This Week in Tech Episode 901 Transcript
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Leo Laporte (00:00:02):
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TWiT Intro (00:00:04):
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Leo Laporte (00:00:07):
This is TWiT. This is TWiT this week in Tech. Episode 901. Recorded Sunday, November 13th, 2022. Weaponized fomo.
This week at Tech is brought to you by Worldwide Technology and H P E with an innovative culture. Thousands of IT engineers, application developers, unmatched labs and integration centers for testing and deploying technology at scale. WWT helps customers bridge the gap between strategy and execution. To learn more about wwt, visit wwt.com/TWiT and by on Logic. On Logic is helping innovators around the world solve their most complex technology challenges using on logic industrial computers engineered for reliability, even in environments that would challenge or destroy traditional computer hardware. Learn more and find out about on Logic's 30 day risk-free hardware trial by visiting on logic.com/TWiT and by Mint Mobile, Get premium wireless service from just 15 bucks a month with no unexpected plot TWiTsts. You'll make your wallet very happy by going to mint mobile.com/TWiT and by noom with their psychology first approach. Noom Weight empowers you to build more sustainable habits and behaviors. Sign up for your trial at nom.com/TWiTt. It's time for TWiTt. This week in tech, the show we cover the weeks tech news. This is gonna be a fun-filled episode. David Spark is here. Host a producer of CISO series is all about the security known Davidson Tech TV days. Hello David.
David Spark (00:02:08):
Good to see. That's 1998 <laugh>. That's a
Leo Laporte (00:02:12):
Long time. Wow. Somebody four years. Leo, somebody on the YouTube buys old crap <laugh> and I was watching his YouTube actually somebody else was in, they sent me a link watching his YouTube channel and he found a DVC recorder and with it, a handful of D V C pro tapes of the call for help show <laugh>. And I sent him a commented on his YouTube. I said, Dude, that's how we recorded the show. Those could be masters. That's probably not a dub. That's probably a master probably. Yeah. Yeah. Anyway, great to see you David. Thank you for joining. I don't know why I brought that up. Also here, there's other things to talk about. Believe me. Amy Webb, CEO of the Future Today Institute, our favorite futurist. Hi Amy.
Amy Webb (00:03:02):
Leo Laporte (00:03:04):
She's just back from a 10 mile hike with the Girl Scouts or what is
Amy Webb (00:03:09):
Actually with the scouts. So my daughter is in one of the first and only all girls Boy Scout
Leo Laporte (00:03:17):
Troops. Isn't that cool?
Amy Webb (00:03:19):
And they're all working towards their Eagle Scout badge.
Leo Laporte (00:03:22):
Oh, I love it. Awesome.
Amy Webb (00:03:26):
And we just did, I mean it wasn't brutal, but it was pretty steep steep hike. It was backpacking and then it was back country camping. So everything you carry in and everything you carry out and it was snowing and cold.
Leo Laporte (00:03:39):
And is this for a badge or just for fun?
Amy Webb (00:03:42):
This was just for grit,
Leo Laporte (00:03:44):
Amy Webb (00:03:45):
Leo Laporte (00:03:46):
And you have it so no, you have grit.
Amy Webb (00:03:48):
I I used to do a lot of that when I was younger and my hips didn't hurt like they did today. But I took some anti-inflammatory medication with There you go. Managed to get through it.
Leo Laporte (00:03:58):
I was at the Veteran's Day parade on Saturday or Friday and the scout troop came and it was half girls and it reminded me, Yeah, it's scouting now. It's just scouting.
Amy Webb (00:04:08):
Yeah, it's scouting. The girls scouts kind of tap out at some point. And this is really about, this trou is amazing and it's all about leadership and of being independent and building confidence. And it's really incredible. The troop leaders are amazing.
Leo Laporte (00:04:26):
There were, the first female, Eagle Scout was Isabella. Ours
Amy Webb (00:04:31):
Was one of them. That is not her. But we have one of the first
Leo Laporte (00:04:34):
Look at all those merit badges, <laugh> 137 of them.
Amy Webb (00:04:39):
I will tell you, it is no joke. And these kids are, are tough. They are resilient. If you've got a daughter or a son or a person, a non-binary person I, I'll put a good word in for scouts, it really is pretty
Leo Laporte (00:04:52):
Great. That's by the way, transformation for bsa. So I'm very, very glad to hear that. And I love it that there are women Eagle Scouts now. That's fantastic. Welcome Amy. Good to have you. Thanks. Thank you. And the digital Jesuit, cuz David said Who are you? What is this dj? He is the digital Jesuit father Robert Baller. Hello Robert.
Oh, I'm sorry Leo. I didn't realize you had come in
Leo Laporte (00:05:20):
<laugh> <laugh>. You're way too cold for school. Great to see you Padre in the Vatican. When we go out there to visit you in April, Robert says let's do the show. We'll do TWiT from this roof overlooking the Vatican. I can we do it this one? Can we do that?
We absolutely can. I mean this view right here is about 10 steps from my office. Oh my. On the same floor. So I just move a few monitors and some cables and we're good to go.
Leo Laporte (00:05:54):
We're gonna do it. It's a deal. April. Yeah. Benito says you're gonna need an engineer for that. Yeah, Benito, we'll take you <laugh>. <laugh> we will take you. So what a week we have had. It's not normal that I would have two stories vying for our lead, but there are two massive stories and they are somewhat interlocking. I think there's of course the collapse of FTX and of crypto in general and then the ongoing pie at TWiTtter. Let's start with TWiTtter cuz we've been talking before the show and we all have strong opinions about this. The latest TWiTtter news is coming out and again a lot of this news, who was it? The Verge, Somebody tried to contact Elon TWiTtter for a comment and the response was, TWiTtter has no communications department anymore. So there's no way to really know if any of this is true or not. But the latest seems to be true, which is that 4,400 contract employees were summarily terminated this weekend.
David Spark (00:07:09):
That's on top of the 50% that they dumped.
Leo Laporte (00:07:12):
That's on top of the employees. So they dumped somewhere around 3000, 4,000 employees, many of whom have vast asked to come back. But then now the latest is these contract employees. And it seems to be they didn't tell them ahead of time, they just disconnected their slack. They disconnected their tools and disconnected their company email. Cuz you know what? They're just contractors And of course they get no. Yeah, unfortunately
Amy Webb (00:07:39):
That's a security issue though. I mean
Leo Laporte (00:07:42):
Well they could send an email at the same time saying we're terminating your contract. That apparently neglected to do that. Which
Amy Webb (00:07:50):
I listen with the amount of animosity right now. I can absolutely, if it was me, David should speak to this. But if I was to Seeso or if I was the
David Spark (00:07:59):
CSO by the way quit,
Leo Laporte (00:08:02):
They don't have a cso,
Amy Webb (00:08:03):
Well I would've shut everything down first. Also, I mean it's not the humane nice thing to do, but it's the safe thing.
David Spark (00:08:09):
Well that is by the way, the process when people leave, the security department does a process of closing accounts, removing access, things like that. So identity management and if you're doing things that quickly, I don't see how you can physically shut that many people down that quickly. I don't know. Yeah, I don't see how that's positive. Yeah
Leo Laporte (00:08:34):
I, and I feel for anybody laid off, there were 11,000 layoffs at Meta this week also. I mean this is a tough time. A lot of those employees meta handled it kind of dramatically differently than TWiTtter handled it. But it's hard to lose a job whether or not you get severance, whether, you know, get healthcare and so forth still outta work. So according to Casey Newton on the Platformer newsletter, contractors aren't being notified at all. They're just losing access to Slack. And email managers figured it out when their workers just disappeared from their system. So there is normally some notification even if it happens after the fact.
Amy Webb (00:09:17):
The Stripe is the good example. So the Stripe has some layoffs and in the middle of the catastrophe that was happening at TWiTtter and Meta, I think that the letter that was, they didn't sign it by the way Stripe, they sign it. The names of like the ceo, you know their actual names were signed and it was humane and honest. And I think if it's gotta be done, that's a much nicer way to do it.
Leo Laporte (00:09:43):
I do wonder though, the big issue
Go ahead, is the fact that they let go a huge chunk of infrastructure workers <affirmative>. And according to some reports, they let go of some infrastructure workers in the middle of changes that that's a recipe for a disaster for a company that has already let go. So many of their engineers, they don't know what most of the moving parts do. So right now it's coasting on inertia.
David Spark (00:10:05):
You are actually watching the disaster unfold is what
Leo Laporte (00:10:08):
Amy Webb (00:10:08):
Actually watching. Can I add a disaster to this disaster? Cause nobody's really talking about it yet. So because of the inflation rate, there are a lot of companies that still have pensions where people who are anywhere close to be like if you're close to retirement and you do the math and it works out that you're, if you put in those last two years of work, you're effectively working for free. Those people are taking early retirement and that's all happening between now and the end of the month. We are going to see tens of potentially tens of thousands of people who are retiring all at once. On top of all of these people who are now out of work. There's gonna be disastrous economic consequences that I don't think we're prepared for.
Leo Laporte (00:10:52):
Let me ask David, cuz you do cover CISOs how the CISO of TWiTtter departed. He left with the head of trust y Roth who had been kind of tweeting and trying to calm people down and the head of advertising and a number of executives and they all left. Why? At the same time?
David Spark (00:11:17):
Time. Well some were let go, some chose to go both things. I actually don't know specifically the reason why the seats were left. But I mean
Leo Laporte (00:11:25):
David Spark (00:11:25):
We're not all talking about it
Leo Laporte (00:11:27):
Here. <laugh>, you wanna know. So there was an internal Slack message from an unnamed lawyer saying in internal, in TWiTtter saying Look, we've lost all compliance people. We are under an FTC consent decree, which we've already paid a hun more than a hundred million dollars for. The consent decree says before get listen to this before TWiTtter rolls out any new feature, it has to be vetted for security. And you have to tell us the ftc, how what you're doing and how secure it is. This message went out saying, we're very concerned because this compliance is now on the head of engineering. You are responsible for certifying the compliance to the consent decree of any new feature you roll out. There's no one above you to do it. At which point there was a mass head for the exit because people don't wanna be responsible for that. He quoted the, I guess the defacto chief counsel, which is Elon Musk's personal lawyer saying this is a man who launches rockets. He's not scared of the ftc. to which some reported
David Spark (00:12:46):
That's apples and oranges. <laugh>.
