Stuck@Om is a series of conversations about about technology and how it is reshaping our society. Om Malik (a veteran technology writer) sits down and chats with some of the best and the brightest from around the world. The podcasts supplement his writing on his blog, On My Om. (http://om.co)
Stuck@Om with Maria Konnikova
In this episode of Stuck@Om, I’m talking with an old friend, Maria Konnikova. Maria holds a Ph.D. in Psychology, is the author of multiple best-selling books, and is also a professional poker player. We immediately dive into her book “The Confidence Game” about how con artists convince people of unbelievable things. We dissect how movies and TV glamorize the con artists while placing blame on those who were conned. We even touch on our shared love for Sherlock Holmes.
We enter into a much deeper discussion about Maria’s most recent book “The Biggest Bluff”, which was released June 23rd. When Maria wrote the book, she set out to write about luck and the things we can and can’t control. After reading John Von Neumann’s book on game theory, she realized poker was the perfect medium for her exploration into chance. Erik Seidel — a renowned poker player — agreed to let Maria shadow him to learn more about poker. Maria never thought this opportunity would lead to becoming a professional poker player.
We talk about what poker has taught her about emotional control and how you have to learn to identify your emotions to become an expert poker player. The goal isn’t to move away from being emotional — because it’s human nature. But you must identify your emotions and learn to remove them from the equation. You must also identify your triggers: What types of people make you mad? What interactions make you upset? What excites you or makes you happy?
We further delve into the psychology of poker and the topics of psychological distancing, physical distancing, and how to prevent emotions before you’re triggered. We chat about how emotions can be essential to decision-making. Maria also shares about her experience as a professional poker player and what she learned about herself throughout her journey. Our conversation travels deep into psychology, emotion, self-awareness, and the uncertainty of life. Please listen — Maria’s captivating story cannot be missed.
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Outline of This Episode We talk about Maria’s three books What does TV get right about con artists? How Maria landed on writing a book about poker Making decisions because of and in spite of emotion How emotional control impacts the game of poker — and life Maria’s journey to becoming a best-selling author Maria’s time as a professional poker player What Maria learned about herself from poker The uncertainty of mortality that’s part of our being How epidemiologists use poker as a model for disease spread Resources & People Mentioned Theory of Games and Economic Behavior by John von Neumann Erik Seidel Maria Konnikova's Books Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes The Confidence Game NEW: The Biggest Bluff Connect with Maria Maria’s Website Follow on Twitter Connect With Om www.Om.co Om on Twitter: @Om Om on Instagram: @Om
Stuck@Om with Ophir Gottlieb
In this episode of Stuck@Om, I chat with my friend Ophir Gottlieb, the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Capital Market Laboratories. We talk about the importance of proper perspective. Ophir likens perspective to a superpower — with it, we are the best investors in the world. Yet the increase of access to and influx of information has only served to create more confusion. Ophir emphasizes that we are totally overwhelmed with data and underwhelmed with information.
With that proliferation comes the competition to be profitable. The news media doesn’t just provide news — it’s become sensationalized.There is this disconnect between a story existing, and the need to just get something printed. News has probably hurt more people’s wealth than helped it. It’s very difficult to lose wealth in the stock market. Yet it continues to happen. It isn’t because people are stupid. So how can it be? Because money is tied to the identity of self and fear that you’ll lose that identity. The stock market is driven by emotion.
Ophir and I also discuss society’s shift from a long-term orientation to one of short-term focus. Have we lost the ability to think beyond the now? We chat about Robinhood—the trading app that’s become a phenomenon—and how its impact isn’t as striking as Schwab’s move to commission-free trading. We also ruminate on the unprecedented steps that have been taken with the economy and how our expectation for a natural response to an unnatural occurrence is baseless. We are dealing with an unnatural economic impact. We can’t do the normal things when the thing we’ve created isn’t normal.
We talk about the giant leap forward in the digital realm that’s been made out of necessity. Ophir shares that he is investing in the companies that will help the world move forward in the digital transformation. Lastly, Ophir shares his thoughts on when and how to invest in the market. We cover a wide range of fascinating topics in this conversation. Be sure to listen for insight on the economy.
