20 November 2023

In this week’s episode, Patrick Donley (@JPatrickDonley) sits down with Eric Jorgenson to talk not only about his recently released book called The Anthology of Balaji. They also touch on some of his key learnings from writing the Almanack of Naval Ravikant, how to build the future according to Balaji, Balaji’s bitcoin bet, and what Eric’s new role at Scribe media will be and how it came about.

Eric Jorgenson is the author of The Almanack of Naval Ravikant and the Anthology of Balaji. He is the host of the Smart Friends podcast and is an investor in early stage tech start-ups. In 2011, he joined the founding team of Zaarly, a company dedicated to helping homeowners find accountable service providers they can trust. His business blog, Evergreen, educates and entertains more than one million readers.

He recently became the CEO of Scribe Media.



  • How Eric describes what he does. 
  • What a creator capitalist is.
  • Why he choose to focus on tech entrepreneurship.
  • How Eric became interested in Naval Ravikant. 
  • How publishing the books through Scribe has changed his life.
  • Why desires gets in the way of happiness.
  • Why wealth may not lead to the happiness people think. 
  • What Eric’s writing process looks like. 
  • Why he became intrigued with Balaji.
  • What Balaji’s reading habits are and why he has studied history in depth.
  • What transhumanism is.
  • What Eric’s favorite part of the Balaji book is.
  • What Balaji’s big ideas are for building the future.
  • Why Balaji made his infamous bitcoin bet.
  • What Eric’s new role at Scribe Media will be and how it came about.
  • How Scribe is disrupting the traditional publishing model for books.


Disclaimer: The transcript that follows has been generated using artificial intelligence. We strive to be as accurate as possible, but minor errors and slightly off timestamps may be present due to platform differences.

[00:00:00] Eric Jorgenson: This book airs much more on the side of entrepreneurs, technologists, builders. It’s a little more of a, like a handbook to go get out there get to work and a little less philosophical, but I think they go together really well.

[00:00:16] Patrick Donley: Hey guys, in this week’s episode, I had the chance to sit down with Eric Jorgensen to talk not only about his recently released book called the Anthology of Balaji. But we also touch on some of his key learnings from the writings of the almanac of Naval Ravikant, how to build a future according to Balaji’s Bitcoin bet, and what Eric’s new role at Scribe Media will be and how it came about.

[00:00:36] Patrick Donley: Eric is the author of the Almanac of Naval Ravikant and the Anthology of Balaji. He is the host of the Smart Friends podcast and is an investor in early stage tech startups. His business blog, Evergreen, educates and entertains more than 1 million readers. Eric recently became the CEO of Scribe Media.

[00:00:53] Patrick Donley: I’m a huge fan of both Naval and the Balaji book, so getting the chance to talk ideas with Eric was a blast, and I hope you guys get a lot of value from this one. And so without further delay, let’s dive into this week’s episode with Eric Jorgensen. 

[00:01:07] Intro: You’re listening to Millennial Investing by The Investor’s Podcast Network, where your hosts, Robert Leonard, Patrick Donley, and Kyle Grieve, interview successful entrepreneurs, business leaders, and investors to help educate and inspire the millennial generation.

[00:01:31] Patrick Donley: Hey everybody, welcome to the Millennial Investing Podcast. I’m your host today, Patrick Donley, and joining me today is a super special guest. I am jazzed to have on the show, Eric Jorgensen, Eric, welcome to the show. 

[00:01:43] Eric Jorgenson: Thank you so much for having me. 

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[00:01:45] Patrick Donley: Like I said, pleasure to have you on today. I’m a huge fan of definitely the Almanac of Naval Ravikant.

[00:01:50] Patrick Donley: It’s made a huge impact on me. It’s probably one of the two books that I go back and reread pretty frequently. The other one is Richer, Wiser, Happier by William Green. I don’t know if you’re familiar with that one, but that’s very similar. He interviews a lot of incredible investors in his book. But Naval’s book that you wrote or put together has, like I said, made a huge impact.

[00:02:09] Patrick Donley: You’ve got one on Balaji, which we are going to get into, but before we dive into any of those, their ideas, I wanted to hear first more about you. I wanted to hear I’ve heard both of them say that they have a tough time describing what they do. And I’ve found this recently for myself too. It’s I don’t know how to explain what I do.

[00:02:26] Patrick Donley: There’s a lot of different things. So let’s say you and I are sitting next to each other, we’re flying out to San Francisco. It’s a three hour flight, something like that. And I’m really interested in you. How do you describe yourself? Tell me a little bit about how you’re describing yourself these days because you’ve got some changes happening in your life, which we’ll go into, but tell me about what you say.

[00:02:45] Eric Jorgenson: Yeah, I used to be a little self conscious about the fact that what I did was hard to explain, but I’ve come to see that it’s a pretty good sign of being on a frontier of some kind of craft or some sort of knowledge. So probably six months ago, I would say I write books. I invest in high tech startups and I podcast.

[00:03:04] Eric Jorgenson: As of recently, I’ve added like a slightly more legible title, which is CEO of Scribe Media, which is a whole story we can get into if you want. It’s overlapped slightly with kind of the books part of my life and intertwines interestingly, but the way I think of it as just trying to understand how the world works and what kind of efforts can make the future better and I.

[00:03:23] Eric Jorgenson: Pursue that in a wide variety of ways, depending on what I’m interested in and what the opportunities present themselves. 

[00:03:30] Patrick Donley: So we’re going to get into Scribe. We’re going to get into your podcast, which is Smart Friends, but you also said you describe yourself as a journalist or author. What would you say?

[00:03:41] Eric Jorgenson: Author, I think, but I think the delineation you made of I build these books, really, I don’t necessarily write them. So I’m never sure what kind of verb to use, but I do go with author on the book publishing side of things. 

[00:03:53] Patrick Donley: And then you’re doing some investing. I’ve also heard you say, I think the term was like creator capitalist.

[00:03:59] Patrick Donley: Is that correct? Would you ever use that term? 

