Tech Industry Survival Guide & Digital Nomadism with Warren Moore
Warren Moore is an ex-apple engineer who started his own software consulting company. Now, he lives a lavish life as a digital nomad in Thailand while dishing out advice about 3D graphics to clients halfway across the globe.
In this episode Warren gives general business advice such as when to branch off and start your own business, technology specific advice such as how to maximize your salary as a software engineer, and digital nomad advice on how to permanently live abroad for pennies on the dollar. Additionally, Warren and I rant about futuristic predictions such as universal basic income, omnipotent artificial intelligence, and virtual reality porn. Some interesting topics we cover include:
0:47 – Digital Nomadism: Working your own hours while experiencing the world
9:40 – Software engineer career progression
30:15 – The digital trolley problem: who will your car save?
37:19 – Technology and automation taking away jobs
41:24 – Pros and cons of universal basic income
53:16 – Amazon and Facebook: Friend or foe
1:05:56 – Exploring god awful startup ideas
1:15:50 – Crazy Job Interview Stories
1:29:19 – When is it time to quit your 9 to 5 and start your own thing
1:42:52 – Are coding bootcamps effective?
1:55:14 – Niching down vs. Branching out: maximizing software engineering salary
2:09:54 – Virtual reality sex with your digital Megan Fox
2:19:35 – Are we living in a simulation?
The audio version of this podcast can be found here:
The most interesting excerpts from this podcast can be found here:
Are We Living in a Simulation
The Trolley Problem and Ethics of Driverless Cars
VR Porn – Is it Good or Evil
We've got Warren, more genius software engineer, turn tech consultant, business owner, location, independent entrepreneur, we discover the future of the tech industry, how to be successful in the tech industry and how to get into the tech industry. If you're not already a part of it, honestly, we go a little bit deep on software engineering at points. But stay tuned through the madness. Because after the two nerds are done gabbing out we get into some serious topics the future of artificial intelligence how it's going to replace all of our jobs. But the silver lining we're going to have virtual reality
the mental architect with Sam Sebring no blueprint for peak performance
be the best you can be.
We are here with Warren mother more the God of 3d graphics processing on Apple platforms, and I up your title, or is that is that accurate? I would
just say you're, you're being very flattering right now. And I appreciate it. Well, you are the god I
got that part, right. I don't know about the second part. The second part gets very, very technical. I would just say I'm, I'm a specialist with particular interest. Sounds like you're gonna murder some code or something. Yes. I have very specific skills. I can specialist I can make all your pixels. exactly the right color. Oh, no way. I've got some complicated pixels. Man. I need some some cayenne pixels. Whoa. I mean, talking about something. Some wide gamut. Am I gonna have to pay extra for that? I'm sorry. Is this actually a show? Or we just warming up? Oh, no, no, this is it. We're going. We're talking about pixels grow. We have arrived. Tastes rolling. Alright, cool. What's
been what's been interesting in your life lately, man? Well, so I've been traveling throughout throughout Southeast Asia. And now for about a month and a half. That's part of remote year. Yeah. So we kicked things off in Hanoi about six weeks ago. And, you know, we've been in Chiang Mai now for about two weeks. And it's been an amazing experience. So what is remote? Your I know about it? vaguely. Yeah, I'm happy to happy to give them a pitch because they're, they're pretty awesome. So it's basically a travel company. They've been around for about three years, and they take groups of people all over the world, you can do a 12 month program, in which case, you actually go to Latin America, Asia, Africa, I'm sure I'm forgetting one. and Europe. And a couple of my friends did that. And they, they recommended it highly to me. And the nice thing about it is that, you know, it's they take care of lodging and transportation between cities, they put together events, you know, that are a little bit outside of the beaten path. And they provide a co working space. So you get all of that in for one flat rate every month. And sure, you can may be able to do it for yourself by yourself on the cheap, cheaper than that, but what I find is their value add is that it's just all one comprehensive package. And so that's been a great value for me. So I'm currently on a four month program right in the middle of it. And next month, we're gonna go to Kyoto, Japan, and then we're gonna do. I'm going to kiddo. Okay. No way to drink there sometime. Hell
yeah, I don't. I'm not sure. Let's say I'm going to be there. July 9. They're gonna be the July 9. Ah, yeah, I sure well, oh, yeah. No way. I'm going up there for a like a 10 David Posner retreat. Oh, awesome. That's gonna be a little bit scared. I had to do to my podcast, actually, before this, that inspired me to do it. His name's john. And he said, he went and did attend a possibility. 12 hours a day meditation. Wow, hardest thing he's ever done in his life. And it It literally just completely changed his life. Apparently, he was suicidal before that. And then now he's writing a book on Buddhism. That's amazing. I can imagine that would be so transform those, like, sign me up sweet. Apparently. hurts your back though. Yeah, I imagine it was no. Oh my god, I got home. He's in Kyoto. I'm so excited. Nice one. So it sounds like the Well, I'm sorry, the, I'm gonna get the name right. Well, travel, what? That wasn't even a company, a remote, your remote. You remember the name, they do everything. But actually give you the job. Exactly. This for yourself. Yeah, everything other than the hard part. That's
right. So it's not a job. It's not a jobs program, by any means. You really do have to come in with your own thing. And what I found is that there is there's almost an even split among people who are kind of doing entrepreneurial stuff, versus people who are employed full time with employers that are fine with being really flexible. And having remote workers.
There are a lot of those. Now,
there are a surprising number. And I think it's on the rise. I think that it's been, it's been really amazing to see how digital nomad ism and remote work have really become popular in the past few years, enabling this kind of work style,
man, if my company let me quote unquote, work remotely, and I stayed home in America, I think I could keep my together. I really think I could. But if I started traveling around Thailand, I would be the least productive employee in the history of unproductive employees. So that's why I think remote your is so amazing, because they take care of all the logistics for you, right. And I mean, this really is not an advertisement, they're not paying me to say this, I'm just a big believer in it. And I've seen the results. So they create the context in which you can settle in and start getting worked on almost on arrival. And, you know, you're in a, you're in a work co working space that they provide among all these other people that you've gotten to know and have these diverse skill sets and have these different perspectives. And so working among that is really inspiring to say nothing of the other amazing parts of like, just being in an exotic place. So it do top tier companies even allow you to travel abroad and work because I kind of started looking into it in the software engineering industry. And I kind of felt like, okay, software engineering, we're so hip, this, this gotta be the industry that's going to allow it and some of the big companies did, but by what I read and tell me if I'm wrong, you know, way more about it than I do, once you get kind of senior it a good company, they'll be more liable to let you do it. But for the most part is kind of these weird or off the beaten path companies that try to do that as an extra bonus to attract engineers. Is that accurate? Or can you kind of negotiate this with every company that that
feels right? To me, I would say that everything is negotiable. I only have experienced bouncing back and forth kind of between being a freelancer and working in these big corporate environments at Apple, so I can really only speak to that. But at Apple, certainly, when you're when you're talking to them, when you're interviewing when you're negotiating remote is not really on the table. Having said that, there are definitely people plenty of people who are sufficiently senior and who have sufficiently new skills that they do make accommodations for that. But they're they're much more the exception than the norm. I actually was never working remotely for I bet you could, I bet you could. Going back now, with your uniqueness. It's conceivable, but it would take it would take some doing and it might not be might be on more of like a contract basis than a full time basis. But yeah, I mean, I am fortunate to have to kind of have this combination of this niche skill set at the right time. So I don't take that for granted, it's quite possible that somebody like one of those majors would be would be okay with that. But again, that's more the exception than the rule at big companies these days, you know, there was this big thing with Yahoo, a few years ago, where they, they practically eliminated remote work and really tried to consolidate people because of this. Yeah, because of this, this idea that when people are together, it's easier to collaborate Lower, lower friction, lower overhead, right, and for certain types of work. Sure, that's the right model. But what I found is that among people on this program, who are doing things like content marketing, you know, these writers, translators, people who can work out of Banda designers who can kind of work on these shifting schedules, where they need a lot of time to themselves, where there's not a lot of real time back and forth with a client or with a stakeholder. This, this model is actually ideal, because you're, you know, if you're halfway around the world, and you're working for a company based in the States, then you're basically working at the quietest hours, more or less. And if you can carve that out, working during the day here in Asia, that can be amazing for productivity. And then you basically just hand stuff off overnight, get feedback, do it all over again. And that's been amazingly successful, both for myself and for other people in the program. It seems like for the most part, software engineers are kind of in the same category. Every software engineer I know, just naturally stays up till 5am. I don't know why. Yeah,
well, I do know why. It's because no one's gonna interrupt you.
Exactly. Uh, one thing. That's exactly right. A lot of programmers are definitely night owls. One thing I do find, though, that one thing I find in corporate environments, is that there are an awful lot of meetings, they're almost meetings for the sake of meetings and meetings to meet about more meetings. It's meetings to plan meetings, meetings for those meetings. You know it, you're saying it as if it's a joke, but it's my lived reality. And I've got I've got, you know, PTSD about it. Not literally, I don't want to, you know, I've only
gone so far. So I've had the, the minimal meetings, I've had the stand ups, you know, I get stand up. That's reasonable. Sure, one a day, but I see my engineer friends, how'd you get anything done with this day meetings? I think we're pretty decent. Actually, I don't even think we can really complain that much as engineers. If you look at people in the business world, how do they get anything done, their job is just meetings, it's seven hours a day of meetings. And then you're expected to do your entire job in an hour.
It's funny, because, you know, I used to have this perspective on project management, it It always seems like every pm or have you just always been an engineer, I've always been an engineer in a professional capacity. I mean, I've, I've run small Freelancer teams. So I've kind of been the defacto lead and pm in that case. But in the case of, you know, my own work in the corporate environment, strictly engineering. And I always felt like it was just kind of this unnecessary overhead in practice, I think project management is really necessary for ensuring that you get the right thing done, you know, and that that entails, you know, getting the right product definition, and then keeping it on track as you develop it. So, I have a lot of respect now for for project managers. But other other kinds of management, I still don't those guys. They're not doing anything,
right. So mid middle management, it's a little bit harder to understand exactly where the value to restroom and a lot of them are just cat herders. And a lot of them do seem to definitely be just sort of occupying those, those niches that are created by by necessity of the organizational size. And, you know, it's hard to see where the value really comes from. But, you know, it's not my not my thing. And maybe one day I move into to software management, you know, I will want to have, you know, people having a more charitable outlook on how I contribute value. So, I don't want to I don't want to talk too much, too much trash.
Yeah, well, it's interesting, because right now, when you get into software engineering, you're kind of looking down the barrel of two different paths. And that you stay as an engineer and you blah, blah, blah, go into the staff, or turn to the architect or whatever, or you go down the, the pm path. And I've asked a lot of my software engineering friends, and I'm very curious in your two cents, because I've asked a lot of my software engineering friends, what is the best path, then that comes down to what is best? And so I basically refined the question, what is the most lucrative path, right? Um, and usually the answer something on lines of dude known knows the industry is going so insane right now, no one's quite sure. All I know, is that I don't want a MBA. So I'm probably tempted to stay on the engineer path. But it seems like it feels like at a certain point, the engineer path is capped off, you know, you it's a pretty big cap, don't get me wrong, and get to software architect, or whatever it is,
you're never going to become VP, you're never going to become CEO, you never go into, you know, really, really slay. Yeah, and
those paths kind of diverged as your career goes on, like, you say, you go down the, the individual contributor path, as we call it, and you get to, you know, your staff engineer, and then you get to be some kind of architect, every, every, every, every company has different names for those roles. But it's definitely harder to transition to, you know, to any kind of managerial role once you've done that. And it all entails a degree of specialization as well, which means that you don't have as much flexibility, even within that kind of individual contributor role to move around and kind of do different things. And I can't even speak to compensation on those two different paths. But what I will say is that I have a very different orientation to those two different paths than I did two years ago. And that all came from the fact that I had a really great manager who encouraged me to develop managerial skills, right?
While you're an engineer,
while I was an engineer working under him. Yeah. And so that made me actually a lot more amenable to the idea of, instead of staying on this individual contributor path, looking into what it really means to be a working engineering manager, because I've worked under great engineering managers, and I've worked under very poor engineering managers. And I think there is there's a really material difference. And I think that you can teach people how to reverse that, I think that you can make somebody a good engineering manager, and I don't claimed to have the necessary soft skills or leadership skills to actually do that in practice yet, but I do think that eventually, somewhere along my career path, I'm going to want to settle into a more managerial role than sort of following down this, this individual contributor path. Because that I see path is a lot more it's a little bit like doing a PhD, you become ever narrower in focus. And again, it's very difficult to maintain flexibility. Once you've done that, and God forbid your PhD is thrown out the window. We don't use cobalt anymore. Exactly. You're. You get outmoded and and then it's real tough. Yeah.
Well, just based on only knowing you for how long I have, it seems like it'd be a massive waste of skills for you to not go into a managerial position, because it's very, very rare to get someone who's this competent as an engineer who's also this articulate.
Yeah, sure. And, but one of the flip side,
we're a bunch of weirdos.
