The Rags to Riches Philosopher: Bryan Johnson’s Path to $800 Million

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The Tim Ferriss Show with Bryan Johsnon

Bryan Johnson is an entrepreneur and investor. He is the founder of OS Fund and Braintree, the latter of which was bought by eBay in 2013 for $800 million in cash.

Bryan launched OS Fund in 2014 with $100 million of his personal capital to support inventors and scientists who aim to benefit humanity by rewriting the operating systems of life. In other words: he fuels real-world mad scientists.

His investments include endeavors to cure age-related diseases and radically extend healthy human life to 100+ (Human Longevity), replicate the human visual cortex using artificial intelligence (Vicarious), mine an asteroid (Planetary Resources), reinvent transportation using autonomous vehicles (Matternet), and reimagine food using biology (Hampton Creek), among others.

Our conversation includes his rags to riches story, his philosophical hardwiring, negotiating/sales tactics, and even parenting. We cover a ton of ground with a fascinating and deep mind.

Enjoy!

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Do you enjoy listening to world-class entrepreneurs?  If so, you might enjoy my conversations with Peter Thiel. He co-founded PayPal in 1998, which was sold to eBay for $1.5 billion. He was also the first outside investor in Facebook (!) and has since created another billion-dollar+ startup called Palantir. Stream our conversation below or right-click here to download:



This episode is sponsored by Athletic Greens. I get asked all the time, “If you could only use one supplement, what would it be?” My answer is, inevitably, Athletic Greens. It is your all-in-one nutritional insurance. I recommended it in the The 4-Hour Body and did not get paid to do so.  Get 50% off your order at Athletic Greens.com/Tim

This podcast is also brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. Did you know I used 99Designs to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body? Here are some of the impressive results.  Click this link and get a free $99 upgrade.  Give it a test run…

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: Do you have a story of an untested assumption that held you back? How did you identify it and change your behavior? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes… Read More

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Learn How to Triple Your Reading Speed in 5 Minutes (Seriously) [VIDEO]

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This short (<5 minutes) video will teach you how to triple your reading speed in less than 20 minutes. It works nearly immediately, and there is zero loss in comprehension.

No voodoo, no pseudoscience — just two tricks for optimizing eye movement.

Some of you learn better with text, and some of you learn better with video. As one commenter who watched the above video put it:

“Tim, thanks so much for this video. I read your blog post about this like four times without being able to get it. With a video, it’s much easier.”

Have fun, and I’d love to hear your results in the comments.

If you enjoy this, you might also like my posts on rapid language learning, or my interview with champion memory competitor, Ed Cooke. You can stream the latter below:


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Chris Sacca on Being Different and Making Billions

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sacca_discoGoofing around with Sacca and his afro.

“Fuck it… I’m just not going to play this traditionally anymore.”
– Chris Sacca

Chris Sacca was recently the cover story of the “Midas Issue” of Forbes Magazine.

The reason: He is a newly-minted billionaire and the proprietor of what will likely be the most successful venture capital fund in history: LOWERCASE I of LOWERCASE Capital.

He’s an early-stage investor in companies like Twitter, Uber, Instagram, Kickstarter, and many more.

In this interview, we discuss unfair advantages, how Chris chooses founders and investments, stories of missed opportunities, the styles that differentiate Wall Street from Silicon Valley investors, and how keg parties can liberate law students from the tyranny of class (Chris completed law school without attending any classes).

Enjoy!

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This episode mentions the incredible Matt Mullenweg. Matt, who’s also been on this podcast, was a lead developer behind WordPress, which runs about 23% of the Internet. You can listen to our booze-infused conversation here, in which we discuss polyphasic sleep, tequila, and building billion-dollar companies like his current gig (stream below or right-click here to download):


This podcast is brought to you by MeUndiesHave you ever wanted to be as powerful as a mullet-wearing ninja from the 1980’s, or as sleek as a black panther in the Amazon? Of course you have, and that’s where MeUndies comes in. I’ve spent the last 2-3 weeks wearing underwear from these guys 24/7, and they are the most comfortable and colorful underwear I’ve ever owned. Their materials are 2x softer than cotton, as evaluated using the Kawabata method. Check out MeUndies.com/Tim to see my current faves (some are awesomely ridiculous) and, while you’re at it, don’t miss lots of hot ladies wearing MeUndies.

This podcast is also brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. Did you know I used 99Designs to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body? Here are some of the impressive results.  Click this link and get a free $99 upgrade.  Give it a test run..