Leo Laporte (00:12:48):
Yeah. To which some reported, look you've already been fine. $114 million. The next one's gonna be another comma over that. This is really serious. And of course the same day President Biden when asked about this said, Yeah, we're gonna keep an eye on this. And I think that part of the reason the CSO left is that there's some serious concern about liability landing on his shoulders.
David Spark (00:13:16):
Well <laugh> that is by the way, the big discussion that's been happening among CISOs. So I'll, I'll rope in the Joe Sullivan Uber story as well. When that broke and he was found guilty, that was all CISOs started to worry for themselves. And this became a big issue about getting an employment agreement when you take on the role of a ciso. But there is no similarity, I believe between Joe Sullivan and the CISO of TWiTtter who just left. There is none whatsoever here. And we were talking about this on our show recently about burnout, about cybersecurity professionals. If you've got bad culture and unreasonable expectations. Looks like the formula we got here. That is cybersecurity burnout and that's why people leave. So it is like the magical formula that's happened at TWiTtter. So that's why you are getting people burnt out and ama exodus, not just of Elon's doing, but others choosing to go because there's no question to have TWiTtter on your resume and to be available in the cybersecurity space right now, you'll be snatched up immediately. I mean every CISO we have on our shows, well not every, I'll say almost every is looking to hire. So if you worked in cyber security and you were in TW at TWiTtter, you'll have no problem finding another job.
Leo Laporte (00:14:42):
So let me first of all correct myself, the CISO was a woman. Leah, I apologize not he, she Leah Kissner
David Spark (00:14:50):
Last. No, no, I mean I'm thinking, I'm sorry, take the back. I think Leah is a male.
Leo Laporte (00:14:54):
No, no. Leah's a woman. Am I wrong? I checked,
David Spark (00:14:56):
Oh, excuse my
Leo Laporte (00:14:57):
Ignorance. It could be, it could be Lee, could be Leah. I checked Chief Privacy Officer. Damon Kirin. Damon Kirin, Chief Compliance Officer, Marianne Fogarty all left at the same time. Now at, I've got the story from Bloomberg from a few days ago in which Spirow, whose Elon's lawyer said TWiTtter has spoken to the ftc, its first compliance check is upcoming. But he said don't worry, the legal department is handling it.
Amy Webb (00:15:25):
Somebody didn't one of the GCs send a slack or something to the remaining TWiTtter
Leo Laporte (00:15:30):
Employee? Yeah, Tweet. That's the one I was talking about. Yeah,
Amy Webb (00:15:32):
About the whistle blowing. Yeah, I mean pretty,
Leo Laporte (00:15:35):
He said you should all become whistle blowers. This is internal.
Amy Webb (00:15:39):
Well it wasn't you, I mean wasn't it more like if you choose to disclose, you cover, you know, should know that you are covered by by the whistle blowing law in the United States, wasn't it? Yeah, I mean
Leo Laporte (00:15:52):
David Spark (00:15:53):
Reaching out and saying you could have some personal liability here. Well
Amy Webb (00:15:57):
That's a good question. That's a question I
David Spark (00:15:58):
Amy Webb (00:15:59):
About. Okay, so that's what question I've got for all of you. Maybe David. Mostly. So if you were chief privacy officer, compliance officer cso, do you assume personal liability if something goes wrong? Yeah. Or that
David Spark (00:16:12):
No, that's the employment agreement that I was referencing earlier. Okay. Is yeah, cso. So they were leaving that are making a huge mistake.
Amy Webb (00:16:22):
So they would not have been, I mean they were leaving because they don't wanna either be a part of what's happening or they don't wanna deal with the aftermath of what's
David Spark (00:16:27):
Happening. And that's the other thing is that CSOs do not, and security professionals do not own risk, don't own cyber security risk of the company. Their job is to explain risk to the business leaders and it's for the business leaders to take on the risk. Who's saying if you do this and compliance is a perfect example of it because that is a very known risk where there's a very clear financial loss that can be had if you are not compliant. I mean it is clear as day, right? There is
Amy Webb (00:16:56):
A medical how there's malpractice. Is there such a thing as malpractice in risk and compliance and security? I mean
Leo Laporte (00:17:03):
There had, there's
David Spark (00:17:04):
Mal don, there's always could like
Amy Webb (00:17:07):
Something that's analogous to malpractice where
Leo Laporte (00:17:10):
The company company could say in the contract, we indemnify you against any judgements from the ftc. But there's always a risk if the FTC sees that this employee knew that something bad was happening and didn't do anything about it. I don't care if the company indemnifies indemnifies you. I feel like that employee is somewhat at risk and has some responsibility. Am I wrong David? You can't. Can't say I, It's not my fault. Look at my
David Spark (00:17:39):
Contracts. No. Yeah. So the job of the CISO is to communicate the risk situation. Like, okay, if we don't do this, if we don't meet this compliance regulation or this regulation, which is a compliance requirement, then you will be fined this. It is very clear if we don't do this, we don't have endpoint protection out here, then there's possibility someone's gonna break in our network that's gonna increase our risk levels here. Are you aware of that? And one of the big things CISOs do when they're explaining risk to the business is they say, Here's what the risk situation is for not doing this. We can spend X dollars to reduce this risk. Are you aware that, Do you want to spend that money as long as you spend this money, then they have to sign off on the wrist. That's a key thing. Yeah. They have to actually sign. I acknowledge this is a risk, Right, But
Amy Webb (00:18:33):
What's the, Okay, so fine. What does that mean though? If it
David Spark (00:18:37):
Turns out that means that it was communicated to them what the situation was. Right. But
Amy Webb (00:18:40):
What's the repercussion is my, Well
Leo Laporte (00:18:42):
Let me read this thing by the way this comes.
David Spark (00:18:43):
It's just really a paper trail is what we're looking, This
Leo Laporte (00:18:46):
Comes from Alex Heath at the Verge who says we know who this person inside TWiTtter is. Obviously we're not gonna reveal that. They looked at the Slack message and wrote this in a note posted to TWiTtter's slack and viewable to all staff. An attorney on the company's privacy team wrote quote Elon has shown this is somebody inside Elon has shown his only priority with TWiTtter users is how to monetize them. I do not believe he cares about the human rights activists. The dissidents are users in monetizable regions and all the other users who've made TWiTtter, the global town square. You've all spent so long building and we all love it, says el, He has heard that Alex Sparrow, the KE head of legal says that Elon's willing to take on a huge amount of risk in relation to this company. Musk's new legal department is asking engineers, and this is a good question for you, David, to quote, self-certify compliance with FTC rules and other privacy laws. This is in that lawyer's note. And the Verge checked another employee familiar with the matter said the same. And so at that point the lawyer said, if you're being asked to do anything you're uncomfortable with, become a whistleblower. If you were uncomfortable, you knew there was something bad, nobody upstairs was willing to hear it or sign off on it. Do that process, that orderly process you're talking about David, I think you have to go to the FTC at that point. Don't you can't just sit
David Spark (00:20:17):
On it. Well, I mean if you see someone being negligent, but also you may have NDAs that you've signed as an employee. Oh,
Leo Laporte (00:20:27):
But that's why you go whistleblower Cuz that obviates the nda.
David Spark (00:20:31):
Yeah. Or yes
Amy Webb (00:20:32):
Mean. But it sounds like there's no obligation other than may maybe a moral obligation.
Leo Laporte (00:20:36):
There's certainly a moral, Yeah.
David Spark (00:20:38):
That's the thing is, for example, one of the things we hear a lot from CISOs is I'm not running the business. It's my job to reduce the risk, communicate the risk, and do my best on that. If someone chooses to do something that I don't agree with, it's not my responsibility cause I'm not running the business. So I'm just communicating to that. But it's very, very important that they acknowledge, they understand it and they sign off on it. Which I'm sorry, let, let's just get into the grander discussion of business businesses are in the business, all businesses take on risk, not just cyber security risk. There's all kinds of risk. So they have to acknowledge it. Some people are riskier investors than others. You can't bring cyber risk down to zero. So you're willing to take certain risk in certain areas to maybe open up the business to do other things. And that is pretty clear. That's what Elon is doing here. He's taking a lot of risks. This,
I actually think Elon is doing something different. Oh good. I think
Leo Laporte (00:21:39):
He is. Hold on, hold to thought cuz we're gonna get to that. I will hold. I really wanna know cuz that's the next step. We're just talking about all the horrible things that have happened. And I don't wanna know why <laugh> The final paragraphs of this lawyer's Slack message is all of this is extremely dangerous for our users. Also given that the FTC can and will find TWiTtter billions of dollars pursuant to the FTC consent order extremely detrimental to TWiTtter's longevity is a platform. Our users deserve better than this. I would guess this person's gone by the way, by now, if you feel uncomfortable about anything you're being asked to do, call TWiTtter ethics hotline or submit a report. Please note the FTCs number is FTC help. You may also remember that much reached out to whistleblower aid.org. I wish you all luck <laugh>. It's been an honor to work with all of you. That is a career suicide note. If I ever have ever heard one, there been, I have seen a lot of people warning the security status of TWiTtter is now unknown. That if you should never have had anything private in your dm, but if you do get, erase your S download your data.
Do you think there's cause for concern about the security of TWiTtter? Absolutely.
Yes. Absolutely. Does anybody think not think? This is back to the FTC agreement. I remember in the 2011 FTC agreement in part B, this was the nuts and bolts part of the 2011 agreement. It says that there has to be someone or someones who are specifically designated by name to be accountable for and accountable is a very important legal word for the information security program. There is no one like that at TWiTtter. They have all quit. So that means that the company is now in material breach of the FT of the 2011 FTC agreement. If they are in breach of the 2011 FTC agreement, that means that you cannot count on them to secure any of the data that they currently have. And if there's any
David Spark (00:23:39):
Question about how, by the way, they can name, by the way, they can name any individual to be in charge, even though they had, don't technically have a CISO anymore. And by the way, that's interesting that you brought that up Padre, because you'll see there's a lot of new or of companies that have been around for a long time that are all of a sudden getting their very first CISOs now. Yes,
Leo Laporte (00:24:01):
Yes. It's growing up.
