Free Transcript Project #8

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Source video
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Title : “Bitcoins & Gravy” podcast
Episode 17 : “Solar Power & World’s Smallest Computer

URL : http://youtu.be/qFplul7dbX8

Organization         : “Bitcoins & Gravy” (podcast)

Web Site
http://bitcoinsandgravy.com
https://letstalkbitcoin.com/blog/post/bitcoins-gravy-17-solar-power-worlds-smallest-computer

YouTube Channel

http://bit.ly/1urBhr0

Co-host #1               :  John Barret
Contact                     :  howdy@bitcoinsandgravy.com

Co-host #2               :  Lij Shaw
Contact                     :  http://www.thetoyboxstudio.com/

Guest #1                   : Nissan Bahar
Web Site                   : http://keepod.org/

Guest #2                   : Nick Gogerty
Contact                      : LinkedIn Profile : Nick Gogerty
Web Site                    : http://www.solarcoin.org

Announcer                 : Adam B. Levine (Founder of the “Let’s Talk BItcoin” network)
Contact                      : adam@letstalk bitcoin.com
web site                      : http://ww.letstalkbitcoin.com

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Transcript
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Announcer (Adam B. Levine) : This program is intended for informational and educational purposes only. All views and opinions expressed are the views and opinions of the individuals and sponsors presenting them, and not the LTB network. Enjoy the show.

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John Barret (Co-host 1) : Welcome to “Bitcoins and Gravy”, episode 17.

Lij Shaw (Co-host 2) : On http://www.bitcoinaverage.com, Bitcoins are trading at $0.49 per millibit. That’s $490 per Bitcoin, a significant increase this week over the last few weeks, where Bitcoin was hovering in the lower 400s to mid-400s. Sounds like Bitcoin may have been listening to our last podcast – Episode 16 – talking about Greek coffee, finding the right dire, and a proper rise for Bitcoin.

John Barret : Mmmm… Mmmmm… Mmmmm. Now that’s gravy.

[intro music]

John : Welcome to “Bitcoins and Gravy”, and thanks for joining us today as we podcast from East Nashville, Tennessee. I’m John Barret.

Liz : And I’m Lij Shaw.

John  : We’re two Bitcoin enthusiasts who love to talk about Bitcoins.

Liz : And share what we learn with you, the listener. Welcome to “Bitcoins and Gravy” and thanks for listening.

[end of intro and music]

On today’s show Lij and I travel to Tel Aviv, Isreal to speak with Nissan Bahar. Nissan is one of the core developers of “Keepod” – a simple and inexpensive technology that may be able to help to bridge the digital divide that we  see in the world today. Together we discover that there are over 5 billion people – that’s 2/3 of the world’s population – who still don’t have access to a computer or a smartphone. Hey people, that’s a lot of people!

Lij : We also continue our “To The Sun” series, as we talk with SolarCoin’s very own Nick Gogerty – the founder of SolarCoin. Nick wrote the whitepaper on SolarCoin, and he’s just the guy we’ve been waiting to talk with to get the final details on the SolarCoin project, and what we can expect to see in the years ahead. The future definitely looks bright for SolarCoin, and for solar energy. You know, maybe it really is time we started paying more attention to that massive, flaming ball of nuclear energy in the sky. After all, it really is our very own, naturally occurring nuclear power plant.  Oh yeah, but without the problems like nuclear waste and Fukushima-style meltdowns.

[music]

John : Today Lij and I are thrilled to be speaking with a gentleman in Tel Aviv Isreal, Nissan Bahar.

Lij : Hey Nissan. Welcome to the show. Welcome to “Bitcoins and Gravy”.

John : Welcome to the show Nissan.

Nissan : Thank you. Thank you for having me here.

John : Nissan is one of the core developers of “Keepod” – a simple and inexpensive technology which may be able to bridge the digital divide that we see in the world today.  Nissan, can you tell us – first of all – all little bit about yourself and then tell us about Keepod.

Nissan : Yeah, sure. So I was born in Isreal, and living in Italy actually in the last 10 years or so, where I met my business partner, Franky – who is the co-founder of Keepod. I’m coming from a background in technology – mainly information security. I’ve been doing security for many large enterprises : banks, telecoms, energy companies, and so – in Europe. We started with Keepod a few years ago as a security product, which was targeting that market. Then about a year ago we decided that it was time to do something better with the technology that we developed, and with the knowledge that we gathered – and started what you see today as the Keepod project.

Lij : Wow, interesting. So it started out as a security project, and it evolved into this miniature computer that’s going to save the world and bring computing power to the other 5 billion people in the world.

John : We hope so. Yeah.

Nisan : Well, yeah.

Lij : So tell us what Keepod is now, because it’s pretty fascinating.

Nissan : So Keepod is a project, first of all. It’s not just the product, because it’s an ecosystem of tools, conditions and organizations that are making this happen. First of all we have the actual operating system. Keepod is an operating system which was designed to jump between one computer to another. We are not inventing here anything new, because “OS-on-a-stick” is something that geeks and hackers have been using for many years now. What we are doing here is really targeting it as the main system of the user – which is not something that is being done today. So we decided to go with Android, which is the most common operating system today, in the world. So we are running Android 4.4 Kit-kat on your desktop. And it is beautiful. So imagine having “What’s App” and your favorite applications on the big screen. It’s very lightweight. It’s very powerful. We’ve reduced the footprint of the system to something like 300 MB, which is really tiny for a desktop OS. And it is very intuitive. So where we are going – where people don’t have access to computers – they find themselves with something more familiar, because there are markets, like India – where you have 94% penetration of mobile, and over 50% of which is smartphone. So they find something that is familiar to them – very intuitive. And people who don’t know it at all, the learning curve is very fast. The biggest and best example I have is the project we just did in Nairobi. We went to three schools there, and kids who were 9 to 13 years old – something like that, who never saw a computer and never worked on a computer – after two hours they were sending us emails.

Lij : Wow!

John : So, Nisan, how did you decide to go to Nairobi? And can you tell us a little bit about the “Why Not Academy“? I’m sure there are many acadamies like that in the world, but why Nairobi? And what city were you in there?

Nissan : Yeah, so we went to Mathare, which is one of the largest slums in Africa. It’s the second largest slum in Nairobi, after Kibera. It’s home for 500 thousand people who live in incredible conditions. We were looking for a first project, and our interest was to go and do it in a place where the conditions would be difficult for implementation – where we were going to find ourselves in an environment which was not so “tech ready” – like we might have in other areas. From the other end, it is a perfect place for starting people, because the language barrier is not so big, because they speak English there – quite good. And there is connectivity. We can get 3G access in Nairobi.

We went there an we met the guys there at “LiveInSlums” – it’s an NGO that works in slums around the world. They work in Brazil. They work in Cairo – if I’m not mistaken. They work in Nairobi. And they presented to us the “Why Not Academy“. It is a school that they have built in Mathare. They support this school. It’s a “street school”. It’s one of many. Kids there don’t have the means even to go to the public schools. And those street schools – that are mainly supported by charity – are the only thing the kids have.

John : The “Why Not Academy” is a new school, is that right?

Nissan : Yeah, it is a new school. The guys from “Liven Slums” built it. They practically built it, really. They sent a group of people. The designed it. They build the school, the facilities. They built a vegetable garden – which is feeding the school – inside the slum. It’s an incredible agricultural project. They hooked it to the power – although it’s not really legal, the power – there is power. Also it is operating, and it s a really nice initiative. And when we heard about it we felt that Keepod might be a good fit, and that we could bring — with access to information in the end, which is what Keepod is all about – education might be empowered there. And also, not only that, that school is actually a base for other projects like the organic agriculture, which require information and access to techniques. Also an HIV prevention initiative, human rights initiatives, and so on. They are all gathered in that place. So it is all little projects that require access to information, to technology, and to computers, for different reasons.

John : Wow! How did you first hear about that.

Nissan : We met in Milan. “LiveInSlums” is an Italian NGO. So we met with the NGO looking for one of their projects to see if it is interesting. They told us about Mathare, and we met some members of the community that were brought to Milan by the “LiveInSlums” team, and we really fell in love with the place – the people and the stories. And when we went there it was quite an incredible thing. So, Nairobi is not the safest place in the world, you know? But in the slum, we felt really calm. People were expecting for this. People really embraced us. We went inside the slum and lived with them for more than a week there – just setting up the place : the hub, the school, the connectivity and everything. And we never felt so secure. And the reaction and the hunger there is for these kinds of technologies is incredible.

The more amazing thing is is that there are connected to the world in terms that they know there is Facebook, they know there is Google, they know there is Apple, and so on. If you go outside of Mathare and just go to the highway, you see billboards for the new “MacBook Air” that it looks like you are traveling in California. They don’t have access to it, but they are absolutely interested in it. So the moment we presented it the first thing that they started doing was actually creating an email account on Gmail, or a Facebook account, or stuff like that.

Lij : Wow! That’s pretty fascinating. So I just want to jump back for a moment and clarify a little further. We’re talking about an operating system for Android on a USB stick that is called “Keepod”, that can be given to people –  since USB sticks are extremely afforable and much easier to get to people who can’t afford something like a “MacBook Air” in Nairobi. So this system can recycle and reuse older computers, right? Is that the way this works? You can take an old PC laptop, or an old Macintosh that somebody else has discarded, and use this system with the USB stick to bring it back to life and use Android on it?

Nissan : What we do here is we break a few paradigms, that breaking them will allow bridging the digital divide, in our opinion. The first one is we don’t think that it is sustainable or possible to bring a laptop per person in the world.

Lij : Sure.

Nissan : Okay? That’s just impossible. It’s not scalable. It’s not sustainable. There’s not enough material in the world for that. Okay? So this is the first thing. In order to bring personal computing to everyone we can use shared computers wisely. And in order to do that we separate the operating system from the host. So the operating system is not sitting inside the hard drive, but it’s sitting on a thumb drive. By doing that we actually are able to guarantee all kinds of things – especially better privacy, better security, avoiding malfunctions misconfiguration of the host, or virus spread on the old system – and so on and so on. And the computers live longer. Another thing that we do is, we say that instead of trying to manufacture cheap computers – which is what everyone is trying to do : cheap laptops, cheap tablets, and so on – they will never be cheap enough. Even $50 is too much. And in a world where only in the United States there are 85,000 computers thrown away each single day.

John : Wow!

Nissan : We can find computers. We can bring them to a new home. And yes, if they are old computers I can use Keepod in a very smart way, because it is going to be a shared computer with no hard drive, with no host operating system. You just go there, plug in, and “Boom!” Android is very slim. It doesn’t require a lot of power. It doesn’t require resources. When I remove the Keepod the next user can go there and have his own private operating system – his own private computing environment. We compare ourselves a little bit to public transportation. Think about it. It’s like everybody would like to have a nice car. Not everybody can afford it. So you hop on a bus. It’s not as shiny. Sometimes the air conditioner is not working, but it gets you to work, right?

John : Yeah. That’s a good analogy.

Nissan : So, we’re doing the same thing here. The same thing. But we do it at the street level.  We do it in a way that the distribution model that we have chosen, and the approach to it is going to work from one hand – yes – through organizations, through people who are active in the field, and so on. But we are also going to enable this to have direct access.  People will be able to download the operation system for free. People will be able to create grassroots projects – which is what we are all about. Since we have started we are saying to people, “Okay. I am traveling next month to Kenya. I want to bring with me my two old laptops and – I don’t know – 20 devices, or 40 devices. Let me know where they are needed.”

John : That’s really cool.

Lij : Yeah, it’s fascinating. I think the first thing that was a little hard for me to understand was the concept of, “How do you get a laptop to live on a USB stick?” But the brilliant thing about what you are doing is that you don’t need to use all of the massive processing power of the laptop. By using the Android system it’s very simple. It’s as simple as what I am used to on my phone, which is already super capable and powerful.

John : Let me ask you, Nissan. Are they taking the hard drives out of these used laptops first? Is that the first thing, to just get the hard drive out of there?

Nissan : Yeah, so we prefer that the laptop will arrive without a hard drive. We sat with local technicians — like in Mathare we did exactly that. So we get the computers, and some of the computers still have hard drives. He provides services to the school. He goes and fixes what is not working, and so on. He removes the hard drives. He can keep them, and he can sell them. And actually it is a pretty good deal for these guys. So he can get up to $60 or $70  for a hard drive there, which is quite a lot for Mathare.

Lij : Also, you mentioned security – and that’s how you got into this. Does this actually increase your security and protection from viruses and things of that nature – from the internet – by not having a hard drive, and just using this Android operating system?

Nissan : Yup. First of all, if the user got infected by malware or a virus, it doesn’t affect the next users. Okay? Because, think about it, you use the computer – the operating system – and then you go out and there is nothing on the host. The next user is booting his own operating system, which is completely separated.

John : So that person goes away with their Keepod that has the virus on it, and if they knew that they could just get another Keepod. Is that right?

Nissan : Yeah. They can just reset it – flash it – and “Boom!”

John : Is there a  way to fix, or to get rid of a virus that gets onto somebody’s Keepod so that they don’t have to erase it and all of their information is gone as well.

Nisan : One way – and it’s actually a prevention way, which is ideal – is just go to the app store, download an anti-virus software and then you are covered there. If not, you can always reset the device and just restore to the manufacturer settings, and you get to OS fresh and new. Then you restore your data and you’re good to go.  So this is one thing.  The second thing – which I think is even more important – is that you are not leaving any footprint of your activity on the computer that you used. Data is not linking from one computer to another. And – if you think about education and shared computer environments – I actually got this comment from the United States, and it was so true. I was speaking with one school, and they were saying, “This is ideal for us, because kids always go to the library or to the computer class, and they log in to Facebook but they don’t log out. And if another kid goes to that computer, he can ruin your social life in five minutes”.

Lij : [laughter] Oh man.

John : Sad but true.

Lij : So it’s cool what you say in your analogy about footprints. It reminds me of when you go visit a national park and they say, “Take nothing but pictures, and leave nothing but footprints.” But with Keepod you can take just about anything you want and not even leave footprints behind.  That’s pretty cool.

John : Nice. That is cool, man. That;s great.

Lij : What are some of the limitations as far as which computers this might work on, or might not work on.  Is this going t o work on just about anything?

Nissan : We’re targeting desktops, first of all. So at this moment we are not working with or targeting tablets, and obviously smartphones. That is real-time ability, and we categorize it as — actually there is a good balance between the two if you want to discuss this. Now we’re targeting [X86?] systems, but we prefer not older than 2006 computers. [This is] because we don’t want to get, first of all, junk – because there is no sense in bringing in something that won’t work properly. And because of – in terms of computing power – any news web site, or whatever, will require some computing power, right? And if the computer is too old it’s just not up to the latest web sites and web apps. So we need to have 1 GB of RAM. We want to have at least a first generation of Dual Core. This means 2006.

Lij : I was going to say, “Yeah. Whew! My laptop is just going to make the cut.” I think I’m still running a 2007 MacBook.

John : Oh man. So, as far as the United States – let’s take Nashville, or any other city that has public schools, and that has, let’s say, maybe not the best educational system set up with the US public schools. My friend works in the public school system in the south side of Chicago, and I would guess that the students there are less interested in learning than some of the students you met there in Nairobi. So there are lot’s of problems in the public schools in the south side of Chicago, as there are in other cities in the U.S. Do you have plans to bring Keepod to these cities. Are there organizations that are interested in Keepod now in the U.S.?

