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"Upstream" with Erik Torenberg

English, Technology, 1 season, 62 episodes, 3 days, 2 hours, 33 minutes
About
Upstream is where host Erik Torenberg goes deeper with the world's most interesting thinkers to map the constellation of ideas that matter across tech, culture, and politics. Ask yourself, what’s upstream of what you believe? On this season of Upstream, you'll hear from Marc Andreessen, David Sacks, Balaji Srinivasan, Ezra Klein, Joe Lonsdale, Katherine Boyle, and more.
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E59: Bryan Caplan on Housing Regulation, Fertility, and Crime

This week on Upstream, Erik sits down with Bryan Caplan to discuss his new book about housing regulation. The conversation touches on political economy, fertility, crime, and more. beehiiv: Head to https://Beehiiv.com and use code "UPSTREAM" for 20% off your first three months. -- This show is produced by Turpentine: a network of podcasts, newsletters, and more, covering technology, business, and culture — all from the perspective of industry insiders and experts. We’re launching new shows every week, and we’re looking for industry-leading sponsors — if you think that might be you and your company, email us at [email protected]. -- RECOMMENDED PODCAST:  The AI Daily Brief If you’re looking for an edge to stay up to date on everything AI, subscribe to Nathaniel Whittemore's AI Daily Brief which delivers tight episodes covering all things AI from legislation to new technologies to the philosophical debates around generalized intelligence.  Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/7gKwwMLFLc6RmjmRpbMtEO Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-ai-daily-brief-formerly-the-ai-breakdown/id1680633614 -- SPONSORS: BEEHIIV Head to beehiiv, the newsletter platform built for growth, to power your own. Connect with premium brands, scale your audience, and deliver a beautiful UX that stands out in an inbox. 🐝 Head to https://Beehiiv.com and use code "UPSTREAM" for 20% off your first three months. -- TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Intro (00:36) Why write "Build, Baby, Build"? (01:51) The value of graphic novels (05:00) Potential benefits of housing deregulation (11:50) Gentrification (15:20) Sponsor: Beehiiv (16:25) The best case in favor of housing regulation (21:40) Fertility rates (29:00) The political economy of housing regulation (35:59) The mechanics of housing regulation (45:51) Challenges of communicating in politics (51:22) Economic thought over time (56:13) Differences in beliefs between generations (58:48) Crime prevention (1:03:00) Bryan's next book (1:08:05) Wrap -- LINKS: Bryan's book: https://www.amazon.com/Build-Baby-Science-Housing-Regulation/dp/1952223415 Bryan's Blog: https://www.betonit.ai/ -- X / TWITTER: https://x.com/bryan_caplan (Bryan) https://twitter.com/eriktorenberg (Erik) https://twitter.com/Upstream__Pod (Upstream) https://twitter.com/TurpentineMedia (Turpentine) -- For guest or sponsorship inquiries please contact [email protected]
5/17/20241 hour, 8 minutes, 56 seconds
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E58: Jonathan Haidt on Analyzing Culture, Tech, and Politics

This week on Upstream, Erik sits down with Jonathan Haidt to discuss his book The Anxious generation. The conversation covers the effects of social media on teen mental health, culture, politics, education, and more. beehiiv: Head to https://Beehiiv.com and use code "UPSTREAM" for 20% off your first three months. -- This show is produced by Turpentine: a network of podcasts, newsletters, and more, covering technology, business, and culture — all from the perspective of industry insiders and experts. We’re launching new shows every week, and we’re looking for industry-leading sponsors — if you think that might be you and your company, email us at [email protected]. -- RECOMMENDED PODCAST:  The AI Daily Brief If you’re looking for an edge to stay up to date on everything AI, subscribe to Nathaniel Whittemore's AI Daily Brief which delivers tight episodes covering all things AI from legislation to new technologies to the philosophical debates around generalized intelligence.  Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/7gKwwMLFLc6RmjmRpbMtEO Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-ai-daily-brief-formerly-the-ai-breakdown/id1680633614 -- SPONSORS: BEEHIIV Head to beehiiv, the newsletter platform built for growth, to power your own. Connect with premium brands, scale your audience, and deliver a beautiful UX that stands out in an inbox. 🐝 Head to https://Beehiiv.com and use code "UPSTREAM" for 20% off your first three months. -- TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Intro (00:13) Evolution of Jonathan's Work: From Moral Psychology to 'The Anxious Generation' (01:14) The Impact of Social Media on Teen Mental Health (02:50) Exploring the Tragedy of the Modern Childhood (07:29) Addressing the Criticism and Pushback (12:08) The Unprecedented Effects of Social Media on Society (19:37) Adapting to Technological Changes and the Future of Childhood (20:20) The Dire State of Democracy in the Digital Age (27:01) How Technology Affects Liberals and Conservatives Differently (28:20) Unveiling the Research: The Rise of Anxiety and Depression (28:48) Breaking Down the Data: Gender, Politics, and Mental Health (30:48) The Protective Power of Religion and Community (31:32) Parenting Styles and Moral Values (32:07) Challenges for Progressive Organizations and the Democratic Party (32:42) Recommendations for a Healthier Childhood in the Digital Age (33:50) Addressing the Broader Issues Beyond Smartphones (34:35) The Role of Schools in Children's Mental Health (36:33) A Call for Intentional Community Building (37:34) Navigating the Public Health Crisis with Apolitical Solutions (40:41) Engaging with the Tech Industry: Critiques and Clarifications (41:01) The Debate on Content Moderation and the Need for Structural Changes (56:27) Wrap -- X / TWITTER: https://twitter.com/JonHaidt (Jonathan) https://twitter.com/eriktorenberg (Erik) https://twitter.com/Upstream__Pod (Upstream) https://twitter.com/TurpentineMedia (Turpentine) -- For guest or sponsorship inquiries please contact [email protected]
5/11/202456 minutes, 58 seconds
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E57: Noah Smith Analyzes Economies: USA, China, Japan, Russia, India, Korea, & More

This week on Upstream, we're releasing an episode from Erik's podcast with Noah Smith, Econ 102. Noah breaks down the economies of the USA, China, Japan, Russia, India, Korea, and more. Access global engineering without the headache and at a fraction of the cost: head to https://choosesquad.com and mention “Turpentine” to skip the waitlist. For more like this, watch part 2 on Econ 102: Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/52nuQvRmuTT7S6ilJoXDYr?si=bf6722824bd64bcf Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/analyzing-economies-england-france-germany-poland-turkey/id1696419056?i=1000650616668 -- This show is produced by Turpentine: a network of podcasts, newsletters, and more, covering technology, business, and culture — all from the perspective of industry insiders and experts. We’re launching new shows every week, and we’re looking for industry-leading sponsors — if you think that might be you and your company, email us at [email protected]. -- SPONSORS: BEEHIIV | SQUAD Head to beehiiv, the newsletter platform built for growth, to power your own. Connect with premium brands, scale your audience, and deliver a beautiful UX that stands out in an inbox. 🐝 Head to https://Beehiiv.com and use code "UPSTREAM" for 20% off your first three months. 💥 Access global engineering without the headache and at a fraction of the cost: head to https://choosesquad.com and mention “Turpentine” to skip the waitlist. -- Recommended Podcast: Company Breakdowns Each episode of Company Breakdowns dives into S-1s and series B-and-beyond companies, interviewing founders and investors to break down the companies. First episode is on Rubrik - which just IPO'd. Coming up this season: Databricks, Reddit + more, Spotify Apple -- TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Intro (01:33) U.S. Economy: Trends and Concerns (08:31) Transition to China Economy: Massive Property Bust (15:58) Sponsor: beehiiv | Squad (22:06) Segue to Japan Economy: Key Hub of the Electronics Manufacturing (30:41) Korea Economic Struggles (33:35) South Korea's Technological Capabilities and International Relations (34:44) Exploring Taiwan's Economy and Challenges (36:52) Indonesia's Manufacturing Shift (38:25) Vietnam's Economic Strategy and Development Needs (41:01) India's Poverty Reduction and Infrastructure Investments (44:56) Pakistan Economic Mismanagement (49:08) Philippines: Underrated Investment Destination (50:03) Transition to Australia: The Progressive Utopia (52:32) Russia Economy at War (60:29) Wrap -- X / TWITTER: https://twitter.com/Noahpinion (Noah) https://twitter.com/eriktorenberg (Erik) https://twitter.com/Upstream__Pod (Upstream) https://twitter.com/TurpentineMedia (Turpentine) -- For guest or sponsorship inquiries please contact [email protected]
5/3/20241 hour, 58 seconds
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E56: Brian Chau on Spreading Informed AI Optimism

This week on Upstream, Nathan Labenz of The Cognitive Revolution podcast and Brian Chau, a machine learning engineer who recently founded the Alliance for the Future, talk about Brian's efforts in Washington, D.C. to influence AI policy based on informed AI optimism. After their conversation, Nathan and Erik chat about the AI landscape. Access global engineering without the headache and at a fraction of the cost: head to https://choosesquad.com and mention “Turpentine” to skip the waitlist. -- This show is produced by Turpentine: a network of podcasts, newsletters, and more, covering technology, business, and culture — all from the perspective of industry insiders and experts. We’re launching new shows every week, and we’re looking for industry-leading sponsors — if you think that might be you and your company, email us at [email protected]. -- SPONSORS: BEEHIIV | SQUAD Head to Beehiiv, the newsletter platform built for growth, to power your own. Connect with premium brands, scale your audience, and deliver a beautiful UX that stands out in an inbox. 🐝 Head to https://Beehiiv.com and use code "UPSTREAM" for 20% off your first three months. 💥 Access global engineering without the headache and at a fraction of the cost: head to https://choosesquad.com and mention “Turpentine” to skip the waitlist. -- RECOMMENDED PODCAST: @turpentinefinance Host Sasha Orloff (3x Founder & CEO) is joined by top founders and finance leaders at high growth tech companies who share how they navigated huge make-or-break decisions, rode inflection points, and architected success. If you want to learn the mental models and tactics top business leaders and CFOs, subscribe below. Debut episode features Casey Woo unpacking his wild ride managing billions in budgets at WeWork – arguably one of the craziest capital stories ever. Listen on Spotify: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/e3-chris-bakke-on-negotiating-with-elon-musk-and/id1704418764?i=1000652828571 Listen on Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/e3-chris-bakke-on-negotiating-with-elon-musk-and/id1704418764?i=1000652828571 -- Alliance for the Future: https://www.affuture.org/ Brian's article on research progress in AI: https://www.affuture.org/research/3-diminishing/ -- X / TWITTER: https://twitter.com/psychosort (Brian) https://twitter.com/labenz (Nathan) https://twitter.com/eriktorenberg (Erik) https://twitter.com/Upstream__Pod (Upstream) https://twitter.com/TurpentineMedia (Turpentine) -- For guest or sponsorship inquiries please contact [email protected]
4/26/20241 hour, 24 minutes, 16 seconds
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E55: Why China's Universities Will Become Harvard

This week on Upstream, we’re releasing an episode from Turpentine’s show Live Players with Samo Burja. Erik and Samo discuss China’s universities and the future of China’s elites. Access global engineering without the headache and at a fraction of the cost: head to https://choosesquad.com and mention “Turpentine” to skip the waitlist. -- This show is produced by Turpentine: a network of podcasts, newsletters, and more, covering technology, business, and culture — all from the perspective of industry insiders and experts. We’re launching new shows every week, and we’re looking for industry-leading sponsors — if you think that might be you and your company, email us at [email protected]. -- SPONSORS: SQUAD 💥 Access global engineering without the headache and at a fraction of the cost: head to https://choosesquad.com and mention “Turpentine” to skip the waitlist. -- RECOMMENDED PODCAST: @turpentinefinance Host Sasha Orloff (3x Founder & CEO) is joined by top founders and finance leaders at high growth tech companies who share how they navigated huge make-or-break decisions, rode inflection points, and architected success. If you want to learn the mental models and tactics top business leaders and CFOs, subscribe below. Debut episode features Casey Woo unpacking his wild ride managing billions in budgets at WeWork – arguably one of the craziest capital stories ever. Listen on Spotify: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/e3-chris-bakke-on-negotiating-with-elon-musk-and/id1704418764?i=1000652828571 Listen on Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/e3-chris-bakke-on-negotiating-with-elon-musk-and/id1704418764?i=1000652828571 -- X / TWITTER: https://twitter.com/SamoBurja (Samo) https://twitter.com/eriktorenberg (Erik) https://twitter.com/Upstream__Pod (Upstream) https://twitter.com/TurpentineMedia (Turpentine) -- TIMESTAMPS: (00:00:00) - Episode Preview (00:00:57) - Universities as an example of US-China parallel evolution (00:02:53) - Academia during The Cultural Revolution (00:04:00) - The elite Chinese universities (00:06:00) - Signaling theory of education (00:06:30) - What the increase in educated leaders means for China’s ruling class (00:07:52) - China as America’s mirror (00:08:30) - China’s “woke” (00:11:29) - How Xi wants China to not fail in the same way the Soviets did (00:12:50) - Crackdown on university students (00:14:46) - Sponsor: Squad | Turpentine (00:15:00) - Rise of student activism in the US (00:19:05) - The translation of regional/ethnic inequalities into ideological ones (00:22:30) - The political ideological paradox generates an opportunity to organize young people (00:24:30) - Role of gender in divergent politics and the East Asian “woke” (00:27:12) - Chinese feminism (00:34:58) - The formation of elites in US and China (00:36:40) - Materialist focused education in China vs legal focused education in US (00:39:47) - Printing university degrees is like printing money by devaluing degrees (00:40:19) - Fight over Harvard Extension School (00:42:20) - Will American universities have as much power in the next 10 years as they do now? (00:46:05) - What positive and negative changes will China see in the near future? (00:47:00) - Silicon Valley in China (00:49:09) - The shift in leadership from businessmen to academia in China For guest or sponsorship inquiries please contact [email protected]
4/19/202454 minutes, 14 seconds
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E54: Naval Ravikant and Balaji Srinivasan on Why History Points to Crypto

This episode was initially recorded before a live audience in 2018. Erik talks with Naval Ravikant and Balaji Srinivasan about the history of money and centralization and why crypto has the potential to fulfill the promise of the internet. Access global engineering without the headache and at a fraction of the cost: head to https://choosesquad.com and mention “Turpentine” to skip the waitlist. -- This show is produced by Turpentine: a network of podcasts, newsletters, and more, covering technology, business, and culture — all from the perspective of industry insiders and experts. We’re launching new shows every week, and we’re looking for industry-leading sponsors — if you think that might be you and your company, email us at [email protected]. -- SPONSOR: SQUAD Squad:💥 Access global engineering without the headache and at a fraction of the cost: head to https://choosesquad.com and mention “Turpentine” to skip the waitlist. -- RECOMMENDED PODCAST: Turpentine Finance Host Sasha Orloff (3x Founder & CEO) is joined by top founders and finance leaders at high growth tech companies who share how they navigated huge make-or-break decisions, rode inflection points, and architected success. If you want to learn the mental models and tactics top business leaders and CFOs, subscribe below. Debut episode features Casey Woo unpacking his wild ride managing billions in budgets at WeWork – arguably one of the craziest capital stories ever. Listen on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5BflNhFxxLjqT2RA47352G Listen on Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/id1704418764 Watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@turpentinefinance -- X / TWITTER: https://twitter.com/naval (Naval) https://twitter.com/balajis (Balaji) https://twitter.com/eriktorenberg (Erik) https://twitter.com/Upstream__Pod (Upstream) https://twitter.com/TurpentineMedia (Turpentine) -- For guest or sponsorship inquiries please contact [email protected] Music license: OYOCYNQ0XUH22PB8
4/12/20241 hour, 5 minutes, 45 seconds
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E53: Nathan Labenz and Noah Smith on What AI Actually Means for the Economy

This week on Upstream, Erik is joined by Nathan Labenz and Noah Smith for a deep dive on how AI will impact job markets, the social contract, and the role of the government. Access global engineering without the headache and at a fraction of the cost: head to https://choosesquad.com and mention “Turpentine” to skip the waitlist. -- SPONSORS: SQUAD | BRAVE Squad:💥 Access global engineering without the headache and at a fraction of the cost: head to https://choosesquad.com and mention “Turpentine” to skip the waitlist. Brave: Get first-party targeting with Brave’s private ad platform: cookieless and future proof ad formats for all your business needs. Performance meets privacy. Head to https://brave.com/brave-ads/ and mention “MoZ” when signing up for a 25% discount on your first campaign. -- RELATED SHOW: 10x Capital Podcast Check out our show The 10x Capital Podcast with David Weisburd, where David talks to the investors behind the investors: https://10xcapitalpodcast.com/ -- TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Intro (00:50) AI and the Future of Employment (03:57) The Intersection of AI, Robotics, and Biotech (05:00) Economic Disruption (06:40) Future of Jobs in an AI-Dominated World (08:27) AI's Impact on Economy (10:34) Pessimism Surrounding AI's Economic Impact (12:17) Comparative Advantage in the AI Era (13:50) AI Replacing Human Jobs (19:03) Sponsor: Squad | Brave (21:24) New Social Contract in the AI Era (34:38) Human Wages in an AI-Dominated Economy (39:36) Impact of AI on Job Market (41:45) Fear of AI Taking Over Human Jobs (47:51) Role of Government in AI Development (50:09) Potential Risks and Benefits of AI (53:15) Future of AI and Its Social Impact (58:38) Fear of Totalitarian States and AI (01:03:13) The Need for a Positive Vision for AI (01:11:03) Wrap up -- X / TWITTER: https://twitter.com/noahsmith (Noah) https://twitter.com/Labenz (Nathan) https://twitter.com/eriktorenberg (Erik) https://twitter.com/Upstream__Pod (Upstream) https://twitter.com/TurpentineMedia (Turpentine) -- For guest or sponsorship inquiries please contact [email protected]
4/5/20241 hour, 13 minutes, 58 seconds
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E52: David Friedman on Anarcho-Capitalism, Utilitarianism, and Inequality

This week on Upstream, Erik is joined by David Friedman for a deep dive on anarcho-capitalism, utilitarianism, and more. To get Brave: Head to https://brave.com/brave-ads/ and mention “MoZ” when signing up for a 25% discount on your first campaign. -- RECOMMENDED PODCAST: Autopilot explores the adoption and rollout of AI in the industries that drive the economy and the dynamic founders bringing rapid change to slow-moving industries. From law, to hardware, to aviation, Will Summerlin interviews founders backed by Benchmark, Greylock, and more to learn how they're automating at the frontiers in entrenched industries. Listen on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/6YQZkKHN7EP2yWedAvSxBC?si=18377c69a2804333 Listen on Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/autopilot-with-will-summerlin/id1738163836 -- SPONSOR: BRAVE Get first-party targeting with Brave’s private ad platform: cookieless and future proof ad formats for all your business needs. Performance meets privacy. Head to https://brave.com/brave-ads/ and mention “MoZ” when signing up for a 25% discount on your first campaign. -- Timestamps: (00:00) Intro (00:46) The Friedman Family's Intellectual Lineage (03:18) Market Failures and Government Intervention (06:11) Privatizating Everything (09:33) The Mechanics of Anarcho-Capitalism (12:47) Why David Isn't a Utilitarianism (16:33) Midroll: Brave | Turpentine (18:19) David's Moral Framework (23:36) Is Global Coordination Possible? (30:46) Privatizing Military and National Defense (32:54) Addressing Poverty in an Anarcho-Capitalist World (35:40) Competitive Dictatorship (40:54) Historical Precedents for Private Law (42:31) The Inefficiency of Governments (44:06) Coordination under Decentralization vs Centralization & Surveillance Capitalism (55:07) Law & Punishment under Anarcho-Capitalism (58:28) The Problems with Restorative Justice (01:07:31) Addressing Common Criticisms of Market Systems (01:14:41) Exploring the Moral Case for Economic Growth (01:16:26) Existential Risks from Global Warming, AI, Nanotech, and Biotech (01:18:49) The Market's Short-Term vs. Long-Term Dilemma (01:20:13) Utilitarian Thought Experiment (01:22:03) Income Sharing Agreements (01:26:20) Equality of Opportunity vs. Outcome (01:30:15) Why Do We Care about Equality? (01:47:40) Anarcho-Capitalism and Crypto (01:51:04) David's Legacy -- LINKS: David's Website: http://www.daviddfriedman.com/ -- X / TWITTER: https://twitter.com/eriktorenberg (Erik) https://twitter.com/Upstream__Pod (Upstream) https://twitter.com/TurpentineMedia (Turpentine) -- Upstream is a production from Turpentine Producer: Sam Kaufman Editor: Eul Jose Lacierda For guest or sponsorship inquiries please contact [email protected]
3/29/20241 hour, 53 minutes, 5 seconds
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E51: How We Build More Housing with Brad Hargreaves & Noah Smith