I mean, I appreciate you saying that. I will say one thing. I've been reading this book originals. And one of the things that it said was, in fact, if you look at the NBA
ball, sometimes it's not necessarily even the best players who make the best coaches eventually, you know, a lot of coaches are pulled from from the ranks of the majors, and but they weren't necessarily the ones who were who were the All Stars, but then they make world class coaches. So I would hesitate to say that you'd have to be, you have to be a great engineer in order to be a great manager, I think they are, they're not entirely disjointed skill sets, there is some overlap, and I find it a lot easier to respect an engineering manager who is an accomplished engineer. Absolutely. But I think that there are ways to develop your skills, let's just say, right, let's just suppose that you become an engineer, you get a few years into your career, you're having some success, but maybe it's not exactly your bag, maybe you want to lead people, maybe you want to exercise some of those softer skills, maybe you want to grow people more than you want to grow software directly. I think that it's a perfectly valid career choice. And I think that we really need need people who make that choice to make that choice consciously. Because there are a lot of people who don't make that choice consciously. They either are chasing compensation like you mentioned earlier. tempting. Or it Yeah, of course, it is. Yeah. I'm, as you know, subject to chasing anyone. Yeah. Or they just want to, you know, to feel like they're in positions of power. And I think those are both and more tempting. Yeah,
yeah, exactly. I think those are both, probably not the right motivation for somebody who, who really, you know, makes makes for a good leader in that space. Does that mean I can be the guy on the other side of the table and I'm interviewing this punk sophomore interns and I start giving them these ridiculous questions that I know they're not gonna know. And then I can just sit there and smile and torment them. You can be that guy. Ah, yes, I've started my career path. Find the median element of binary search tree in linear time ago,
she never stopped. You didn't log in time. Does that ever stop? I would say that a lot of just bought by the way
luggage. I'm going to move on from the subject. But no, I
wanted to get on this subject. That's just a fun,
it should stop it should stop. Because I think the ways in which we currently engineer excuse me the way we currently interview software candidates is kind of broken, you know, because I think that that doesn't at all doing whiteboard coding and solving brain teasers does not at all, emulate the way you work in practice. Right. I think that it's, I'll tell you why. Like, so I interviewed at a very well known games company about two months ago, was it
right, it was not right a share, because they're, Dickie honestly hard anyone's gotten right I Well,
that sounds like a challenge. But let's just say it's one of the better known companies and the, the interviewing experience between there and let's just say apple or Microsoft, both. Both. I've been through
couldn't, could not have been more different, you know, at Apple, just to be honest, like it felt a little bit adversarial. There were definitely brain teasers. There was a lot of white board coach at this other company, I just sort of, I really felt like it was just a series of culture fit and informational interviews, you know, I had fun with it. I probably talked to eight or 10 different engineers throughout the course of the day. And it was like, they were trying to get a sense of me as a person, because they already knew that my technical skills were legitimate, right. And I think that making the assumption that the person that you're talking to, if you've already vetted them via their resume, and through a phone screen, giving them some credence that they're not a complete idiot goes a long way to engineering comfort and to just making that whole interview process a lot more a lot more collegial, a lot less stressful for both parties, and I think actually helps you find great candidates. I really don't. I think that the whole brain teaser thing that was, you know, really spread and became legendary as part of kind of Microsoft lower 15 years ago. And, and working for and continue. I got brain teasers there, right. And me too, and we should talk about that is a good time fun interview stories there. But you know, people like
Gail Lockman and her book Cracking the Coding interview right there's there's a whole thing there's manuals now right for for Yeah, defeating these code interview these code based interview questions and I just think that to suppose that somebody can can read a book like that and passing interview and that that's like the platonic ideal of interview processes that that's probably not right and i think that again, Linden credence to the candidate and getting a feel for how they'll work with the team is so much more important than than making them search of frickin binary tree for the hundredth time.
Yeah, maybe I'm not giving myself enough credit. But I almost feel like I just kind of cheat coded my way into a good job because I have friends and I can tell you 100%, they're better coders than I am. I've coated with them for four years. There they were in my class on every group project. I work with them, they're better than me, I can admit it. But the difference was when it came time to get a job I said yeah. And I shoved Cracking the Coding interview up my I I took leak code and I swallowed the entire website and I just did every problem ever you could not come to me with a problem that I couldn't do. But then there are these people who didn't shoved back and coding review up their and even though they were a better program is the me ended up getting better job, right. You hacked the system
when they perhaps either weren't willing to or you know, felt like that would for whatever reason, gotta learn to play the game, man. And and you have learned how to play the game. I think both. I think it bears saying that both of us, I think probably derive a lot of privileged privileged from being white men, you know that out there? I certainly feel like I've received favorite figure favorable treatment, you think so? Yeah, so absolutely. I mean, how can you tell you just, you just can't tell me that? Well,
because I've been on both sides, the interviewing table, and I felt I felt bias and I felt those urges myself to be preferential toward people that I feel were culturally similar to me, not necessarily so much like, it's not necessarily about race. But the problem is that those two things are so intertwined, right, like race and culture, and just vibe with somebody education, liking somebody just getting getting the instinctual, you know, good vibes from them, I think we need to be really careful with that. Because what you're really saying is, Hmm, this person makes me comfortable, because I feel like I'm looking in a mirror, and you really have to interrogate that and really break that down in order to avoid that kind of bias. And I'm just saying, I feel like I've benefited from from that kind of bias. And from that favoritism, which is not to say that I am not a competent engineer, sure I am. I just wish that everybody was actually drawing from a larger pool, and going further afield to find great candidates, I would say that at Apple, they're still even though there has been a lot of work done on diversity in the past few years, there's still a lot of work yet to
do if that's an aim. And they do claim it as one of their ideals. And so I hope to see them living that to a greater degree over time. One thing I've been curious about, something I speculated about something on my friends have speculated about is this idea behind diversity hires. So these companies, it's interesting when you start looking at the law, they're not necessarily required by law to hire minorities. But if they don't, they can get into trouble, it gets into a very strange gray area of the law. And so some people speculate that there's a level of affirmative action going on right now. And that if there are two completely equal candidates going in the exact same interview, there's only one spot left one is an African American female disabled veteran, if she just checks off every single box. And then the other one is a white male, even though it's true that we may have received preferential treatment in terms of how we actually by the person, especially, they were our own race, some people speculate and once you actually get it onto paper, and you start going through the hiring system on paper, that sometimes they're preferential treatment towards the minorities.
Mm hmm. It's so difficult to say that it actually winds up resulting in preferential treatment toward minorities, I don't really feel equipped to fully unpack that. What I would say is, again, it's not Yeah, because because we're kind of emphasizing to different parts of the pipeline here, right? I'm saying, go farther afield find a bigger pool, a more diverse pool of candidates. And you're saying that that there's essentially affirmative action a player there, there is what I've heard, I don't know if it's true or not, I'm not a hiring manager. I haven't seen it in practice. But that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. And it's one of those things where it's going to be so particular to to the company. And it's, it's such a thin line rubber, because what we're really talking about is the difference between saying women and people of color will be treated with favoritism in this process, versus women and people of color or other historically underrepresented individuals are encouraged to apply, right, if you if you, you know, kind of blow your eyes cross your eyes, those things from a certain perspective looks similar. But I think I think that there is a very bright dividing line between the two. And I think that it makes all the difference in terms of what it looks like from a legal perspective and what it looks like from a perspective of outcomes. Because if you encourage a diverse set of candidates to apply, at the very least, you have a more interesting set of resumes to look through. And I think that's a that's the start to the process is very, very tricky. Once you actually get people in the pipe to ensure that the processes that are handling them are are actually fair, are colorblind, or however you want to phrase it,
because those processes are made of people. Exactly right. And it's so difficult to actually to really burnout, that bias.
I don't have I don't have all the answers, I hardly have any answers. But I would say that i think it's it's an ideal worth shooting for because I think that diverse teams function better,
really, what is it that
I think that a diversity of perspective and a diversity of experience is incredibly valuable when it comes to architected solutions. And even more than that, from a technical perspective, from a from a cultural perspective, I just want to talk for a few minutes about something that's kind of this sort of troubling trend in AI and machine learning. One of the things that happens is that once we create machine learning system, like let's just say, whatever, whatever chooses what gets put in front of your eyes, on your Facebook news feed, or whatever on your Facebook feed,
it is tuned and tailored to you. But that system, that algorithmic system is built by people. And when people build machine learning systems, and, you know, put it under the banner of AI, there's this kind of assumption that it becomes somehow magically unbiased that the machine is, you know, following these perfect unbiased algorithms, when in reality, machine learning is just Applied Statistics. and machine learning is therefore, just a codification of what people think they already know. And of course, they can learn over time from your preferences and your habits. But my point is that it's very risky to create a system that claims to be this this pure unbiased thing that in In fact, and in reality does wind up being discriminatory does in fact, not account for the full breadth of human experience. And so I would say, having a diverse set of people on a team is one way of eradicating that bias. not perfect, but it's a way of getting different perspectives. And somebody might come in and say, okay, Hey, guys, I noticed that. Let's just take one really simple exam. This is a really tried example, but okay, you want to build the ultimate like stock tracking app for iOS, right? Okay. So and you're gonna look like, but it's crypto. Okay, well, yeah, sure. Let's, let's rebuild Jesus. Okay.
You want to build coin tracker, right to track to track all of your, your massive crypto earnings, right? Or losses in my case? Well, yes,
I'm actually definitely in the red on my crypto investments. I am I don't know why I didn't get when I was up at 5%. I'm just really honest. I am I am a loser in the crypto space. And so I went up like 700%, and then it went right back down to zero. That's what I pulled out. So technically, I'm only was like, minus 10 only last little bit. That's off topic, any like going out on the ground floor? All I was gonna say is, you're okay, so you're localizing your app to Chinese. All right. And you've been using the color green to signify gains and read to signify losses. But in reality, if you're, you know, in Chinese culture, actually, like red is auspicious. And indicates gains, right? No. So, yeah. So all of a sudden, your Chinese user is looking at this. And they're, they're getting this really weird cognitive dissonance, because they're like, wait, I'm up. But it's green. Why not read it? cetera? Right? Green bed it as close to them. I don't know if it's exactly reversed. I don't know. But all I'm saying is that red is red is up. Red is good, right? So that's just one read. So scary as all these all these associations, red light on top science, it's bad. That's the point, right? Like, like, all cultures have different have different associations, right? And if you didn't know that, and you weren't attuned to it, then you actually create this, this just bad user experience, right? And, of course, like, again, that's like, one bottle example. But in reality, this is everything, right? Because, you know, living in Thailand, right? You're not going to tell me that
all the all the cultural norms that you're used to? Where do you live? By the way, Austin, Texas, right. Okay, so that'd be Seattle. Right? Okay. So you're not gonna tell me that all the cultural norms that that you're used to, in Austin, Texas transfer here, right, it's a major adjustment, right, and a single Trader Joe's,
like I'm living in a different continent.
And that feels pretty good luck. Yeah, of course, nothing is labeled in English. That's a whole different thing than that to navigate. My point is that, of course, like, you know, cultures, our human experience is as diverse as people are. And it's important to to account for that. And I think that, again, to get to bring it all the way back full circle, right? There are an awful lot of competent engineers out, there we are, our universities are making a lot of competent engineers, and a lot of diverse engineers, we do need to tackle the pipeline problem, we do need to make sure that more diverse candidates are being fed into those programs, as well as, you know, through more non traditional things like college replacement programs, you know, these hacking academies, code academies, and so on. But,
but I think at the end of the day, we all need to retreat retreat, we need to see everybody who's in the pipeline at every stage of that funnel fairly and equitably, and give them a fair chance. Because I think historically, that's definitely not been the case, that makes a lot of sense. And I never actually thought of it in terms of the product that gets created, especially when it comes to machine learning and AI. From the rudimentary knowledge I have about AI, I just kind of have this, this objective, omnipotent idea of a neural network, and all the data gets put in there. And, you know, maybe the data differs based on the race or the of the class of the person doing it. But that's accounted for in the neural network, you can say, Okay, this particular race likes this. But that's very interesting when you start considering the user experience which cultivates that data to begin with. And so if you that up, and that's bias towards white people, or that's bias towards rich people, or that's bias towards Americans, or this or this or that it's gonna up your entire neural net. Yeah, I'll give you one more example of exactly
how that happened. So, yes, okay. So there was a software that was built for police police agencies. And the idea was, if you feed it a picture of somebody mugshot, it will tell you how likely they are to reset device in other words, how likely they are to recommit crime to commit more crime right
based on the photo the mug shot, not based on any data pulled from the mug shot well, so there there's some attendant metadata but the idea is that you give it a photo and it gives you a lot already sounds like it's gonna turn racist, bro. It spoiler alert, it turns racist, bro.
So as you might suspect, guess what happens, right? It predicts a much higher rate of recidivism among black people. And among among brown people. I mean, it's just it's, you know, you can see it coming from a mile away. But the fact of the matter is, if you take that seriously, if you take that at face value, and there are much less blatant examples is my point then it's going to lead you again it's going to have this veneer of of being impartial when in practice, it's not at all and I think we need to be really careful about that. as practitioners, it's much easier to build a biased dataset than it is to build an unbiased dataset, it's much easier to build software that we suppose is ethically neutral then to actually build software that is ethically neutral or because I don't think there is any such thing I think to build stuff that is that is ethical is it takes a lot of hard work and it takes a lot of serious consideration of what you're what you're feeding into those systems and and what you're what you're designing and building Well, I got one for you that I know you've heard before.
All right, you're programming the self driving car you're driving down the road you got too close to the left and the right and then you've got a whole gaggle of school children that just randomly crossed the Red, you know, program regarded. drive off the cliff reply to the kids.
Yeah. This kind of sort of metaphor almost metaphysical reframing of a reframing of a metaphysical trolley. trolley puzzle. Yeah, it's train problem. Yeah, got damsel in distress on the train, you're gonna kill they're not actually read a really good take on this several months ago. And I think it it resolves it pretty pretty tightly. The answer is always break as hard as you can, you know, like, there's, there might be some fallback codification around like trying to minimize loss, minimize damage, but a car is going to do in that instance, probably something pretty akin to what a human driver would do, right? You try to avoid the obstacle and you break as hard as you possibly can. And yeah, there's definitely questions around, you know, do you it in the, in the perfect knife's edge case? do you harm the operator? Or do you harm some third party,
that's something I'm not really going to get into. Because I think that smarter people than me have probably thought about this and come to come to better conclusions that I will. But I will say that in practice, the right answer for a self driving car to most of these contrived scenarios is break as hard as you can, yeah, this
is pretty much never going to happen. Not that that you might not be on a road where there is a cliff and a bunch of kids, the middle of the road. But what is much more unlikely, is being able to put all that through an algorithm, the algorithm saying, okay, you have exactly two options. Either you die, or the kids die. I mean, algorithms don't really work like that,
right? And then they don't actually have because they're not sentient organisms, they don't even have an understanding of what these concepts are. Again, these are just codification of what what humans what we suppose humans would or should do in these scenarios. This is why companies like cruise and and Apple and Google and Tesla and so on. And Uber put so much time into actually, you know, banking miles on the road, because you just need to have a huge catalogue of scenarios, both common and rare, in order to choose how to do the right thing in any given given scenario. And,
you know, these systems are built by people, and there will always be flaws in them. I think that even currently, if you look at the recent rash of problems with Uber autopilot, and admittedly it works spectacularly well, 99.999%
of the time, but if you look at those issues, we still haven't solved even some of the core fundamental stuff like, you know, you're not, it's not like there's a slippery or narrow shoulder you're gonna fall off into a canyon, when you see a person that you're trying to swerve around. It's literally do you even engage the brakes, when you see somebody pushing a bike across the street? Maybe that's at least tables dialed in, maybe, let's dial that in first. I wouldn't. I would also vote yes. But as we saw in practice, it doesn't always happen that way. You
know, it's funny because I start introducing these philosophical concepts to people. And that's how I view them. I view them much more as these interesting philosophical thought exercises when I introduce them to someone like you, someone who's intelligent thought about it, we get into this fun philosophical discussion. But what I found is at least 50% of the time the discussion ends up devolving down into Oh, we shouldn't have self driving cars you know, it's gonna run people over and I tell them look, you know, whether or not you can or cannot program these these philosophical ideas. This self driving car is 1,000%
better at driving then you are where does a magnitude provably I forget how long the Google car drove though getting into Iraq? But I think it was hundreds of thousands if not millions, millions? Yeah, miles, a human can barely go three days without up and hitting something. Yeah.
