Russ Roberts: Ryan, the story begins in 2007 with the seemingly casual blog post in an online publication of Gawker. Talk about what the Gawker network was at the time, a little bit about what it came to be, and what that 2007 post was about and how it involved Peter Thiel and some of those consequences. Ryan Holiday: Gawker Media was sort of a rebel, independent media empire. They had a number of sites. They covered New York City gossip; they covered Silicon Valley gossip; they covered sports gossip. And they sort of relished their reputation as the outlet that would publish things that other publications wouldn’t touch. So, Gawker famously would pay for sources. They would, you know, publish, in some cases, stolen information. Or, they would post rumors. In fact, Gawker’s slogan for many years was, ‘Today’s gossip is tomorrow’s news.’ And, sort of informally, I think the attitude was: rumors are a way to get to the truth. So, they sort of saw themselves as the place that would publish things that other people wouldn’t publish, and then by doing so, create sort of larger conversations that the rest of the media would then pick up. And so, in 2007, at the prompting of this site’s founder, Nick Denton, Valleywag, which was Gawker’s Silicon Valley arm posted the article "Peter Thiel is totally gay, people." It’s an unsourced article, or at least no attributed sources. And it basically, it sort of pokes fun at and explores the sexual orientation of Peter Thiel, who, in 2007 was best known simply as the founder of PayPal, and then, you know, this early investor in Facebook. The magnitude of that bet hadn’t fully been made clear, obviously. And then, at the bottom of the article—and I think this is what Thiel reacts to the most—Denton would post a series of comments, sort of speculating as to why Thiel was so secretive about his sexuality. And so, as you said, it was not just that Peter Thiel was gay—which is a fact, although a not-particularly well-known fact—it was that Peter Thiel was gay and not willing to talk to people about it. Russ Roberts: And so, Thiel was not happy at this. And at some point, maybe right away, thought about a whole set of things, including that he was angry. That maybe this was good or bad—I’m sure he started thinking about whether this was good or bad for the world, that this kind of thing would become well known, something that a person wanted to keep private. And then, there’s a dinner—what year is that dinner in Berlin? Ryan Holiday: 2011. Russ Roberts: So, four years go by. What happens in those 4 years, and then what happens at that dinner? Ryan Holiday: Yeah. It’s actually interesting. In Denton’s comments, he even alludes to at that time that Thiel may have been threatening or that there may be some sort of reprisal for Gawker running this article: that Thiel was very upset. And yet, nothing really happens for the next 4 years. Thiel does hire an attorney in New York City named Eddie Hayes, who is a character in Bonfire of the Vanities—he’s sort of a famous mob attorney and worked for a number of other outlets. And, Thiel hires him just to sort of explore what his options are, not necessarily legally. Like, Thiel ends up meeting with a few Gawker writers, just to sort of see what they—it’s as if he’s just sort of exploring. He’s sort of rudely introduced to this media outlet, that would out him, and also finds out that this is a technically illegal, and, it might not be something that is particularly smiled upon in the media industry but it’s how Gawker works. And so Thiel sort of dances around this: he looks at, ‘Can I talk to them about this? Can I see why this is happening? Can I come to understand this?’ And quickly finds out that that’s not the case. But pretty much despairs for the next several years of really any recourse. He famously says in an interview around 2009 that he believes Gawker is the Al Qaeda of the Silicon Valley—if that gives you a sense of how strong his reaction was—but really didn’t believe he could do anything. And didn’t do anything about it, this entire time. And so, I believe there was both an outrage and a despair. And these twin emotions that are defining where Thiel is for this extended period. Russ Roberts: And before you talk about the dinner in 2011 that sets the events of the book in motion, without going into any, much, lurid detail: Peter Thiel is not the only person who is struggling with Gawker’s revelations. They are publishing—not just [?] about people’s, say, sexual activity, but videos online of people’s sexual activity; humiliating things. And they seem, at least in your book, to revel in it. And their staff is motivated and incentivized to—to smash celebrities, to humiliate people. That’s the way it comes across. I don’t know whether that’s a portrait of their ethos. Ryan Holiday: Well, I do think it’s a fair portion, and I try to explain where they were coming from. It’s a sort of—Gawker is this sort of disaffected generation of writers, sort of show up in New York City and realize that all the glamor is gone. That, there’s just hypocrisy and an awfulness. And they sort of see their job as the truth-tellers that say the things that other people won’t sell. And, the way that the company is set up, is: writers are paid first with how many posts that they do. And then, second, when that system is less than effective, they are paid partially based on how much traffic those posts do. So, they have a real incentive to go after these kind of salacious things. Russ Roberts: 8:35 And how was Nick Denton, the founder—how was he doing financially from this experience? Ryan Holiday: Gawker explodes in popularity. By 2007, it’s doing, you know, tens of millions of pages per month. By 2011, 2012, were probably in the billion category. And certainly annually. So, on the one hand there is that force: Like, realizing that if pay people by the Page View, you unlock a very powerful mechanism. But then, I think the other element that Denton had figured out—and this is, I think, key to his success—is that outlets were previously far too conservative. So, the legal department would say, ‘Oh, don’t publish this: you might get sued. We’ve got to be careful. We’ve got to make sure our t’s are crossed and our i’s are dotted.’ Denton realized that although people would often threaten to sue you, they very rarely actually would. There was, in 2005, for instance, Gawker runs a sex tape of a musician. And, the musician sues them for $80 million. And then when Gawker sort of writes out, ‘Look, you don’t want to do this. Let us explain to you why you don’t want to do this,’ not only does the musician drop the lawsuit, but he sends flowers to Nick Denton by way of apology. And so, Gawker is both extremely powerful in terms of their actual reach; they are also powerful because they called the bluff. Powerful people like to threaten to sue media outlets, but if you are ashamed of something or you have a secret, the last thing you are going to do is file a lawsuit, which then, you know, puts this in front of the public eye. And opens you up to discovery in a lawsuit. Russ Roberts: And, the other piece that’s going to be important is that one of their defenses, Gawker’s defenses, is the First Amendment. Ryan Holiday: Yes. They believe that, provided that something was true, it was 100% covered by the First Amendment. Which is not a necessarily inaccurate interpretation. Russ Roberts: Right. Ryan Holiday: But, you know, the standard for libel and defamation in this country is extremely high. You have to show actual malice. And so, I think Gawker realized, like, ‘Look, if there is a halfway decent journalistic explanation for this, we’re probably covered by the First Amendment. And if we’re not, we’re probably covered by the reluctance of the other side to actually force this issue.
Tagged with “people” (5)
Ryan Holiday on Conspiracy, Gawker, and the Hulk Hogan Trial | EconTalk | Library of Economics and Liberty
Full show notes can be found at http://podcastinit.com/episode-2-reuven-lerner.html
Episode 2 Brief intro
Reuven Lerner Interview
Please introduce yourself
How did you get introduced to Python?
How did you break into the field of providing Python trainings?
What are the most common languages that your students are coming from?
What are some of the biggest obstacles that people encounter when learning Python?
Where does Python draw the inspiration for its object system from?
In what way(s) does learning Python differ from learning other languages?
What sorts of materials/mediums do you use for training people in Python?
Do you use your book (Practice make Python) as follow up material for your trainings?
In your freelance work, what portion of your projects use Python?
Ruby is Oscar, Python is Felix
Have you seen a change in the demand for Python skills in the time between when you first started using it and now?
What types of projects would cause you to choose something other than Python?
Daily Tech Video
Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink
Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China by Evan Osnos
Spencer Trappist Ale
Rich Hickey’s The Value of Values
YouCompleteMe – Vim auto-completion
SizeUp for OSX
CheckIO – Gamified practice programming
Nvidia Shield Tablet
Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone
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Eric’s humorous, practical blog, “Barking Up the Wrong Tree”, presents science-based answers and expert insights on how to be awesome at life. Over 300,000 people subscribe to his weekly newsletter. His first book, “Barking Up The Wrong Tree”, is a WSJ bestseller.
Click to tweet: Fire Nation, Eric shares his incredible journey on EOFire today!
Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
[01:03] – Eric has been busy with his blog and book
[01:27] – His area of expertise is talking to experts and extracting the best information about how to get better at life
[01:56] – One BIG and Unique Value Bomb: Resourcefulness is one trait that doesn’t get enough credit
[02:49] – When Eric talks to people, he sees them on a constant quest
[03:30] – He appreciates when a resourceful person has exhausted all means to get an answer
[04:44] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: Eric was working in the video game industry. His blog was growing by leaps, but he felt he didn’t want to be in video games forever. He decided to quit his job and focus on the blog. Unfortunately, apart from his savings, he didn’t think about the money. He decided that the next step was to write a book. Eric moved to his parents’ house in the middle of nowhere for 6 months and struggled mentally
[07:59] – The only stream of income Eric had was through his blog’s Amazon affiliate account
[08:05] – He was definitely going into the red if it wasn’t for the book proposal
[08:47] – Eric’s shift from the blog to the book proposal was extreme
[11:12] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: Eric was talking to an author and asking about the process after taking a book deal. The author said he spent a year reading – something Eric didn’t account for. Then, Eric talked to another author who said the same thing – and then another, and another. He realized he already had 7 years of reading from his time posting on his blog
[13:35] – Eric realized he already had all the information he needed
[15:00] – Eric’s blog didn’t emerge fully-formed; he had to do his own research
[15:53] – He started out by finding things on the Internet that were interesting to him and other people
[17:40] – Eric started to contact experts in different fields to get the best information he could find for his blog
[19:07] – “Be transparent along the way”
[19:24] – The Lightning Round
What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “The fact that I’ve done it before and I’ve given up on it ”
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “When you enter a company, look around, and look at the people who are there. Realize that you’re going to become like them and they’re not going to become like you. If those people are not the people you want to be, it’s not going to work”
What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “Obsessiveness”
Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – RSS Feeds
If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – Sapiens – “you kind of get a sum up of the history of humanity in a very accessible format”
[21:52] – Sit down and think about traits you’re not happy about and imagine a context where these negative traits can be positive
22:13 – Connect with Eric on his blog
3 Key Points:
Be resolute in your quest for knowledge; learn from the experts.
