Speaker 2: Hi, and welcome to [00:00:30] learning to dad. My name is Tyler Ross, and I am pumped to be here with Joel Gumroad today. One of my favorite people to talk to thank you for, uh, having the conversation with me, right? Exactly. That's nothing wrong with this conversation. The little tequila won't care. That's right. Seen as what do you think? It's 90 degrees outside. This might go to our head quick. So this could be a fun. Um, but uh, we are on location too. I'm usually at my office. So let's start out just today with, tell me about where we are. This is a [00:01:00] Pilgrim's rest in broad run, Virginia Fauquier county. It's uh, an 88 acre forest and I am it's troll.
Speaker 2: Well, you've taken good care of it. I love coming here. The house, the house is amazing. Yeah, it, uh, it, it, uh, the back end of it has been around for a long time. And the front end is the addition. When I suddenly realized we just didn't have enough house for two growing girls. And I said to the, [00:01:30] after I fired the first three architects, yeah. I went to Henry rust and I said, Henry, what we need here is a, that the, the old part of the house burned out in 1862, when the Yankees came through the second time as well. I told him that's what I told him. And we're going to build it back. That was complete fiction, nothing new. It wasn't here in 1862, you made up, right. I made it up the holes coming through right up the hole. [00:02:00] No, the Yankees coming through was true, but everything else was, yeah.
Speaker 2: Has there been any metal people call you and ask about, oh yeah. Plenty of that. And uh, yeah. So this is, uh, anyway, so, so we tried to make this place look like a grew here. Yeah. And, uh, it feels that way. Yeah. Thank you. Yeah. It's better than being under a bridge that's right. Piece. The hell out of that air conditioning works well. So like to kind of, for those listening, kind of introduce who you are and [00:02:30] you know, it's about the, the show's about entrepreneurs professionals. And so some background I could go on and on books, writing talks, all these things, but how would you describe your own professional self? Well, I've done a lot of things, but the what, everything, what would they all have in common is that I explore culture and values, who we are, how we got that way, where we're headed and what makes us tick. And,
Speaker 3: Um, [00:03:00] sometimes I draw maps for those who could follow. And those maps turned out to be things like books. Yeah. And so I've written three of those. And, uh, anyway, and so even my previous life, I was a reporter and editor of the Washington post. And now I work year round for Arizona state university, where, and I I'm there in Arizona from January to may and in Virginia for the rest of the year, avoiding east coast, winters and Arizona summers, because Abraham Lincoln [00:03:30] was wrong. You can fool all the people all the time.
Speaker 2: I'd like to get on that program. Is there any, is there any, what subject could I possibly teach in Arizona for that schedule up
Speaker 3: Podcasts? There you go.
Speaker 2: I have no idea what I'm doing. That's right. Why
Speaker 3: Should you be different, right. Make it up as you
Speaker 2: Go along. So this such an interesting time, I mean, as a, is it fair to call you a futurist?
Speaker 3: Yeah. Yes. I mean, I'm, I'm used to answering to that. [00:04:00] My pals and I are a little allergic to being to that word because I don't do predictions. Predictions are always wrong. I'm still waiting for my hotel on Mars, you know, and, uh, right into my flying car and all that anyway. But so, uh, what I do is scenario planning, which is a systematical systematic, rational, logical way of thinking about the future by rather than trying to guess the future, what you do is you come up with as many uncertainties about the future as you possibly can. [00:04:30] And you see if there's patterns in there always are, and then you look for strategies that are robust, no matter which of these futures that you can kind of couldn't might happen. But anyway, but yeah, so people nonetheless always say futurists and I've learned to say, okay, yeah.
Speaker 2: Is there a more appropriate kind of
Speaker 3: Word or, oh, I don't know, scenario planner is the official word, but they don't a lot of don't don't let it get to you.
Speaker 2: Do you have a favorite [00:05:00] kind of set of scenarios that you've kind of conjured or created or built, or, you know, over the course of your doing this?
Speaker 3: Well, we did a set once for the family here in 1999. Yeah. Remember why two K you remember there was this very serious concern that when the calendar rolled over that all the computers in the world were going to die, but had a serious worry and nobody could, it was impossible to test this in advance. [00:05:30] So I thought, well, you know, if somebody, if I, I would really lose all credit as a futurist, if the whole thing, you know, went to went south and my family and I were stuck here, scratching our butts, trying to figure out what the hell are we doing? So anyway, so we thought, I thought about this and I thought, uh, so you know, what, what are the uncertainties, if the computers all die? And the anyway, one of the critical, and there were two, basically one is, is the gear [00:06:00] going to work?
Speaker 3: Yes or no. And imagine that as a horizontal axis with, you know, everything works at one end and nothing works at the other end with all the possibilities in between. Yep. And the vertical uncertainty was critical. Uncertainty was, is the society going to hold together? Yes, no. With all the possibilities in between and you, uh, and you, if you cross those two axes, you get four different stories about the future and the upper, right. You get [00:06:30] the gear works and the society works and that's what happened. That's what actually happened. But, but we didn't know that going in. So it ended up in the lower left. You had the health scenario in which the gear doesn't work and the society rips itself apart. And then there was the other two, which is, you know, gear works, society falls apart, gear doesn't work, society comes together.
Speaker 3: And, uh, so my question essentially for that was, should I get a generator? [00:07:00] You know? And, uh, so when I did the scenarios, I realized, you know, that's only going to work in one scenario in which it does, you know, in which there's going to be gasoline soon back soon. And, you know, should I buy more guns and more ammunition? Well, no, actually the robust scenario is to, is to have a lot of your friends in the same boat with [00:07:30] you so that you can do so you can be collected. Now, the problem was that, you know, we live in the country and our neighbors are pretty far apart and we don't really know. We didn't really know each other very well. So we decided the robust scenario was to get to know the neighbors in advance of this. So that if we, if, if the hit, you know, if the crap hit the fan, we could come together rapidly.
Speaker 3: So there was a house down at the bottom of the road [00:08:00] owned by an old woman who, uh, anyway, she'd rented it to a bunch of, there's no other word for this white trash and I'm sure. And they trashed the place anyway. And it was an, and she's old. She couldn't figure out what to do about it. And so we, and it was an eyesore. So Adrian decided to bring the neighborhood together to say, let's spend a Saturday cleaning the place up for the old woman. And, uh, anyway, and, uh, that, but [00:08:30] her real agenda that she didn't tell her, the real agenda was to, was to, for the neighbors to get to know each other, know more about each other, because just in case we had to come together on January 1st and one big hurry. And, uh, uh, and it, and it worked the, you know, I mean, uh, everything went went well, but it was robust even in the scenario where everything went well, because to this day, the neighborhood is much more together than it ever was before. And we plow [00:09:00] each other's driveways. And I discovered that it has a whole bunch of people in the country with amazing capabilities, like portable, welding and stuff like that. You never know when that's going to come in here.
Speaker 2: Sure. It's a Y2K type scenario, nine 11, potentially anything instead, it feels, it feels delicate. Yeah,
Speaker 3: Exactly. If, if you, if, if, if the world ever, you know, begins to get uncertain, w where, where, where,
Speaker 2: Yeah. I could sell your house in your pocket. [00:09:30] That brings skills. Right. Well, you've tackled topics. And forgive me if I'm summarizing this poorly, but I'm thinking about edge city, your book as well, which is so funny because several people I know have had that as a textbook in their college courses, and then make me feel, Oh, these are, these are my grandparents, but the way I assess it right now in my head is that one is [00:10:00] kind of biological genetic. And the other is kind of like on an individual basis maybe. And the other is kind of more societal or is that,
Speaker 3: Well, these three books are all appear to be very different. Everybody wonders. Well, how wait, where did that come from? Yeah. Uh, one is called the nine nations of north America, which is about how north America works as if it were nine separate civilizations. The second is ed city life on the new frontier, which is about the biggest revolution in 150 years of how the world builds cities [00:10:30] that are way past the old downtowns and now much larger than them. And the third is called radical evolution, the promise and peril of enhancing our minds, our bodies, and what it means to be human, which is about the future of human nature. But what they all have in common is culture and values. I mean, like, so radical evolution is only marginally about technology. It's really about who we are, how we got that way and where we're headed and what makes us tick. And that's what the, all the books,
Speaker 2: Yeah. This [00:11:00] is it kind of guns, germs, and steel accepted, different approach is that,
Speaker 3: And this the only, only looking forward to generations.
Speaker 2: Right. Wonderful. I'm, I've read it so many years ago that, uh, I didn't understand it. Then imagine now I feel now, and then, uh, you were working you in high school at the time. Yes. No, I'd just gotten into college. I just didn't know. It was a 2005, right. So I was in college. [00:11:30] Yeah.
Speaker 3: Yeah. One of the things about my daughters is I had Evangeline, my younger daughter who is at home at the time when I was writing this, I had her read the check, these chapters as I was writing them because I wanted to hit the audience, that what I called it, the, the, the three eyes for intelligent, interested, and ignorant of the subject at hand. And, uh, and it pays to have, when you do that to have a, a specific person [00:12:00] in mind that you're writing to. And, uh, so anyway, so I wanted it to be read by like a high, a smart high school senior, you know, I didn't want it to be over their heads. It's
Speaker 2: That explains why I didn't fully grasp.
Speaker 3: So it took you to senior year college. Okay. Well, you're a slow learner. So I got invited to Highland one time to our local high school. And, um, and a bunch of kids had read it and I thought, I'll be damned. It worked. [00:12:30] Yeah. Every, every helped shape that book. And it worked
Speaker 2: Awesome. That is, that is really, really amazing. Um, and we'll, we'll get into your kids too. Who, both of whom I, I can't speak more highly of, they're both so smart. And Ryan says that smoking is one of her favorite people on the planet. And if not her favorite person on
Speaker 3: The planet, she's talking about Nigeria.
Speaker 2: I can't, I can't wait to hear some of these stories, but I want to be patient. And I want the people listening to be patient because [00:13:00] they will be worth it. But I'm going to talk about your professional arc. Like where did you go to college? W w w you know, what happened then?
