he now resides in California with his wife, Anna, and their four children.

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Brought to you by UCAN endurance products powered by SuperStarch®, FreshBooks cloud-based small business accounting software, and Headspace easy-to-use app with guided meditations. More on all three below.

The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#510: Greg McKeown — The Art of Effortless Results, How to Take the Lighter Path, the Joys of Simplicity, and More
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This episode is brought to you by UCANI was introduced to UCAN and its unique carbohydrate SuperStarch by my good friend—and listener favorite—Dr. Peter Attia, who said there is no carb in the world like it. I have since included it in my routine, using UCAN’s powders to power my workouts, and the bars make great snacks. Extensive scientific research and clinical trials have shown that SuperStarch provides a sustained release of energy to the body without spiking blood sugar. UCAN is the ideal way to source energy from a carbohydrate without the negatives associated with fast carbs, especially sugar.  

You avoid fatigue, hunger cravings, and loss of focus. Whether you’re an athlete working on managing your fitness or you need healthy, efficient calories to get you through your day, UCAN is an elegant energy solution. My listeners can save 30% on their first UCAN order by going to UCAN.co/Tim and using promo code TIM.


This episode is brought to you by FreshBooks. I’ve been talking about FreshBooks—an all-in-one invoicing + payments + accounting solution—for years now. Many entrepreneurs, as well as the contractors and freelancers that I work with, use it all the time.

FreshBooks makes it super easy to track things like expenses, project time, and client info and then merge it all into great-looking invoices. FreshBooks can save users up to 200 hours a year on accounting and bookkeeping tasks. Right now FreshBooks is offering my listeners a free 30-day trial, and no credit card is required. Go to FreshBooks.com/Tim and enter “Tim Ferriss” in the “How did you hear about us?” section!


This episode is brought to you by Headspace! Headspace is your daily dose of mindfulness in the form of guided meditations in an easy-to-use app. Whatever the situation, Headspace can help you feel better. Overwhelmed? Headspace has a 3-minute SOS meditation for you. Need some help falling asleep? Headspace has wind-down sessions their members swear by. And for parents, Headspace even has morning meditations you can do with your kids. Headspace’s approach to mindfulness can reduce stress, improve sleep, boost focus, and increase your overall sense of well-being.

Go to Headspace.com/Tim for a FREE one-month trial with access to Headspace’s full library of meditations for every situation.


What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

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George Mumford, Mindfulness Coach to Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, on Awareness, Compassionate Action, the Dizziness of Freedom, and More (#509)

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“When you go get interviewed, if they tell you you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread, you say, ‘Thank you,’ and you just smile. And if they tell you you’re the biggest choke artist of all time, you just thank them and smile.”

— George Mumford

George Mumford (@gtmumford) is a globally recognized speaker, teacher, and coach. Since 1989, he’s been honing his gentle but groundbreaking mindfulness techniques with people from locker rooms to board rooms, Yale to jail.

While at the University of Massachusetts, where he roomed with future Hall of Famer Julius Erving, injuries forced George out of basketball and eventually into an addiction to pain medication and drugs. With the help of meditation and mindfulness, he got clean and made it his mission to teach and work with others.

Michael Jordan credits George with transforming his on-court leadership, helping the Bulls to six NBA championships. George has also worked with Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, and countless other NBA players, as well as Olympians, executives, and artists.

George believes everyone has a masterpiece within. His book The Mindful Athlete: Secrets to Pure Performance —both a memoir and an instruction guide—can show you how to access it.

George also teaches The Mindful Athlete Course, which can be found at GeorgeMumford.com.

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Brought to you by Tonal smart home gym, LinkedIn Jobs recruitment platform with 700M+ users, and Eight Sleep’s Pod Pro Cover sleeping solution for dynamic cooling and heating. More on all three below.

The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#509: George Mumford, Mindfulness Coach to Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, on Awareness, Compassionate Action, The Dizziness of Freedom, and More
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This episode is brought to you by LinkedIn Jobs. Whether you are looking to hire now for a critical role or thinking about needs that you may have in the future, LinkedIn Jobs can help. LinkedIn screens candidates for the hard and soft skills you’re looking for and puts your job in front of candidates looking for job opportunities that match what you have to offer.