Before jumping into a new field, make sure your finances are in order.
Be transparent with your audience.
RSS Feeds – Eric’s small business resource
Sapiens – Eric’s Top Business Book
Barking Up the Wrong Tree – Eric’s book
Audible – Get a 30–day free trial of fantastic audiobooks!
Barking Up the Wrong Tree – Eric’s blog
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Lots of people struggle with making good decisions. It’s an important skill to build, especially if you lead others (or aspire to), but there are many obstacles to good decision making. Writer, researcher, and thinker Jeff Annello of the popular Farnam Street website and newsletter talks to Halelly Azulay, host of the TalentGrow Show, about how to become better at making effective and efficient decisions. They discuss the role of mental models, intuition, and thinking errors and biases in decision making and how to become more aware of and fight against them. What specifically is important for leaders to know to make better decisions and help their teams to improve their decision quality. Finally, Jeff gives a very actionable tip that you can implement immediately to begin ratcheting up your own decision making skills. Don’t forget to subscribe and leave a rating and review on iTunes and share this episode with others who could also benefit!
Facebook Twitter Google+ LinkedIn E-mailRyan is a media strategist and prominent writer on strategy and business. After dropping out of college at 19 to apprentice under Robert Greene, Author of The 48 Laws of Power, he went on to advise many best-selling authors and multi-platinum musicians.
Click to tweet: Fire Nation, Ryan shares his incredible journey on EOFire today!
Time Stamped Show Notes:
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
[01:00] – He was the director of marketing at American Apparel.
[01:09] – He is finishing up his sixth book right now.
[02:03] – How do you generate revenue in your business? – He makes money from royalties and advances with his books.
[02:22] – He has a creative agency.
[02:36] – A creator and an entrepreneur.
03:12 – He introduced John to stoicism.
[03:39] – What was your intro to stoicism? – He was introduced to stoicism through Dr. Drew.
[04:17] – A robust philosophy “to help you with the difficulties of life.”
[04:58] – Any problems that occur are fact, and you must choose how to respond to those facts.
05:22 – Ryan’s book, Ego is the Enemy – How our arrogance holds us back.
[05:55] – We are all trying to do hard things.
[06:20] – How we can be objective, self-aware, and honest.
[06:38] – John is reading the book for the second time this year.
[07:20] – Breaking down the difference between ego and confidence.
[07:49] – Ego is what we feel. Confidence should be based on the work we have done and the experience we have gained.
[08:26] – Avoiding unrealistic optimism.
[08:59] – Talk about a story from your book that epitomized this concept – “One cannot learn that which they already know.”
[09:47] – A lot of people assume that any success means they are experts in a certain topic.
[10:07] – As knowledge grows, ignorance grows.
[10:25] – Humility makes us wise.
[10:38] – Working to improve our chosen craft.
[10:50] – How craftsmanship can suppress the ego — Focusing on your craft helps you find ways to improve.
[12:00] – Larry King and how he has improved over thousands of interviews.
[12:17] – Writing humbles you every day. That kind of craft is how you can avoid arrogance.
[12:55] – Find your craft and continue to improve it.
[16:26] – Expand upon meditation – If you don’t take care of yourself, your work will suffer.
[16:54] – You have to look outside of yourself.
[17:23] – Exercise can be meditative.
[17:43] – Scheduling meditation as part of your workday.
[17:53] – Set aside time for yourself every day.
[18:11] – The value of going out into nature.
[18:50] – John’s 4-mile jog through nature every day.
[19:50] – What it feels like to be at the top of the hill, halfway through his jog.
[20:06] – The sense of satisfaction that you can get from daily exercise or meditation.
[20:47] – Why should we not believe our own hype? – Marketing is part of what we do.
[21:05] – We are selling an idealized version of ourselves.
[21:26] – People will simplify you.
[21:42] – Avoiding both the good reviews and the bad reviews, and not needing approval from other people.
22:26 – What resources do you recommend to people who want to know more? – The Score Takes Care of Itself
22:53 – How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life
[23:02] – Reading the classics and learning from history.
[23:33] – Learning by the experience of others.
[24:15] – Marcus Aurelius: “Accept it without arrogance, and let it go with indifference.”
24:38 – Ryanholiday.net
24:42 – @RyanHoliday on Twitter and Ryan Holiday on Facebook
25:21 – Read Ego is the Enemy
3 Key Points:
Only worry about your personal progress. Ignore how others perceive you.
Finding your craft will help you continue to improve and avoid arrogance.
Reading helps you learn from the experiences of others.
Ego is the Enemy – Ryan’s new book
The Score Takes Care of Itself and How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life – Ryan’s book recommendations
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