Speaker 3: Did you grow up? I grew up in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, which is the first town in north America with a factory in 1793. Really? Yeah. Yeah. And the first town in north America with a polluted river next to the factory in 1794. Yeah. So an old time, new England gritty city. And, uh, anyway, except for the Boston reds or the, the, the, the, the buttock at red [00:13:30] Sox, triple-A ball team, that's, that's its major other major claim to fame. But anyway, uh, I wanted to get out of there as fast as I could. And so, uh, anyway, I went to, uh, one of the big mistakes in my life. I ended up going to the university of Notre Dame and from which I never got a degree. So here I am now a college professor at ASU, and I don't have a degree in anything, not even a BA. Yeah. So, uh, anyway, so like, like I said, Abraham Lincoln was wrong. [00:14:00] You can fool the people all the time. And, uh, anyway, and I, uh, got out of there and, uh, ended up looking for something to do. And a friend of mine got hired by the Washington post and he, uh, called me up and he said, your parents were in the furniture business. Right. I said, yeah, he says, that means, you know, how to drive a truck. Right. And I said, yeah,
Speaker 2: That was the one thing that makes you qualified to drive a truck as if your parents [00:14:30] were
Speaker 3: That's. Right. Well, that's right. Since the age of 16, that's the only, that's how you became valuable, was being able to being able to drive your truck. Yeah. So he says, look, I got to show up at, uh, at the Washington post on Monday. And I got my wife and my daughter and my household of furniture. Can you move the help? We'll get a truck and can you move them for me? I'll for it. I said, okay, sure. I had nothing better to do. I was looking for a job. And, um, so we loaded up the truck and it was like the, you know, [00:15:00] the Jodes and we made it from south bend to Washington. We unloaded the truck in 104 degree heat in August and Washington Cod helped me. Yeah. And, uh, anyway, so he said, you wanna go look at the Washington post?
Speaker 3: So I said, sure. And he said, as long as you're here, you want to find out if they have any jobs. I said, sure. Yeah. So I walked in and this was just at the beginning of the Ben Bradley era then was the, [00:15:30] he was the new editor. And he was the guy who made the Washington post, what it is today, you know, with the Pentagon papers and Watergate and the whole deal. Okay. And it was just ramping it up. And, uh, so they were hiring enough people with the right number of arms and legs basically. And, uh, so I walked in the door and I, and they said, okay. And I, oh, I missed one step, which is that I had, at the time I had hair down to here to here and a beard down to there. And, uh, they looked at [00:16:00] me and I said, they said, okay, which would you rather be the rock and roll critic or a night copy editor? And I said, actually, I like being an editor. And so they said, okay, your heart. So anyway, that was, so that was in 1970, what's an editor. Do you know all the mistakes that you don't see in the newspaper? Yeah. That's what an editor.
Speaker 2: Okay. What about the ones I do see
Speaker 3: That's what the report is fault
Speaker 2: [00:16:30] And no doubt your friends listening to this
Speaker 3: Right. But anyway, so that's, and so we ended up here and, uh, and Adrian, my wife and I were both city folk. I grew up in Connecticut and she grew up in Paris. She's she and her siblings are all grew up in Paris. Her, their parents were American journalists who living in living abroad. So for some reason [00:17:00] or other, we decided that what we needed to do is live on a farm in the country. And, uh, so anyway, so we ended up doing that when in New Jersey where the post had just bought a, a newspaper the Trenton times. And, uh, then when that wound up, we started looking around for a, for a place when to coming back to Washington. And, uh, so, and we put an ad in the paper that said young couple looking for, you know, small farm [00:17:30] within an hour of DC.
Speaker 3: And, uh, we got like 80 responses. Wow. Yeah. And, uh, we'd narrowed it down to about 12. And, uh, Adrian went down to look in the first place she looked at was in a county that we couldn't even pronounce the name here anyway. And she found a place on 10 acres with a log cabin built in 1790. And, uh, she called, she said, I found it. Yeah. I said, come [00:18:00] on. That's the first place you looked at? Well, no, it turns out she was right. That was it. And so that's why we had how we moved to Fauquier county in 1976, uh, six and the rest is history. Uh, and then, uh, when Simone, my oldest and first, uh, my oldest daughter, uh, was born that, that old log cabin was to Cranford raise children. So we moved over the Ridge to this place, Pilgrim's rest. And, uh, [00:18:30] we ended up build, you know, and it was another old beat up place and tough to tell my friend, Marty, the asphalt king of the, of the east at the time said, you know, the business place would look best on the bucket of a D nine cat, which is a bulldozer.
Speaker 3: And it was years before I realized, you know, he wasn't entirely wrong, tough to tell the difference between [00:19:00] old and charming sometimes. And, uh, anyways, but by then we had replaced everything in sight and, uh, and it added on. And, uh, so anyways, we've been living in year, ever since. Where did hear, comes Adrian up the driveway now? So you met Adrian in New Jersey or met her at the Washington post when I started there in 1970. And, uh, she, uh, decided that she liked the cut of my jib. So she invited me to her place to a [00:19:30] T in Georgetown, this, that, this apartment that looked like it had been put together by a smart Montessori Montessori class. Yeah. And, uh, and the sensible thing, she, she heard me say that I had to sell my motorcycle to leave south bend. So she said, my ex-boyfriend is, is selling his bike.
Speaker 3: Do you want to see it? So I said, okay. So I went to Georgetown and took one look at it. And it was not at all what I wanted, but one thing led to another. And, uh, so, [00:20:00] and then she made me lunch and she, she said, do you want lunch hungry? And I said, sure. And so she went to the refrigerator and opened it up. And the only thing he did it was, was a black lump and a couple of eggs. And she opened up the freezer and there was a crusty gray clump of ice. And she said, oh, lunch. Okay. But I, you know, she [00:20:30] grew up in France. So she took the black little lump and that turned out to be a perfectly ripe avocado. Yeah. She took the block of gray ice and that turned out to be shrimp. And she took the eggs and she made mayonnaise from scratch with a whisk, with a French whiskey. And I'd never seen anything like this before in my life. I thought mayonnaise required an industrial process, the size of New Jersey, you know, anyway. So she made [00:21:00] the mayonnaise, made the, you know, the shrimp did put it in the avocado and she said lunch. And I was in love. I said, this is why I came to Washington.
Speaker 2: Yes. It's the perfect embodiment of what they say them way to a man's heart is through as well.
Speaker 3: Absolutely. Yeah. And, uh, and so that's the story we tell the children and there's a part, and it's true, but it's not the end of the whole thing. Uh, and we've, we've spared them for what happened [00:21:30] that afternoon.
Speaker 2: Well, I'm going to assume that they'll take the time to listen to it. So I won't cry any further and I'll let the imagination of the audience take hold. So you're, you're at Washington post, you meet Adrian, you guys get together, stay together. You get married pretty quickly.
Speaker 3: No, that was, that didn't happen until 76, but we lived together practically from the beginning. And
Speaker 2: How long did you stay at the Washington post?
Speaker 3: 39 years.
Speaker 2: And you went from night [00:22:00] editor. What was the evolution of that
Speaker 3: Long story? But basically I worked for every section of the paper except sports in the course of this. And, and what everything had in common was I was trying to figure out what made humans tick. And, uh, so I ended up in national Metro outlook, uh, all kinds of places like that. And, uh, anyway, and it was, uh, so, uh, the metropolitan area was, oh, and then at one point, this is how we got to here. At one point I realized [00:22:30] that, uh, that, uh, Richard Nixon had changed my life. Yeah. I have to give a guy credit. He, I have no choice. There's remember Spiro Agnew, his vice-president now to you, the, of course you don't know the name
Speaker 2: To me, the toaster. Yeah.
Speaker 3: Well, Spiro was, this was this loud mouth who he, and he said things like the presses nattering nabobs of negativism. [00:23:00] Wow, good line. Yeah. And, uh, anyway, and he, uh, said that we're in an echo chamber talking only to each other. And I said, that is completely wrong. That, and then I thought about it for a minute and I thought about the last party I was at. And I thought, you know what? He's right. Yeah. So that's when we started looking around for a place as far outside of Washington, as we could get that I could still hold down a job. And that's how we ended [00:23:30] up in year, basically. Well, and, uh, so anyway, cause at the time, and that matters still pretty much true. your county had Virginia had, uh, essentially no organized democratic party. And I believe that. Yeah. And, uh, to this day, that's not far from the truth. Yeah.
Speaker 2: They come up with world. Democrats are a couple of
Speaker 3: Those. Yeah, exactly. And, uh, anyway, and so it, uh, it was a, uh, graduate education in Americans. And
Speaker 2: [00:24:00] So 39 years, would you say that more has changed in the last 10 than did in the 39 that you put in a Washington post?
Speaker 3: Oh yeah. That's pretty, that's pretty safe. Um, I mean, the reason I left, I didn't leave it, it left me, uh, in, in 2009, the bottom fell out of the business model for salary journalism, basically. I mean, [00:24:30] there was just, there's no business model. Yeah. And you know, so, and, and as somebody who was interested in the future, I'd pretty much seen this coming, but I was hoping it wouldn't happen so fast. And so anyway, so in 2009, I took the last buyout of senior staff before the layoffs started. And, uh, anyway, and so that's when I started looking around for something else to do. And that's when I was recruited by Arizona state university, which is run by this guy named Michael Crow. Who's [00:25:00] this visionary and ASU has now been ranked by us news and world report for years in a row as the number one, most innovative university in America. Wow. It's also the largest with something like a hundred thousand students last iconic. And, um, anyway, and he basically looked at my strange resume and he said, you make something happen and I'll figure out how to pay for it, which is a handsome offer. But the trouble is you [00:25:30] have to keep on making something happen. So that's what I've been doing there for 10 years. So what
Speaker 2: Do you teach a series of classes or a class or a subject?
Speaker 3: Well, it's a problem because a big part of this is that they want me to be in both locations. Okay. And one of the things that, you know, both, both in the DC area and in Arizona. And so what I've learned is that wherever I am at any given point in time, they want me on the other side. So I spent a lot of time [00:26:00] in seat 12 D and I, or a window window. If I, if I ever get tired of, if I ever get tired of looking out the window, I'm going to stop flying. I love looking out the window. And, um, so anyway, but, uh, that means that it's tough for me to hold down my own teaching schedule. So I teach everybody else's classes. Okay. And which is great because I ended up, I've ended up teaching across [00:26:30] the broad, horizontal diversity of the university.
Speaker 3: I teach, you know, in theology, cloth courses, in biology courses, in English and engineering and all that and a co in, then the stuff that I usually do for them is the radical evolution stuff, which is about the future of the species, you know, in which we've come to a turning point in history, in which for the first time in hundreds of thousands of years, our, our evolution is not really just [00:27:00] puttering along. It's something that we've taken into our own control with a genetic robotic information and nanotechnologies. So we are in the astonishing position of being the first species in history to decide who we're going to be. And in that situation, the question becomes not what we can do, which is just about anything, but what we should do. And that cuts across all kinds of different universities.
Speaker 2: I want to have, I want to have a five-hour block to just have that conversation [00:27:30] with you. And I wouldn't expect it to be a conversation. I'd expect it to me, not my head drool into my lap. So I can only imagine that that topic was kind of a, the end of the funnel from the Washington post experience. Um, but over those 39 years, did you have a particularly favorite topic or subject or series that you wrote about and covered that was most stimulating? Well,
Speaker 3: If I had a nickel [00:28:00] for every Pall mall that Carl Bernstein bound off me back in the day,
Speaker 2: Yeah.