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Outline of This Episode Ophir’s background in institutional finance How the influx of information has created confusion The information asymmetry rampant in the market The impact of ‘noise’ on the rise and fall of the stock market Has humanity become short-term oriented versus long-term? The phenomenon of the Robinhood trading app How is Ophir is reading the current market opportunities Are we cycling into the future of american economy? Tech stock valuations are high—so when do we enter the market? How to connect with Ophir and join his community Resources & People Mentioned Robinhood Schwab Connect with Ophir Gottlieb Capital Market Laboratories Follow on Twitter Connect With Om www.Om.co Om on Twitter: @Om Om on Instagram: @Om
Stuck@Om with Jeffrey Sachs
In this episode of Stuck@Om, I’m joined by world-renowned economist, professor, and best-selling author Jeffrey Sachs. A central topic in our conversation is Jeff’s newest book The Age of Globalization and the impact of digitalization on our culture and economy.
We dissect how COVID-19 has clearly changed office culture — and how it won’t be the same after this. The Coronavirus has taught us that 80% of our work can be done anywhere. We are recognizing that we can function with a decentralized workforce. How will that impact how people live and function in society?
We also talk about the inaccuracies being portrayed by the stock market. We’ve seen over 20 million people apply for unemployment, yet the stock market is up 20%. Jeff notes that the stock market isn’t a snapshot of the economy — it’s a snapshot of a piece of the economy at the exclusion of the losing side.
We fear that our society has become stupid. Our systems cannot process information, deliberate socially, and reach rational outcomes. Jeff emphasizes that deliberation and the pursuit of serious knowledge and problem-solving needs to come back into the core of our politics.
We peruse so many topics, from a lack of meaningful communication in our society to potential dystopian or utopian futures. Be sure to listen to this episode for a wide-ranging conversation about pertinent global issues that our society is facing.
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Outline of This Episode Jeff’s Book: The Age of Globalization How COVID-19 has clearly changed office culture How humanity has dealt with pandemics throughout history The economic inaccuracies being portrayed by the stock market The dramatic acceleration of the digital economy and adverse effects How digitization makes a large positive contribution to overall productivity Most everything that we want done can be done by AI The need for new institutions to handle digitalization How society defines the worth of a man or woman The Scandinavian ideology of social democracy A continued shift towards working less and enjoying life The next phase of globalization and the possibilities that come with it The benefits of science and technology should be widely shared How communication is a key part of globalization The pursuit of serious knowledge and problem-solving needs to return Resources & People Mentioned Office of Technology Assessment Movie: Idiocracy Marshall McLuhan The World Happiness Report Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren Sustainable Development Solutions Network Connect with Jeffrey Sachs Connect on LinkedIn Jeff’s Book: The End of Poverty Jeff’s Book: The Ages of Globalization Connect With Om www.Om.co Om on Twitter: @Om Om on Instagram: @Om
Stuck@Om with Barry Ritholtz
In this episode of Stuck@Om my friend Barry Ritholtz joins me to discuss our current existence. Barry is the CIO of Ritholtz Wealth Management, an avid blogger, and prolific author. His voice is well-recognized in the stock market and investing universe. Barry and I have a conversation about how the pandemic has served to amplify the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. We acknowledge it can be a catalyst for necessary change on a governmental level.
Barry and I also chat about the state of the economy and its influence on the stock market using the analogy of a rubber band: If it stretches too far in one direction it will inevitably snap back. The market is betting on future probabilities and often sees changes in the economy before anyone else reports it. Barry states: “The nature of technology, the nature of capitalism, the nature of markets, is constant change. It just takes place at a longer timeline than us humans are comfortable with.”
Barry and I also chat about Facebook and how it is reckless and irresponsible in how it allows the spread of fake news. Facebook has advertising down to an exact science and can track nearly every move you make. Barry admits that he’s impressed by them professionally but hates them personally.
We delve into what aspiring bloggers can achieve by either curating content, creating their own, or educating and teaching. Barry points out that there has never been a better time to be a human being on this planet. What’s available to you is astonishing. We can access everything ever written or recorded — so we should take advantage of it. Listen to this episode for an inspiring and thoughtful conversation between friends.