Using LinkedIn’s active community of more than 722 million professionals worldwide, LinkedIn Jobs can help you find and hire the right person faster. When your business is ready to make that next hire, find the right person with LinkedIn Jobs. And now, you can post a job for free. Just visit LinkedIn.com/Tim.


This episode is brought to you by Eight Sleep! Eight Sleep’s Pod Pro Cover is the easiest and fastest way to sleep at the perfect temperature. It pairs dynamic cooling and heating with biometric tracking to offer the most advanced (and user-friendly) solution on the market. Simply add the Pod Pro Cover to your current mattress and start sleeping as cool as 55°F or as hot as 110°F. It also splits your bed in half, so your partner can choose a totally different temperature.

And now, my dear listeners—that’s you—can get $250 off the Pod Pro Cover. Simply go to EightSleep.com/Tim or use code TIM. 


This episode is brought to you by Tonal! Tonal is the world’s most intelligent home gym and personal trainer. It is precision engineered and designed to be the world’s most advanced strength studio. Tonal uses breakthrough technology—like adaptive digital weights and A.I. learning—together with the best experts in resistance training so you get stronger, faster. Every program is personalized to your body using A.I., and smart features check your form in real time, just like a personal trainer.

Try Tonal, the world’s smartest home gym, for 30 days in your home, and if you don’t love it, you can return it for a full refund. Visit Tonal.com for $100 off their smart accessories when you use promo code TIM21 at checkout.


What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

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Plants of the Gods — Dr. Mark Plotkin on Ayahuasca, Shamanic Knowledge, the Curse and Blessing of Coca, and More (#508)

Photo credit: Amazon Conservation Team 

Welcome to The Tim Ferriss Show, where it is usually my job to deconstruct world-class performers, to tease out their routines, habits, et cetera that you can apply to your own life. This time around, we have a very special edition featuring not one but three short episodes of the Plants of the Gods podcast, hosted by my friend and past podcast guest, Dr. Mark Plotkin. I’ve listened to all his episodes and chose a few favorites to share with you all.

Mark (@DocMarkPlotkin) is an ethnobotanist who serves as president of the Amazon Conservation Team, which has partnered with ~80 tribes to map and improve management and protection of ~100 million acres of ancestral rainforests. He is best known to the general public as the author of the book Tales of a Shaman’s Apprentice, one of the most popular books ever written about the rainforest. His most recent book is The Amazon: What Everyone Needs to Know. You can find my interview with Mark at tim.blog/markplotkin

I am excited to share with you three episodes from Plants of the Gods—the first covering the adventures of the legendary ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schulte‪s‬, the second on ayahuasca, and the third on coca and cocaine. These episodes cover a lot of fascinating ground. 

If you enjoy them and want more, be sure to check out the Plants of the Gods podcast wherever podcasts can be found. You can learn about everything from hallucinogenic snuffs to the diverse formulations of curare (a plant mixture which relaxes the muscles of the body and leads to asphyxiation), and much, much more.  

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Brought to you by Tonal smart home gym; LinkedIn Sales Navigator, the best version of LinkedIn for sales professionals; and Athletic Greens all-in-one nutritional supplement. More on all three below.

The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#508: Plants of the Gods — Ayahuasca, Shamanic Knowledge, Coca, and the Adventures of Richard Evans Schultes
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This episode is brought to you by Athletic Greens. I get asked all the time, “If you could only use one supplement, what would it be?” My answer is usually Athletic Greens, my all-in-one nutritional insurance. I recommended it in The 4-Hour Body in 2010 and did not get paid to do so. I do my best with nutrient-dense meals, of course, but AG further covers my bases with vitamins, minerals, and whole-food-sourced micronutrients that support gut health and the immune system. 

Right now, Athletic Greens is offering you their Vitamin D Liquid Formula free with your first subscription purchase—a vital nutrient for a strong immune system and strong bones. Visit AthleticGreens.com/Tim to claim this special offer today and receive the free Vitamin D Liquid Formula (and five free travel packs) with your first subscription purchase! That’s up to a one-year supply of Vitamin D as added value when you try their delicious and comprehensive all-in-one daily greens product.