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What’s the best investment advice you ever received? Or worst? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

Show Notes

  • What is Chris Sacca best known for? [6:10]
  • Total Immersion swimming and how to invest like Chris Sacca [8:40]
  • Pieces of advice given to Chris Sacca on early-stage investing [11:55]
  • What disqualifies startup founders in Sacca’s mind [16:05]
  • Travis Kalanick and Nintendo Wii Tennis [18:55]
  • Traits of founders for whom success, at massive scale, is predestined [22:00]
  • The whales that got away: GoPro, Snapchat, and more [27:40]
  • On letting the negative case dominate one’s analysis for whether to invest or not [29:55]
  • Differences between venture capitalists and private equity [35:15]
  • Books for investing and cultivating emotional intelligence [41:00]
  • Thoughts on modeling what it is to be successful [49:30]
  • What Chris Sacca’s parents did when he was a kid [53:50]
  • What Sacca looks for when hiring [58:25]
  • What historical figure Sacca most identifies with? [1:01:15]
  • Early collecting habits [1:04:25]
  • The story of the prophetic notebook [1:10:10]
  • The two differentiators that shifted the nature of Sacca’s business [1:19:10]
  • Advice to founders or would-be entrepreneurs [1:27:40]
  • Most readily quoted movie [1:31:10]

People Mentioned

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How to Build a Large Audience From Scratch (And More)

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TF_cowboySometimes, going weird allows you to go big. (Photo: My weird Instagram)

In this episode, I answer questions submitted by you all.

50% of this episode is spent explaining how I’d build an audience from scratch, if I had to start over today. The other ~10 questions/topics are listed below.

Do you like or dislike this type of episode? Please let me know in the comments, and I’ll do more or fewer based on that.

For the movie recommendations I mention (shorts, documentaries, etc.), click here to see the growing list.

Enjoy!

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If you enjoy the above Q&A episode, you might also like this episode, where I answer the question: “What would you add to The 4-Hour Workweek for 2015?”

Other questions I answer in this episode:

If you’re the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with, who are those 5 people for you?

Based on the self-experiments you conducted in your books, are there any habits you continue to implement on a daily basis?

What is the most important question you ask yourself everyday?

If you could make one new thing mandatory in the nationwide high school curriculum, what would it be?

Bruce Lee said “The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” What methods do you practice to maintain focus and follow through to achieve your goals rather than getting side tracked, distracted, or discouraged?

With all the misleading information on health out there, what are the best/most reliable resources?

What are your top 10 natural supplements that you’ve found most helpful?

What are the things you’ve done to become a better writer?

What are your guilty pleasures for those times when your brain needs a rest?

What would you go back and tell your younger self?

Again, here are my answers.

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For previous episodes of the podcast, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rick Rubin, Jon Favreau, and others, click here.

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The Morning Cocktail I Drink Instead Of Coffee

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Try this morning tea cocktail instead of coffee. It’s rocket fuel for the brain.

I started experimenting with fat-plus-stimulant beverages in 1998 and 1999 while on the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD). For the above tea blend, I now add turmeric and ginger to the aged pu-erh, usually Rishi brand.

The above video was shot while filming the parkour episode of The Tim Ferriss Experiment TV show. We filmed 13 episodes back-to-back and I needed a morning pick-me-up that could be prepared quickly but sustain me for hours.

The tea prep might seem reminiscent of Bulletproof Coffee, and it is.  They serve similar purposes.  For this reason, I jokingly referred to the cocktail as “Titanium Tea” with the production crew.

Alas, BP coffee looks like a delicious frappuccino, and my concoction looks like diabetic horse urine.

Here’s why I still drink TT Horse Urine nearly every day:

  • I’m a caffeine “fast metabolizer” according to genetic test results from 23andMe, Navigenics (since acquired), and personal experience. If I drink a cup of black coffee, I feel like a superhero for 30 minutes, then need two cups to get back to baseline. But…

  • When I use a blend of — say — green tea and fermented black tea, I’m combining slightly different pharmacokinetics and biological half-lives, so respective peak plasma (blood) concentrations of stimulants and other compounds are staggered. Instead of one single high point and then a rapid descent into fatigue, I have multiple high points. Rather than feeling amazing for 30 minutes and then fatigued, I can feel 20% more effective for 3-4 hours.

  • This can be extended further if I include a tea like yerba mate (I like Cruz de Malta), which includes three xanthine alkaloids. For our purposes, you can think of these three xanthines as “stimulants”: good old caffeine (by weight, often <50% compared to coffee), theophylline (found in green tea), and theobromine (the primary alkaloid in cocoa and chocolate). Yerba mate isn’t the only tea to include these three, but the ratios in yerba mate appear optimal for my biochemistry and creative writing.

  • NOTE: The most extended effect is only achieved if you sip the yerba using traditional technique. The gourd is my constant companion — plus one glass of Malbec — for 10pm-4am jam sessions when on book deadline. Just as coca-leaf teas don’t = cocaine, which doesn’t = crack, the form and speed of administration matters. For the nerds, this is why powdered “good” foods (e.g. bean flour) aren’t always compliant with the slow-carb diet.

  • If I rely on theobromine and/or theophylline as my uppers, instead of primarily caffeine, I can quit stimulants cold turkey without caffeine-withdrawal headaches. This can be a massive competitive and health advantage, as you can cycle off of stimulants to minimize tolerance development.