And causing causing a situation that require somebody else to respond, you know, faster than they certainly should have to. Yeah, I totally agree. And I think that I think these things are going to get shaken out over time. I think that we're in this really uncomfortable situation right now, where there are so few self driving cars on the road. And there are so many highly publicized gaffes like, you know, to, to automatic cars, drive up to a four way stop and just get deadlocked. You sit there, right, forever. That's something we learned about an operating system. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, it's sort of it's a real world. And again, no circular waiting, or something like that. Yeah, take your locks in the opposite, where you release them, etc, right? Well, actually, that actually speaks to a point. And that is coordination, right? Because not only are not only is one automated car better than a human driver, it's also the case that when automated vehicles talk to each other, they become massively more effective. Yeah,
yeah. And that's one thing that makes me sad. And actually, this speaks much more about capitalism in general than it does about self driving cars, because it's going to apply to any industry. But it's just a bummer that we have Google Uber Tesla lift everyone competing to make a self driving car, and every company is slowly getting the first 10% of the problem, the first 20% of the problem, and eventually, someone's going to hit it and get the first hundred percent that we get is pool our resources, you know, Marxist society style, we could have a self driving car by the end of the week. And I've talked to my friends about this. And they say, Look, that's that's a great idea. But that's, that's not how the world works. Nobody's going to pull the resources the read the reason that these companies are putting hundreds of millions of dollars into making a self driving car, because the first one that gets it gets billions of dollars. Let me ask you this, though. I mean, do you think that if, let's say Samsung, Google, Apple, and whoever else for the big players pull their resources, they could make the perfect phone, but
So here's here's, here's what I'm saying. I think that there is a lot being fed back to the public domain back to the literature that will, in fact, act as sort of a rising tide for all these companies. And I think that at this this juncture kind of competition that we're seeing is immensely valuable for, for building out these these ecosystems, about self driving cars, there will definitely need to be some kind of consortium that comes together and says, Once there, once there's some critical mass of automatic cars on the road and says, let's figure out how to get these things talking to each other API, bro, we need a API, let's start self driving car API. It was probably exists. And I think the cruise is one of those companies that's trying to sort of develop this I could be mistaken. But I think they're trying to develop more or less a middleware platform for this kind of thing that could be licensed and adopted by anybody, any any takers? Right. And I think that's how this eventually goes wide. It's not just necessarily going to be one of these proprietary things. But in fact, it's going to be a company like that, who has logged to the same number, same numbers of millions of miles and has built this sort of this flexible self driving vehicle platform. I think that's how it eventually becomes truly ubiquitous. I don't, yeah, well,
it's gonna be awesome. Because it's, if we get this dialed in, it's gonna be almost like, dribbling our infrastructure system. Because if we get the network communicating, we can have cars driving at 120 miles an hour, with three centimeters in between each bumper, I'm probably exaggerating a little bit, but for the most part, it's, it's almost like doubling our road space. Yeah, and
it means a lot for for long haul trucking as well. Both, you know, in a good way and in a bad way, it's definitely gonna have a significant human cost as, as over the Road Truckers, I don't want to say become obsolete, but become, you know, it's hard to say an obsolete
sorry, find the job. We say work at McDonald's. But we have that dialed into. We've got robots there.
Yeah, it sounds like
it's a real problem. I mean, I, you know, it gives me pause to think about what that what what all this really means what all the automation means, when it's not in any way in forced that, you know, one job last automation means somebody on some kind of welfare or some kind of, you know, universal basic income. This is a, this is definitely a topic we could talk about for hours. It is it is troubling. But it's also exciting. It's interesting that people because this is a very common discussion to have, because it is clear, I mean, once we get self driving cars, the driving industry is going to go away. But all the surrounding industries are going to go as well. Car Insurance is, parking lots might get. I mean, they're all these industries that you can barely make it to name all of them that are going to get up. And this is almost just representative of this technological revolution as a whole. And it's interesting that people are losing their over this particular revolution, in the sense that they're saying, oh, all our jobs are leaving. Well, it's not this recent technology is doing this, this technology has been doing this for the past 2000 years, we used to have the vast majority of the population devoted towards agriculture. Because when you had to plant seeds, one seat at a time with your hand, and you had to pick that back up one grown seat at a time with their hand. It took thousands of people we invented, tractors were good. And so those people were freed up to go learn how to drive. Sorry, we that up. Now, you're going to have to go learn a new skill. But it's interesting with this particular one, people are saying, Oh, Jesus Christ, it's going to automate out all the jobs. We need universal basic income, which could be true, it is possible because we will reach a level of wealth at some point where it kind of makes sense to do that. But people freak out over it an awful lot. I think we're most of the software engineer. Yeah,
it always has a
stake in this. Yeah, you're definitely been it. We're all you and I are both definitely benefiting and everybody in our industry benefits from this, in fact, because more or less We are, we are the ones automating people out of jobs. And I do take that pretty seriously. But I'm not exactly sure how, as an individual, I can kind of stem that tide and ensure that that human welfare, you know, with a lowercase w actually continues, right. Because, you know, you want to call it a little Ws a difference, a welfare being like, Oh, look at our program talks broken? Yeah.
Yeah. Like you say, I mean, with the invention of the cotton gin, and the combine harvester, and so on. Yeah, people were being automated out of jobs before we even really had any kind of digital technology whatsoever. And this is, this is all true, and this is definitely the the market progress. But I think that it's happening at an accelerating rate. And we should probably be paying attention to what it means. Because if we don't take it seriously, then I don't know, there could be some kind of popular uprising. But to speak to your other point about scarcity, I think that we're we are either approaching and very close to or already at a place where we actually do have about enough for everyone. I just think that inequality is globally a very real phenomenon. And I think in the United States, in particular, it's an increasing phenomenon, the, if you just look at it, you know, it's really simple statistic, right? Take the ratio of the average fortune 500 CEO versus the average person who works for him, that number has increased significantly over the past 50 x
now, or is recommended is 50 or something like that? Yeah,
exactly. So some some enormous, this enormous disparity is increasing. And it means it means something, it really means the the death of the middle class in a certain sense, especially when combined with with all this automation, so we need to be concerned about where we're going. But again, I don't I don't know as an individual exactly what to do about it. But I do think that universal basic income is a good idea, because in essence, we have some of the lowest income tax rates that we've had in the past 60 years. If you look at back in the 50s, back during the, during the Eisenhower administration, shortly after World War Two, during the boom period, personal income tax ranged up to 70, 80%
for the highest earners. Yeah, and now it's, you know, if you if you use all the loopholes, you're paying a nominal rate of somewhere closer to 15, 20%
maybe. And that,
that the Puerto Rican bank accounts and.
Yeah. And that's not even say anything about offshoring that yeah, that's just using the legitimate the actual loopholes. Yeah, exactly. And, and there's a lot of attorneys to make a lot of money. And a lot of accountants make a lot of money as a result of that. But to, you know, to get back to the point, if we took and, you know, here's the thing, I'm not, I'm not personally a Marxist. It sounds like you may have certain Marxist tendencies. So I think it's interesting. I think it's interesting. It's an interesting thought experiment, right? Like, what if, in fact, there was greater redistribution forced by by taxation? I think that first of all, I think it would be a good thing. And I say that as somebody who's not especially liberal, but as somebody who's just looking at the reality of the world that we live in today, where, functionally, you know, our capitalist society acts as a redistributed mechanism to push capital to the upper echelons, right? We buy labor for cheap, people who own businesses, by labor, for comparatively cheap, and they take the benefit of what that capital produces. They take that capital and they, in a certain sense, hoard it right. They in like,
the benefit of of money comes mostly from it moving around. So if you tax money on my money, as it all banana
coins and crypto or, you know, see it
again, based on your crypto investment,
it sounds like a way for me
to put it under your mattress and said buy gold. But seriously, right. Like, I think that there could be we could send the tide of upward capital allocation back down the chain. And I think we'd all be better off for it. And I think that in fact, there should be some kind of system of either universal basic income or negative income tax for those who are at the bottom because I think that, you know, it's so tough, right? People talk about the social contract and people a lot of my libertarian friends will be like, well, social contract, I didn't sign, right? Which I think is kind of a callous attitude, I'm actually somewhere more closer to the middle where I I think that in fact, like maybe we should maybe we should aspire to be the kind of society that does well by by the people who are really on the bottom, you know, because I've never I've never gone hungry a my life, you know, I've been compared to the vast majority of the world, I've been wealthy beyond measure my entire life.
But I don't, I don't want to become callous to the people who are not so privileged. And I think that we really do need at some point as a society to reckon with that and to come up with some kind of solution that doesn't involve this kind of wasteful administrative overhead as Medicare and welfare CD Medicaid and, and welfare do, I think that there are ways of, of distributing things more equitably, without policing it like if you give desperate people cash, they know what to do with it. And if you trust people to do that, you can administer that program vastly more efficiently than any of the entitlement programs that we have on the books today that are going to be coming solvent in 20 years anyway, ya know,
the administrative overhead is actually mind blowing. So it's got great hook the you might actually know the statistic you sound very well informed about it. If you took the amount of money we have allocated towards welfare in America, and you divided it by the amount of people below the poverty line. Do you know how much money each one of those people get annually? I don't have any idea about $50,000,
bro. Well,, 50 thousand dollars. But due to the process of distributing the welfare, I'm not sure exactly how much they get. But its peanuts, peanuts, certainly less than half probably probably less than that. It's honestly, I think less than 80% is taken away by by all that,
right. But then if you eliminate the bureaucracy, then you have to put all those former workers on up it.
Exactly. So there's not a whole lot of a solution. It's interesting, this whole idea of universal basic income is interesting. I think right now, definitely not a good idea in the future. You can make arguments on whether it's a good idea or not, if we literally have hypothetically, robots, automating every single job, but what it boils down to, in my opinion, is basic psychology, but behind human motivation, and that if you are in a class, right, and you're going to go take a math test, and let's say you Warren are the smartest kid in math class. I bet you words you I bet you got let's say you got a 95 Oh, say I was seven. Yes, I did police work. I was medically University the smartest person and I was only
75th percentile. I really
so you get let's just say you get 100 just for the sake of simple math and we got Southern in class.
Tom. that guy. Right? Idiot. Thompson. Idiot. He gets 20 years. 20 years. Matt desk you studied? He didn't. But that's not fair. That's how is it fair that time with a 20 and you get 100. So we're going to do is we're going to add the two scores together. Hundred 20 divided by two. You both get 16th. I'm going to take 40 points from you give it to Tom.
Are you going to study harder for that math test? Or as hard as you would have? I think it's really is Tom gonna study as hard tom tom shirt. isn't going to stay home is probably not going to be hot guys. Too, right? You're probably you're probably at least a little bit. I mean, you hopefully have some intrinsic motivation to do well in math. And you can see the light at the end of the tunnel that the grade, you want to do math for the sake of math. But for the most part, you know, when you're tired for the math test, you're tired. And you're hung over. And whereas before you had this hundred that could get you into college, you know, for a fact that dumb Tom is going to roll in and your grade up. Maybe you start going down to the 1980s by this metaphor, somewhat problematic, but I think it actually does brings an incredibly problematic metaphor. I'm simplifying a massive issue into you and Tom taking a math test. Well, let's, um, I mean, really, just think about like this. Like metaphors, though. ambition is
always going to exist, right. If you gave me a UPI, let's say that you bi, I'm just going to really pull a number out of the air let say it's $25,000 a year to every, you know, every adult, right $25,000
is enough to live on if you are really living in what amounts to basically tenement housing. And, you know, and spinning very frugally, right, this is this is below the poverty line. So entirely drop the ball out, you could actually get by really well here or in Vietnam, especially for that much. But, you know, speaking to America, the American standard of living and what we would ideally want to provide, let's just say it's 25 k baseline, right?
I'm just funny, because minimum wage gets you to like 15 to 20, is that right? I actually haven't done the math on that, it's actually actually want to know, really fun math trick, take your hourly wage, and then double it. And that's the number of thousands you get. So if you make $10 an hour, a double at 2020 grand a year, right,
assuming a 2000 our work here. Yeah, makes sense. So. But of course, many people who are working minimum wage by necessity are working more than one job, right, just because of that exact math.
So yeah, I would say that I'm sure I'm definitely not going to be satisfied with whatever you bi in order for you bi to work, a lot of people have to be making way more than that some to fund the rest of the system, right? This is it's probably equivalent, by the way to a negative income tax for people who earn below I don't know if it's below the medium, but there's there's some threshold we're under it becomes there's some kind of equilibrium that falls out. And the point is that the reason that the math problem is a little bit fraud is because it's actually in practice, not a zero sum game. And it's also not an average between the two. And what I mean by that is, what I'm going to do is if you give me $25,000,
and I have the expertise and I have the drive to go make something of myself, then I'm going to go out and find a job that pays high five figures, six figures, you know, as an engineer, certainly, it's no problem in Silicon Valley to find a job that pays six figures in your sleep. Well, exactly. And so I'm going to be making way more and therefore paying way more into the system to somebody further down the chain. And I'm perfectly comfortable with that. And I think that that's how it actually works out. Like you can be satisfied with your lot in life and take your your UPI check home.
And that's and that can be that right? I imagine that if you have a family that you're trying to support that you're going to probably get to work and you're probably going to try to elevate yourself beyond that station. But here's the most critical part for the people at the bottom, that $25,000 can literally be the difference between life and death. That is definitely the difference between you or your kids going hungry. That is the difference between you having to work a job while also going out on job interviews to get a second, a third or fourth job. And my point is with you bi that I want to live in a society if it can be done practically, I want to live in a society where people don't have to sweat so much to have opportunity, right? Like we we talk so much about the values of hard work. But the fact the matter is, I don't know if you've ever gone hungry. I don't know if you've ever gone to sleep. And you know, not knowing where your next meal is going to come from. But in reality, not a diet one time. All right. That was about it.