Speaker 3: I'd have a much nicer house.
Speaker 2: They just more land, I think you
Speaker 3: Right. Exactly. Yeah, exactly. I don't have, I don't have, I have acreage envy. I don't want all the land in the world. I just want all the land adjacent to mine
Speaker 2: Until we get to the oceans as,
Speaker 3: [00:28:30] And, uh, but anyway, Carl was, you know, one of Woodward and Bernstein Watergate guys, and that's my original plan was to go to work for the post for two years and save up all the money I could and then split to travel around the world. And, uh, so I did half of that, but by 72 I had saved a bunch of money, but that's when Watergate started Carl and Bob got this, you know, this [00:29:00] third rate burglary quote unquote. Yeah. And I decided, you know, I want to stick around and see how this movie ends. Yeah. And, uh, so anyway, so that's how I ended up being there for the Watergate thing. And I wasn't directly involved, but everybody I knew was. And so, uh,
Speaker 2: It had to be electric in the offices all the time and just, what's new, what's new. What do you know, type of stuff.
Speaker 3: And the nice thing about being a journalist during the Watergate era in Washington was even the copy editors [00:29:30] could get lucky and Georgetown,
Speaker 2: He just flashed the badge. That's great. Um, so do you, you, at that time you were living in DC or DC area and then,
Speaker 3: Uh, I've lived in cities all my life. So that's why when we,
Speaker 2: Uh, okay. The draw to come out here. Yeah. I sure I love it out here. Yeah. It's a great, and it's starting to cool off a little bit and usually does it does eventually. So I'm going to say in the mid, mid [00:30:00] eighties, uh, you're in full stride at the post. You've been there for a while and, uh, you started having kids. So kid number one comes along like, were you ready for it? Expert expectations? Like how did, how did impact
Speaker 3: You're professionally? Nobody ever is. Yeah. Well, okay. So first of all, if that's a nice segue to daddy. Yeah. Congratulations. Thank
Speaker 2: You.
Speaker 3: Anyway. Well, so first of all, I don't have any, I want to make it clear. I don't have any advice for anybody [00:30:30] about being a dad. Yeah. Uh, I'm still making it up. That would have been for 34 years,
Speaker 2: But the best we can do is watch each other, make it up and then share it and say, I like the way that guy made it up or I don't like the way he made it up. So
Speaker 3: Yeah. That's what we're doing. Yeah. And second of all, I want to make it abundantly clear that Adrian, my wife did most of the heavy lifting, almost all the heavy lifting. So having said that I do have some stories. Do you want to get
Speaker 2: Some stories? I [00:31:00] would love to hear stories.
Speaker 3: All right. So I'm going to use a vulgar word here.
Speaker 2: So it's the, it's a bit Dick vagina.
Speaker 3: Not that bad. Okay. Well you want him? Yeah. I've given you plenty. Right? So I need to explain. All right. Let me tell you about Marsay and France. Yes. Marsay is a place. Well, I don't speak French. First of all. I mean, I really don't. I have some words, but no sentences in Paris these days, you don't need much more. So they're so used to tourists. Right. And I'm usually [00:31:30] there with Adrian's family who grew up there, you know, kids of American journalists. Yeah. Now by contrast Marsay down on the Mediterranean by French standards is pretty hardcore. Okay. In Marsay, my hotel keepers spoke less English than I do French. Yeah. That's pretty hardcore. Marsay is so hardcore. In fact that my brother-in-law Chris cook shared a Pulitzer in the seventies for Newsday series. It's called the heroin trail. Wow. And [00:32:00] the reason he was involved in is because he could speak French, like a Marsay thug. That's wow.
Speaker 2: That's
Speaker 3: A dialect. Yeah. So that's yeah. So today, uh, heroin's not such a big deal, but Marsay is now the gateway to Arabia and to Africa. So it's plenty interesting. Yeah. Okay. So in 2006, Simone, my eldest daughter, your pal got around to thinking about junior semester abroad. A lot of her pals were going to [00:32:30] Aix-en-Provence that's an artsy place in the south of France. It's a cultural island for globalists. And someone thought about X because it wasn't Paris, which she knew. Yeah. Instead she picked Marsay why? I said, and I'll never forget her response. She said, X is for.
Speaker 2: Uh it's volume.
Speaker 3: I know, [00:33:00] I know. It really, I've always admired that line. You know, that's one of those lines. You never have to write down, you know, you're not gonna forget it is that,
Speaker 2: Well, I want to qualify this for a moment because I remember Simone senior high school quote, she who dies with the best stories.
Speaker 3: Oh, that's, I'm so glad you cued that up. I'm going to get around to that line for glad you cue that up. But anyway, [00:33:30] yeah. This is what this whole data thing, dad thing has, that's kind of encapsulated for me is that, you know, that more or less accidentally, but with some, with some malice of forethought, we didn't raise no.
Speaker 2: Yeah.
Speaker 3: You certainly didn't. So anyway, so for example, it's a tough place to be a foreign woman with no family, yet, both Simone and my younger daughter, Evangeline, they both ended up working there all by themselves [00:34:00] and uh, that's take something and they prevailed. They, they did so to be a single woman in Morocco foreign and all that jazz. I mean, you have to have plenty of that clanks when you walk. Yeah. And, uh, and this is where your sister Ryan comes in. Cause she's one of these plenty of clanks when she walks. Yeah. And these are beautiful. Let me make it clear. These are beautiful. Successful hysterically, funny, articulate, [00:34:30] accomplished women. Yes. Proud of all of them. And they are a gas to party with not a single shrinking violet and a bunch. No. And they have grit. They're resilient. They prevail it simply wouldn't occur to them to be any other way.
Speaker 3: That's the way they grew up. So I guess that's what I think. I, it occurred to me as I was thinking about this. That's what our subject matter probably is. How did that happen? Right. So anyway, so [00:35:00] coming back around to Simone and Ryan and Nigeria. Yeah. That story. Yeah. So in 2004 pal of mine, John Sheehan announced that he was returning from a decade working in Nigeria. Now let me explain about John. He and I were housemates after college. He went on to being a stunt driver with a Bailey's tell drivers, he managed dinner theaters in the south. He managed beauty pageants in the Midwest. [00:35:30] He sang professionally, professionally in the light opera of Manhattan. Then in his thirties, he did announced he was going to become a Jesuit. Yeah. You know about Jesuits. Right. Really? There's sort of the shock troops of the Vatican.
Speaker 3: Yeah. Yeah. They'd been that way for centuries. And uh, in fact, if you're a Jesuit, it's still technically illegal to enter Spain. They can't read, they can't take a joke about what happened back in, back in the day [00:36:00] anyways. So anyway, it takes 14 years to become a Jesuit. It takes forever. So anyway, so I said, John, you're going to become a Jesuit. This is your greatest scam ever. Right. You're going to get three hots and a flop for free for 13 years. Then you're going to run off with a nun. Right. But no, I mean, he stuck in there. He got our Dane and beautiful women pals from college, showed up to cheer him on. He was one of someones godfathers. And then they shipped him off to Nigeria. Now [00:36:30] let me tell you about Nigeria, biggest country in Africa, potentially one of the richest, but no tourists ever go there.
Speaker 3: Yeah. Because it's hardcore now lonely planet, which is a pretty adventurous guidebook, right? Yeah. Even it says, never take a taxi from the airport because you might get kidnapped or killed it's hardcore. And John was one of three Jesuits sent there to convert this vast country. Yeah. Now to put that in historical [00:37:00] context, centuries goes centuries ago in China, they sent five Jesuits into Japan. They sent one. So Nigeria kind of split the difference. All right. Yeah. So, and when I, when he, when he went, I told him, oh man, this is going to be really expensive to get you out of this one anyway, please just send $2,000 down and then they'll send you $25 million back. Yeah, no, I was thinking about [00:37:30] having to buy a Soviet helicopter.
Speaker 3: That was going to be pricey. Anyway, it was twin fifties. You were talking about the twin fifties. Yeah. So anyway, after about a decade, John announced he was returning back to the states. And I said, not before I get there, you're not. And it turns out I would be his first visitor. No, in all those years. Wow. [00:38:00] His very first. So I announced my plans for the family and Simone said not without me. You're not right. And so anyway, and then she recruited Ryan. Yeah. Five. So me and these two beautiful American blondes 18 year olds show up at Legos international. Just to put you in the context here a month later, when we return the guards, greeted him, greet at the girls. Yeah. They were [00:38:30] memorable. They were unusual. Oh, wow. Yeah. Yeah. They didn't see a lot. They didn't see a lot. They're unusual
Speaker 2: Here.
Speaker 3: Yeah. They didn't really didn't. They know they, the guards. Do you remember them a month later? Yeah. So anyway, our first morning there in, in, in Legos writing and John's battle wagon by the side of the road, Simone saw her first dead human body. Wow. Yeah. Made an impression on him. [00:39:00] Well, it turns out, okay. W we told you he's John said, well, what do you want to see? And we said, uh, we want to see John's world. Well, he delivered big time. He introduced the girls and me to his eight quote, tribes and quote. Now one was a real tribe where he was a double chief long story, how that happened.
Speaker 2: And if any plant medicine was involved? No.
Speaker 3: Yeah. He's a, he's a silver dung devil. Yeah. Anyway, it [00:39:30] was way hundreds of miles out in the boonies. And, but there were these other tribes that he had us embedded in work tribes, like the Lebanese expatriates that ran the economy, uh, the Brits and the Americans who worked for shell in the oil patch of the Russians who ran the arts communities and like that, and this was a big eye-opener, especially to the girls who are 18. Right? Yeah. So when we arrived at the village of the real tribe, I mean the, you know, the Bush, [00:40:00] uh, I think they were Europa, but don't hold me to that. Anyway, people met us as we were rolling in and people were clapping and cheering and running alongside the cars as w as we rolled in, because John was, that's the kind of, that's what a double chief is, apparently who knew. Right. Wow. Anyway, and so they'd arranged this big feast that night, you know, singers and dancers, and they pulled Simone and Ryan out to join them. Don't know what [00:40:30] to do about this. Well, little did these Europa know what they were getting their selves into?
Speaker 2: Oh, goodness. Yeah.
Speaker 3: At the time you may recall Simone and Ryan were co-captains of the Highland dance team. Yeah. I remember they were semi-pro. Yeah. Right. So the drum started and the girls hesitantly got up, then they kind of gave each other this look that said, [00:41:00] go for it. Yep. Well, in their wildest dreams, in those parts, no one had ever imagined white girls dancing like that. And they ended up dancing all night.
Speaker 2: Well, let me, let me tell you a guest, Jesse, Itzler had a numb, a hit, hit rap, single called shake it like a white girl. So he, those listeners YouTube it.