[00:04:02] Eric Jorgenson: I don’t know if I would describe myself that way, but I used it to try to understand the sort of whole movement of people that are both creators and investors in particular. And I think Jason Kalkanis and a prior version of Tim Ferriss and Patrick O’Shaughnessy.

[00:04:19] Eric Jorgenson: And to some extent, Brent Beshore, like the mixture of people mixing Chris Powers, for sure, who I know you’ve had on this podcast, I see it in a ton of different industries, but the mix of building a media business, not just a function and building like a finance business or a fund or a holding company or something, there’s just a huge synergies between the two of those and Creator Capitalist was just a blog post I wrote trying to tease out the similarities and see the overlaps and see why that was such a powerful model.

[00:04:49] Eric Jorgenson: So I certainly don’t belong on that list at my scale, I don’t think, but I’m like, I’ve got a great podcast and a small early stage venture fund, both of which I love and talk to founders and scientists and writers and futurists and invest in some of those companies that are working hard to build this techno utopian future that I see possible.

[00:05:10] Eric Jorgenson: And I just have a ton of fun with all of it, really. 

[00:05:13] Patrick Donley: So you went to Michigan State. Did you know in college that you wanted to get into tech and out to Silicon Valley and hang out with some of these amazing people? 

[00:05:23] Eric Jorgenson: For sure. My family, and I consider myself incredibly grateful and lucky to have grown up in a very entrepreneurial family.

[00:05:30] Eric Jorgenson: I’m at least a third generation entrepreneur, like fourth, if you count farming, which I think you should. And so I, we grew up talking about trying to make payroll at the dinner table that was normal. So I feel very lucky to have kind of always had my eyes on that as a career path. And even as a kid, I was getting paid to give like sell candy out of my locker and give kids rides to school and stuff like that.

[00:05:51] Eric Jorgenson: So I always wanted to be in business. And as I was in college. That’s when sort of Facebook started to get really big and you saw really young people achieve incredible things in technology and it moved fast and it had an impact. And it became really sexy in that kind of era. And so I was like, Oh, okay.

[00:06:13] Eric Jorgenson: Not just entrepreneurship, like tech entrepreneurship. And actually took this book, like the anthology of biology and working on it to more deeply understand the moral good of technology. I was always like, Oh, cool. That’s where young people can have a huge impact right away. That’s where I want to work.

[00:06:31] Eric Jorgenson: And I thought technology was cool in the Oh, this makes Star Wars real sense. But I now understand a little more about how deeply critical it is to the future of our happy civilization and living good lives and getting along and being safe and well fed and comfortable and Being able to be generous with each other, like the value that we all get from technology of today and the technologies of the past that we now completely take for granted, I just find it so magnificent and such a moral good that I’m like even more deeply enthralled with it than I was when I just thought it was cool.

[00:07:09] Eric Jorgenson: That’s one of the key things that sort of studying biology has shown me. 

[00:07:14] Patrick Donley: So what did you study in undergrad at Michigan State? 

[00:07:18] Eric Jorgenson: My plan, which did not come to fruition, was to do three different degrees in five years, which was like business econ and this kind of bizarre independent study program that they had that was really cool.

[00:07:28] Eric Jorgenson: That kind of all went out the window when I got an internship at this. tech startup that I just never went back to school for my last year so that I haggled myself over the finish line to get a degree in a bizarre sort of generic thing so like I technically did graduate but like I just left school at one point and never really went back didn’t go to my graduation ceremony.

[00:07:50] Eric Jorgenson: never finished a specific course of study, but I went to a broad set of different classes along the way and just spent most of my time actually in college, like trying to start different companies, like typical college kid companies, none of which were particularly successful and meeting other entrepreneurs, helping them started a student business incubator at Michigan state.

[00:08:08] Eric Jorgenson: That’s still going called the hatch. And just try to make a lot of friends among the kind of the community in East Lansing, which is very awesome and supportive. And it ended up being a good education, though nothing on her sort of would have indicated that I was like destined for anything in particular, really.

[00:08:25] Patrick Donley: So I want to hear about how the books came about. I know with Naval, I believe you did a tweet and it blew up and you had 5, 000 DMs or 5, 000 responses to it. And he signed on for the book and encouraged you to do it. So I wanted to hear a little bit more about how the Naval book came about, but then also similarly, like how the Balaji book came about for him to sign on.

[00:08:48] Eric Jorgenson: Signing on is probably a strong term this is not like an incredible agreement on paper anywhere. Yeah, the Naval book was like, I was between side projects, and I had been following him for 10 years, and I absolutely fell in love with this interview he did on The Knowledge Project, which is Shane Parrish’s incredible podcast.

[00:09:07] Eric Jorgenson: It was a great interview. I probably listened to it three times over the course of two weeks, and there’s so many ideas in there that I was just like, this is absolutely timeless, incredible wisdom, man. This is I want everybody I know to read this something in this podcast could benefit everybody on the planet.

[00:09:24] Eric Jorgenson: And podcasting is like this kind of thing. weird subculture. Like I still love it to death. It’s growing like crazy, but it’s, it is nowhere near the cultural influence that books have or the sort of global access that books have. And it occurred to me that all of this value that Naval had created in basically on Twitter and in podcasts was these very like ephemeral mediums, right?

[00:09:45] Eric Jorgenson: Like it was going to slide into dust, digital dust before too long. And I really wanted to preserve that and capture it. So I came up with a terrible name title. There was just a pun, the book of Novolage and a little like survey and tweeted it and went to bed and woke up to find, yeah, 5, 000 people had responded and Novol had retweeted it, which is why, and responded with happy to support, provide whatever you need, go for it.

[00:10:11] Eric Jorgenson: And that went from. me thinking like, Oh, cool. I’ll spend a few weeks or a few months like assembling his best ideas into a little PDF that I’ll put on the website into Oh my God, I’m writing poor Charlie’s almanac for Naval. And so I spent three years like meticulously. categorizing every good idea Naval had ever shared in public.