Yeah, so it was rough. Man, I could have used a universal basic income during that month.
Yeah. And I'm saying though, yeah, right. I mean, yeah, so just to just to finish the point, right. The point is that those are the bottom are the ones that need it most to a degree that most of us really can't even comprehend. You know, I don't even claim to have 40 internalized that. But I do believe it to be the case because of conversations that I've had. And because of some of the, the thought that I've given to the issue. Yeah, it's
kind of this idea of having equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. And I think this is a step in that direction. Yeah, it can be a tough balancing act. And I think that we have reached it's funny, because about a year or two ago, I probably would have subscribed as being a staunch libertarian, even though those guys can get really off the rails sometimes. I don't know if you've seen interviews with Gary Johnson where says, we're going to remove all tax and only have sales tax, and it gets worse. Only taxation explicitly outlined in the constitution is it's a total monster. Yeah, it gets a little wild. But I thought the philosophy behind it was interesting. And then I actually spent about a year living in Europe. And I realized, dude, we've reached a level of wealth on this planet that everyone can have health care. Yes, just basic, basic. If you're bleeding, we have enough money in the world to plug up patch holes in your face. Yeah, right. And I think that can be expanded into a few areas of life. For example, food. I think we have enough wealth in this world that you don't have to go hungry if everyone Yeah,
And then pass the basic necessities. I guess things just get a little bit complicated with regards to what do people need? What do people not need? When does it start up the motivational spectrum for people and get super weird it gets super super weird. Yeah,
I'm of two minds about that. I mean, it really great saw me when people say such and such is a human right, for example, Internet access is a human right. I really don't honestly believe that. And they that Yeah, yeah.
Is it as a
I think it's because people recognize the economic significance and the opportunity, you know, embedded in your access to the internet.
You know, something interesting is going on right now. So I'm sure you've heard about Facebook putting up I'm gonna this up. But I actually think they have drones in some capacity of this army of drones and places like Africa and I think it's going on in Indonesia,
where they put them up and people get it in it. Get free. Yep. And so initially when I heard that I was thinking will Why the is Facebook doing that? That seems like a strange business proposition Well, turns out it's not really the whole internet they're not just giving up free internet what they're doing is they're giving out Facebook's internet they're giving out Facebook and they're giving out a few other websites to that they approve of that don't compete with them and they kind of give it the illusion of the internet they actually did this survey of people and I believe was Indonesia and they asked them
is Facebook via internet and something like 60% of them said yes
yeah let's look at Internet it will do identify the to these days which is which is troublesome I didn't know that the program was uh. was restricted that tightly that's that's really troublesome I think the tech is really cool right because they put up these they're actually massive drones or something on the order of like they have a 30 foot wingspan I believe that fit that's cool
yeah they're huge and Yun rocks at them yet this without if I was really high up in the sky though you guys can throw a rock in Indonesia man You Ever See a slingshot?
Take one of those down bow and arrow style. I don't know about all that. But I will say that they stay afloat for for something like months on end they to consume very little power. And I I assume they have some kind of like solar tiles on them inner power the actual network equipment, but I think it's great. You know, and of course, Facebook is incentivized to do this because imagine, I mean, if you can add a an extra 10,000,050 million eyeballs to your network by flying a drone over, you know, over the developing world, you're definitely going to do that. And you're definitely going to put an altruistic face on it if you're Mark Zuckerberg or if your Google or an internet Yeah,
there's no ulterior motive I promise right? Yeah, it
so it's troublesome right when when a company who drives 98% of its revenue or something like that certainly north of 95% from advertisements presumes to be the gateway to the of the developing world to the internet you just know that that's that's really going to be troublesome like there's definitely going to be a problem problems that arise there in terms of those those perverse incentives because they're definitely just going to use that network to
me, it was he was on drones know, what do they do? So they deliver you. Oh,
yeah. Okay. pretty sweetie. order it. And then two hours later, a drone shows up with your toilet paper, whatever you need. I want to give a shout out to star Simpson who is somebody that I greatly admire. And she actually conceived of drone delivery over 10 years ago. It was cool. Yeah, yeah, I want to say around 10 years ago with this idea called taco copter, right. Yeah, so it's a it's a drone, right? As you might imagine, it delivers us fresh tacos in the Bay Area because of course, that's where all Cassius originator Yeah, exactly. But yeah, we're actually seeing this, this become come true. And I think it's really interesting because there are different skills that can operate at right like, you can bring you your toilet paper, like you say, can bring you like, small sundries, but you can imagine scaling up if not a quad, copper copper and an Okta copter or some larger drone platform to deliver things that are like very substantial in size. Right. And you want to get your next you want to get your Tesla delivered by drone like that should be optional. No, no, no, you can't do that today. Eventually. Perhaps you can you get your groceries. You absolutely could. Right. So yeah, if you want to get like an Amazon pantry sized box delivered by drone, that is probably going to be your reality sooner than later. That probably already exists in prototype. I don't have any inside knowledge on this. But it just seems to me like looking at how the density of power supplies and the efficiency of rotors has has improved over the past several years. Notice that I'm totally just talking about right now. Sound fancy, though? efficiency of your food. You got me you got to be convinced now. But yeah, I'm not an expert on this. But what I will say is that I see that trend happening happening now. And you know, there's there's a physical limit to everything. But you'd be surprised by what is happening. What is possible today. And what will be possible in five years.
I have such mixed feelings when it comes to Amazon. Because on the one hand as a consumer, bro, they nailed it. Oh my god. If Amazon hasn't made my life easier than any other company, I don't know who has when I now when I have to step into a store. I feel like I'm gonna throw up. I'm going to a store. Are you kidding me? That's That's ridiculous. That's crazy talk. I hit it's a noxious how much I get an literally I'll order toilet paper on Amazon. I know I'm going to the grocery store. Anyway, I'll get it on Amazon. It's free. But their business practices get a little shady. So do you know about the whole Amazon basics thing? I do? Yeah. So it's actually interesting. Um, Amazon. So Amazon, you have Amazon retail. And then most people don't know this. Obviously, you do. The bulk of Amazon's money actually comes from Amazon Web Services. Is that true? It is true. Amazon Web Services runs the in it from what I've been told, in fact, in certain sectors of Amazon retail, allegedly they've actually taken losses. Oh, yeah, they take they take massive losses on the retail side. I think that if you look at it in terms of gross revenue, I think AWS still really only comprises around I want to say like more like 25% Oh, really? But maybe on on. net. And in terms of profit? Yeah,
I'm sure well, AWS is almost all profit. I mean, of course, they have a lot of a lot of silicon and a lot of a lot of drives to hold all that stuff. But it's, it's massively, massively profitable. I definitely it definitely subsidizes the rest of their businesses for sure. Really, exactly. And this is where
the problem comes from. So it becomes tricky with the whole Amazon basics things of people don't know Amazon basics is basically when Amazon manufacturers the product so they control everything from end to end. Let's say you're selling pens, right? You're selling pens and they start manufacturing them. Let's say there's only one competitor for pens, just hypothetically, let's say big is also selling pens and they're selling pens for $1 each. And let's say it costs 90 cents to manufacturer pen no matter who you are. It doesn't matter if Amazon doesn't matter if you're big doesn't matter. So Amazon manufactures pens for 90 cents and sodas big big selling from for $1 Amazon will literally go on their own website and sell pens for 80 cents a pop they'll they'll take a loss on those pens until big dies big dies because no more this is a bit of a bad example because big is huge and they'll do their own thing but they'll do this with smaller brands exactly and more niche areas until they his die kill the can't afford to compete at that level and then they'll was murder everyone the mom and pop small business and then they'll bring the prices back up to what they recently where it will take over the world. Yep.
Yeah, I mean, they've already done this, too, I'm sure in many in many small sector is that we don't even have any visibility on you know, people try to sell HDMI cables Right. I mean, there's no name is on Amazon basics. HDMI cable, that's, you know, astonishingly cheap. I don't know the exact price but I'm sure I'm glad he HDMI I was getting ridiculous. Sell them by the millions, I'm sure. And yeah, it definitely puts a lot people out of business. And I think that it requires you to kind of innovate laterally within the space. I know that there are a lot of people who are dependent on Amazon to basically act as their logistics act as their delivery service. Especially the handshake mile the drop shipping fulfilled by Amazon. Mother. Absolutely, absolutely. Yeah, drop shipping is a huge revenue source for for a lot of people. And what's interesting is that that sort of Formula sort of form is a kind of shadow economy. Because there are a lot of people who just, you know, live in their apartment, they're totally unassuming. And they have revenues on the orders of, you know, easily six figures, you know, hundred thousands, if not millions of dollars a year by finding a certain niche and, and fulfilling it through Amazon. The Dark Side of that, of course, is as you've already highlighted, if Amazon notices that and they feel like they can move into that niche and take it over they absolutely will and they absolutely do so it's kind of fraud because people rely on the amazing logistics network they built but at the same time they suffer from the whims of a platform that can squash them like a bug at the drop of a hat in Jeff Bezos can and he will and there's a reason that he's the richest man in the world and it's very unfortunate that you know Amazon warehouse workers you know don't see have greater share of that of that of that innovation that profit because they're struggling to get by while he claims that he has so much money he doesn't even know what to do with it and he's you know funding these boondoggle projects to go to space try to keep compete with Ilan it's funny, with the whole fulfilled by Amazon drop shipping business. I've almost been seduced into getting into it by all the people in Chiang Mai. Because honestly, that that is by far the most popular entrepreneurial thing that people do over here in Chiang Mai. And people make it sound so. But it seems like it's kind of a the hot entrepreneurial thing to do right now. I think it's just easy to get started, right? You can do a little bit of research and say, okay, where is there an arbitrage opportunity? Where can I buy 1000 widgets from Alibaba for a few cents cheaper than this guy is telling them, you know, and you get that shipped to an Amazon warehouse, you never have to hold stock and you drop ship and you have somebody else run fulfillment, whether that's Amazon or somebody else. And, you know, it's it's a turnkey process. But it's like I said, I mean, it's very dangerous, because you can very easily somebody else can come in and swoop that niche, or Amazon themselves can come in and crush you. Or just if they wanted to, if they were being, you know, dicks about if they could just, like, close you out, entirely close you down. But I think that for a lot of people like that is how they make their living right now, it's just man, it's just walking the knife's edge between using a platform that enables that when you feel like the platform can disappear out from underneath you at any time. Yeah, it's a little scary. And on top of that, I was so tempted to get into it, but I just feel kind of silly, getting a computer science degree, which is probably one of the hottest industries right now and then saying, okay, that I'm going to go to I've been tempted by affiliate marketing and been tempted by drop shipping. I'm tempted by all these different industries. Yeah, my intuition tells me to stick with the coding don't don't get into those businesses, per se, instead, build middleware solutions for people who are in those businesses. I think that's actually where there's a lot more money in SAS, right. Because if you can build up if you can build a good tool, because here's the thing, Amazon seller tools are not that great. And they especially don't give people a lot of insight into who's competing against them, which way, you know, historical price fluctuate and so on. So I think there is an opportunity and this this is a much broader point, right, wherever there is an inefficiency in how people conduct their business, if you can gain insight into or what are the the daily travails of somebody who is running a small business, and you can really identify a commonality among a lot of small businesses in a particular vertical in a particular niche, you can build tools for them, that will be immensely valuable. I have a good friend who actually does exactly this, he builds tools for Amazon sellers, and has a profitable business that just generates passive income, because he does better for sellers than Amazon themselves do. And, of course, Amazon is incentivized to improve their tools. But in practice, there are things that they're dis incentivized that you can nevertheless glean by scraping the cider from meditator or so on, and actually really deliver value to the people who, who depend on that for their for their income. Anyway, I guess it's just scary, because,
you know, you've heard that statistic thrown around something like 97% of tech startups fail something like that. And when I and again, this is really up sample size, because I'm talking talking to people who are successful and drop shipping. But based on the people I talked to, it seems like it's a lot lower than that. If you have gumption and you're intelligent, and you know what you're doing. And you can work hard, you can go make a living for yourself and drop shipping, and you can go get it. It's not this 95 or 97% failure rate that you see in the tech startup industry. Sure, I think. And a big reason for that is that, oftentimes, startups are very capital intensive. Whereas this is the opposite of that. Right? If you have an idea, if you have an idea of a product that you can sell, that somebody is willing to white label and ship for you and you can make the margins work
then absolutely right. It's a that's a much less risky proposition than, you know, presuming to change the world, which is what a lot of startups think they're doing. That's where
the big bucks are. Yeah, sure. Yeah, I had a risk reward at a startup idea. Anyone here? Yeah, absolutely. It's actually funny. It was tangentially not intend to, actually it was directly related to the conversation we were having. And this is something I've been going through where I've been trying to remove the word like from my vocabulary and it's been tough need to do this for all sorts of things you can do this for um, or whatever it is. So initially, I want to do this something on your phone, but I think it'd be super super cool if you could have some type of Fitbit style device that listen to your voice all the time. And when I heard the word like it would deliver a low voltage electric shock to your arm
yeah, that you started talking about this about removing like from your vocabulary I was like someone's gonna get electric you that's not going to talk about a wearable and we're definitely gonna be a shock or or by visiting a buzz you know and so Oh no, it's gotta you up. It's got
your lucky does not firing. Well, you should
get a wearable that shocks you when you swear. Because you swear too much. Yeah, I do. Swear it too much. Well, honestly, I'm actually not criticizing you. I just wanted to make this pun so terrible. Oh,
I'm so sorry. You invented this wearable. Oh, Jesus. But it's very versatile,
because it can listen for any any tick. I said. I'm not the best name. Can I steal it? Yeah, if I start my startup I'll give you residuals I'll give you point 1% for every registered the trademark now you know what i bet somebody already has wearable calm and it's probably some kind of dumb scoop side about you'd be my brother start a blog on hiking and I came up with a name in 30 seconds like all right, I got your name hiking handbook dot com wasn't taken. Wow. Shockingly, is running man. sick domain. And if you go to GoDaddy or whatever, they'll give you this weird completely made up estimation of how much your domain name is worth. Not cool. It is. Your brand is like $1,000 domain bands. Yeah. Nice. Good. Got it. Um, yeah, I'm curious if the natural language processing is there yet to shock every time you say like, and especially to not shock you and other people say like, annoying mother.