Speaker 3: Yeah. Right, exactly. You talk about the change over the years. [00:41:30] Didn't like to always used to be that way with white chicks in America. Anyway, meanwhile, so, so this was an endless learning experience for Simone and Ryan. Meanwhile, so [inaudible] and John is rotating us through these different quote unquote tribes. Right. And, uh, so back in L Lagos', John embedded us with a tribe of rich Lebanese. And, uh, these Lebanese had an exercise group and Simone [00:42:00] and Ryan decided that this exercise group was lame. So they took over and they taught these rich Lebanese women. How to hip hop. Yeah. Right. The Lebanese and sister, they come to this big samp, formal semi-annual ball. And Simona Ryan said, well, they hadn't brought me clothes for that. And so the Lebanese woman lent them these gowns months later, Simone saw the dress you wore in an issue of people.
Speaker 3: [00:42:30] No, it turns out it was French couture. Yeah. She didn't know she's 18. What if she knows what an I know. Yeah. Anyway. So before we left the, the shell folk, the DRI the tribe that drill for oil, they ended up making the girls repeated job offers, stay, we'll pay you whatever you want. These curls are 18, right? Yeah. Well, even out of high school. Yeah. No, yeah. They get, yeah, [00:43:00] let's see. Yeah. They just out of high school, they were like, yeah, they were just, they were in college, but just barely. Yeah. And, uh, anyway, this was all a big eye-opener for Simone, as you can imagine, she kind of thought when she went to college that she, you know, she'd ended up being, spending four years there and then getting out and working at some lame nonprofit, making coffee for the bosses and stuff like that. Yeah. Well, but no, suddenly these whole new vistas opened [00:43:30] up to her, right. I mean, there was this vast world out there that, which she had no idea and she could see how she could fit into it. It's a big deal then for Ryan's birthday, again, out in the boonies, John arranged for feast boa constrictor.
Speaker 3: So, so every May 20th to this day, I always wish Ryan a happy snake day [00:44:00] anyway, but most important. And this comes around to the line that, that you mentioned queued up after dinner. For some reason, one of the girls mentioned that old line about she who dies with the most toys wins. Yup. Well, John and I went bat and no, no, no. We said no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Wait. So we spent the ins the evening convincing them, she who dies with the best stories [00:44:30] wins. Yeah. And that's why Nigeria was the best decision I ever made as a debt. Yeah.
Speaker 2: I mean, how do you, uh, how on earth does somebody, I mean, you end up with qualities it's so are characteristics and experiences that no one else, so such a small group of people have that, that makes you extraordinarily unique. And, um, to key in, on one of the words that you used [00:45:00] a resilient, that's a, one of my favorite words to talk about here and it's stuff like that that makes people resilient. Right? Yeah. And so how, how do you, how do you, what do you have any recommendations to people that say like how this world, particularly, I feel like it, I feel like challenge and overcoming challenge is what leads to resilience, to some extent among, I [00:45:30] mean, do you have any, do you want to chip in there on resilience?
Speaker 3: I'm not sure I have any particular wisdom about being a debt. I really, I, I'm not just saying that. I mean, I really don't know that I have any advice where the, but I do have stories. Yeah.
Speaker 2: Well, the fact is you've got two wonderful girls that are kind to people that are very intellectual, that enjoy spending time with their parents.
Speaker 3: Yeah. They still liked me. That's [00:46:00] the great victory. Yes.
Speaker 2: And if, I think if every parent grew to have adult children that enjoyed being with them, they would consider their parenthood.
Speaker 3: Well, I can let me tell some stories please. So which, which I hope that addresses the soil once upon it. So one point, you know, I I'd written these books and they go in, so people would say you want to give a speech. So, yeah, fine. So anyway, I had a speech at Disney world and I brought Evangeline, my younger daughter [00:46:30] along and she was still pretty little at that time. And so they comped us a VIP breakfast at Disney world and feat featuring all these Disney characters, including Pocahontas. Ooh. Well, it said every was still pretty little, she freaked out and not in a good way. Yeah. And you know what, that taught me that every is allergic to princesses.
Speaker 2: [00:47:00] That is so different than my daughter.
Speaker 3: Yeah. But you know, but that what you were, you're talking about resilience. Well, you know, even then I guess every new had a thing or two about grit. Yeah. Yeah. I'd say some of that. So anyway, so flash forward. So Evangeline junior semester abroad, Greece, and we thank God for, for Skype girls. We would've spent [00:47:30] a fortune on transit transatlantic calls. Anyway. Anyway, she, she, we connected and she announced she was going to go, she was going to spend spring bake, break couch surfing. Wow. Yeah. In Egypt. Whoa. Right after the S the Arab spring exploded. Yeah. Well, she went, she did just fine. She met a lot of great people, but just in terms of lessons, I mean, [00:48:00] just don't think that being a dad, can't be a heart stopper. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. You're going to Egypt during the revolution right after the revolution and you're going to be couch surfing.
Speaker 3: Yeah. So anyway, so what do you, what do you learn from that? Well, I remember one time after some monumental fight, some that I have with Simone, she said, defiantly, what do you want for me? [00:48:30] And I said, I want you to be happy. So yeah. I mean, all we were trying to do was raise happy humans. That's all we were trying to do. I mean, and I don't know if there's a handbook for that, but I don't know. I didn't read it. That's why we're having this conversation, trying to figure it out. Yeah. But the rest is just the way it worked out. And if you, maybe, if you aim at that, that's a, if you aim at producing happy human adults, then [00:49:00] you might get as a side benefit, the fact that you ended up with daughters who prevail. Yeah. And, um, there's of course, side effects to this earlier this year, my wife, Adrian and Simone and Evangeline, and two of their childhood friends all ended up in Chicago where he is working.
Speaker 3: Chicago is for. By the way, I won't tell anybody that I shouldn't be, won't tell the Chicago [00:49:30] it's no Marsay. Right. It's pretty hardcore. But anyway, part of the, a part of all that was meeting for the first time of Angela Ann's new boyfriend, Gabriel. Well, I really felt for that poor son of a never met him. I know nothing about him, but I mean, this was his first exposure to the extended family. And I mean, in this crew of women where this is all grit, right. [00:50:00] This is all prevail. And I thought poor bastard, but, but it went great. Everything got along, buddy. Everybody got along fine. And, uh, one thing, one thing Gabriel learned though, I'm sure it was that every was not a runoff. She, you know, she's not a one-off, she, she, she never surrounded herself with. They were all like this. Yeah. You know? And so somebody wants, I'll never forget. I mean, it, some study once that said that people learn more [00:50:30] from the kids they associate with in school than from their parents.
Speaker 2: It wouldn't surprise
Speaker 3: Me. It makes perfect sense to me. Yeah. And you know, just seeing how these, you know, and so of course, this is a real big argument for making sure that your kids are surrounded by a superior class of weirdos. Yes.
Speaker 2: Whether it's say if your hands aren't [00:51:00] on your kids, somebody else's ours. So you gotta make sure that, that yes.
Speaker 3: So it mad. I mean, so I mean, the things you can control, like where they go to school and stuff like that, it's about, it's not, the school is important, yada, yada. Yeah, sure. But no it's about them picking the right circumstance. And with th the, the, the, the ocean in which they're going to swim. Yeah. Just picking the right ocean. Anyway. It was one time. I think it was Angela and who once asked me whether [00:51:30] I ever regretted not having a son. And, uh, that question, it had never occurred to me before in my life anyway. But yeah. When, when Simone came along, you know, the first child, I had a wise old pal named bill Greider, who told me, you already know what it's like growing up to be a boy. Now you're going to learn what it's like growing up as a girl. And it's a whole new adventure and wow. Was he right? [00:52:00] Yeah. Anyway, so finally, you know, I tried to answer every question and I said, you know, I think I'm reasonably in touch with my inner chauvinist. But honestly, that thought has never crossed my mind about, as I was talking to Simone, I mean, this has been a great adventure having these two girls that I was talking to Simone before this interview. And she said, you know, I said, I said, what am [00:52:30] I going to say? And she said, quote, I think, at least for me, it was always assumed that I had the intelligence to hold my own travel, contribute to the program. It wasn't a hope from you guys. It was an assumption as clear as the sky was blue and
Speaker 2: Wow. So she felt your confidence immediately.
Speaker 3: It was the ocean. And what she swam you
Speaker 2: Think
Speaker 3: Apparently yeah.
Speaker 2: Decided [00:53:00] to take her word for it. Yeah. It's a, the context now is different. Do you think that a parent or you think you, you, in the, I mean, it's a hypothetical, but if you were raising kids now in this environment where you think you'd feel comfortable letting them have experiences or, or encouraging experiences like Marsay or couch surfing in Egypt, the world feels different than it did when we were 18 20, 25.
Speaker 3: [00:53:30] Hmm. I just don't know any other way to do it, meaning either, you know, would it be, I mean, what would it be smart? Well, you could debate that, but I just don't know any other way to do it. And so, I mean, it's just about, you know, and as I say, I mean, it's not like we really thought about it. We just, it was this embedded assumption that they would, that they were smart or we wouldn't, they wouldn't be here, you know, I mean, and th they would, and they would [00:54:00] just, and that they would do the right thing and it was, we shirt, you know, we made it, I mean, especially Adrian, their mother, you know, you know, she did. I mean, I don't know why you're interviewing me. She's the one that knows more about child raising than I do buy several orders of magnitude, you know?
Speaker 3: But, um, but it's just the better assumption. I mean, and, and I guess it's part of just the, the life you live in the experience you, you convey. And I mean, [00:54:30] you know, both of these girls have got, I thought I had the worst case of wanderlust in the history of the 20th century, you know, back in the seventies when I was working at the post. And I just, I had this deep burning thing about seeing America. Yeah. And that's what I ended up at with a job on the national desk as what was officially called the chief of domestic correspondence. Wow. But what, everybody [00:55:00] at the post called it at the time was quote the out of town job. Yeah. Right now, how Washington is that? Right. Everything from Fauquier county to the Pacific yeah. Out of town, you know, just tells you how insular and isolated Washington was.
Speaker 3: So anyway, so it became my mission to bring this, the great out there into this backwater of Washington and say, not only is the future out there, but it's coming to get you. And so I was the, uh, [00:55:30] mouth of the funnel for a couple of hundred reporters. Some of them were bureau chiefs and some were roving correspondence, but a lot of them were stringers, which meant people who worked for newspapers in the great out there who would freelance to us and call us with stories, stuff like that anyway. And so I'm newer, their POC for that, their point of contact was the mouth of the funnel for all that. And, uh, and every day we had to produce a report on the grade out there. And, uh, [00:56:00] so on the one hand, this was great. On the other hand, I was just dying because I wanted to be out there, you know, not on the wrong end of the telephone, not under the roof, under the headset.