[00:10:32] Eric Jorgenson: And my first version of the manuscript was like 600 pages, which I was fascinated by every page, but I shared it with some friends and they were like, I gotta be honest, I didn’t read the whole thing. Okay got it. We’ll do some editing. So it just paired it down to what I thought was the most widely applicable, most evergreen ideas, which is what made it in the final book and everything else is like kind of bonus material on the website.

[00:10:51] Eric Jorgenson: So it’s still available. But the response to that book is just far beyond my wildest expectations before we published it. It’s translated into 40 languages, sold hundreds of thousands of copies. Like it’s reached every corner of the world by now and millions of people have read the free version online.

[00:11:08] Eric Jorgenson: It’s huge. And that has been a huge inspiration for continuing on that and realizing that the the format and the medium, the people really responded to something that was that well curated. That sort of dense and rich with insight that this feeling that you’re reading 10 years of knowledge distilled into a book rather than one idea that’s been expanded to fill a book.

[00:11:30] Eric Jorgenson: I love seeing highlights on every page and dog eared, tattered, ratty, dirty copies because people have been carrying it around in their bag for two years and read it five times. And those are my favorite kinds of compliments or stories to hear about the book. It’s just I highlighted every page.

[00:11:47] Eric Jorgenson: I’ve read it four times. I’ve gifted it to 10 people. That’s incredible. That’s exactly what I wanted to feel like for people. 

[00:11:54] Patrick Donley: I want to hear how publishing the book and having it come out into the world has changed your life. It’s had to have been life changing. 

[00:12:01] Eric Jorgenson: Yeah. It’s the books have this incredible prestige associated with them in a way that I totally did not appreciate.

[00:12:08] Eric Jorgenson: And even though it seems obvious to me, all of the. Good ideas in that are Navalls but just having being known for a piece of work that people appreciate and resonate with just makes so many more conversations possible and people are just excited to meet you and reach out and let you invest in their company or want to hear what you have to say, want you to have, want you on their podcasts.

[00:12:31] Eric Jorgenson: Like I have a suspicion. That’s why I’m here. So yeah, it’s a really interesting thing. And this is where the story starts to overlap with Scribe. I used Scribe, which is a professional publisher the first professional publisher, the biggest and the best, in my opinion. And Tucker Max is the founder of that company and really helped and encouraged and supported me.

[00:12:53] Eric Jorgenson: And through that publishing is I didn’t know how to publish a book. I’d never even approached it before. It’s, I had a lot to learn about. every little detail, technical and how the industry worked and the finances of all of it and the rights and the publishing process, book marketing and all this. And he was really helpful for me.

[00:13:10] Eric Jorgenson: And that book changed my life, not just reputationally, but also creatively, the process of seeing how something goes from idea through the maze to publication and then being received in the world, but also financially in part because I, by going through scribe kept all of the rights and all the royalties to that book.

[00:13:29] Eric Jorgenson: So I took all the financial risks to get it published, but I obtained, kept all of the financial upside, which is not the case with traditional publishing. And I’m not sure traditional publishers would have ever touched this book anyway. They might’ve insisted on all kinds of different terms that.

[00:13:43] Eric Jorgenson: didn’t fit what we were trying to accomplish. They probably wouldn’t have let us give it away for free online and reach another couple million people. Subscribe absolutely changed my life and the team and all the help there that they gave me to make that first book successful was I feel like I still.

[00:13:58] Eric Jorgenson: still owe them a huge thank you for that. And I know there’s a thousand other authors that they’ve done that for now too. 

[00:14:04] Patrick Donley: Yeah. We’ll get into scribe here later, but I wanted to hear, you mentioned poor Charlie’s almanac and that’s another one of my favorites. It’s always on my coffee table. It’s like something I look at frequently.

[00:14:15] Patrick Donley: So tell me a little bit about, I know that was an influence. What are some other books that had an influence on how you wrote and formatted the Vols book? and Balazs. 

[00:14:24] Eric Jorgenson: Yeah. It’s one of these classic, like you can see the dots in the rear view mirror. Like once you understand the moment that you’ve arrived at.

[00:14:30] Eric Jorgenson: So I read a lot of Buffett and Munger books. I think Peter Bevelin’s books are amazing. Seeking Wisdom. All I want to know is where I’m going to die. So I don’t go there. The longest small word title ever. Dalio, Zero to One, The Letters of Warren Buffett. And a lot of those are. Compilations is the subgenre that you would put them in, like someone took all the value or the best quotes from Charlie and Warren’s annual meetings and stitched them together into this dialogue, or Blake Masters taking notes from the class that Peter Thiel took at Stanford.

[00:15:05] Eric Jorgenson: That’s actually what turned into Zero to One. And I remember reading Principles by Ray Dalio, and he says in there I wish more people wrote their version of Principles when they retire. Here’s all the big ideas of my life and what made me successful and what I think I figured out. And I was like, man, I wish that too.

[00:15:21] Eric Jorgenson: Who do I wish had written that? And the first person that came to mind for me was Naval. I think he’s a unique success story. He’s extremely I don’t think he would say this, but I think extremely self made he arrived as an Indian immigrant at 10 years old, maybe younger single parent household and turned into this incredible success, not just financially, but I think emotionally, maybe spiritually, whatever you want to consider it is widely admired and respected.

[00:15:49] Eric Jorgenson: And I think there’s, I don’t know there’s so much to be gained by studying some of those people who you admire in the whole, right? Not just spikey people who are really good at one thing, but that’s always why I’ve been drawn to Munger. even I think more so than Buffett is just the holistic nature of his life and his approach and his thinking.

[00:16:09] Eric Jorgenson: And I think to me, Naval fits into that as well. 

[00:16:13] Patrick Donley: You had mentioned the Shane Parrish interview that I’ve also listened to a ton of times. And the start of that interview is just Naval going through his Kindle, like talking about all the books that he’s read or reading, or he’s got an interesting way to read.

[00:16:26] Patrick Donley: I think he’s got a lot of books going on. If it doesn’t interest him, he has got no problem stopping it and moving on. But I know I, with the Balaji book and Naval, like one of the things I first go to, and I don’t know if anyone else is like this, is the books they recommend. I love that you’ve put those together, both the, for Naval and Balaji.