Nissan : It’s actually happening right now. The cool thing about it is that in the last ten days , since there was a major story in the BBC about us, and then “Boom!”, things started to roll really quickly. We got a lot of requests from the United States. Both from the more charity side, and on the other, from the education side. The U.S. is very interesting for us. I don’t know if you know this, but 20% of the U.S. population don’t have access to computers at this moment.

John : I believe that.

Lij : Yeah, I believe that too. I work in the public school system here in Nashville, and I’ve worked with many kids who don’t have access to computers – other than at school itself.

Nisan : So, first of all, yeah. So definitely the United States is currently a target for Keepod. The idea is that we don’t require – and we don’t need – distributors, or official channels in order to move. What we have created is, from one end, the possibility to do a grassroots project, So, anyone can decide to start a Keepod project. And in the United States this is happening. We’ve got people who have started to order devices. They get our computers. If they need our assistance to get refurbished computers, we help them – if it’s a school or if it’s a community center, and so on. The second that we did is we started the program – now it’s in beta, and we are getting applications at this moment – for what we call a “Keepod Point”. A “Keepod Point” means that anyone – really anyone – who has the space to do this, can be a Keepod reseller. What does it mean? That you can get Keepod and sell them to your local community. The condition is that you have at least two computers that are available for public access. Okay? So you can be a little coffee shop, you can be a bar, you can be community center, you can be anything. This is starting to get really popular. We’ve got a lot of requeats from the United States, actually, – form the different states. So we are working on both directions. From one hand helping people and organizations who want to do this as a project, and from the other end people who take the initiative and want to create their own Keepod point and enable access to information.

John : So hey, is there any way that we can get you and Franky to come here to the United States, and maybe we can all take a trip up to Chicago and do one of our shows from there?

Nisan : We would love that?

John : Or right here in Nashville, right? We could do a show right here in Nashville.

Nisan : I’ve never been in Nashville. I play guitar, and this is one of the places I want to go.

John : Hell yeah. You know, Lij has the Toybox Studio. This is perfect. You can come here and record. And, you know, this board that he has here is the same board that recorded “Hotel California”. I don’t know if that, Nissan.

Nisan : Are you serious?

Lij : Yeah, it’s the very same one. It makes sense to me that you would be a musician. When I first heard about Keepod I thought it was some sort of MIDI control or a keypad. Then I learned that it was just to help people get smarted and connect around the world.

Nissan : We are really connected to the music world. It is one of the things, if you look at how we move and how we do things, we are working as a startup. But the mood there, is really, really a lot about the artistic side. Not only [me], but my business partner is actually a filmmaker, Franky. He’s not coming from technology. This guy did videos with Red Bull and Barton snowboards in the last 10 years, doing extreme sports.

John : Oh wow. You know, when I watched the BBC special it looked like you guys were having a lot of fun and I enjoyed that so much. I got really excited when I first heard about Keepod, and I started combing the internet for more information about it. That’s when I landed on a Reddit page,  and they were discussing Keepod. One of the posters there – one of the people who wrote in –  wrote that you were considering including a Bitcoin wallet on every Keepod flash drive. So we would love to know that this is true, but at this point it is really just a rumor. And we actually don’t really enough know if you know what much about Bitcoin, or if you have interest in Bitcoin. I am guessing you might.

Nissan : So, it is a very interesting opportunity, because we think – we don’t know yet. Okay, so we are actually studying this – and actually anyone who can contribute to the idea, and to us understanding better – is very welcome to do that.  Because we are trying to understand if this is something that can actually empower the people we are targeting. My feeling is that, yes. And my feeling is that Keepod feels like a very good match for Bitcoin, both from the OS side, and the fact that you have your own hardware is perfect. And the idea that you actually bypass so many limitations that we have today when it comes to money transfer, and getting funds from one place to the other or one person to the other, this might be very interesting. In Nairobi we see something that is called M-pesa. I don’t know if you know that?

Lij and John : Yeah.

Nissan : Yeah, so they do everything with mobile payments. They don’t use cash. And I don’t see any reason why they would not be eager to do that with Bitcoin. So, you know, it’s an opportunity.

Lij : Yeah, I mean in the Bitcoin world, just the concept of having an operating system built into a USB flash drive and using that in order to create wallets and sent Bitcoins back and forth. That’s already in existence. That’s already the smartest way to carefully and securley create your wallets.

John : Right, and I think that anybody using Bitcoin, if they can take their Keepod out of the computer, knowing they’re not leaving any trail at all, what a thrilling thing for new Bitcoin adapters, and really for anybody that uses Bitcoin on their computer. Because that’s a big fear is that after you’re finished doing whatever you’re doing with Bitcoin, or with this site or that site, you’ve left information there, and that computer can be hacked, and then people can steal your private keys for the Bitcoin. So that’s something that seems really important. You know, Andreas Antonopoulis, I remember him talking about how it’s difficult here in the United States to get people interested in Bitcoin because you have to go through this long explanation, plus you’re fighting what the media has to say about money laundering and all these scary things. But when he went to Kenya, and he talked to the people there, as soon as he said, “Oh, it’s like Empesa.” they immediately understood what Bitcoin was. I thought that was so cool, so I think the same thing would be true in Nairobi and other places in Africa.

Nissan :  Since the Reddit discussion started, I’ve gotten requests from India, China, Malaysia, and some other countries saying, “Are you going to do that?” And they really dig this. It looks like they completely understand what is the potential here. You have a strong community there of people who understand what Bitcoin is, so we will be happy to get some advice there, and to see if we can design something smart into this. Because, indeed we don’t know this world very good. We are not experts in Bitcoin, and if the scale that we are looking to do here with Keepod, and for the project to work, we need to design it properly, and make the right choices.

Lij : Well Nissan, let’s use this opportunity here to put a call out to our listeners, and ask them for contributions of any comments or ideas they may have for what will work well for Keepod. We’ll make sure that that gets to you.

John : Calling all listeners. Calling all listeners… Yeah, yeah, absolutely Lij.

Lij : Well Nisan, thank you so much for joining us here on “Bitcoins and Gravy” today. The Keepod project is just really fascinating stuff. And the concept that you might be able to bring this together with Bitcoin just seems to make a whole lot of sense. I know that there’s lot’s to explore, but it sure sounds like it’s a perfect fit.

John : It really does, and just thinking about the disenfranchised people here in the United States – in the cities, and just throughout the country – who really don’t have any access to what a lot of other people do. It just seems like such an important thing that you guys are doing, and it sounds to me like you guys are not doing this to try to make a bunch of money. You guys are doing this to really help, is that right?

Nissan : That’s true.  Everybody looks at me kind of weird when I talk about this. We went to our accountant, and he was like, “Okay. I’m not used to having customers like you. I don’t know how to handle this.”

John : Oh, man.

Lij : It’s a little bit like when Nicola Tesla was talking with J.P. Morgan, and Morgan looked at him and was like, “How are we going to charge for this? I don’t understand?” And he was offering free energy to the world.

John : Oh, man. Well, I think that what you guys are doing is fantastic. And again, watching that BBC video, everybody should watch it. Can you tell our listeners how they can watch that BBC video, and also how they can find you, and how they can get involved.

Nissan : “Keepod BBC” on Google will definitely bring that up. Keepod.org is our url. You can go there. There are a lot of links in the blog. For sure, you will also see the video for the BBC. And that’s it. Guys, it was really a pleasure talking with you, and I really thank you for the kind words, and the ideas that you’re pitching here with the Bitcoin is amazing for us.

John : I would have to say that if you get a chance to listen to Andreas Antonopolous, he’s the Bitcoin guru, really. Just go and listen to some YouTube videos, and listen to him speak. He’s a great educator, he’s a great speaker, and his heart is in the right place. He’s the one that talks about the other 6 1/2 billion other people in the world that don’t have financial systems – or access to financial systems – like we do, who are basically financially disenfranchised. So when you’re talking about helping the 5 1/2 people who don’t have computers and don’t have cell phones, and access to that, he’s talking about pretty much the same thing. So I think you guys could work hand-in-hand. I would love to see, somehow, you and Andreas get together and have a meeting of great minds.

Nisan : That would be amazing. It sounds so in line with what we are doing. I told you, Keepod is about not only the operating system, but about an ecosystem.  Ecosystem means a lot of things around it. It can be from the more simple things we’ve been talking about, like refurbishing computers – how to get the 85,000 computers thown away each day, to Nairobi or whatever. But it’s also what’s surrounding it. And the financial system is a key, key element in this. You know?

Lij : I like it when you say “ecosystem”. It sounded a little bit like “equal system” to me. You’re really, kind of, creating an “equal system” to just bring equality of computing to people around the world.

Nisan : That’s actually the idea.

John : Nice.

Nisan : Guys. This is amazing. So, I’m so happy we connected. Really. Let’s talk soon then. Keep in touch. Really.

John : Thanks Nissan.

Nisan : Cheers. Bye bye.

[music]

John : So Lij, I need to talk about the “Bitcoins and Gravy” contest for a minute. On last week’s show we told our listeners about how they can enter to win 0.25 Bitcoins. That’s one quarter of a Bitcoin, and that calls for a hearty : “Mmmm…Mmmm…Mmmm”. So if you’re interested in entering the contest, here’s what you do. Using your Smartphone, video camera – or any video camera – record yourself singing along, playing along, or dancing along to the song “Ode To Satoshi”. You’re performance can be ten seconds long, or three minutes long.  That’s up to you, the listener, and how creative you feel like being. Once you’ve recorded you’re performance, upload it to YouTube and give it a name. Then email us, or call us on the hotline, and let us know how to find you on YouTube. If you need further technical assistance, just ask. We’re happy to help. That’s right, we’re making a music video for the song, and we want you the listener to be in the video. Since we know that we’re going to get more than just a few submission, Lij and I have decided that we’re going to include at least a half a dozen or more of these performances in the video. So how are we going to decide who the winner is? That’s easy. The winner is the one that Lij and I like the best. So get out your video cameras and start creating for the chance to win 0.25 Bitcoins. “Mmmm…mmmmm…mmmmm. Now that’s gravy.”

[segway music]

John : So today we welcome Nick Gogerty, the founder of SolarCoin, and principal of value-creation consulting firm “Thoughful Capital Group”. Nick, welcome to the show.

Nick Gogerty : Thank you very much. I’m excited to be here.

Lij : Nick, it’s a pleasure to have you here on “Bitcoins and Gravy” with us.

John : So Nick, where would you like to start? I know that you’ve written a book titled “The Nature of Value : How to invest In the Adaptive Economy”. Can you tell us what you mean by the “adaptive economy” and how that fits in with SolarCoin? I know you have an extensive background in investing and economy. How does all of this fit into SolarCoin?

Nick : The book “The Nature of Value” deals with the economy, and the creation of economic value as an adaptive process – and the process acts a lot like nature. I spent personally about 25 years investing, and working with different groups – including the world’s largest banks and hedge funds – and in four years of that research I boiled down to that book. Part of that book deals with money, and how money works, and that kind of deals with SolarCoin, and the creation of that.

Lij : MmmHmmm.

Nick : Basically, the thinking behind SolarCoin is that a currency, or a form of money, effectively is – and this is going to sound  a little strange – but it’s really a social protocol. Money is a way for all of us to exchange value efficiently. And so as a social protocol, the more people that agree to and accept a form of money – whether it be dollars, gold, Bitcoin, SolarCoin, etc. – the more utility, or the more value, that form of money  – that currency – has.  And that’s part of the research that came out of the book, and the part of my work involved in that. My background in foreign currency goes back to the age of 17, when I was trading Japanese Yen futures. That was back in 1987. So being a proprietary trader for one of the world’s largest banks in London – which is, kind of, the ForEx headquarters of the world – and having worked for various hedge funds here in the states. So a bit of background in money, and some other things. And, of course, the book is being put out by Columbia University – the same place where Warren Buffet went to school – and the book is on value. So, I’ve got a bit of a background in economics and money.

John : Well, that’s pretty impressive. I think we should begin by maybe bragging about you a little bit. You worked with the world’s largest hedge fund, “Bridgewater Associates”, $150 billion. Being a quantitative ForEx analyst for “Banque Nacionale De Paris”, $2 trillion balance sheet. Founding software startup and strategic risk firms. Chief analyst at Starlab, a deep future, multidisciplinary science research institute. And I think there was something in there that had to do with research into time machines, or something like that? Black holes and time machines?

Nick : [laughter] Exactly. At one point the institute was modeled on the MIT Media Lab, and had some people from the MIT Media Lab on board. And there was a theoretical physicist who was researching some of those things, among some more, let’s say what we call, “applied science” areas – material sciences, life sciences, media studies. I was overseeing three different schools of artificial intelligence at one point, in terms of research. So, it’s some interesting stuff.

John : Wow.

Nick : Yeah. It’s really fun.

John : And building risk models for global banks. I wrote that you had done that.  That’s some pretty heavy stuff, man. So you’re background in finance and investing, it seems like anybody who’s interested in investing in SolarCoin, they might want to listen to you.

Nick : [laughter] Well, ultimately everyone has to listen to themselves, and look around at what they think is correct, what they think is true and is going to be most interesting. But feel free to read what I have to say, and if you agree with the arguments it might be very interesting.

Lij : Well, so tell us more about SolarCoin and why we should be interested in investing in it.

Nick : Sure. The original idea came from a whitepaper that I drafted with co-author Joseph Zitoli, who you’ve interviewed earlier. And in that whitepaper there was the concept of an energy-backed currency. And at the time, in 2011, that concept really wasn’t feasible unless you had your own central bank [laughter], to implement. Now, with the provability, or the fact that Bitcoin technically works, and that anyone in a sense can issue a currency that is robust and transparent to over-issuance or over-circulation, that premise became viable – potentially viable – an energy-backed currency. And then, looking into it, realized that it could be used to do good by backing solar energy with that currency, and then having that currency represent solar energy. The SolarCoin idea is a subset of this energy-backed currency idea, and the realization was that the “proof of work” inherent in acting as a distribution mechanism, and as a verification mechanism, Bitcoin, instead of using a purely cryptographic “proof of work”, why not use a real-world, physical “proof of work”? And that real-world, physical “proof of work” is the production, or generation, of solar energy. And so that’s tied into SolarCoin.

What ends up happening is anyone who produces one mega-watt hour of solar energy in the world – anywhere with the facility – can claim on of these SolarCoins. And that’s viewed as an equitable means of distributing the currency, while also acting as an incentive to produce more solar energy globally. And there’s a pre-mine that was set up that’s participated for the last, at least 40 years, to incent solar energy globally.

John : Can you tell us about how the SolarCoin mining differs from Bitcoin mining?

Nick : Sure.Most of it is similar. It’s based off of a Litecoin fork, and that will produce – roughly based on the design – about 105 million coins, based on the half-life, etc. The rest of the coins were pre-mined, and so the only way to earn them – or the “proof of work” required to get those coins – is to submit a verifiable “proof of production ” of solar energy. So each verified one mega-watt hour of energy produced entitles the claimant to a SolarCoin. And to date we’ve had claimants from 11 countries, so it’s rolling out pretty well. We just gave coins out to Cypress and Austria over the weekend, and we look forward to adding more countries.