  • But — I’m not a doctor and don’t play one on the Internet! As always, the dose makes the poison. Excessive theophylline and theobromine have plenty of adverse effects, particularly when consumed with fat like coconut oil (i.e. “dose dumping“). So speak to your doc first if you have any medical conditions, m’kay?  This is an N=1 article.

  • I still drink coffee on occasion, especially if empty handed in the middle of nowhere. It’s a hell of a lot easier to find coffee and butter than pu-erh tea and coconut oil. Definitely 10x better than straight black coffee, and kudos to Dave Asprey for taking it mainstream. It’s now ubiquitous, and that’s no small feat. Many of the top performers I know drink BP coffee, including legendary producer Rick Rubin.

For more quick-tip videos like the above, click here.

For 13 full-length episodes shot by an Emmy award-winning team, click here or on the image below.

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Is It Time to Kill Sacred Cows In Your Relationship?

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Danielle Teller and Astro Teller on the Tim Ferriss Show

[Preface: Would you like to sponsor The Tim Ferriss Show, the #1 business podcast on iTunes and one of the iTunes “Best of 2014″? Click here for details.]

Dr. Astro Teller is a computer scientist and entrepreneur who currently oversees Google[x], Google’s moonshot factory. Dr. Danielle Teller is a physician specializing in intensive care and lung medicine; she has trained doctors and run research programs at Harvard University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Together, they are the authors of Sacred Cows.

In this conversation — my first podcast with a couple — we cover a lot of my usual questions (favorite books, routines, philosophies of living, etc.) but focus on something I haven’t personally figured out: relationships.

It’s important to note that the Tellers are not “for” marriage but, rather, “for” the freedom to decide how to live most honestly and happily, whether as part of a couple or as a single person.

Combining the rigor that has established them as leaders in their respective fields, Astro and Danielle walk me through how they think about relationships, and how they survive and thrive as two driven people.

Sidenote: Want to see me tackle dating experiments, struggle with live “cold approaches,” and optimize online dating with a computer hacker? Be sure to watch my “Dating Game” episode of The Tim Ferriss Experiment here.

Enjoy the podcast below!

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This podcast is sponsored by LSTN Headphones. LSTN Headphones are gorgeous headphones that I use. They’re made of real exotic, reclaimed wood. Proceeds from each purchase help a hearing-impaired person hear for the first time through the Starkey Hearing Foundation. Here are some of the headphones I wear and travel with: LSTNHeadphones.com/TimOn that page, use the code “TIM” to get $50 off orders of $99 or more!

This podcast is also brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. Did you know I used 99Designs to rapid prototype the cover for the 4-Hour Body? Here are some of the impressive resultsClick this link and get a free $99 upgrade. Give it a test run and share your results!

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: Are you pursuing monogamy? Why or why not? Have you figured out other rules that work for you and your partner? Please (seriously, please) let me know in the comments! I expect this thread will have some great suggestions.

Scroll below for links and show notes… Read More

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How to Make Lock Picks Out of Common Household Items

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This short video might blow your mind.

Using household items like paper clips or toothbrushes, you can easily defeat 70-80% of the padlocks out in the world.

The teacher is Kevin Reeve of OnPoint Tactical. Kevin has trained and consulted for the FBI, Secret Service, SWAT, and elite military units like Marine Force Recon, SEAL Team 6, etc.

He was also my teacher for the “Urban Escape and Evasion” episode of The Tim Ferriss Experiment, which is currently the #1 non-fiction TV show across all of iTunes.

In that episode, Kevin teaches me (and therefore you):

  • How to escape common restraints like zip ties and handcuffs.
  • How to “borrow” cars in emergency situations.
  • Effective evasion tactics for urban environments (e.g. parking garages, fast appearance changes, etc.).
  • And much more…

I get restrained, hooded, thrown in a trunk, and subjected to other abuse. My (least) favorite part was getting stun gunned while temporarily blinded. Surprise, Ferriss!

If you’ve ever fantasized about being Jason Bourne — or simply being ready for anything — the entire episode is full of effective and easy-to-learn techniques.

I suggest getting the “Season Pass” for $14.99 or so, which gets you all 13 episodes for ~40% off, plus hours of bonus footage. Many of you have said that the bonus footage alone is worth more than the $15.

MORE ON THE TV SHOW

Bestselling author Tim Ferriss (“The world’s best human guinea pig.” – Newsweek) pushes himself to the breaking point, attempting to learn notoriously punishing skills–surfing, parkour, professional poker, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, online dating (Ha!), learning languages, etc.—in just one week each. Filmed and edited by the same team behind Anthony Bourdain’s hit shows (Zero Point Zero).

In every episode of The Tim Ferriss Experiment, Ferriss partners with the world’s best and most unorthodox teachers (Laird Hamilton, Marcelo Garcia, Stewart Copeland, etc.), who train him for a final gauntlet. Shocking breakthroughs, injuries, epiphanies, and disasters ensue. In cases where he succeeds, Tim shows you how to replicate his results. The mantra of the show is “you don’t need to be superhuman to get superhuman results…you just need a better toolkit.”

Enjoy!

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