[00:16:44] Patrick Donley: I wanted to hear like for both, if there were any let’s talk, start with Naval, but what are some of the books that he’s got listed in the back that have made a big influence on you? 

[00:16:54] Eric Jorgenson: Oh, interesting. So there’s definitely a lot that I had. already read that I was I don’t know if relieved is the right word, but gratified to see him recommend also.

[00:17:06] Eric Jorgenson: It just gives me the sense that my curriculum so far had been like, on point. It’s okay, if we share these books in common, and Portugal’s Almanac was definitely one of them, his whole… All the kind of like a mental model reading was stuff that I had at least in large part done and appreciated and enjoyed some of the business stories or biographies that he recommended where I was not, I had no experience really on the philosophy or spiritual side of what he had recommended and I think that’s a really interesting, I still am not honestly not super deep in those things.

[00:17:39] Eric Jorgenson: He’s, he was 10 years in by the time he’s I have picked up some of the fiction that he recommended, like great tastes in really high concept science fiction with Ted Chiang’s Exhalation was an amazing book that I read on his recommendation. The Egg is a short story by Andy Weir that I reread maybe once a quarter and it blows my mind every single time.

[00:18:01] Eric Jorgenson: I find it to be, I don’t know, the most beautiful thing you can read in a book. 10 minutes. It’s incredible. So he’s pushed me in a lot of directions there. I think he and biology both recommend the sovereign individual, which I have read a good chunk of. Yeah. And just the basics. Naval gives us like permission to go reread the basics of physics and math constantly, which is a thing I think people.

[00:18:24] Eric Jorgenson: I tend to feel like, Oh, I need to read the newest thing, or the most complex version of what I can grok. And he’s no, man, I’ve gone back and read Richard Feynman’s six easy pieces, like constantly, like you can’t reremind yourself of the basics too often. And he’s now, he’s done some great interviews with David Deutsch about the beginning of infinity.

[00:18:44] Eric Jorgenson: and breaking down just the theory of knowledge generally, all of David Deutsch’s work. And those are great conversations, some interviews with Brett Hall, who’s the guy who runs the talkcasts. You can spend a long time unpacking those, and I’m still in early innings of those, but trying to wrap my head around that, because I do think those are very important ideas.

[00:19:03] Eric Jorgenson: And the more we can compress and share those with people, I think the more people are going to understand what sort of understanding and actions have positive impacts on the future. And that’s that’s an important seed to plant. 

[00:19:17] Patrick Donley: So you broke down Naval’s book into wealth and, happiness basically.

[00:19:22] Patrick Donley: And one of the things I was, I just was, before the interview started, I was rereading my dirty copy of Naval’s book here. And there’s one point where he talks about like desire being in the way of happiness. And I wanted to dive into that idea a little bit because We’re taught like we need to have goals and Balaji even like in his book talks about the importance of having goals and I think there’s desire behind any goals.

[00:19:46] Patrick Donley: So I wanted to get your thought on that desire is in the Bal’s thought process in the way of happiness or it blocks happiness to some degree. Can you. Talk about that a little bit. 

[00:19:56] Eric Jorgenson: Yeah, it’s a little bit of a nuanced thing. The foundational idea is a Buddhist idea, right?

[00:20:02] Eric Jorgenson: And what Naval suggests is that there’s really a gradient of how many desires you allow into your life and how many you choose to pursue, right? The monk approach is like eliminate all desires and that extreme version of happiness. There’s another, the other extreme is have every desire and chase all of them all at once.

[00:20:22] Eric Jorgenson: That is, unlikely to lead to happiness because there’s it’s just so easy to add desires, especially in this day and age. It occurs to me like having read that now that instagram is basically the most perfect desire generation engine that you could possibly invent if you set out to create a desire generation engine.

[00:20:41] Eric Jorgenson: So I deleted that from my phone immediately. So the question you ask yourself is like for any given desire, do you really want to let it into your mind, into your heart? Are you willing to be unhappy until you achieve this desire? And that the answer can be yes for any that you choose, just be very deliberate about what you choose.

[00:20:57] Eric Jorgenson: Maybe don’t pick more than one at a time, maybe two because they have a really high cost. And once you identify that, you can start to feel it and you can start to be better about letting go of desires that don’t suit you or that are just obviously not going to come to fruition in the near term.

[00:21:14] Eric Jorgenson: The other hack, which is, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard him. Articulate it this way, but I think people like Jerry Seinfeld or Kobe Bryant, some of the greats is I transformed my desire for long term greatness into a desire to do the work every day. And Jerry Seinfeld is if he writes a joke every day, he’s happy.

[00:21:33] Eric Jorgenson: Like he’s constantly working towards that, but knows it’s a short feedback loop to happiness, to desire, creating happiness. But for any given desire, just choosing, are you willing to, is it easier to let go of this desire or easier to attain it? And being willing to make that trade off, knowing what it costs.

[00:21:51] Patrick Donley: To me, it seems like Naval is more and more getting into kind of like the philosopher role in many ways. And certainly wealth is important and it provides optionality, but correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t he say here’s the path to wealth. It’s not going to do it for you, but like you probably won’t listen, so here’s the path.

[00:22:09] Patrick Donley: Is that accurate to say? 

[00:22:12] Eric Jorgenson: I think the last tweet of the famous tweet storm was when you’re wealthy, you’ll realize wealth wasn’t really what you wanted, but that’s for another day. So let’s go into that. What 

[00:22:22] Eric Jorgenson: does he mean by that? I think the more that’s a little, it’s a quip that is, I think, meant to leave you bleeding a little bit, but the more pertinent idea I think is, or the more useful is.

[00:22:36] Eric Jorgenson: The money only solves your money problems. By all means, go get rich, right? Like it’s Naval says something along the lines of it’s easier to just achieve your material desires than to try to eliminate them in the modern world. And for some people, some of the time, which goes back to the, which desires do you want to choose?