In this special roundtable episode, Erik Torenberg is joined by Brad Hargreaves (the founder of Common, co-founder of General Assembly, and writer of Thesis Driven) and Noah Smith (podcast host, economist and writer of Noahpinion). They discuss the future of real estate and housing in America, the impact of regulations, and the potential of new cities. 📖 RECOMMENDED PODCAST: Econ 102 is Noah and Erik's podcast diving into the news, business, culture and society from the lens of economics. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/econ-102-with-noah-smith-and-erik-torenberg/id1696419056 Thesis Driven is a podcast hosted by Brad Hargreaves features conversations with the leading voices at the intersection of real estate, cities, innovation, and the built world. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/thesis-driven-leader-series/id1724813949 **These shows are produced by Turpentine: a network of podcasts, newsletters, and more, covering technology, business, and culture — all from the perspective of industry insiders and experts. We’re launching new shows every week, and we’re looking for industry-leading sponsors — if you think that might be you and your company, email us at [email protected]. _ SPONSOR: BRAVE Get first-party targeting with Brave’s private ad platform: cookieless and future proof ad formats for all your business needs. Performance meets privacy. Head to https://brave.com/brave-ads/ and mention “MoZ” when signing up for a 25% discount on your first campaign. – Links: Noahpinion’s https://www.noahpinion.blog Thesis Driven https://www.thesisdriven.com/ – X / TWITTER: @bhargreaves (Brad) @eriktorenberg (Erik) @noahpinion (Noah) @TurpentineMedia (Turpentine) – TIMESTAMPS (00:00) Intro (00:28) Understanding Real Estate Economics (01:34) Role of Technology in Real Estate (02:22) 2008 Financial Crisis and Real Estate (06:31) Role of Banks in Real Estate (10:14) Future of Real Estate and Housing (16:01) Sponsor: Brave | Turpentine (17:44) Impact of Regulations (24:51) Real Estate Architecture’s Evolution (29:48) Role of Developers in Real Estate (40:21) Challenges of Building State Capacity (51:53) Potential of New Cities (01:00:33) Success of New Urbanist Towns (01:01:53) Wrap
3/22/20241 hour, 3 minutes, 18 seconds
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E50: Alex Blania on Worldcoin, AGI, and Future Predictions

This week on Upstream, Erik is joined by Alex Blania, who, with Sam Altman, co-founded Tools for Humanity, the organizarion behind Worldcoin. Erik and Alex go deep on Worldcoin, AGI, and other future tech. To get Brave: Head to https://brave.com/brave-ads/ and mention “MoZ” when signing up for a 25% discount on your first campaign. -- RECOMMENDED PODCAST: Sourcery by Molly O'Shea Sourcery by Molly O’Shea brings the conversations founders and investors have behind closed doors into the light. Subscribe for upcoming episodes with: Delian Asparouhov of Founders Fund and Varda Space, and Chris Power of Hadrian. Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/2Ni3Tese9CtZa3oxpCjgTg YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@SourceryVC -- SPONSOR: BRAVE Get first-party targeting with Brave’s private ad platform: cookieless and future proof ad formats for all your business needs. Performance meets privacy. Head to https://brave.com/brave-ads/ and mention “MoZ” when signing up for a 25% discount on your first campaign. -- LINKS: Worldcoin: https://worldcoin.org/ -- X / TWITTER: @alexblania (Alex) @eriktorenberg (Erik) @upstream__pod @turpentinemedia -- Upstream is a production from Turpentine Producer: Sam Kaufman Editor: Eul Jose Lacierda
3/15/202442 minutes, 39 seconds
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E49: The Legacy of Effective Altruism with Igor Kurganov

This week on Upstream, Erik is joined by Igor Kurganov, poker player and founder of Raising for Effective Giving. They discuss similarities between poker and Effective Altruism, the successes and failures of EA, and where EA should go next. To get Brave: Head to https://brave.com/brave-ads/ and mention “MoZ” when signing up for a 25% discount on your first campaign. -- RECOMMENDED PODCAST: Investing City The Investing City Podcast helps you improve at investing, business, and life: learn from some of the brightest minds in business such as the CEO of Walmart, Morgan Housel, or billion-dollar fund managers. Listen on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/7tV2EIrKXXUPxO0jpUaLlX Listen on Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-investing-city-podcast/id1448079153 -- SPONSOR: BRAVE Get first-party targeting with Brave’s private ad platform: cookieless and future proof ad formats for all your business needs. Performance meets privacy. Head to https://brave.com/brave-ads/ and mention “MoZ” when signing up for a 25% discount on your first campaign. -- LINKS Raising for Effective Giving: https://reg-charity.org/ -- X / TWITTER: @IgorKurganov (Igor) @eriktorenberg (Erik) @upstream__pod @turpentinemedia -- TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Intro (01:01) Math, Poker and Igor’s Journey into Effective Altruism (03:40) The Evolution of Effective Altruism (05:15) Critiques and Challenges of Effective Altruism (08:00) Limitations and Misapplications of Effective Altruism (10:42) Effective Altruism’s Approach to AI Safety and Pandemic Risks (12:54) Igor on Criticisms and Misunderstandings of EA (17:17) Sponsor - Brave (18:19) The Balance between Centralization and Decentralization in Effective Altruism (24:41) Utilizing Philanthropy to Address Market Failure (26:41) Critique of Utilitarianism (29:29) The Influence of Politics in EA (40:13) Appreciating Effective Altruism (42:31) Will EA be Here to Stay? (47:24) Wrap -- Upstream is a production from Turpentine Producer: Sam Kaufman Editor: Eul Jose Lacierda
3/8/202451 minutes, 26 seconds
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E48: Liron Shapira on the Case for Pausing AI

This week on Upstream, Erik is joined by Liron Shapira to discuss the case against further AI development, why Effective Altruism doesn’t deserve its reputation, and what is misunderstood about nuclear weapons. Upstream is sponsored by Brave: Head to https://brave.com/brave-ads/ and mention “MoZ” when signing up for a 25% discount on your first campaign. -- RECOMMENDED PODCAST: History 102 with WhatifAltHistEvery week, creator of WhatifAltHist Rudyard Lynch and Erik Torenberg cover a major topic in history in depth -- in under an hour. This season will cover classical Greece, early America, the Vikings, medieval Islam, ancient China, the fall of the Roman Empire, and more. Subscribe on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/36Kqo3BMMUBGTDo1IEYihm Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/history-102-with-whatifalthists-rudyard-lynch-and/id1730633913 YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@History102-qg5oj -- We’re hiring across the board at Turpentine and for Erik’s personal team on other projects he’s incubating. He’s hiring a Chief of Staff, EA, Head of Special Projects, Investment Associate, and more. For a list of JDs, check out: https://eriktorenberg.com. -- SPONSOR: BRAVE Get first-party targeting with Brave’s private ad platform: cookieless and future proof ad formats for all your business needs. Performance meets privacy. Head to https://brave.com/brave-ads/ and mention “MoZ” when signing up for a 25% discount on your first campaign. -- LINKS Pause AI: https://pauseai.info/ -- X / TWITTER: @liron (Liron) @eriktorenberg (Erik) @upstream__pod @turpentinemedia -- TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Intro and Liron's Background (01:08) Liron's Thoughts on the e/acc Perspective (03:59) Why Liron Doesn't Want AI to Take Over the World (06:02) AI and the Future of Humanity (10:40) AI is An Existential Threat to Humanity (14:58) On Robin Hanson's Grabby Aliens Theory (17:22) Sponsor - Brave (18:20) AI as an Existential Threat: A Debate (23:01) AI and the Potential for Global Coordination (27:03) Liron's Reaction on Vitalik Buterin's Perspective on AI and the Future (31:16) Power Balance in Warfare: Defense vs Offense (32:20) Nuclear Proliferation in Modern Society (38:19) Why There's a Need for a Pause in AI Development (43:57) Is There Evidence of AI Being Bad? (44:57) Liron On George Hotz's Perspective (49:17) Timeframe Between Extinction (50:53) Humans Are Like Housecats Or White Blood Cells (53:11) The Doomer Argument (01:00:00) The Role of Effective Altruism in Society (01:03:12) Wrap -- Upstream is a production from Turpentine Producer: Sam Kaufman Editor: Eul Jose Lacierda For guest or sponsorship inquiries please contact [email protected]
3/2/20241 hour, 5 minutes, 8 seconds
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E47: Rob Henderson on Life in Foster Care, Academia, and Beyond

This week on Upstream, Erik is joined by Rob Henderson, psychologist and author of the newly released Troubled: A Memoir of Foster Care, Family, and Social Class. They discuss dating, cancel culture, luxury beliefs, and more. Upstream is sponsored by Brave: Head to https://brave.com/brave-ads/ and mention “MoZ” when signing up for a 25% discount on your first campaign. --- RECOMMENDED PODCAST: History 102 with WhatifAltHist Every week, creator of WhatifAltHist Rudyard Lynch and Erik Torenberg cover a major topic in history in depth -- in under an hour. This season will cover classical Greece, early America, the Vikings, medieval Islam, ancient China, the fall of the Roman Empire, and more. Subscribe on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/36Kqo3BMMUBGTDo1IEYihm Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/history-102-with-whatifalthists-rudyard-lynch-and/id1730633913 YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@History102-qg5oj --- We're hiring across the board at Turpentine and for Erik's personal team on other projects he's incubating. He's hiring a Chief of Staff, EA, Head of Special Projects, Investment Associate, and more. For a list of JDs, check out: https://eriktorenberg.com. -- SPONSOR: BRAVE Get first-party targeting with Brave's private ad platform: cookieless and future proof ad formats for all your business needs. Performance meets privacy. Head to https://brave.com/brave-ads/ and mention “MoZ” when signing up for a 25% discount on your first campaign. -- LINKS Buy Rob's book: https://www.amazon.com/Troubled-Memoir-Foster-Family-Social/dp/1982168536 Rob's Newsletter: https://www.robkhenderson.com/ -- X / TWITTER: @robkhenderson (Rob) @eriktorenberg (Erik) @upstream__pod @turpentinemedia -- TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Intro (01:03) Rob Henderson's unlikely journey from foster care to academia (04:00) The importance of childhood stability (07:48) Upward mobility is not the ultimate goal (11:43) Sponsor | Brave (12:46) How to improve discussions around family and class (18:47) Understanding luxury beliefs (25:06) Why do dumb ideas capture smart people? (31:15) The impact of dating apps on relationships (38:01) How technology will affect relationships and gender dynamics (58:07) The future of higher education (01:10:03) How to improve foster care (01:12:50) Rob's time in the military (01:18:57) Rob's future goals -- Upstream is a production from Turpentine Producer: Sam Kaufman Editor: Michelle Poreh For guest or sponsorship inquiries please contact [email protected]
2/23/20241 hour, 23 minutes, 3 seconds
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E46: Lyn Alden on How Money Works

This week on Upstream, Erik is joined by Lyn Alden, an investment strategist known for her unique blend of engineering, tech, and finance expertise. They discuss her book Broken Money, macro trends, and her best advice in the face of an uncertain economic future.  Upstream is sponsored by Brave: Head to https://brave.com/brave-ads/ and mention “MoZ” when signing up for a 25% discount on your first campaign. --- RELATED SHOW: 10x Capital Podcast Check out our show The 10x Capital Podcast with David Weisburd, where David talks to the investors behind the investors: https://10xcapitalpodcast.com/ --- We're hiring across the board at Turpentine and for Erik's personal team on other projects he's incubating. He's hiring a Chief of Staff, EA, Head of Special Projects, Investment Associate, and more. For a list of JDs, check out: https://eriktorenberg.com. -- SPONSOR: BRAVE Get first-party targeting with Brave's private ad platform: cookieless and future proof ad formats for all your business needs. Performance meets privacy. Head to https://brave.com/brave-ads/ and mention “MoZ” when signing up for a 25% discount on your first campaign. -- LINKS Buy Lyn's book: https://www.amazon.com/Broken-Money-Financial-System-Failing/dp/B0CG8985FR Lyn's website: https://www.lynalden.com/ -- X / TWITTER: @LynAldenContact (Lyn) @eriktorenberg (Erik) @upstream__pod @turpentinemedia -- TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Intro (01:30) Lynn's book 'Broken Money' (09:19) The rise and fall of monetary orders (14:18) How technology affects money (19:48) Sponsor | Brave (20:51) The effects of a global reserve currency (27:28) The future of the dollar (34:09) Inflation and interest rates (44:42) What are the interesting disagreements about Lyn's ideas? (47:22) The implications of national debt (51:34) What will the effects of Lyn's ideas be? (56:50) Wrap -- Upstream is a production from Turpentine Producer: Sam Kaufman Editor: Michelle Poreh For guest or sponsorship inquiries please contact [email protected]
2/16/202457 minutes, 10 seconds
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E45: Bayeslord and Nadia Asparouhova on Effective Accelerationism

On this episode of Upstream, Erik sits down with e/acc founder Bayeslord and writer Nadia Asparouhova to discuss the foundations and future of the e/acc movement. Upstream is sponsored by Shopify: https://shopify.com/torenberg for a $1/month trial period. -- Check out Erik's new show Request for Startups featuring a rotating cast of founders and investors sharing their requests for startups they want to exist in the world, and also their stories of navigating the idea maze in different sectors so founders don’t have to reinvent the wheel anymore. The first episode is out now - we cover better dating apps, references as a service, and WeWork for productivity. Watch and Subscribe on Substack: https://requestforstartups.substack.com/p/receipt-based-dating-reference-checks Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/request-for-startups-with-erik-torenberg/id1728659822 Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/739L1LR32QI2XyoZlRh5nv -- We're hiring across the board at Turpentine and for Erik's personal team on other projects he's incubating. He's hiring a Chief of Staff, EA, Head of Special Projects, Investment Associate, and more. For a list of JDs, check out: https://eriktorenberg.com. -- SPONSOR: Shopify - https://shopify.com/torenberg for a $1/month trial period Shopify is the global commerce platform that helps you sell at every stage of your business. Shopify powers 10% of all ecommerce in the US. And Shopify's the global force behind Allbirds, Rothy's, and Brooklinen, and 1,000,000s of other entrepreneurs across 175 countries. From their all-in-one ecommerce platform, to their in-person POS system – wherever and whatever you're selling, Shopify's got you covered. With free Shopify Magic, sell more with less effort by whipping up captivating content that converts – from blog posts to product descriptions using AI. Sign up for $1/month trial period: https://shopify.com/torenberg. -- LINKS Bayeslord's and Nadia's article: https://www.piratewires.com/p/ethos-divine-age -- X / TWITTER: @bayeslord @nayafia (Nadia) @eriktorenberg (Erik) @upstream__pod @turpentinemedia -- TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Episode Preview (01:40) Understanding the Perception of E/ACC (03:14) The Impact of E/ACC on Tech Culture (05:38) Nadia's Perspective on E/ACC (14:30) Evolution of Tech Culture (16:55) SPONSOR: SHOPIFY (29:55) Influence of Elon Musk on Tech Culture (45:07) Leadership in E/ACC (47:05) Understanding Journalistic Patterns & Social Dynamics (48:36) Impact of Social Media (49:40) Role of AI in Shaping the Future (50:50) Social Impact of Technology: A Critical View (52:44) Dichotomy of Tech: Good or Bad? (53:42) Evolution of Web 2.0 and Its Consequences (55:30) Future of AI and Potential Risks (57:31) Philosophy of E/ACC (01:26:14) The Future of E/ACC: Phase Two and Beyond -- Upstream is a production from Turpentine Producer: Sam Kaufman Editor: Michelle Poreh For guest or sponsorship inquiries please contact [email protected]
2/9/20241 hour, 30 minutes, 54 seconds
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E44: Tyler Cowen on Harvard, the GOAT Economist, and Ending Stagnation

On this episode of Upstream, Erik sits down with Tyler Cowen to discuss Harvard, AI, Javier Milei's legacy, the value of non-legibility in talent spotting, and more. Upstream is sponsored by Shopify: https://shopify.com/torenberg for a $1/month trial period. -- We're hiring across the board at Turpentine and for Erik's personal team on other projects he's incubating. He's hiring a Chief of Staff, EA, Head of Special Projects, Investment Associate, and more. For a list of JDs, check out: eriktorenberg.com. -- SPONSOR: Shopify - https://shopify.com/torenberg for a $1/month trial period Shopify is the global commerce platform that helps you sell at every stage of your business. Shopify powers 10% of all ecommerce in the US. And Shopify's the global force behind Allbirds, Rothy's, and Brooklinen, and 1,000,000s of other entrepreneurs across 175 countries. From their all-in-one ecommerce platform, to their in-person POS system – wherever and whatever you're selling, Shopify's got you covered. With free Shopify Magic, sell more with less effort by whipping up captivating content that converts – from blog posts to product descriptions using AI. Sign up for $1/month trial period: https://shopify.com/torenberg. -- LINKS Read Tyler's new book for free: https://econgoat.ai/ Tyler's blog: https://marginalrevolution.com -- X / TWITTER: @tylercowen (Tyler) @eriktorenberg (Erik) @upstream__pod @turpentinemedia -- TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Intro (02:48) Tyler's new book GOAT: Who is the Greatest Economist of all Time and Why Does it Matter? (05:19) Javier Milei and dismantling bureaucracy (08:50) Who is the GOAT economist? (12:29) AI, economic growth, and fertility (16:58) Sponsor | Shopify (18:34) Policies for managing population decline (28:44) Emergent Ventures & talent spotting (31:59) The value of non-legibility (33:25) Predictions about Harvard (35:38) The Future of Higher Education (37:45) How Twitter and Harvard are related (40:22) How to think about group differences (43:43) Bronze Age Pervert on Nietzsche and postliberalism (46:45) Rawls's veil of ignorance (48:19) Tyler on his career and legacy (52:45) The future of the University of Austin (56:58) Wrap -- Upstream is a production from Turpentine Producer: Sam Kaufman Editor: Michelle Poreh For guest or sponsorship inquiries please contact [email protected]
2/2/202457 minutes, 8 seconds
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E43: Richard Hanania on Wokeness, Israel-Palestine, and the Mythos of the Modern Right

This week on Upstream, political scientist and writer Ricard Hanania returns to the show. Erik and Richard discuss wokeness, the Israel-Palestine conflict, the mythos of the modern right, Richard's upcoming debate with Curtis Yarvin, and more. Upstream is sponsored by Shopify: https://shopify.com/torenberg for a $1/month trial period. -- We're hiring across the board at Turpentine and for Erik's personal team on other projects he's incubating. He's hiring a Chief of Staff, EA, Head of Special Projects, Investment Associate, and more. For a list of JDs, check out: eriktorenberg.com. -- SPONSOR: Shopify - https://shopify.com/torenberg for a $1/month trial period Shopify is the global commerce platform that helps you sell at every stage of your business. Shopify powers 10% of all ecommerce in the US. And Shopify's the global force behind Allbirds, Rothy's, and Brooklinen, and 1,000,000s of other entrepreneurs across 175 countries. From their all-in-one ecommerce platform, to their in-person POS system – wherever and whatever you're selling, Shopify's got you covered. With free Shopify Magic, sell more with less effort by whipping up captivating content that converts – from blog posts to product descriptions using AI. Sign up for $1/month trial period: https://shopify.com/torenberg. -- LINKS Richard's Substack: https://substack.com/@richardhanania Tickets to Richard's debate with Curtis Yarvin: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/yarvin-vs-hanania-monarchy-vs-democracy-moderated-by-anna-khachiyan-tickets-796276132347 -- X / TWITTER: @RichardHanania (Richard) @eriktorenberg (Erik) @upstream__pod @turpentinemedia -- TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Intro (02:31) Wokeness, DEI, and the removal of university presidents (06:44) How the Israel-Palestine conflict is affecting DEI (08:22) American sentiment towards Israel-Palestine (17:09) Sponsor | Shopify (18:46) Richard's foreign policy perspective on Israel-Palestine (23:02) Nietzschean Liberalism (25:39) How much truth can people take? (30:44) Technology as a spiritual north star (32:39) Reactionary feminism (38:34) Male status & birth rates (41:49) How important is IQ? (45:29) How to discuss difficult truths (48:00) Richard's debate with Curtis Yarvin (54:39) Understanding Effective Altruism -- Upstream is a production from Turpentine Producer: Sam Kaufman Editor: Michelle Poreh For guest or sponsorship inquiries please contact [email protected]
1/26/202459 minutes, 28 seconds
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E42: Erik Torenberg on the Evolution of Media