This episode is brought to you by LinkedIn Sales NavigatorLinkedIn Sales Navigator is the best version of LinkedIn for sales professionals. Tap into the power of LinkedIn’s 700 million+ member network. LinkedIn Sales Navigator gives you 20 monthly InMail messages, Lead Recommendations, Unlimited Searches, Actionable Insights and News, and access to free courses on LinkedIn Learning. Target the right prospects and decision-makers, unlocking 15% more pipeline from sourced opportunities, a 17% lift when saving leads on Sales Navigator, and 42% larger deal sizes.

Start your 60-day free trial—that’s a two-month free trial!—of LinkedIn Sales Navigator today by going to LinkedIn.com/Navigator.


This episode is brought to you by Tonal! Tonal is the world’s most intelligent home gym and personal trainer. It is precision engineered and designed to be the world’s most advanced strength studio. Tonal uses breakthrough technology—like adaptive digital weights and A.I. learning—together with the best experts in resistance training so you get stronger, faster. Every program is personalized to your body using A.I., and smart features check your form in real time, just like a personal trainer.

Try Tonal, the world’s smartest home gym, for 30 days in your home, and if you don’t love it, you can return it for a full refund. Visit Tonal.com for $100 off their smart accessories when you use promo code TIM21 at checkout.


What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

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Psychedelics 101: Books, Documentaries, Podcasts, Science, and More

By popular request, I recorded the short video above to cover what I consider “psychedelics 101.” There is a sea of misinformation out there, and the video covers resources I consider well vetted. All links are listed below. Please be sure to see the important disclaimer at the bottom of this post. 

BOOKS AND ARTICLES:

DOCUMENTARIES/VIDEO SERIES: 

PODCAST EPISODES: 

RESEARCH CENTERS: 

PEOPLE:

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: These plants and compounds are illegal in many countries, and even possession can carry severe criminal penalties. None of this post constitutes medical advice or should be construed as a recommendation to use psychedelics. There are serious legal, psychological, and physical risks. Psychedelics are not for everyone—they can exacerbate certain emotional problems, and there have been, in very rare cases, fatalities.

Dr. Adam Gazzaley, UCSF — Brain Optimization and the Future of Psychedelic Medicine (#507)

Illustration via 99designs

“I wanted to do research that then leapt off the page and became tools that would enter people’s lives and make a meaningful difference to them.”

— Dr. Adam Gazzaley

Adam Gazzaley, MD, PhD (@adamgazz), is the David Dolby Distinguished Professor of Neurology, Physiology, and Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, and the founder and executive director of Neuroscape, a translational neuroscience center engaged in technology development and scientific research of novel brain assessments and optimization tools. Adam is co-founder and chief science advisor of Akili Interactive, Sensync, and JAZZ Venture Partners. He has been a scientific adviser for more than a dozen technology companies, including Apple, GE, Nielsen, and Deloitte.

Adam has filed multiple patents—notably his invention of the first video game cleared by the FDA—authored more than 150 scientific articles, and delivered over 675 invited presentations around the world. He wrote and hosted the nationally televised PBS special The Distracted Mind with Dr. Adam Gazzaley and co-authored The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World, winner of the 2017 PROSE Award. Adam has received many awards and honors, including the 2015 Society for Neuroscience Science Educator Award and the 2020 Global Gaming Citizen honor.

Visit this page to learn more about the Neuroscape Psychedelic Division, which is dedicated to advancing the field of psychedelic science and medicine through multi-level research covering basic to translational to clinical science.

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Brought to you by Wealthfront automated investing, ExpressVPN virtual private network service, and Allform premium, modular furniture. More on all three below.

The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#507: Dr. Adam Gazzaley, UCSF — Brain Optimization and The Future of Psychedelic Medicine
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This episode is brought to you by WealthfrontWealthfront pioneered the automated investing movement, sometimes referred to as ‘robo-advising,’ and they currently oversee $20 billion of assets for their clients. It takes about three minutes to sign up, and then Wealthfront will build you a globally diversified portfolio of ETFs based on your risk appetite and manage it for you at an incredibly low cost. 