[00:22:54] Eric Jorgenson: But money only solves your money problems. Like you might work for 30 years to get rich, reach some arbitrary number that you decided is what rich means. And then find out that it. Money does solve some of your problems, but it’s maybe 20 percent of them. It’s not going to make you fit. It’s not going to make you happy.

[00:23:10] Eric Jorgenson: It’s not going to give you internal peace. It’s not going to give you good relationships. If you’re really deliberate with how you use it and you already built the skill of chasing those other paths to happiness or solving those other problems in your life. Like money can be a lever to it. You can hire a personal chef, you can hire a personal trainer, but nobody can make you fit.

[00:23:29] Eric Jorgenson: Nobody can therapy you into having a great relationship with your spouse or your kids, no matter how much money you spend on it. So you do have to also address those problems directly in ways that money is never going to be able to achieve. So I think finding that. balance in your life and remembering that there are problems outside of money problems and tackling those with the tools that they deserve.

[00:23:53] Patrick Donley: I heard you talk a little bit about the process of writing the Vols book and it sounded like you just put everything into a Google doc and I mean it was a long process. I wanted to hear if that process stayed the same. With the Bellagio book, what did it become easier to write the second book? Can you talk a little bit about the second book with Bellagio in the process?

[00:24:12] Eric Jorgenson: Yeah, it’s something that I think the tools are not glamorous. I will say that up front, like it’s, it doesn’t take anything more than Google docs to write a great book. The second book was really, I feel like I’m better now at the craft of curating. And the craft of stitching these things together, I know more what the work feels like.

[00:24:30] Eric Jorgenson: And there were certainly less what I’ll call creative doldrums or like difficult crossroads along the way. Like the first book, I had no idea what the finished product would look or feel like, even the scale it should be. And there was times when I wasn’t even sure it was going to be a book. And so this setting off on the second book and having I understand this person and I understand how the finished product is going to feel and a little more about what it feels like to walk the maze along the way.

[00:24:55] Eric Jorgenson: There’s still a lot of uncertainty around what’s the final structure going to be? What are the big ideas that will emerge? And it’s a very organic process of consuming absolutely everything, trying to organize it, collecting the pieces, shifting them around. And the best analogy is doing a jigsaw puzzle to me.

[00:25:13] Eric Jorgenson: You have to collect the pieces, you have to craft them, you have to organize them, and you have to experiment in different sort of formats to see. what things come together, have early peer readers give you input, sand and polish and sand and polish all the different things so that it reads very consistently and ideas flow into each other and naturally answer the question that emerges in your head.

[00:25:35] Eric Jorgenson: I think that’s where you hear that people are like, Oh my God, I read this in one day. Like I did not put it down. You’re like, that’s awesome. And to me, that feels like we succeeded in creating a really strong through line. of idea and idea question answer for the reader. And hopefully a lot of that sticks.

[00:25:53] Eric Jorgenson: But yeah, it was a really, I feel like I leveled up and did my job better in this book for sure. His biology is different than of all the ideas are different. The audience will probably. overlap, but not fully. This book airs much more on the side of entrepreneurs, technologists, builders. It’s a little more of a a handbook to go get out there get to work and a little less philosophical, but I think they go together really well.

[00:26:19] Eric Jorgenson: And I actually think that this book answers a lot more of the tactical. Uncertainty people might have had emerging from the almanac of Duvall of I understand that leverage is important. I understand I need to build specific knowledge. I know I want to end up with equity in a business in order to become wealthy.

[00:26:36] Eric Jorgenson: Okay, what direction do I head now? And this is a little, there’s very tactical stuff in here about. Finding new platforms, thinking about the technologies that are going to emerge, ideating for new companies and validating them with early customers and seeing which markets are going to emerge into being the biggest and where the opportunities arise in your industry or for your business.

[00:26:56] Eric Jorgenson: I hope that some of the stories from this turn into people being like, I applied this, I started a company, it is successful. Here we go. 

[00:27:04] Patrick Donley: I wanted to take a step back a little bit. And for our listeners that just aren’t familiar with Balaji yet, how did you get intrigued by him? What was it about his ideas that like you decided to write your second book about his ideas and a little bit about his story as a person.

[00:27:19] Eric Jorgenson: Sure. Yeah. He’s somebody I’ve been following for a long time as well. He’s become very well known in Silicon Valley and the, I don’t know, the tech, frontier tech people in general, he’s early to crypto. He’s actually was the CTO of Coinbase for a while because a company that he founded even before that was acquired by Coinbase.

[00:27:39] Eric Jorgenson: He was a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz. And before that, he was the co founder of a genomics, clinical genomics company. Cause he’s got a, for the exact degree, like a chemist, a master’s in chemistry and a PhD in, I think, computational biology from Stanford. So he has had was in biotech then.

[00:27:58] Eric Jorgenson: VC, then crypto. And he’s a he’s an investor. He’s a futurist. He’s a writer. He’s done a lot of different things over the years. And he’s very much a polymath, right? Investor in hundreds of companies. He was, I think, became much more widely followed for being one of the first people to see what was emerging in the beginning of the COVID pandemic and being like, guys, like we got a problem here. Look at these exponential curves. I know the chemistry of these viruses and how they work. Like we, we’ve got a real problem on our hands. Certainly early investor in cryptocurrency and a big believer in making space for technology to flourish and for allowing technology to drive progress forward, which is a lot of where the ideas he wrote the network state, which became a bestseller.

[00:28:43] Eric Jorgenson: And that’s really The driving force behind a lot of his work is just like how can we use technology to make the future better and how can we change the structure of our politics and our institutions to enable that because we’ve lost a lot of what made today great has changed and. What was a tailwind has become a headwind.

[00:29:02] Eric Jorgenson: I think in a lot of cases, 

[00:29:05] Patrick Donley: I want to dive into a little bit more just about Balaji as a person you’ve done hours and hours of study of him and his writings. Talk to me just about some, just a few ways that he like lives, thinks, acts differently than the average guy because he’s a different class of human being.