This week on Upstream, the tables are turned, and Erik is sitting in the guest seat. We're airing an episode the podcast Where It Happens hosted by Greg Isenberg. They discuss B2B creators, how to find profitable niches, how to monetize media businesses, and more. Upstream is sponsored by Shopify: https://shopify.com/torenberg for a $1/month trial period. -- We're hiring across the board at Turpentine and for Erik's personal team on other projects he's incubating. He's hiring a Chief of Staff, EA, Head of Special Projects, Investment Associate, and more. For a list of JDs, check out: eriktorenberg.com. -- SPONSOR: Shopify - https://shopify.com/torenberg for a $1/month trial period Shopify is the global commerce platform that helps you sell at every stage of your business. Shopify powers 10% of all ecommerce in the US. And Shopify's the global force behind Allbirds, Rothy's, and Brooklinen, and 1,000,000s of other entrepreneurs across 175 countries. From their all-in-one ecommerce platform, to their in-person POS system – wherever and whatever you're selling, Shopify's got you covered. With free Shopify Magic, sell more with less effort by whipping up captivating content that converts – from blog posts to product descriptions using AI. Sign up for $1/month trial period: https://shopify.com/torenberg. -- LINKS Greg's newsletter: https://www.gregisenberg.com/ Greg's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/@GregIsenberg -- X / TWITTER: @gregisenberg (Greg) @eriktorenberg (Erik) @upstream__pod @turpentinemedia -- TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Intro (01:54) The rise of the B2B creators (04:30) Are podcasts worth investing in? (09:40) How to spot a profitable niche (11:57) Podcast acquisitions and partnerships (15:55) Sponsor | Shopify (19:04) Why media businesses are undermonetized (29:29) Producers are going to overtake Creators (39:31) Is there enough room for B2B creators? (45:15) Businesses that are too good for Venture Capital (52:55) Steal Erik’s free start up ideas -- Upstream is a production from Turpentine Producer: Sam Kaufman Editor: Michelle Poreh For guest or sponsorship inquiries please contact [email protected]
1/19/20241 hour, 1 minute, 44 seconds
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E41: Steve Hsu on the Future of Everything

In this episode of Upstream, Erik sits down with theoretical physicist and startup founder Steve Hsu. They discuss political polarization in academia, the fertility crisis, AI, and more. Make informed decision for high impact donations with GiveWell, which is offering Upstream listeners donation matching up to $100. To claim your match, go to https://www.givewell.org ➡️ pick “Podcast” and enter "Upstream with Erik Torenberg" at checkout. -- SPONSORS: Shopify | GiveWell Shopify: https://shopify.com/torenberg for a $1/month trial period Shopify is the global commerce platform that helps you sell at every stage of your business. Shopify powers 10% of all ecommerce in the US. And Shopify's the global force behind Allbirds, Rothy's, and Brooklinen, and 1,000,000s of other entrepreneurs across 175 countries. From their all-in-one ecommerce platform, to their in-person POS system – wherever and whatever you're selling, Shopify's got you covered. With free Shopify Magic, sell more with less effort by whipping up captivating content that converts – from blog posts to product descriptions using AI. Sign up for $1/month trial period: https://shopify.com/torenberg. GiveWell: https://www.givewell.org/ Have you ever wondered where your donation could have the most impact? GiveWell has now spent over 15 years researching charitable organizations and only directs funding to the HIGHEST-IMPACT opportunities they’ve found in global health and poverty alleviation. Make informed decisions about high-impact giving. If you’ve never donated through GiveWell before, you can have your donation matched up to $100 before the end of the year, or as long as matching funds last. To claim your match, go to https://www.givewell.org/ and pick “Podcast” and enter "Upstream with Erik Torenberg" at checkout. -- LINKS Superfocus: https://superfocus.ai/ Othram: https://othram.com/index.html Manifold: https://www.manifold1.com/ -- X / TWITTER: @hsu_steve (Steve) @eriktorenberg (Erik) @upstream__pod @turpentinemedia -- TIMESTAMPS: 00:00 Intro 02:21 Political polarization in academia 05:47 The decline of meritocracy in academia 10:00 Why can't academia change? 13:27 Truth-seeking in startups 20:36 Sponsors | Shopify | Givewell 23:36 The fertility crisis 32:11 AI and labor 41:06 What industries are safe from AI automation? 44:05 AI Safety vs accelerationism 47:51 Understanding the rise of China 58:46 The future of the US/China relationship 01:00:41 How does Steve allocate his time? 01:04:41 Steve's suggestions for underexplored opportunities -- Upstream is a production from Turpentine Producer: Sam Kaufman Editor: Michelle Poreh For guest or sponsorship inquiries please contact [email protected]
1/12/20241 hour, 6 minutes, 3 seconds
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E40: Develop Your Personal Investing Strategy with Itay Vinik

On today's Upstream, Erik interviews Itay Vinik to get an overview of the markets and current macro environment, learn frameworks for adjusting an investing strategy based on rising or falling interest rates, and debunk common investment myths. They cover the Federal Reserve's role in a globalized economy, discuss the strategies that stabilize markets, and evaluate different asset classes during economic shifts. Upstream is sponsored by Shopify: https://shopify.com/torenberg for a $1/month trial period. Itay Vinik is the Co-Founder & Chief Investment Officer at Equi (https://www.equi.com/), an alternative investment platform that brings investment strategies to accredited investors. – We're hiring across the board at Turpentine and for Erik's personal team on other projects he's incubating. He's hiring a Chief of Staff, EA, Head of Special Projects, Investment Associate, and more. For a list of JDs, check out: eriktorenberg.com. – SPONSORS: SHOPIFY | GIVEWELL SHOPIFY: https://shopify.com/torenberg for a $1/month trial period Shopify is the global commerce platform that helps you sell at every stage of your business. Shopify powers 10% of all e-commerce in the US. And Shopify’s the global force behind Allbirds, Rothy’s, and Brooklinen, and 1,000,000s of other entrepreneurs across 175 countries. From their all-in-one e-commerce platform, to their in-person POS system – wherever and whatever you’re selling, Shopify’s got you covered. With free Shopify Magic, sell more with less effort by whipping up captivating content that converts – from blog posts to product descriptions using AI. Sign up for $1/month trial period: https://shopify.com/torenberg GiveWell: https://www.givewell.org/ Have you ever wondered where your donation could have the most impact? GiveWell has now spent over 15 years researching charitable organizations and only directs funding to the HIGHEST-IMPACT opportunities they’ve found in global health and poverty alleviation. Make informed decisions about high-impact giving. If you’ve never donated through GiveWell before, you can have your donation matched up to $100 before the end of the year, or as long as matching funds last. To claim your match, go to https://www.givewell.org/ and pick “Podcast” and enter "Upstream with Erik Torenberg" at checkout. – X / TWITTER: @vinikitay @eriktorenberg @upstream__pod @turpentinemedia – TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Intro (04:57) Understanding Alternative Investments (12:21) The Impact of Interest Rates on Investments (14:00) Sponsors: Shopify | GiveWell  (17:59) Understanding the Role of the Fed (23:52) Investing Strategies for Different Economic Conditions (33:52) Debunking the Inverse Correlation of Stocks and Bonds (35:44) Stock Market vs. Real Economy (42:24) Predicting a Potential Recession (42:34) The Fed's Track Record and the Possibility of a Rate Hike (44:03) The Consequences of Increasing Rates (44:50) Understanding Quantitative Easing and Tightening (47:10) The Role of the Fed in Money Creation (01:10:19) The Impact of Globalization on the Fed's Decisions (01:13:22) Understanding China's Currency Manipulation (01:14:37) The Debate on Passive vs Active Investing (01:20:09) The Power of Real Estate in Wealth Creation
1/5/20241 hour, 20 minutes, 5 seconds
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E39: Balaji Srinivasan and Nathan Labenz on AI's Future, Human-AI Symbiosis, and AI Control

On today's Upstream, we're sharing a recent episode where Balaji Srinivasan joins Nathan Labenz to discuss the future of AI: polytheistic AI and AI gods, human-AI symbiosis, and how AI will be controlled. Upstream is sponsored by Shopify: https://shopify.com/torenberg for a $1/month trial period. This episode is a feed drop of The Cognitive Revolution, where Nathan Labenz and Erik Torenberg interview builders on the edge of AI and explore its dramatic shift over the next decades. Listen and subscribe everywhere you get your podcasts: https://www.cognitiverevolution.ai/ – SPONSORS: SHOPIFY | GIVEWELL SHOPIFY: https://shopify.com/torenberg for a $1/month trial period Shopify is the global commerce platform that helps you sell at every stage of your business. Shopify powers 10% of all e-commerce in the US. And Shopify’s the global force behind Allbirds, Rothy’s, and Brooklinen, and 1,000,000s of other entrepreneurs across 175 countries. From their all-in-one e-commerce platform, to their in-person POS system – wherever and whatever you’re selling, Shopify’s got you covered. With free Shopify Magic, sell more with less effort by whipping up captivating content that converts – from blog posts to product descriptions using AI. Sign up for $1/month trial period: https://shopify.com/torenberg GiveWell: https://www.givewell.org/ Have you ever wondered where your donation could have the most impact? GiveWell has now spent over 15 years researching charitable organizations and only directs funding to the HIGHEST-IMPACT opportunities they’ve found in global health and poverty alleviation. Make informed decisions about high-impact giving. If you’ve never donated through GiveWell before, you can have your donation matched up to $100 before the end of the year, or as long as matching funds last. To claim your match, go to https://www.givewell.org/ and pick “Podcast” and enter "Upstream with Erik Torenberg" at checkout. – X / TWITTER: @labenz (Nathan) @balajis (Balaji) @eriktorenberg (Erik) @upstream__pod (Upstream) @TurpentineMedia @CogRev_Podcast (Cognitive Revolution) -- TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Intro (01:41) Exploring the Concept of AI in the Context of Evolution (02:34) Technical Aspects of AI and its Future (05:25) Challenges in AI: Time Varying and Rule Varying Systems (05:54) AI in Practical Utility and Jobs (07:11) AI Progress and Uncertainties in the Near Future (08:17) AI and the Concept of Generative Intelligence (08:25) Adversarial Input (10:36) Sponsor: Shopify (25:11) Offense and Defense (25:48) Sponsor: GiveWell (40:49) Impact on Blue America (45:39 AI Regulation and the Concept of Software FDA (48:45) The Future of AI (49:00) The Role of AI in the Tech Industry (50:18) Exploring the Potential of AI Technology (53:57) The Mathematical Constraints of AI (55:23) The Future of AI: Cryptography and Chaos (57:16) The Impact of AI on Human Evolution (57:19) The Practical Difficulties of AI Implementation (01:02:34) The Future of AI: Amplified Intelligence (01:05:11) The Future of AI: Man-Machine Symbiosis (01:09:09) The Future of AI: Polytheistic AI (01:17:53) Amplified Intelligence Revisited (01:29:02) The Future of AI: The Impact on Blue America (01:30:14) AI in Healthcare (01:30:34) The Role of Human Intelligence in AI Development (01:31:24) The Impact of AI on Job Market and Environment (01:32:27) The Role of AI in Robotics and Training (01:33:50) The Actuator Concept in AI (01:35:06) The Impact of AI on Cryptography (01:37:54) Data Analysis (01:41:00) The Role of AI in Bridging Different Modalities (01:45:28) The Future of AI in a Global Context (01:59:56) The Future of AI in a Tribal Perspective (02:04:26) The Future of AI in a Global Perspective
12/29/20232 hours, 11 minutes, 53 seconds
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E38: Holiday Special: Request for Startups

This week, in a departure from Upstream's usual format, Erik sits downs with friends Nick DeWilde, Sean Linehan, and Justin Mares to exchange startup ideas in a new format called "Request for Startups." Please note that this episode contains some vulgar humor and won't be for everyone. Make informed decision for high impact donations with GiveWell, which is offering Upstream listeners donation matching up to $100. To claim your match, go to www.givewell.org ➡️ pick “Podcast” and enter "Upstream with Erik Torenberg" at checkout. -- RECOMMENDED PODCAST: Live Players with Samo Burja Join host Samo Burja and Erik Torenberg as they analyze the mindsets of today's most intriguing business leaders, investors, and innovators through the lens of their bold actions and contrarian worldviews. You'll come away with a deeper understanding of the development of technology, business, political power, culture and more. Listen to Live Players: https://link.chtbl.com/liveplayers. -- SPONSORS: Shopify | GiveWell Shopify: https://shopify.com/torenberg for a $1/month trial period Shopify is the global commerce platform that helps you sell at every stage of your business. Shopify powers 10% of all ecommerce in the US. And Shopify's the global force behind Allbirds, Rothy's, and Brooklinen, and 1,000,000s of other entrepreneurs across 175 countries. From their all-in-one ecommerce platform, to their in-person POS system – wherever and whatever you're selling, Shopify's got you covered. With free Shopify Magic, sell more with less effort by whipping up captivating content that converts – from blog posts to product descriptions using AI. Sign up for $1/month trial period: https://shopify.com/torenberg. GiveWell: https://www.givewell.org/ Have you ever wondered where your donation could have the most impact? GiveWell has now spent over 15 years researching charitable organizations and only directs funding to the HIGHEST-IMPACT opportunities they’ve found in global health and poverty alleviation. Make informed decisions about high-impact giving. If you’ve never donated through GiveWell before, you can have your donation matched up to $100 before the end of the year, or as long as matching funds last. To claim your match, go to https://www.givewell.org/ and pick “Podcast” and enter "Upstream with Erik Torenberg" at checkout. -- X / TWITTER: @jwmares (Justin) @seanlinehan (Sean) @nick_dewilde (Nick) @eriktorenberg (Erik) @upstream__pod @turpentinemedia -- TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Preview (01:25) Intro (02:03) Fake jobs for rich families (06:59) Ending San Fransisco burglaries (10:50) Better prenups (13:13) Brunch x Benihana (15:44) Sponsors: Shopify | Givewell (19:40) Fit Club (24:40) Justin's story from being a janitor at LA Fitness (26:49) Generative AI applications (37:26) Holistic fertility treatment (42:31) Combining workspaces with other services (44:58) Retraining software engineers (47:15) Quora for people (49:57) Wrap -- Upstream is a production from Turpentine Producer: Sam Kaufman Editor: Graham Bessellieu For guest or sponsorship inquiries please contact [email protected]
12/22/202349 minutes, 32 seconds
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E37: Noor Siddiqui on embryo screening, the fertility crisis, and parenting

In this episode, Erik sits down with Noor Siddiqui, founder and CEO of Orchid. They discuss Orchid's recent breakthrough in embryo whole genome sequencing, the fertility crisis, parenting, dating, and more. Make informed decision for high impact donations with GiveWell, which is offering Upstream listeners donation matching up to $100. To claim your match, go to www.givewell.org ➡️ pick “Podcast” and enter "Upstream with Erik Torenberg" at checkout. -- RECOMMENDED PODCAST: Live Players with Samo Burja Join host Samo Burja and Erik Torenberg as they analyze the mindsets of today's most intriguing business leaders, investors, and innovators through the lens of their bold actions and contrarian worldviews. You'll come away with a deeper understanding of the development of technology, business, political power, culture and more. Listen to Live Players: https://link.chtbl.com/liveplayers. -- SPONSORS: Shopify | GiveWell Shopify: https://shopify.com/torenberg for a $1/month trial period Shopify is the global commerce platform that helps you sell at every stage of your business. Shopify powers 10% of all ecommerce in the US. And Shopify's the global force behind Allbirds, Rothy's, and Brooklinen, and 1,000,000s of other entrepreneurs across 175 countries. From their all-in-one ecommerce platform, to their in-person POS system – wherever and whatever you're selling, Shopify's got you covered. With free Shopify Magic, sell more with less effort by whipping up captivating content that converts – from blog posts to product descriptions using AI. Sign up for $1/month trial period: https://shopify.com/torenberg. GiveWell: https://www.givewell.org/ Have you ever wondered where your donation could have the most impact? GiveWell has now spent over 15 years researching charitable organizations and only directs funding to the HIGHEST-IMPACT opportunities they’ve found in global health and poverty alleviation. Make informed decisions about high-impact giving. If you’ve never donated through GiveWell before, you can have your donation matched up to $100 before the end of the year, or as long as matching funds last. To claim your match, go to https://www.givewell.org/ and pick “Podcast” and enter "Upstream with Erik Torenberg" at checkout. -- LINKS Orchid: https://www.orchidhealth.com/ -- X / TWITTER: @noor_siddiqui_ (Noor) @eriktorenberg (Erik) @upstream__pod @turpentinemedia -- TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Preview (01:06) Intro (01:26) What is Orchid? (04:13) Genome sequencing for embryos: What Orchid has accomplished (07:00) The breakthrough that enabled Orchid's genome sequencing (08:32) The impact and significance of the polygenic risk score (11:59) What is IVF (15:19) Sponsors: Shopify | GiveWell (20:04) Concerns and stigmas around reproductive technology (26:10) On the Gattaca future where parents create perfect children (27:54) Moral panic around longevity (30:32) Anything that can improve things can be used in very hostile ways (33:30) What are the norms around having kids going to be 30-40 years from now (36:55) Noor's thoughts on declining fertility rates (42:13) Matchmaking and dating (48:21) Is the decline of men a real thing? (50:20) Increasing fertility rates, moving the culture, and the negative effects of fertility collapse (1:07:37) Trying out Orchid and how the test works (1:09:16) Wrap -- Upstream is a production from Turpentine Producer: Sam Kaufman Editor: Graham Bessellieu For guest or sponsorship inquiries please contact [email protected]
12/15/20231 hour, 7 minutes, 29 seconds
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E36: Beff Jezos on doxxing, e/acc, and why crypto will save AI

Beff Jezos, the anonymous co-founder of the effective accelerationism movement (also known as "e/acc") recently had his identity revealed by Forbes reporters. He gives the inside story to Erik Torenberg, Antonio Garcia Martinez, Dan Romero, his e/acc cofounder Bayeslord, and The Cognitive Revolution podcast host Nathan Labenz. Make informed decision for high impact donations with GiveWell, which is offering Upstream listeners donation matching up to $100. To claim your match, go to https://www.givewell.org ➡️ pick “Podcast” and enter "Upstream with Erik Torenberg" at checkout. -- RECOMMENDED PODCAST: LIVE PLAYERS Join host Samo Burja and Erik Torenberg as they analyze the mindsets of today’s most intriguing business leaders, investors, and innovators through the lens of their bold actions and contrarian worldviews. You’ll come away with a deeper understanding of the development of technology, business, political power, culture and more. Listen and subscribe everywhere you get your podcasts: https://link.chtbl.com/liveplayers. -- SPONSORS: SHOPIFY | GIVEWELL Shopify: https://shopify.com/torenberg for a $1/month trial period Shopify is the global commerce platform that helps you sell at every stage of your business. Shopify powers 10% of all ecommerce in the US. And Shopify's the global force behind Allbirds, Rothy's, and Brooklinen, and 1,000,000s of other entrepreneurs across 175 countries. From their all-in-one ecommerce platform, to their in-person POS system – wherever and whatever you're selling, Shopify's got you covered. With free Shopify Magic, sell more with less effort by whipping up captivating content that converts – from blog posts to product descriptions using AI. Sign up for $1/month trial period: https://shopify.com/torenberg. GiveWell: https://www.givewell.org/ Have you ever wondered where your donation could have the most impact? GiveWell has now spent over 15 years researching charitable organizations and only directs funding to the HIGHEST-IMPACT opportunities they’ve found in global health and poverty alleviation. Make informed decisions about high-impact giving. If you’ve never donated through GiveWell before, you can have your donation matched up to $100 before the end of the year, or as long as matching funds last. To claim your match, go to https://www.givewell.org/ ➡️ pick “Podcast” and enter "Upstream with Erik Torenberg" at checkout. -- X / TWITTER: @BasedBeffJezos (Beff) @bayeslord (Bayeslord) @dwr (Dan) @antoniogm (Antonio) @eriktorenberg (Erik) @upstream__pod @turpentinemedia -- TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Episode Preview (02:23) The inside story (05:28) How did Beff's identity get revealed by these reporters? (12:27) Why should journalists get to decide who gets to be anon? (16:13) Beff's academic background in quantum computing (18:33) Why Beff started the anon account (20:52) Sponsor: Shopify (22:30) What's next for e/acc (27:37) Overcentralization of AI (29:56) Where the alpha is (35:42) Sponsor: Givewell (42:12) Decels and the rebellion (48:37) Why is big tech so bad & 2024 elections (51:00) AI Leaderboards (53:44) Crypto and AI crossover (58:08) Decentralizing the AI supply chain (01:04:24) Hardware & Extropic technology (01:09:24) Utility of e/acc (01:14:52) What is the e/acc gospel (01:22:20) What is the near term for AI? -- Upstream is a production from Turpentine Producer: Sam Kaufman Editor: Michelle Poreh For guest or sponsorship inquiries please contact [email protected]
12/8/20231 hour, 29 minutes, 24 seconds
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E35: Samo Burja on Sam Altman, Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, and George Soros