Lij : Help us understand a little bit. Scrypt mining is going to get more and more difficult as more miners get involved. It is similar to Bitcoin in that way? Will the mining become more difficult?

Nick : It’s similar to Bitcoin in the fact that the algorithm, and the effort required – something called “re-targeting” – so that it adjusts relative to the effort applied to it. So there’s a constant issuance of rate of the coin.

Lij : Okay, and them when it’s issued to people who are generating one mega-watt of solar energy, it seems that one mega-watt of solar energy is going to become easier and easier to generate as solar energy is adopted globally. How does that translate?

Nick : Yeah. So here’s what ends up happening. The mining [?], because the half-life only lasts, really, for four years. So there is a one year half-life, and about 95-95% of the coins we’ve mined in the first  four-and-a-half years. So what will end up happening is that as the mining tapers off – with the exception of, let’s say, transaction-based rewards – the real circulation mechanism will become the granting, or the basically “giving away”  of SolarCoins to people who produce solar electricity. Now one mega-watt of solar electricity is quite a bit. That’s about enough to keep the average American home powered for a month. So, what’ll end up happening is – over time, for example last year – globally there are estimated to have been about 160 million mega-watt hours of electricity produced with solar energy. That would equate to 160 million potential claimable SolarCoins. That amount grows – or is anticipated to grow – 20-30% per year, over the next 20-30 years.

John : That’s good news.

Nick : Yes it is. And the neat thing about energy – in almost any economic process, and part of the research for my book “The Nature of Value” – is that any manufacturing or production process gets cheaper as you make more of it. As more value flows through the economic system, it gets cheaper. And the cool thing about solar energy is every time we, globally. double the number of solar panels we produce – so we shift, let’s say, an extra 2X gigawatts of solar panels – the cost drops 22%. That’s kind of like a “Moore’s Law” of solar energy, and that’s held up for the last 20 or 30 years. So, to produce one solar panel that would make a watt of power, back in the 70s, cost about $1, 000. Now, it costs just under $1.

John and Lij : Wow!

Nick : And as energy is a pure commodity, it’s a price thing. So what ends up happening is you have this commodity that’s dropping in price by a factor of 22% every time you shift 2X more.

Lij : It’s quite different from gasoline.

Nick [laughter] Exactly. It get’s more difficult — well, parts of gasoline get cheaper with [drilling?], but also it gets more difficult to find it as it gets in more deeper rock formation, etc. – with the exception of shale, but we won’t get into the technical discussions on that. So the interesting thing about solar is it’s one of these things where, as you ship more solar panels and produce more energy, it gets cheaper, so you sell more. And as you sell more, it gets cheaper, faster. So, solar energy is going to be one of the most interesting things right now. It’s cost is not fixed. It’s a moving target, and so it’s going to get cheaper, better, faster, globally, very quickly. And you’re in a space – namely “global energy” – where you’re talking about $100 billions and trillions of capital investment.

John : Wow.

Nick : Solar coin acts as an incentive to help people make that choice. So, let’s say a SolarCoin – which right now has a de minimus value – but let’s say that as we grow the economy of SolarCoin holders, if it were to go to $10 per mega-watt hour, all of a sudden the individual looking at putting solar panels on their roof, or in a village or [other?] area, might say, “Oh wow! Not only do we get the solar energy, but we get the benefit of claiming the SolarCoin as an incentive. That’s pretty cool.” Now the value of a currency has two factors that drive it. One is speculative, and the other one is transactional. Economists call these two “utility functions” of a currency. So the more people that hold, or agree to, or believe in a currency, they more transactional value it has. So a dollar you can use almost globally, because everyone agrees, and they understand, what a dollar value is. The dollar protocol is global.

So the current universe of Bitcoin holders is estimated, I think, at about a half million to two-and-a-half million users – last report I saw. Now the cool thing about that is that’s pretty small in the internet world, and yet Bitcoin has the market cap of $5 to $5.5 billion dollars.

John : Right. Almost $6 billion. I like to say six billion. It makes me feel better.

Nick : So the cool thing is we are at what I call the “Compuserve Era” of this technology, or this protocol. Compuserve – if you remember back in the 80’s – everyone had email addresses that were numbers. It was clunky. Nobody used it. Nobody liked it. It was ugly. And that’s really the great news for Bitcoin. The software is horrible. The wallets aren’t user-friendly. Your aunts or uncle can’t really figure it out, etc. The great news is you’ve got a $6 billion economy out there, with something that – engineering-wise – works, but from a useability perspective is horrible. Once that useability gets solved, or improved, and we move from the “Compuserve Era” and have what I call the “AOL Moment”, you’re going to see an explosion into something really interesting, for a lot of the alt-currency spaces. What I mean by that is that is you move from a $6 billion economy to a 10X or 100X one. Whether that happens in the states, or in some other country that adopts the currency and the protocols, that remains to be seen. What isn’t known by a lot of people is the average fiat currency – or government currency – lasts 27 years. That equates to about a 3% failure rate, and I can give you guys the links on that. Now we’re used to the dollar, and the pound, and these other currencies that have been around for hundreds of years. But depending on what country you’re in , if you have a very unstable currency, and there is a problem, you might be very interested in an alt-currency that is easily accessible, not as controllable, and easy to park into a smartphone. And with $20 and $40 smartphones emerging in the next two or three years things could get very interesting, both for Bitcoin and the alt-coin space. And we think SolarCoin is going to ride along with it, and we hope to do a lot of good.

Lij : Mmm Hmm. To focus on the value of SolarCoin, in the future, wherein Bitcoin becomes harder and harder to create – and the value goes up partly through that, I think . In SolarCoin, the value is going to rise, or fluctuate, with the speculative volume, and also the ability to trade in SolarCoin and use it for transactions down into the future, even though it’s going to be easier to acquire.

Nick : Yeah. You have two sides to that equation – supply and demand. The supply side is the granting andthe mining. So the more people, the easier that it is to get SolarCoin by receiving a grant for generating electricity. Or, if mining gets harder – that’s the supply side – the demand side, which is like, “What the heck is this thing worth? What’s its value?” is going to be a mix of the speculative belief in how high, and where, it’s going in the future – and the utility function. How many people can you trade, swap, get something with this currency for. That’s about it. We’re very focused on “ease of use”, growing that economy via “ease of use”. We’re working on improving our communication and our messaging, etc. to try and get to the broader audience of people who aren’t as familiar with — and frankly, don’t even really need to know all of the plumbing under the coin.

John : Nick, one thing I’m still unclear about is, how do the producers of solar energy prove to you that they;ve produced the solar energy? What is the proof that allows you then to award them SolarCoins?

Lij : Yeah. Where’s the “proof of work”?

Nick : Sure. Exactly. The “proof of work” is a submitted verification from the energy meter in the home. So, if you have a solar panel on your roof, it produces DC power, and that gets converted into AC power for your house. That conversion goes through something called an “inverter”, and that inverter also works like a meter, and it shows exactly how much has been produced. And a lot of these things are online. So our first grant, for example – to a woman named Lisa Shockly, in Arizona – she just sent us a link to her inverter. And that feed was online. I think she is a “Solar City” customer. You can look it up online, and say, “Oh yeah. She has “X” number of solar panels on her roof” – and you can verify that in lots of ways. It ties out to what she says she claimed on the power. And the converter images and documentation all looked like that was verified.

We’re working on developing software so we can show those verifications to the community. So you’ll be able to dial up – especially for the larger solar farms – and say, “How were these verified? Who verified and said these were okay? And what was the means?”

John : I always want to say, “Can’t we just throw it onto the blockchain, time-stamp it, and say, “this is proof?”

Nick : Well, what we’re going to be doing is the grants will all go onto the blockchain, and there’ll be a transaction message that will tie out : Who the generator was – in terms of what the source was. Who made the claim? How much the claim was for? And that data is going to include the latitude of where the person is at, what’s called the “nameplate capacity”, or the capacity for the solar generating roof. So it’s going to be, “Bob Smith… Five kilo-watts on the roof… Between June and July, in Arizona.. and claimed 5 SolarCoin.” etc.

John : Nice.

Lij : Okay, cool. So for our listeners – say for a listener who is an absolute beginner at this – how would they about, right now, getting some SolarCoin? Can you  explain the basics?

Nick : Sure. There are a couple of ways. Obviously you buy on an exchange, and those are listed on the site. As a claimant – let’s say you have solar panels on your roof – just go to the web site, download a wallet, and then fill out the form – submit the claim. There are about 10 or 15 pieces of data we need, and if you have solar on your roof you”re going to know – pretty much – what those pieces of data are, in terms of, “Oh, here’s the type of meter. Here’s how much [you’ve] generated.” The same way that you might look at your electricity bill and say, “I used 50 kilowatt hours last month.” You’ll go online and be able to look — because you’ll get it from whoever is providing, monitoring and managing your solar panel. You’ll have a little report that will say, “You generated 50 kilowatts.” You just put that in the form. It usually takes 10 to 15 minutes to do the first time.

Lij : Okay, and so for somebody who might be a beginner — for example, they may have experience with solar panels, and having solar energy, but this whole concept of SolarCoin and Bitcoin may be new to them. How would you describe what downloading the wallet means to them?

Nick : Sure. Just go to the homepage. You’ll download a piece of software that will sit on your computer. It will sink up with the blockchain – or this large ledger of all the transactions –

John : And we should let people know that the faster your computer is, the faster it will do that. And that if you have a really slow computer, it could take half of your day.

Nick : [laughter] Yeah. It just runs in the background, so you have to be patient. Inside that piece of software – which is called your wallet, which is basically where you’re going to store your coins – you’ll get an address that will be the receiving address. That’s basically where you ask people to send your SolarCoins to. Take that address, put it – with your other information – into our web site, on the claim form. It’s right up there on the homepage. There’s a button for claiming SolarCoins. And usually, within three to four days, your SolarCoins will be sent out, and you’ll get an email, and you’re part of the process. You’re part of the SolarCoin community.

Lij : That’s cool.

John : That’s well explained. And I guess the form that they fill out to verify the production of solar energy is also probably fairly straight-forward?

Nick : Yes, it is. We’re designing it to be as simple as possible. And right now – because we’re in the early phases – we’re learning how to make it as simple as possible, and just building out the database to automate it more. So right now, for all the volunteers in our community, it’s a very manual process to do all of that stuff, across 11 countries – as you can imagine.

Lij : So do you have a term, or a name, for the people who have downloaded wallets? You know, the volunteers in the SolarCoin community? Are they referred to as “the planets”, or the [?], or-

John : How about the “Sun Gods”.

Nick : [laughter] You know, we don’t. One of the fun things about the whole process is the communities come up with some great names and concepts, and it’s fun to watch the whole thing grow organically. So, from the name of the smallest unit being a “photon”, instead of a “Satoshi”. Someone refers to the currency now as “Solars” – which, kind of, seem like “dollars”. So, we’ll have to see. Again, let people self-identify. It will be one of the great things when people come up with the nickname of how they want to be called.

Lij : Okay. So now do we explain to the beginner how they might go about mining SolarCoin at this point?

Nick : Yeah. Mining SolarCoin is really like any alternative currency. There are a couple of ways to try and go about that. One is the wallet itself. If you download the piece of software from the web site, it allows you to mine the SolarCoin. That being said, the difficulty now found in the currency is so high that really mining with a PC isn’t worthwhile. It’s not efficient. So, if you really want to get into mining, it’s really for the techie people – who probably are already miners.

John : Or the gaming folks, that have GPUs sitting around?

Nick : Yeah. They can either use a GPU, or you go and join a mining pool and lease a mining rig. I’m not going to try and explain that to people. I think that they can probably find better explanations online to do it.

John : There’s a lot of information online about that.

Nick : Exactly. It’s just like any other coin, from that aspect of the mining.

Lij : Great. Well thank you so much. That was a lot of great insight into SolarCoin, and just the process of investing, and the value of money.

John : I agree. And, you know, I still like to think of the sun as the giant nuclear energy plant in the sky, without the associated risks of radiation, without the associated risks of nuclear waste, and Fukushima-style problems. That’s my perspective.

Nick : Yeah. I’m actually working on reviewing a paper for an astrophysicist at Harvard.  He’s doing some stuff on economics, and he’s under the same agreement that the most effective means of energy – from a safety perspective, a bio-safety perspective, for 100 or 200 years – is solar. Because it doesn’t have a thermal footprint, which nuclear, fossil fuels, and other things have –

John : Right, and yet we still have goofy people out there saying, “Why solar? We have plenty of coal?”

Nick : Well, it’s always good to have a diversity of opinions, and well thought-out arguments. The good thing is that solar is getting cheaper all the time. So eventually it just becomes a simple, economic argument.

Lij : Yeah.

John : So the last thing I’d like to ask is you wrote somewhere, I read, “The nature of value is the economy of life.” Can you close our interview with some words of wisdom for our listeners?

Nick : The economy, long term, will continue to grow, find, and invest and allocate to stable things that contribute value to us all. And those will grow.

Lij : Like the sun.

John : Nice.

Nick : There we go.

John : I’m investing in the sun. Thank you so much.

Lij : Nick, thank you so much for joining us today on “Bitcoins and Gravy”, and we look forward to seeing what happens with SolarCoin, and hopefully speaking with you again down the road.

Nick : Great. Thank you very much.

John : Thanks Nick. We really appreciate you being here.

Nick : All right. Take care. Bye.

[outro music]

Lij : Thanks to today’s guest on the show – Nissan Bahar of Keepod, and Nick Gogerty of SolarCoin. To find out more about our guests and sponsors, visit our show notes at http://www.bitcoinsandgravy.com/episode17 . Thank you so much for listening to our show. We greatly appreciate your time and attention. If you like the show, please remember to go to ITunes and leave us a review. Also, hit the “subscribe” button if you would like to hear from “Bitcoins and Gravy” each week.

John : And remember the “Bitcoins and Gravy Hotline”. Have you ever wanted to be a podcaster? Then call us at 615-208-5198, and leave us a mesasge with your comments, questions, or complaints. This is your opportunity to tell us what you think. If you give us permission, we will put you on the show. So call the “Bitcoins and Gravy Hotline” at 615-208-5198. That’s right, that’s the “Bitcoins and Gravy Hotline”. And, of course, we offer a number of ways for you to download all of our past podcasts. You can go to http://www.letstalkbitcoin.com, or directly to ITunes.com, or you can go to our web site : http://www.bitcoinsandgravy.com

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Lij : And remember, it’s your reviews and comments that help new listeners discover “Bitcoins and Gravy”, plus all the other great shows on the “Let’s Talk Bitcoin” podcast network. And we thank you for your generous tips and donations.

John : I”m John Barret.

Lij : And I’m LIj Shaw. And you’ve been listening to “Bitcoins and Gravy”, from East Nashville, Tennessee.