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Outline of This Episode Two separate categories for people dealing with COVID Will the Coronavirus pandemic help us become better people? Barry weighs in on the volatility of the stock market The news is often a lagging indicator of reality The nature of technology and capitalism is constant change Full stop on the industrial era brought to its knees? Companies have gotten too big for our good Addressing the Google antitrust action rumors going around Why society should be more worried about the impact of Facebook A blog can curate content, create original content, or educate and teach How we can access everything ever written or recorded and must take advantage of it The bloggers, authors, and prolific writers Barry reads every day Resources & People Mentioned ‘Invisible’ Judd Legum Daniel Gross Bethany McLean Derek Thompson Jason Zweig Morgan Housel Joshua Brown Nick Maggiulli Ben Carlson Michael Batnick BOOK: No One Wants to Read Your SH*T BOOK: The Heretics: Adventures with the Enemies of Science Connect with Barry Ritholtz Follow on Twitter Connect on LinkedIn The Big Picture Connect With Om www.Om.co Om on Twitter: @Om Om on Instagram: @Om
Stuck@Om with Nick Thompson
In this episode of Stuck@Om I chat with one of the great human beings on the planet — Nicholas Thompson. He’s the Editor in Chief at WIRED Magazine, an avid marathoner, and has penned one of the best essays I’ve read in recent times. In this conversation, Nick and I talk about how media outlets have to shift how they write stories to generate ‘clicks’ over ‘subscriptions’.
We also converse about the reputation of the media and how it hasn’t improved during the Coronavirus crisis. We postulate that social media is a double-edged sword—as much as it gives, it takes away. It has only served to amplify the heat towards the media industry and appeals to the worst instincts of humanity while incentivizing the worst behaviors. Their needs to be healthy cynicism and healthy optimism in regards to social media — without that, we cannot progress.
We also have a lengthy discussion about the forced surge in telemedicine. The tech has existed for a while now, but the Coronavirus removed the typical barriers for the use of the technology. As its use becomes more widespread, what will the new rules and regulations look like? What if you had a video recording of every hospital visit since you turned 18, stored locally? So every time you visited a new doctor they had video reference for treatment.
Can we design a system to minimize the risk and maximize the benefits over a long time horizon? Be sure to listen to our conversation for an in-depth look at the future of tech writing, automation, the medical industry, and much more.
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Outline of This Episode Learn about Nicholas Thompson — Editor in Chief of Wired What WIRED publishes is important and utterly essential The reputation of the media hasn’t improved during this crisis Social media is a double-edged sword—as much as it gives it takes away Social media appeals to our worst instincts Do reporters dislike tech as often as they’re accused of it? The need for healthy cynicism and healthy optimism How the Coronavirus crisis is creating a boom in telemedicine We weren’t expecting the future to arrive like it has Tougher cleaning requirements in airports and public places What spectrum of jobs will be replaced by machines? What the hiring process will look like in the future What will the future of working from home look like? Resources & People Mentioned WIRED Magazine Connect with Nick Thompson Nick on Twitter Connect on LinkedIn Nick’s Website Connect With Om www.Om.co Om on Twitter: @Om Om on Instagram: @Om
Stuck@Om with Herman Narula
In this episode of Stuck@Om, Herman Narula joins me in a conversation about our future. Herman is the CEO of Improbable — a company that is obsessed with multiplayer games. They build the underlying technology to support new gaming experiences. He strives to be able to create a “virtual environment that is as representative and complex as the real world.” A virtual world that improves upon the real word — that doesn’t replicate it.
With the uncertainty of the future of travel, the ability to experience the world without leaving our homes would be astounding. What about the future of social gatherings? Will we shift to more virtual concerts, such as Travis Scott’s concert in Fortnite? The types of experiences or interactive communication we can uniquely have in those environments is endless. Herman posits that we may see a gradual freeing of identity and an emphasis on the ability to influence the world from your physical body. What if our mode of influence shifted to virtual reality?
Herman fully believes that video games will be the thing that defines this decade in a way that surprises society. It’s already the interface through which many young people socialize. Perhaps we will begin to see people begin to make money in these virtual worlds. Herman is excited for the end of the lockdown. He’s hopeful that our world may see another Roaring Twenties — with revitalization in art and culture and an explosion of new ideas. Listen now to hear an eye-opening discussion with my newfound friend.
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Outline of This Episode Creating simulation technology for gaming and defense How will the behavior change us as people? Does the pandemic modify centuries of human gatherings? How can we improve upon the real world We talk about the emotional attachments we have to sport Is making money in a virtual world the next big transition? The resource and energy efficiency of virtual environments Air travel will have a very different future after this Will a shift towards working from home cause an even bigger divide? Video games will be the thing that defines this decade in a way that surprises society The gaming environment is the interface in which many younger people socialize Will we see revitalization of art and culture — a repeat of the Roaring Twenties? Resources & People Mentioned Improbable.io Herman’s Ted Talk Connect with Herman Narula Herman on Twitter Herman’s LinkedIn Connect With Om www.Om.co Om on Twitter: @Om Om on Instagram: @Om