In this episode, Erik sits down with Samo Burja, political scientist and founder of Bismarck Analysis. They discuss Samo's term "live player" and today's live players, including Sam Altman, Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, and George Soros. Make informed decision for high impact donations with GiveWell, which is offering Upstream listeners donation matching up to $100. To claim your match, go to www.givewell.org ➡️ pick “Podcast” enter "Upstream with Erik Torenberg" at checkout. -- RELATED PODCAST Join host Samo Burja and Erik Torenberg as they analyze the mindsets of today's most intriguing business leaders, investors, and innovators through the lens of their bold actions and contrarian worldviews. You'll come away with a deeper understanding of the development of technology, business, political power, culture and more. Listen to Live Players: https://link.chtbl.com/liveplayers. -- SPONSORS: Shopify: https://shopify.com/torenberg for a $1/month trial period Shopify is the global commerce platform that helps you sell at every stage of your business. Shopify powers 10% of all ecommerce in the US. And Shopify's the global force behind Allbirds, Rothy's, and Brooklinen, and 1,000,000s of other entrepreneurs across 175 countries. From their all-in-one ecommerce platform, to their in-person POS system – wherever and whatever you're selling, Shopify's got you covered. With free Shopify Magic, sell more with less effort by whipping up captivating content that converts – from blog posts to product descriptions using AI. Sign up for $1/month trial period: https://shopify.com/torenberg. GiveWell: https://www.givewell.org/ Have you ever wondered where your donation could have the most impact? GiveWell has now spent over 15 years researching charitable organizations and only directs funding to the HIGHEST-IMPACT opportunities they’ve found in global health and poverty alleviation. Make informed decisions about high-impact giving. If you’ve never donated through GiveWell before, you can have your donation matched up to $100 before the end of the year, or as long as matching funds last. To claim your match, go to https://www.givewell.org/ and pick “Podcast” and enter "Upstream with Erik Torenberg" at checkout. Oracle: https://oracle.com/upstream With the onset of AI, it’s time to upgrade to the next generation of the cloud: Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. OCI is a single platform for your infrastructure, database, application development, and AI needs. Train ML models on the cloud’s highest performing NVIDIA GPU clusters. Do more and spend less like Uber, 8x8, and Databricks Mosaic, take a FREE test drive of OCI at www.oracle.com/upstream -- X / TWITTER: @SamoBurja (Samo) @eriktorenberg (Erik) @upstream__pod @turpentinemedia -- TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Episode Preview (01:50) What are "live players?" (05:05) Samo’s worldview (10:35) Reflections on the energy transition (15:35) Sponsor: Shopify | Givewell (18:40) Sam Altman as a live player (22:25) OpenAI’s culture vs Microsoft’s culture (25:45) Sam Altman vs Elon Musk vs Peter Thiel (30:35) Sponsor: Oracle (32:40) Understanding different perspectives on capitalism (33:45) The role of live players in society (38:05) Can we train live players? (43:20) The evolution of live players (48:10) Philanthropists as live players: Bill Gates, the Kochs, etc (55:50) The paradox of open society advocates -- Upstream is a production from Turpentine Producer: Sam Kaufman Editor: Graham Bessellieu For guest or sponsorship inquiries please contact [email protected]
12/1/202358 minutes, 31 seconds
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E34: Byrne Hobart on Sam Altman, Meta vs Google, and Effective Altruism

In this episode, Erik is joined by Byrne Hobart, author of tech and finance newsletter The Diff, to discuss Sam Altman's ousting from OpenAI, Microsoft's role in the story, and the new competitive landscape for AI companies. Make informed decision for high impact donations with GiveWell, which is offering Upstream listeners donation matching up to $100. To claim your match, go to www.givewell.org ➡️ pick “Podcast” enter "Upstream with Erik Torenberg" at checkout. -- RELATED PODCAST Every week investor and writer of the popular newsletter The Diff, Byrne Hobart, and co-host Erik Torenberg discuss today’s major inflection points in technology, business, and markets – and help listeners build a diversified portfolio of trends and ideas for the future. Subscribe to “The Riff” with Byrne Hobart and Erik Torenberg: https://link.chtbl.com/theriff. -- SPONSORS: Shopify: https://shopify.com/torenberg for a $1/month trial period Shopify is the global commerce platform that helps you sell at every stage of your business. Shopify powers 10% of all ecommerce in the US. And Shopify's the global force behind Allbirds, Rothy's, and Brooklinen, and 1,000,000s of other entrepreneurs across 175 countries. From their all-in-one ecommerce platform, to their in-person POS system – wherever and whatever you're selling, Shopify's got you covered. With free Shopify Magic, sell more with less effort by whipping up captivating content that converts – from blog posts to product descriptions using AI. Sign up for $1/month trial period: https://shopify.com/torenberg. GiveWell: https://www.givewell.org/ Have you ever wondered where your donation could have the most impact? GiveWell has now spent over 15 years researching charitable organizations and only directs funding to the HIGHEST-IMPACT opportunities they’ve found in global health and poverty alleviation. Make informed decisions about high-impact giving. If you’ve never donated through GiveWell before, you can have your donation matched up to $100 before the end of the year, or as long as matching funds last. To claim your match, go to https://www.givewell.org/ and pick “Podcast” and enter "Upstream with Erik Torenberg" at checkout. Oracle: https://oracle.com/upstream With the onset of AI, it’s time to upgrade to the next generation of the cloud: Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. OCI is a single platform for your infrastructure, database, application development, and AI needs. Train ML models on the cloud’s highest performing NVIDIA GPU clusters. Do more and spend less like Uber, 8x8, and Databricks Mosaic, take a FREE test drive of OCI at www.oracle.com/upstream -- X / TWITTER: @ByrneHobart (Byrne) @eriktorenberg (Erik) @upstream__pod @turpentinemedia -- TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Episode Preview (01:00) Non-obvious thoughts about governance and legal structures (03:45) Could the board have found out something about Sam? (04:40) Tech’s online coordination and choosing sides (06:25) Why haven’t the OpenAI board shared their reasoning? (12:20) Are they going to bring Sam back? (15:10) What should OpenAI’s pivot be? (17:30) Sponsor: Shopify | Givewell (17:40) Analyzing Microsoft's moves and the sweetheart deal (21:00) Satya's succession plans (24:25) OpenAI's unique governance structure (27:10) Sponsor: Oracle (27:20) Why Byrne is long Microsoft (35:15) What explains Microsoft's turnaround? (37:25) Meta and Google (43:20) Which of these companies Byrne would short: Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft (45:30) Was this a coup from the Effective Altruism movement? -- Upstream is a production from Turpentine Producer: Sam Kaufman Editor: Michelle Bessellieu For guest or sponsorship inquiries please contact [email protected]
11/24/20231 hour, 1 minute, 3 seconds
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E33: The Untold History of Nuclear Energy with Packy McCormick and Julia DeWahl

Today on Upstream we’re dropping a special episode of Age of Miracles which dives into the rise and fall of nuclear power in the 20th century, and what we can learn about pushing nuclear into the 21st century. Make informed decision for high impact donations with GiveWell, which is offering Upstream listeners donation matching up to $100. To claim your match, go to www.givewell.org ➡️ pick “Podcast” enter "Upstream with Erik Torenberg" at checkout. RELATED PODCAST To hear the next episodes of Age of Miracles, a narrative show that explores the complex industries that will play an important role in creating an abundant future for humanity, subscribe at https://link.chtbl.com/ageofmiracles or check out the series on YouTube; https://www.youtube.com/@age-of-miracles -- SPONSORS: Shopify: https://shopify.com/torenberg for a $1/month trial period Shopify is the global commerce platform that helps you sell at every stage of your business. Shopify powers 10% of all ecommerce in the US. And Shopify's the global force behind Allbirds, Rothy's, and Brooklinen, and 1,000,000s of other entrepreneurs across 175 countries.From their all-in-one ecommerce platform, to their in-person POS system – wherever and whatever you're selling, Shopify's got you covered. With free Shopify Magic, sell more with less effort by whipping up captivating content that converts – from blog posts to product descriptions using AI. Sign up for $1/month trial period: https://shopify.com/torenberg GiveWell: https://www.givewell.org/ Have you ever wondered where your donation could have the most impact? GiveWell has now spent over 15 years researching charitable organizations and only directs funding to the HIGHEST-IMPACT opportunities they’ve found in global health and poverty alleviation. Make informed decisions about high-impact giving. If you’ve never donated through GiveWell before, you can have your donation matched up to $100 before the end of the year, or as long as matching funds last. To claim your match, go to https://www.givewell.org/ and pick “Podcast” and enter "Upstream with Erik Torenberg" at checkout. Oracle: https://oracle.com/upstream With the onset of AI, it’s time to upgrade to the next generation of the cloud: Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. OCI is a single platform for your infrastructure, database, application development, and AI needs. Train ML models on the cloud’s highest performing NVIDIA GPU clusters. Do more and spend less like Uber, 8x8, and Databricks Mosaic, take a FREE test drive of OCI at oracle.com/upstream -- X / TWITTER: @packym (Packy) @juliadewahl (Julia) @eriktorenberg (Erik) @upstream__pod @turpentinemedia -- TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Episode Preview (00:50) Erik introduces Age of Miracles (03:03) Two narratives of nuclear energy (06:43) Nuclear’s early history and rise (12:26) The start of the fall (15:20) Sponsors: Shopify | Oracle (23:08) Five key factors that led to nuclear’s decline (23:30) Factor #1: the AEC (29:00) Factor #2: good old-fashioned economics (30:30) Sponsor: GiveWell (34:21) Factor #3: regulation (46:25) Factor #4: the environmentalists (54:05) Factor #5: the nuclear disasters (57:53) Recap of the historical lessons (1:02:49) Wrap -- Upstream is a production from Turpentine Producer: Sam Kaufman Editor: Graham Bessellieu For guest or sponsorship inquiries please contact [email protected]
11/17/20231 hour, 5 minutes, 10 seconds
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E32: Balaji on SBF and the Israel-Hamas War

Balaji Srinivasan returns to Upstream for an unfiltered conversation about recent events: SBF's conviction and the conflict in the middle east. Make informed decision for high impact donations with GiveWell, which is offering Econ 102 listeners donation matching up to $100. To claim your match, go to givewell.org ➡️ pick “Podcast” enter "Upstream with Erik Torenberg" at checkout. -- SPONSORS: Shopify: https://shopify.com/upstream for a $1/month trial period Shopify is the global commerce platform that helps you sell at every stage of your business. Shopify powers 10% of all ecommerce in the US. And Shopify's the global force behind Allbirds, Rothy's, and Brooklinen, and 1,000,000s of other entrepreneurs across 175 countries.From their all-in-one ecommerce platform, to their in-person POS system – wherever and whatever you're selling, Shopify's got you covered. With free Shopify Magic, sell more with less effort by whipping up captivating content that converts – from blog posts to product descriptions using AI. Sign up for $1/month trial period: https://shopify.com/upstream GiveWell: https://www.givewell.org/ Have you ever wondered where your donation could have the most impact? GiveWell has now spent over 15 years researching charitable organizations and only directs funding to the HIGHEST-IMPACT opportunities they’ve found in global health and poverty alleviation. Make informed decisions about high-impact giving. If you’ve never donated through GiveWell before, you can have your donation matched up to $100 before the end of the year, or as long as matching funds last. To claim your match, go to https://www.givewell.org/ and pick “Podcast” and enter "Upstream with Erik Torenberg" at checkout. Oracle: https://oracle.com/upstream With the onset of AI, it’s time to upgrade to the next generation of the cloud: Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. OCI is a single platform for your infrastructure, database, application development, and AI needs. Train ML models on the cloud’s highest performing NVIDIA GPU clusters. Do more and spend less like Uber, 8x8, and Databricks Mosaic, take a FREE test drive of OCI at oracle.com/upstream -- X / TWITTER: @balajis (Balaji) @eriktorenberg (Erik) @upstream__pod @turpentinemedia -- TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Episode Preview (01:20) Why should we still care about the SBF story (05:17) An uncensored Twitter exposed the crimes (08:25) Why the system got an F on SBF (11:30) Why the network succeeded over the state (15:10) Sponsors: Shopify | GiveWell (18:00) Actual crimes vs political crimes (20:00) Did the press coverage force the indictment? (22:00) Why didn’t the state move faster if all the pieces were there? (29:30) Political fallout (30:30) Sponsor: Oracle (40:00) Progressive Muslim alliance (42:40) Pro Middle Eastern tech (47:50) Support for anti-Israel is where support for gay marriage was in 2000s (48:20) TikTok is global public opinion minus India and China (50:35) Should America intervene in the Middle East? (52:30) The six regimes (55:30) War with China (57:00) Retribalization of society  
11/10/20231 hour, 4 minutes, 54 seconds
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E31: Sam Lessin on Why We’re Heading into a New Era of Venture

Erik is joined by Sam Lessin, General Partner at the early-stage VC firm Slow Ventures, essayist, and former VP of Product at Facebook. Make informed decision for high impact donations with GiveWell, which is offering Econ 102 listeners donation matching up to $100. To claim your match, go to givewell.org ➡️ pick “Podcast” enter "Upstream with Erik Torenberg" at checkout. -- SPONSORS: GiveWell: https://www.givewell.org/ Have you ever wondered where your donation could have the most impact? GiveWell has now spent over 15 years researching charitable organizations and only directs funding to the HIGHEST-IMPACT opportunities they’ve found in global health and poverty alleviation. Make informed decisions about high-impact giving. If you’ve never donated through GiveWell before, you can have your donation matched up to $100 before the end of the year, or as long as matching funds last. To claim your match, go to givewell.org and pick “Podcast” and enter "Upstream with Erik Torenberg" at checkout. Oracle: oracle.com/upstream With the onset of AI, it’s time to upgrade to the next generation of the cloud: Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. OCI is a single platform for your infrastructure, database, application development, and AI needs. Train ML models on the cloud’s highest performing NVIDIA GPU clusters. Do more and spend less like Uber, 8x8, and Databricks Mosaic, take a FREE test drive of OCI at oracle.com/upstream Vanta: https://www.vanta.com/upstream  Compliance doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, with Vanta it can be super simple. Vanta automates the pricey, time-consuming process of prepping for SOC 2, ISO 27001, HIPAA, and more. With Vanta, you can save up to 400 hours and 85% of costs. Vanta scales with your business, helping you successfully enter new markets, land bigger deals, and earn customer loyalty. Bonus? Upstream listeners get $1000 off Vanta. Just go to https://www.vanta.com/upstream  -- X / TWITTER: @lessin (Sam) @eriktorenberg (Erik) @upstream__pod @turpentinemedia -- TIMESTAMPS: (00:00:00) Episode Preview (00:01:00) On Screenshot Essays, writing, and being OK with being wrong (00:03:54) Sam’s thesis on the factory system of venture capital (00:07:18) What does venture look like when the factory line is over? (00:10:10 Sam’s bearishness on YC and a16z (00:-) What are the best firms going to look like in the future? (00:15:08) Sponsor: GiveWell | Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (00:17:47) The future state of company building and venture (00:19:16 On the fake unicorns in the past decade and what the next 10 years of unicorns might look like (00:23:15) The biggest factors of luck in life and company building (00:24:29) Sam’s thesis on constellation software (00:28:01) Thoughts on the studio model of venture (00:30:20) Team Shares and why that’s Sam’s most bullish investment (00:33:06) Sponsors: Vanta (00:34:31) Why Sam is bullish on crypto (00:39:47) The different models of finance and investing in creators (00:43:11) Sam’s advice for future investors in 2040 (00:46:16) Is the LP landscape going to change significantly? (00:48:10) On consumer social (00:50:20) On VC firms and indexing (00:52:54) Lower variance founders (00:57:16) Kardashians and the future of media / celebrity (00:58:48) Sam on Balaji’s protech and anti-journalist class (00:59:50) What could have made Twitter a $100b company? (1:02:17) How can we represent social capital on the internet? (1:03:48) On the end of capitalism (1:07:24) Slow Ventures today and where they expect to go in the future
11/3/20231 hour, 11 minutes, 4 seconds
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E30: Aaron Ginn on the Moral Idea Maze, the GPU Revolution, and US-China Relations

Erik Torenberg sits down with Aaron Ginn, the CEO and co-founder of Hydra Host and the co-founder of the Lincoln Network (now Foundation for American Innovation). They discuss tech and politics, US-China relations, the GPU revolution, and foreign policy predictions. Upstream is proudly sponsored by Vanta. Get $1000 off Vanta with https://www.vanta.com/upstream Upstream is a part of the Turpentine podcast network. Learn more: www.turpentine.co  –  SPONSORS: MERCURY | VANTA Looking to give your startup a competitive edge? Meet Mercury: https://mercury.com/ Mercury is banking for ambitious companies—a modern partner that can provide you with the tools and resources you need to turn your startup into the best version of itself. It’s software built to help you scale, with safety and stability, when you need to — whether you're a team of two, or a team of 1,000. Join more than 100,000 startups on Mercury, the powerful and intuitive way for ambitious companies to bank. Mercury is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group and involve bank and trust members FDIC.  Compliance doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, with Vanta it can be super simple. Vanta automates the pricey, time-consuming process of prepping for SOC 2, ISO 27001, HIPAA, and more. With Vanta, you can save up to 400 hours and 85% of costs. Vanta scales with your business, helping you successfully enter new markets, land bigger deals, and earn customer loyalty. Bonus? Upstream listeners get $1000 off Vanta. Just go to https://www.vanta.com/upstream   – RECOMMENDED PODCAST: 🚀 Age of Miracles - Subscribe to hear Episodes 1 & 2 which drop on Friday October 27 Age of Miracles is a narrative show that explores the complex industries that will play an important role in creating an abundant future for humanity. Every season, host Packy McCormick brings in an expert cohost to go deep into the possibilities and challenges of making “sci-fi” dreams our reality in our lifetimes. The first season starts at the root of all progress and prosperity: unlocking 10x more clean and reliable energy by splitting and fusing atoms themselves—going nuclear. Listen on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/6k1YLBvORRMyosKy3x1xIl?si=0ea8e73b57c343c3 Listen on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@age-of-miracles/videos  – Timestamps: (00:00) Episode Preview (01:55) Aaron's background (07:23) Aaron's journey on his moral idea maze (11:30) Innovation and progress in the human experiment (15:09) Sponsors: Mercury | Vanta (17:15) Can a right wing parallel economy for everything happen? (19:51) NVIDIA versus the public cloud (28:55) Status of GPUs 6 months to a year from now (34:19) Kinetic interaction with China (42:05) GPUs: Foreign policy concerns and predictions (51:20) Comparison of Biden's and Trump's foreign policy  – LINKS: Hydra Host: https://hydrahost.com/ Book: The Terrible Truth About Liberals https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Terrible_Truth_About_Liberals  – X/ Twitter Aaron @aginnt Erik: @ErikTorenberg Upstream : @upstream__pod
10/27/202356 minutes, 54 seconds
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E29: Sense-Making, a Top 1% Information Diet, and Generation Warfare with Michael Guimarin

Erik Torenberg sits down with Michael Guimarin, a Silicon Valley operator and educator who helps people hone their information diets, to discuss the divide between institutions and networks and how to shift from consensus to resonance. We're proudly sponsored by Vanta. Get $1000 off Vanta with https://www.vanta.com/upstream Upstream is a part of the Turpentine podcast network. Learn more: www.turpentine.co – SPONSORS: MERCURY | VANTA | NETSUITE Looking to give your startup a competitive edge? Meet Mercury: https://mercury.com/ Mercury is banking for ambitious companies—a modern partner that can provide you with the tools and resources you need to turn your startup into the best version of itself. It’s software built to help you scale, with safety and stability, when you need to — whether you're a team of two, or a team of 1,000. Join more than 100,000 startups on Mercury, the powerful and intuitive way for ambitious companies to bank. Mercury is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group and involve bank and trust members FDIC. Compliance doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, with Vanta it can be super simple. Vanta automates the pricey, time-consuming process of prepping for SOC 2, ISO 27001, HIPAA, and more. With Vanta, you can save up to 400 hours and 85% of costs. Vanta scales with your business, helping you successfully enter new markets, land bigger deals, and earn customer loyalty. Bonus? Upstream listeners get $1000 off Vanta. Just go to https://www.vanta.com/upstream NetSuite has 25 years of providing financial software for all your business needs. More than 36,000 businesses have already upgraded to NetSuite by Oracle, gaining visibility and control over their financials, inventory, HR, eCommerce, and more. If you’re looking for an ERP platform head to NetSuite: http://netsuite.com/upstream and download your own customized KPI checklist. – LINKS: Michael's newsletter: https://theinfodiet.com/ (Course is currently sold out) – TWITTER: Michael: @MichaelGuimarin Erik: @ErikTorenberg Upstream : @upstream__pod – TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Episode Preview (02:10) How decisionmaking outcomes are based on information inputs (04:40) How we understand reality is defined by generational access to technology (05:45) Economics of distributing information (08:50) Michael Guimarin's approach vs Jordan Hall or Daniel Schlac (10:41) Before Google: Consensus (11:00) After Google: Resonance (13:50) Framework: The four estates (16:35) Sponsors: Mercury | Vanta (18:35) The divide between institutions and networks (21:00) Why humans can't predict step changes (25:00) Painting a future which links authority and responsibility (29:00) Where Michael differs from Balaji on decentralization (33:20) Sponsor: NetSuite (34:25) Shifting from consensus to resonance (36:00) The timeline for resolving these issues is over two generations (40:00) Longevity (45:25) The information diet as a war (48:15) Artificial Intelligence (50:50) Do we concede too easily when we get power over institutions? (01:01:00) A top 1% to the top .001% information diet: emotional mastery (01:05:00) How should you adjust the inputs? (01:07:30) Information trillionaires
10/20/20231 hour, 15 minutes, 35 seconds
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E28: Richard Hanania Returns | Trump, the Sexual Revolution, and Immigration