[end]

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Source video
—————-
Title : “Disruptive Leaps – “Let’s Talk Bitcoin – Episode #134”

URL : http://youtu.be/3bmeohism0g

Organization         : “Let’s Talk Bitcoin” Network :
Web Site                 : http://www.letstalkbitcoin.com/

Host 1                      : Adam B. Levine
Contact                  :  LinkedIn Profile , Email : adam@letstalkbitcoin.com

Host 2                     :  Andreas M. Antonopoulos
Contact                   : LinkedIn Profile
W
eb Site                 : http://www.antonopoulos.com/

Guest                       : Jeffrey Tucker
Contact                    : LinkedIn Profile
W
eb Site                  : http://www.liberty.me/

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Transcript

Announcer (Adam B. Levine) : Today is the 9th of August, 2014 and this is episode 134. This program is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Cryptocurrency is new, highly experimental, and we’re not experts – just obsessed companions, walking the road towards a more peer-to-peer future.

Adam B. Levine : Welcome to “Lets Talk Bitcoin”, a twice-weekly show about the ideas, people and projects building the digital economy and the future of money. My name is Adam B. Levine. Today on Let’s Talk Bitcoin I’m joined by Andreas Antonopoulos, one of the other hosts of the show.

Andreas Antonopolis : Hello.

Adam Levine : And today we have a special guest, Jeffrey Tucker – one of my favorite economists and a spirited Austrian. Jeffrey, how are you?

Jeffrey Tucker : Everything is really great. I’m so happy to be here. It’s really great that we’re able to meet up. I’m on the road a little bit doing this and that. I just got back from a nice Bitcoin meetup in Washington D.C. last night.

Adam Levine : So you are in Washington right now. What are you in Washington for?

Jeffrey Tucker : I came to introduce a series of seminars for, first the Charles Koch Institute, and then a nice interview on “Reason TV”, and now I’m headed to give a big lecture to the “National Convention of the Young Americans for Liberty”, which is kind of a political organization. But when you ask me to speak you’re not going to get too much about politics. You’re going to get a lot about crypto-anarchy.

Adam : So we have a lot of listener questions. Since we’ve booted up the forums I’ve been posting, “Hey, we’re going to be talking to these people. Do you have any questions?” So the first one that we have comes from the listener “Strip”. He says, “Is it necessary for Bitcoin to be a symbol for some kind of idea? Is the symbolism important? Is the idea important? Or is it the tech?”

Jeffrey : So this is a very interesting question because lot’s of people have different views about this. Even in Bitcoin meetups you find some people who have very conventional understanding of Bitcoin as a superior payment network. They see it as an improvement over Paypal. Then you meet other people who come out of the cyber-punk, anarchist world, and see it as a tool for liberating the world from nation-states. These are very different views, right? My own opinion about it is that it’s both things, and all things, and people should just hold whatever views they want to about it. The beautiful thing about Bitcoin is that it is not dependent upon our opinions of it. Nobody is in charge of Bitcoin. I don’t think it is necessary that we have a particular ideology going into our Bitcoin promotion or ideas. We can all interpret and understand it in a different way. If you think about it, it’s almost like electricity or internal combustion or something like that. These are gigantic and technological improvements that have entered into civilization. Many people have different ideas about how the technology is going to be used. That’s good and fine, but the tech is going to take it’s own direction regardless of what we think about it.

Andreas : I love the idea that it is both, because I think that the technology itself is most certainly neutral. It’s a technology that can be used for a variety of purposes. But at it’s core it encompasses certain principles : principles of transparency, principles of openness, peer-to-peer use that is decentralized and egalitarian. And here’s the trick, a neutral technology is not neutral if you put it in a world which is terrifically biased and skewed. Or as George Orwell said, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” So in a time of universal financial deceit, a transparent, open and egalitarian financial network is a revolutionary technology. It is political – not because it is inherently political – but because it is put into a context of deceit. The act of creating equal access finance with transparency – in our world – that is revolutionary.

Jeffrey : This is a wonderful way to put it! So often, Andreas, when you speak I often feel like I am sort of 1.0 and you are 2.0 – and I completely agree with what you said. I also love how Bitcoin embodies all of the coolest technologies of our time. What I am about to speak on at the Y.L. is about all of the beautiful technologies that are driving the world forward. From cryptography, open source program, and distributed networks and peer-to-peer relationships – these are entirely changing the world. I’m not sure if people are aware of this – especially these highly politicized young activist. The ground is shifting beneath our feet, and Bitcoin represents, I think, the most developed embodiment of all the coolest technologies that we’ve seen emerge over the last five to ten years.

Andread : I’ll give you another example of a technology that is inherently neutral, but when introduced into a society that was hopelessly biased it caused a revolution. That was the telescope. Galileo put two pieces of ground glass on the ends of a tube and peered up into the heavens, and what he saw was not heavens. What he saw was circle objects in elliptical orbits rotating around the sun. And that was simple truth. It was completely neutral. It was just reality sitting out there. But you drop that into the middle of 16th century Catholic church indoctrination, and that is a nuclear weapon on mass enlightenment which destroys all of these preconceived notions of a firmament – a heaven above, a material world below. Geocentricity instead of heliocentricity. That is an enormously revolutionary act, and it simply involves opening your eyes and looking up, and seeing something that directly contradicts 800 years of dogma and indoctrination. Does that make the telescope a revolutionary technology? Does that making looking reality in the face a revolutionary act? No, it’s completely neutral. It just is.

Adam : But it’s disuptive. It’s very disruptive.

Andreas : It ended whole nation-states. It destroyed kingdoms. It brought down royal families. It upended the world. It lead to people nailing proclamations of doors and taking of on ships and colonizing a new continent with completely different ideas. It lead to the French revolution. It lead to a victory of democracy over the middle ages – the “dark ages”. It lead to the end of the Holy Roman Empire. And it was just two pieces of glass on a tube. Again, it’s not the technology itself, it’s the context within which it appears.

Jeffrey : In Thomas Kuhn’s book “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” it’s really, really interesting his description of a prevailing orthodoxy, and a paradigm that comes to be overthrown in the course of development of science in which there are too many anomalies that appear that are not explained by the prevailing paradigm. Then the paradigm collapses and we enter into a pre-paradigmatic state, where there is a lot of argument about what we are going to believe now about the future. Then a new paradigm emerges. As I was reading I couldn’t help but think that that applies also to social and political systems also – not just scientific paradigms. I really feel like we’re living through one of those right now. Andreas, you mentioned the underlying context here of a, sort of, equipotent world in which peer-to-peer relationships are the dominant thing. I really see that as the emerging new paradigm, and the failing paradigm – that is ending – is one of hierarchies and third-party trust relationships – whether it be banks, corporations or nation-states, actually.

Andreas : The problems is that these changes are, obviously, massively destructive because there are a large number of people in very powerful institutions invested in maintaining the status quo. No matter how wrong it is. No matter how perverted it is. No matter how much pain and suffering it introduces into the world. It’s very profitable for some, and you know, as another saying goes , “If your paycheck depends on you not seeing they truth, you won’t see the truth.”

Jeffrey : People get really embedded into the current paradigms, and to orthodoxies. People don’t understand really. This is what Thomas Kuhn’s book was an attack on, is the Whig’s theory of history – that there is a, kind of, smooth evolution of marginal improvements that go from thing to thing to thing. What he said was that actually we, sort of. hurl from one paradigm to another. There are all of these establishments that exist raised up around certain belief systems, and people are born into a certain structure, and they absorb that into their belief system. And they hang onto that for as long as possible until it becomes essentially impossible to do otherwise. This is what I think is essentially going to happen with Bitcoin. We all encounter ressistance to it. We are surrounded by people who are resistant. We see, sort of,a gradual enlightenment taking place. I notice in the last month, for example, I’ve personally encountered two people who were radical, radical Bitcoin critics a year ago, who have completely changed their minds in light of of just experience. That would be Peter Schiff and Jim Rogers, two intellectual investors who I really respect, who used to laugh at me for my views on the subject, who have now come around completely and admitted that they were completely wrong and are looking forward to a beautiful Bitcoin future.

Andreas : Well some of the strongest advocates in Bitcoin were originally skeptics. It’s in the nature of a skeptic – an honest skeptic – to ask hard questions. When you encounter someone who – as soon as you introduce Bitcoin to them – doesn’t just dismiss it, but dismiss it by asking really hard questions. Then you notice that they’re eagerly listening to your answers. They present you with their objections, and they are hoping that you will be able to overcome those objections to give them rational arguments to rethink their position. An honest skeptic will give you arguments, will let you demolish them, and then will make that change, absorb the new data and become an advocate. Some of the strongest advocates, I think, started like that. Then there’s a completely different category of person who is a skeptoc, but does not want to assimilate any new information that would violate that thinking. They don’t ask questions. They have preconceived ideas of what’s true and what isn’t, and any attempt to tell them about Bitcoin is dismissed. That’s how you know the difference between an honest skeptic and a dishonest skeptic, I guess. I don’t think it is surprising that people like Peter Schiff made that change, because that’s where our strongest advocates will come from.

Jeffrey : Can I tell you how it happened? It’s actually very funny. So, I’m bumping into Peter Schiff, and I’ve been arguing with the guy for like a year-and-a-half or even two years about Bitcoin. Because even before I became an advocate I was not a critic, right? He was one of these critics who would give like 65 reasons why Bitcoin is a terrible ides – one of these kind of guys. Then I ran into him in Las Vegas at “Freedom Fest” and he practically grabbed me by the lapels and said, “I have the most amazing story to tell you. My company started accepting Bitcoin, because I figured ‘Well, if I can get it converted into dollars right away, I don’t care .’ People can pay me in bananas – if it is converted into dollars it doesn’t matter to me.” So he enabled a widget on his web site that allowed his clients to pay in Bitcoin. And he said to me “You know, I can’t believe it. When I usually get international transfers in for some of their product they have to wait for or five days for a wire transfer and pay huge transactions fees for Paypal, and credit cards are ridiculously expensive and always involves some fraud issues.” He said, “But with Bitcoin, did you know that I can process these transactions even before the client gets off the phone and I pay virtually zero transaction costs?” And he’s telling me this – with wide eyes – as if he’s telling me news, you know? So I said, “Really Peter, is that right?” and he said, “Yeah, I’m telling you, that’s what’s right.” I said, “Well okay. I’m glad to hear this.” It’s the experience I think.

Adam : The experience really is it. That really is it. I think we all started as skeptics. I was looking at Bitcoin for a good year before I really felt like it was something that I might put some money into. And that was seeing it crash and come back a couple of times. It just seems like everybody has their own comfort threshold.

Andreas : Right, and as we expand adoption we’re reaching a comfort threshold of more and more people. They see the first crash, the second crash, the third crash, the forth crash, the fifth crash – and it’s still not dead, which is kind of remarkable. The number of obituaries that have been written for Bitcoin in quite staggering.

Adam : I thought it was pretty remarkable.

Jeffrey : I’m sitting here so thrilled, Here it is – I guess we’re approaching August 2014 – and I started writing about this subject around February 2013. I didn’t expect what would happen, but I wrote about five or ten articles right away, since I kind of stared engaging the Bitcoin economic structures and seeing what they’re all about. Then, in a funny way, the ceiling fell in on me. All of my old colleagues and friends started coming out of the woodwork to say that I was not of sound mind – that I had forgotten all of the lessons that I previously knew, and that I had, sort of, lost it. I was severely attacked and criticized – and it shocked me really. I have to admit to you that it is has been delightful over the last year-and-a-half to see how all of these people have shut up. You know? I hate to feel that sense of schadenfreude, but I just do.

Adam : It’s nice that there’s more support for it now, but we still haven’t hit that 1% yet,

Andreas : Yeah, Jeffrey, you said something that got my attention, which is people telling you, “Have you forgotten all the lessons? Have you forgotten all the things you know?” And that’s really the primary criticism of an established paradigm. The lessons and the things you know ; the conventional wisdom which is being drummed into your head. Especially if you study the subject – as an insider, as an academic in the space, or as a professional in the space – and you become skilled and expert in the space, that means you have reached the apotheosis of indoctrination. You’ve absorbed all of the dogma and become adept at teaching it to others. So the ironic thing is that the people who are able to escape the paradigm first are the ones who have never been schooled in it. If you come at it and say, “I don’t know anything about money so this Bitcoin thing looks good.” you’ve got a better chance of learning something. But if you think you already know everything there is to know about money and you have that conventional wisdom in your head, it’s almost impossible to escape that paradigm. It invades your life in every way. It informs your academic success. You’ve written papers about it. You’ve taught thousands of others the same thing, and reinforced it in your own mind. You’ve expanded your view within that narrow framework. You’ve explored it’s edges. You’ve taken it from a vague description to hard lines and sharp edges. Then stepping outside of that is almost impossible. So you see that sometimes a person who comes along and throws all of that in disarray is someone outside the field. It has to be, because they’ve avoided the indoctrination. It’s the patent clerk at the Austrian patent office who says, “Newtonian physics? I don’t think so.” It’s the tinkerer who has no formal training in electronics who understands a new perspective. And it’s the half-programmer, half-physicist systems-thinker “Satoshi Yakamoto” who is obviously not an economist, who comes along and says, “Well how about we do it this way?”

Jeffrey : I love what you just said, and I hope that somebody transcribes those two paragraphs you just said. I know in my case I had a serious problem that everything I thought I knew argued against the legitimacy of Bitcoin. It became a serious problem for me mentally, because I couldn’t make sense of it in light of my theories. But at some point I decided look, “What am I going to trust? What I actually see out the window? Or the theories that are in this hundred-year-old book that I’ve got rolling around in my head?” I finally had to trust reality over theory and hope that at some point they could reemerge together in a way that makes rational sense to me. But there was a whole long period in there where I couldn’t actually bring the two together. But none-the-less Bitcoin is happening. So I had to take almost a kind of a leap out of my prevailing orthodoxies in order to embrace Bitcoin. Then, gradually – over the course of about twelve months – I began to put it all back together again. Now Bitcoin makes sense to me in light of what I previously understood, but with some tweeks, you know? So there is a certain amount of intellectual humility which is required to leave one paradigm and enter another.

Andreas : When you said you had to make an intellectual leap it brought to mind another beautiful example of paradigm shifting and just stepping completely outside of the accepted norms and doing something so obviously weird and different that it shocks everyone, and it forces them to reconsider reality because it simply works. That’s the story of Dick Fosbury. Richard Fosbury is the athlete who was the first person to do the high jump with a backwards flip. Nobody had ever done it that way. Everybody would run up to the pole and, kind of, scissor their legs over it. That was the established way of doing it for decades – possibly even hundreds of years – who knows. He ran up and jumped backwards, and at first the reaction was that the judges tried to figure out if this was actually allowed.Can you do this? Is this part of the rules? Because he immediately set world records by doing this weird backwards flip. And they said, “Well, the pol is still there, it didn’t fall off.” It completely violated the existing paradigm – completely crazy and weird looking – and, of course, the next year everybody was doing it.

Jeffrey : That’s a great story.

Adam Levine : LTBCoin is the official community rewards program of the “Let’s Talk Bitcoin” network. You can earn LTBC by performing any number of thing you probably already do. If you listen to shows like “Let’s Talk Bitcoin” listen up for the magic word. When you hear it, visit http://www.letstalkbitcoin.com. Log in to your free account, and enter the magic words to claim your share of the listener rewards. Now it’s time for the ‘LTB News Flash”, brought to you by Cryptokit – the easiest, fastest Bitcoin wallet which installs right into your browser so it’s always ther when you need it.