Speaker 3: Right. So, and we had this problem in that. Uh, so our, our major competition was the New York times or the wall street journal. And they just had us totally outgunned. They had more money and more staff and more everything that we did. So we realized [00:56:30] that the only way this was going to, I mean, this was going to be a really miserable three-year hitch, unless we figured out some advantage. So we figured out we had to out-think them and thus was born the nine nations of north America, which also, which finally turned into my first book and what this is about, this was about guys. My report is, you know, drawing lines on cocktail napkins. Yeah, yeah. That was saying, yeah, yeah. You [00:57:00] know, look, it doesn't work the way you were taught in, in grammar school by sister Mary holy water. You know, it's not 50 states in three countries, it's it really, truly this acts as if this was completely different places that paid no attention to state boundaries or national boundaries for that matter.
Speaker 3: And yet they're there, you can see them, you can taste them, you can hear them on the radio. They exist. It's real. And the people [00:57:30] who ignore this are going to lose power and money and influence. And so anyway, we ended up so early on, we ended up doing, uh, our first big hit on this, which was a series call max America. And it said, look, you got as this place from Los Angeles to Houston and from San Luis Potosi, Mexico to Denver, and it's unlike any other part of the country. It, and, um, it's the place where that is becoming the center of power and money [00:58:00] influence of the continent. And as the place that is already, that has been for centuries, part of the coming Hispanic wave. And when did you write this? 1978. Okay. All right. And you feel, it, you feel like those borders are pretty similar.
Speaker 3: It's amazing how surprised it's really surprising to, you know, we kind of did this, we did this on cocktail napkins, you know, this was pretty fairy free at the time we were just reporting, you know? Yeah. And, uh, so it's, [00:58:30] it's been an, so a few years ago, the New York times asked me to do a 30 year update on the nine nations of north America. Cool. Yeah. And so I ended up doing this thing and I said, my biggest surprise is how little the borders have moved. They moved some but not much. And what I now, you know, decades later after I, you know, what Michael, the conclusion I draw is that culture and values changes really slowly, [00:59:00] much more slowly than technology, much more slowly than politics. Sure. Who we are, how we got that way, where we're headed and what makes us tick.
Speaker 3: That's pretty basic. And, uh, and it doesn't change real fast. And, uh, that's a good thing and a bad thing, you know, if you don't like the way it is, it's going to take a lot, change it. But on the other hand, it's, it offers a stability that people, I think, crave in their lives these days. And that's why sometimes [00:59:30] their allegiance can be more to a place like Dixie or Ecotopia in the Pacific Northwest. I had all these fanciful names for these places or new England or the bread basket. They, at the beginning of nine nations, I have a quote that said home in the 20th, from somebody who said home in the 20th century is not so much where your heart is. It's where you understand the sons of.
Speaker 2: Oh, that's [01:00:00] really interesting.
Speaker 3: And boy, that's true.
Speaker 2: How's it? How has, how has the internet affected those borders?
Speaker 3: Not as much as I would've thought this seems to ref this, there seems to be these underlying realities that transcend things like chat rooms.
Speaker 2: Yeah. I would've thought the nine nations would have become 50,000 nations because we can put people in behaviors in these
Speaker 3: Well, that's smaller. Yeah. Well, that's, [01:00:30] that's true. That's true. I mean, well, one of the things I learned, you know, way back in the seventies was when I was first doing this. I mean, it was, I mean, the way this got started, as I ended up, you know, we had been talking about this for a while.
Speaker 2: So [00:00:30] anyway, we were talking about this, you know, this nine nations thing we had to stop. Cause we had to pee off the side of the pole. Glad you said that, right? That's the nice thing about having a small forest is if anybody objects to me taking a leak off my own front porch, the trust missing 360 degree range of urination here. I like it. That's the goal for my next house. Put that [00:01:00] in the remarks of the multiple listings must be able to pee the young couple looking for place. They can pee anywhere, anywhere they like, right? Like I like the, like the proverbial bear in the forest anywhere they want anywhere they want bears now, by the way. Oh yeah. Yeah. It was jammed. They got to go somewhere. Yeah, that's right. So anyway, so yeah. So nine nations. So you were saying it has the country fragmented [00:01:30] irrevocably.
Speaker 2: Well, here's what I can tell you is that back in the day in seventies there, we knew some things for a stone cold fact. We knew there was this border in, in the place like Colorado and east of this border in the Plains. And the wheat fields was one con was one civilization and west of it in the Rockies. It was an entirely different civilization. We [00:02:00] know we do this, this for sure as we were born, it was, you know, it was a news map. And when we started talking to each other, we began to link these up and we realized, oh my God, it's like this in the whole continent. Yeah. Anyway, but we took us, you know, where did these lines come from? Where did we hallucinate this? Or, or what? And, um, anyway, and then, and one of the things I discovered was that if you had a twin brother, [00:02:30] I could demonstrate to you that there would be differences between you and him.
Speaker 2: Sure. So what that means in principle in now is that in principle, you could come up with the 326 million nations of the United States that every single one of us is different and fair. Yeah. Yeah. So, so where did this nine comfort? Well, these turned out to be the biggest places about which you could say something meaningful. Okay. And something important. [00:03:00] That's where they came up. And it was originally a news map in the benefit of hindsight. This is where the news occurred boundaries between clashing cultures is where news occurs. But you know, it's, it's, it's the CLA it's the clang that you hear. That's the news never thought of it that way. Yeah. That's the news. And so I I'll give you an example. So like back then, back in the day, there was a, the farmers were all [00:03:30] upset about federal policy and they're figuring they're screwed and they were right.
Speaker 2: And so they all showed up in Washington with their heavy equipment with their tractors and they started roaring up and down the mall in DC. And uh, so we had to go out and do something about what, you know, what's the problem. Well, the New York times predictably enough sent their reporters to Iowa and their story sucked. Yeah. Because [00:04:00] I O is the center of the bread basket and all of the institutions and all of the banks and everything is set up to do everything the farmer's way. Yeah. Because we'd been working on these borders, we sent to Colorado because that's where you'd find the off farmers because they F because at the time the Western part of Colorado, this is where, you know, after the energy crisis, this is where everybody was, was looking [00:04:30] for oil shale and tar sands and all that stuff in the west.
Speaker 2: And so Denver, isn't the Capitol of anything particularly important. It's just the border town between these two warring worlds, restraint of the bread basket in the empty quarter. And so we knew this existed for a fact, but how that could be or why that could be, that's what took some took longer to understand. And in fact, it wasn't until after the nine nations book came out. I mean, this was one surprise [00:05:00] after another, you know, and it became at night. So, I mean, I thought the way this worked is you write a book, you hand it in, they publish it and the story, oh, no, oh no, it's never the end. The, you know what, all I wanted out of this was to see all of the content. So I spent a hundred thousand miles traveling around the con that's all and that's, and I got what I wanted.
Speaker 2: Well, the thing came out and then this really amazing things happened. Like it became a cult item among [00:05:30] marketers and broadcasters and, uh, automobile manufacturers, the nine nations of Lincoln mercury dropped really. They did that no way. Yeah. Yeah. And, and, and political operatives, it's still a cult of kind of, how do you feel about that? How does that make Stoneleigh slack jawed? Well, anyway, in that it, so that got me, is there, that's when I began to realize, oh, wait a minute, this is not a geography book. [00:06:00] This is not about geography. It's about culture and values. Isn't it? This is about who we are, how we got that way, where we're headed and what makes us tick. And as a story that goes forward, it goes backwards for 400 years. And it goes forward as far, as far as the eye can see, and it's enduring.
Speaker 2: And despite all of the upheavals, you know, I mean, this is not the worst time that the Republic has ever been through, you know, it's, it's in doers and [00:06:30] it matters. And these were not the old-fashioned culture and values. Like, for example, what whole, what, what, what would the Southeast, but I called Dixie, it's an old word, but it's an, a new beds, a brand new place. And what holds that together is not so much the ancient past, but the fact that it's been the most, it's the place that's been the most whipsawed and future shocked by change. Okay. That's what holds the Southeast together. And I'm talking, you know, basically from Houston [00:07:00] to Northern Florida, to the Southern Virginia. And, uh, this is the place where they're still dealing with Dixie was a place that was liberated essentially by the federal government, in the sixties, from all of those centuries of, of, uh, being a place that was primarily agricultural, primarily backward, primarily disease written, primarily racist.
Speaker 2: It's not [00:07:30] like that anymore. It just really isn't. I mean, it's, it's a new place, but there's still, it's really genuinely a new place, but people are still coming to grips with that. And so, and they're doing it in a variety of different ways, and there's a whole lot more voices that you hear now in Dixie than you did 50 years ago. And, uh, and so they're inventing this as they go along at the same time, that history is never dead. So that's [00:08:00] why the Southeast is such an interesting place to look at and why it's such a fascinating movie to watch.
Speaker 3: Yeah. Yeah. I want to go a hundred different directions because I could talk to you in a hundred different topics and never feel wanting for stimulation, but I'm going to, I'm going to do a hard, I'm going to do a hard shift to being a grandparent. Yeah. So I can just leave it at that. Or [00:08:30] I can ask you a more direct question,
Speaker 2: Try the direct question and I'll ignore it or not fair.
Speaker 3: So let's talk about context because you're not a futurist, but people might accuse you of being that. Like, how do you feel about the context of raising kids when you raise kids versus the context in which your daughter is raising children? Yeah.
Speaker 2: So I've got a, um, my, my first and only grandkid [00:09:00] Louis Rolan, solid Roland is his middle name. It's my father's name. Sorry. He's part of the family. And, uh, he's now two and a half and he's, uh, he's really, I mean, the one thing I can say for sure, for absolute stone shore about the difference about the way he's growing up and the way my kids grew up is that he's got a lot, [00:09:30] Lewis has got a lot smarter parents than they have a lot, a lot more smarter and, and, and more sophisticated and thoughtful and all that jazz. I mean, so, I mean, I think all of these kids, I mean, that's, I think that's the good news about all of your, your, your, your peers and your pals and all that stuff. It's just a lot smarter and hipper than we were back in the day. And, uh, uh, I'm really impressed. I mean, you know, uh, I'm really impressed by the examples [00:10:00] that I see, like, you know, your, your sister, Ryan just had a kid and, uh, you know, I just have a hunch. She's going to be a much better parent than she's already an amazing
Speaker 3: Yeah. Yeah. She's just, it feels like she's natural. Yeah.