Yeah, like a splinter. Diamond. Yeah, I mean, I think it's an interesting machine learning problem. For sure. I think there are co processors that can passively listened to speech. You know, you might, it might be initially the prototype will be probably charged daily, but you might be able to get it to a point where it's ideally the prototype would just be like an app on your phone. It would vibrate every time but also that would on your batteries. Yeah. Oh, hard. Yeah, that that's the real trouble is you got to be pretty clever. I think you would need some kind of, you know, like iPhone has this this co processor that I think Android devices actually had this first use a co processor to passively listened for, like, hey, Google, Amazon uses the same thing for Hey, Alexa and an apple to listen. Pray Siri. And it's literally just a really low power chip, that all it does is specialized processor that listens for certain trained words. And so you could do it that way. And that's, again, like a very low power thing. And then if it detects then it fires up, you know, some kind of other micro protein and run and run and indeed, Yes, exactly.
Yeah, that was, um, it was tough, it'd be tough, because there's a lot of hardware involved. But and also, um, you know, I don't know if there's a super broad audience for it. Because how many people how many people even want to improve themselves in general, how many of those people want to move like, from their vocabulary, then once they buy this thing? How many people are actually going to keep it on not take the thing off? Apparently, there's a guy on Shark Tank who had a similar idea
and the shark tank is to on him. I said, Look, people just we've tried this thing before people take it off. Yeah,
I mean, it's true. I mean, I've had a Fitbit, I've had a spire I've had all these other wearables that are now either in my drawer in the trash I would say that yeah, I mean, that's a legitimate concern. However,
if you can sell it well enough, right? If you can make the case that somebody needs it with a name like swear a bold I don't need a marketing team dude, it sells itself
I mean, if you think it's going to jump off the shelf, you should definitely just do it. But here's the thing right? If you actually want it to succeed and you want it to you know to last then I think you have to figure out some kind of way to help people build a habit around it which is the hardest thing to do because we all have such limited attention spans and I think that lesson generalizing but yeah I don't know I mean, do I need to yet another wearable Are there any I were also I worked a lot as well on reducing speech tix.
It's hard. It's really difficult. Yeah, I and it's funny, you mentioned that because I actually do need to reduce swearing. And I've noticed that now now that I've tried to remove like, from my vocabulary, it's increased the amount that I say, it's almost I was about to say like, it's similar to when you try to quit drinking or something like that. Maybe we'll start smoking or something like that to make to make you feel better. Yeah, it's
tough. It is tough. And again, it's all it's all about habituation. I think when it comes to verbal tics. It's just about pausing, and not trying to fill the space instead. Yeah,
sound like Morgan Freeman.
It makes you it actually does make you sound more thoughtful and contemplative and more intelligent if you just don't fill the space, much startup ideas. Well, I had another startup idea. Yeah, absolutely. All
right. Well, I'm Apple ruin this apple in this. But thanks, apple, we used to have a thumbprint scanners on all our phones, everyone, a thumbprint scan. So yeah, Touch ID. Basically, the idea was exchanging contact information with Touch ID. So everyone would create an account on let's call it like thumb, or whatever you want to call it, upload your fingerprint to that account. And so based that, say, hey, let me get your phone number or something like that. You just scan your thumb on my phone checks out in the count. And on top of that, it gets even cooler, change the settings based on how you want it, but I can get your phone number, your Facebook or Instagram or Snapchat, yada, yada, yada so hard that you know, when you're talking to someone, and you get their number, but you also want to get them on Facebook or Instagram, you kind of feel like a stalker. Yeah, some say, hey, by the way, let me get these 19 other social medias as well. But this takes care of it. you. Apple, your movie, The thumbprint scanner on this idea that I was never going to actually implement. Are you familiar with an app that came out I think around 2008 or so called a bump Bump, bump Bump? Yeah.
So the basic concept is you fill out whatever details you want to share in your in your contacts, you open up the app and you say you pointed to that content, you say, this is me, I want to share this contact. And then when you come across somebody that you want to share contact details with you hold you both hold your phone in your hand and you fist bump and it uses it use the accelerometer to detect that and it would basically use this cloud service to say, Okay, I just got two bumps Do you have two people that are sufficiently geographically close together to like, basically swap contacts. So use a combination of GPS accelerometer and a web service that's sweet to actually do exactly what you're talking about. It goes a lot more infrastructure involved, they closed down as far as I know, by but they had an API that was actually really useful. I actually built it into an app for a conference. And we it was, it was cute enough we demoed it and it was, you know, back back then this kind of thing was just mind blowing. Because if you think about all the moving pieces, his 2008 this was so I built mine, I think in 2009 using the SDK that came out around that time. Yeah,
it was like the iPhone 3g
s or some. I was using an iPhone three at the time. Oh, wow. Yeah. Is that right now? Three, 3g before the 3ds came out? Yeah, well,
I'm kind of myself before I even get started. because fundamentally, I'm just getting into another social media app. That's really all it is. And when you try to get a social media, just just stop. Just stop right now. It's awfully hard to get traction users for a new user to go. The snowball starts going out of control. But it's so funny, do you? It's gone down a little bit. But when the phones first started coming out the smartphones were you just played with people coming to you with App ideas? Oh, absolutely.
I still am. You still
get that a lot?
Why is it that every single person comes with a social media app? Literally, every single one of them is like, it's like Tinder for dogs. I'm just like, kill yourself. So funny. You say that? Because I was actually going to say, how many friends do you have? Who pitched you terrible social media projects? I I'm sure it's a huge number. Because for me, it's, it's an absolutely massive number. And every I would say, I haven't heard a truly original app idea ever like it's been it's been seriously man, like, okay, so when it comes to certain social entrepreneurs, to ship stuff, there are people who need apps to, let's say, coordinate volunteers or whatever. And it's, it's particular to their organization. That's the kind of idea that I really like, because you can inject some technology there and make people's lives easier as far as volunteerism, and as far as working for social good, but the problem is that that's, that's the 10% case. The 90% case is just the dumbest you've ever heard. I don't even want to give an example. But you know, I want to hit the I love the app. I No, no, no. Cuz if any of my friends listening to this,
like, Oh, that was mine. It always starts
with it's like Uber for blank. Or like Tinder for blank. Yeah, you can just sort of spin the Wheel of Fortune and come up with any kind of intersection idea you might want. It's like Tinder for Uber.
How does that work? I
don't know. Cars, sir. It's a.
Oh, man. I just thought about real 34.
Oh, yes. It's always out there. No, I saw many YouTube documentary on again. It's like cars.
Oh, right. Right. So object. Is this actually a thing? Yeah. Is the thing. Yeah. Like a woman who, who is married to a roller coaster?
Yeah, I saw that girl was a wooden one unit might be Yeah, maybe one of those. Yeah. Yeah. One of those older so it's like a it's not a. It's a real
roller roller kill
Raquel ever killed.
Wow, man. We we ironically, went off the rails real real fast.
Oh, man. Do we have Do we have questions we wanted to get through. And we have all kinds
of questions. I've kind of been gently weaving them in. Okay, cool. No, I didn't know if that was your style. Or if we were actually going to do some bullet points. Had some productive questions, then. He didn't even realize that. Yeah, I mean, I've been enjoying the conversation. So you mentioned crazy interview stories. When I think even Microsoft specifically, or other other big companies? What? What went down? How geeky Do you want me to be? I would prefer an 8.7 out of 10. Oh,
wow. Okay. I gotcha. Okay. So let's see. You don't want to tell it from my perspective, or don't want to give the historical framing First, let's just say, okay, so there's the series of books by a guy named Donald Knuth called the art of computer programming. Are you familiar?
I think I've heard of them. I have not read them myself.
Okay. I don't believe me, they're incredibly dense. And they're, they're useful to have as a resource on the shelf. But I only pull them down maybe a couple times a year, but they're basically the comprehensive tome of computer science as it was understood, let's say in English music, it's just general. No, in fact, he created his own hypothetical computer architecture in order to write about it so that would be timeless
this guy do with all his
he gave a snorkel to allow himself to breathe when he's drowning and at all
he's 80 years old so it's really hard for me to imagine that I've got a really well and the ratios retirement homes are like 10 to one in favor of women and men you know about this Yeah, and
actually st eyes are also rampant Yeah, cuz they're all on pause no one's getting pregnant and the risk of raw dog left right and center their retirement home plus you're 75 years old giving back it's time to take some risks yeah anyway, let's let's not derail and let's not work The Smurfs the dark
and collecting STI. Yes, there are no, he lives. He lives very happily in near near I think Stanford and actually in his wife. Like once,
you're not going to be able to read the art of computer programming ever again. Anyway. Okay. So back to Microsoft. So it
turns out that there's this guy Don Knuth. And also going back further in history. There's this guy named Ronald Fisher, who invented many modern statistical methods, including this one thing called the Fisher shuffle. And the idea is that it's a it's a randomization scheme. So the way it works is you you want to do something at random. But of course, you don't have a computer because it's 1921. And you're Ronald Fisher, right. So basically, it's a super simple process official is getting themselves in trouble. I know. I mean, he actually invented a lot of really cool. So physical things that we don't need to get into right now. But the idea is very simple. You write down the numbers, let's say, one through in one through 100, whatever, on a sheet of paper, you cut them up into squares, you put them in a hat, and you draw them out one by one. This is a way to get a uniform, unbiased random distribution of that sequence of numbers, right? So I'm at Microsoft, and it's 2006. And I'm interviewing for an internship and I am in this absolutely tiny office being interviewed. And this guy is giving me he poses this question. He says, I have an array of numbers. And what I want you to do is, write me a routine a function that returns a sorted list of these numbers. And so I'm like, I don't, and I'm sorry, that's not right at all. I want you to give me a routine that returns a random permutation of your other set of numbers. Yes,
there's no randomness. And Peter's Everyone knows that was did he start by saying that? Yeah, I
said, Well, of course, it's not going to be truly random. Well, to use a pseudo random, you're on a good, okay. So tick, tick. That box. Sure. already getting anxiety. I've looked at the randomness part of Cracking the Coding interview, and it me off so much. Yeah, and the thing is, like, if you look at the tree, that's not really random, you're actually slit off. Anyway. Yeah, there's all kinds of topics around this. And I don't presume to be an expert in in randomization at all. But the basic idea is generated random mutation from this array isn't like, okay, thinking about it. And I'm like, um, this is actually not super ladies math. random, you can Yes, you can use the equivalent of that in C, which is just called Rand. And you can see it with this function called s Rand to make it quote unquote more random or at least to to get up to speed if he did last called on I ran.
And now I'm thinking about like, a pseudo random number generator that returns like a random you know, random mind ran book, what was her was her philosophy,
God, man really know this objectivism are complicated turns around,
she goes off, man, I'm not as smart as her,
she had some problematic ideals. Anyway. So. So the idea is, you return this array that has the same numbers in our inner interpretation. I promise I will get through this at some point, if we can talk stop going down rabbit holes
with all the Iran jokes. Warren right.
So I thought about this for a while. And then I came up with a solution. And he's like, okay, but can you do it faster? And I was like, I'm gonna probably. And so I don't even remember what my initial solution was, it was probably something completely stupid. So then I thought about it like this. I was like, Okay, I can do it in place by the following method. So if you take, if you look at this array, you can kind of think of it as both the bag of slips of paper that you're drawing from, and the table that you're placing them onto. And what I mean by that is in the indices. Yeah, exactly. So basically, the idea is, you look at the array, and you pick a random element, and then you swap it with the one in front, and then you start from index one, because he's from index zero, you start the next one. And, again, randomized pick from that said, SWAT that randomly chosen element into position one, you can anyone down the line, and it's effectively the same thing as drawing numbers out of a hat. And so not only have you done this in linear time, which is optimal. You've also actually not used any ancillary data whatsoever, or sorry, ancillary memory, except for the swap variable. And they're even clever ways around that you can do it with base No, you can do it with in constant space, and almost zero space and in linear time, and my interviewer is just fly to the table. He was he asked me to, like be somewhat more rigorous about like the proof. And I was like, No, I think this really does produce a uniform random distribution. And so he was he was satisfied now, I had never heard of Ronald Fisher and I was only passing Fisher Fisher algorithm. And I had only passively heard of Don Knuth. I'd never read any of his books. It turns out that this algorithm is called the Fisher gates or, sorry, well, Fisher Fisher gates. Knuth shuffle, because was one of the first people to codify it as a program. I think it was called, like, algorithm K or something like that. Anyway, point is that, yeah, so I basically reinvented this thing that it actually been known since not like 1965 when new thread about it. But since 1921, when Fisher formalized it and of course, well, before there
are numbers that more and more shuffle right now.
Exactly. I was born far too late. Surely, you got the job. I got the job. And it was the best summer of my life Really? Absolutely. Up in Seattle. Yep. Redmond and I lived, you know, a five minute drive from work. Yeah. Am I tell myself I living in the city? Not I mean, you know, you have the overhead commute, but the overhead of the communicating back and forth, but it's not too bad. Yeah, you're fine, because you're gonna have much better nightlife. This was back when I was 20 years old. So I wasn't going out and drinking every night. And as I do now, so
times have changed. Mm hmm.
Yeah. So as the best summer I find myself just awesome. Just being for the first time in my life, being surrounded by incredibly smart driven good people. They're ridiculously smart in Microsoft. It really is remarkable. And yeah, I just, I made some really great friends that summer and just had it was it was really a dream come true. Because up until that point, you know, I was a sophomore at the University of Florida two years prior to that. I was graduating in a class of 42 in, you know, this parochial school in Huntsville, Alabama, right. So imagine how fast my world exploded right? over those few years. They don't have top tier coders in Huntsville Alabama. They do actually, you might be surprised. I'll give you an interesting statistic. It's funny you say that Apple said. I feel like I keep taking all your jokes. And just like twisting them into
a series like funny
actually. Actually. Well, actually, that's
the ideal outcome for any joke
to be dissected to death. Yes, yeah. Um, so Huntsville has one of the highest per capita PhD rates in the country, no, because
there is then one person and that one person got a PhD. So
that would be one way to hack it. Yeah, City of one. It was actually a city of almost, I want to say around around 200,000 now. But they have a very big presence with the army and with NASA. So there's Marshall Space Flight Center. And there's this enormous armies facility called the red zone arsenal. And so they actually hire a tremendous number attract a tremendous number of PhDs. And they have some world class universities there as well. So yeah, it's not just some potent putting city. I'm not saying I'm, like, super proud of being from the south because, of course, that has problematic historical aspects. But you
can never be too proud of being from the south. I just want
that is I feel like some people are just they believe that, but I'll just say like, I don't, I don't have a problem with it. You know, I, I mean out pretty good.