Smart investing should not feel like a rollercoaster ride. Let the professionals do the work for you. Go to Wealthfront.com/Tim and open a Wealthfront account today, and you’ll get your first $5,000 managed for free, for lifeWealthfront will automate your investments for the long term. Get started today at Wealthfront.com/Tim.


This episode is brought to you by AllformIf you’ve been listening to the podcast for a while, you’ve probably heard me talk about Helix Sleep mattresses, which I’ve been using since 2017. They just launched a new company called Allform, and they’re making premium, customizable sofas and chairs shipped right to your door—at a fraction of the cost of traditional stores. You can pick your fabric (and they’re all spill, stain, and scratch resistant), the sofa color, the color of the legs, and the sofa size and shape to make sure it’s perfect for you and your home.

Allform arrives in just 3–7 days, and you can assemble it yourself in a few minutes—no tools needed. To find your perfect sofa, check out Allform.com/Tim. Allform is offering 20% off all orders to you, my dear listeners, at Allform.com/Tim.


This episode is brought to you by ExpressVPN. I’ve been using ExpressVPN to make sure that my data is secure and encrypted, without slowing my Internet speed. If you ever use public Wi-Fi at, say, a hotel or a coffee shop, where I often work and as many of my listeners do, you’re often sending data over an open network, meaning no encryption at all.

A great way to ensure that all of your data is encrypted and can’t be easily read by hackers is by using ExpressVPN. All you need to do is download the ExpressVPN app on your computer or smartphone and then use the Internet just as you normally would. You click one button in the ExpressVPN app to secure 100% of your network data. Use my link ExpressVPN.com/Tim today and get an extra three months free on a one-year package!


What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

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Balaji Srinivasan on The Future of Bitcoin and Ethereum, How to Become Noncancelable, the Path to Personal Freedom and Wealth in a New World, the Changing Landscape of Warfare, and More (#506)

Illustration via 99designs

“If code scripts machines, media scripts human beings.”

— Balaji Srinivasan

Balaji S. Srinivasan (@balajis) is an angel investor and entrepreneur. Formerly the CTO of Coinbase and general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, he was also the co-founder of Earn.com (acquired by Coinbase), Counsyl (acquired by Myriad), Teleport (acquired by Topia), and Coin Center.

He was named to the MIT Technology Review’s “Innovators Under 35,” won a Wall Street Journal Innovation Award, and holds a BS/MS/PhD in Electrical Engineering and an MS in Chemical Engineering, all from Stanford University. Balaji also teaches the occasional class at Stanford, including an online MOOC in 2013, which reached 250,000+ students worldwide.

To learn more about Balaji’s most recent project, sign up at 1729.com, a newsletter that pays you. They’re giving out $1,000 in BTC each day for completing tasks and tutorials. Subscribers also receive chapters from Balaji’s new (free) book, The Network State.

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Brought to you by Wealthfront automated investing, Athletic Greens all-in-one nutritional supplement, and Helix Sleep premium mattresses. More on all three below.

The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#506: The Episode of Everything: Balaji on Bitcoin and Ethereum, Media Self-Defense, Drone Warfare, Crypto Oracles, India as Dark Horse, The Pseudonymous Economy, Beautiful Trouble, Ramanujan, Life Extension, and More
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This episode is brought to you by WealthfrontWealthfront pioneered the automated investing movement, sometimes referred to as ‘robo-advising,’ and they currently oversee $20 billion of assets for their clients. It takes about three minutes to sign up, and then Wealthfront will build you a globally diversified portfolio of ETFs based on your risk appetite and manage it for you at an incredibly low cost. 

Smart investing should not feel like a rollercoaster ride. Let the professionals do the work for you. Go to Wealthfront.com/Tim and open a Wealthfront account today, and you’ll get your first $5,000 managed for free, for lifeWealthfront will automate your investments for the long term. Get started today at Wealthfront.com/Tim.


This episode is brought to you by Helix SleepHelix was selected as the #1 overall mattress of 2020 by GQ magazine, Wired, Apartment Therapy, and many others. With Helix, there’s a specific mattress to meet each and every body’s unique comfort needs. Just take their quiz—only two minutes to complete—that matches your body type and sleep preferences to the perfect mattress for you. They have a 10-year warranty, and you get to try it out for a hundred nights, risk free. They’ll even pick it up from you if you don’t love it. And now, to my dear listeners, Helix is offering up to 200 dollars off all mattress orders plus two free pillows at HelixSleep.com/Tim.