Speaker 2: Yeah, exactly. And, and you, for that matter, you know, uh, even you,
Speaker 3: After these stories that you've shared, I do feel like it is even Tyler, right. Because they're so excited,
Speaker 2: [00:10:30] But I mean, no, I mean, I'm teasing, but you know, I think people rise to the occasion. So the say, what I, you know, how would I do it differently? Well, if I had to do it all over again, well, I mean, I, you know, as the, the old cliche goes life as a river, you can never step into the same place twice. And so, yeah. You know, we did the best we could under the circumstances with what we had, you know, and, uh, and people today have [00:11:00] an entirely different set of circumstances and they're learning from it and, and they're adapting on the run. And, uh, and among the people I admire who are in the parenting game now, they, they move faster. Yeah. They, you know, than we, than we possibly could have at the time. And, uh, so my reading of history is that it's always a balance. [00:11:30] It's always a very precarious balance between what Dickens called the best of times. And worst of times, you know, there was the whole thing is about to fall apart. And the whole thing is about to be an incredible explosion of, you know, I mean, we're halfway between heaven and hell all the time. That's a constant throughout all of these millennia,
Speaker 3: Jordan Peterson calls, chaos and
Speaker 2: Nevermind. Yeah. Too much tequila.
Speaker 3: [00:12:00] That's a fact. Yeah, there you go. As we have more claim, well, let me, let me ask you this, what's an advantage you had in your period of time raising kids that Simone and John do not have raising Lewis and I'll flip that.
Speaker 2: Well, I mean, well, let me speak personally rather than, I mean, cosmically and all that stuff. So anyway, so when, when Adrian and I met, we were both working at the, at the [00:12:30] post and all that stuff. And, uh, and we, you know, started dating when then she moved and we started shacking up and, uh, uh, and all that stuff. And anyway, when she continued working and she ended up working for Wallace, I'm sure what ended up working for the Annapolis left, left the pose to get a better job at the Annapolis, Maryland capital. And then she left that to get better job at the, uh, St Petersburg, Florida times. And all this time, we were doing these, you know, long distance romance and all that stuff. And, uh, anyway, and then she came [00:13:00] back and, uh, at some point she decided that she was really burning out.
Speaker 2: And I said, tell you what, let's do a division of responsibility. I'll make the money and you do everything else. Yeah. And, uh, and so we did, and, uh, I mean, this has not prevented her from working. I mean, she's got her own company where she does food [00:13:30] shows and prestigious locations. Like the G just came back from, for the, like the U S botanical garden on the mall in Washington. And she's the longtime chairman of the Fauquier county planning commission. And, uh, so anyways, so Simone, my eldest daughter refers to her as a French chef with a Z with a Jones for zoning.
Speaker 3: That's, that's pretty good and funny. Huh? I know it to be true also, cause I've, I've sat in front of her in [00:14:00] the, in the commission and I've eaten her food pretty funny
Speaker 2: Anyway. And so anyway, so she, but she wanted to really her, she really wanted to be that had to do this old McDonald farm thing and, uh, which, which is in our previous farm. It, uh, at Newmont hay, we, she raised cattle hogs, chicken, chicken, geese, ducks, rabbits, the whole nine yards. Wow. Uh, we pushed $15,000 worth of meat in seventies, money [00:14:30] per acre. Wow. Off that land. And, uh, we kind of, she kind of anticipated today's locavore and, and organic all of that stuff. None of that stuff existed at the time. Yeah. She kind of was a pioneer of that anyway, but the only way she could do that was if she gave up her quote unquote real jobs. So I said, fine, you do this, I'll do that. And, uh, so I ended up holding that one amount into three jobs and she ended up doing our dream.
Speaker 2: [00:15:00] Yeah. And, uh, and, uh, and that continued when she got pregnant and we started having the two kids and all that stuff. And, uh, that's a, you know, this was not an old time marriage where it was the breadwinner and the child. I mean, this was, this was a, a modern thing in which we, we both had plenty of alternatives and we consciously chose to do [00:15:30] this because it's what each one of us wanted it. And, uh, yeah, knowing you, I can attest to that. Anyone listening that has doubts about that claim, I, I can put the rest. Yeah. And I mean, there's not a chance that I was, could talk her into anything no. That to, to this day, to this day. Yeah. Um, she's plenty. She's yeah. I mean, she's, she's one of these not. Yeah. So true. She, you know, she's [00:16:00] not resilient, grit, whatever the word you want.
Speaker 2: I have to tell you what to do. You already know that's right. He's already in inside my head. That's right. No, that's a good point. But anyway, so that, so anyway, so we were able to now, so today, one of the problems with having tooling two income families is that, um, that becomes the new normal and, uh, you end up basing your mortgage around that and stuff like that, about having to, so that [00:16:30] I'm not sure that Simone, I mean, it would be, it would be tough if, for either John, for John or Sumo, you know, my, my eldest or my son, my son-in-law maybe tougher for them to decide that they want it to be, they wanted to be a one person income and let the other follow their bliss. Yeah. So anyway, so that I don't envy them that, but anyway, I mean, everybody's [00:17:00] got every generation has new challenges to face. We faced ours, we did the best we could, and then we're going to die, you know, and that we did the best we could with what we had at the time and everybody, and everybody will do that anyway. But, uh, but everybody faces different circumstances. And, uh, so anyway, so there, and you know what, Simone, so Louis is two and a half and you know, and there are certain predictable aspects of [00:17:30] having a kid.
Speaker 2: And you can't tell any young parent that there are certain predictable aspects of this. You cannot just pointless. You just have to wait. They'll just wait. You know? And so like, one of them is the, one of the stages is we've the world. We're not going to change how we do things just because we've had a kid. Yeah. Yeah. Well, yeah. That,
Speaker 3: But my favorite [00:18:00] thing was when we had kids and we would not do things and people without kids would judge us for not doing those things.
Speaker 2: Yeah. Well, yeah, exactly. So you'll understand. Well, I mean, so it worked for us for a while, you know, so we, and we didn't change until Simone turned 18 months. And that was the moment when we learned sh Simone 18 months was the maximum mobility with the minimum understanding of the word, no
Speaker 3: Description, but a perfect description.
Speaker 2: [00:18:30] And I'd had the speech and we were at some resort, the corporation, you know, having the thing in Arizona and it had nine swimming pools. Yeah. And Simone 18 months spent the entire time trying to jump into and drought yup. Agent. And I didn't even see each other for like two days. You know, we were doing this in shift. One of us was sleeping in the other, was chasing [00:19:00] some out. Yeah. And, uh, so anyway, so I mean that, so that's after that we learned, oh, okay, it's going to smile is going to take it a little adjustment.
Speaker 3: The hardest I've ever worked in my entire life was one year ago, Litchfield beach and a family vacation. I've never worked so hard in my life trying to keep my kids from getting sucked into the ocean. There you go.
Speaker 2: Yeah.
Speaker 3: I empathize with you right there.
Speaker 2: Yeah. So there, I mean, [00:19:30] so at this, I mean, one of the things I've learned to, you know, think about the future is that the longer, the farther back you look, the farther future forward, you can see. So, you know, it pay, I mean, somebody once said that the, you can tell how long a book will last by its oldest footnote. If it's, if its oldest footnote goes back 8,000 years, it might have a shot that, uh, [00:20:00] wow. And, uh, there's something to that anyway. So it's, uh, so I guess that's, so, you know, it w what you're doing is, is, is getting his, is working on the signal to noise ratio, what's signal, and what's noise, what's static, and what's important. Yeah. And so, anyways, so some of it is some of the differences between generations is a lot of it is static. So you got a [00:20:30] new, so you've got Twitter, big deal, big whoop. Yeah. You know, but I mean, but what does that mean to what it means to be human while that's a really good question, and I'll get back to you on that.
Speaker 3: Uh, that's part of that five-hour conversation about the other things let's make another hard pivot and talk education, because I think that you are very well equipped to talk about it as somebody who consider scenarios going down the road, somebody that teaches and professors at, uh, a university. And
Speaker 2: [00:21:00] That's my story, that's my story. That's my story. And I'm sticking to it.
Speaker 3: Do you think that if you ha, if you had a kid now or advising your, your daughter and son-in-law and educating their kid, do you think that you would take the same approach as you did educating your chicken, your kids
Speaker 2: They're showing me. Yeah. I'm, I'm really impressed. Like, uh, I'm really impressed. So, you know, so they both got high, big deal, high pressure jobs. Yeah. And so, and so daycare [00:21:30] was a given. Yep. Just to give it, I mean, there was just, no, I mean, it just, there was no other, nothing else in the equation. Right. Well, so they chose this daycare place. That was bilingual interesting. Yeah. So, uh, anyway, the, that has some fancy formal name, but John and small call it the Marias. Yeah. That's anyway. [00:22:00] And so anyway, so, uh, they were having a parent teaching teacher conference once and, uh, and the, one of the teachers asked, does Louis speak English at home?
Speaker 3: It's an interesting question to ask to very white people.
Speaker 2: That's right. Samosa, uh, yeah.
Speaker 3: Casually big Latin.
Speaker 2: Yeah. But anyway, but, um, [00:22:30] but it was fascinating. I thought it was just fascinating to me and probably to her that the teacher didn't not necessarily know the answer to that question because he was pretty, he was speaking like a native and Spanish at the age of two and a half. I mean, to the extent that a two and a half year old speaks. Right.
Speaker 3: Oh, for sure.
Speaker 2: Okay. And it's, and it's really interesting in that, uh, to I, to me anyway, he really early com came up with a very sophisticated [00:23:00] idea of who you spoke, which language to
Speaker 3: That's an interesting distinction. And for two, two and a half years,
Speaker 2: Or even a one and a half year old. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, so you, so you know, that he knew, he knew that I, he, you know, he takes one look at me and it's English and, you know, so, I mean, he just knows now, um, is that a conscious calculation? No, it's a, it's something that's now hardwired and his little brain. Yeah. And, [00:23:30] uh, anyway, so we didn't have that option for any of our kids and, uh, which we did, but it was, but it was just, uh, when I give John and Simone astonishing amounts of credit for thinking this far forward. And, uh, yeah, and that, I mean, it's not just babysitting it's as long as you're going to do this. Let's let's think about resilience. Let's think about grit. Let's think about not being [00:24:00] a. Yup.
Speaker 3: It all makes so much sense. And you answered the question in such a different way than I expected, but I appreciate it so much because it's an important thing to think about because I don't think a lot of people think about educating their kids until they hit kindergarten. Right. Which so much happens between zero and then, so anybody listening, I think that's a tremendous piece of advice to be considerate from the get, go from the,
Speaker 2: [00:24:30] Before they can talk. Yeah. I that's. I gave John and Simone. I mean, this is all they're doing. This never would have occurred to me. It didn't occur to me back in the day.
Speaker 3: No, it really it's crossed my mind. But, um, I, I prioritized, uh, how my kids feel, I think. Thanks. Yeah. Thank you. Luna zoo. Blue moon.
Speaker 2: Yeah. There you go.
Speaker 3: So I've kind of prioritize my kids feeling loved over [00:25:00] this situation. It's not at all. No, I guess I didn't think to look for the other thing. I think this checks the box that's important to me. I didn't realize that there was another box to check if I had to do it over again, if I could get love and yeah. That I would do that.