, that's awesome. Well done. I still can't shake the imposter syndrome. I'm
way I'm working at Microsoft. What I just feel like everyone's gonna be so much smarter than me. I had that and I had that for four years working in the industry. I've kind of gotten over it recently. Just because I'm hyper specialized. I feel like I have an imposter syndrome talking to you Hi it's like why is this genius talking to this dumb here that just graduated Come on man he definitely should not dealt self deprecate like that's the worst thing yeah don't do that because that makes everybody super uncomfortable right like you don't believe that about yourself and I don't believe that about useless just dispense with the right oh I miss wearable just went off oh
ouch Oh unless you have the burden function on in which case
I like it should be multimodal like you decide you're which brand of torture you want each door it could it could donate you can hook it up to your PayPal to donate like 20 bucks was much better oh god I thought you're gonna say like to you know to a philanthropic causes of your children
Oh, it has to be one you hate. Maybe it's a good one then you're not going to be super motivated to not do it if it's donate 20 bucks of the Westboro Baptist Church every time you swear yeah you want results or do you want a decent charity to get money
i don't know i still might set it up set it up to give to a charity my of my of my liking like super you're welcome orphans we we have
an algorithm that detects that and it goes and finds the exact opposite charity so it's it's the the
the deport orphans charity that's a little bit too real me has been broken up by ice recently I'm not really not really comfortable with that. Oh, Mama. Yeah, totally Dona? abolish I'm donate to that. How did that happen? Oh, this happening all the time. So basically, without getting too
political feels about it. So the Immigration and Customs Enforcement service I don't actually know what a stands for. But basically, they're they're a branch not of the rest of the enforcement arm immigration. And they patrol the border and the hunt for undocumented people within the states. And they're basically they deport by force and this has been happening with alarming frequency increasing frequency since Trump became president and thanks for that. So real battery, well, you know, it was happening under Obama to and it's not the people were looking the other way. It's just that I think we're with the Trump administration, these things become highlighted much more they become highlighted. But also they become more sanction. Yeah, pain is build a wall, the exact same amount of people start getting deported. Yeah, even if it's, it's more in the air. And it attracts people with that kind of attitude to the agency. You know, I think that actually in a certain sense before, now, they had not as bad of a name because, in fact, they, they are responsible for protecting the borders, and they do some good work as far as ensuring that people that are here illegally are removed in a timely fashion, and so on and so forth. Right, like they do, I really don't want to defend them like, but I believe that some of the work they do is good and necessary. I just think that unfortunately, you know, much like how, you know, they're, there are plenty of bad apples in police departments, right? Like, we highlight the, the bad apples.
And the problem is that they exist in a system that sanctions that bad behavior, and doesn't punishment, punish it to
strong enough degree such that that tends to get perpetuated. And then when you have a regime, like the one we have now, where that's an express part of the platform that just opens the gates to all kinds of abuse of power. And that's, that's really what's problematic about it. Yeah,
over here in Thailand, I'm really tempted as tell people from Canada sometimes you try that. Yeah, so much conversation. Yeah, especially since I'm so loud that the American stereotype too much loud and swearing, and saying the word like, like the valley girl all the time,
I think about this all the time, though, I definitely have tried to be a little bit incognito. And that's really a shame. You know, you really don't want to be, you don't want to be ashamed of, of what your country seems to stand for. But the fact of the matter is that we really do have some real problems at the top or news. I was actually living in Amsterdam, when Trump got elected. And I was living in this really enormous
international student housing complex situation. So my building was filled with people from every single country, from Spain, from Canada from interesting, you name it. So since I was one of the few Americans the entire building, it turns out, I was the ambassador for for that entire campus. And so Trump got elected, and people were coming up saying, What the do you do some word? I'm sorry, it's my I did. It wasn't me. I'm not even the big man. I swear
there's an issue. I didn't vote for him. Let me
ask you this. How do you know when it's time to will speak specifically to software engineering? Because you can speak about that intelligently? Because your software engineer? How do you know when it's time to quit your nine to five job and go do your own thing, whether it's consulting, which is a little bit more of a gentle entry into doing your own thing, or whether it's balsa while you're starting your own company?
This is this is an impossible question. And it's the question that I get asked. It's a question that I get asked a lot. And I'll say is, I mean, I'll just tell you like what has worked for me because I'm steeping an awful lot of privilege. so happens that, like, my special realized skills are in demand right now. So it's hard for me to sit in a corporate gig while thinking man, I could be making four or five times as much and be my own boss, if I were contracting, right, or freelancing or consulting, or whatever. And so there's, there's that tendency, and this is true of a lot of people. I think that anybody who sits in a nine to five, because of the economics of how people get paid,
they're going to have these thoughts from time to time. And it's going to be very tempting to strike out on your own. And I've done it a few a few different times, you know, I did it when I quit my first job. I was working as a as an ASP. NET developer back in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2009. And I struck out to start developing iOS apps, because that's where the new hotness was. And then I got hired by Apple, and then I stayed there for a year and a half. And then I quit, start going on my own retool, do some consulting, wrote a book, etc. And they read a book. Yeah, I wrote a, I wrote a book book on 3d graphics, sort of a programming tutorial. It's called metal by example, metal example dot com. It's horribly out of date right now, I really should update it. But other people have written that probably, like two weeks ago, and to be edited by now. That's how the that's literally true because of web WWDC. But, anyway, um, so I guess what I'm saying is, I bounced back and forth between corporate existence and sort of being my own boss. And the problem is, I don't want to dispense advice and just tell people to throw away security for the sake of chasing their dream, I really don't think that you should, I really think that you should chase your dreams. I think rather, what you should do is walk the middle path, you know, create a company on the side, whether or not your employment agreement actually permits it, and just put your toes in the water and say, you know, I put it out on the right channels saying, I'm now available for freelancing doing such and such. Now, ideally, this wouldn't be something that directly competes with the company that you're working for, I've always had the benefit of kind of taking a left hand turn when I leave come bunnies. And therefore I can kind of be stealth for a while putting out feelers and saying, you know, if I strike out, will you buy my services, in essence, or buy my product, and I think that's what you absolutely have to
do. If there's a company that you're quitting
out outside of that outside of the auspices of the company you're quitting you definitely don't want to try to put people or or let your employer know what's up while you're doing this you're essentially moonlighting right you're and to a certain extent, you're kind of engaging and subterfuge, maybe if you're good word if you're giving out any part of that. So if you're giving some of your attention to another enterprise, then a lot of employers are going to frown on that. And rightly so. Anyway, my point is that I don't really have generalized advice, because my path is my path. And I've always just kind of had the privilege of following my whimsy. But what I would say is, if I want to, you know, I want to give advice to somebody, I don't want to wreck somebody's life. And the advice that I would give them is start your thing on the side, maybe make an LLC, maybe just put it out there, hang your own shingle quietly and genuinely work through what that what that means, you know, have a plan for
have a plan for what your daily life is going to look like. Because here's the thing, if you're a software engineer trying to go freelance, the bulk of your time as a freelancer is not going to be spent coating him marketing and like that they'd be spent marketing, communicating, defining product goals and directions, retooling your rework, and there's all this communication overhead and all this the work that goes into finding work is immense. I really don't think that you can fully internalize what that lifestyle actually is, until you do it at least once it's consulting a little bit better. Whereas How would you compare consulting has been better for me, because it it tends to be a much shorter term engagement. So I will, I will consult with somebody for an hour or two or three. And that might look like getting them unstuck on a technical problem, it might look like a code review, it might look almost like mentorship and sort of teaching them the ropes of a particular technology that they need to get their job done. And I love that kind of work. That's actually my favorite kind of work. And it's what I do most of the time now. And what that allows you to avoid is protracted negotiations over statement of work. And people you know, being disappointed by know how fast the meters running up, if you have a high hourly and you're solving a genuinely complex problem.
All these things are kind of impediments to having a stress free life as a freelancer so I really do tend to place emphasis on where can I apply my highly specialized and highly hone skills to people who knew what they need done, but don't know how to do it themselves. And that can be just immense. Lee lucrative and immensely satisfying. So that's really sort of my, my new set. That's where I live right now.
What else it takes a certain personality to want to say, okay, this hundred $50,000 that you're giving me and I can just roll in 40 hours a week and go home and not even think about the job after that. Yeah, hopefully. Sure. Yeah. Um, and say, No,, that. What I really want is a life just filled with ambiguity. I would much prefer ambiguity where I don't know what's gonna happen. And I need to market myself and really hope that work comes along. And that's gonna be great. But I mean, it's a price it's a price that you pay for, in my opinion, a higher ceiling you know, I mean, you can work your way up in a company but there's a ceiling and when you are metal by example dot com. That's who you are. And as good as metal by example. Calm does that's as good as you do. And you can go to the moon if you want it to. And that's, that seems very appealing, it seems like you are giving up short term happiness, potentially with the hopes of long term gain.
I think you're giving up short term guarantees, which may not even mean that much to long term fulfillment. Right. I wouldn't be living the lifestyle that I'm living right now. I'm sorry, maybe I misinterpreted you. Were you saying that somebody who was like a wage slave nine to five is is
well, I was talking more violent me, let's say software engineer. When that boy Microsoft? Yeah, like that? Yeah.
Yeah, I mean, the problem is that they pay wage slaves.
I mean, you can I see my former colleagues at Apple very highly, but a lot of them have very heavy gold handcuffs by this point, because they re up your your RS use, you know, your stock options on a yearly basis around review time. And you're like, Okay, so my base salary at this point is 200 K. And I've got outstanding RS us on the order of half a million dollars if I stay here for another three to four years. And that's always true golden handcuffs. It's exactly that Yeah. And so it takes some guts to to step away from that, you know, every single time I've left Apple, I've left hundreds of thousands of dollars in invested RS us on the table. They do that on purpose, because they do exactly what they doing. If they didn't do that people wouldn't stay,
right. That's the economics of it. That's what they're playing against. And so for me, it's always been, well, why why would I, you know, fall victim to that kind of incentive structure, when, as you say, the ceiling could be so much higher, and you can be so much more self determined? Well, even with all that job hopping is ridiculously prevalent. It's, it's a combination of just kind of the new generation and how we view jobs in general, and the actual industry that we're in as software engineers. I mean, even if you're
an accountant, I don't know, whatever it is that normal people do. There's a lot more job hopping just in general, there's not this idea of, oh, we're going to work for the same job for two years, and get your golden cufflinks at the end. And the wristwatch, I forget, whatever it is, the shortest to leave now is it's it's how much am I worth in the market. And the idea is to ideally, if you're smart, constantly re evaluate that by putting yourself back out onto the market. And then it just gets compounded by the software industry because everyone wants to suck our Yeah.
And it's really interesting because I think if you look at the average job hopping millennial techie right now they're doing the math to they're saying, Well, listen, I know I'm probably not going to be happy in one role, or with one company for more than a couple of years at a time. So I'm absolutely going to job hop You know, every year every year and a half because I know for a fact and this is definitely true that I can get this other company whether it's Google or Facebook or whomever to pay me more to jump over there then I'm going to get when my annual my annual review comes back and I get you know a 345 percent increase barely keeping up with inflation whereas I could get a 20 3040, 100%
bump by the way start with businesses and lonely we talk about signing bonuses I mean those are yet another way that companies so these people and oh man Another one is like our su matching where they're like you can keep your arrest us we'll just to nominate them in Google stock and said that's the thing it's another trick Yeah, I don't know that Google does it. But the point is that some companies do and that is just oh my gosh how is that right because you take no hit and you're immediately in what hopefully is a more prestigious roles and nice having companies just fight over a serious yet great, it's it's we're really, really quite privileged.
I hope it stays this way.
Do you think it's gonna stay this way?
The only way for it to not stay this way is if everyone decided they're going into computer science, because the demand is only going up. The only thing that could change does favorably for us at the supply. And Yep, I think it's probably going
to hopefully change stateless way for at least a while, I think it's going to be this way indefinitely. And the reason I say that is because you can't you cannot turn out somebody who is even a what used to be considered a junior engineer from a from a code boot camp in 12 weeks, right? a junior engineer in my mind is somebody who has finished a four year undergrad program or has equivalent industry experience, right. But it is definitely not somebody who's been hacking react for 12 weeks. You know, I I respect those people, I think there is a place for them in the industry. But I also think that they have a tendency to overestimate their skill set to not really know how to build systems and to drive salaries even higher and make employers little bit more skittish about what they're getting, there's kind of a glut of them on the market,
it's good for us, it's
good for us, as long as employers are discerning, and they're not, you know, just buying up more embodies that can sit in chairs and hat code. And I think that Fortunately, most of the majors, in fact, all the majors, it's easy if you're not absolutely desperate to continue hiring. Well, it's just that you're going to have to pay for it. So that's why I think that definitely the situation that we're in right now is going to continue. I don't I just don't see it changing because I don't see universities graduating exponentially more coders per year spit. I mean, maybe they kick up a bit, but not in the rate that we need them. Yeah, at the race. Yeah, at the rate that those institutions can catch up to demand, demand is going to stay high, and supply is going to stay critically low. There's, there's an enormous gap there, probably, I don't, I remember being back in elementary school and hearing it, there was going to be a gap of on the order of 200,000 programming jobs by the time I graduated college like 200,000,
until it has been north of a million by now. And that I think is is very tantalizing for these people that want to my mouth is watering people that want to get in on this people that that imagine that they can fashion for themselves a better life. And I think that's a really, it's a really good ambition. It's a very noble impulse to want to do that. I would just say to anybody doing that, and it is a harder road than you think it is. You can get sense Well, you can get, you can get the chops that you'll get from a 12 week coding boot camp.
And it's still going to take you 235 years in industry before you actually really know what you're doing in terms of building systems and being trusted to take on projects yourself, right. And maybe more than that, but that's just a sort of a ballpark number. You know, I now feel like a pretty competent system designer, and I've been in the industry for 10 years. I don't know that I would have even felt that way four or five years ago, I feel good about the part where I draw the pictures.