This episode is brought to you by Athletic Greens. I get asked all the time, “If you could only use one supplement, what would it be?” My answer is usually Athletic Greens, my all-in-one nutritional insurance. I recommended it in The 4-Hour Body in 2010 and did not get paid to do so. I do my best with nutrient-dense meals, of course, but AG further covers my bases with vitamins, minerals, and whole-food-sourced micronutrients that support gut health and the immune system. 

Right now, Athletic Greens is offering you their Vitamin D Liquid Formula free with your first subscription purchase—a vital nutrient for a strong immune system and strong bones. Visit AthleticGreens.com/Tim to claim this special offer today and receive the free Vitamin D Liquid Formula (and five free travel packs) with your first subscription purchase! That’s up to a one-year supply of Vitamin D as added value when you try their delicious and comprehensive all-in-one daily greens product.


What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

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Continue reading “Balaji Srinivasan on The Future of Bitcoin and Ethereum, How to Become Noncancelable, the Path to Personal Freedom and Wealth in a New World, the Changing Landscape of Warfare, and More (#506)”

Elizabeth Lesser on Building Omega Institute, ADD (Authenticity-Deficit Disorder), and Seeking The Emotion of Illumination (#505)

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“We really began to be tired of ourselves teaching this technology of inner awakening to the same people over and over. It’s like, how many times do you have to wake up in the morning? You’re awake. Do something.”

— Elizabeth Lesser

Elizabeth Lesser (@ElizabethLesser) is a bestselling author and the co-founder of Omega Institute, the renowned conference and retreat center located in Rhinebeck, New York. Elizabeth’s first book, The Seeker’s Guide, chronicles her years at Omega and distills lessons learned into a potent guide for growth and healing. Her New York Times bestselling book, Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow, has sold almost 500,000 copies and has been translated into 20 languages. Her third book, Marrow, chronicles the journey Elizabeth and her younger sister went through when Elizabeth was the donor for her sister’s bone marrow transplant. Her newest book, Cassandra Speaks: When Women Are the Storytellers, the Human Story Changes, reveals how humanity has outgrown its origin tales and hero myths. Elizabeth has given two popular TED talks and is one of Oprah Winfrey’s Supersoul 100, a collection of a hundred leaders who are using their voices and talent to elevate humanity.

She co-founded Omega Institute in 1977—a time when a variety of fresh ideas were sprouting in American culture. Since then, the Institute has been at the forefront of holistic education, offering workshops and conferences in integrative medicine, meditation and yoga, cross-cultural arts and creativity, ecumenical spirituality, and social change. Each year close to 30,000 people participate in Omega’s programs on its campus, and more than a million people visit its website for online learning.

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Brought to you by Tonal smart home gym, Laird Superfood clean, plant-based creamers, and Allform premium, modular furniture. More on all three below.

The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#505: Elizabeth Lesser on Building Omega Institute, Intentional Communities, ADD (Authenticity Deficit Disorder), The Value of Grief, and The Emotion of Illumination
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This episode is brought to you by Laird SuperfoodFounded by big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton and volleyball champion Gabby Reece, Laird Superfood promises to deliver high-impact fuel to help you get through your busiest days. Laird Superfood offers a line of plant-based products designed to optimize your daily rituals from sunrise to sunset.

My two favorite products are their Turmeric Superfood Creamer and Unsweetened Superfood Creamer. I put one of them in practically everything. Both can really optimize your daily coffee or tea ritual, and a $10 bag will last you a long time. For a limited time, Laird Superfood is offering you guys 20% off your order when you use code TIM20 at checkout. Check out LairdSuperfood.com/Tim to see my favorite products and learn more.


This episode is brought to you by Tonal! Tonal is the world’s most intelligent home gym and personal trainer. It is precision engineered and designed to be the world’s most advanced strength studio. Tonal uses breakthrough technology—like adaptive digital weights and A.I. learning—together with the best experts in resistance training so you get stronger, faster. Every program is personalized to your body using A.I., and smart features check your form in real time, just like a personal trainer.