[00:29:21] Eric Jorgenson: Yeah. And people are like, it’s easy to get intimidated. I think like I’ve heard that a number of times of People have trouble like bringing him down to earth or applying what he says or following the thought pattern. And yeah he is keyed up. He talks fast. He has deep, obscure references.

[00:29:41] Eric Jorgenson: He often explain something in order to explain something, which like loses a lot of people. But I think at the core of it, he’s a really smart guy. You can see that through his entire career. He’s incredibly high horsepower, and he spends a lot more of his mental energy extrapolating than distilling that’s something I noticed, like working with Naval.

[00:30:02] Eric Jorgenson: He’s got these killer 4 to 10 word things that are so memorable that just stick with you forever, right? And Balaji has some hooks like that for sure, but he spends so much more time explaining the second, third, fourth order effects of his ideas or a problem that we see. And his ideas cover a really wide swath of modernity and it spends a lot more time on contemporary issues.

[00:30:24] Eric Jorgenson: To me, what I hope this book does is do the distillation work, is show the most fundamental key ideas, the most applicable, the most evergreen ideas that biology has shared. And give you the seeds of his worldview, right? What Marc Andreessen says of biology, which I think is a really interesting, like fair critique or a context to provide is like when biology is wrong, it’s because he over extrapolates almost everybody on earth.

[00:30:50] Eric Jorgenson: When they’re wrong, it’s because they under extrapolate. Biology is somebody who takes an idea to 11, even though maybe reality only takes it to a five or six. But through that lens, it’s really interesting just to see how he thinks. See where the world could go and maybe you’ll arrive at a different conclusion and maybe you’ll stop extrapolating at four Without seeing him take it to 11.

[00:31:09] Eric Jorgenson: You might not have made it past it too, right? So just seeing somebody who spent so much time thinking so far into the future about all the different crazy possibilities, I think is just a really helpful, interesting mental exercise. And it’s helped me see podcasting differently. Even like some of the basics of that you start to just pattern match once he gives you some of these mental models and stories and you apply them in your own world.

[00:31:33] Eric Jorgenson: And maybe it’ll help you see around a corner or two. 

[00:31:36] Patrick Donley: So you mentioned the podcast. How has it changed how you? Think about your podcast, Smart Friends. You’ve interviewed Balaji. He seems, I know I would be massively intimidated by interviewing him. I noticed that he’ll ask you questions. Have you heard about whatever he’s talking about?

[00:31:51] Patrick Donley: And it’s Nope, I haven’t actually. 

[00:31:55] Eric Jorgenson: Yeah. I don’t think he’s expecting you to say yes for most of the French revolutionary war specific battle it’s the perfect metaphor for this thing that I need to explain. And he’s like that in, in conversation too. We’ve gotten to talk offline and what you hear on a podcast is exactly what you get in real life.

[00:32:12] Eric Jorgenson: And I think he’s got a real gift for and partly where those references come from is he’s a deep student of history. You mentioned the book recommendations and this book, just like Naval, the whole last chapter is book recommendations that show you the foundation of his worldview and a huge.

[00:32:28] Eric Jorgenson: Part of that list of maybe the biggest piece of it is history. And so biology has read a lot of history, which I think is a really good, it’s a good inoculation against sitting here in the present and thinking that the present or the near future is going to be just like the recent past. And when you’re a student of history to the degree that biology is, you’re like, man, all of these people in all of these different turning points of history, Woke up on Tuesday and were like, yep, today will be just like yesterday.

[00:32:55] Eric Jorgenson: And one day they were just so wrong and a revolution happened an archduke was assassinated, like a pandemic started. Crazy things happen all the time. The government started repossessing assets or there was a coup or the history is just full of these crazy unpredictable things. that there are patterns to and a fair kind of responsibility is like, Oh, there’s doom and gloom.

[00:33:21] Eric Jorgenson: He’s just predicting different disasters. It’s yeah, because he’s studied history and seen how often different circumstances have led to crazy outcomes. And he is often right about the risks and assessing them. And these are all very complex systems. It’s really difficult to have any specific prediction.

[00:33:38] Eric Jorgenson: turn out to be true, but I think it’s a helpful lens to have on the world to see all of the different setups and all the different outcomes that have happened throughout history and just get a little more appreciation for the breadth of consequences that different actions or different scenarios could put forth.

[00:33:54] Eric Jorgenson: Yeah, obviously I haven’t read all of the history that he recommends in there. He’s decades ahead of my reading list, but even if you just pick a few or read synopsis to go go read the Wikipedia page of the thing that the book is about, you’ll start to see, I think, a little more of what he sees in the world for better or worse, and maybe be a little bit more prepared for your life, your business, your future.

[00:34:17] Patrick Donley: Yeah. So I was fortunate enough. You sent me an advanced copy of the book, so I got to spend some time with it. So thanks for doing that. I really enjoyed it. Like the last week or so I’ve been spending a lot of time with it. So you broke the book down into three parts. The first one’s on technology. Second one is on truth.

[00:34:32] Patrick Donley: And then the third part, which is, was my favorite was about building the future, building a company, building a. Even said a new country or a nonprofit or, but I wanted to touch on just some big ideas in each section. And the one that stood out to me in the first part was transhumanism. And I hear him talk about transhumanism a lot.

[00:34:50] Patrick Donley: Explain to me what that is. Cause I, I’m not sure I exactly understand it, but it’s an important concept to him. 

[00:34:57] Eric Jorgenson: It’s an important concept to him. And I think his. The definition that’s in there is very simple. Transhumanism is self improvement with technology and in that sense, so the transhumanism of the past would be like boats, planes, writing, computers, bikes, learning to ride horses.

[00:35:19] Eric Jorgenson: Like the entire tech tree could be seen as transhumanism of the past. What are things that we can use that are more than like Just the hands that we were given as evolved monkeys to increase our capabilities, right? And people, I think today you hear transhumanism and people have this sense that which is bizarre.

[00:35:41] Eric Jorgenson: It is absolutely bizarre when you see the full evolution of time, but they have this sense that like, wherever they were born is the correct amount of technology to have. And that any new technology is scary and unnatural and unsafe. and insane and should be illegal. Thank God we have planes. Thank God we have vaccines.