Sometimes I use multiple colors of markers. And that really looks good. You should really be a consultant
how to consult, get a large array of markers, learn how to draw with with markers of multiple colors. Yes. Oh, man. Yeah, it's interesting. We were talking about this earlier, it's funny. Computer Science is one of the select few degrees where people just convinced themselves that they cannot do it. It's, it's, it's, I'm sure you know, people in your life. I certainly know people like this. I say, hey, I need you to come do some calculus. There's a lot on the line here. We got to get you to do some calculus. Their response would be absolutely yeah, I it's not that I won't do it. I can't do it. That's the response. I can't do math. And it's weird. You know, it's really weird. People almost declare it with this sick, twisted version of pride. Oh, I just can't do math. Math. You can't do it. You never see that for any other subject. You never see, oh, I just can't do history. There's no way I can do history. But for some reason, when it comes to math, and especially coding just Nope, can't do it. My brain doesn't work like that.
Yeah, and I think that a lot of that has to do with just this historical attitude that these things are inordinately hard. Now, here's the thing, a lot of math is hard. It does take a lot of dedicated study, but we actually make it worse by stigmatizing it. And by talking about it in these terms by saying, Oh, it's so hard as to be insurmountable. Well, we have to jack ourselves off a little bit, because we don't have a social life for four years in college. So I mean, unless we think we're better than everyone else. What's the point? I was gonna say the same thing, actually, I think that there's a real arrogance in computer science around, you know, I did this. And now you have to prove yourself to me, and I've seen this. I see this all the time in interviewing. And it's interesting how, even within that upper echelon, there's a lot of there's a lot of swinging to use an implied term, right? There's a lot of there's a lot of competition between, let's say, somebody that goes to see him, you know, he goes to Stanford versus somebody who went to the Ivy's versus somebody who if the writers will doing in my office, basically. Yeah. And there's like, there's a whole there's a whole jargon around it. And, you know, I've come to know some people who grew up in that world who use that jargon without even realizing it like an unpretentious way. But I've also seen it deployed as a weapon against outsiders and really used as, as a as a distancing kind of jargon and exclusionary kind of tactic. And I think that's really unfortunate. And the thing is, I'm really speaking about software engineering as, as a craft. And as a practice right now, I do think that On the flip side, there, are there ever more systems that we have to interact with, where at least a minimum knowledge of coding, you know, a few weeks of experience actually go a long way toward make you more comfortable with operating within these within the systems. And I think that, to that extent, sort of like the everybody can code or everybody should, code initiatives are probably net good. They help people understand technology, and they under they help people understand the world that we all live in. I just don't think that anyone should go into a coding boot camp and assume that they're going to be a competent junior engineer. Three months later, that's all I'm
battling against. Right, exactly. Um, I've actually encouraged my oldest brother to go into coding boot camp. And there's a, there's a part of my soul that breaks as I do it, just because I had to go through four years of
yeah, you're saying? Yeah, well, I would say that in that kind of environment. Maybe the most valuable thing is, well, first of all, dispelling this idea that I can't do it, right. I think that that's really valuable. But I also think it creates a mental framework for, for studying and understanding this stuff. You're, you're being given resources that if you want, you can pick them up and run with them, right? You understand where to find the knowledge, whether that's searching Stack Overflow, or reading, you know, developer docs on whatever, I have a degree in searching Stack Overflow, that's all I have. I am
so much better at googling something than the average person. Yes.
That in and of itself, is is incredibly valuable skill at this point. I mean, this is really cynical, but at this point, you could probably get a job as a coder at some businesses by literally just doing nothing, but copying and pasting Stack Overflow. Oh, yeah. Like, that's how, that's how much of the sorry, the rising guys, yeah, I did a front end internship that was copy pasting all day long, and a lot of product coding as well. As well as, like, a lot of web server side stuff. So it's so funny,
we're talking about that that feeling of pretentiousness kind of, and looking down, and other people even within are evident right now. Even within Yeah, computer science itself. You know, we, we love to on other majors, man, we will get the gold at the Olympics for shooting on other majors and other fields. But even within computer science itself, the back end developers will just open up their cheeks, and just spray all over the front end developers. It's so funny. I mean, you won't do it in the corporate world. You have to be nice to each other. But when everyone starts drinking and you start chillin Man, those front end guys. They don't do anything is bad. I have a hypothesis, this might be the origin of the the full stack developer for developers were like, I am so tired. He's back in. These back
not like, you have an option
Yeah, I think it's, I think it's necessary if you want that last ounce of performance, I think that if you're trying to deploy some kind of, you know, fairly sophisticated
I just typed out whatever I wanted. That's not how things work. We live in a society like I sweated. I sweated blood and tears in order to to learn how things should actually be. I'm a serious, yes. practitioner. And Damon, I don't want it to be that easy for you. Yeah, and
objects are really just a hash table, right? So if you if you put a
ask you this. So let's say you're a software engineering, you're doing a software engineer thing, it sounds like you've niche down pretty hard. And I think that's a question that a lot of software engineers face and that am I going to be more successful or again, that's a weird term. So let's boil it down to something. We all know money, am I going to make more money if I really zone in and I learned one thing particularly well, or if you're especially if you're just starting out in your career, because at some point, you have to niche down but let's say you're just starting out your career, should I branch out and do a few different things to be different companies and kind of get a more broad view of things before I
go in, there's only one one answer that I feel comfortable with. And that's be flexible. And that that sounds pretty, pretty trite. But here's how it played out in my career, right? So I did a general computer engineering degree at the University of Florida out of the gate, I was writing C sharp ASP. NET code that did not feel like a career to me at the time, it felt like what I was doing to pay the bills, and then when I first came out, I have to really work at Microsoft. Sure, sure. And plenty people do make a career of it. Definitely. So in that sense, maybe there's an argument to be made for if you're comfortable being a generalist, and you just want to sling some web tech. And the thing is that web Yep, sling some web
tech. I like my work and I swear it will just went off
so the point is that like, right, when iOS came out, like I had to learn a whole new language and a whole new stack and a whole new API, right I didn't iOS came out again we got swift that's that's actually true. I mean, that's my point. Right? And then I always came out again because we got swift two and then iOS came out again and again for right yeah, let's not even get started on Swift. I have even more vitriolic opinions about that and uninformed, but um, even though we use it the best it was Binion's Mm hmm. passionately uninformed and I've already like inflamed more than half the industry by this point, it will recent anyway. So the point is that, you know, I, I completely took a left turn back in 2015, when I kind of reconnected with my passion, doing 3d graphics, I'd never had a professional position doing doing 3d or high performance graphics. So over the course that year, as I was writing my book, I, you know, learned the metal API, I learned a lot about how graphics works, and turn that into kind of a new chapter of my career. So I would say that you it's kind of difficult
to stay on one technology your entire career, I think the way the world the world moves awfully fast. And so you have to remain flexible and content to say, you know, when when this stack becomes obsolete, I'm going to retool to the, to the next thing to the newest thing. And sometimes that's an adjacent move into something that's really similar. Sometimes that, for me, has been a radical reinvention. But for me, what I found to be most lucrative if we want to come back around to that question is hyper hyper specific. Because if you if you exist at the intersection of two or three things, like for me, I exist at the intersection of high performance, mobile 3d graphics. And these days, with er, with augmented reality. And that's a really powerful niche right now, because it's, it's really hot right now. And that's not a that's not a thing that I was six months ago, it's just that I had enough of a background to rapidly tulip in those areas, and become the kind of developer that people will pay well, to develop their ideas or to add these features to their apps, and so on and, or to fix their problems that they're running into you. And so if you want to do if you want to be a freelancer or a consultant, especially, you almost necessarily do need to specialize and and build yourself this niche even if it doesn't already exist,
like find, find something that you can do that type of specialized because that's where the money is, if you want to be a career practitioner, you're still going to need to maintain some degree of flexibility, because times change, that's the best answer. I can go. Yeah.
And it's very tempting to pick a niche, but I'm always a little bit scary. Like, what if I pick the wrong one? What if I just go balls to the wall in one area? And we just decided we don't like it anymore. We're not doing that ever again. Yeah,
I mean, I feel like kind of a unicorn in the sense that the trajectory that I've been on right now has, if anything, I've gotten even hotter as I've as I've done this for the past few years. Yeah. Which feels good. Um, but the thing is, like, well, I say this, like, anybody could kind of choose to do what I do, it would just take 15 years of practice.
Yeah, do it just now. 15 years? practice? No big deal. Yeah.
Yeah. Not not to, you know, not to my own horn too much. But it does, it does take working, you know, to your point, it's difficult to know, it's difficult to know how to skate to where the puck is going to be. But having said that, there's still plenty of money to be made. If you're just a iOS, generalist, in a certain sense, developing for iOS is itself a specialization, right? specialization is kind of a kind of a broad term is kind of a fractal, right? Because you could be an iOS developer, some people would regard that as a specialization, you could be an iOS developer who specializes in writing health apps, which is further specialization, you'd be like me, you know, especially guys
in minutes. wearable,
Yeah, yeah. And, and, and it's a fun, little fun, little niche, you know, it's wearables, plus swearing wearables plus a behavior change, really, that's kind of the intersection anyway, the point is that, yeah, you can go as far down that rabbit hole as you want. For me, I found it to be, the more I specialize, the more people come to me hand in hand, looking for my help, and that's, that's going really well for me right now.
You know, why do I get the vibe that you're really good at negotiating salaries? I am really good at negotiating salary. The trick Apple,
by the way, it really plays hardball when it comes to salary negotiation. Really? Yeah.
You get him to tell you doesn't Cashin or
No, it's just more like, if you're coming in. They have they have these these tears of
as every company does. Right? How many as the tears? Yeah, definitely. And so if you're sort of on the upper bound of a tier as I've been, sometimes it can be impossible to negotiate past a certain that certain salary band, but then they make accommodations and other areas, right. So yeah, I'm quite good at this point at negotiating, negotiating both salary and hourly
settings. It's just because you gotta be and do it.
Second up, Warren, I want
to hire, there's only there's only one answer to this question. And it's absolutely universal. And that is let them know that you can walk away. Yeah, let them know that you don't need it. And I don't mean in a shallow way. I don't mean bluff. I mean, have you ready to walk away? And yeah, one big way you can do that is to have other offers, and that that gives you the benefit of being able to play people off of each other. But don't you love that? Absolutely. I relish it. Get them all in the pit. Get them all the policy and all the froth. Yeah, but but absolutely. The The only advice that I've ever followed that has ever worked is just don't need it. And,
you know, it's funny. Yeah. And that becomes a lot easier when you already have a job at Apple again, whatever man like
I always speak from a place of privilege. And I, I recognize that, but that's the reason that my advice isn't generalized is because I'm just stupid lucky. You can kind of
you don't even necessarily need other offers. I remember telling a company Oh, hey, by the way, can we tried to get the offer on the table a little bit more quickly? Because I have an interview at Facebook in a week. And it it was almost the exact same as telling them that I had an offer from from Facebook. Yeah, people were really
pressure. Yeah,. Yeah. Just lost it. Yeah. felt so good. Yeah, and you can be as coy about that as you want. You can say like, I've had some interest from, you know, drop a name and as long as you play that on it, just for more and more metal by example, calm don't have a shot. Look at the Aqua hired for $30 million. We say that. Um, yeah, so I actually had a pretty good point. And then you distracted me now
I need to stop interrupting and so many jokes. That's that's what keeps the listeners engaged. I don't know what I was gonna say. It's funny, the mental stigma around negotiating though I forget
exactly the statistic. But definitely the majority of people, even in the software engine industry, which, you know, and a lot of other industries. If you go in, you're getting hired with some type of Liberal Arts a communications degree and you try to communicate, excuse me, you try to negotiate, they're gonna they're gonna look at you like, what the, what the you doing? Are you kidding me? software engineering negotiate, dude, it's a seller's market. Absolutely. For what you're selling. And the vast majority of people don't even try. didn't even try. That's right.
And it's funny. Um, most people do everything wrong. And I guess another bit of advice I would say is like, do not like never break this rule. Do not be the first to say a number. Yep. Just
never do not. And they'll pressure you so hard. Yeah, they will. Pressure you don't get they'll start strangling is a dude, we need a number. We need it. We can't hire you without a number. It's all.
Yeah, it's all But fortunately, in California, tell number $12 million. Yeah. Um, don't do that. No, don't do that. Unless, you know, within that you're doing good. You're worth your aspirations. Yeah, don't don't listen to us. If that's what's going on, it is actually mandatory now, instead of California for employers, to tell you the salary band for the role that you are applying for, which is a really powerful tactic. Because now you can just say like, I'm definitely not saying a number until you by force of law. Tell me what the upper bound Lewis job is.
Right? And we can start there and negotiate down but that's it. That band you can negotiate your way up to an entire another band negotiate almost into a different role can be challenging, not a role, but like one band up. So rather than being Oh, yeah, let me go from software engineer to one is often software engineer to but you go up to like, software engineer 1.5. Daddy's little levels in between? I really? Oh,
yeah. mezzanine level. So I'm not familiar with those.
Yeah, exactly. No. So they'll give you a band, at least it's some companies and I'm familiar with, they'll give you a band promotion, but your title doesn't actually change. Okay. So things will go up. It's it's like a race versus a promotion. And I
think that's a really good tool. Because I think that employers do need that degree of flexibility for for certain prime candidates, those that kind of fall between those those tears.
Yeah, certainly, with that, it's a good thing to know. Yeah, it's good. Even though you're just going to get bought out by $30 million. it'll, it'll be good to know, to tell other people about it. Yeah, I mean, who knows? Man, I'm a, I'm actually itching to go back to the valley and resettle. I don't know that I'm going to be full time somewhere. But. And I do like this, this lifestyle. But there's a pretty good chance I'll circle back. Because that's
what I do with you like a pendulum. There was a company that would pay me half as much to work 20 hours a week, I take that, it doesn't seem like that really exists, though.