Try Tonal, the world’s smartest home gym, for 30 days in your home, and if you don’t love it, you can return it for a full refund. Visit Tonal.com for $100 off their smart accessories when you use promo code TIM21 at checkout.


This episode is brought to you by AllformIf you’ve been listening to the podcast for a while, you’ve probably heard me talk about Helix Sleep mattresses, which I’ve been using since 2017. They just launched a new company called Allform, and they’re making premium, customizable sofas and chairs shipped right to your door—at a fraction of the cost of traditional stores. You can pick your fabric (and they’re all spill, stain, and scratch resistant), the sofa color, the color of the legs, and the sofa size and shape to make sure it’s perfect for you and your home.

Allform arrives in just 3–7 days, and you can assemble it yourself in a few minutes—no tools needed. To find your perfect sofa, check out Allform.com/Tim. Allform is offering 20% off all orders to you, my dear listeners, at Allform.com/Tim.


What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

SCROLL BELOW FOR LINKS AND SHOW NOTES…

Continue reading “Elizabeth Lesser on Building Omega Institute, ADD (Authenticity-Deficit Disorder), and Seeking The Emotion of Illumination (#505)”

Vitalik Buterin, Creator of Ethereum, on Understanding Ethereum, ETH vs. BTC, ETH2, Scaling Plans and Timelines, NFTs, Future Considerations, Life Extension, and More (Featuring Naval Ravikant) (#504)

Illustration via 99designs

“We wanted digital nations but we got digital nationalism.”

— Vitalik Buterin

Vitalik Buterin (@VitalikButerin) is the creator of Ethereum. He first discovered blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies through Bitcoin in 2011 and was immediately excited by the technology and its potential. He co-founded Bitcoin Magazine in September 2011, and after two and a half years of looking at what the existing blockchain technology and applications had to offer, wrote the Ethereum white paper in November of 2013. He now leads Ethereum’s research team, working on future versions of the Ethereum protocol. In 2014, Vitalik was a recipient of the two-year Thiel Fellowship, tech billionaire Peter Thiel’s project that awards $100,000 to 20 promising innovators under 20 so they can pursue their inventions in lieu of a post-secondary institution path. You can find his website at Vitalik.ca.

Naval Ravikant (@naval) is the co-founder and chairman of AngelList. He is an angel investor and has invested in more than 100 companies, including many mega-successes, such as Twitter, Uber, Notion, Opendoor, Postmates, and Wish. You can subscribe to Naval, his podcast on wealth and happiness, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also find his blog at nav.al.

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Brought to you by Wealthfront automated investing, Pique‘s Daily Immune (Vitamin C optimized for absorption), and Theragun percussive muscle therapy devices. More on all three below.

The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#504: Vitalik Buterin, Creator of Ethereum, on Understanding Ethereum, ETH vs. BTC, ETH2, Scaling Plans and Timelines, NFTs, Future Considerations, Life Extension, and More (Featuring Naval Ravikant)
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This episode is brought to you by Pique and their brand-new supplement, Daily Immune—Vitamin C optimized for absorption. Pique’s Daily Immune is maximized for absorption with liposomal encapsulation technology, and Pique’s unique formula supports a healthy immune system. It’s so easy to take—just a quick squeeze—and tastes so good—think black European elderberries—you might choose to enjoy it twice a day, as I do.

Try it for yourself risk-free with their 30-day satisfaction guarantee—you either love it or get your money back. Go to PiqueTea.com/Tim and use code TIM at checkout to get 5% off your first order plus free shipping when you purchase a bundle.


This episode is brought to you by Theragun! Theragun is my go-to solution for recovery and restoration. It’s a famous, handheld percussive therapy device that releases your deepest muscle tension. I own two Theraguns, and my girlfriend and I use them every day after workouts and before bed. The all-new Gen 4 Theragun is easy to use and has a proprietary brushless motor that’s surprisingly quiet—about as quiet as an electric toothbrush.

Go to Theragun.com/Tim right now and get your Gen 4 Theragun today, starting at only $199.


