Feb 22 • 1HR 39M

Podcast #6: Jimmy Soni on the PayPal Mafia (Musk, Thiel, Levchin, etc), startups, tech, the research process, and much more

More a conversation between friends than a formal interview

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Investing & business, science & technology, and the arts.
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My friend Jimmy Soni (💚 🥃 ✍️) is launching his new book The Founders: The Story of Paypal and the Entrepreneurs Who Shaped Silicon Valley today, on 2/22/22 (best date ever), and to mark the occasion we recorded a wide-ranging conversation yesterday.

This isn’t a typical ‘promo interview’ with an author who’s launching a book. It’s more like sitting at the same table as two friends who are catching up.

We spend maybe 1/2 of the time talking about PayPal PYPL and the ‘main characters’ (Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Max Levchin, etc), and the rest of the time we mostly went up a few levels of abstraction to talk about business, entrepreneurship, technology, startups, human nature, writing, the research process, Jiro Dreams of Sushi and Michael Jordan’s Last Dance, transferrable skills between disciplines, craftsmanship, how to become really good at something, etc. (oh, and Deadwood was mentioned, of course 🤠)

I hope you enjoy it!

Jimmy was gracious enough to offer 10 signed copies of the book to supporters of this show — I picked the winners with a bingo machine randomizing software earlier today and they’ll get an email soon asking for their shipping details. The others will also get one to let them know they didn’t get it this time (there were 51 names on the list, so the odds of winning were 19.6%).

If you want more traditional interviews with Jimmy that focus more on the story in the book, here are two good ones that I can recommend:

Make sure to also get Jimmy’s book on Claude Shannon.

The father of information theory had a very interesting way of thinking about life — reminding me a bit of Richard Feynman and Ed Thorp, in some ways — and he deserves to be known by everyone and be as much of a brand name as Einstein…

Now I’ve got to go watch The Defiant Ones

What have I learned from doing this?

It took me about 2 hours to edit the podcast.

Mostly just some polish, shortening long pauses, removing a few of my numerous verbal tics (I wish I could’ve gotten all of them — there’s nothing like listening to yourself talking for over an hour to realize how many filler words you say in conversation), removed background noise from a section, etc. I also normalized the audio volume and added a bit of compression to reduce the dynamic range a bit.

Nothing too major, just wanted to make it sound a bit smoother for you.

While I like the artisanal editing process in Audacity, I’m thinking that if I ever start doing more of these, I may need to go with something like Descript to automate more of it.

I gotta ask my podcasting friends about their workflows… 🤔

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🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