David Spark (00:24:04):
Leo Laporte (00:24:05):
Senator Ed Marky. So now let's get to the impersonation problem because that's another thing that happened this week. Remember this? Pretty humorous, I must say. It was very funny. <laugh> not. So
Amy Webb (00:24:14):
It was actually, some of it might have been funny. Some of it was really catastrophic. Some of it, especially if you were
Leo Laporte (00:24:18):
Oh yeah, really not Eli
David Spark (00:24:20):
Lilly situation. Well,
Amy Webb (00:24:22):
Yes, that also, But Nintendo, which was
Leo Laporte (00:24:26):
Mario slipping off five seconds.
Amy Webb (00:24:28):
The S right. But there were a lot of horrific images. And that happened in the middle of the night for Japan. I actually talked to some of my friends there. That was nothing that anybody was preparing for at two o'clock in the morning.
Leo Laporte (00:24:40):
So as we know, Elon says, for eight bucks you can buy a blue check, which prior to this meant authentication. There was a lot of back and forth for a while. For five minutes, Marque brownley tweeted, Look, not only do I have a blue check, but now it says this is an official account. I have a great check. And then Elon replied, No, not anymore. <laugh>. That went away. Apparently they put a hold on, you could still buy TWiTtter blue for 8 99, but you won't get a blue check. They put a hold on that. But in between those times, there were people impersonating, authenticated, impersonating Elon. Kathy Griffin got booted off the platform for saying she was Elon. Elon said you could do this, but you have to say it's a parity account.
David Spark (00:25:25):
Senator, we did Facebook do that for a while. They sort of labeling things pardy and that seemed to go away.
Leo Laporte (00:25:31):
Yeah, I mean the problem with parody, and this is the famous, well,
Amy Webb (00:25:37):
It's definition of parody,
Leo Laporte (00:25:39):
Right? Well, and this is also the famous onion pleading in the Supreme Court cases, if it has to be labeled parody, that kind of takes some of the
David Spark (00:25:47):
Outta it. Stephen Colbert had a joke about this the other day were you told the Chicken Cross the road joke, but set it up with explaining that he was about to tell a
Leo Laporte (00:25:54):
Joke. I'm about to tell a joke. Kills the joke, right? Yes. Ed Marky tweeting, Senator Marky, the Senator Marky a Washington Post reporter, was able to create a verified account impersonating me. I'm asking for answers from Elon Musk who's putting profits over people and his debt over stopping disinformation. He sent a letter to a musk, of course, as senators like to do. And then he tweeted, One of your company's Elon is under an FTC consent decree auto safety watchdog nit says, investigating you for another company of yours for killing people. And you're spending your time picking fights online. Fix your companies or Congress will to which Elon Musk replies to Senator Markety on the Washington Post. Perhaps it's because your real account sounds like parody. That's not a smart way to respond to a senator. No, it really isn't. That's not a good idea. But I understand what I kind of understand from that point of view. Elon's basically a 13 year old and them fighting words. I'm not gonna take it <laugh>. So if we covered everything, should we do more on the impersonation things? Cuz this is crazy.
David Spark (00:27:11):
Well, it violated the whole principle of the blue check. And by the way, TWiTtter has this long history of when people come up with a really bad idea that everybody knows is a bad idea, they exploit it and it is exposed instantaneously. I think about that Microsoft TA AI thing they did a while ago that
Amy Webb (00:27:37):
Was more of a Microsoft problem, to be fair than a TWiTtter problem.
David Spark (00:27:40):
Oh yeah, it was a Microsoft. But I'm just talking about problems in general that the community realizes are stupid. So it always amuses me that like, Oh, I'll think we'll just do this and people will go along. But if people don't like it and realize the fallacy in it, they'll prove very quickly the fallacy like they did with what Elon did, they did with the Microsoft TA AI situation.
Leo Laporte (00:28:06):
So one of the fake accounts was Eli Lilly, in
David Spark (00:28:11):
Which this was a bad one
Leo Laporte (00:28:13):
In which the fake account with an authorized blue check. I think by now everybody knows that blue check's meaningless. So this could only have
Amy Webb (00:28:19):
Done I actually, Leo, I don't actually know that that's true. Really. I think that was part of the problem, I
David Spark (00:28:24):
Think, right? We're more in the know, not everybody as in the know as we are here.
Amy Webb (00:28:28):
I think the challenge is that not everybody knew that. And for one tweet that I think probably those of us listening to this recognized was not true. It moved the market and it didn't just move the market.
David Spark (00:28:43):
Leo Laporte (00:28:43):
Amy Webb (00:28:45):
A you wanna show it?
Leo Laporte (00:28:47):
Amy Webb (00:28:48):
My jumping ahead. So there was a tweet from what looked like an authentic Eli Lilly account that said insulin is,
Leo Laporte (00:28:56):
It's gone now. So that's why I think it's not showing. So
Amy Webb (00:29:00):
It basically was like insulin is now free. It was not taken down and it didn't sound official. There was no, if that was true, you would usually see a press release and some more. But again, we're talking about a wide of birth of people who may not be as savvy but it had a market impact. So it was what, 3.4%? Or I forget
Leo Laporte (00:29:25):
What the actual 20 billion in market value.
Amy Webb (00:29:27):
Well, but then it had 20 billion. It also had an impact on its competitors. So that was Nova Nordi. So again, from my point of view, it seems that there's liability here because this was an avoidable, this was a situation that TWiTtter caused.
Leo Laporte (00:29:45):
And so Eli, again,
Amy Webb (00:29:46):
I think the FTCs well within its rights to investigate
Leo Laporte (00:29:49):
Eli Lilly on their actual official account, which now has both a blue check and an official check. We apologize to those who have been served in misleading message from a fake Lilly account. Our official TWiTtter account is lilypad, which perhaps is not the best TWiTtter handle for an official account.
David Spark (00:30:07):
The fake one sounded more official.
Leo Laporte (00:30:09):
It was Eli Lilly and company. That was the <affirmative>. Now here's the thing, I think the stock will come back. Obviously it's bogus. So that's not the issue. The issue is it raised awareness that Eli Lilly is in fact gap price gouging on insulin. Right? And so there is
Amy Webb (00:30:27):
That that's That's not brand new news. I mean anything.
Leo Laporte (00:30:30):
No, it brought it up. It cost some, right?
It was a horrible thing that happened to a company that we would all agree probably needed something horrible to happen to it. But that doesn't change the fact that this was a massive, massive drop. And yes, the stock is recovering, but it's still down 1.26% from where it was before this happened. And the market,
Amy Webb (00:30:49):
And you have to look beyond the market though. There's a long tail here
Leo Laporte (00:30:52):
And don't the
Market tail, There are investors who are gonna have their shorts called. They're gonna have their leverage positions called because of this. They can all go for remediation.
Leo Laporte (00:31:01):
And I don't think the market's dumb. I think that they pretty quickly, any investor, investor knew that Eli Lilly was not announcing that insulin is free now. And if they did, they were quickly disabused of that. But
Amy Webb (00:31:14):
It brought something to the public for that had been overshadowed by other things. And so now there's a public conversation yet again, which there should be, by the way. It's embarrassing, but cost of insulin.
David Spark (00:31:26):
But hold on. But this goes into a greater discussion and we talk about this a lot in security of you don't have to make a permanent if you want to cause damage. It doesn't need to be permanent. It can be temporary and temporary is enough to cause enough damage. <affirmative>. And this is exactly what
Amy Webb (00:31:44):
Happened. It's weaponized information.
David Spark (00:31:46):
We call it we mental malware.
Leo Laporte (00:31:51):
Are we lucky, clever remembering, this all happened right before the midterm elections. Are we lucky that in fact it didn't disrupt the elections? I mean it could have, right?
David Spark (00:32:03):
Oh yeah. There's a lot of damage it could have done.
Amy Webb (00:32:06):
It was 24 hours beforehand. So I don't
Leo Laporte (00:32:08):
Think it's not enough time for the Russian bought farms to
Amy Webb (00:32:12):
I, Yeah, I again, I think the story about the fact that TWiTtter was imploding, sort of overshadowed the potential misinformation that might have been sent.
Leo Laporte (00:32:22):
So big layoffs, lots of brain drain going on. Elon not looking too serious. Although I note in the first few days after he bought TWiTtter, he tweeted three or four times at the norm. His normal rate, he's really dropped off a lot and most of his tweets have nothing to do with TWiTtter. All of a sudden. Although he did tweet on Friday that all of this excitement has really increased engagement on TWiTtter he said, Well it's really improved <laugh>, the number of posts on TWiTtter, which may be true. I don't know. Sounds a little like he protests too much.
Yeah, they're doing so well that he sold another 4 billion of Tesla stock to cover the losses. Yeah. So yeah, that sounds like it's,
Leo Laporte (00:33:07):
I mean the real problem for TWiTtter, if let's say they get past the FTC and a pissed off senator the real problem is that advertisers don't wanna be anywhere near this. Right.
David Spark (00:33:18):
Did you see he threatened the advertisers?
Yeah. Yeah. He's gonna charge them more <laugh> for being cowards. Oh my gosh. That's an episode. Episode from that. He was gonna go sunset strip show. Yeah,
David Spark (00:33:30):
He goes, he was gonna say he was gonna go thermonuclear name and shame. They cut off their advertising.
Leo Laporte (00:33:37):
That's a guarantee that advertisers are gonna
David Spark (00:33:41):
Look. What are you trying to do? Who talks to their customers that way?
Leo Laporte (00:33:45):
He is in effect telling advertisers, I am a loose candidate and I can hurt your brand.
Amy Webb (00:33:50):
I don't think that's what he is doing. I honestly don't think what he's doing is creating a situation. So if any of you out there have employees think about the process that you would use to get rid of an employee who's underperforming, You can't just fire them, I guess, unless you
Leo Laporte (00:34:07):
Quit. Yeah. You write 'em up, you create a paper,
Amy Webb (00:34:08):
You have to go through a process. Yeah. Where you either, I mean some companies sort of make the circumstances such that they want to quit or you have a whole long process of write ups and things like that. Is it plausible that given the weight of the investment and the total improbability that any current financial model works out to pay that back? That he's creating the circumstance where there is no alternative but bankruptcy so that he gets out of this whole thing and TWiTtter dies permanently? That would be my take, my hot take.
David Spark (00:34:42):
So there was talk that he wasn't that bankruptcy was I think a possible option.