This episode is brought to you by WealthfrontWealthfront pioneered the automated investing movement, sometimes referred to as ‘robo-advising,’ and they currently oversee $20 billion of assets for their clients. It takes about three minutes to sign up, and then Wealthfront will build you a globally diversified portfolio of ETFs based on your risk appetite and manage it for you at an incredibly low cost. 

Smart investing should not feel like a rollercoaster ride. Let the professionals do the work for you. Go to Wealthfront.com/Tim and open a Wealthfront account today, and you’ll get your first $5,000 managed for free, for lifeWealthfront will automate your investments for the long term. Get started today at Wealthfront.com/Tim.


What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

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Continue reading “Vitalik Buterin, Creator of Ethereum, on Understanding Ethereum, ETH vs. BTC, ETH2, Scaling Plans and Timelines, NFTs, Future Considerations, Life Extension, and More (Featuring Naval Ravikant) (#504)”

Some Thoughts on For-Profit Psychedelic Startups and Companies

Credit: Lewis Minor

This week has been a fascinating firestorm for me. 

Part of the excitement came after a series of tweets I published about some of the concerns I have as psychedelic medicine makes the leap from research to for-profit startups and companies. Here is what I wrote:

“I am very concerned by the patent land grab warming up in the for-profit psychedelic world. Is anyone working on an IP Defense Fund—or coalition of pro-bono lawyers—of some type to file USPTO objections/comments, etc. when companies attempt to secure broad patents that could hinder scientific research, reasonable competition (i.e., for “scale” and wide accessibility, we need competition to help drive costs down), and so on? Who are the smartest people thinking about this?
cc @michaelpollan, @Drug_Researcher, @RickDoblin, @RCarhartHarris

[If helpful, here is the link to the actual thread on Twitter.]

In this post, I’ll describe a few noteworthy tweets, then I’ll focus on one particular response I received, as it helps us unpack a lot.

First, Rick Doblin of The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) replied with the below, which offers great food for thought. It demonstrates how non-profits and drug development can coexist with innovative business models. It also demonstrates how a profit-first model is NOT always necessary for attracting excellent talent to work on tough problems:

Several responses endorsed the Usona Institute — a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to both research and production of psilocybin, 5-MeO-DMT, and other psychedelic medicines — which has made commitments to Open Science. I have many friends who have supported Usona after due diligence.

And now to the tweet that will be our jumping-off point for many topics…

One response that got quite a bit of attention was from Christian Angermeyer, who has co-funded and co-founded two notable for-profit companies in the space, Compass Pathways and ATAI Life Sciences, respectively.

Before we go further, I want to note that I like Christian and have also moderated panels involving him (e.g., the psychedelic science panel at Milken Institute Global Conference 2019, which I think is the best 101 overview I’ve ever been a part of), where I’ve always found his perspectives valuable. 

He is sincere in his goal to help millions with access to psychedelics, and here is his response to my thread (in case easier, screenshot is here):

I planned on responding on Twitter, but it got long and Twitter wouldn’t let me. I also realized that the points, problems, and questions are relevant to nearly anyone starting or working for a for-profit company in the psychedelic space.

For those reasons and more, I decided to turn my response into a blog post.

Here it is…

###

Thank you for the response, Christian. I agree with nearly everything in your response and appreciate the dialogue.

That said, I don’t think it directly addresses my concerns. To further the conversation, please allow me to highlight and clarify a few things:

1. I’m not anti-profit. I’m an early investor or advisor in 50+ companies that have created hundreds of billions of dollars of market cap (e.g., Shopify, Uber, Facebook, Twitter, Alibaba) and raised tens of billions of dollars in funding. I understand how important intellectual property (IP) can be and how critical it is to have financially sustainable models for scaling. 100% agreed there. For-profit structures, and markets in general, are excellent mechanisms for innovation and solving challenging problems.

2. Regarding my donations of “a few million dollars,” which seemed to be considered trivial—I think it’s worth noting that I began funding studies in psychedelic science circa late 2015, and I was a founding funder of the first dedicated research center in the world (Imperial College) and the first in the US (Johns Hopkins). I believe these and other “seed investments” have had large compounding effects, including cultural and institutional domino effects on an international scale. I judge my investments and philanthropy based on outcomes, not the size of my inputs. Little amounts can do a lot when put in early. Of course, I completely agree that large amounts of capital are helpful for scaling access.