Here are the headlines for August 9th, 2014 : Lake Tahoe Property sells for 1.6 million Bitcoin. Bitcoin momentum growing in emerging markets. Hacker swipes $83,000 from Bitcoin mining pool. The Bitcoin derivative boom could be a mark of the cryptocurrency’s coming of age. [Huboy?] bets big on multisig with quick wallet acquisition. Bitcoin Foundation seeks more time to address virtual currency rules. Hungary’s 200 volt now accepts Bitcoin for laptops, tablets, t.v.s and more. Check it out at cryptokit.com.

Today’s first sponsor, with a high water mark of 81,250 LTBC is “Storj.io”. Here’s what they have to say about the project :

Commercial Announcer : Imagine if the cloud wasn’t up here, but down here, with us. That’s storj. Storj is a cloud shared by the community. It is potentially the largest, cheapest and most secure cloud available. What you share is what you get. You can even be paid for renting your extra space. But how is it more secure? Each file is shredded, encrypted and spread across the network until you are ready to use it again. You can be sure the files are safe because the keys are in your pocket, not a company’s. Only you have access to your stuff. Because the network is shared you don’t have to worry about slowed download seeds coming from one place. We’re all helping make the system blazing fast. And if you have some extra space lying around, you’ll get paid by users who need more than they can share. It’s like renting out your empty hard drives. A cloud with security, no downtime and sopeed at a fraction of the cost.

Adam Levine : They’re currently running a crowd sale. August 15th is the last day to get involved. If you’d like to learn more visit storj.io.

It’s time for the magic word. Today’s magic word, for episode 134, is “liberty”. That’s L-I-B-E-R-T-Y. You’ve got until the 13th of August to visit Letstalkbitcoin.com and enter the magic word for your share of the LTBC audience rewards.

So, today’s second sponsor is a little bit different. With 62,000 LTBC, community member [Seen mason?] asked that we use his time to talk a little about the situation in Gaza. His perspective is this : Between 1947 and 1949, seven to eight thousand non-Jews were expelled from their family lands in Isreal and hundreds of villages were destroyed. Those people were kept under occupation without rights or a state for 47 years. Muslims, Christians and others within Isreal can’t rent or purchase land in about 80% of the country, and are basically second-class citizens by law. While, on the other hand, any Jewish person born anywhere in the world may gain Israeli citizenship and take the land of a non-Jew.

And with that, I’ve pissed off about half of our audience. Just kidding. Thanks to C. Mason for his perspective. My mind is very one-track.I tend to focus on things I can positively impact. Mostly this just seems like there is no winning scenario. It’s not about the people, it’s about the politics of control – which is probably a whole show unto itself. And certainly just because one side of the story has terrible stories doesn’t mean that it’s not just as true on the other. And that’s the thing, I guess. It’s just not about you or I at all. In the Middle East – just like everywhere else – our leaders make bad decisions just because it’s the best – as they see it – of the available options. Is it good for anyone really? No. But that’s not the world that we live in – yet. So that’s it. Back to the show.

Adam Levine : So Andreas, a little bit earlier you mentioned patent clerk, Newtonian physics. Intellectual property really has been – for hundreds of years now – kind of a core part of how people both monetize and protect. And it’s been interesting watching disruptive technologies – specifically cryptocurrency, which isn’t really governed by patents, and can’t really be controlled by patents – and on the other hand you have things liike 3D printing, that made a lot of progress over a couple of years, but that was only because some 20-year-old patents had expired and now these parts were able to be made by just anybody who wanted to make them as opposed to the one manufacturing conglomerate that had the legal right to be able to do it before that point.

So, Jeffrey, I’m curious, where do you think intellectual property controls can fit within a Bitcoin framework, and what impact would it have had if the situation had been different in the cryptocurrency space.

Jeffrey Tucker : So my own feeling on intellectual property is that it is basically an artificial thing that can only exist in an age of the nation-state, and that’s governed by the physical world threats of monopolistic elites who control the world through compulsion and coersion. That’s fundamentally at odds with what the digital age is all about : about malleability, reproducability, immoirtality and distributed networks. The idea of some elites gathering together to allocate who owns what in the realm of ideas is incompatible with this. Seriously, I’ve done a lot of work on the history of intellectual property – the ideological structure surrounding it. It wasn’t really until after the beginning of the 21st century that we saw hardcore, really serious attacks on the idea of IP – and it’s because digital networks really broke the system down. We saw some opposition to IP even as early as the beginnings of the industrial revolution, but nothing really substantial and serious until the digital age. Basically, I think the system is broken down and isn’t going to last, and it is very interesting to me to see how large corporations are starting to realize this and stop putting so much energy and time into enforcing their patents and copyrights – and starting to use the new networks of open source cooperation and the sharing economy to their advantage.

Andreas : Here, here. That’s a great commentary. Intellectual property is an artificial construct for monopolizing ideas and creating cartels around abstract concepts. The basic problem is that no one really has an original thought that they’ve conceived completely by themselves without anybody else being involved. Innovation is simply expending a culture of four-and-a-half million years one millimeter forward by combining all of the existing inputs and producing something slightly different – something that probably a few thousand other people have probably done somewhere else. The idea that you can take that and create a monopoly around that – while originally envisioned as a way to reward creators – has ended up creating these islands of stagnant creativity and isolation by removing things from the culture. The age-old compact – the social compact, that is even encoded in the U.S. Constitition, which is that “Congress can secure rights for creators in order to promote the arts and sciences.”. This idea that these patents and copyrights are of limited time – so that you take from the cultural Zeitgeist, you enhance it or advance it a tiny bit, you get a short-term reward, and then you give it back to the public domain so that others can build upon it. That compact then got perverted. Starting with the Disney company, who as soon as they saw their Mickey copyright runnning out, went ot Congress and got it extended 73 times – until copyright essentially became infinite, instead of limited in time, They were quite happy to take “The Brother’s Grim” and every other cultural story, appropriate it for their own needs, and then give nothing back to the popular culture. Take all of the stories of our ancestors, turn them into copyright material, and then give nothing back by perverting the copyright law. We’ve seen this happen across the board in intellectual property. Well, open source breaks that cycle. It recognizes that collaboration and creation moves faster, and innovation with collaboration moves faster – and if you give back to the community the community will give back to you again and again, and it creates this feedback loop of accelerated innovation. Whether it is Linux, or Wikipedia, or a thousand other things which have come from it – especially now with the introduction of the “Creative Commons” law and licenses. Those are amnazing things, and what they’re showing is that there is a much better way to do it.

Jeffrey : I heard something last night that really intrigued me, because I’ve tried to understand the best way to describe open source projects and what they mean. At the Bitcoin meetup last night somebody said that the great thing about open source technology is that it, sort of, takes away the obligation we all feel to constantly reinvent things – to constantly recreate, on our own, from scratch – all things. Always reinventing the wheel in a world of intellectual property, as you say, requires absolute originality. But open source programming – and open source everything – allows us to draw from the energies of others, and take what’s already been done and build on top of them. So you have this cumulating capital that grows over time. I was trying to thinkof a right analogy. It’s as if you had, sort of, one cake that is baked by the entire world, that is constantly getting ever better and ever more delicious, and the more people eat it there is ever more cake for ever more people. Rather than individual cakes by individuals constantly throughout history, you have one big cake that everybody is constantly making better and testing and bringing their own ideas to. I thought that was a really nice way to think about it,

Andreas : Yeah. The core fallacy at the heart of the concept of the intellectual property is the word “property”, because one of the absolute characteristics of property is that if you have property and I take that property, you no longer have that property. It is by definition singular, unique, unitary and not sharable. But if you have an idea, and I copy that idea, we both have that idea. And if I give it to ten more people, all twelve of us now have that idea – and we can all build on it. And you lost nothing from the fact that I have the idea. It’s not property, and it’s not property because it’s not tangible, it’s not destroyable. It’s infinitely copyable. If you have invented something and I copy that, then really what we are doing is doubling the rate of invention. Because – at the end of the day – you didn’t really invent something, you just expanded on thousands of years of culture. Your addition is standing on the shoulders of giants, and really hasn’t raised the bar that much.

Jeffrey : The whole idea od property in the first place – as you said – comes about because of the existence of scarcity. It’s a social construct we invented to stop conflicts, to deal with the problem of rivalrous control over the physical world. Once you migrate to the digital world you get simultaneous consumption of all things – with no depreciation of the original object – property is no longer necessary. It becomes just an absurdity. You know, it is important to remember that in history people have had mistaken views of propert over all sorts of things. For example, in the 18th century, and up until the early part of the 19th century – people thought that slaves were legitate forms of property, In fact, there is a 5th Amendment to the Constitution that was put in there to protect property rights over other people [chuckle], you know? Now we recognize that was just a mistake. So in the 21st century we’re gradually realizing that this is also a mistake to apply the term “property” to the realm of ideas?

Adam : But was it always a mistake? Because the arguments I hear both of you making basically revolve around, “Now we have digital things.” But that wasn’t true even 30 or 40 years ago. So 200 years ago, when intellectual property was getting started inthis country – in the United States – I have it in my head that it might actually have served a purpose, because the inventor was at the mercy of a manufacturing partner that might take years and might actually kick them out of the business because the inventor doesn’t control – or have any claim to – the very centralized and capital-intensive means of production. So Lincoln had a quote that I like. He said, “Patents added the fuel of interest to the fire of innovations.” I wonder, did they ever serve a purpose in your eyes, Jeffrey?

Jeffrey : No, I don’t think so, and I think what we need to do is totally revise intellectual history. There origin of the steam engine was a similar kind of problem. I mean, it was a great innovation, but it got locked down by oatents and nothing happened of any value for another 10 or 20 years, because everybody was, sort of, prohibited by law from adding to it. It was very interesting what happened with even things like the cotton gin. Who’s that guy – Eli Witley – supposedly invented it, but he didn’t invent it, he improved it slightly and got a patent on it and then went around spending the next 20 years cracking skulls to prevent innovation, He finally learned his lesson after he bankrupted himself spending so much money on patent lawsuits. It’s the same thing with the Wright Brothers. They came up with pretty cool little onnovation that gave them the title of being the first in flight, and then they spent the rest of their whole lives enforcing the patents. Meanwhile, all of the other countries in the world actually improved airline technology. By the time World War I came along the U.S. had the worst airplanes in the world, because we had the tightest patent controls [laughter].Yeah, I don’t think that patents have ever served any kind of purpose, and we really need to revise our intellectual history.

Adam, you said something very interesting about how maybe intellectual property is not really relevant in the digital age, but it might have had relevance before. But I really feel like we should have known that IP was not a good idea, even dating all the way back to the Gutenberg bible. When the Gutenberg bible came along, of course there was no IP over the psalms and the other texts that were being printed. But there was a confusion, because people associated the ideas on the page with the physical property of the page itself. We couldn’t really conceptualize the fact that these were really difference products. I mean, the ideas in the book are part of the non-scarce realm, the book itself is part of the scarce realm, and so we have this merging of these two things – one non-scarce and one scarce – and one beautiful thing called a “book”. But it took us a long time to realize that we are dealing always with two realms – one scarce and one non-scarce. We just didn’t know it – fully and completely – until the last few years.

Adam : So Bitcoin emerged as a very hobbiest sort of thing. It was very, very amateur, very experimental – “Let’s see what we can accomplish. We’re doing this because it’s neat that we can do this.” And I recently read a book called “The Master Switch” by Tim Woo, and in that he tells a bunch of different stories of information empires as they succeed and then fail. One of the stories he tells is about AM radio and FM radio. AM radio strikes me very similarly to how Bitcoin emerged, and FM radio seems like maybe after these recent discussion about these rules that are being made in New York. Maybe that’s the situation that everything that comes after will fall under. So I’m curious, do you know this story?

Jeffrey : I’m not aware about it.

Andreas : It’s been a while since I read Tim Woo’s book, so maybe you can remind me while we explain it to our listeners.

Adam : It’s a fairly lengthy thing, but the ideais that, in the early days, a kid who wanted to set up a radio station could set up a radio station with one of these little crystal radio things, and it was a hobbiest thing that people did because it was fun. You could set up a broadcast and you could listen to things, and this was very new at the time. Basically, it took like forty years to develop, but by that point it had developed into quite a successful industry, and there were a variety of monopolies, actually. Because at the time the only way you could get a station from somewhere non-locally was to use AT&T’s long distance lines. That actually was one of the reasons why FM radio was kind of suppressed, because FM radio came along and it esssentially made it so that ranges and power requirements were such that, before, it was unfeasible with AM radio to do re-broadcast stations – where you broadcast from one hill and then it is re-broadcast from another hill. The range was too short and the power requirements were too great. But when FM radio came along, it essentially made it so that anybody who wanted to do this could very cheaply set up these networks of stations and re-broadcasters, and that was one of several reasons why the FM radio paradigm – which it actually invented the FM radio technology and funded the research to do it – then sat on the technology. So the FCC came along and said, “In order to maintain the standard you can use much less power than you could with an equivalent AM station, so that it will only give you an AM equivalent broadcast distance.”. I’m rambling, and doing a kind of terrible job with this, but it seems like sometimes – especially in the last hundred years – these are used as weapons to suppress technologies.

Andreas : Not sometimes, Adam. Every single time, in every disruptive technology, the existing industries have used every weapon at their disposal to fight for incumbency and to prevent disruption. Which is, of course, the normal reaction. which then tells you what regulation does. Regulation starts off – at least presumably, or presented as – consumer protection, and it very quickly becomes a way to distinguish incumbents and to protect them from competition. Because they become adept at navigating the regulation, they co-opt the regulators, and then as soon as disruption happens they turn the regulation around and point it as a big weapon against the disruptors. That has happened in every industry. It’s happening today in every industry.

Jeffrey : In the end they never succeed. That’s what’s amusing. History progresses in any case, it’s just that the regulators can slow us down, but that can’t ultimately stop it – which makes it just a vast waste. I feel this way about a lot of these Bitcoin regulations that are coming out. It’s going to make the sector function less well, it’s going to make it less competitive, there’s going to be less focus on the consumer and more focus on compliance. But im the end, fifty years from now, none of these regulations that they’re trying to pass right now are going to have any relevance for whether – and to what extent – Bitcoin adoption is going to take place. Bitcoin is going to take its own course eventually. It’s just a matter of how many victims you want to create in the meantime. That’s what it’s all about.

Adam : Well, in New York, for example – again, we’re talking about proposed rules here just real briefly – that essentially say that you have the same compliance requirements if you do anything with Bitcoin – and users that have some basis in New York – as you would if, basically, you were a minor bank. The reporting requirements are very stringent, and it basically makes it so that with the current way that cryptocurrency is, it’s kind of incompatible to be complaint and to not create and entirely new cryptocurrency. So, I’ve been wondering about that. I mean, it’s kind of easy to create a new cryptocurrency, so if New York wants to go along with this type of means, doesn’t it make sense to actually either – maybe not them, nut somebody else does it – but create a cryptocurrency that actually complies with all of these requirements that they want. That has the real name currency attached, and that doesn’t require you to Jerry-rig it, rather than using Bitcoin where – yeah, you can use it, but you’re throwing out all of the advantages that came with it, so why bother?

Andreas : I think that’s mistaking a feature for a bug. The fact that Bitcoin is incompatible with these regulations, that’s not a bug in Bitcoin. That’s a feature. That’s one of the best features in Bitcoin. It’s incompatible with these regulations because those regulations themselves express the existing paradigm, and that is exactly what Bitcoin is disrupting.