Writer and political scientist Richard Hanania is back on Upstream to discuss Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy, the Republican establishment, the sexual revolution, immigration, and his ideological differences with Curtis Yarvin. We're proudly sponsored by Vanta. Get $1000 off Vanta with https://www.vanta.com/upstream Upstream is a part of the Turpentine podcast network. Learn more: www.turpentine.co – SPONSORS: MERCURY | VANTA | NETSUITE Looking to give your startup a competitive edge? Meet Mercury: https://mercury.com/ Mercury is banking for ambitious companies—a modern partner that can provide you with the tools and resources you need to turn your startup into the best version of itself. It’s software built to help you scale, with safety and stability, when you need to — whether you're a team of two, or a team of 1,000. Join more than 100,000 startups on Mercury, the powerful and intuitive way for ambitious companies to bank. Mercury is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group and involve bank and trust members FDIC. Compliance doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, with Vanta it can be super simple. Vanta automates the pricey, time-consuming process of prepping for SOC 2, ISO 27001, HIPAA, and more. With Vanta, you can save up to 400 hours and 85% of costs. Vanta scales with your business, helping you successfully enter new markets, land bigger deals, and earn customer loyalty. Bonus? Upstream listeners get $1000 off Vanta. Just go to https://www.vanta.com/upstream NetSuite has 25 years of providing financial software for all your business needs. More than 36,000 businesses have already upgraded to NetSuite by Oracle, gaining visibility and control over their financials, inventory, HR, eCommerce, and more. If you’re looking for an ERP platform head to NetSuite: http://netsuite.com/upstream and download your own customized KPI checklist. – LINKS: Richard Hanania, The Origins of Woke - https://a.co/d/dQP8BSQ Thomas Chatterton Williams, The French are in a Panic over Le Wokisme, The Atlantic https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2023/03/france-tocqueville-democracy-race-le-wokisme/672775/ – TWITTER: Richard: @RichardHanania Erik: @ErikTorenberg Upstream : @upstream__pod – TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Episode Preview (02:12) Attempted cancellation (05:00) Gender Differences (07:45) Racial Profiling (15:30) Law and Culture: How should conservatives reorient their approach (20:00) Sponsors: Mercury | Vanta (26:15) Richard’s views on dismantling the administrative state (31:00) Are the elites governing the US doing a bad job on public health and law enforcement? (34:15) Sponsor: NetSuite (35:15) Where Richard overlaps with classical liberalism (37:00) How Richard thinks of the Republican establishment (42:35) Richard’s perspective on the recent Bari Weiss debate on the impact of the sexual on women. (48:00) How to increase fertility and the quality of the population (53:00) Richard’s evolution on immigration (58:00) Should a country determine its demographics? (01:02:00) How important is inequality? (01:05:30) Debating Curtis Yarvin (01:16:00) What comes after liberalism – and who cares? (01:21:00) Balaji’s Gray tribe
10/6/20231 hour, 27 minutes, 18 seconds
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E27: Robin Hanson on Elites, Experts, and the Truths We Resist

Robin Hanson, economist, author ,and futurist, sits down with Erik Torenberg to discuss Robin’s ideas about status, truth, and the obstacles for innovation. Upstream is proudly sponsored by Vanta. Get $1000 off Vanta with https://www.vanta.com/upstream Upstream is a part of the Turpentine podcast network. Learn more: www.turpentine.co – SPONSORS: MERCURY | VANTA | NETSUITE Looking to give your startup a competitive edge? Meet Mercury: https://mercury.com/ Mercury is banking for ambitious companies—a modern partner that can provide you with the tools and resources you need to turn your startup into the best version of itself. It’s software built to help you scale, with safety and stability, when you need to — whether you're a team of two, or a team of 1,000. Join more than 100,000 startups on Mercury, the powerful and intuitive way for ambitious companies to bank. Mercury is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group and involve bank and trust members FDIC. Compliance doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, with Vanta it can be super simple. Vanta automates the pricey, time-consuming process of prepping for SOC 2, ISO 27001, HIPAA, and more. With Vanta, you can save up to 400 hours and 85% of costs. Vanta scales with your business, helping you successfully enter new markets, land bigger deals, and earn customer loyalty. Bonus? Upstream listeners get $1000 off Vanta. Just go to https://www.vanta.com/upstream NetSuite has 25 years of providing financial software for all your business needs. More than 36,000 businesses have already upgraded to NetSuite by Oracle, gaining visibility and control over their financials, inventory, HR, eCommerce, and more. If you’re looking for an ERP platform head to NetSuite: http://netsuite.com/upstream and download your own customized KPI checklist. – LINKS: The Elephant in the Brain, Robin Hanson and Kevin Simler https://amzn.asia/d/82WLQX6  – TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Episode Preview (05:38) How Robin developed his theory of the Sacred (09:07)The Sacred binds people together (17:17) Elites  (19:00) Sponsors: Mercury | Vanta (37:20) Gossip networks (38:00) Sponsor: NetSuite (39:13) Proposal to fix academia (45:37) Falsehoods (01:05:12) Double agents in our minds (01:08:36) What is cringe? (01:12:31) Therapy (01:17:02) How falling fertility will affect innovation (01:23:49) Social change strategies for reviving fertility rates -- Upstream is brought to you by the Turpentine media network. Producer: Natalie Toren Editor: Graham Bessellieu For inquiries about guests or sponsoring the podcast, please email [email protected]
9/29/20231 hour, 26 minutes, 57 seconds
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E26: Ben Horowitz on AI, the Future of Venture Capital, and Wartime VCs

Ben Horowitz, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and one of the most influential venture capitalists of the last decade, sits down with Erik for Turpentine VC. They shed light on how Ben thinks about firm-building and where the future is going. We're proudly sponsored by Vanta. Get $1000 off Vanta with https://www.vanta.com/upstream -- Subscribe to Turpentine VC to hear upcoming episodes with top VC minds: Alfred Lin of Sequoia, Elad Gil, and partners at Benchmark: https://www.podpage.com/turpentinevc/ -- Join our free newsletter to get Erik's top 3 insights from each episode every week: https://turpentinevc.substack.com/ -- SPONSORS: MERCURY | VANTA | NETSUITE Looking to give your startup a competitive edge? Meet Mercury: https://mercury.com/ Mercury is banking for ambitious companies—a modern partner that can provide you with the tools and resources you need to turn your startup into the best version of itself. It’s software built to help you scale, with safety and stability, when you need to — whether you're a team of two, or a team of 1,000. Join more than 100,000 startups on Mercury, the powerful and intuitive way for ambitious companies to bank. Mercury is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group and involve bank and trust members FDIC. -- Compliance doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, with Vanta it can be super simple. Vanta automates the pricey, time-consuming process of prepping for SOC 2, ISO 27001, HIPAA, and more. With Vanta, you can save up to 400 hours and 85% of costs. Vanta scales with your business, helping you successfully enter new markets, land bigger deals, and earn customer loyalty. Bonus? Upstream listeners get $1000 off Vanta. Just go to https://www.vanta.com/upstream -- NetSuite has 25 years of providing financial software for all your business needs. More than 36,000 businesses have already upgraded to NetSuite by Oracle, gaining visibility and control over their financials, inventory, HR, eCommerce, and more. If you’re looking for an ERP platform head to NetSuite: http://netsuite.com/upstream and download your own customized KPI checklist. -- RECOMMENDED PODCAST: Founding a business is just the tip of the iceberg; the real complexity comes with scaling it. On 1 to 1000, hosts Jack Altman and Erik Torenberg dig deep into the inevitable twists and turns operators encounter along the journey of turning an idea into a business. Hear all about the tactical challenges of scaling from the people that built up the world's leading companies like Stripe, Ramp, and Lattice. Our first episode with Eric Glyman of Ramp is out now: https://link.chtbl.com/1to1000 -- TIMESTAMPS: (01:00) Episode Preview (03:55) Ben on what allows the legendary VC firms to be great for multi-decades (05:05) a16z’s unique product-first, investor-second approach (06:20) YC as a16z’s closest spiritual analog (09:40) Ben on why venture firms should stay private (11:40) How a16z scaled their fund sizes to market opportunities (12:40) Why a16z chose to go bigger than Benchmark or USV on fund size (14:20) “Spreadsheet” VCs vs. people-first VCs (16:00) a16z’s customer-focused strategy (17:28) The firm’s unique approach to governance (17:50) Sponsor: Mercury, Vanta (19:55) Shared economics and centralized control (21:20) Ben’s view on the future of venture (24:00) How Ben thinks about riding trends like AI, crypto, etc. (27:00) a16z’s AI strategy (32:00) Will a16z expand into multi-asset firms like BlackRock? (33:00) How a16z thinks about their LPs differently from other firms (35:28) Sponsor: NetSuite (38:00) Peacetime vs. Wartime VCs -- LINKS: Why Software Is Eating the World: https://a16z.com/why-software-is-eating-the-world/ -- X / TWITTER: @bhorowitz (Ben) @eriktorenberg (Erik) @TurpentineVC
9/22/202348 minutes, 32 seconds
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E25: Jon Askonas on 2nd Order Effects of AI, the Media Ecology of Reality, and Conservatism

Erik Torenberg sits down with Jon Askonas to look at the impact of disruptive technology in important areas like the media, religion, culture, and politics. Jon is an assistant professor of politics at Catholic University, a senior fellow at the Foundation for American Innovation and a writer for publications like The New Atlantis and Compact. RECOMMENDED PODCAST: Founding a business is just the tip of the iceberg; the real complexity comes with scaling it. On 1 to 1000, hosts Jack Altman and Erik Torenberg dig deep into the inevitable twists and turns operators encounter along the journey of turning an idea into a business. Hear all about the tactical challenges of scaling from the people that built up the world's leading companies like Stripe, Ramp, and Lattice. Our first episode with Eric Glyman of Ramp is out now: https://link.chtbl.com/1to1000 TIMESTAMPS: (01:00) Episode Preview (03:00) Jon’s thesis: The end of consensus reality (04:20) What people have underestimated and overestimated since the 70s (06:00) What comes after the nation state? (07:00) The role of military technology in the next era (09:45) What inputs are most important in determining a country’s dominance (11:00) Countering Bali’s theory of the decline of the US dollar (13:00) What has happened to our consensus reality?  (16:49) Sponsors: Mercury and NetSuite (18:50) Social Media is a red herring. The internet itself was the disruptor (21:30) Why solving the problems of social media won’t return the world to sanity (26:20) Fragmentation is a good thing (29:25) 2nd order effects of AI (30:30) E/acc vs EA  (32:50) Creating a religion out of AI (37:45) Understanding neural networks to understand ourselves? (40:00) The problem with conservatives and technology (46:25) Conservatives ignoring the culture (52:00) Future of the right? (56:20) national security: military operations and civil society implications of generative AI  (57:00) How do we make sense of a world where we can’t determine a fact? (59:10) Believing science, experts, and Sam Harris SELECT LINKS - End of Consensus Reality https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/what-happened-to-consensus-reality - Reality is Just a Game Now
https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/reality-is-just-a-game-now - How Stewart Made Tucker https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/how-stewart-made-tucker - Why Conservatism Failed, Compact Magazine  https://compactmag.com/article/why-conservatism-failed - Henry Farrell and Abraham Newman, Underground Empire https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250840554/undergroundempire - Vanity Fair Article: https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2023/08/musk-thiel-zuckerberg-andreessen-alternate-autocratic-reality - Foundation for American Innovation: https://www.thefai.org/ X/ TWITTER: Erik’s Twitter: @eriktorenberg Jon’s Twitter: @JonAskonas Podcast Twitter: @Upstream__Pod Erik’s Substack: eriktorenberg.substack.com SPONSORS: MERCURY | NETSUITE Looking to give your startup a competitive edge? Meet Mercury: https://mercury.com/ Mercury is banking for ambitious companies—a modern partner that can provide you with the tools and resources you need to turn your startup into the best version of itself. It’s software built to help you scale, with safety and stability, when you need to — whether you're a team of two, or a team of 1,000. Join more than 100,000 startups on Mercury, the powerful and intuitive way for ambitious companies to bank. Mercury is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group and involve bank and trust members FDIC. NetSuite has 25 years of providing financial software for all your business needs. More than 36,000 businesses have already upgraded to NetSuite by Oracle, gaining visibility and control over their financials, inventory, HR, eCommerce, and more. If you’re looking for an ERP platform head to NetSuite: http://netsuite.com/upstream and download your own customized KPI checklist.
9/15/20231 hour, 3 minutes, 27 seconds
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E24: Balaji Srinivasan on Social Tribalism, Cloud Cartography, Internet Values

Balaji Srinivasan joins Erik Torenberg and Moment of Zen co-host Dan Romero to share his new theory of the Tribal Lens, why cognitive territories will gain increasingly more power than land-defined territories, why the US is no longer a beacon in the world, and Balaji strategy to fix San Francisco. Make sure you're subscribed to Moment of Zen https://link.chtbl.com/moz to get notified when we release Part 2 of this new interview with Balaji. Upstream is part of the Turpentine podcast network. Learn more: www.turpentine.co TOPICS DISCUSSED: (00:30) Episode Preview (09:55) Cloud Cartography: If you don't control the cognitive territory. you don't control the lands (14:44) Sponsors: Mercury, NetSuite (18:30) Why people don't take the internet seriously? (23:00) The US is not a nation state (25:10) A civilization state (26:00) Why Americans should learn about India's history / India and the US are converging (33:25) Why a civil war doesn't seem realistic to people now (40:00) Where else should a talented person move? (41:20) Asia is the new global center, (48:20) Internet first, not America first (01:03:25) Software vs. Hardware (01:05:25) Elon and the Grey Strategy (01:17:15) Israel is looking away from the US for partners (01:20:25) The Tribal lens integrates both domestic and foreign politics (01:21:25) Will blue always win? (01:24:25) Making sense of the China meltdown story (01:36:15How to fix San Francisco (01:51:25) Irrationality is an advantage (02:06:25) Dan and Erik debrief SELECT LINKS * For more shownotes directly to your inbox, subscribe to the Moment of Zen Substack: https://momentofzen.substack.com/ Jacob Siegel and Liel Leibovitz, Tablet Magazine - https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/end-american-aid-israel Not Too Long Ago Americans Didn't Care About Taiwan - https://x.com/balajis/status/1657852505425063936?s=46 US Secretary admits Chinese shipyard has more capacity - https://twitter.com/balajis/status/1678299275703484418?s=46 Louis-Vincent Gave, Making Sense of the China Meltdown Story: https://research.gavekal.com/article/making-sense-of-the-china-meltdown-story/ Beautifultrouble.org - Balaji refers to this as the degrowth handbook Balaji Srinivasan’s Network State Conference in Amsterdam: https://lu.ma/tnsconf X / Twitter @balajis (Balaji) @dwr (Dan) @eriktorenberg (Erik) @MOZ_Podcast SPONSORS: Mercury | NetSuite Looking to give your startup a competitive edge? Meet Mercury: https://mercury.com/ Mercury is banking for ambitious companies—a modern partner that can provide you with the tools and resources you need to turn your startup into the best version of itself. It’s software built to help you scale, with safety and stability, when you need to — whether you're a team of two, or a team of 1,000. Join more than 100,000 startups on Mercury, the powerful and intuitive way for ambitious companies to bank. Mercury is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group and involve bank and trust members FDIC. NetSuite has 25 years of providing financial software for all your business needs. More than 36,000 businesses have already upgraded to NetSuite by Oracle, gaining visibility and control over their financials, inventory, HR, eCommerce, and more. If you’re looking for an ERP platform head to NetSuite: http://netsuite.com/upstream and download your own customized KPI checklist.
9/8/20232 hours, 13 minutes, 10 seconds
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E23: Emad Mostaque and Sam Lessin Debate Whether AI is a Good Investment for VC

In this episode of Upstream, Emad Mostaque, founder of Stability AI, and Sam Lessin, GP of Slow Ventures and former VP Product at Facebook, discuss how paradigm shifting AI will be for different sectors of the global economy, whether startups or incumbents have the edge, and whether AI is actually a good investment for Venture Capital. Topics covered in this debate span: the attention and information economy, SaaS markets, how AI-created entertainment will impact society and our relationships, porn, and AI disruption of highly-regulated industries. Erik Torenberg and The Cognitive Revolution AI podcast host Nathan Labenz serve as moderators, asking questions towards the end. If you are interested to hear more of Sam Lessin’s unorthodox views on venture bets, head over to Turpentine VC and listen to a longer, even spicier conversation with him released this week: Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/sg/podcast/sam-lessin-on-why-seed-and-the-factory-system-era/id1701006772?i=1000626099392 Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/7dSK4t8S9IwYqUWSvURMGa?si=FHErS037SVSUGLS1UfhzTg RECOMMENDED PODCAST: Run the Numbers is a weekly podcast about financial metrics and business models, designed for ambitious people operating tech startups. It's a collection of things host CJ Gustafson (CFO at PartsTech and writer of Mostly Metrics) has learned and thought about in the trenches as a tech CFO. Subscribe to listen on the platform of your choice: https://link.chtbl.com/runthenumbers TOPICS DISCUSSED: (00:00) Check out Run The Numbers! (01:00) Episode Preview (03:20) AI as an extender rather than a deck shuffler (07:45) Is AI a disruptive or sustaining innovation?  (09:13) What is intelligence? (11:47) The attention and information economy (16:43) Storytelling, the stock market, and the economy (18:13) Sponsors: Mercury, NetSuite (22:00) AI in the media industry, Hollywood, and distribution (25:30) Startups vs incumbents (27:40) Disrupting highly-regulated industries (28:47) AI in education: an AI tutor for every child (31:40) AI as StackOverflow 2.0 for engineers (33:45) Regulatory Arbitrage (36:20) The oracle problem (38:00) Apple as the weakest live player in AI (42:15) AI in communities and the future of social media (43:00) Replika on Valentine’s Day and AI-generated porn (50:10) How does the market for inference shape up? Inference vs. cloud (51:40) Price of primary care in US in the next decade (52:30) What are the most likely incumbents to be disrupted? (53:25) Will big tech continue to opensource?  (55:30) Birth rate in US in the future given AI (57:00) Can any AI leader sustain high gross margins in the future? (58:00) Stability’s business model X / Twitter @EMostaque (Emad) @Lessin (Sam) @CogRev_Podcast @labenz (Nathan) @eriktorenberg (Erik) SPONSORS: Mercury | NetSuite Looking to give your startup a competitive edge? Meet Mercury: https://mercury.com/ Mercury is banking for ambitious companies—a modern partner that can provide you with the tools and resources you need to turn your startup into the best version of itself. It’s software built to help you scale, with safety and stability, when you need to — whether you're a team of two, or a team of 1,000. Join more than 100,000 startups on Mercury, the powerful and intuitive way for ambitious companies to bank. Mercury is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group and involve bank and trust members FDIC. NetSuite has 25 years of providing financial software for all your business needs. More than 36,000 businesses have already upgraded to NetSuite by Oracle, gaining visibility and control over their financials, inventory, HR, eCommerce, and more. If you’re looking for an ERP platform head to NetSuite: http://netsuite.com/upstream and download your own customized KPI checklist.
9/1/20231 hour, 38 seconds
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E22: Vivek Ramaswamy on his Presidential Run, Intellectually Oppressive Culture, Otherism

Erik Torenberg sits down with Vivek Ramaswamy, the Republican presidential candidate rapidly rising in the polls. Vivek recorded this interview with us in late march. Given the attention from his performance at the first GOP debate this week, we decided to re-run it. We go deeper on many of the soundbites that have been popping up this summer, including his ideas about the culture war, affirmative action, and climate science. We also cover his ambitious transformation from Silicon Valley founder to political candidate, and discuss his radical policy proposals. If you’re looking for an ERP platform, check out our sponsor, NetSuite: http://netsuite.com/upstream TIMESTAMPS (00:00) Episode Preview (03:03) When Vivek set his sights on running for president (09:02) Vivek’s presidential platform: Affirmative action, Climate, Fed, Drug crisis (15:35) Sponsors: NetSuite (16:36) Where Vivek overlaps/differs with Silicon Valley: free speech, DEI, SVB (24:19) How Vivek conceptualizes a meritocracy (30:25) How to remove politics from corporations (41:00) Silicon Valley should empathize more with the rest of the country? (42:24) Cultural otherness (55:06) Defining “woke” (56:22) What’s it like to run a presidential campaign X/TWITTER: Erik's Twitter: @eriktorenberg Vivek's Twitter: @VivekGRamaswamy Podcast Twitter: @Upstream__Pod Erik's Substack: [email protected] SPONSOR: NetSuite has 25 years of providing financial software for all your business needs. More than 36,000 businesses have already upgraded to NetSuite by Oracle, gaining visibility and control over their financials, inventory, HR, eCommerce, and more. If you’re looking for an ERP platform head to NetSuite: http://netsuite.com/upstream and download your own customized KPI checklist.
8/25/202358 minutes, 28 seconds
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E21: Sam Hammond on AI, e/acc, and Institutional Disruption