Related to science — would you be willing to allow scientists who have signed deals with Compass or ATAI to share their agreements publicly (i.e., waive confidentiality clauses)? I believe that would quell some of the concerns among psychedelic advocates. If not, why not?

Of course, I realize that this would be unusual and not without challenges, but it might be a creative example of how companies can reassure the public that they are, net-net, contributing to, and not detracting from or disabling, the ecosystem. 

 3. You wrote that I’m “wrong” and “incredibly misguided” on the topic of IP. Can you please help me understand how I’m wrong and misguided? I’m always game to learn, but I could use more specifics.

As I stated in my initial tweet thread, I think it’s worth examining—and possibly pushing back on—“broad patents that could hinder scientific research, reasonable competition (i.e., for ‘scale’ and wide accessibility, we need competition to help drive costs down), and so on.” This also applies to anything in the public domain that should remain in the public domain. Please note that I didn’t mention specific companies, but since you engaged…

Do you disagree? Do you think a monopoly/duopoly of any type (Compass or ATAI or otherwise), patents on basic elements of the psychedelic experience, or patents covering dozens of possible conditions that might be treatable (some of which are being treated/researched at universities) would be good for the ecosystem, for innovation, or for ensuring affordable pricing?

I ask these things AS A CHEERLEADER. I WANT Compass and ATAI to succeed in helping many millions of people! I’ve met you, as well as the founders of Compass, and I believe you all to be good people. I really mean it. I believe that you all want to change the world for the better, and this field needs well-capitalized teams who can execute.

Compass and other for-profit companies have the potential to do a ton of good in the world. I also think that the nature and incentives of capitalism can breed strategies that are very bad for innovation, and we need individuals, groups, and third-party organizations to watch for them and mitigate them. Even the best of intentions can warp when they collide with the harsh realities of business.

None of this is Compass- or ATAI-specific. It applies to every startup and company in the space. 

For-profit ventures have a critical role to play in the expansion of psychedelic medicine, but for-profit ventures don’t get a free pass. They can also cause harm, and they often do. There will be compelling temptations to make unethical decisions, pursue unfair anti-competitive practices (e.g., patenting “inventions” that aren’t inventions), generate revenue without adding value (e.g., IP trolling), charge as much as possible (e.g., NYT – “Drug Goes From $13.50 a Tablet to $750, Overnight“), and treat the psychedelic landscape as a winner-take-all or zero-sum game. “Disruption” can be white hat or black hat; “scaling” can be done with net-gain or net-loss to an ecosystem.

There are bad actors and mercenaries in every industry. But here’s the part that people forget: even if the founders of a company rival Mother Theresa in their moral character and strength, that isn’t enough. Leadership changes, incentives change, power dynamics change, and all situations change (Suggested reading: We Will Call It Pala). That’s why both internal guardrails and external watchdogs are important. Once again, even the purest of intentions can warp when they collide with the harsh realities of business. I’ve seen it.

In the end, the people who would most suffer as a result of the possible problems I’ve outlined are the millions of people who most need psychedelic medicine. That is why I’m taking the time to write and publish my concerns.

Once again, thank you for the dialogue, Christian. I greatly appreciate it, and I greatly appreciate your mission to help as many people as possible. I look forward to your thoughts.

Most sincerely,

Tim

[UPDATE: Christian posted his response here on LinkedIn, and VICE published a follow-up article discussing their evaluation of the exchange.]

Walter Isaacson on CRISPR, Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race (#503)

Illustration via 99designs

“The molecule is going to become the new microchip.”

— Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson (@WalterIsaacson) is a professor of history at Tulane, has been CEO of the Aspen Institute, chair of CNN, and editor of Time. He is the author of Leonardo da Vinci; The Innovators; Steve Jobs; Einstein: His Life and Universe; Benjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography. He is co-author of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made.

His new book is The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race.

You can find our first conversation from 2017 at tim.blog/walter.

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

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#503: Walter Isaacson on CRISPR, Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race
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