Leo Laporte (00:34:47):
He said he told,
Amy Webb (00:34:48):
I think it is the only option there is. It's
Leo Laporte (00:34:51):
Inevitable. But he said this,
Amy Webb (00:34:52):
The only trying to get a payment platform doesn't make sense when
David Spark (00:34:55):
Of sense. You buy something and then you file for bankruptcy. No,
Amy Webb (00:34:58):
No. I don't think that's why he did it. I think he was, Listen, I mean again, let's go back in time. I think this started out as a probably overconfident ruse that turned into what felt like a real thing. I mean, we're kind of seeing this pattern over and over again with powerful men and then it kind of became real and there was no way to walk things back. And this seems to be the only way for him to get out of it at this point.
That's not a really good way to get out of it though, because I
Amy Webb (00:35:27):
Mean it is the only way out of it, his personal wealth. But he didn't wanna be in it. The problem was there was no way to get out without a lawsuit.
Leo Laporte (00:35:33):
Yeah. He apparently, I agree with you Amy, that the original decision to buy TWiTtter was either a joke or I
Amy Webb (00:35:44):
Don't think it was a joke. I mean, I think that there's a certain amount of highfalutin that's happening
Leo Laporte (00:35:49):
Right now. Yeah. G bloviating
Amy Webb (00:35:50):
Among our tech who are running the show all over the place. And this was, it was
Leo Laporte (00:35:56):
Show he was showing his tail feathers a little bit and then realized,
Amy Webb (00:36:00):
And then it kind of got idea there's no way to back get out, tried outta it, back out of it without a lawsuit. Do you think, which was the whole, all of TWiTtter is bots proved to me, this is a reason for me, I've got grounds to not go through with the sale. Do
Leo Laporte (00:36:12):
You think he always thought, Well I can always get out of it.
Amy Webb (00:36:15):
Yeah, I think that again, that I would call them the sort of tech os think that they can get in or out of anything. I think that's part of how we got to know.
Leo Laporte (00:36:24):
And then for some reason really feared what was gonna happen in the Delaware Court of Chancery. He was about to be deposed. They had already revealed some embarrassing direct messages. Probably he knew of others that were to come. I'm wondering if he had some conversations with much Peter Zako, the TWiTtter whistleblower at some point that might have been incriminating. So for some reason, which we don't fully know, he decided, Oh, I guess I have to buy it. Do you think at that point he starts squirming and looking for ways? Yes. So he put in of his own money I don't know, somewhere around 30 billion he borrowed. Was
Amy Webb (00:37:03):
It? I thought it was, I thought he put up the money, but I thought the real amount was closer to a billion. Was it that much?
Leo Laporte (00:37:10):
It was a lot. It
Amy Webb (00:37:11):
Was way, It was more than that. Okay.
Leo Laporte (00:37:13):
Yeah. So he borrowed 13, I think billion from banks. Those guys cannot be very happy at this point. They're really exposed.
Amy Webb (00:37:22):
They were really foolish for going in
Leo Laporte (00:37:25):
On that. Well, it was a mistake, but he also got money from Larry Ellison kicked in a couple of Bill the Saudi Sovereign Fund. We don't know how much, but a lot. So you're right, Elon might not have been in for more than a 13 or 14 billion. If he declares bankruptcy, would it be chapter 11 reorganization? Is that what you think? Does he then get to put off the creditors? He's got a more than a billion dollar yearly annual interest.
Amy Webb (00:37:54):
So again, I think this is one of these things where if the Saudi Royal, the <laugh>, Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund still wants to go out and have, I guess not a beer, but some type of non-alcoholic drink and sit on a bar cuz Elon's cool, then everything is copacetic. I just don't think that's gonna happen. I think he is actually stuck. I think he's actually stuck. And the worst that the situation gets, the worst this becomes for his other holdings from the other companies and their market cap. This is a casca cycle of apocalyptic health.
David Spark (00:38:25):
Do you think that these, Cause I was just thinking about the sheer number of people that were let go <affirmative>. I'm like, what other company could function if they just one day got rid of half of their employees? And I'm talking any company over a thousand employees, How do you function if half of your employees are gone and
Leo Laporte (00:38:44):
Samari? Right. Without a lot
Amy Webb (00:38:45):
Of, And there weren't that many to start. They only had what, six,
David Spark (00:38:47):
6,000, 7,500? Yeah. And so could this been all a plan? Well, I'm gonna have to, He was thinking bankrupt before this.
Amy Webb (00:38:57):
That's exactly what I'm saying. I think Elon is quiet, quitting TWiTtter.
Leo Laporte (00:39:01):
He's quiet, quitting TWiTtter.
Amy Webb (00:39:03):
I think that's what's happening. Watching it happen in real time.
Leo Laporte (00:39:07):
How does he get out of this? What happens to his finances
David Spark (00:39:11):
Watching? What did you think?
Amy Webb (00:39:13):
So what are the assets? Listen TWiTtter. So again, let's stop for a moment and forget about all the insanity it's happened. If TWiTtter were to go away tomorrow, TWiTtter is not general purpose technology like electricity. The only way to, what's the total valuation of the internet? There's no way to calculate it. But in the reverse, that's a general purpose. Technology that is not TWiTtter goes away tomorrow. There's no meaningful economic impact. There might be on the companies that are solely set up to serve TWiTtter. And anybody who's using and using TWiTtter to sign on there might be hiccups. TWiTtter goes away tomorrow. There's no real problem, there's no real infrastructure. The user base isn't all that valuable because it's relatively small. So again, who would buy it? How do you monetize it? No, there's,
David Spark (00:40:05):
That's a good point. There's a lot of other services that would cause major disruption. That's a good point. Yeah.
Leo Laporte (00:40:10):
It's not the power grid for crying out loud.
David Spark (00:40:14):
No, but you think of things like Salesforce or Oracle. If they went down, well, that would cause some serious disruption. He
Leo Laporte (00:40:20):
Can't sell it. Nobody's gonna buy it even for a billion dollars at this point, right? He's really stressed.
Amy Webb (00:40:25):
No. Now, years and years ago I was, I was wasting my breath on some news organizations and saying that there's no way that this is gonna monetize in the long run because the av, there's no model that I saw really working. So news work should buy it, turn it into a 21st century wire service. I love it. Allow people to use it as we currently do. But police some of the bots and other things and control more of the advertising destiny. Like there, nobody would collaborate to do that. So I don't know.
Leo Laporte (00:40:58):
By the way, the people who are not moving off of TWiTtter include all the news services really. Although Reuters now has a Macon feed. But I think the news services don't have anything anywhere. They can go like TWiTtter.
David Spark (00:41:13):
Oh well they'll always be somewhere where people want to spout something off and release information.
Amy Webb (00:41:19):
No, but I'll tell you cuz we work with some of them and some others, and I know that there was a meeting among the largest foundations whether or not they should all leave TWiTtter or stay on,
David Spark (00:41:34):
Well it's stay where the news is breaking. You just have to, That's your job as being news. When people complained about reporting on our president, I'm like, Well, he's the president. You gotta kind of report on that. So it's kind of the job of news to where the news is breaking or where you can get that information. You have to gather it.
Leo Laporte (00:41:55):
Super unique. They didn't really own any IP that can't be replicated. They had a couple of patents for machine learning. They had a couple of patents for interconnected networks. But those were just utility patents. They have
David Spark (00:42:11):
Are members. That is their actions.
Exactly. The user base was the members and he drove them away. I mean, remember, well,
David Spark (00:42:19):
They're not all gone yet. Some have left. There's still plenty of people.
The ones you have to remember, you everyone looks at the 1.3 billion users of TWiTtter and they say that's the big number. So even if a million left, that's not really that big of a problem. But you look at the revenue of TWiTtter, 92% came from advertisers. Of that 92% that came from advertisers, 50 to 50 to 60% came from the United States. Content developed in the United States. So in the United States you had about 38 million active daily users. 25% of those, or about 9 million generated the content of about 97% of that. So 9 million users in the United States are responsible for roughly three quarters of TWiTtter's revenue. So if he's driven away a million of those, that is a huge hit. That is
Leo Laporte (00:43:09):
The latest masked on numbers. The last week they've grown to one and a half million users. So I presume most of them came from TWiTtter.
David Spark (00:43:18):
Well, they're definitely getting plenty.
Leo Laporte (00:43:21):
Leo Laporte (00:43:22):
Macon is not a TWiTtter replacement. Not, and it shouldn't be. It's designed to kind of avoid some of the pitfalls TWiTtter offers, especially to disadvantage people in the LB G two Q plus community. They left TWiTtter a long time ago, frankly because TWiTtter has always been kind of last five years, been a toxic place. It's really So are we gonna mourn the loss of TWiTtter father?
Yeah. Okay. My experience of TWiTtter was a lot different than some others because, or very early on I wrote a bot that got rid of the worst signals from TWiTtter and it was very good at it. It made TWiTtter a very useful place for me. And it still, its still is. And yes, I'm on Macon and yes, I'm trying out a couple of other social media services but TWiTtter was actually useful for me. It wasn't just a place to broadcast thoughts. I got some very interesting ideas from the people that I met in the communities that I formed within TWiTtter. So that is a unique forum that I do not think is duplicatable anywhere else on an existing internet property.
Amy Webb (00:44:41):
I agree. And I've used TWiTtter again since 2006 and along the way, so early on, that's where my friends were. And it was fun to have conversations in public, I guess. But I was there for the links. People were sharing pre political Meyer and Jonathan Abrams, who I really respect is always slightly ahead, slightly too ahead of the curve. He founded Friendster. He also started something called Nuzzle and Uzi Z El, which was this awesome app that you could set up if you had TWiTtter lists. Once a certain threshold of people posted accounts posted the same link, you would get a notification. So it was this really, really great way. I made 200 private TWiTtter lists that were each about a specific topic. It was a really great way to surface totally original signals that I just would not have picked up on my own actually. Then TWiTtter bought it and turned it into blue and dumbed it down and made it terrible. And I used TWiTtter to present, I used to have the script running in Keynote and I, anytime I gave a keynote presentation somewhere, I would sort have a back channel of me talking while I was talking on stage and it would tweet out the links. I would try to think ahead of what somebody might stop when I was talking to look up on their own. And I would tweet it while I was saying it.
It like those other utilities that I really miss and I miss. Yeah, it, it's a different place than it was and I'm sort of ready to let it go.
Leo Laporte (00:46:23):
Black TWiTtter a perfect example of a community that formed on TWiTtter that gave people voices, that didn't have voices before. <affirmative> the Arab Spring. There are lots of historic things that happened on TWiTtter. So I mean, I think it's appropriate. Are we premature to mourn it?