Samuel Hammond is a Canadian-born, DC-based senior economist for the Foundation for American Innovation, a think tank focused on bridging the cultures of Silicon Valley and DC. His research focuses on innovation and the institutional impact of disruptive technologies. He is an unconventional thinker and writer (Substack: https://www.secondbest.ca/) who participates in nuanced dialogue with different thinkers across economics, tech, policy, and philosophy. In this conversation we discuss Sam’s views on AI, mental models for his worldview, polarization, and how political influence really works. If you’re looking for an ERP platform, check out our sponsor, NetSuite: http://netsuite.com/upstream RECOMMENDED PODCAST: Turpentine VC: Delve deep into the art and science of building successful venture firms through conversations with the world’s best investors and operators. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts: https://link.chtbl.com/TurpentineVC TIMESTAMPS (00:00) Turpentine VC (01:00) Episode Preview (03:00) How Sam characterizes his worldview (07:25) The great founder theory (11:47) Between AI safety concerns and e/acc beliefs, here does Samuel fall on AI? (15:24) What would Sam say to libertarians? (16:00) Sponsor: NetSuite (18:11) What can we learn from Mormonism about AI risks and regulations ?(21:19) AI is leveling the playing field (25:00) Instead of libertarian, AI is communitarian (27:10) Lessons of Mormonism for adapting to technological revolutions (30:00) Do right or left beliefs qualify as a religion, with their own institutions? (40:57) Humanism, grey goo, and why waste is good (44:40) Mental model for government dysfunction (48:09) The think tank ecosystem and how influence really works in DC? (50:53) Samuel’s interesting disagreements with: Balaji Srinivasan, Robin Hanson, Tyler Cowen, Bryan Caplan (52:27) What’s the best argument for pluralism? (52:48) Ezra Klein and Chris Caldwell actually make the same argument about polarization LINKS: thefai.org https://www.secondbest.ca/ X/ TWITTER: @hamandcheese @joinfai @eriktorenberg (Erik) @upstream__pod SPONSOR: NetSuite has 25 years of providing financial software for all your business needs. More than 36,000 businesses have already upgraded to NetSuite by Oracle, gaining visibility and control over their financials, inventory, HR, eCommerce, and more. If you’re looking for an ERP platform head to NetSuite: http://netsuite.com/upstream and download your own customized KPI checklist.
8/18/202359 minutes, 34 seconds
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E20: Martin Shkreli on Public Vilification, Lessons from Prison, and Getting Back in the Arena

Biotech founder and investor Martin Shkreli joins Erik Torenberg and his co-host Jesse Genet on In The Arena podcast to dissect his controversies and crises through the lens of leadership. Martin goes deep into the leadership decisions and regulatory environment that led to him serving time in prison, the lessons he took away about tech and founding startups, and how he believes there is a hero’s journey arc up ahead. If you’re looking for an ERP platform, check out our sponsor, NetSuite: http://netsuite.com/upstream In The Arena is a part of the Turpentine podcast network. If you loved listening, subscribe at the podcast platform of your choice: https://link.chtbl.com/MwjyhPC5 Upstream and In The Arena are part of the Turpentine podcast network. Learn more: www.turpentine.co RECOMMENDED PODCAST: Turpentine VC: Delve deep into the art and science of building successful venture firms through conversations with the world’s best investors and operators. Listen wherever you get your podcasts: https://link.chtbl.com/TurpentineVC TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Episode Preview (01:52) Reliving Martin's most stressful moment (06:09) How the lawsuit impacted Martin's team (09:52) How the government handled Shkreli’s case (11:22) The day Martin was taken by authorities (14:28) Sponsor: NetSuite (19:10) Hedge funds’ relationships with the law compared with venture (25:57) The price hike and pharma industry norms (32:22) Explanation of charges (41:15) The new CEO (44:36) New trope of private equity pharma (48:57) The demise of trust in the media and Pharma Bro (57:11) Regrets and anger (59:45) The epidemic of criminal injustice (01:02:58) Being sued by the FTC under the Sherman Act (monopoly law) (01:06:03) Shkreli and Silicon Valley (01:08:31) Entrepreneurship post-indictment (01:15:40) Martin’s time in prison (01:21:48) Martin reflects on being a repeat founder, and where his passions lie now. X / TWITTER: @wagieeacc (Martin) @jessegenet (Jesse) @eriktorenberg (Erik) @inthearena_pod SPONSORS: NetSuite NetSuite has 25 years of providing financial software for all your business needs. More than 36,000 businesses have already upgraded to NetSuite by Oracle, gaining visibility and control over their financials, inventory, HR, eCommerce, and more. If you're looking for an ERP platform ✅ head to NetSuite: http://netsuite.com/upstream and download your own customized KPI checklist.
8/11/20231 hour, 25 minutes, 43 seconds
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E19: Economist Bryan Caplan on Non-conformity, Sex, Feminism and Homeschooling

Bryan Caplan is a writer and professor of economics at George Mason University, as well as the author of four books, including The myth of the Rational Voter, and The Case Against Education. His upcoming book is on Feminism. In this conversation, we talked about Bryan's views on sex and relationships, innovative approaches to boost birth rates, homeschooling, and his theories on what actually divides the left and the right. If you’re looking for an ERP platform, check out our sponsor, NetSuite: http://netsuite.com/UPSTREAM RECOMMENDED SHOWS: New podcast: https://link.chtbl.com/Econ102 Economist and Substack writers Noah Smith and Erik Torenberg make sense of what’s happening in the news, technology, business, and beyond, through the lens of economics TIMESTAMPS (00:00) Episode Preview (03:00) Identifying trends that are technically correct but not politically correct (05:20) Why are humans having less kids (13:37) The best ways to not conform (15:28) Sponsor: NetSuite (16:59) Feminism (21:12) Homeschooling (23:25) Dating markets, hook ups, and standard-lowering (32:51) Bryan’s dating advice (41:51) Agency and mental illness (46:58) El Salvador’s approach to crime (56:27) Immigration (01:02:05) Ukraine (01:03:33) What really divides the left and the right? LINKS: Bryan Caplan, The Case Against Education https://www.amazon.com/Case-against-Education-System-Waste/dp/0691174652 Bryan Caplan, Selfish Reasons To Have More Kids https://www.amazon.com/Selfish-Reasons-Have-More-Kids/dp/0465028616/ref=sr_1_2?qid=1691043786&refinements=p_27%3ABryan+Caplan&s=books&sr=1-2&text=Bryan+Caplan Bryan Caplan, Open Borders https://www.amazon.com/Open-Borders-Science-Ethics-Immigration/dp/1250316960/ref=sr_1_1?qid=1691043816&refinements=p_27%3ABryan+Caplan&s=books&sr=1-1&text=Bryan+Caplan Bryan Caplan, The Myth of the Rational Voter https://press.princeton.edu/books/paperback/9780691138732/the-myth-of-the-rational-voter X: Bryan's Twitter: @Bryan_Caplan Erik's Twitter: @eriktorenberg Upstream : @upstream__pod SPONSOR: NetSuite provides financial software for all your business needs. More than 36,000 companies have already upgraded to NetSuite, gaining visibility and control over their financials, inventory, HR, eCommerce, and more. If you're looking for an ERP platform, take advantage of a special financing offer and defer payments of a FULL NetSuite implementation for six months. ✅ NetSuite: http://netsuite.com/UPSTREAM
8/4/20231 hour, 13 minutes, 43 seconds
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E18: Marc Andreessen on AI, Religion, SF, Longevity, and the NPC Meme

Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz sits down with Erik Torenberg and his Moment of Zen co-hosts Dan Romero and Antonio Garcia Martinez to discuss AI, religion, San Francisco politics, Eric Voegelin, and life extension. Subscribe to Moment of Zen: https://link.chtbl.com/moz If you’re looking for an ERP platform, check out our sponsor, NetSuite: http://netsuite.com/upstream RECOMMENDED PODCAST: On The Limited Partner Podcast we discuss Venture Capital through the lens of Limited Partners. Join us for conversations that are normally held in stealth. Head to https://link.chtbl.com/thelimitedpartner to subscribe on the platform of your choice. LINKS: Check out Upstream's first interview with Marc, about Marc's Intellectual Education : Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/0bYfnuju3PhHFtSGgiMmoz?si=ecLDCrn_TLaYa7Bh8Q50qg Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/marc-andreessen-on-his-intellectual-journey-the-past/id1678893467?i=1000605668194 Marc Andreessen, Fighting https://pmarca.substack.com/p/fighting Marc Andreessen, Why AI Will Save The World. https://pmarca.substack.com/p/why-ai-will-save-the-world Eric Voegelin, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Voegelin Book: Regime Change by Patrick J. Deneen https://www.amazon.com/Regime-Change-Toward-Postliberal-Future/dp/0593086902 TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Episode preview (02:30) The evolution of human entertainment from epic poetry to NPC Tiktoks (07:50) Violence is a choice (12:00) True democracy mandates military service as a virtue (16:05) Sponsor: NetSuite (17:22) Can San Francisco be fixed? (28:03) Marc's empirical argument for AI (31:45) Where Sam Harris gets it wrong (35:35) Eric Voegelin's concept of Immanetizing the Eschaton (41:40) What happens to religion after AI (48:54) What would Nietzsche say? (49:44) LLMs are already the subject of a religious war (53:28) What comes after liberalism (01:03:03) Based on Zuck's recent PR success, are alpha males back? (01:07:23) Men’s tailoring and the stripping of masculinity (01:09:50) Is Twitter’s influence the real world? Alana Newhouse on MOZ: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmgtPetHBVw&t=349s (01:13:25 ) Is Left vs Right the central conflict of our time? (01:18:30) Life extension TWITTER: @pmarca (Marc) @eriktorenberg (Erik) @upstream__pod. SPONSOR: NetSuite provides financial software for all your business needs. More than thirty-six thousand companies have already upgraded to NetSuite, gaining visibility and control over their financials, inventory, HR, eCommerce, and more. If you're looking for an ERP platform ✅ NetSuite: http://netsuite.com/zen and defer payments of a FULL NetSuite implementation for six months.
7/28/20231 hour, 26 minutes, 9 seconds
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E17: Noah Smith's Reflections on Biden's First Term, Foreign Policy, and Industrial Policy - Econ 102 with Noah Smith

We're excited to introduce Upstream listeners to Econ 102 from Turpentine. In episode 1, Noah Smith and Erik Torenberg discuss the highs and lows of Biden's first term, Biden's policies in comparison to previous presidents and other leaders, as well as China - its real estate sector, industrial and manufacturing industries, and its views on tech. If you're looking for an ERP platform, check out our sponsor, NetSuite: http://netsuite.com/UPSTREAM Subscribe to Econ 102 at the podcast platform of your choice: https://link.chtbl.com/Econ102 Econ 102 is a part of the Turpentine podcast network. To learn more: www.turpentine.co TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Episode Preview (01:54) Overview of Biden's first term (03:08) The most important thing Biden's done  (12:35) What are the chances of Trump returning? (14:03) In the 1970s once again (14:50) Sponsor: NetSuite (17:26) Noah's ideal foreign policy (17:46) Japan's importance in foreign policy (19:29) Main foreign policy concerns in the next cycle (20:46) The ideal containment strategy (22:05) China (26:23) Getting to 1 billion Americans as a foreign policy measure (27:24) Real estate in China (31:02) Comparing and contrasting Chinese and American industrial policy (38:05) China's stomp on the IT industry to encourage manufacturing (39:15)The difference in Chinese and American views of manufacturing  (43:18) Revitalizing American manufacturing  (47:16) The services industry (49:09) A shortage of human truckers  LINKS MENTIONED: Real Estate is China's Economic Achilles Heel: https://www.noahpinion.blog/p/real-estate-is-chinas-economic-achilles Why is China Smashing its Tech Industry: https://www.noahpinion.blog/p/why-is-china-smashing-its-tech-industry Noah Smith's newsletter: https://www.noahpinion.blog/ Erik Torenberg's newsletter: https://eriktorenberg.substack.com/ TWITTER: @noahpinion (Noah) @eriktorenberg (Erik) SPONSOR: NetSuite provides financial software for all your business needs. More than thirty-six thousand companies have already upgraded to NetSuite, gaining visibility and control over their financials, inventory, HR, eCommerce, and more. If you're looking for an ERP platform ✅ NetSuite: http://netsuite.com/upstream and defer payments of a FULL NetSuite implementation for six months.
7/21/202351 minutes, 39 seconds
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E16: Agnes Callard on Dark Empathy, Being Straussian vs Being Sincere, and Philosophical Progress

In this episode, Erik sits down with Agnes Callard to discuss her views on disagreement and progress, her inclination to question and operate outside of accepted societal structures, and why empathy is not always positive. Agnes Callard is a philosopher and essayist who specializes in ancient philosophy, ethics, and Socratic communication. If you're looking for an ERP platform, check out our sponsor, NetSuite: http://netsuite.com/UPSTREAM Upstream is part of the Turpentine podcast network. To learn about sponsorships, email [email protected] or head to www.turpentine.co RECOMMENDED SHOWS: New podcast: Econ 102 with Noah Smith and Erik Torenberg Economist and Substack writers Noah Smith and Erik Torenberg make sense of what’s happening in the news, technology, business, and beyond, through the lens of economics Subscribe to the show: https://link.chtbl.com/Econ102 TIMESTAMPS (00:00) Episode Preview (02:45) Progress in philosophy (05:13) Tensions between academic and public philosophy (07:56) Does philosophy make the world a better place? (09:11) Consulting philosophers (11:42) Why don't we go to philosophers instead of therapists? (15:28) Sponsor: NetSuite  (16:56) Making the case for philosophy (19:22) Sometimes the more you know ain't so (23:46) Benefit of self-delusion (26:05) What do people misunderstand about Socrates?  (27:23) Benefits of conceptual literacy  (30:02) Irony in today's culture (35:10) Status games (37:30) Being Straussian vs being sincere (44:15) Is Tyler Cowan Straussian? (46:00) Agnes' investment into the biggest cultural war issues of our time  (48:28) Why is John Mill's conception of free speech worn out? (50:12) Free speech is the freedom to listen (52:34) How do we justify hierarchy? (56:59) Equality is not a moral principle  (58:14) Darwinian morality (01:01:02) Dark empathy  (01:07:11) Intellectual masturbation (01:09:28) Love, marriage, and living philosophically (01:15:48) What are the questions Agnes wants to find answers to? (01:17:20) Did we just do philosophy for the past hour? TWITTER: Agnes' Twitter: @AgnesCallard Erik's Twitter: @eriktorenberg Upstream : @upstream__pod SPONSOR: NetSuite provides financial software for all your business needs. More than thirty-six thousand companies have already upgraded to NetSuite, gaining visibility and control over their financials, inventory, HR, eCommerce, and more. If you're looking for an ERP platform ✅ NetSuite: http://netsuite.com/upstream and defer payments of a FULL NetSuite implementation for six months.
7/14/20231 hour, 19 minutes, 30 seconds
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E15: Richard Hanania on Affirmative Action, Political Realignment, and the Winning Agenda for 2024

Erik sits down with writer and political scientist Richard Hanania. Richard has a new book titled The Origins of Woke: Civil Rights Law, Corporate America, and the Triumph of Identity Politics. This extended discussion encompasses Richard’s intellectual education and views on how the world works, including affirmative action, the dynamic divide between conservatives and liberals, government overreach, geopolitics, and intellectual contemporaries worth reading. RECOMMENDED SHOWS: Check out In The Arena, a new podcast where entrepreneurs and leaders talk about the biggest crises they've ever faced. The first few episodes dive into Uber, FTX, NastyGal, BloomTech, and more Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/in-the-arena/id1691530886 Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/6qmUIJQkuEeyJveFZtrNcl YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@InTheArenaPodcast LINKS: Richard’s new book: The Origins of Woke: Civil Rights Law, Corporate America, and the Triumph of Identity Politics Richard Hanania’s Substack: https://www.richardhanania.com/ TWITTER: Richard: @RichardHanania Erik: @ErikTorenberg Upstream : @upstream__pod
7/7/20232 hours, 15 minutes, 36 seconds
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E14: Balaji Srinivasan on Conspiracies, the Fiat Crisis, Russia, and China.

In this episode, Erik sits down with Balaji Srinivasan to discuss the Fiat Crisis, geopolitics, conspiracies, and the signs of decline for a hyperpower. Balaji is an angel investor, tech founder, philosopher, and author of The Network State. He was formerly the CTO of Coinbase. This riveting conversation is, in many aspects, a follow-up to his appearance on Moment of Zen (see links below).  Upstream is part of the Turpentine podcast network. To learn about sponsorships, email [email protected] or head to www.turpentine.co RECOMMENDED SHOWS: Check out In The Arena, a new podcast where entrepreneurs and leaders talk about the biggest crises they've ever faced. The first few episodes dive into Uber, FTX, NastyGal, BloomTech, and more Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/in-the-arena/id1691530886 Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/6qmUIJQkuEeyJveFZtrNcl YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@InTheArenaPodcast ICYMI: Moment of Zen w/ Balaji Srinivasan: https://open.spotify.com/episode/6tk6DbkVhBlDp1hh8wzIEM?si=NA-oZU6NT7iNTKhX1ixoCQ TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Episode Preview (01:40) What is happening with the Fiat Crisis? (08:52) Balaji’s equivalent premises (11:07) God, State, Network (12:45) Irrational adherence to principles (15:12) Sponsors: Secureframe (16:16) Hyperpower wars 1991-2021 (20:05) Economic conclusions (23:12) Blue America is at war with the world (28:30) Cancellation is a weak form of warfare (32:35) Red vs Blue vs Grey America  (38:00) Make America states again (39:47) America and India parallels in reverse (43:10) Can America turn around after the next election? (44:25) America and China and Russia | Microsoft and Facebook and Google (46:55) How people react to Balaji’s China stance (52:00) History between Russia and Japan (57:25) Conspiracies (01:04:35) Balaji’s predictions for 2024 & the Fed (01:11:41) Replacing the Dollar network TWITTER: Balaji’s Twitter: @balajis Erik’s Twitter: @eriktorenberg Upstream : @upstream__pod SPONSOR: Please support our sponsor:  Secureframe https://secureframe.com/ Secureframe is the leading all-in-one platform for security and privacy compliance. Get SOC-2 audit ready in weeks, not months. I believe in Secureframe so much that I invested in it, and I recommend it to all my portfolio companies. Sign up for a free demo and mention UPSTREAM during your demo to get 20% off your first year. Secureframe has just released Secureframe Trust, a new product that lets you showcase your organization's security posture to build customer trust.
6/30/20231 hour, 18 minutes, 54 seconds
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E13: Kevin Kelly on Multiple Futures, AI, and Becoming Better Humans

This week our guest is Kevin Kelly, the founding executive editor of Wired magazine, technologist, and author. We go into Kevin’s predictions for AI, interspeciation, and how humans need to be having more children. We also talk about practical and unpretentious advice for succeeding, communicating, and being good members of society. Upstream is a part of the Turpentine podcast network. Learn more: Turpentine.co TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Preview (01:29) Introduction (02:06) Kevin's advice for living and 'advice as a category' (14:55) Sponsors: Secureframe | Mercury (16:00) Virtue of Natalism (19:42) Future of sentience (25:13) AI safety (30:26) What technology wants (37:03) New mythologies (40:20) Global governance (44:14) Demoralizing Failure LINKS: Kevin Kelly's book: Excellent Advice for Living https://www.amazon.com/Excellent-Advice-Living-Wisdom-Earlier/dp/0593654528 TWITTER: Kevin's Twitter: @kevin2kelly Erik's Twitter: @eriktorenberg SPONSORS: Please support our sponsors: Secureframe | Mercury - Secureframe: https://secureframe.com/ Secureframe is the leading all-in-one platform for security and privacy compliance. Get SOC-2 audit ready in weeks, not months. I believe in Secureframe so much that I invested in it, and I recommend it to all my portfolio companies. Sign up for a free demo and mention UPSTREAM during your demo to get 20% off your first year. Secureframe has just released Secureframe Trust, a new product that lets you showcase your organization's security posture to build customer trust. - Mercury: https://mercury.com/ Now more than ever, startup founders need a safe place to put their cash. Mercury protects your money and also provides the streamlined user experience that great founders expect through partner banks and their sweep networks. Mercury offers up to $5 million in FDIC insurance, which is 20 times the per-bank limit. They also make it easy to invest any cash above the FDIC-insured amount in a money market fund, a hundred thousand startups trust Mercury with their finances. I've been a happy Mercury customer and have found their team incredibly helpful and responsive. Mercury is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group and involve bank and trust members FDIC Thanks to Graham Bessellieu for production.
6/23/202347 minutes, 54 seconds
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[Bonus] Palmer Luckey of Anduril Industries on China, DefenseTech, and U.S. Policy | The HIll & Valley