Adam : But I’m going to call you on this, Andreas, because Bitcoin is neutral. So, at the same time, you’re kind of putting an ideology onto it. So, that’s what I’m saying —

Andreas : No. I’m not —

Adam : Bitcoin has the ideology baked into it. Can you twist that ideology and create something else that’s very similar but that doesn’t have that exact thing.

Andreas : No. What I’m saying is that Bitcoin is neutral, but Bitcoin is neutral in a way that violates the tenets of a very “not neutral” regulatory system that assumes that the best way to achieve consumer protection is to have all of the personal identifiable information of consumers given to several agencies with lax controls – so they can lord over it and supposedly stop “bad guys”. And what that does is actually destroys consumer protection. Privacy is consumer protection. The idea that by giving all of your private information you will be protected as a consumer is perverse. And the fact that Bitcoin does not conform to that idea because it is neutral, because it allows consumers to interact without having to go through this perverse activity of giving up all of their personal information just to transact – that is not a bug in Bitcoin. That is the feature that makes sure that Bitcoin will not fit into these comfortable regulations, and it won’t fit into the comfortable regulations because the regulations themselves are perverse – the idea that consumer protection is ensured by taking all the private information of consumers. And when consumers have a choice, to choose how they want to be protected, they choose not to give out their personal information. That —

Adam : — But that is the point. —

Andreas : — It’s neutral. —

Adam : Yes, in reality, given the choice. But they don’t have a choice. If this happens, then the only legal uses for Bitcoin will be this type of use – where you are disclosing all of this information. So that’s what I’m saying, is that in the world we live in, if this happens is it better to keep using Bitcoin and still disclose all of that information because you’re going to have to anyways – if you’re in New York, and under the subject of all of this nonsense. Or is it better to create something that, kind of, bakes it in? More importantly, what about people who are not us – and who are not in this for the ideology of it – think?

Announcer (Adam B. Levine) : Thanks for listening to episode 134 of “Let’s Talk Bitcoin”. Content for today’s episode was provided by : Andreas M. Antonopolis, Jeffrey Tucker and Adam B. Levine. This episode was edited by Denise Levine and Adam B. Levine. Music for today’s show was provided by Jared Rubin of “Security Beats” and General Fuzz. If you’re a developer, you might be interested in our upcoming “Coins For Commits” program. As the platform goes open source in the coming weeks we want as much help as possible, and you’ll earn LTBC for your commits. If you have any questions, send an email to adam@letstalkbitcoin.com and I’ll help you find the right person to speak to.

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Source video
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Title : “15 Minutes Of Fact : Want to Transform the Economy? Start by Transforming Your Thinking?”

URL : http://youtu.be/TLio1YWOkzY

Organization         : 15 Minutes of Fact podcast :
Web Site                 : http://writtenoffamerica.com/
Host                        : Jerry Ashton
Contact                  : jerryashton1@gmail.com

Guest                      : Zeus Yiamouyiannis

Web Sites                 :
http://citizenzeus.com/
http://www.transformingeconomy.com

Contact                   : LinkedIn Profile , Email : zeus@citizenzeus.com

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Transcript
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Jerry Ashton : We’ve had some interesting guests on “15 Minutes of Fact” over time, and explored some compelling topics. When it comes to the intricacies of economic theory and abstract financial systems, however, I get a bit nervous. Even my bravest listeners are brightfully weary, even though they know that they will be subjected to no more than 15 minutes on one subject – hence, “15 Minutes of Fact”. So, I don’t propose that we’re going to lose even one member of our audience today with our audience with our guest Zeus Yiamouyiannis. Is that the correct pronunciation, Zeus?

Zeus Yiamouyiannis :  Yiamouyiannis.

Jerry Ashton : Yiamouyiannis. Thank you so much. He is reached by way of Skype at his home in the Philippines.Here’s why you’ll be interested. Somehow Zeus is able to deliver – in understandable English – clear answers to today’s economic train wreck. He magically reduces the complexity of trillions of dollars of currency, trade and debt, and reduces things down to simple accounting – almost the type of thing you’d be able to do at your kitchen table, but not quite. Because he is a PhD, after all, he’s an economics blogger, a futurist, and author of the newly published book “Transforming Economy : From Corrupted Capitalism to Connected Communities”. He writes for zerohedgefund.com and oftwominds.com – two top alternative economic web sites – and is considered a performance educator in the way that he delivers information that informs as well as excites. Let’s see if he can make that happen on the show today. Welcome to “15 Minutes of Fact”, Zeus.

Zeus : Thank you so much for having me Jerry.

Jerry : Well, it’s a pleasure.So let me start out with that rather slippery word that you seem to use when you talk about the work that you do in economics – and that’s “transform”. Now, is this a use of semantics to get past everyone’s natural disinclination to accept change?

Zeus : Well, I think there are a couple of issues when you use a word like “transformation”. The first is the notion of resistance to change. I address this specifically in my book. I mean, many people are under the delusion that you can choose not to change. We’re in an era – as I said in my book – that things cannot go on as before. We know we will change. The only issues are, “Will change be done to us, or will it proceed from us?” So I think at this point the only thing that you would be doing is essentially using your perception to avoid reality that is already upon us. The second is also important, and that is romanticized notions of change that sort of substitute ineffective replacements – a kind of “new age fantastic thinking” that if we just hold hands together enough, or there’s a technological solution that’s going to come out of the woodwork and save us all –

Jerry : Wait…. wait,… wait. You’re telling me that “Kumbaya” and Google is not going to save us in this particular world we’re living in?

Zeus : Not without human consciousness and decision to let that change and transformation in consciousness work. And that’s what I really advocate for, and work with others to provide. I mean, there’s a necessity of change, there’s a reality of change , and then there’s the opportunity for change. I’m excited by that notion, and I think we could get more people on board if we show that change can be an exciting and purposeful and deep way to live.

Jerry : Well, let’s get to the subject at hand – the economic disaster that we’re calling the “Great Recession”. I’ve read through some of your earlier works and two stand out for me. One is called “Five Courageous Steps” – I like it when people give me numbers and quantities to work with. The other is called “Ten Shocking Practices”. Now, are they part of your just-released books? Or are they precursors? Tell us about them?

Zeus : Well, they’re both companion pieces to the book. The first one “Five Courageous Steps to Transform Your Economy” really is about what you can personally do to, sort of, see through the haze provided by our current economic situation. It’s actually available to your audience for free – if they just go to transformingeconomy.com and sign up for the newsletter, or email list signup – they will get a free copy mailed to them through their email. That’s, again, more focused on how you can translate some of the broader principles I have in my book to actual personal practices. The second, “Ten Shocking Practices in the U.S. and Global Economy” are really a “greatest hits list” of some of the most outrageous things happening in the economy – and then some follow up questions to stimulate discussion. It’s meant to be a companion piece to my book, and if people do get it – for the first people doing this, especially activists – I’m writing out a personal email and sending that along regardless of whether you buy just one book or more.

Jerry : Well, I want the listener to know that there are some really excellent, shocking items there that we’re aware of, but not aware of how really horrendous they are. Can you name three of them for us?

Zeus : Well, my greatest hit is “fraudclosure”. I’m astounded that two things happened with “fraudclosure”. One, there were hundreds of thousands – maybe millions – of forged documents, that are clearly – I mean, there’s no dispute that they were forged. People have admitted that they were forged. Basically, there was an electronic system set up to do an end run around filing requirements, for property.

Jerry : Oh you’re talking about the famous “robo-signing” and things like that.

Zeus : “Robo-signing”, and there was nothing done about that. There was no real prosecution. There was not even really any investigation. What I found when I did research is that this $25 billion Attorney’s General solution ended up being – most of it, only about $8.5 billion was supposed to be in cash – that was never really done. Only $1.5 billion was spent on consultants. And I found out as recently as January of this year not a single dime has really been spent on a homeowner. So it’s really a big, huge smokescreen. Money is the whole chain of private property, which is supposed to be the bedrock of economy in terms of who owns what, and what an asset really is – and nothing has been done about it. It’s been swept completely under the rug.

Jerry : Which, of course, leads me to my next statement of dismay, and that is one of the unquenched calls of anger regarding the recession is that the culprits – the big banks, their thieving executives – have not been held accountable for what are clearly financial crimes. Now, nobody else has answered it. Why is that?

Zeus : Well, there are two parts to that that I can see in writing this book. The first is simply this. It is obvious that the people who are working on enforcement have been members of these banks that are not being investigated – as it turns out – and they are trying to protect their own former turf and relationships. They cannot separate their own lives and what they consider to be of benefit to themselves personally, and their official duties. That’s the first part – the more obvious. The other one is really sneaky – and incredibly condescending – and that is this notion that we have to excuse high crimes to prevent the suffering of the “little guy”. If these firms collapse, how many people will be thrown out of work? Lenny Brewer , who was part of the criminal division of the Department of Justice, resigned after a “Frontline” piece in which he said, “If we indited them, the company might fail.” It’s like, “Really! A criminal company might fail if you indict them.”

Jerry : The people I want to see thrown out on the streets are exactly the people you are talking about.

Zeus : Exactly. The main point is this. There can be no market without accountability, and in the present system there really isn’t accountability. This is what I want to say to them, “You’re trying to protect what? The market? Well, if you’re trying to protect the market you need accountability, which means you need to prosecute people who do crimes.”

Jerry : Well, that brings up the larger picture of debt. Something that seems to afflict everyone but the famed 1%. Some people say that we should simply walk away from debt as individuals, and even as a country. Now, are these debts so toxic that they cannot be converted into something that is usable? What is your opinion about this?

Zeus : Well, many of them are. The entire derivatives market, and the debt that was created out of them – something like a trillion dollars of so-called “toxic derivatives” were bought up by the Federal Reserve – are nothing but junk. They were constructed vehicles that referred to, basically, fantasy assets and collateral – and had no real purpose, except to generate fees and cash flow from nothing.

Jerry : And bonuses. Don’t forget the bonuses.

Zeus : Absolutely. Wall Street rewarded themselves – after they collapsed the world economy – with a near-record $144 billion in compensation. And they do that by basically extending counterfeit value in the form of these constructed, “fantastic” – not fantastic meaning, like, pure fantasy – economic vehicles that are not backed by anything. They just simply refer to assets, and then they make off with the transaction fees and bonuses on false paper profits. So this gets at the core of debt as asset. Debts have been considered assets, and this is a very twisted notion. And they certainly aren’t assets if people start defaulting on them. Debts require ability to pay, and because that has been forgotten we now have a situation where these so-called “toxic assets” and “toxic debts” really are junk. I advocate, in two chapters in this book, not only debt forgiveness but also finding ways to administer debt forgiveness. Because when you have something built on fraud – I mean, one of the titles is “Endgame : When Debt is Fraud, Debt Forgiveness is the Last and Only Remedy”. So we don’t expect a person to pay for a crime. If they are extended money in a fraudulent way, why should they have to pay it back? Now there is intricacies in how to deal with that, but we really should get –

Jerry : Well, I was listening to an interview you had done with Max Keiser on his show “On The Edge”, and I was struck by two things. First, the show was all about – and this was two year ago. As a matter-of-fact it was on September 17th, 2011. It was all about the Wall Street meltdown, and coincidentally enough on September 17th that’s the exact day that Occupy took over Zuccati Park. Is this something coincidental, or something you just pulled together yourself?

Zeus : Hahaha! I would call it auspicious – a meeting of the minds. What it is showing is that voice is a way to coordinate and pop-out in ways that we don’t expect. And it gives me real hope, because voice is the start of action. Real people need real food, water, clothing and shelter. They can’t go on extend and pretend. Finally, especially with Occupy Wall Street, people are finally saying, “And we need real accountability.” They’re starting to come out, and we’re finding that one of our basic needs – which people have forgotten about – is our need for community, and our need for voice. So to me I see it as a universal upsurge, and an auspicious coming together of people who care.

Jerry : Well, how could your book be of value to Occupiers and activists – not even considering the mainstream “Mom and Pop” out there, who haven’t given it a lot of thought, except a lot of their pain and blood, sweat and tears to surviving. How can your book possibly help in the face of the implacable and resolute enemies that we have both in the government and in banking. How would you, for example. counsel students with their staggering debts?

Zeus : Well, first of all, I would simply say, “Get active, creative, imaginative and organized.” One of the best ways to do this is to “stop feeding the beast” – that’s one of my steps in the “Five Courageous Steps To Transform Your Economy”, and there are specific ways to do that in the book. I think the most important thing about that is to start taking leadership, not to be reactive to the current system. To take as much energy away from it as you can, identify toxic practices – which I do in my book – and then take as much of your time and money away from that system as possible and use your leadership to organize and create the creative alternative. The last chapter in my book is called “Youth of the World Unite : How the Younger Generation Can Lead the Way To A New Frontier”. There is so much talent and ability there, and so much responsibility and liability being dumped on young people. I think they just need to go ahead and face that. Organize together and find ways to be really resourceful, and pull themselves out of that – essentially “death spiral” that former generations have provided for them – and develop their own leadership going forward. There are specific ways to do that.

Jerry : Okay. So what would it look like if we actually had an economy and a society built around the things that matter most to us. What would those things be, and what would that world look like?

Zeus : Basically my book is about going toward a democratic capitalism. We’ve never had it, but basically it is money serving people – not the other way around – people serving money. It also involves – because we have a sustainability issue – us really going from a more material to a non-material basis for our purpose of living. That is already kind of happening. We want to move from a : taking, exploiting and consuming society to a creating, giving and sharing society. Now that’s not kumbaya. That tag line that I like to use sometimes, that I’ve created is that, “I am a more fulfilled me by a more effective we.” If we can begin to develop that notion – and it is already coming up for the younger generations who not only believe that but experience that as a quality of life for them – then we can begin to turn the tide.

Jerry : Well, I can’t think of a better note on which to conclude our “15 Minutes of Fact” today Zeus. So allow me to ask you to give our audience some contact information on you and your book so that they may reach out to you directly. Now I know your email address is zeus@citizenzeus.com – and that’s your website as well. You’re also on LinkedIn and I notice that you’re also on Facebook. How else can people reach you and how can they find this book?

Zeus : Just type in : http://www.transformingeconomy.com . That will bring up the main page with email signup where you can get the “Five Courageous Steps To Transform Your Economy”. There’s a book link there where you can click on “Get The Book” where you can actually pick up the book. And I’m trying to develop community forums and so forth – but that is more in the works. You can also get at my main site – just having to do with transformation – and that is http://www.citizenzeus.com. It really focuses on transformation in economics, education and spirituality. So if you have interest in those areas go to http://www.citizenzeus.com and you’ll see some of my past essays there are well. So those are the two main resources I would point people to, and again you can contact me anytime at zeus@citizenzeus.com.

Jerry : Well Zeus, I can’t thank you enough for the time you have shared with us. You are living up to your reputation. I didn’t fallen asleep once. [laughter]. I hope that will also be true of the audience. That’s a good start – not falling asleep – I actually think you’ve activated me. I think that just might be happening. So, once again, this is Jerry Ashton with “15 Minutes of Fact”, searching out people with interesting ways of dealing with what we call “The Great Recession” – different and more likely fruitful ways in which to be able to build a stronger “we” so that you can become stronger yourself.