David Spark (00:46:46):
I think there's a giant dump fest going on right now on TWiTtter. That's what I'm hearing.
Leo Laporte (00:46:52):
What do you mean by dump fest?
David Spark (00:46:54):
There's watching the feed here and I'm listening to you. I think there's a lot of people trashing it. A lot of people spend many, many years building up their community and their audience and right now there's one guy who's acting very aggressively and he owns it. I say, we should all chill out.
Leo Laporte (00:47:10):
Just stick around and see what happens. That was my original plan until I was kind of force fed Elon's tweets and I thought, you
David Spark (00:47:18):
Can always stop
Leo Laporte (00:47:19):
Following. I could. I could.
Amy Webb (00:47:20):
So what happened? You didn't have the chronological view
Leo Laporte (00:47:24):
On Yeah, I had the home feed on and I had eight Elon Musk tweets in a row, all of which were worse and worse and worse. He's, by the way, stopped doing that. I think he probably got the message that probably is counterproductive. Let's see. Is,
Amy Webb (00:47:39):
I mean these things, listen, I think all of this things, I'm a futurist, but we look backwards TWiTce as much as we look forwards and we sort of go in cycles of things. So we've got social media that are kind of imploding. I think we're in a period of social distortion where we're sort of spreading out again and going into different directions. But at some point years down the line, there will be consolidation again. So the Macon may be decentralized, but there will still be a consolidation of players in the market as there is with every single industry over and over again. So
Leo Laporte (00:48:13):
I said in the pre-show, I said in the pre-show that I'm gonna be slim pickings riding the spa into the ground. I mean, like David said, I spent years building up a community that I find very valuable on TWiTtter. And so I'm gonna stay there if for nothing else but for them. Was that a strange reference? I am moving to maam. I'm sorry.
Amy Webb (00:48:31):
Was that a strange love reference?
Yeah, of course. Yeah.
Leo Laporte (00:48:35):
Throw one of the, Yeah,
Leo Laporte (00:48:36):
I remember Slim Pickens riding the atomic pop. Yeah,
Amy Webb (00:48:38):
No, no. It was my favorite movie. I love tearing that podcast
Leo Laporte (00:48:42):
Amy Webb (00:48:43):
So much that I interrupted you. I apologize
Mean. There is an interesting tangent to this. Did you heard about the senior director of engineering got caught sending out a slack that is just tone deaf,
Amy Webb (00:48:57):
Detail. So it Luke Simon, Luke, Evan Simmons, he is the senior director of engineering at TWiTtter, sent out a slack saying, I'm gonna quote, this is going to be the challenge. The engineers, I am bringing back the ones you've fired and then rehired are weak, lazy, unmotivated. And they may even be against an Elon TWiTtter. They were cut for a reason. So we need to think of these people as just needing to be around until the knowledge transition is completed. Imagine sending that out on a company Slack to the people who are gonna read and say, Yeah, I, I'm gonna be as slow as possible. Not motivating
David Spark (00:49:31):
For you. So wait a second, let's pause for a moment on that. So that really went out. Yes.
That really went out. That really went out his, you bring
David Spark (00:49:39):
Employees back and you called them lazy. Yep.
Amy Webb (00:49:41):
Was that posturing though?
David Spark (00:49:43):
Just half of those employees are going to design back doors into their software so they could hack it later when they're dumped again? Well, if I employee they up a Pandora's box of problems.
<laugh>. If I was brought back, I am writing 10 lines of code where one will do, I mean come on, I will go as slow as possible. I will milk it for every bit of salary and concessions that I can get.
David Spark (00:50:06):
No, it's more of like, I'm gonna build a back door so I can get into this thing. Yeah. When I want to.
Leo Laporte (00:50:16):
Some of them I understand have to come back cuz they were in order to avoid the warrant act, Elon who originally wanted just to fire him without severance, no notice, realized he had to give him 90 days of continued salary. Those people are still getting paid. And so it's easy to call them back cuz they never really <laugh> left. And if they don't come back, then you can say, well then you're not getting your 90 days, now you've quit. So you might wonder, well why would anybody come back after being fired? Well that's why they may not. No,
David Spark (00:50:52):
But this goes to my point, who could dump half of their staff and still be operational
Leo Laporte (00:50:56):
And then they did.
David Spark (00:50:57):
He goes, Wait a second, I
Leo Laporte (00:50:58):
Can't still be operated. Dump 'em five days after you walk in the door. How would you even know? And certainly as you point out, counting the number of pages of code committed is a terrible way to do it. <laugh>
Amy Webb (00:51:09):
Can I ask you guys a question? Yeah. Have any of you had conversations about Elon with others and gotten into, had bad react? Let me put it this way. I feel like Elon's almost religion on his own and there's no room. I mean, two things get people more upset than anything else. And that is their crypto and Elon,
Right? These are our two big stories.
Amy Webb (00:51:35):
Yeah, I know. But the reaction that people have to any critical, any criti logical criticism of what's happening right now is grounds for verbal assault.
<laugh>, I, there's a ven diagram common, sorry pad I, There's a Venn diagram here of the block bot. You have the Elon stands, you have the crypto stands and then you have the Joe Rogan stands and where do they meet that velvet part? Right in the middle. That's an instant block. That's just, No, I'm sorry. I don't
Leo Laporte (00:52:08):
Is how your anything Is that how your bot works? <laugh>. It's a Venn diagram bot. I need to take a break. We'll have more. It's an amazing time we're living in and then there's ftx. We're gonna talk about that. Our show today brought to you by Worldwide Technology and H P E, Hewlett Packard Enterprise WWT is at the forefront of innovation working with clients all over the world to transform their businesses. And I have to tell you cuz we went out and saw it right before COVID in March of 2020. Lisa and I went out to St. Louis and saw their advanced technology center. And this thing is a mindblowing amazing thing for anybody to have anybody. The ATC is a research and testing lab with more than half a billion dollars of equipment from all the OEMs that you might deal with. Why did they build this?
I mean, they've been building it for a decade. This many buildings rack after rack of incredible gear. Well they built it at first for their own engineers so they could test products integrate solutions, roll out solutions. It reduced their evaluation time for new technologies from months to weeks. They could spin up proofs of concept and pilots was a great way for WWT engineers for the WWT team to understand the technologies that they're working with. But they've done something that is really incredible. They have opened it up to all of you. Anybody on the WWT platform can access the atc. You don't even have to go to St. Louis to do it. They offer hundreds of on demand and SCHEDULABLE labs you can do from anywhere in the world at any time of the day or night. Like HP's, data services cloud console lab, these labs represent the newest advances in every area of enterprise technology, multi-cloud architecture, security, networking, primary and secondary storage, data analytics, ai, even things like DevOps process and so much more.
This has been a great boon for WWT internally, but now it's available to everybody. With the atc, you can test out products and solutions before you go to market. You can access technical articles, expert insights, demonstration videos, white papers, hands on labs, all the tools you need to stay up to date with latest technology. Here's the key. WWT is a partner. They're a partner and they want their partners to succeed. And that's why they offer you these great tools. It's not just a physical lab space in St. Louis. It's a completely virtual lab that you can access anywhere in the world. 365 days a year. And it's free. All you have to do is be a member of the ATC platform. That's not the only thing WWT does. We went out there and marched and we did an event with so much fun. Mary Jo Foley came out with us.
Make sure you check out WWTs events and communities. Lots of stuff going on there. Learn together about the technology trends. Here are the latest research and insights from the WWT experts because they are your partners in this. Whatever your business need, WWT can deliver scalable, tried and tested tailored solutions. WWT brings strategy and execution together to make a new world happen. Learn more about wwt, the Advanced Technology Center to gain access to all their free resources. It's very simple. Just go to wwt.com/TWiTt, create a free account in the atc platform, wwt.com/TWiT. It is such a benefit to every company that uses enterprise technology. You'd be crazy not to join it. wwt.com/TWiT. David Spark is here from well I've known him for years, but his current effort is CISO email@example.com. You interview CISOs, right? And other security and others talk about security. And I might as well give out your TWiT TWiTtter handle at D Spark cuz you're not lava man. And I'm so serious.
David Spark (00:56:24):
I don't, not one to do knee jerk reactions.
Leo Laporte (00:56:29):
I think that's smart.
David Spark (00:56:30):
Let's see how this thing plays itself
Leo Laporte (00:56:32):
Out. I am also though not one to kind of hang around a toxic environment. I just don't need that in my
David Spark (00:56:37):
Oh well you don't have to necessarily shut down your account. It's just, Oh
Leo Laporte (00:56:41):
No, I didn't to kill my account. I got half a million followers. I didn't kill it but I ain't visited it. I couldn't been years since I've been able to read out replies. Anyway, I mean I've only been a minor user of TWiTtter for the last three or four years but nobody here's leaving, which is interesting. Amy Webb, CEO of Future Today Institute. Did you predict this? Would that It's really not TWiTtter, it's social media. Look at Facebook's valuation.
Amy Webb (00:57:11):
Yeah, again, there are cycles that every industry goes through and from my point of view where we were at the sort of zenith of the cycle and so it makes sense what's happening right now. Maybe uncomfortable, but
Leo Laporte (00:57:28):
David Spark (00:57:29):
Amy, can I ask you a quick question about cycles right there? Yeah. When things don't have much of a history or things are changing so rapidly, what do you use to predict? And I know I'm being super vague, but the reason I bring this up is cuz one topic that comes up with us is cyber insurance. And I'm like, Jesus, that changes so drastically. It's not like the industry has decades of information of actuarial tables like auto insurance.
Amy Webb (00:57:55):
Oh no. We actually do a ton of work in insurance and those actuarial tables have pretty much not been updated in the past century. So no, they're still trying to sort things out. That's pretty. So
David Spark (00:58:05):
What do you do when the history is either so drastically changing, you can't see a pattern <affirmative>, or what is it that you do
Amy Webb (00:58:14):
We can always see patterns. The issue is making sure we're seeing evidence and data backed patterns and not ones that we're seeing because of our own bias, but we, And actually don't make predictions. So we would not say that we would predict something would happen on such and such a date or by such and such time.
David Spark (00:58:30):
Right. But you're showing trends more. Yes.