Today, we have a special new show to share. The Hill & Valley is a podcast that offers an inside look into how tech and the US government are starting to move closer together and pave the future of American technological leadership and national security. The show is hosted by author and commissioner of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission Jacob Helberg, Varda Space Industries Founder Delian Asparouhov, and Principal at 137 Ventures Christian Garrett.  Palmer Luckey is the founder of defense technology company Anduril Industries and Oculus VR. Palmer discusses the future of China-US relations, breakthroughs in DefenseTech, and working with the Department of Defense. Subscribe to The Hill & Valley podcast below: Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-hill-valley/id1692653857 Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/39s4MCyt1pOTQ8FjOAS4mi Timestamps: (00:00) Episode Preview (03:10) Shifting dynamics between the government and Silicon Valley since Palmer started Anduril Industries (07:30) Biggest factors contributing to new demand for defense technology (09:00) Evolving reaction of tech investors and talent to defense technology (13:42) Working with the U.S. Department of Defense (19:00) Sponsors: Secureframe | Mercury (20:00) Exporting strategic technology to China: patents, AI, sensor fusion (23:00) How can more tech companies compete for DoD contracts? (26:00) Lobbying (27:00) Building Anduril Industries on first principles (31:00) Banning Chinese hardware and software (like TikTok) (40:30) Can the US pull off a second Cold War victory with China? (45:00) Immigration reform and supply chain disruption (54:20) Palmer’s picks for the most impactful strategic technology on the horizon TWITTER: Erik Torenberg | @eriktorenberg Upstream Podcast | @upstream__pod Jacob Hellberg | @jacobhelberg Delian Asparouhov | @zebulgar Christian Garrett | @CGarrett_15 Palmer Luckey | @PalmerLuckey SPONSORS: Please support our sponsors: Secureframe | Mercury - Secureframe: https://secureframe.com/ Secureframe is the leading all-in-one platform for security and privacy compliance. Get SOC-2 audit ready in weeks, not months. I believe in Secureframe so much that I invested in it, and I recommend it to all my portfolio companies. Sign up for a free demo and mention UPSTREAM during your demo to get 20% off your first year. Secureframe has just released Secureframe Trust, a new product that lets you showcase your organization's security posture to build customer trust. - Mercury: https://mercury.com/ Now more than ever, startup founders need a safe place to put their cash. Mercury protects your money and also provides the streamlined user experience that great founders expect through partner banks and their sweep networks. Mercury offers up to $5 million in FDIC insurance, which is 20 times the per-bank limit. They also make it easy to invest any cash above the FDIC-insured amount in a money market fund, a hundred thousand startups trust Mercury with their finances. I've been a happy Mercury customer and have found their team incredibly helpful and responsive. Mercury is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group and involve bank and trust members FDIC.
6/16/20231 hour, 8 minutes, 57 seconds
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E12: Tim Urban on Liberalism, Heresy, and Equality

Erik Torenberg sits down with Tim Urban, writer of the popular blog Wait But Why, and author of the 2023 book What’s Our Problem? where he offers a framework for thinking about our chaotic political landscape. In this discussion, Erik and Tim discuss liberalism, why heresy is important, and the notion of equality.  Upstream is part of the Turpentine Network. You can learn more at turpentine.co RECOMMENDED PODCASTS: Media Empires: https://www.podpage.com/media-empires/ On the first episode of Media Empires, Erik Torenberg sits down with Morning Brew's CEO Austin Rief to learn his perspective on the future of the media business, the critical elements that determine success, and where he sees the single biggest opportunity to build a media empire. TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Episode Preview (01:37) The story of Tim Urban’s new book “What’s Our Problem?” (08:01) Existential threat, technological innovation, and heresy (13:09) Why the left and the right aren’t respecting liberalism (15:51) Sponsor: Secureframe, Mercury (18:42) Social justice fundamentalism vs liberal social justice (25:13) Social justice fundamentalism as a religion (28:39) Freedom vs Equality (49:42) Equality and specificity (54:08) What would change if Tim wrote the book in the next few years? TWITTER: Tim’s Twitter: @waitbutwhy Erik’s Twitter: @eriktorenberg Upstream : @upstream__pod SPONSORS: Please support our sponsors: Secureframe | Mercury - Secureframe: https://secureframe.com/ Secureframe is the leading all-in-one platform for security and privacy compliance. Get SOC-2 audit ready in weeks, not months. I believe in Secureframe so much that I invested in it, and I recommend it to all my portfolio companies. Sign up for a free demo and mention UPSTREAM during your demo to get 20% off your first year. Secureframe has just released Secureframe Trust, a new product that lets you showcase your organization's security posture to build customer trust. - Mercury: https://mercury.com/ Now more than ever, startup founders need a safe place to put their cash. Mercury protects your money and also provides the streamlined user experience that great founders expect through partner banks and their sweep networks. Mercury offers up to $5 million in FDIC insurance, which is 20 times the per-bank limit. They also make it easy to invest any cash above the FDIC-insured amount in a money market fund, a hundred thousand startups trust Mercury with their finances. I've been a happy Mercury customer and have found their team incredibly helpful and responsive. Mercury is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group and involve bank and trust members FDIC.
6/9/20231 hour, 2 minutes, 34 seconds
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E11: Katherine Boyle on Building Companies, Families, and Careers

Erik Torenberg sits down with Katherine Boyle, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz where she invests in companies that promote American dynamism. Erik and Katherine discuss the private sector versus the public sector, the American dream in conflict with the rise of therapeutic culture, and how to reinstill a love of public service. If you enjoyed this podcast you listen to Katherine's recent Moment of Zen episode next, where she discusses founder mentality, Twitter, SpaceX, and more ( https://link.chtbl.com/moz) RECOMMENDED SHOWS: Moment of Zen: https://link.chtbl.com/moz The Cognitive Revolution: https://link.chtbl.com/TheCognitiveRevolution TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Episode preview (02:21) What is American Dynamism? (04:49) How should VC’s view China? (07:03) We aren’t seeing China as an ally anymore (09:19) Private vs public sector (12:23) Why the public sector won’t build the next SpaceX (15:35) Sponsors: Secureframe | Marketerhire (19:00) Tradeoffs with privatization (25:20) How to reinstill a love for public service (30:02) Where Katherine differs from Balaji (32:39) What can we learn from China (34:13) Building is a political philosophy (34:56) Katherine’s family background (37:47) America is where you can escape your past (39:29) We are a nation of families moreso than individuals (41:40) What Katherine learned from being an au pair (43:48) The rise of therapeutic culture (49:38) What to do about struggling men (58:32) The problems of delaying adulthood (1:06:42) The problems of optionality (1:10:07)How religion informs her work and life TWITTER: Katherine’s Twitter: @KTmBoyle A16z’s Twitter: @a16z Erik’s Twitter: @eriktorenberg Upstream : @upstream__pod LINKS: American Dynamism: https://a16z.com/american-dynamism/ Please support our sponsors: Secureframe | Mercury - Secureframe: https://secureframe.com/ Secureframe is the leading all-in-one platform for security and privacy compliance. Get SOC-2 audit ready in weeks, not months. I believe in Secureframe so much that I invested in it, and I recommend it to all my portfolio companies. Sign up for a free demo and mention UPSTREAM during your demo to get 20% off your first year. Secureframe has just released Secureframe Trust, a new product that lets you showcase your organization's security posture to build customer trust. - Mercury: https://mercury.com/ Now more than ever, startup founders need a safe place to put their cash. Mercury protects your money and also provides the streamlined user experience that great founders expect through partner banks and their sweep networks. Mercury offers up to $5 million in FDIC insurance, which is 20 times the per-bank limit. They also make it easy to invest any cash above the FDIC-insured amount in a money market fund, a hundred thousand startups trust Mercury with their finances. I've been a happy Mercury customer and have found their team incredibly helpful and responsive. Mercury is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group and involve bank and trust members FDIC.
6/2/20231 hour, 21 minutes, 9 seconds
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E10: Sam Harris on Populism, Polarization, and His Beef with the Left and the Right

Erik sits down with Sam Harris, an author, neuroscientist, podcaster, and philosopher. Sam is known for having crucial conversations about morality, religion, rationality, and the pursuit of truth. This discussion covers Sam’s concerns about populism, polarization, and inequality. We also discuss why Sam is hated by the left and the right. LINKS: Sam's work: https://www.samharris.org/ Sam's podcast Making Sense: https://www.samharris.org/podcasts RECOMMENDED SHOWS: Moment of Zen: https://link.chtbl.com/moz The Cognitive Revolution: https://link.chtbl.com/TheCognitiveRevolution TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Episode preview (02:00) Sam’s life’s work (04:00) Sam’s concerns around the marketplace of ideas (11:25) Sam is a mistake theorist (15:45) Sponsors: Secureframe | Mercury | MarketerHire (20:00) Why Sam is hated by both the left and the right (22:30) Fundamental conflict between the left and the right (31:00) Navigating group disparities (41:00) Individual rights vs group rights (47:00) Is wokeness the new religion? (51:00) Sam’s critique of populism (58:00) Sam’s defenses of experts/institutions (1:11:00) The right doesn’t sufficiently appreciate luck (1:16:45) Polarization is better than a one-party state (1:21:00) Global governance TWITTER: Erik’s Twitter: @eriktorenberg Upstream : @upstream__pod Making Sense Podcast: @MakingSenseHQ Please support our sponsors: Secureframe | Mercury | MarketerHire - Secureframe: https://secureframe.com/ Secureframe is the leading all-in-one platform for security and privacy compliance. Get SOC-2 audit ready in weeks, not months. I believe in Secureframe so much that I invested in it, and I recommend it to all my portfolio companies. Sign up for a free demo and mention UPSTREAM during your demo to get 20% off your first year. Secureframe has just released Secureframe Trust, a new product that lets you showcase your organization's security posture to build customer trust. - Mercury: https://mercury.com/ Now more than ever, startup founders need a safe place to put their cash. Mercury protects your money and also provides the streamlined user experience that great founders expect through partner banks and their sweep networks. Mercury offers up to $5 million in FDIC insurance, which is 20 times the per-bank limit. They also make it easy to invest any cash above the FDIC-insured amount in a money market fund, a hundred thousand startups trust Mercury with their finances. I've been a happy Mercury customer and have found their team incredibly helpful and responsive. Mercury is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group and involve bank and trust members FDIC. - MarketerHire: https://marketerhire.com/upstream MarketerHire is one of my favorite resources for growing startups looking to hire marketers. With 1000s of pre-vetted marketers across a dozen roles, whether you need help with growth, marketing, SEO, lifecycle, content, or any other aspect of growth marketing strategy. Over 5,000 companies already use MarketerHire to hire expert marketers on demand, ranging from top venture-backed startups to the most well-known Fortune 500s. Go to marketerhire.com/upstream and use code UPSTREAM to get your $1,000 credit for your first hire. Thank you Graham Bessellieu for production.
5/28/20231 hour, 32 minutes, 9 seconds
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[Bonus Episode] Moment of Zen w/ Mike Solana, Erik Torenberg and Dan Romero

We're excited to introduce Upstream listeners to Moment of Zen, a weekly podcast hosted by Erik Torenberg, Dan Romero, Antonio Garcia Martinez, and additional guests. This episode features special guest Mike Solana, Editor in Chief of Pirate Wires (https://www.piratewires.com/) in conversation with Erik and Dan. They cover the recent AI congressional hearings, The Culture War's evolution, Twitter under Elon, and much more. Episode 10 of Upstream with Erik Torenberg will be released on 5/28/23. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE TO "MOMENT OF ZEN" Podcast: https://link.chtbl.com/moz YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@MomentofZenPodcast MoZ's first episode from Dec '22 featured Marc Andreessen and other guests who have appeared on MoZ include: Balaji Srinivasan, Katherine Boyle, Amjad Masad, Nic Carter, Noah Smith, Michelle Tandler, Byrne Hobart, and more. LINKS: Mike Solana's Interview with Grimes (https://www.piratewires.com/p/base-reality-an-interview-with-grimes-6b3) Dan's sci-fi book recommendation: Delta-v by Daniel Suarez TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Introduction to this episode of Moment of Zen (00:48) On what Mike Solana would say to Congress about AI (08:00) Contrasting Zuck, Brian Armstrong, and Sam Altman’s approach to regulation (14:20) Sponsor: Secureframe (16:30) AI doomerism is just marketing for big AI (26:00) Elon’s wins and losses so far as Twitter CEO (38:00) Taylor Lorenz Mythology (40:00) Twitter’s regime change // How the tables have turned. Muahahaha. (44:05) What we’d do if we were Twitter CEO (50:00) Evolution of polarization (58:00) Silver lining of polarization (1:07:00) Distinguishing Elon’s antics from his philosophy (1:14:00) Trump feels more familiar in 2023 vs. 2016 (1:18:00) The right is adopting woke tactics (1:24:00) Social media and depression follow up (1:28:00) Is half of Gen Z non-straight? (1:32:00) Ellen Pao (1:34:30) Is Pirate Wires conservative media? (No) TWITTER: @MOZ_Podcast @micsolana (Mike) @piratewires @eriktorenberg (Erik) @dwr (Dan) @antoniogm (Antonio) Please support our sponsors: Secureframe https://secureframe.com/ Secureframe is the leading all-in-one platform for security and privacy compliance. Get SOC-2 audit ready in weeks, not months. I believe in Secureframe so much that I invested in it, and I recommend it to all my portfolio companies. Sign up for a free demo and mention UPSTREAM during your demo to get 20% off your first year. Secureframe has just released Secureframe Trust, a new product that lets you showcase your organization's security posture to build customer trust.
5/26/20231 hour, 36 minutes, 13 seconds
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E9: Benedict Evans on AI, Web3, VR and the Future of Tech

Erik sits down with independent analyst Benedict Evans for a wide-ranging discussion of predictions and frameworks spanning the vast realm of technology - where we’ve been, where we’re going, and what really matters. AI scout and podcast host Nathan Labenz (The Cognitive Revolution) joins for the last 20 minutes to deepen the discussion on AI. RECOMMENDED SHOWS: The Cognitive Revolution: https://link.chtbl.com/TheCognitiveRevolution Moment of Zen: https://link.chtbl.com/moz TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Episode preview (01:47) Benedict’s annual presentations and frameworks for “the next thing” (07:00) Are Netflix and Tesla tech companies? (12:59) Why hasn’t software ‘eaten’ certain industries and fields? (14:47) Sponsors: Secureframe | Mercury | MarketerHire (18:30) Preconditions for predictions (24:30) Overhyped/underappreciated aspects of Web3 and Crypto (28:25) Blockchain, and Benedict’s prediction for decentralization (34:00) Building the next Twitter (43:33) Predictions for metaverse and VR (49:52) Consumer surplus and business models (51:37) AI predictions (55:22) Opportunities in AI (1:01:58) Bundling and unbundling lens on AI (1:06:35) Future of jobs (1:15:00) Predictions for Benedict’s next presentation LINKS: Presentations: https://www.ben-evans.com/ Book recommendation: Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefèvre https://www.amazon.com/Reminiscences-Stock-Operator-Edwin-Lef%25C3%25A8vre/dp/0471059684#:~:text=First%2520published%2520in%25201923%252C%2520Reminiscences%2520of%2520a%2520Stock%2520Operator%2520is,recommended%2520investment%2520book%2520ever%2520written?&_encoding=UTF8&tag=turpentine-20&linkCode=ur2&linkId=19fa33d3202c6df062385946b9ec3743&camp=1789&creative=9325 TWITTER: Erik’s Twitter: @eriktorenberg Benedict’s Twitter:@benedictevans Please support our sponsors: Secureframe | Mercury | MarketerHire - Secureframe: https://secureframe.com/ Secureframe is the leading all-in-one platform for security and privacy compliance. Get SOC-2 audit ready in weeks, not months. I believe in Secureframe so much that I invested in it, and I recommend it to all my portfolio companies. Sign up for a free demo and mention UPSTREAM during your demo to get 20% off your first year. Secureframe has just released Secureframe Trust, a new product that lets you showcase your organization's security posture to build customer trust. - Mercury: https://mercury.com/ Now more than ever, startup founders need a safe place to put their cash. Mercury protects your money and also provides the streamlined user experience that great founders expect through partner banks and their sweep networks. Mercury offers up to $5 million in FDIC insurance, which is 20 times the per-bank limit. They also make it easy to invest any cash above the FDIC-insured amount in a money market fund, a hundred thousand startups trust Mercury with their finances. I've been a happy Mercury customer and have found their team incredibly helpful and responsive. Mercury is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group and involve bank and trust members FDIC. - MarketerHire: https://marketerhire.com/upstream MarketerHire is one of my favorite resources for growing startups looking to hire marketers. With 1000s of pre-vetted marketers across a dozen roles, whether you need help with growth, marketing, SEO, lifecycle, content, or any other aspect of growth marketing strategy. Over 5,000 companies already use MarketerHire to hire expert marketers on demand, ranging from top venture-backed startups to the most well-known Fortune 500s. Go to marketerhire.com/upstream and use code UPSTREAM to get your $1,000 credit for your first hire.
5/19/20231 hour, 20 minutes, 55 seconds
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E8: Samo Burja on America's future, China, AI, and the new global order

Erik sits down with political scientist Samo Burja ( @SamoBurja  ) who founded Bismarck Analysis, a consulting firm that analyzes institutions (ranging from governments to companies). Samo is one of the most interesting and wide-ranging thinkers today. In this episode, they discuss the current state and future state of America, China, Russia, Ukraine, energy, the US dollar, AI, and more. RECOMMENDED SHOWS: Moment of Zen: https://link.chtbl.com/moz The Cognitive Revolution: https://link.chtbl.com/TheCognitiveRevolution TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Episode preview (02:05) Who’s right: Balaji, Zeihan, or Olson? (06:18) Why China’s prospects aren’t as bad as Zeihan thinks (08:46) What have we learned one year out after Ukraine? (12:12) Future of The U.S. dollar (14:19) Sponsors: Mercury | Secureframe | MarketerHire (16:03) Balaji’s Bet (16:42) Future of America (21:06) Why Brazil hasn’t panned out (25:34) Is AI communist and crypto libertarian (28:37) Evolution of elites (32:40) Comparing Elon and SBF (35:12) Economics of automation and AI (40:28) How intellectual culture has changed (42:39) America exporting Western values (46:42) America and China converging (49:00) Startup cities vs incumbents (51:54) Samo’s consultancy (54:35) Samo’s upcoming research interests TWITTER: Erik’s Twitter: @eriktorenberg Samo's Twitter: @samoburja Please support our sponsors: Secureframe | Mercury | MarketerHire - Secureframe: https://secureframe.com/ Secureframe is the leading all-in-one platform for security and privacy compliance. Get SOC-2 audit ready in weeks, not months. I believe in Secureframe so much that I invested in it, and I recommend it to all my portfolio companies. Sign up for a free demo and mention UPSTREAM during your demo to get 20% off your first year. Secureframe has just released Secureframe Trust, a new product that lets you showcase your organization's security posture to build customer trust. - Mercury: https://mercury.com/ Now more than ever, startup founders need a safe place to put their cash. Mercury protects your money and also provides the streamlined user experience that great founders expect through partner banks and their sweep networks. Mercury offers up to $5 million in FDIC insurance, which is 20 times the per-bank limit. They also make it easy to invest any cash above the FDIC-insured amount in a money market fund, a hundred thousand startups trust Mercury with their finances. I've been a happy Mercury customer and have found their team incredibly helpful and responsive. Mercury is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group and involve bank and trust members FDIC. - MarketerHire: https://marketerhire.com/upstream MarketerHire is one of my favorite resources for growing startups looking to hire marketers. With 1000s of pre-vetted marketers across a dozen roles, whether you need help with growth, marketing, SEO, lifecycle, content, or any other aspect of growth marketing strategy. Over 5,000 companies already use MarketerHire to hire expert marketers on demand, ranging from top venture-backed startups to the most well-known Fortune 500s. Go to marketerhire.com/upstream and use code UPSTREAM to get your $1,000 credit for your first hire.
5/12/202358 minutes, 54 seconds
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E7: How Andrew Yang Would Cure American Politics