You can find me, of course, at Huffington Post – where I blog – my web site : http://www.writtenoffamerica.com, on Twitter as @WrittenOffUSA, and on LinkedIn.

Jerry Ashton signing off for “15 Minutes of Fact”

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Free Transcript Project : #3

Source audio

Title : “Unstuckable – Episode 20 : Create Your Own Job Like Jon Spitz”
URL : http://unstuckable.co/episode-020-create-your-own-job-like-jon-spitz/

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Organization : Unstuckable Podcast

Web Site
http://unstuckable.co
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCU07xkEbTzsD6u8xz4_tNTw/videos

Host 1 : Stephen Warley
Contact : LinkedIn profile

Host 2 : Chris Wilson
Contact : LinkedIn Profile

Guest : Jon Spitz
Contact : LinkedIn Profile

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Transcript :
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Announcer : It’s time to get unstuck.[music] Welcome to Unstuckable episode 20. Need a mentor? Email someone you admire today and ask them to meet. I’m Chris Wilson and now here’s Stephen Warley with today’s unstuckable story. [music]

Stephen Warley : Thanks Chris. Why wait for someone to hire you? Why is it that the only way most of us think we can ever get a job is by applying for one. In today’s very competitive economy the very best way to stand out from the crowd and eliminate the competition is to create a job that only you are uniquely qualified to do. Meet Jon Spitz. He just got a job as the operations manager of 43north.org. It’s the world’s largest business plan competition, with $5 million to give away. He recently brought “Startup Weekend” to his home town of Buffalo. He produced three different events in just one year attracting 350 entrepreneurs, and wasn’t paid a dime for his work. Jon doesn’t wait for job openings – he creates them. On three different occasions Jon basically created his own job. Once he pitched a local juice vendor on how he could manage their social media for them. He got noticed on LinkedIn for his social media abilities and then landed his next job as a director for online recruitment for a local college. Finally, he landed his current job by connections he made by bringing “Startup Weekend” to Buffalo and showcasing his ability for bringing entrepreneurs together. As you listen to Jon, think of a couple of companies you’ve always wanted to work with and spend 15 minutes thinking about what you could do for them that noone else with your qualifications can. Hey John, thank you so much for joining us. Our good friend Griffin Jones – our mutual connection – I’m so glad he got us together.

Jon Spitz : Hey, thanks for having me. Happy to be here.

Stephen : We’ll be talking to Griffin in a future podcast, because he’s galavanting out in Boliva right now as the both of us are enduring a hard winter. So Jon, tell me how you think you’ve been unstuckable in your career.

Jon : Well I guess when I graduated college I was working for a supermarket – granted it was the biggest and best, and still is, the best supermarket in the world – Wegman’s –

Stephen : They’ve finally come to Massachusetts.

Jon : Yeah, that’s a big deal. You should go there. It’s good stuff. Great prepared foods. Can’t say enough good things about the place. I worked through high school and then I got a full-time job, had a great management role people would have killed to have. I did it for about two-and-a-half years, but probably after a year-and-a-half I kind of realized that this is not what I wanted to do. So I did feel stuck. I was in retail and I wanted to get out of retail as bad as I could, but I couldn’t dream of the day that I could put on a shirt and a tie. That was my goal.

Stephen : Really? See, I was dreaming of the day when I didn’t have to put that on anymore.

Jon : Yeah, I’m at that stage now. But at this stage I was like, “God, I don’t want to have to put on a uniform. I want to put on a shirt and tie and go sit in an office.” So what I actually did was – it was long talks with my folks at home, my support network – and I basically was like, “I can’t do this job.” I had to quit, and that’s exactly what I did. I quit and I didn’t have anything lined up.

Stephen : Really, it was that bad?

Jon : It was that bad for me, yeah.

Stephen : What was it like towards the end? How did you feel going into work?

Jon : I dreaded it. I would have to get there by 6:00 am – it was a thirty minute drive. The only thing that kept me going was the thought of getting my coffee in the morning, from Tim Horton’s – which was really good coffee, but it wasn’t that good.

Stephen : What was it about the job that you were like, “This is so not for me?”

Jon : Well, I was 22 or 23 at the time, and I’m working retail. So the busiest days at a grocery store – if you were to guess – would probably be what? What days do you think people usually shop at a grocery store?

Stephen : Oh, weekends. Isn’t Wednesday the best day to go shopping?

Jon : Yes it is.

Stephern : That’s when I go.

Jon : Yes, weekends. So that means that as a manager you’re there on the weekends. So when all of my friends are out having fun on the weekends I’m getting up at 6:00 am to go into a cooler and then empty the cooler and bring it out to the sales floor for people. So just being in the retail environment, working weekends and holidays, I knew that was something I wasn’t going to be doing for very long. I guess at the end there I actually tried to get to Boston when they opened up those stores. I was like, “Listen, I’ll go to Boston. I’ll help them open the stores and show them the Wegman’s way.” and when I got rejected for that, and upon getting rejected for a couple of other things I kind of thought that the company wasn’t on the same career trajectory so I had to make my own career trajectory.

Stephen : That’s interesting. Also, that seems like a big part of it. Maybe if they did give you some advancement opportunities you might have stuck around a little longer.

Jon : Yeah, but would I have been happy? Maybe temporarily.

Stephen : Right, it’s true. We always think that small change sometimes can be a good thing, but if it is more of the same thing you’re stuck a little longer in a place you don’t want to be.

Jon : Exactly.

Stephen : So you quit. I know you were probably raised this way. I was raised this way. It’s like, “Oh my god! Don’t quit your job until you have another job.” I have to say that I feel my mindset is changing. I mean, if you’re not happy and as long as somehow you can financially take care of yourself and you’ve found an alternative way to do that, I think it’s not a bad thing if it puts more time into focusing on what you really want to do.

Jon : Right, and to me – at least from my experience, as I’ve done it recently again – looking for a job really, for me, is a full-time job. So what I did when I walked in and quit – I didn’t do it like a maniac or anything like that, I did it politically right – was I created my own job. Then I was a juice vendor who worked at Wegman’s that was locally in Geneva, New York. I basically reached out to them and was like, “Hey, I can help you guys. I love social media. Let me build something for you and be the social media guy.” Basically what they said was “Come back to me. Write a business plan on what you’re going to do for us and break it down…” So, long story short, I got a job with them and started working with them. So I kind of created what I wanted to do which at that time was social media. Social media was just getting into businesses, and I was like, “Okay, this is my ticket out of the grocery store.”

Stephen : So was it a ticket out of like, “Cause I didn’t want to do that.” Or were you generally really interested in it?

Jon : Really interested in social media. Can I say I was really interested in the juice company itself? No. But to this day, Red Jacket Orchards is the best fresh juice that you can get. If you’re in New York City they have it in all of the Green Markets there. I don’t know about Boston. It’s great stuff. It’s like Bolthouse juice basically, if you’ve had that before.

Stephen : So where did the idea come from? Did you ever think of working for yourself before? Where did that idea or urge come from?

Jon : No. I just had a connection there with one of the vendors and I was like, “I’m just going to try and create my own job there.” I ended up doing it. Then three months later, all of a sudden via LinkedIn, I got a phone call from a recruiter and then I got my next job and I had to leave that place. I kind of created that momentum, because I wrote that business plan. I told those people, “This is what I’m going to do for you.” You can send your resume all over the place, but – I don’t know what the numbers are – I think it’s about a 10% chance that you’re going to get that job, compared to knowing somebody.

Stephen : It’s so interesting. That’s what I’m increasingly advising people to do, is – not that we want to work for free, we want to be rewarded for our efforts – but show what you can do. Bring ideas to a company you want to work for instead of waiting around for a job opening, because your initiative is going to really stand out rather than just a long line of people asking for a job.

Jon : Right, exactly.

Stephen : So you got called by a recruiter.

Jon : I got called by a recruiter. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever been called by a recruiter, but usually it’s for insurance – at least that’s usually my experience, they were like, “Do you want to sell insurance?”. So I kept getting these calls and I was driving on the road selling juice in Binghamton and I got the call. I kind of answered snarky at the time [crosstalk], and it turns out that it was this great opportunity at this college. So I was like, “Yeah, I’m definitely interested.” To make a long story short, I interviewed on a Thursday and Friday morning at 9:00 am they tell me I got the job. All of a sudden I’m in a shirt and tie in the office I’ve always dreamed of –

Stephen : What were you doing at the college?

Jon : I was supposed to be doing a lot of social media. What it turned into was more sales admissions, but it was still a great learning experience, learning opportunity and I ended up getting my MBA through them. Never in a million years did I think I would go back to school at the time.

Stephen : Hey, and it was paid for.

Jon : That’s a good thing.

Stephen : That’s the best way to get an MBA.

Jon : Right. So as I was doing all of that I kind of started realizing that maybe I was a little stuck again. So I was like, “What do I really like to do?” and that’s when I went to a “Startup Weekend” in Rochester. For those who aren’t familiar with the “Startup Weekend”, it’s a 54 hour event which brings like-minded people of all different skills sets – whether you are business folk, a designer or developer who develops web apps or whatever –

Stephen : It is an awesome event. Chris and I did the one in Cape Cod last year.

Jon : Oh, it’s great. To me it’s the best learning experience. It’s just a great way to get around people who have the same interests as you.

Stephen : Yeah, and at a lot of conferences you’re just sitting there listening to panels or lectures. This is very proactive. You really get to be involved and it’s awesome.

Jon : Yeah, so I did that and I left that weekend and I was like, “Wow! That was just amazing.” and I’m like, “That really needs to come to Buffalo.”

Stephen : So they had not had one in Buffalo.

Jon : No. It just hadn’t happened, because, it hadn’t happened. So I reached out to a couple of people I had met at the event, and I’m like, “How do I bring this to Buffalo?” and I get connected to my buddy Dan and he was like “Yeah man. We totally want to bring this, but we don’t have the bandwidth. We need someone to lead the way.” I naively was like, “Oh, sure. I’ll do that.”, not knowing what I was signing myself up for at the time.

Stephen : I think it is so awesome. I mean, you brought a Startup Weekend to a city. That’s awesome.

Jon : I did. I signed up it, but there was an army of awesome people I met along the way that helped bring that to fruition. Really, without them it wouldn’t have happened. But yeah, I was kind of the thing that pushed it over the hill. I was like, “We’re just going to do this. I’m going to sign us up and then we’ll figure out how it happens after.”

Stephen : How long did it take to put together?

Jon : I want to say we took about four to six months for the first one, and then we’ve launched two others after that, so three total in almost less than a year – which is a little aggressive – and I’m a little burnt out.

Stephen : And how many people participated?

Jon : I’d say over all three events we’ve had about 350 people participate –

Stephen : That’s awesome. Congratulations.

Jon : Which, in Buffalo, it’s really exciting because we’re trying to change that blue-collar mindset where you have to graduate college and go work at a bank or just go get that job. Maybe you can create your own job, right here in this community. We want that encouragement and support and make people realize that it’s okay if you try to start a business and fail. It’s going to be rewarded, and then you can try and start the next one, and you’re going to learn a lot from doing that. So, we’re trying to create that environment here.

Stephen : That sounds like a very unstuckable philosophy.

Jon : Absolutely.

Stephen : And you’re trying to do it to a whole city.

Jon : A whole city, man. It’s grassroots. My one buddy, whose really involved in this too, posted an article about Detroit. Maybe he can get connected somewhere in there. The guy was saying that the real entrepreneurs are the people that are trying to build an entrepreneurial community in their communities – like Detroit, like Pittsburgh, like Buffalo – these cities that are rust belt. They’ve been destroyed by businesses leaving and they’re trying to build that community back up. I like that because I’m in Buffalo. Nothing against being in Boston and New York and San Fran, right? Those are already built.

Stephen : Well, you never know what could happen to the economy… How do you know when you’re stuck? It seems like you have this – you just know when you’ve had enough and it is time to move on, and then you just jump into things. So how do you know?

Jon : For me it’s like every job that I go to I’m trying to learn whatever I can from that job. To me, you kind of get that feeling that you’ve taken all the skills – you know, you’re not going to be a master or expert of anything – but you get a feeling that like, “Okay, I think I’ve kind of used everything I’m going to get out of this employer.”. And if there is no room for me to get higher up and learn some more new skills, to me, that’s when I’m stuck. That’s the scariest thing to me, when I’m not learning anymore, or developing my own skill sets. Because in the end, everybody is in the business of themselves, and if you aren’t in that mindset – that you’re in the business of you – you’ve got to get in it, because nobody cares about your brand more than yourself. That’s the way I look at it.

Stephen : It is. It’s so funny. I always say the most important skill in business is communication – and I would say, sales. Yet, what don’t they teach you in business school? How to sell! So none of us know how to sell ourselves.

Jon : It’s an awkward thing, too, usually. People aren’t comfortable bragging about themselves – some people are – but not everybody is comfortable selling themselves and bragging about what they’ve done. It’s just an awkward thing sometimes for people.

Stephen : Yeah, what is your quick story? I think that’s a big thing that we’re trying to make people aware of, is how to tell your story. What’s the quick story that you tell about yourself. What’s your quick pitch about why Jon Spitz is so awesome.

Jon : Oh man. You’re putting me on the spot? I guess I’m a doer, right? I’ve done a lot of things, from being the guy who brought Startup Weekend here, and now I’m going to be one of the guys, and gals, that brings the world’s largest business plan competition to the city of Buffalo. I don’t know. You’ve put me on the spot and I didn’t have a good response.

Stephen : I think that’s a good answer because I think that’s what it’s about when you’re selling yourself, right? You have to have that answer ready to go, because how are people going to remember you. I’m sure there are already people in the community of Buffalo who know “Oh gosh, if we need to get this thing done, you know who we need to call? Jon Spitz.”

Jon : I’d like to think so. My new boss – who is awesome – says “Your reputation is the one thing that you have to hold near and dear to your heart, because when you lose that reputation it is very, very difficult to get it back. So you need to be known as someone who follows through, gets things done, that can be relied on. If you are known as that type of person I think that goes a long way. Then you can help other people through networking and volunteering – I think volunteering is probably one of the number one things I recommend to anybody to get unstuck.

Stephen : Yeah, and I think it’s amazing – you didn’t get paid for anything you did for the startup weekend, correct?

Job : No.

Stephen : That is a ton of work, but tell me – what do you feel? What did it give you back? Why was it worth it?

Jon : Let’s say I didn’t get this job I have now – which I attribute to Startup Weekend – still, just like the relationships I have now in the community with like-minded folks. The feeling you have when you’re at that event, and you see the energy in that room and all of the people – whether it’s 70 people or 100 people – that believe they have the next Facebook, the next big thing. Man, it’s just such a high that your high on it for that whole weekend, and then a couple of days after. That’s why we keep doing it, because it’s just an incredible feeling to see these people and this energy. You’re bringing strangers together to try and accomplish something huge. That’s why I did it and that’s while I’ll probably continue to do it.

Stephen : I want to ask you in a second about your new job – about the new chapter in your career – but something else about the Startup Weekend, or your experience in building communities. What do you think are the ingredients to build a community that cares?… That’s hard.