Amy Webb (00:58:33):
Yeah. So we build models, evidence based models, sometimes primary second. Yeah. I don't wanna get into the weeds cuz it would bore that out of everybody who's listening <laugh>. But yeah, even when are, what social media is 15 ish, maybe a little bit longer, 18 years old. We could say it's every industry or micro industry moves at a different speed and trajectory. And we're just, one of the biggest signals we look for is consolidation. So consolidation over time tends to attract regulatory scrutiny and it's all the other stuff that comes with it. And either that micro industry survives because there's no, there's nothing else or there's an implosion and something else happens. So a good analogy here would be drugstores in the United States CVS may have incredible technology, but it, I does not care about customers at pharmacies. And so the tech might be great, but the user experience is horrible. But there's nowhere else to go, which is what left the opening for Amazon. Cuz it's so much marketing consolidation. It would be so challenging to set up a competitor that, so we've got two or three in the market that one continues to hold social media. So yeah,
Leo Laporte (00:59:52):
Also with his father, Robert Baller, the digital Jesuit who is also not leaving TWiTtter but does have four MA on count him, four MA on accounts, just
In case. I think it's more than that actually. There's a bunch that I just have forgotten about <laugh>. I, it was a very interesting platform from the very beginning. It was very friendly to writing bots and I was experimenting and it was that thing where I would create an account and forget about it and create another account. And I did that for three or four years. That's fine. So yeah, you're gonna find a
Leo Laporte (01:00:21):
Lot. You're on TWiTtter, social now, that's all that matters.
That's all Exactly. That's exactly TWiT social is, it's actually perfect. And I, I've hit the inflection point. So I may have what, 45,000 users on TWiTtter and only 2000 on Macon. But the engagement I'm starting to get from Macon is getting very close to the engagement for the same topics. Oh,
Leo Laporte (01:00:46):
That's interest on TWiTtter. Yeah.
Yeah, that's good. That's good.
Leo Laporte (01:00:51):
To me, the lesson, and I also take this lesson from the collapse of FTX, is that centralization, Amy, you'd probably be good to talk about this. It's not always a good idea. Certainly it's the kind of way capitalism works because the, that's how you capture value is by centralizing it, siloing it and selling it. But for end users, I don't know if centralization is the right thing. And of course that is the complaint. People who don't wanna leave TWiTtter have is well, but I like all the people I can follow and talk to on TWiTtter.
Amy Webb (01:01:31):
Yeah, I mean listen total decentralization, I, I'm know of any examples throughout history and any sector where total decentralization worked and worked in the long term.
Leo Laporte (01:01:47):
But maybe it's a pendulum that we've swung too far in the direction of scale and centralization and mass. I
Amy Webb (01:01:54):
Mean maybe if we're bridging to the exchanges, the crypto exchanges, I listen, I don't think our central banks, I'm not sure what the Fed is. I don't know that I agree with what the Fed has been doing but I also don't know that completely unfettered exchanges where you have a handful of people making the liquidity. I don't wanna get super in the weeds on this, but we should not be in the place that we are right now. And this is no longer an experiment that's happening during Covid. There's real money being lost. That's a good point. Significant real money for people. And again, if we play this forward, you put somebody in dire economic circumstances in our current economy with the current, with all of the other variables that are not playing to our favor. This is where you have a vulnerable population that decides to <laugh> seen how this has happened throughout history and it has typically not gone well. So that's what I'll say.
Leo Laporte (01:03:04):
It's interesting maybe cuz I'm not a good capitalist, I'm not good at marketing. I'm not good at if I like the idea for instance on our mastodon, I don't really wanna promote it. I just <laugh> kinda like it better if it grows natively and it doesn't need to be big. I don't want to get big. Getting big sometimes is, I understand from a capitalist point of view, from an industrial point of view, getting big is a secret to economies of scale. It's where you really get the big money. I not getting big macon's, more like having a cottage garden.
David Spark (01:03:45):
Well I'll tell you
Leo Laporte (01:03:46):
It's not as efficient as having a giant 15 million acre bee farm, but it's kind of more personal and more satisfying.
David Spark (01:03:57):
It's all about niche and getting to your very specific audience, which is very much evidenced here. I mean we don't have enormous audiences, but I, the niche are very desirable for our specific audience.
Leo Laporte (01:04:13):
Just like to, that's the big thing. I'd prefer to talk to people who get it <laugh> than people who don't. It's just me. I don't know.
Amy Webb (01:04:21):
So again, but that is a better situation for a potential advertiser. Advertiser. The challenge with advertisers on platforms right now is you kind of don't know where your ads are going and you don't have clear metrics on anything like it. If I had an opportunity to talk to 2000 people about something that was aligned with whatever it is that I'm working on and I was gonna do it in a way that they appreciated, that's the best possible advertising there is.
David Spark (01:04:48):
Right? Doesn't even have to be that large Amy. I mean this is one of the things we talk about when people start out doing podcasts and they get very depressed because they see download numbers over a hundred or 200 people. But if you just take a moment and say, what if I had a hundred or 200 people just in a room listening to me?
Leo Laporte (01:05:07):
David Spark (01:05:08):
That's plenty. Yeah. That's really powerful. And if you just think about that
Amy Webb (01:05:12):
And it's the right a hundred or 200 people, that's all you need. I mean honestly that is TWiTtter. TWiTtter's user base is pretty small relative to the global population. It just happened to be a concentration of media people and
Leo Laporte (01:05:25):
Technical. That's a good point. It's a, it's not Facebook, is it? <affirmative>
But TWiTtter's user base had a advantage over some of the other social media platforms. And that is the user base tended to be a bit more educated and it tended to be a little wealthier. I think the last stat I saw was 87% make more than 30,000 a year. 40 some percent make more than 75,000 a year and something like 15% more make more than a hundred thousand a year. So if you're an advertiser and you're looking for your niche, that platform that has fewer users but has more of the users that you want is a better buy.
Amy Webb (01:06:08):
Do you think that's the move behind all of these sort of spaces style small audio chat rooms that we're starting to solve? Well yeah,
I mean that's, that's
Amy Webb (01:06:18):
TWiTtter. It's like
Was the 1000 loyal listeners, that's all you really need. You get that and anything else is gravy. If you get the 1000 people who really want to hear what you have to say, who are willing to give you that dollar a week or dollar an episode.
David Spark (01:06:31):
I will say that if we, we do better being more niche to a smaller audience than if I was broader to a larger audience. For sure. Of course.
Do you want an advertiser who needs to sell a million items to make a million dollars? Or an advertiser who makes a million dollars off one item?
Leo Laporte (01:06:53):
Isn't that what the internet
David Spark (01:06:55):
Have access to Big budgets. That's why sponsors,
Leo Laporte (01:06:57):
Isn't that what the internet's all about? Is diversity small groups? Maybe it was a mistake to say to make social get so big maybe that was a mistake or No, I think it was driven by the desire to reach a mass audience so you could sell it to advertisers as opposed to what people our of needed or wanted. The
Amy Webb (01:07:23):
General, this goes back to Jack Welsh and if anybody's super interested in business and how we got here it's a critique of Welsh, but is the man who broke capitalism, I think is what it's called. It's a
Leo Laporte (01:07:35):
Brand new book. Yeah, it's pretty good. Was Lionize at the time and now David
Amy Webb (01:07:38):
Gels. Yeah. And still very much is in, especially in Latin and South America, but scale is everything. It has our modern business in the US especially has been built on scale and financialization, meaning you wanna get to the biggest possible numbers that you can and then the rest of the, you wanna achieve non-organic growth is kind of how we got to now. And I don't think that's the best way to do things. It just became the way that we do do things.
David Spark (01:08:08):
Leo, I will tell you something that Jim Louderback, some we both know told me when he was running revision three, I asked him what percentage of your producer's time is spent engaging directly with the audience? And he said 50%. And that was critical to building his audience. And I would say we spend kind of close to that too. Yeah. Gotta spend a lot of time engaging with your audience directly.
Leo Laporte (01:08:36):
Scale gives you one very important thing. The larger social media platform is the easier it is to drive interactions, outrage at scale. The rage machine is amazing. You can get so many engagements, you can get so much spread by bringing up something that makes people upset. And
Amy Webb (01:09:01):
Then you can spin out your race.
David Spark (01:09:03):
This is my whole theory. The internet is a speed from bad to worse. <laugh>, how can I say the worst thing possible, the quickest, faster than anybody else. <laugh> seen this with how people do this pile on of I hate this person, I wanna hurt this person, I wanna kill this person. I'm like, he goes boom, boom, boom, that fast.
Amy Webb (01:09:25):
But this again, nobody invented this recently. This goes back to,
David Spark (01:09:29):
No, it's just allowing for speed.
Amy Webb (01:09:31):
It's just faster. This was a practice like 500 years ago. You go to see a Shakespeare show live and that happens in the audience,
David Spark (01:09:38):
But hold up. But the anonymity of TWiTtter allows for that as well.
The greater number of connections. If I go into a Macon instance and I just start spewing out rage, I am gonna get blocked so quickly because people are gonna say, I don't wanna hear, this is nothing to do with what we're discussing. I do that on TWiTtter. I'm still gonna get people blocking me, but I will find a big enough critical mass of people who share the same rage and will amplify it. So yes, that happens on large instances that don't happen on small ones.
David Spark (01:10:09):
What Bill Mar had a great line. He goes, I could say to everybody on TWiTtter, Have a great day. And people would still be pissed off about that. Well of course it have a
Amy Webb (01:10:21):
David Spark (01:10:23):
Leo Laporte (01:10:24):
So what are we learning? A lesson that maybe too big is you can get too big that, I mean certainly Jack Welsh made, Did he make GE too big? Is that what they're saying?
Amy Webb (01:10:36):
It was fast inorganic growth and a lot of so organic growth would be developing new products and services and growing that market over time. Inorganic growth tends to happen through m and a. So you're buying up competitors or other companies and you're trying to spin up your p and l to appease the market. And that's a risky, dangerous game. But typically that happens when you're also cutting way back on staff, on services, on people. There's a terrific chapter of that book on ge, on Boeing and how Boeing got of gutted and the history of really great r and d in Boeing was sort of blown apart. So I think we have this tradition in the US of scale up, scale up, do less, get rid of as many people as you can divest in your talent pipeline. There's a lot of that happening. And that's also the sort of playbook for a lot of companies that get consulting from a particularly large consulting company based in the United States. I won't say who it is, but that's kind of their playbook. And all of this is about driving up share prices as much as humanly possible. And that's a great short term game again, and it's good for the market in the very near term, but that is, it produces just disastrous results down the road. Now I don't know if Elon himself has been a recipient of any of this advice or if any of the tech companies have been recently, but they seem to be following at least in parts of those models. Yeah.