Speaker 2: Right. Multiple layers. I mean, it's always, it's always this and that. And some other thing, that's the one thing that you learn when you start thinking systematically about the future? It's never either or yeah, it's both and both and both in [00:25:30] both.
Speaker 3: Do you have an opinion about raising kids in the country versus the city?
Speaker 2: Well, I think it's a lot easier in the city. You think so? Yeah. I do. I mean, there's just so much more available. I mean, we had to, we had to do well, I don't know that could be target through my. Well, what about from the
Speaker 3: Kid's perspective? Like what do you think is
Speaker 2: Simone wanted to get out of foggier county as fast as her a little legs could carry her? Well, [00:26:00] there's another story. So yeah. So, uh, so there, so there we were, Simone is, you know, you know, the difference between a fairy tale in a fire, in a Montana smokejumpers story.
Speaker 3: I only have a herd of one of those. So the difference could be
Speaker 2: Tail starts once upon a time. Yeah. And a Montana smoke jumper story starts. So there I was, and this is no,
Speaker 2: [00:26:30] Montana smoke jumpers are the guys who jumped out of airplanes with a parachute into a perfectly good raging forest fire. Yes. I like that. Anyway. So, so here I, so anyway, so Simone is in junior year getting any and sophomore year, even. I mean, that was another one of the things is that it just went without saying, she, she now tells the story that is, she was going to go to college and we started and she was going to focus and, you know, and the deal was, you get into the best college, you can and I'll figure out how to pay. [00:27:00] So when you're in that, it was abundantly clear to them. By the time they were early in high school anyway, well, high on someones list of priorities was to get as far away from Fauquier county, Virginia as she possibly could. So we, I spent a fortune on air tickets and we showed her that she, we toured colleges all over the place, all over every bloody time zone. Yeah. And, uh, and at the end, Adrian said, listen, would you [00:27:30] humor your old mom? And look at the universities in DC, please? Yeah. Okay, fine. So they went to the DC colleges and Simone took one look at George Washington university and fell in love. Yeah. That was the place natural after all these plaintiffs.
Speaker 3: Well, if you'd showed that to her first, right. She wouldn't, it's an old realtor trick, show them houses and then show him the house that love.
Speaker 2: [00:28:00] There you go. Yeah. There you go. That's it. That's it. So anyway, so she came back to Highland and she said, okay, I know where I'm going. And, uh, so anyway, and, uh, and apparently her classmates ended up saying to her, so I hear you're going north to school. This is what, 44 miles away,
Speaker 3: Asphalt 44 miles as the Crow flies less.
Speaker 2: [00:28:30] Right. But, you know, and they weren't kidding. Yeah. And they weren't wrong.
Speaker 3: I always considered FOC you're where the north meets the south. Right.
Speaker 2: Yeah. It really is different. They weren't wrong truly. Anyway. So, uh, well she, of course she would hear none of this naturally. And anyway, so anyway, so she went off to GW and, uh, she came back at Thanksgiving [00:29:00] and the first thing she did was go to what's the name of the gift shop in the Plains. Uh Peyton's Payton's okay. And she got herself, a pillow that says, that's not the way we do it in the south.
Speaker 3: It's a perfect dorm room,
Speaker 2: Brought it back. And that was what she put on her pillow.
Speaker 3: They feel if only there could be a little carrot in there, that's at 40 miles south of here.
Speaker 2: Yeah. [00:29:30] Right. Exactly.
Speaker 3: So being in college effectively spending time on college campuses, I'm starting become of the opinion that by the kid, by the time my four and five year old are college age, the model of college education is going to be totally different. And I fully anticipate my kids not going to college. Um, maybe it's
Speaker 2: Currently understands. We
Speaker 3: Currently understand it. Yeah. Do you have a, [00:30:00] an opinion on the way it looks now, the way it looked 20 years ago and the way it's going to look 20 years from now,
Speaker 2: I'm trying to remember who once said the best way to anticipate the future is to invent it yourself. Okay. And, uh, so I worked for Arizona state university, which I mentioned, you know, as they been ranked by us news again and again, as the number one innovation in America. Yeah. That's right. It is. But anyways, so, but we're at pretty much at the, I [00:30:30] mean, w when I now visit legacy universities like Harvard or Stanford, I mean, I feel like I'm in a dire drama. Yeah. You know, you forget that. Not everybody else is like this at ASU. I mean, they th they they're, they're still doing the same old stuff in the same old ways. I mean, you forget that, that there are places like this. Yeah. Anyway, so, uh, so I don't think we know what the future is, but [00:31:00] the only way to rationally address what has to be this change is to get your hands dirty.
Speaker 2: Yeah. You have to get your, you have to get up to your elbows and do it and, uh, see what works and what doesn't. And, uh, uh, and that's what so many colleges and universities colleges, so many legacy colleges and universities are just ignoring this and hoping it'll all go back to normal quote, unquote, [00:31:30] someday. Yeah. They're not in, they're not doing this. So, uh, so anyway, so another story. So, uh, back in 1999, Steven Spielberg had a problem, the movie director, the famous Steven seal, for sure. Yeah. And, uh, his problem was that he'd bought the rights to this short story. 26 page short story called the minority report [00:32:00] by this dystopian crazy guy named Philip K Dick. So he had the rights and he'd signed on Tom cruise as the, as a star. Yeah. And that's it. He didn't have anything else. Well, and he had this problem.
Speaker 2: He had no idea what the world would look like 50 years out in this movie. No idea, no clue. [00:32:30] So he called up a friend of his, by the name of Peter Schwartz, who was the chairman of an outfit called global business network, which was the granddaddy of scenario planning in north America. And, uh, he said, I need a world. So Peter ended up bringing together, and I was a part of the, of GBN at the time. And, and they had about a hundred of us who were quote unquote remarkable people, RPS, [00:33:00] and what we were as heretics. We were designated heretics. Could you couldn't have basked in that more happily. I died and gone to heaven finally being, and, uh, so anyway, so he brought together 15 of us here at ticks, in shutters, on the beach in Santa Monica, fabulous hotel, and set right up there on the water, you know, the irritating Palm trees wa you know, noisy and the surf [00:33:30] just, you know, would you please tune down the strip down a little again?
Speaker 2: Yeah, it was great. Anyway, so we went there for two days and we invented the world for the minority report. I've seen that movie 20 times. Yeah. We invented. And of course, minority report ended up people still talk about how uncannily accurate. It was about projecting the future, you know, gesture, computers and blah, blah, blah. And it, well, it wasn't prediction. It was these guys who were sitting [00:34:00] around that table at shutters. They were all people who were inventing the future at that time. Yeah. So like what, they, they knew what was in the pipeline because they were creating it. And so all they did was talk about what was a sure thing. And X number of years, it seemed to them to be a sure thing, because they were building it at the time. That's why it's uncannily accurate. And they cheated. They would just, yeah, they were just, they weren't making [00:34:30] predictions.
Speaker 2: They were reporting on what was in the pipeline. So anyway, so, uh, fine. And so the movie came out in the two thousands and, uh, three years ago there was some anniversary of the movie. And I said, wouldn't it be cool if we brought every, if we brought the rock and roll band back, if we got everybody back together. So we brought them all. I brought them all to Arizona state university in Arizona. Yeah. And, uh, anyway, and [00:35:00] for, and, uh, we decided that because we had to have some semblance other than drink, we had to have some, some reason something efficient. Yeah. So anyway, so we decided that what we're going to do is reinvent the future again. Cool. Reinvent the world again. And our focal topic was what will knowledge enterprises look like in the year 2050 or something like that. Yeah. And we used the word knowledge [00:35:30] enterprise advisedly, because we didn't want to assume that universities existed or as we, as, as they are not at our colleges, but, but what we could, what we thought was it was a embedded us, an embedded assumption that that would hold up was that no matter what was happening 50 years from now, they would still be a mechanism for knowledge transfer.
Speaker 2: Yeah. And it's hard to imagine how that wouldn't happen.
Speaker 3: The mechanism is starting to feel [00:36:00] more like mechanical.
Speaker 2: Well, that was the question. This is where scenarios come in. Yeah. So naturally the first thing that you occurred to is it's all going to be electronic well matrix and blah, blah, blah. Yeah. Okay. That's one scenario, but there are many, so what are the, anyway, so, but there there's lots of other possibilities. So anyway, this time we did it again and we invent and we, we decided to, to work the future [00:36:30] on the future anyway, and on, on, on, uh, how, what does knowledge enterprise look like? And, uh, but this time we did it last time, it was highly secret down in the basement of the shutters for just us and, and, and, and Mr. Spielberg and about 40 of his best friends with all this equipment and gear and stuff anyway,
Speaker 3: Federal government and Steven Spielberg, the highest level of secrecy.
Speaker 2: Yeah. And, uh, [00:37:00] but anyway, this time we did it in public and we did, you know, and there were hundreds of people, you know, and lots of ASU faculty involved in all that. So we did anyway. And at the
Speaker 3: White boarding in front of everybody.
Speaker 2: Yeah. Except w whiteboard. Yeah. Except this was far beyond whiteboard. It was, we were doing, we had more whizzbang than that. I mean, after all, we have a reputation. Okay.
Speaker 3: You're on your hoverboards and holograms,
Speaker 2: [00:37:30] You know, we had, we had to, we had to be a little bit word was on that, you know, and one of the guys was, there was, you know, like for example, Jaron Lanier who invented virtual reality. So it's like we had no choice, you know, I mean, on the, on the, on the, on the whizzbang front, you know, we had, we could, we couldn't embarrass Jaren.
Speaker 3: Yeah. You're not handing out blue and red cardboard glasses at the front and right.
Speaker 2: It's for real, it's the real deal. And that's who these guys were. [00:38:00] And, uh, so, so a lot of this came naturally, but, um, but the core thing was that the word knowledge enterprise came from Michael Crow, our visionary president of ASU. And I use visionary advised, I don't throw that word around casually anyway, but ASU has the, one of its big operations is quality office of knowledge, enterprise development and knowledge enterprise is Michael chose [00:38:30] that phrase carefully because he, because he was designed, he called it, he calls himself a knowledge architect and, uh, he thinks of himself as an architect and anything, you know, so you have to think about how knowledge is going to be architected 50 years out. And you can't assume that the current universities or colleges or whatever are going to exist. They may, that's a perfectly valid scenario, perfectly reasonable not to be dismissed, [00:39:00] could be, those are going to be a lot of people who liked the idea of sitting around, you know, on the quad, you know, and, and so forth.
Speaker 2: I mean, so, I mean, I'm not dismissing it at all of course, but, uh, but anyway, so, uh, so knowledge enterprise, and we were doing this in a public and we were engaging these, these people in the PR program. And we broke them up into tables, did scenarios and all that kind of stuff. And, uh, you know, in a lot of the critical uncertainties would [00:39:30] be, well, what does society look like that, you know, what does family look like that? What does implants look like that, you know, all kinds of things. And, uh, so we had all, and we factored all that in. And, uh, and we came up anyway and we came back up at the, uh, at the end of this back in the group session. And that's the moment at which I realized that [00:40:00] of all these guys, at least half a dozen of them had created companies had created operations that had a track record of success.