[00:36:01] Eric Jorgenson: Thank God we have open heart surgery. Thank God we have air conditioning. So all of these transhumanism is just self improvement with technology. And I think that’s a really helpful. It’s a helpful way to see it. There are some he’s got a long list of them in there, near term opportunities for really crazy capabilities to get at it, right?

[00:36:22] Eric Jorgenson: Externalized memory in our computers now, we can have AI partners, we can have robotic help, we can have self driving cars. And people might be excited or fearful about any set of those, but you can’t deny that they are adding to the set of human capabilities pretty quickly. 

[00:36:39] Patrick Donley: He talked about having a dashboard instead of looking at your phone right off the bat scrolling through Twitter, looking at your whatever, your notifications.

[00:36:48] Patrick Donley: He talked about having a dashboard that would monitor your like health, wealth. Truth. Those are like the, I think the three aspects that he said were most important, right? Like first pursued truth, then health, then wealth. We often get that backwards. So talk to me a little bit about the dashboard idea.

[00:37:05] Eric Jorgenson: Yeah. I think the whole middle section truth is really an interesting sort of weave between. the different types of truth that there are, like fundamental physical truth, social consensus truth, economic truth, and how the media that we are used to using, whether it’s traditional media or social media, tends to distort that truth and make it more difficult for us to find fundamental reality.

[00:37:29] Eric Jorgenson: And this is, That’s the role of media. That’s its job. But it’s grown to take over a huge percentage of our lives. And there are people who live in this absolutely unreal world created for them by social media and how they choose to interact with it. And his point, I think, is rather than open you know, an algorithmically derived set of the most triggering things that engagement bait that you can find or that the algorithm has found for you every morning that are someone else’s priorities.

[00:37:57] Eric Jorgenson: Perhaps the most important thing to do is wake up and look at for me, it’s like my whoop, right? The resting heart rate variability, basically, how healthy, how good were my habits yesterday? How well rested am I? How ready am I for the work that I have to do today? Where are my personal finances at?

[00:38:12] Eric Jorgenson: Where’s my budget? Which not everybody looks at daily, but are you tending to the things that are in your house, in your yard? Are your relationships strong would be something that if you could quantify in some sense, and there was like a little red alert going off, it’s like, Hey, yeah, you worked pretty hard yesterday.

[00:38:27] Eric Jorgenson: Like, how’s your spouse feeling? Like how many minutes did you talk to them yesterday? Are your true priorities reflected in how you’re using your time both yesterday and your plan for today? I think that’s the dashboard that You know, you can imagine you could draw it out on paper. What do I wish I had a report on every morning?

[00:38:42] Eric Jorgenson: And a lot of that’s yet to be built, but the technology for a lot of it could be there and just replacing maybe a bad habit with a good one will trigger some different changes in how you use your time. 

[00:38:54] Patrick Donley: So the third section is building the future. I think that was your favorite section as well. 

[00:38:59] Eric Jorgenson: Yeah I think I said in my intro, the first section is the most important, but the third is my favorite.

[00:39:05] Patrick Donley: Yeah, so let’s go into some of the bigger ideas in the third section, which was how to build a future. He’s got a lot of great ideas in there about just building a company that can be applied to almost anything. 

[00:39:17] Eric Jorgenson: Yeah, building a country. That’s really the foundation of the network. I assume that’s the ultimate goal of most people in real estate, right?

[00:39:23] Eric Jorgenson: Is go start their own country, own the whole thing. Triple netland so the building the future section is broken up into three sections. Just like the internal game of the mindset and how to think and how to prioritize and determining what the best opportunity is for you. And then founding, which is just.

[00:39:41] Eric Jorgenson: Every verb from starting your research all the way through executing and surviving as a company and enshrining that legacy. There’s a lot of messy stuff in between. Anthology’s got, I think, a really uniquely rigorous, quantitative, like strict approach basically to navigating that messy piece.

[00:40:00] Eric Jorgenson: And it’s I think he’s been a huge asset. He’s invested in hundreds of startups, many of which have become incredibly successful. He has started a few of them himself and is very much an in the trenches kind of founder. So I think there’s a lot to be gained from that. And actually I have sent those chapters to a lot of founders that we invest in or friends even who are just starting companies like, Hey, this is the clearest framework I’ve seen for how to go from zero customers to a bunch of pre customers, pre committed to features you have not yet built with a prioritized list of features and revenue like expectations attached, which is a really helpful framework to have when you’re trying to go from zero to one.

[00:40:34] Eric Jorgenson: And he taught a course. A lot of that material is from a course that he taught at Stanford for founders and technical founders that like, I think a quarter million people took that course online. It’s an open online courses. Some of the technical information is outdated now, but some of the ideas are still really key.

[00:40:49] Eric Jorgenson: And I compiled all those into the course notes in a PDF. If you want the full context version. That’s on the website, the book website, biologyanthology. com. If you want to go deeply into that, but I hope that this is the successor to zero to one in terms of like very tactical builders manual.

[00:41:06] Eric Jorgenson: That’s what this section is really meant to be. So if you like zero to one, I think this will hit the spot. 

[00:41:12] Patrick Donley: I agree. And the book is coming out when next October 24th. That’s great. Yeah, hopefully it’s already out by the time you’re hearing this. It should be. 

[00:41:22] Patrick Donley: So I’m excited to get a physical copy.

[00:41:24] Patrick Donley: I love physical copies of books. So I’ll definitely be getting one. One of the things that I wanted to touch on is Balaji’s Bitcoin bet. He’s really well known for that. Talk to me a little bit about the impetus for that bet for our listeners that aren’t familiar with it, a little bit of background on why he made the bet.

[00:41:39] Patrick Donley: in the specifics of it. 

[00:41:41] Eric Jorgenson: Yeah, this is some of this is definitely over my pay grade, but I will do my best. So this gets to some of the contemporary issues that like biology gets involved in. And his view is that we have dangerous levels of inflation coming to the U S and impending financial crisis of some sorts.