Leo Laporte (01:12:18):
What about Meta? What about Facebook? 54% of the 11,000 laid off were in business positions, but the other 46% were technology roles. That's a lot of technologists to lay off.
David Spark (01:12:38):
Is he, Let me ask you,
Leo Laporte (01:12:39):
They've decided to kill, they've decided to kill portal, their smart display division. They've decided they had smart watches in development. They decided to kill that. I'm not saying Facebook or Meta is a very well run company because a lot of what's going on right now is Mark pivoting to a very speculative investment into a virtual reality. So I used to think he was a real smart guy. What happened?
David Spark (01:13:09):
Well, he didn't all of a sudden become stupid Leo <laugh>. But I have a question.
Leo Laporte (01:13:13):
Maybe I was wrong.
David Spark (01:13:15):
I have a question, and I don't know if you've been tracking this specifically, but he seems to be betting Zuckerberg betting a lot on virtual reality. What is your understanding of how big that market's getting and growing?
Amy Webb (01:13:34):
So if do a lot people who listen to the show know the line of work that I'm in and who we work with. The issue is that we're, I think 10 years out probably we don't have enough compute, we don't have enough. This is, we're a little far away from this really being able to work and have business cases. I wonder
David Spark (01:13:59):
If, do you know what the Let ask, Do you know what the demand is specifically for it?
Amy Webb (01:14:03):
Oh, the demand? Yeah. Zero. I don't see anybody. There's none of the, I mean that I know of, there aren't any with the exception of maybe do o d, but there's no real investment. There's a lot like marketing departments are very excited about Metaverse technologies and xr. There are a lot of anthropomorphic chatbot type of things that are being built. To me, this feels a lot like the days of Foursquare when everybody threw money at badges cuz they thought gamification was the next big thing and they followed the wrong trend. They followed the shiny, not the infrastructure. Always follow the infrastructure. That's what matters most.
David Spark (01:14:44):
So do you think that what Zuckerberg is doing right now in terms of, and I don't know if he is betting the farm, but it just seems that's all the press that comes out is that everything is more and more virtual reality driving everyone to the whole world have an Oculus on their head is
Amy Webb (01:15:04):
Well, I was not in the room where it happened, so I don't know the conversations that are happening. But as an outsider, I see two plausible reasons. There's probably others. But one is I think at some point if you have consolidated enough wealth and power, I think you start to think, Hey, I'm gonna be the guy that does blah like X, right? And through sheer force of my will, it shall be. So I don't know if it's that or if it's Facebook was facing some significant and I think warranted regulatory challenges and maybe this was a pivot away from that. I'm sure there's other plausible reasons, but those would be the two. From my vantage point.
David Spark (01:15:41):
I mean, I own an Oculus and I kind of like it and I actually, I love it for exercising, but I don't find the compelling need for it. And what about
Are the people who, if I have a VR headset on my head for more than three minutes, I will get violently ill. It doesn't matter
David Spark (01:16:01):
How fast specifically have you put Oculus on your head?
Yes. And the prototype versions with these super high refresh screens doesn't matter. It just, I'm one of these people who I will never
David Spark (01:16:12):
Be able, I get narc too. I can't even watch somebody play a first person shooter game that makes me sick. But I don't get sick from the Oculus. Actually. I'm quite impressed with how those are I guess, balanced if you will.
I mean the last Oculus Connect that I went to I had a brand new headset with a really high refresh game and they promised me, they said, Oh no, you'll be fine wearing this. 30 seconds in, I had to pull it off. I was sweaty. I was dizzy. I had to go sit down for about an hour. So there's something about my brain that just will not let it go with vr. It just knows it's not right.
Amy Webb (01:16:47):
Padre glasses or contacts, do you wear corrective? Nothing.
Amy Webb (01:16:52):
Leo Laporte (01:16:53):
Then, I mean look, even if it's only let's say five or 10% of the population, if you have a technology that five or 10% of the population gets nauseated by, you're not gonna be a mass product. It's just not. I got the new 16 or $1,500 Quest Pro and
David Spark (01:17:13):
Amy Webb (01:17:16):
Nice. Have any of you played with the HoloLens too?
Leo Laporte (01:17:19):
Amy Webb (01:17:20):
So not yet. Everything that I've tried, and I was an early and still firm believer in Magic Leap, I think that technology was extraordinary. There was so much money and they just, investors demanded return roi, which I thought was needed years to develop. But HoloLens too is a pretty amazing piece of equipment. And I can wear it with glasses on.
Leo Laporte (01:17:44):
David Spark (01:17:46):
I can wear the I so much more into than vr. Yeah,
Leo Laporte (01:17:49):
Amy Webb (01:17:49):
That's more xr. Right? And I really do think the next thing, I don't see a world in which VR becomes a mass market technology outside of entertainment. I just there in a heads up display for life, right? Yes. For your everyday life wearing a pair of glasses that look very similar to my sort of boring looking glasses that I've got on right now. I think that's our future.
David Spark (01:18:12):
Well I will say no, here's the killer app for that. And we've talked about this a long time ago, is dating. Imagine you go into a bar dating and you can scan the room and that people can be identified and you can go into their social profiles and see things about them and essentially know a lot about them before you actually approach them. That sounds like a stalkers wet dream. I don't know. I know a lot of people who would just see that stocked opening. It's just think about, you will have an opening line <laugh>. Oh no, that's terrible. Do you think more,
Amy Webb (01:18:48):
But let me take that a step further because here's how then I would sort set myself up to be pixelated. And so I just literally unblocked from your view, not your personal view, David <laugh>.
David Spark (01:19:00):
No, but I
Amy Webb (01:19:00):
David Spark (01:19:01):
Others. But how do you pixel, It's like how do you,
Amy Webb (01:19:03):
Your face. Totally. There's a couple of guys who have knitted a sweater that I wanna buy that completely blocks your face from most recognition algorithms. I think they're with Georgia Tech, I
David Spark (01:19:14):
Think would Now, would that hold it? So would that mess up all street cameras as well?
Amy Webb (01:19:19):
Totally, yes. I'm literally gonna ask. I'm gonna No,
Leo Laporte (01:19:22):
David Spark (01:19:22):
Your head's criminals could get away with a lots
Amy Webb (01:19:26):
David Spark (01:19:26):
So that's just near ir, right? Just a lot of LEDs.
Leo Laporte (01:19:29):
Oh it's, Oh, it's got lights. Yeah. Oh
Amy Webb (01:19:32):
No, no, no. It doesn't have lights. This is, it's, there's something about the pattern I, I'm don't remember.
David Spark (01:19:38):
There was in, I think it was World was World War I where, What was the name of the way they painted the ships? Black and white. These bizarre patterns.
Amy Webb (01:19:47):
Oh, to mess the radar. Yeah.
David Spark (01:19:48):
Yeah. Well not just the radar. Radar, just the, To be able to know how close or far away the ships are. Oh, somebody in the chat room is gonna tell me what this is.
Leo Laporte (01:19:57):
Yeah, I can't remember the name. We've talked about it before. It's very cool. It looks like zebra's. It's weed. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's all broken up. Here's the sweater. Render yourself invisible to AI with this adversarial sweater of doom. Yeah,
Amy Webb (01:20:10):
I actually think I heard about it from you guys.
Leo Laporte (01:20:15):
Yeah. So I don't like to believe it. You
David Spark (01:20:19):
Wanna wear that sweater every
Amy Webb (01:20:20):
Night? I will tell you, I literally own only black clothing. I don't own any color that I'm aware of and that I would wear.
I'm with you on that. Black clothing forever. Well done.
Leo Laporte (01:20:32):
Amy Webb (01:20:34):
Leo Laporte (01:20:34):
Got white there. You're kinda stuck with it, dude. You're
David Spark (01:20:37):
Part of a Johnny Cash revival
Leo Laporte (01:20:38):
Thing, right? So did Mark. Is Mark making a mistake pouring tens of billions of dollars a year into whatever it is, VR m mixed reality ar? Is that a mistake?
Amy Webb (01:20:52):
I think the market would say yes.
Leo Laporte (01:20:53):
Yeah. Yeah. The market seems to be lost half their value. Yeah,
I mean I know it's difficult. I know he's developing a new field and he's trying to drive interests where it doesn't exist. But the second left comparison is still dead on. You look at this and you say it's a little bit better, but everything still looks like a cartoon. And I don't see myself working a day wearing VR goggles so that I can be on a space station when I'm working. What value does that give me? Yeah. So I,
David Spark (01:21:24):
Hold on, I will throw this out. Somebody had posted that they actually decoding with VR goggles on. No. And they showed their screen. Oh my God. It was endless.
Leo Laporte (01:21:34):
Awful, awful. <laugh>. No, but then I like EACs, so I don't thinking about VR eax yet. Here is on Etsy, the Antifa recognition hoodie $64 for tech data privacy protestors comes in yellow or purple. What about that? You'd wear that? Yeah. I don't know if it doesn't work. Well
Amy Webb (01:21:56):
I guess there's little faces, so it would be confusing. That makes sense to me. I
Longest Interac that would wear
David Spark (01:22:02):
Demonstrating these words.
Leo Laporte (01:22:03):
It's not, these are, This isn't the sweater of doom. This is the sweat pants
Of do dom. Yeah, I'm all about those pants wearing that. The next time I go visit the Holy Father,
David Spark (01:22:12):
It's facial recognition,
Leo Laporte (01:22:13):
Not crushing. Why are you son? Why are you wearing those paints?
Actually, that's not that different from what the Swiss Guard wear, right?
Leo Laporte (01:22:22):
Oh yes. That's You think you are in the Swiss skirt. Oh look, you can also get a neck gator. Neck gator
That looks more like Minecraft.
Leo Laporte (01:22:31):
Here's a verified review from Victoria. Good quality. My robot sex stall did not recognize me.