I haven't found it. I think that the whole 40 Hour Workweek thing is just so entrenched at the same time as it's obsolete, right, because it was really created in response to unionization. You know, a long long time ago, it doesn't really make any sense for knowledge workers, like I tried to stick to maybe like a five or six our engineers do, you know, go in and legitimately code for eight hours. It doesn't, it doesn't happen. No one you can't, your brain can't function you might be able to do on occasion. And there are certain outliers who will either claim they do it or maybe actually achieve it. But I have never been anything close to that. And it's actually even worse. Because if you're in a corporate environment, you have so many meetings, pulling you away from your desk, or people doing just drive by distraction, that you're lucky if you get two to three hours of solid worked on the day as an upper bound in some of these companies, especially if you got an open office plan. I think Open Office plans are the devil there.. But anyway. Yeah,
but here's the thing, right? Like, maybe, maybe that's all they're paying you for at the end of the day. Because as a freelancer, right, my rate is hundreds of dollars an hour is there's, it's definitely a multiplier on what I'd be paying to sit at a desk. And admittedly, I work less. And so part of that goes into the overhead of basically paying my own, you know, payroll tax, and insurance and so on. But a big chunk of it has to do with my expertise. And my focus being applied to something that somebody is really recognizing the value in, there's an awful lot of waste and overhead in the full time lifestyle. Because, as you say, right, nobody can actually almost nobody can actually profitably work, like apply themselves to writing code or engaging in the active the value adding value activity for eight hours a day. And then on top of that, there's all kinds of distraction that will emphatically prevent you from even getting close to that
at these big companies. So they say, 40 hours a week, is what you should do? Have you found that it's common that most engineers hit that and go home? Do most people go over? Or do people get away with less, and I'm sure it varies based on the role, the team, the company, all that, but just an experience it does. So I'm one of the teams that I worked at, at Apple, it was there, it was an older team, a lot of families. And so the nine to five mentality was a bit more entrenched
as a consequence, that was actually a much larger, less efficient team, in my personal opinion. Now, that might just be unfair slander to those people, and they were they were good engineers. But the the team ethos was definitely not
it was they weren't when you're when you're done, right? Yeah, yeah, that's right. Now, having said that, there were some enforced crunch periods. I don't want to say too much about that. But, um, but yeah, but then on on other teams, the majority of the teams that I was on, I would say, it was definitely more an attitude of sweat every detail and work until the job is done. Even if that means coming in weekends, even if they were Are you working more or less on net more? Definitely, I had some hundred hour weeks. Well, they were rare, rare,
and they weren't, they weren't that much more productive, they were incrementally more productive. The problem is that as you work more than 40 hours a week, your efficiency tanks and your morale tanks, not just individuals. But teams, I mean, products can go up in flames, because teams get driven too hard. And so I think I personally think that 40, maybe 50 hours a week should be an absolute upper bound even in crunch time. But that's not the reality of the industry that we're part of the practice both by force and by by passion. people wind up oftentimes working a great deal more than that. Yeah, well, 40 hours, it seems like a number of someone pulled out of their just pretty arbitrary. And because it was designed by committee, right? Because it was designed by a negotiation between the labor force and, and the capital holders. Yeah, now it's. So you're, you're pretty into VR. Yeah, pretty into VR. And a are, they are very much more so. Yeah, yeah, I've actually built a our apps. I haven't actually built VR experiences. Yeah,
VR is getting pretty wild. I don't think most people realize how far it has come. Oh, I agree. I think Yeah, I tried it the other day. I was like, Are you kidding me? This is what's going on over here. Jesus Christ, guys. Yeah,
yeah, it's gotten to the point where it can be truly immersive. And what's really exciting is that as good as it is, now it's getting it's rapidly getting even better, ridiculous terms of tracking in terms of especially in terms of graphical fidelity. And so that's really exciting to actually be in the midst of that revolution.
Yeah, I think that there's so much opportunity in that space man I was reading this interesting thing the other day so obviously know about VR. Yeah, I mean, that's, we can go out and talk about the driving industry. But apparently what some couples are doing is you'll have a couple in the both have VR goggles on and they'll each other in real life. But they'll have V are of like, whatever is there watching? So for all intents and purposes in their brain, they're someone else. Like if you're doing a doggy style or whatever you put on the VR, the doggy style your your girlfriend, whatever. But VR your megan fox or something like that? Is that the world you want to live in? seems very strange and Wally to me. Yes. He's really horrifying to me. I wouldn't say no. If this was on the table. And we had the VR goggles I would try it. But that's really Blade Runner and strange. It's just sometimes food perhaps.
Yeah, see, okay, I'll just I'll just lay down my my personal thoughts on the matter not on the tech but on on on. Actually, I didn't know we were going to get here but
I just think that
that like presence and intimacy and contacts like real genuine contact during is the point you know, and so to extract yourself from that to remove yourself from that to fly off into a fantasy always diminishes the experience whether you're doing it with your eyes closed thinking about megan fox or whomever
she has tomatoes Dallas I forgot about the toes but we can edit that because it's VR that's right we can make your idealized VR megan fox sure point being that like I i I'm not into that now having said that I'm not at all approved about VR I think that there is an enormous unexploited market potential for VR because I think it's much more difficult to produce nowadays like right now than traditional is because if you want to do let's say just a point of view like run of the mill vanilla hetero point of view shot right which is happening is being done a lot there's a lot of that out there right now thumb to a involved you know what you may not even see the model sweet
whatever term anyway, I'm a very specific this. So the
guy has to wear like this goofy looking stereo camera rig if you want to shoot a POV Well, he's doing it really thought about how that shot I guess I visualize to someone holding the camera news, you can do it that way too. But if you want a true point of view, like with the motion and the correct divergence, like you really need to Is it like a headset situations like a headband sounds incredibly distracting somewhere go. It's like imagine wearing two approaches. He's
a lot to
deal with. That's just one way to do it. And what's interesting is like, that's a cheap way to do it, right? Because that is you're using live performers, right? And you're literally capturing essentially, it's not 360 video, or even maybe two 360 video. But it's from one fixed point of view, there's not a lot of motion that you can do. So it winds up being not especially interactive, and not especially satisfying. But the problem is that if you want to go a few steps beyond that, and have virtualized performers, virtualized actresses, suddenly, the content cost goes up exponentially.
But gonna have to hire Warren more if you want to optimize that. And you want to get even more nice warrant let Oh, gosh.
So I could build the rendering tech for a real expense is in the artist, because you have to, at this point, model rig, animate texture, build environments, and in order to create this immersive space that you can actually move around. And if you want to move around in it.
Also, if you actually want to have an immersive experience, it turns out that like touch and haptic feedback, are actually pretty important elements of the experience. So now all of a sudden, you don't got it. You got to imagine that right now, all of a sudden, you've got this need for all these kind of hardware accessories that augment the experience as a
woman. You know
what, like, that's just another avenue to explore. Because once
you get too far down the VR pathway, you know, I mean,, I have to go find a girl now you can mean that's a lot of work. And what girl is gonna be down and put on the goggles Give me the robot. I think
that I think that interactive robots are, well, first of all, they're already thing, but they're definitely gonna become a more a more popular thing in the future. Sure, why not? I mean, if it's possible, it's going to happen. And if it becomes cheaper than more people will buy into it.
It's gonna make men relationship to women. Very strange when you can just buy your ideal girl and she'll just suck your all day long, and just hypothetically, just say, hypothetically, she's indistinguishable, absolutely indistinguishable from a human being, let's just say a couple hundred years from now. It was around then. Yeah. What? Why are we ever going to go out and talk to girls? I mean, I know why. But why are a large chunk of man ever going to go out in and on top of that, let's say you're in relationship and you start going through rocky periods in your relationship? You're gonna, you're gonna trigger finger when it comes to breaking up, and then and it? Is it cheating? Is it cheating? If I've liked the robot?
It's an unanswerable hypothetical, right? What if we get the AI dialed in, because it was just it was just the body I would say probably not. But in the eyes dialed in, it knows you and knows if you like, it goes to the movies with you. This is actually like the Blade Runner 2049 scenario where this guy is essentially in a relationship with a hologram. And, you know, she rents out of body to use to create it to really act as a surrogate hot, there's all kinds of it's not quite seen,
there's all kinds of issues that are going to arise. Fortunately, we're nowhere close to that, right. We don't actually have to consider the ethics of this. But what I will say is that maybe availability of realistic robots in the future is a good thing, because we, you know, to bring it all the way full circle back to automation, there are already a lot of what I would consider as well what certain radical feminists would consider like superfluous men, men who can't fulfill the traditional roles of provider. And well, if you can't be a provider, and you can't even be an equal and you're not all that charming. And maybe you're not even that good looking. Then why would anybody want to be partner to you? Who are we talking about the cells we heard about in sales? Yeah, I'm talking exactly about that, that category, a person. And of course, that's a very hot topic right now. But sure, there's somebody that got shut down. Yeah, but that didn't go away. The other stuff floating around somewhere, they just went to a different forum. I mean, they shouldn't have been reading the first place because Reddit is there, they're hesitant to exercise, editorial control, but they do it when it becomes necessary. Anyway, my point is that it'll probably be a good thing when we can get men out of the loop and get them with, you know, the doll of their dreams, or whatever they can afford. Because then they'll stop harassing women, the doll of your nightmares, maybe.
Sorry, bro, 20 bucks, I will see what we can do. Yeah, that's
the problem, right? Is there stuff? Oh, God. Can you imagine the aftermarket.
secondary market for Jesus Christ was happening. You know, it's been proven that in countries where prostitution is legal, they have substantially less assault. Mm hmm. Right. And then you know, I don't want to get into like the ethics of prostitution or not, if you as an individual want to yourself, that's totally fine. But when he actually prostitution into a society, unfortunately, what comes with that are things like human trafficking, trafficking,
yeah, turns in human trafficking really quickly. And there's really no way around that so if we can have the benefits to society and prostitution without the human trafficking involved now we're getting somewhere and now we're in the Detroit become human scenario there's a new video game out about exactly this thing away about basically, you know, Android slave slash slave robots who become since it was arguable I get I haven't actually played the game. So I don't know exactly whether they are essentially it or whether they're close enough mashing the situation. Exactly. So yeah, so they're on the customer, they already are, are there even designed to be and they essentially I don't know if they're campaigning for their rights. But the point is that you take on your avatar is essentially a, you know, an enslaved Android like
asking that question question of At what point do artificial intelligence systems get rights if their program to the point where they are in unidentifiable every human? Why would they not get rights? And that that brings up the question of what is life indeed, what is what is intelligence? What essentially it's like, these are all very big, very fraught questions that I don't think we really have a good answer for. In light of all this, all these developments,
we will need In fact, to develop an ethics around these things. And I don't, I don't know what that looks like. I'm not I'm not smart enough, you're forward thinking enough to actually be the kind of person to prognosticate on that. But I do see it as becoming
a thing that we eventually have to do. Maybe we should be doing it thinking about it already. And I'm imagine some people are just not familiar with the literature. I have one final question for you before before we wrap this up. Me. Warren, are we living in a simulation?
All signs point to? Yes? Would you like to hear my rationale? Yes.
like Elon Musk on my. So you're already familiar with the work of Nick Bostrom and his original simulation argument paper,
I find it compelling.
I have some issues with it. And I would encourage anybody who's on the fence about this to go or even like, like, whoa, whoa, how did you answer is yes, we read the actual paper. Yeah. Is it?
Is it too technical for me to digest? No, it's, um, it's mostly is basically the gospel right bit that used math to say, yeah, look, it's empirical. In essence, if there's any chance of anyone ever developing a simulation than we're in one that is that guy. Right? Right.
Exactly. So you can kind of take it from this perspective. And it's going to take me a little while to kind of reconstruct this, I think it's, he says that one of the following three things, at least one of the following three things is true. Like, we will develop computer technology that is sufficiently fast, high fidelity, etc. to simulate universes that are imperceptibly different from our own,
we will use these in order to simulate our ancestors. And then the third one, it sounds like a non sequitur, right, is, we are almost certainly living in a simulation, right. And this all falls out of the fact that if you imagine that it is possible to simulate consciousness, and to simulate a real world or some universe, some subset of whatever universe you occupy, then you will probably seek to do so. And you will probably seek to inhabit it with sentient life. If such a system is sufficiently how powerful then entities within that system will do the same, and so on. And so on the way down. Exactly. So the only way to not live in a simulation is if you're literally the seed. Yeah,
of the tree for the entire simulation. So, so taking
all Yeah, exactly. Taking all these things as the predicate if, in fact, it is the case that simulated universes are possible within this universe, we are almost certainly living in a simulation. So that's basically the big if is whether or not that it's possible.
it's impossible, theoretically,
no. And the reason I say that is, I know I just got
my sizing the 3d graphics and the simulation not even close for that on your resume. So much of it has to do with with two big things,
it seems to be predicated on the assumption that we can replicate the preconditions of the Big Bang, and given adequate
computational resources, run that forward and get the same result that doesn't account for the fact that there may in fact, be a degree of randomness, even if the universe is discrete, right? Even if there is a fundamental unit of time and space, there may still just be some essential randomness in our universe. I don't know if that's the case. I don't know if the universe is deterministic, I'm inclined to think that at the macro level, it definitely is.
And I have plenty of reasons to leave that. But that doesn't necessarily mean that you can actually take a snapshot of the state of the universe
to an extensive enough degree to actually replicate it and if you can't do that in much the same way that I think it's going to be a really long time before we put a brain and the computer you know, before we transfer intelligence to a silicon substrate or any other kind of substrate whether it's quantum or whatever I think that it is a much much harder problem than people imagine from the start it sounds like a hard problem already it sounds like an immensely hard problem and then you try to do it and you find out that we actually have no freaking idea how to even get started so I'm actually going to reverse my my snap answer of yes and say probably not oh but we'll never know
bomber we might end millions and millions and millions of years will decide now can't do it
and guys were all just don't know because the
sun's burning out and are going to die so we can't do it. Right.
Well, thanks for coming on. Man. I really like how we ended on a an expansive, universal, huge question. Yeah,
that wasn't good way to wrap it up. Yeah, they don't. We are hopefully not living in a simulation finish online or more. The 3d graphics expert has determined it so I mean, can't get better than that. Where can we find you man? I heard you have a cool website Oh yeah.
Yeah. So Well, I mean it's kind of outdated at this point but metal by example calm is me I'm also at Warren em on Twitter I don't have any other web presence that I want to talk about currently but I'm you know putting together a VR sites so we can check you out on new consultancy that will be offering my services soon
but we'll just have to wait and see about that. So yeah, follow me for more details. That thanks for coming by. Thanks so much. It's been a pleasure. Peace. Thank you for listening to the mental architect. I am your host Sam cb. If you enjoyed this episode, go on down to iTunes and smash that review button so hard that your finger falls off
if you want to learn the secrets of the universe or if you want to watch the video version of this podcast go to CMC Bri dot com. This has been your no blueprint for peak performance. And as always, until next time.
Sam is an ambassador for personal growth. When Sam started to take action towards a better life, it wasn’t long before he was hooked faster than Captain Blackbeard’s left hand. Years later, Sam strives to produce change in others similar to the identity level transformation which occurred within himself. His aim is to break fulfillment down into a series of straightforward steps, and introduce it into the life of anyone who is willing to embark on the path of action, education and ownership.