[00:42:01] Eric Jorgenson: Like his view is that the fed intentionally or unintentionally has due to the rate changes has really caused trouble for the banks and caused the bankruptcy the failure of some of these banks like SBB and is hiding even more inflation in some of these operations. So the Bitcoin that in his view also is another part of the preface is that Bitcoin is the safe haven for investors to move.

[00:42:27] Eric Jorgenson: In a high inflation environment, if USD is the reserve currency currently, which it is, and it’s entering this crazy inflation state, which his theory is that it is, then the safe place for your currency is Bitcoin and that’s preferable to moving to any other foreign reserve currency. It is the bet that he made was that Bitcoin would go to a million in 90 days, which of course it didn’t, but it was an incredible publicity stunt.

[00:42:57] Eric Jorgenson: I don’t know if he would use those words. It got a lot of attention, certainly. And the narrative that he shared around it was like, I burned a million to show you they’re printing trillions and to bring attention to the kind of impending crisis. And he’s released a lot more. There’s nuanced information around that, that if this is something you’re interested in, I encourage you to go dig into.

[00:43:17] Eric Jorgenson: There’s a lot on his Twitter. He’s released long podcasts about it. There’s a lot of macroeconomic and deep financial like analysis and information that goes into it. I’m not an expert in any of those fields, so I’m not the correct person to help you parse it, but it’s an interesting thing.

[00:43:34] Eric Jorgenson: rabbit hole to go down, if that’s if that’s of interest to you. 

[00:43:38] Patrick Donley: Yeah, it is actually to me. It is a deep rabbit hole and one I’ve actually gone down myself. So we’ve got a podcast that I mentioned, Bitcoin Fundamentals. That’s great. People can listen to that as well, too. It’s a controversial thing. 

[00:43:50] Eric Jorgenson: Yeah, it’s one of those where every opinion is interesting in its own way.

[00:43:54] Eric Jorgenson: And you got to collect all the extremes and figure out where you, where your worldview fits among there. And that is something Balaji said is here’s the different in the nuanced communication, which is most headlines don’t report. But if you go read his stuff, it’s here’s my expectation of the different possible scenarios.

[00:44:11] Eric Jorgenson: And here’s my probability weighting of each of them. And here’s what I would do as a retail investor, if you think each of if whatever you think is the most probable thing, like here’s a set of actions you might take to protect yourself or your business. Yeah. It’s an interesting rabbit hole to go down, especially for people whose businesses are largely or heavily impacted by interest rates, Fed activities, banking collapse, that kind of stuff.

[00:44:33] Patrick Donley: Yeah. We won’t go any further into that. I, we, that could do a whole show on that, but I want to go into Scribe and you’ve got this new announcement. You’ve manifested your dream job. You tweeted. So talk to me about your next chapter. What you’re up to as CEO of at Scribe Media. and how it came about.

[00:44:51] Eric Jorgenson: Yeah, I’ll do my best in brief because it’s we could do a whole podcast on that. Probably the publisher that I used to publish my first end and the biology book, actually, that I owe a huge debt of gratitude to went through some financial challenges related to previous leadership and underwent a sale process.

[00:45:08] Eric Jorgenson: And I, as a adoring customer of theirs and a fan of all the humans who I’ve worked with there, did my best to go support them and make sure that could remain a stable thing. And I have some friends we mentioned who work in permanent equity and private equity and long term holding companies.

[00:45:23] Eric Jorgenson: And so I just took this opportunity to around to a few of them and Siava and Xavier at Enduring Ventures got excited about the business, worked a lot with the bank to figure out how this was going to unfold and ended up in some form of fashion that is not my expertise, like closing on some of those assets and hiring the team and needed somebody to run it.

[00:45:46] Eric Jorgenson: And I talked with them a lot through the process. They knew that I was a happy customer and had some experience in this industry and some ideas about how to carry it forward and give me a number of calls. And so over a few weeks, we talked about it and got excited about the opportunity. So I joined a few weeks ago.

[00:46:03] Eric Jorgenson: Yeah. New to the company, new to the publishing industry, but a very excited to cross the line from author and moving into. CEO of this professional publisher. The professional publisher, honestly, like they are very well known and respected in the industry. And I think like fertile ground for the next kind of the biggest new age publishing company out there.

[00:46:23] Eric Jorgenson: I see that the world has changed around traditional publishing that the kind of offer that scribe. provides authors the chance to own their full financial upside. All their creative rights and decisions and copyrights makes so much sense in a world of people who own their own audience, in a world of Amazon being where most books are bought and sold.

[00:46:45] Eric Jorgenson: It’s a really interesting shift in an industry that I feel like has not yet fully adjusted. And I’m excited to be, I’m excited to be digging it. 

[00:46:53] Patrick Donley: So Eric, this has been really great. I’ve Really appreciated your time today. I hope people dive into both the Naval book and the Bellagio book for people that want to find out more about you, find out about the books, what’s the best way for them to learn about you, get in touch with you, that kind of thing.

[00:47:09] Eric Jorgenson: Yeah. Thank you so much for the kind words. I’m really, I love to hear that. These books have had an impact on people’s lives. All of my projects can be found at ejorgenson. com. That’s the beginning of everything. And you can go any direction from there, the podcast, the fun, the books, the blog, and I’m on Twitter all the time, arguably too much.

[00:47:27] Eric Jorgenson: So if you’re on Twitter, come find me. Let’s have a chat. 

[00:47:31] Patrick Donley: Awesome. Eric, thanks so much for your time today. Really appreciate having you and best of luck with the Bellagio book. 

[00:47:36] Eric Jorgenson: Thank you. Appreciate you very much. 

[00:47:38] Patrick Donley: All right. Take care. Okay, folks, that’s all I had for today’s episode. I hope you enjoyed the show and I’ll see you back here real soon.

[00:47:45] Outro: Thank you for listening to TIP. Make sure to subscribe to We Study Billionaires by The Investor’s Podcast Network. Every Wednesday, we teach you about Bitcoin, and every Saturday, we study billionaires and the financial markets.

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