Speaker 2: I mean, existence proof that they had successfully designed the future. Wow. We had existence proof. That was the inflection point in history for four millions [00:40:30] for millennia, for millennia. Humans had viewed the future as something that happens to them. Sure. They're along for the ride. Well, these guys, if they have existence proof that you can create that you can design the future and create the existence proof, then that's a big deal. That means you can steer. Yeah. Thus was born the guide project, which I am the director of founding director, which is the guide [00:41:00] project, how to design the future. You can look it up, you can look it up on the internet. We'll just go to our website. Yeah. What is the website? How to design the future.asu.edu. Cool. But just type in all one word, how to design the future and Apollo. Yeah.
Speaker 2: And, uh, anyway, and, uh, so we're now in the business of trying to scale the guide project up to allow zillions of plea people worldwide. What we've done is [00:41:30] we've reverse engineered the patterns. We, we got over 70 patterns right now that the guys who have actually succeeded, what are the patterns that you find in common across the guys who have actually succeeded, not the way you wish this would work, not the way you think this would work, what has worked. And we got over 70 of those patterns and we'll have perhaps 200 when this is all over. What's an example
Speaker 3: Of a pattern.
Speaker 2: You break [00:42:00] it, you buy it.
Speaker 3: Okay.
Speaker 2: Ownership, oh,
Speaker 3: You're making your mistake. And that's my mistake. I fix it or I
Speaker 2: To the person. So in this case, for example, the w the most flagrant disaster and the history of trying to design the future is go fast and break things. Okay. Right. Soccer, Burt, Facebook. That is the liability. [00:42:30] Yeah. Are you for you or for the society or anything? Yeah. That was probably the stupidest thing in the history of design of this nascent thing about designing the future. Yeah. And he'll pay, he'll pay for this forever and yeah. There's no guarantee the company will survive. And, uh, anyway, so that's a, that's a big pattern. That's a big learning. All these other guys say you don't
Speaker 3: Did that get out of hand or did that get out of hand? Like
Speaker 2: He didn't have any adult. I mean, you could speculate about this, for sure. He [00:43:00] didn't have any adult supervision, nothing about the kid when he started it. And they were all kids, but, but Google, the board of directors put in adult supervision, you know, they, they had, uh, they had a guy there who was, you know, so they couldn't just do anything they wanted. So you, I mean, this will be debated for generations, you know, because we are at this inflection point in history. But anyway, the point is that we're coming back around to education. And, uh, so what, w what, w what will it [00:43:30] look like? And, um, I guess the major thing we came away with is that whether this involves tribes, small tribes in the desert, or LAR, or, or global internet operations, or brain implants or whatever, there's going to be one thing you can pretty much count on. Is there always going to be three levels of stuff, one [00:44:00] is going to be data. And the next step from that is going to be knowledge. And the next step from that is going to be wisdom. And the point of education is to provide wisdom.
Speaker 3: It's fascinating. I will jump into the short answers. So as a prolific writer, if he were to write a book about your experience as a parent, what might be the name of a couple of
Speaker 2: Chapters? Megan is up as you go along. [00:44:30] Yeah.
Speaker 3: That's the title.
Speaker 2: Yeah. And you end up learning as much as you impart. Yeah. I mean, as I say, so I'm surrounded by women, right. And that has been, I can't tell you how endlessly educational that is. I can't begin to tell you.
Speaker 3: Sure. They never wanted to teach you anything, but they,
Speaker 2: [00:45:00] I had no choice. I had no choice, but
Speaker 3: That's fabulous. Um, so you go down in history. What kind of dad would you like to be remembered as
Speaker 2: With no convicted felons? Oh, well, I, I can, I can guess I can sort of think about that and answer that question. So there was a time in my twenties, I had a pal, my boss, Larry stern, and, uh, he was a, a [00:45:30] famous Lee. He was kind of a legend in his own time. And one afternoon he was playing tennis. He said, ouch, I've been stung by a bee and dropped dead. Whoa. Yeah. Well, this was a huge flap in Washington. And there was this investigation to find out if it was brushing agents, which was a credible scenario, really? Yeah. A bunch of things like that anyway, be that as it may. So I, and [00:46:00] I was in Alaska at the time, working on the book now working on nine nations and, uh, flew back for the weather, the service for the Memorial and picked up my pal, bill Curry in Denver. And we talked about this on our way back and, um, cut there. And, um, it was at the friends meeting house on Florida avenue in DC. And I'll never forget this. It was not air condition. And in [00:46:30] the front row, there were three women in widows weeds trying to out widow each other one, one was his wife, the other was his ex wife. And the third was his girlfriend. No. Yeah. Well, I just thought that was the most wonderful thing I'd ever seen in my life. Absolutely.
Speaker 2: I just thought that was wonderful. And, uh, [00:47:00] so anyway, so I said to him, I said, you know, I want to spend the rest of my life being surrounded by women. Well, be careful what you ask for, I did end up with that. And so anyway, just not the way I had envisioned originally planned it anyway. And, uh, anyway, so the lesson from that is to, uh, yeah. Is to be careful with your for,
Speaker 3: Oh, uh, did you watch much television [00:47:30] or movies? Do you have a favorite television or movie dad?
Speaker 2: Huh? I read more than a watch. I, I missed the golden age of television, largely. I feel like, I mean, I have something to do in my dotted. I can catch up on all these great shows. Yeah. I wonder what huckleberry Finn would have made as a dad.
Speaker 3: Interesting. Yeah,
Speaker 2: I do wonder about that. You know, there was one of the great characters in American literature and one of the great Outlaws and [00:48:00] one of the great guys. And anyway, and I had a hunch he'd to make a pretty good dad. Yeah. I think his kids would be okay. Cool.
Speaker 3: Very cool. If you had the opportunity, money, time, space, no object to give a gift to every father on the planet. What gift might that be
Speaker 2: Time? [00:48:30] I'm not sure that time. Well, I don't know this, I'm making this up. I'm you sprung this on me. I haven't really thought it through. Yeah. I'm not sure that time with the kids per se is the magic thing. And at the same time that I don't believe that there's such thing as quote, unquote quality time. Yeah. But I think there's somewhere in between. I mean, one of the things I've learned is that they do listen. You just can [00:49:00] never tell when
Speaker 3: It might be something you said 10 years ago and they decided to
Speaker 2: Not necessarily the, what you wanted them to listen to, you know, and, uh, they're watching, they're watching and they are, they're watching and they're listening and they're processing and, and that's the part you can't control anyway. So, uh, but, uh, so again, you do the best you can with what you got at the time. And, uh, and, um, [00:49:30] if you're lucky, you know, I guess if I could be queasy is the opportunity to realize when you screwed up and make it and, and, and hope to be able to,
Speaker 3: Well, what an incredible answer. That's an incredible answer, Joel. I like that a lot. Um, imagine you are on I 95 going 75 miles an hour, 90 miles an hour, or however fast you go and there's, you have a billboard [00:50:00] and on that, billboard has to be legible to people driving at that speed. A piece of advice could be parenting advice, but a piece of advice, the dad's maybe something, you know, or something someone shared with you, what would you put on that billboard?
Speaker 2: I got a huge wall hanging in my office in here. That's now faded with time and I might put that up there and it says not all who wander are lost. [00:50:30] J R R Tolkien.
Speaker 3: I wandered. And I think my, my parents
Speaker 2: And I think the girls did too. Yeah. And I like it. Sometimes it occurred to me. I wonder how long, I wonder if they've spent time. I especially have Angela. I know she's paid attention to that one. And, uh, and she also had a house, had a little button from the sixties that I had up there that I know [00:51:00] she's paid attention to. It. It says subvert, the dominant paradigm.
Speaker 3: That takes a minute.
Speaker 2: That takes a minute. Yeah. Especially if you're a little, yeah. You have to look up all
Speaker 3: Figure out what paradigm
Speaker 2: But paid, but she's paid attention to all those things into, but the, uh, I mean, the server, the, the, the business about not all who wander are lost is that being weird [00:51:30] is not an unmixed blessing. Believe me, I can speak from great experience, but it, um, the, uh, but it's not necessarily, but I mean, but if you, if you, if you, if you're weird and your father is weird and, you know, and, and you look at your dad and you realize, well, he made it okay. So maybe I'll make it, you know, maybe there's a hope for me too. I didn't have that privilege. My father was as straight and narrow and in normal [00:52:00] use it just as normal as they come anyway. But, uh, have you had the opportunity to have a father who was at least as weird as she was? And, uh, so therefore, I guess I like to think she could boss possibly take some home.
Speaker 3: I think that's so cool. It speaks to me, it speaks to giving your kids permission to be authentically themselves, which allows them to blossom in their most, you know, in, in the place that makes the most sense.
Speaker 2: [00:52:30] Tell them to a point. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Except for this, in this, in this,
Speaker 3: Uh, yeah, I got two more questions for you. First one was one that was lent to me that I really enjoy. When in your life do you feel the most love?
Speaker 2: Have I ever felt the most?
Speaker 3: Just generally more, however you cared her interpret the question and answer.
Speaker 2: [00:53:00] I should take the fifth.
Speaker 3: Don't upset anybody. Yeah.
Speaker 2: That's an interesting question. I'll have to get back to you on that. I don't have, I don't have a glib answer to that.
Speaker 3: That's fair. All right. And finally, in the event that this recording lasts beyond any apocalyptic scenarios, you might conjure the, a message that might benefit Simone. Louis Louis has children. [00:53:30] Lewis has children, a message that Joel grow could deliver to the generations that follow that you feel might be worth sharing.
Speaker 2: Well, you know, and there was a story I told you about how we were in the business of creating happy humans. Yeah. And happy there's there's, there are levels to happiness. If you, if you start drilling down into this, and one is the, uh, you know, the kind of loosey goosey, happy, you know, Doris Day giggles, [00:54:00] and giggles kind of happiness. Then there was the second level, which is what Thomas Jefferson meant by pursuit of happiness. And he was channeling Aristotle would it made me know that stuff and that, and that meant a essentially it meant a, a life with me, a life with, uh, of, of, of, uh, with scope in a life with meaning and finding your place in a place like that. And, and it gets more complicated after that. But anyway, [00:54:30] but that whole, that whole second thing is happiness in the sense of, of a meaningful life in a, in a world affording at scope, that level of happiness. If you aim for that, you of how wrong can you go? Yeah.
Speaker 3: Love it. Thank you. That's awesome. Thank you, Joel. All right, man. Well, I'm talking to you, man. All right. Pleasure.