Andrew Yang is a former founder of Venture for America and former candidate for president of the United States. Yang is now focused on introducing a third party to our two-party political system. He sits down with Erik to talk about why politics is broken and how to fix it, the current political landscape gearing into the 2024 elections, an inside look as to what's actually involved in running for president, and reflections on what he would've done differently. We also talk about universal basic income, fixing California, and fixing media polarization. RECOMMENDED PODCASTS: Moment of Zen: https://link.chtbl.com/moz The Cognitive Revolution: https://link.chtbl.com/TheCognitiveRevolution TIMESTAMPS: (00:00) Preview of the episode (02:46) When Andrew Yang realized the two-party system is broken (07:37) How third parties can cure the system (10:09) What’s the relationship between money and laws changing? (15:10) How the “the last election” plays out (15:58) Sponsors: Secureframe | Mercury | MarketerHire (17:54) Andrew Yang’s prediction for 2024 (19:58) Introducing competition to one party state California (24:26) Institutionalization of the DNC (26:58) Manufacturing the “presidential quality” (28:12) Andrew Yang on Vivek Ramaswamy (32:05) Self-interest in politics (33:52) How to get more talented people to be in politics (36:39) Andrew Yang’s reflections on his candidacy (39:07) What it’s like to run for president (45:10) Trumpism is not over (46:10) Future of disunity? (48:39) Media environment (51:32) UBI and AI SOCIAL LINKS: Erik’s Twitter: @eriktorenberg Andrew’s Twitter: @andrewyang Forward Party Twitter: @fwd_Party Podcast Twitter: @Upstream__Pod Erik’s Substack: eriktorenberg.substack.com Please support our sponsors: Secureframe | Mercury | MarketerHire - Secureframe: https://secureframe.com/ Secureframe is the leading all-in-one platform for security and privacy compliance. Get SOC-2 audit ready in weeks, not months. I believe in Secureframe so much that I invested in it, and I recommend it to all my portfolio companies. Sign up for a free demo and mention UPSTREAM during your demo to get 20% off your first year. - Mercury: https://mercury.com/ Now more than ever, startup founders need a safe place to put their cash. Mercury protects your money and also provides the streamlined user experience that great founders expect through partner banks and their sweep networks.Mercury offers up to $5 million in FDIC insurance, which is 20 times the per-bank limit. They also make it easy to invest any cash above the FDIC-insured amount in a money market fund, a hundred thousand startups trust Mercury with their finances. I've been a happy Mercury customer and have found their team incredibly helpful and responsive. Mercury is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group and involve bank and trust members FDIC. - MarketerHire: https://marketerhire.com/upstream MarketerHire is one of my favorite resources for growing startups looking to hire marketers. With 1000s of pre-vetted marketers across a dozen roles, whether you need help with growth, marketing, SEO, lifecycle, content, or any other aspect of growth marketing strategy. Over 5,000 companies already use MarketerHire to hire expert marketers on demand, ranging from top venture-backed startups to the most well-known Fortune 500s. Go to marketerhire.com/upstream and use code UPSTREAM to get your $1,000 credit for your first hire.
5/5/202356 minutes, 42 seconds
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E6: Vivek Ramaswamy on running for president in 2024 and his message to Silicon Valley

Vivek Ramaswamy is a 2024 Republican presidential candidate who founded biotech company Roivant Sciences, now public. He has written books about what he sees as the excesses of woke capitalism and started an asset management firm called Strive, meant to be a right-wing competitor with BlackRock. With his presidential campaign, Vivek challenges conventional orthodoxy on several core issues, including affirmative action and climate change. Regardless of what you may think about his policies or him, it's worth understanding how he stands to influence our upcoming election and inject his views into the mainstream. RECOMMENDED PODCASTS: Moment of Zen (lively tech discussions) & The Cognitive Revolution (AI show) wherever you get your podcasts. TIMESTAMPS:  (00:00) Preview of the episode (03:10) When Vivek changed from founder to presidential candidate (10:47) Vivek’s presidential platform: Affirmative action, Climate, Fed, Drug crisis (15:34) Sponsors: Secureframe | MarketerHire (16:58) Where Vivek overlaps/differs with Silicon Valley: DEI, Free speech, SVB (24:51) Meritocracy above all else? (31:32) How to remove politics from corporations (39:26) Silicon Valley should empathize more with the rest of the country? (55:56) Defining “woke” (57:14) What’s it like to run a presidential campaign SOCIAL LINKS: Erik’s Twitter: @eriktorenberg Vivek’s Twitter: @VivekGRamaswamy Podcast Twitter: @Upstream__Pod Erik’s Substack: eriktorenberg.substack.com Please support our sponsors: Secureframe | MarketerHire - Secureframe: https://secureframe.com/ Secureframe is the leading all-in-one platform for security and privacy compliance. Get SOC-2 audit ready in weeks, not months. I believe in Secureframe so much that I invested in it, and I recommend it to all my portfolio companies. Sign up for a free demo and mention UPSTREAM during your demo to get 20% off your first year. - MarketerHire: https://marketerhire.com/upstream MarketerHire is one of my favorite resources for growing startups looking to hire marketers. With 1000s of pre-vetted marketers across a dozen roles, whether you need help with growth, marketing, SEO, lifecycle, content, or any other aspect of growth marketing strategy. Over 5,000 companies already use MarketerHire to hire expert marketers on demand, ranging from top venture-backed startups to the most well-known Fortune 500s. Go to marketerhire.com/upstream and use code UPSTREAM to get your $1,000 credit for your first hire.
4/29/20231 hour, 2 minutes, 19 seconds
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E5: How Exactly Joe Lonsdale Would Fix The Public Sector

Joe Lonsdale is the founder of Palantir, 8VC, a number of other unicorns he’s incubated, and Cicero Policy Institute. In this episode we focus mostly on his policy, breaking down what are the real problems in healthcare, education, crime/police, homelessness and what are the solutions he recommends to fix them. We talk about how the right is focused on the culture war when fixing accountability will actually be a more effective way to change the culture. We talk about the future for the right, why wealth inequality is the wrong metric to measure, and what it means to believe in America in 2023. This episode was recorded in February 2023. RECOMMENDED PODCASTS: Moment of Zen https://www.podpage.com/moment-of-zen-1/ The Cognitive Revolution https://www.cognitiverevolution.ai/ LINKS REFERENCED: To Save America Restore Our Frontier ( https://blog.joelonsdale.com/p/to-save-america-restore-our-frontier ) HIstorian Ronald Syme ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Syme ) TIMESTAMPS: (2:10) How Joe Lonsdale maximizes his impact  (4:10) The focus of Joe’s public policy org, Cicero (6:58) Why institutional reform is more effective than fighting the culture war  (9:11) Misunderstandings about education  (11:56)  government unions shouldn’t exist (14:02) Misunderstandings about prison reform and crime (17:31) Misunderstandings about homelessness (20:13) Sponsors (25:52) Explaining our healthcare problems (31:53) When to reform vs start new institutions (37:00) What’s the power of a presidency  / State reform vs federal reform (39:54) The frontier vs the core (42:40) Draining the swamp (42:50) Wealth inequality  (46:20) Equality of opportunity is a myth (48:00) Appreciating billionaires (51:00) Peter Thiel isn’t really focused on politics (53:00) The future of the right (57:42) Why be an American optimist SOCIAL LINKS: Erik’s Twitter: @eriktorenberg Joe’s Twitter: @JTLonsdale Podcast Twitter: @Upstream__Pod Erik’s Substack: eriktorenberg.substack.com Joe’s Substack: blog.joelonsdale.com Please support our sponsors: Secureframe | Mercury | MarketerHire - Secureframe: https://secureframe.com/ Secureframe is the leading all-in-one platform for security and privacy compliance. Get SOC-2 audit ready in weeks, not months. I believe in Secureframe so much that I invested in it, and I recommend it to all my portfolio companies. Sign up for a free demo and mention UPSTREAM during your demo to get 20% off your first year. - Mercury: https://mercury.com/ Now more than ever, startup founders need a safe place to put their cash. Mercury protects your money and also provides the streamlined user experience that great founders expect through partner banks and their sweep networks.Mercury offers up to $5 million in FDIC insurance, which is 20 times the per-bank limit. They also make it easy to invest any cash above the FDIC-insured amount in a money market fund, a hundred thousand startups trust Mercury with their finances. I've been a happy Mercury customer and have found their team incredibly helpful and responsive. Mercury is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group and involve bank and trust members FDIC. - MarketerHire: https://marketerhire.com/upstream MarketerHire is one of my favorite resources for growing startups looking to hire marketers. With 1000s of pre-vetted marketers across a dozen roles, whether you need help with growth, marketing, SEO, lifecycle, content, or any other aspect of growth marketing strategy. Over 5,000 companies already use MarketerHire to hire expert marketers on demand, ranging from top venture-backed startups to the most well-known Fortune 500s. Go to marketerhire.com/upstream and use code UPSTREAM to get your $1,000 credit for your first hire.
4/21/20231 hour, 3 minutes, 41 seconds
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E4: David Sacks on his intellectual and political journey

David Sacks is known as a CEO/investor in multiple unicorns, and most recently a media mogul with All-In. In this episode, we trace David’s intellectual and political history from his days fighting student activism at Stanford to now. We cover the political and cultural changes in the last 30 years of silicon valley, how the real distinction today is between the college-educated and the not, and how even though 2⁄3 of the country didn’t go to college, their views are not represented in our institutions today. This episode was recorded in December 2022 but is just as relevant today.  Recommended Podcasts: Moment of Zen https://www.podpage.com/moment-of-zen-1/ The Cognitive Revolution: https://www.cognitiverevolution.ai/ TIMESTAMPS: (2:18) How did tech become less free speech oriented? (3:30) Why is PayPal so woke? (5:25) Woke Capitalism game (8:25) Corporations and governments collaborating to censor (9:30) Tracing political history in Silicon Valley  (17:45) College educated vs. not is the biggest difference in US (21:50) Our elite is not democratic (23:50) Sponsors: Secureframe | Mercury | MarketerHire (26:22) David’s experience with student activism in the 1990s (28:00) David’s evolution on foreign policy  (31:15) U.S. Russiaphobia (34:45) Why David supports big-tech regulations (39:05) How to do regulations well (43:00) Social Progress (48:00) Is classical liberalism a dead end? (50:53) Is Institutional Reform possible (53:00) Elon’s character arc and political journey (1:01:25) Will there be a parallel economy? (1:05:33) Employee entitlement was a bull-market phenomenon (1:10:15) Accountability for elites is the solution SOCIAL LINKS: David’s Twitter: @davidsacks Erik’s Twitter: @eriktorenberg Podcast Twitter: @Upstream__Pod Erik’s Substack: eriktorenberg.substack.com Please support our sponsors: Secureframe | Mercury | MarketerHire - Secureframe: https://secureframe.com/ Secureframe is the leading all-in-one platform for security and privacy compliance. Get SOC-2 audit ready in weeks, not months. I believe in Secureframe so much that I invested in it, and I recommend it to all my portfolio companies. Sign up for a free demo and mention UPSTREAM during your demo to get 20% off your first year. - Mercury: https://mercury.com/ Now more than ever, startup founders need a safe place to put their cash. Mercury protects your money and also provides the streamlined user experience that great founders expect through partner banks and their sweep networks.Mercury offers up to $5 million in FDIC insurance, which is 20 times the per-bank limit. They also make it easy to invest any cash above the FDIC-insured amount in a money market fund, a hundred thousand startups trust Mercury with their finances. I've been a happy Mercury customer and have found their team incredibly helpful and responsive. Mercury is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group and involve bank and trust members FDIC. - MarketerHire: https://marketerhire.com/upstream MarketerHire is one of my favorite resources for growing startups looking to hire marketers. With 1000s of pre-vetted marketers across a dozen roles, whether you need help with growth, marketing, SEO, lifecycle, content, or any other aspect of growth marketing strategy. Over 5,000 companies already use MarketerHire to hire expert marketers on demand, ranging from top venture-backed startups to the most well-known Fortune 500s. Go to marketerhire.com/upstream and use code UPSTREAM to get your $1,000 credit for your first hire.
4/15/20231 hour, 15 minutes, 25 seconds
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E3: Ezra Klein on supply-side progressivism, polarization, and what Silicon Valley misses about politics

Ezra Klein, journalist, political analyst, and podcaster, sits with Erik Torenberg to go deeper into the intellectual movement of supply-side progressivism and what Silicon Valley misses about politics. This conversation was recorded in early February 2023, but is even more relevant today. TIMESTAMPS: (0:00) Preview of Ezra discussing Elon Musk (2:16) Unpacking supply side liberalism and the abundance agenda (7:55) Contrasting Ezra’s Buildism with Marc Andreessen and Tyler Cowen (12:20) Why we can't build (16:36) Sponsors: Secureframe | Mercury | MarketerHire (18:47) Unions (21:06) Ezra on what Silicon Valley misunderstands about politics (24:15) Abundance agenda is bipartisan, but will polarize (27:05) Ezra on immigration and free trade (31:08) Reinterpreting Ezra’s book Why We’re Polarized in 2023 (34:30) Institutional distrust (39:10) Davos elite v. Tech Elite v. Crypto Elite (47:10) What makes Elon right wing? (51:50) Chris Caldwell’s theory of polarization (53:50) Has the left gone too far left? (1:00:15) What the president can actually do (1:04:40) The deep state (1:07:00) Where he differs from Patrick Collison (1:10:15) Equality of opportunity vs a sufficient floor (1:12:00) Why inequality matters (1:14:27) Billionaires buying media platforms (1:16:55) Elon and the era of the trickster god (1:20:30) Ezra’s book recommendation SOCIAL LINKS: Erik’s Twitter: @eriktorenberg Ezra’s Twitter: @ezraklein Podcast Twitter: @Upstream__Pod Erik’s Substack: eriktorenberg.substack.com Please support our sponsors: Secureframe | Mercury | MarketerHire - Secureframe: https://secureframe.com/ Secureframe is the leading all-in-one platform for security and privacy compliance. Get SOC-2 audit ready in weeks, not months. I believe in Secureframe so much that I invested in it, and I recommend it to all my portfolio companies. Sign up for a free demo and mention UPSTREAM during your demo to get 20% off your first year. - Mercury: https://mercury.com/ Now more than ever, startup founders need a safe place to put their cash. Mercury protects your money and also provides the streamlined user experience that great founders expect through partner banks and their sweep networks.Mercury offers up to $5 million in FDIC insurance, which is 20 times the per-bank limit. They also make it easy to invest any cash above the FDIC-insured amount in a money market fund, a hundred thousand startups trust Mercury with their finances. I've been a happy Mercury customer and have found their team incredibly helpful and responsive. Mercury is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group and involve bank and trust members FDIC. - MarketerHire: https://marketerhire.com/upstream MarketerHire is one of my favorite resources for growing startups looking to hire marketers. With 1000s of pre-vetted marketers across a dozen roles, whether you need help with growth, marketing, SEO, lifecycle, content, or any other aspect of growth marketing strategy. Over 5,000 companies already use MarketerHire to hire expert marketers on demand, ranging from top venture-backed startups to the most well-known Fortune 500s. Go to marketerhire.com/upstream and use code UPSTREAM to get your $1,000 credit for your first hire.
4/7/20231 hour, 27 minutes, 25 seconds
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E2: Balaji Srinivasan on his past and future predictions, the future of the left and right, and why tech can’t escape politics

Balaji Srinivasan, author of The Network State and co-founder of Counsyl, talks to Erik Torenberg about his past and future predictions, the future of the left and right, and why tech will never be able to escape politics.  Check out the other podcasts on our network, Moment of Zen (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/id1661672738) and our AI show The Cognitive Revolution (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/id1669813431) TIMESTAMPS: (0:00) Preview of episode (2:30) Why are the scariest words in the English language “Balaji was right” (7:06) When to reform vs start a new institution (9:50) Are ideas weapons? (13:31) Sponsors (15:30) You don’t start with a tech company anymore, you start with a tech community (18:58) Internet nationalism (22:06) What "political" means (26:20 ) Activist movements are like “pump and dumps” (29:40) What the sovereign individual misses (41:03) Bitcoin is still the flag of technology (45:38) Democrats will move to the right on immigration (57:20) Tech America vs Woke America (58:00) Why are tech people so woke? (1:03:39) The left will flip on diversity (1:05:00) The left is shifting from wokeism to statism (1:15:17) Bitcoiners will take over the right wing party (1:21:28) Elon SOCIAL LINKS: Erik’s Twitter: @eriktorenberg Balaji’s Twitter: @balajis Podcast Twitter: @Upstream__Pod Erik’s Substack: eriktorenberg.substack.com Please support our sponsors: Secureframe | Mercury | MarketerHire - Secureframe: https://secureframe.com/ Secureframe is the leading all-in-one platform for security and privacy compliance. Get SOC-2 audit ready in weeks, not months. I believe in Secureframe so much that I invested in it, and I recommend it to all my portfolio companies. Sign up for a free demo and mention UPSTREAM during your demo to get 20% off your first year. - Mercury: https://mercury.com/ Now more than ever, startup founders need a safe place to put their cash. Mercury protects your money and also provides the streamlined user experience that great founders expect through partner banks and their sweep networks.Mercury offers up to $5 million in FDIC insurance, which is 20 times the per-bank limit. They also make it easy to invest any cash above the FDIC-insured amount in a money market fund, a hundred thousand startups trust Mercury with their finances. I've been a happy Mercury customer and have found their team incredibly helpful and responsive. Mercury is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group and involve bank and trust members FDIC. - MarketerHire: https://marketerhire.com/upstream MarketerHire is one of my favorite resources for growing startups looking to hire marketers. With 1000s of pre-vetted marketers across a dozen roles, whether you need help with growth, marketing, SEO, lifecycle, content, or any other aspect of growth marketing strategy. Over 5,000 companies already use MarketerHire to hire expert marketers on demand, ranging from top venture-backed startups to the most well-known Fortune 500s. Go to marketerhire.com/upstream and use code UPSTREAM to get your $1,000 credit for your first hire.
3/31/20231 hour, 38 minutes, 6 seconds
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E1: Marc Andreessen on his intellectual journey the past ten years

Marc Andreessen of a16z sits with Erik Torenberg to go deeper into his intellectual and political journey, and his quest to find out how the world works. PODCAST INFO: Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-education-of-marc-andreessen/id1678893467?i=1000605668194 Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/0bYfnuju3PhHFtSGgiMmoz  Podcast website: https://cms.megaphone.fm/channel/RINTP2392005652?selected=RINTP1202048731  SOCIAL LINKS: Erik’s Twitter: @eriktorenberg Marc’s Twitter: @pmarca Podcast Twitter: @Upstream__Pod Erik’s Substack: Erik Torenberg Marc’s Substack: Marc Andreessen TIMESTAMPS: (0:00) Intro (3:25) How much has Marc changed vs the world changed? (6:55) How much do ideas matter? Who drives society — the elite or the masses? (09:56) People respond to interests more than ideas (12:08) Mental models for the left and the right (14:45) Sponsors (Secureframe | Mercury | MarketerHire) (16:53) The road to hell is paved with good intentions (18:40) Master morality and slave morality (23:20) Unpacking Elon’s quote “Wokeness is the mind-virus” (26:00) Is classical liberalism sustainable and how it leads to wokeness (35:00) James Burnham’s worldview (42:50) How the left captured the institutions (45:20) Elon as the return to entrepreneurial capitalism (48:03) The experiments Elon is running (54:50) The billionaire mindset toward politics (57:30) We live in an oligarchy, not a democracy (1:06:00) Larry Page is the contrarian billionaire (1:07:30) Effective Altruism’s blind spots (1:10:36) Effective altruists think they can play god (1:11:16) SBF’s roll-the-dice philosophy (1:13:23) Aristocratic vs Meritocratic elite (1:21:48) Elites are insulated from the consequences of their policies (1:23:53) Why global governance is a nerd trap (1:27:16) Global governance is anti-diversity (1:30:42) Tech people are politically homeless (1:31:37) Elites can’t be removed, they can only be replaced (1:35:02) Advice for counter-elites (1:47:21) Reasons to be optimistic Please support our sponsors: Secureframe | Mercury | MarketerHire - Secureframe: https://secureframe.com/ Secureframe is the leading all-in-one platform for security and privacy compliance. Get SOC-2 audit ready in weeks, not months. I believe in Secureframe so much that I invested in it, and I recommend it to all my portfolio companies. Sign up for a free demo and mention UPSTREAM during your demo to get 20% off your first year. - Mercury: https://mercury.com/ Now more than ever, startup founders need a safe place to put their cash. Mercury protects your money and also provides the streamlined user experience that great founders expect through partner banks and their sweep networks.Mercury offers up to $5 million in FDIC insurance, which is 20 times the per-bank limit. They also make it easy to invest any cash above the FDIC-insured amount in a money market fund, a hundred thousand startups trust Mercury with their finances. I've been a happy Mercury customer and have found their team incredibly helpful and responsive. Mercury is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group and involve bank and trust members FDIC. - MarketerHire: https://marketerhire.com/upstream MarketerHire is one of my favorite resources for growing startups looking to hire marketers. With 1000s of pre-vetted marketers across a dozen roles, whether you need help with growth, marketing, SEO, lifecycle, content, or any other aspect of growth marketing strategy. Over 5,000 companies already use MarketerHire to hire expert marketers on demand, ranging from top venture-backed startups to the most well-known Fortune 500s. Go to marketerhire.com/upstream and use code UPSTREAM to get your $1,000 credit for your first hire.
3/24/20231 hour, 41 minutes, 21 seconds
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Trailer: This is Upstream with Erik Torenberg

Upstream is where Erik Torenberg interviews the world's most foundational thinkers to map the constellation of ideas that matter across tech, culture, and politics. You'll hear topics here first, and in the mainstream months later. Ask yourself, what’s upstream of what you believe? Interviewed for this season of Upstream: Marc Andreessen, David Sacks, Ezra Klein, Balaji Srinivasan, Katherine Boyle, Joe Lonsdale, and more luminary thinkers who are changing the world. Follow the podcast wherever you listen so you never miss an episode. Email feedback to the show to [email protected]
3/24/20232 minutes, 52 seconds