Jon : It is. It’s a slow burn, but it really starts with a couple of passionate individuals really spreading that energy. That energy is contagious, and once people see that they’re not alone and there are other people who feel the same way and have the same ideas and think the same way they do, then it starts spreading. It’s slow, but to get people involved what really probably should happen – what I keep telling the folks that we do Startup Weekend with – is that we should really probably pass that event off to somebody else – as much as I love it – and let them run with it, bring their communities into it and let it even more. Then we go on to do a different event. So we keep getting all of these different events which are running simultaneously so there’s just a ton of entrepreneurial events happening in Buffalo, and we turn into this hub of – nobody would even think right now to start a business in Buffalo – but I’d like to think that in ten years that’s going to be a very, very different story.

Stephen : Well, just the standard or cost of living is so much less expensive than Silicon Valley or New York City, that I think that is a story that Buffalo needs to tell. That is, the dramatic cut in startup costs just because it’s going to be so much cheaper to live and have office space, etc.

Jon : Yeah, I own a house – which is just stupid to me that I can own a house. You can do that in Buffalo. Your friends in New York and etc. – they can’t do that. That’s one of the big advantages here.

Stephen : Absolutely. So you were at the college. When did you know to leave that and what did you leap into next?

Jon : I left Medaille College. I think both parties knew it was time. It was just, a lot of things went on there. Half of my staff had gotten fired, and they had been there for 30+ years. So it was just a really negative atmosphere, and I knew that I couldn’t keep doing this to myself because I started to feel like I was back at Wegman’s. Nothing against Wegman’s – because they’re a great company – but I just didn’t want to feel this way. Life is too short to feel this way. So it was really a mutual part. I told them, “Listen, I’m just going to finish up my MBA and I’m out of here.” Then I was finishing up my MBA and this job opportunity popped up – through one of the connections through Startup Weekend, giving me the introduction to the hiring manager – and then , long story short I ended up scoring really, right now, the dream job. I’m basically getting paid to do Startup Weekend, which is like “Wow!”.

Stephen : Awesome. So what’s the company? What do they do?

Jon : So, it’s “43 North” It is the world’s largest business plan competition, and by that meaning we have the most money. So it’s almost like a mass challenge, except there’s more money in the line. So we have $5 million total in prizes, and there’s going to be a million for first, there’s going to be six half million prizes, and I think four quarter million prizes.

Stephen : Wow, and what are you doing for them?

Jon : I’m the operations manager, so I’m really trying to build the competition – like I built Startup Weekend. So, what are the requirements to join the competition, getting judges, getting mentors. Then I’ll be traveling. So I’ll be heading up to Washington, New York, Boston – trying to recruit people.

Stephen : Well, you have to stop by and visit Chris and I.

Jon : Yeah, I’d love to. I’ll be in Boston, I hope. So , it’s like unbelievable. It’s a really small team, but I’m interfacing with some of — like, some of the people I’m sitting next to in meetings I’m like, “God, I can’t believe I’m sitting next to this person.” You know? Because they’re really successful people in Buffalo, and just sometimes I pinch myself, because I’ve never liked a job where I woke up and didn’t mind going to work in seven degree weather, like today. Or brought work home, and was just doing it because I wanted to do it and not because I had to. It’s like a strange feeling, and I think that’s what everybody is looking for. It doesn’t necessarily have to be you starting your own business, but finding that company where you have the same belief system, and you like the mission that they’re going for and things like that. I really wish it upon everybody, because it’s really an awesome feeling.

Stephen : I’m really glad you said that, because that’s something that we’re trying to do – that idea of entrepreneurship. That you don’t have to be that person that’s going to go get VC money and start your own business. You can find that right opportunity. It’s about being empowered. It’s about really knowing your story, knowing what you want and the people you want to work with, and going out there and finding it. It sounds like you’ve gone through a lot of trial and error to find it, but it seems like it was so worth it.

Jon : Oh my god, yeah. I probably wouldn’t have it any other way, but if you would have asked me when I was at a couple of those jobs, I probably would have sang a different tune. But now that I’m where I’m at today, you kind of see why it all took place, and all of the things you learned throughout those jobs.

Stephen : Well this is really awesome. I love your unstuckable story, but now it’s time to turn the tables. Are you ready to help our listeners get unstuck and take action?

Jon : Of course.

Stephen : So, how would you describe someone who is unstuckable?

Jon : I guess if you’re in a place where you just know that you’re not happy. If you’re not happy going to work – which I don’t think most people are for the most part – you’ve got to do something. For me, I took a drastic move and quit my job. I really don’t recommend that to anybody unless you’re in a position to do that. Other than that, my first thing would probably be networking. I think networking is the #1 thing to do to get unstuck, wherever you are. By that, try to find a cause that you really believe in. There’s tons of non-profits in any community. Maybe create your own, but just get involved and help people. When you truly try to help somebody, it seems that it comes back to you. By that I mean that if I help connect you to somebody else I know that’s somewhere else in the country, you’re going to be more prone to help me do something. It’s just human nature. If somebody helps you you want to return the favor. So to genuinely help people by volunteering, I think good things just come your way. Not only karma, but at the end of the day, I think job opportunities, etc.

Jon : Yeah, I think even when you want to go to a conference or an event that you’re really excited about – the people who are going to be there, the speakers, the content. Take the next step and actually volunteer and see if they need any help, because you are going to meet that many more people because you’re going to have an integrated role into how that conference is run. You know that better than anybody.

Jon : Yeah, that’s actually great idea.

Stephen : Right? You were kind of like. “I’m going to sit at the registration table so I can meet everybody and they come in, absolutely. So, excellent point. I really am such a firm believer in just meeting somebody and doing something new. That’s a great way to get unstuck. Is there a particular resource, a book, podcast, quote – anything like that – that you use regularly to help people get unstuck?

Jon : There’s a couple of books. One of them is, I think it’s “The Magic of Thinking Big”. I don’t know who the author is. I gave the book to my sister because I loved it so much, and I wanted to make sure that she read it. Really good book. Just really on the magic of thinking big. So thinking positive and all of that stuff. I highly recommend that book. I also really like Gary Vanderchuck.

Stephen : Oh, yes.

Jon : I’m a social media geek –

Stephen : I love “Crush It”.

Jon : Yeah, “Crush It” was actually the book which made me quit my job.

Stephen : Wow!, Thank you Gary V. Look what you did for Jon.

Jon : Those would be the two which come to mind immediately.

Stephen : Is there anybody you would like to thank, that has helped you get unstuck, and how did they help you?

Jon : I always think that getting that job at Medaille. Jackie Matheny was the hiring boss. For her to give me that opportunity – because I was hired as the director of online recruitment, which at the time after I got there I realized that I probably had no business getting that job. She really took a leap of faith on me, and it probably changed the whole course of my career trajectory. So that would be one of the first ones. I actually wrote her a letter after they fired her that said how much I owed to her. Then [Ad Harrigon?] –

Stephen : I think that’s awesome by the way. I just think it is a reminder. For those people that – you don’t even realize – it could have been just something they said. But it affected your life. I think, write a note, send an email if you’re able to contact them somehow, and just let them know how they changed the course of your life. I think it’s such a nice gesture back to what you were saying about helping people out, volunteering, and giving something back.

Jon : Oh, absolutely. Then Ed Harrigan, he was my manager over at Wegman’s. It was not until I got into my MBA program, and they started doing the leadership courses, that I really realized like, “Wow. Ed was telling me all of this stuff for free at work.” So I was learning leadership way back from him. I guess to my last point on really how to get unstuck – and my boss kind of reiterated it – and I’m going to try and pursue this myself now. You need a mentor, and you probably need more than one. Just reach out to somebody. He suggested you reach out to somebody in the community that you admire and it doesn’t matter how big they are. He goes, “The worst thing they do is don’t respond or say no. But everybody likes to get their ego stroked, so write them an email and say, “Hey, you have a phenomenal career background. I would love to grab a coffee with you and chat.”. Then just take it from there. So I actually reached out to this gentleman I’ve met through my new job, who has just an incredible resume, and said, “Hey, I had a great time meeting you the first time. If you’re available, I’d love to bounce ideas off of you from now and then, over a cup of coffee. He’s like, “Sure, no problem. I would love to help out.” I think you don’t know until you ask, but we’re all afraid to ask. So I think, just getting somebody you admire that you don’t work with but is in a different industry, I think that is probably a huge thing that most people are afraid to do,

Stephen : I think that’s great advice. What I always tell people is everybody likes a compliment. Something they wrote or did that you genuinely really liked, and influenced you – let them know. That is a connection, instead of just saying, “I want to make a lot of money just like you!” And maybe that is an approach, who knows. You never know who you’re talking to. Even for our podcast, it’s amazing how many people who have been so generous with their time who we thought would never want to give us the time of day. It’s been a tremendous experience.

Jon : Awesoe.

Stephen : So John, thank you so much for all of your awesome advice. There’s a lot of great nuggets in there for people to go back and listen to on how they can get unstuck. Hopefully, we’ll have you back one day. And good luck with the new business plan competition.

Jon : Yeah, and people should check it out at 43north.org. You can apply, register, and maybe you can get unstuck by starting your own business and bringing it right here to Buffalo, New York.

Stephen : Love it! Thanks so much Jon.

Jon : Alright, thanks.

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***If you are the producer or host of an interesting YouTube video, podcast, etc. which you would like transcribed, I may be interested in taking on your project, free of charge. If the subject of your production is something which is especially interesting to me (some favorite subjects of mine include : technology, health, philosophy, media, psychology, art, economic, globalization, cryptocurrencies, and many more) I may decide to work it into my “free transcription project” schedule. I am currently working at the comfortable pace of  one or two transcription projects per week. I prefer audio/video files which are in the range of 15 to 30 minutes in length. It requires roughly one hour to transcribe 15 minutes of audio. I also ask that the audio of the production be of professional quality, since I post the audio/video on the individual transcript page and prefer to fill my pages with high quality content which maintains the integrity of the site. Please email : freelance_transcriptionist@hotmail.com to discuss this potential opportunity further.

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Feel free to donate some Bitcoin to support the research and writing effort of this blog.

Donate some Bitcoin to support the research and writing effort of this blog.

Day 7 : The Revolutionary Merger of Web and Transcription Technology

web transcription

Today started out on a very positive note as the first thing I did was read another one of the very interesting posts on the Transcribe me blog :

What Is Transcription
http://transcribeme.com/blog/what-is-transcription

The TranscribeMe blog has over 100 quality posts and the subjects cover many extensive  aspects of the transcription industry as a whole, and specifically how ongoing advances in the technologies of speech recognition and transcription software – fueled by the evolution of artificial intelligence and crowd sourcing – are serving the needs of a growing number of people, organizations and industries . The blog is, in itself, a decent education in the nature and history/future of the industry. Even if you don’t pass their application process the blog provides a girth of information to advance one’s research and so is well worth the time leisurely reading through. The specific post above describes the history and importance of transcription from as far back in history as the Egyptian empires, describing how the role of ancient scribe was a prestigious position within the social hierarchy, as the scribes did important work transcribing the words of the royal court into written form for public consumption. For a history/anthropology buff like myself this is very interesting information.

I also looked through the second page (out of 11 total pages) which list all of the blog posts with short description and I recorded the urls of the interesting ones on my general notepad file. I will then go back to one post per day and read through it completely. In this way I keep a steady stream of daily blog post information coming in, while at the same time prereading to get a quick idea of what subjects have been covered in the blog over time to get a better picture of the whole operation. This is an effective way to really get a feel for the company. Since I have decided to proceed with their transcription application this research will be helpful. In all of my years of research for various projects I have settled on this general strategy as being most effective for discovering, absorbing and retaining information while maintaining the highest interest level possible (as there is always something interesting waiting to be read in the future, and you prime yourself for the information before actually fully going through the process of consuming it).

My general impression of the whole TranscribeMe site has been so positive that I decide it is definitely worth taking a few minutes away from my time reading their blog posts to go through the application. For the sake of not putting unnecessary extra stress on my already overworked typing fingers I will direct the reader to the following good blog post which gives a good description of the TranscribeMe application process :

Transcription for Beginners at TranscribeMe

The only correction I will make to the above article is that TranscribeMe has now upgraded their application process so that after you pass the initial test you then enter into a well-designed training phase which has an additional “final” exam which you must pass before being cleared to start working on projects.

Before you actually attempt the initial test they give you a free (ebook format) copy of their up-to-date (to the current month) 31-page Style Guide. The style guide in and of itself is a valuable educational tool which is informative for ANY beginner to the transcription world. I strongly advise anyone to file this document with all of your other transcription career development resources. I have a special folder on my computer for this very purpose.

I did a quick browse of the table of contents of the Style Guide and a quick run through of all 31 pages. I then planned to do a full read of the Style Guide in the coming days and also refer to it during the test if necessary (which they suggest you do). The test itself was straight-forward, and considering my experience with transcribing and editing I was able to get through it fairly easily. They informed me immediately upon completion of the test that I had passed and that I was now allowed to move onto the training phase. It was very encouraging to have IMMEDIATE feedback and directions on how to immediately proceed.

Now this whole test experience was another good sign that TranscribeMe has designed their whole system professionally and with considerable planning. They provide you with the valuable, free in-house style guide (which you can use in the future even if you fail the initial exam), they make you feel comfortable during the testing process, and then they give you immediate feedback and directions on how to proceed through to their valuable, interacting training program. In other words, you feel like they are really making an effort to facilitate the process of bringing you into the operation, while at the same time looking out for your need to develop skills and transition most smoothly into the system. The company makes it clear in their overall presence and communications that they value their human capital and are always open to suggestions on ways to improve the operation. This kind of transparency and flexibility are key elements for success in the new virtual global economy.

The training program itself is very informative. It is organized into modules, and you can select “save” on any of the training pages and the system will record where you stopped so you can continue from that point the next time you log on. I personally like this save feature as I believe it is worth taking a day or two to go through the training modules at a comfortable pace, especially considering that even after you pass the training exam you still have to wait a few days for the administrators to clear your account to begin working on jobs. I also suggest simultaneous referring to the style guide as you proceed through the training.

The training starts with a hands-on, interactive module on how to navigate the TranscribeMe system as a transcriber. To give you a sense of the kind and quality of information in the training, here is an excellent introduction video available on the “Transcribe Me? Training Videos” YouTube channel :

Now that I have passed the application stage and have some resources to work through I can take my time to take it all in. As there is a girth of information related to the company and the various aspects related to the operation (ex. the technology, knowledge of the industry, the company culture, etc.) I think it is best to proceed slowly and steadily and to build a strong foundation in order to best utilize the resources available and thus obtain the most benefit in terms of my long-term transcription/editing career goals.

At this point, the resources I have to work on include : the blog posts, the individual company web site pages, the social media profiles (ex. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) of the key administrators and co-workers, the company’s internal social media platform (a vibrant Facebook-style communication platform hub for all workers in the company), the style guide and training program, and the numerous YouTube videos and articles throughout the web related to the company.

I will thus narrow down my research focus to the TranscribeMe resources for at least the next few days (perhaps weeks) and put off on evaluating new online transcription company web sites, as this will lead to the greatest gain in long-term productivity at this time.

In the next post I will explore my findings as I work through these resources, and discuss some interesting aspects of the new revolutionary technology being developed and used by the TranscribeMe company, and how that technology is aiding in the process of CREATING work opportunities in the new emerging global virtual economy.