Amy Webb (01:22:38):
Leo Laporte (01:22:39):
Let's take a little time out after that. I've gotta adjust, I've gotta absorb. I wish our sponsor wore the sweater of doom. By the way, there is an entire academic paper making an invisibility cloak, Real world adversarial attacks on object detectors PDF that you can read. And I will hope somebody will read this and tell me if it works. There's math that's always good when there's math <laugh>. Well, it must work. Look at that. Our show today brought to you by these babies, these little computers, these things are so cool. This is on Logic is the name of the company and they make the greatest little hardened computers for industrial and other challenging environments. This is one of the, I think the trends that's changed the world is computing has moved from a thing on your desktop to computers everywhere. And that's where these on Logic computers are showing up everywhere.
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They're not getting these back <laugh>. We can think of all sorts of things. This one's got, I don't know why it's got 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 wifi buttons on it. I don't know what that's for. And then all these LEDs, and it's got three display ports. It's got like two gig, 10 gigabit ethernet ports. It's got breakouts for a bus so you can access the data bus directly. Very cool, very cool. On logic.com/TWiT. Thank you on logic for supporting the show. All right, we gotta talk about FTX cuz this is another drama. Oh, wait a minute. Before I do though this just in on TWiTtter, Sean Penn has just given his Oscar to the Ukraine. Yes, there's president. I don't know, they're very happy to, I dunno what symbolic silly thing. I don't know what they're gonna do with his Oscar, but they've got it now.
You love it. How Hollywood's really stepping up. You think President Zelensky would like Miami <laugh>? Did you see the pictures of Banksys though? Putting all over Ukraine? That's cool, right? He's gone to Ukraine, he's putting up Banksy paintings all over. Anyway, I don't know. I had to bring this, See there's good stuff on TWiTtter still. I would never have known about that. F there is more than one person on TWiTtter. <laugh> there is. We don't know how many there are, but it's not only on Musk. We may all talking about one person in particular. Yeah, no, I know who you're talking about. There's a few others. Yeah, there are a few others. Can we forget about crypto now? Is it over? We just move on, Sam, if you don't invest in it, you can forget about it. Yeah, if you've got a crypto wallet, especially if you've got a custodial wallet, you might wanna think about. How's your doe coin doing? Father,
I haven't checked on that for, I cashed out a huge chunk of the Doge coin so that I could invest in other cryptos. And then when it started dipping south, I cashed it out and I'm just got it in a holding account right now. So I'm not affected by the dip at all. I'm just watching it just in horror. For the people who are now stuck with tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency, that will, you probably never hit. Yeah.
David Spark (01:29:31):
Andre, are you just experimenting with crypto or do you have a significant investment in it?
Leo Laporte (01:29:37):
Experimenting. It doesn't have
Coin that I'm mine for fun. Yeah, back in the early days, I was one of very first miners and I got a couple million which became some real money just a couple of years ago. And then I sold that and started investing in some others and made some money there. But I said this on another TWiT, cryptocurrency is great as a speculative investment, but you should not fool yourself into thinking that it, it's actually anything. It's not held up by anything. So you need to be ready to lose absolutely every
David Spark (01:30:10):
Dollar It's held up by marketing.
David Spark (01:30:13):
By marketing and how much press it gets, period. Right?
It's value. So people like me find it interesting, but there are some people who invested because they thought it would just keep going up and up and up. And they are in so much pain right now.
David Spark (01:30:27):
Well, the thing is, for every person that it goes up, somebody else loses money. So it can't go up for everyone.
Leo Laporte (01:30:35):
Look at the, this is weird. I don't know what this has to do with anything, but you made me think of this with Doco Crypto dot dotcom. 30% of the assets are in Bitcoin. 19% of the assets are in Sheba, IU more than they have in Ethereum.
That is a meme crypto from a meme coin crypto. I mean, we are just doing multiple levels. This is basically the CDO of cryptos. That's
Leo Laporte (01:30:59):
Crazy. All right, so let's cover the thing. <laugh>. So you may remember the Super Bowl last year, a guy named Larry David. K Curb Your enthusiasm, did a very nice very funny ad for a little company called ftx, in which Larry was through the ages. He was in the ancient times. He said the wheel, it's no good. You can eat a bagel. What It's, you can't eat a wheel. And then he downplays the fork, the toilet, every invention. And finally, modern times he's sitting at his desk and some guy says, Well let's talk about cryptocurrency. And Larry says, Eh, it's not going anywhere. And then the tagline for ftx, Remember that name, Don't be a Larry. Or May, maybe you remember Matt Damon doing an ad for crypto.com. As it turns out Fortune favors the brave, the Wright brothers, the moon landing. You should buy some crypto. Or maybe you remember Tom Brady and his model wife, Giselle Bunin with their phone saying Tom saying, I'm gonna make a trade on ftx. And Giselle saying, Oh, how exciting all these celebrities promoting cryptocurrencies. So what happened to FTX this week? It went from 19 billion in assets to zero.
Sam Bankman Freed, who was on the cover of Fortune Magazine as the next great, I don't know, technology savior. Apparently if he had been doing with ftx, been doing the same thing with real money. He'd be in jail by now. He had created FTX as a, and correct me if I'm wrong, Robert, cuz you're the expert on this as a crypto exchange place. You would store your crypto or trade your she Bino for some Doz or whatever. But at the same time he founded a trading company called Alameda Research, which was funded by tokens Ft. Tokens from ftx,
Leo Laporte (01:33:13):
Moved about 10 billion of customer funds into his trading company
Leo Laporte (01:33:18):
At some point last week. Customers got a little nervous, I think honestly it was a little feud between him and another big crypto exchange. Binance run by a Chinese well we don't know exactly right, but the, the CEO is and founder I think is Chinese Binance kind of somehow, I think it was on TWiTtter even somehow Impugned ftx and people said, I'm gonna get my money outta ftx. A run in the bank 6 billion later. They had to freeze assets because they didn't have reserves to cover the run at that point. Everybody went a little bit crazy. FTX had earlier this year, Sam, Sam is smart guy. He bought burnished his image. He became famous for effective altruism. Implied that he was giving away a lot of money. He was worth at one point I think 19 billion. He bailed out hood when Robin Hood kind of got underwater.
He came in and said, Well here, we're gonna give you some FT and we'll bail you out. He did the same thing for FI when they were starting to have some trouble. He was really the white knight. Everybody thought, this is the guy who understands crypto, who knows how to make it work, who doesn't make it fly. Now apparently he's in custody in The Bahamas because he was fling to Dubai. The money is gone. His net worth has gone down below zero. And there are a lot of FTX wallet holders who are out of luck just like block fi, which also froze withdrawals this week. Finance was gonna swoop in a white knight. And I swear to God, I think they planned this. They said, Oh yeah, we'll save them. And then they said, Oh wait a minute, we just looked at the balance sheet. No, no, we don't have anything to do with it. Which immediately created the whole thing putting a competitor outta business. So Robert, what's your take on all this? Was Sam Bankman freed a Bernie Madoff or a genius?
No, he was more like, what's his name from Fyre Festival? <laugh> who
Leo Laporte (01:35:34):
Up Magnises. It
Leo Laporte (01:35:36):
Is a Fyre festival. It is. It's exactly what it
Is. Yeah, that's his because okay, he was trying to set himself up as I think you nailed it. He wanted to be the white knight. He was gonna be the one who would show that it was possible to create a professional exchange and just make money from the fees. In fact, it was making so much money that he was able to bail out fellow trading sites and services. But as it turned out that the only profits he was making was off of the trading that he was doing with customer funds, which worked fine as long as the market continued to go up it. All of these stories are the same, as long as the market continues to go up. He kept getting enough profit from that illegal trading to be able to make the business reputable. The moment that it dipped and we started to lose market, there was not enough money to cover the customer funds by far.
And when Binance came in and they looked at the books, the one thing that people heard was misallocation of customer funds. That kills an exchange instantly. It always has. And it always will because then they realized the exchange is not playing on the up and up with the trading with the tokens that it has been entrusted. And once it does not have the trust of the token holders every token, because of the nature of crypto currency, can we withdrawn immediately. So the only option is to immediately halt all trading. Imagine this is a run on the bank on steroids without even the waiting period to go down to the bank to close your account. And yeah, the entire crypto community looks at FTX and it's kind of resigned at this point. We know this is happening. We know it's gonna happen a lot more. There are other exchanges that are going to go under and everyone is just hoping that it, theirs will hold out long enough for crypto to go back up so they can get some of their investment back out. It
Leo Laporte (01:37:33):
Amy Webb (01:37:34):
A tramble idea. Yeah,
Leo Laporte (01:37:35):
That's a terrible idea. Get out now. I
Amy Webb (01:37:37):
Mean listen it almost a hundred years to the day it's what? 20 it's been, it's
Leo Laporte (01:37:43):
1929, almost a hundred years. October
Amy Webb (01:37:45):
29 crash. Still the largest sell off of shares in US history because of trust and competence. Any exchange exchanges only work when they're not hyper volatile and the volatility is tied directly to consumer and customer confidence and trust. So we're gonna continue to have liquidity events. I don't care who's running it or how much they, they're promising to do altruistically that that's one variable that's outside of everybody's control. And by the way, once you introduce spots or once you introduce bad actors who start seeding mistrust that run on the bank that Padre just talked about happens faster and there's no way to slight interest to stop it. So this is what I was talking about earlier. We have very long tail challenges ahead of us and the technology is on a developmental track that's just going faster than our current regulatory track. By the time those decisions get made, it's too late. So I'm not usually a fan, as you know, of regulating up front. And I'm not saying we should do that here either. Cause it stifles innovation, that being
David Spark (01:38:56):
Said, but isn't that the point of crypto is to stay unregulated as best as possible?
Amy Webb (01:39:01):
Well, the <laugh>, listen again, I think central banks have gotten us into some of the problem that we're in right now. But one of the things that we've learned is that the very institutions designed to keep us all afloat and to trust are the ones that are causing problems at the same time that these new exchanges that are totally decentralized or whatever are causing problems. We are in a bad situation, I think.
Leo Laporte (01:39:26):
I feel like well maybe I'm wrong, but I feel like this was a scam and that a lot of crypto and NFTs, I'll throw those into are essentially pyramid schemes that the people who got in early desperately need people to buy these products at a higher price. The
David Spark (01:39:45):
Speculation. Exactly. Oh my God, you couldn't be more on the mark Leo. That is exactly why we saw what is four or five ads during the Super Bowl. Yeah. You need people who are ignorant to the market, which I'm sorry, that was the point of those Superbowl ads. Let's get people think they're missing out fortunes let get more bodies. I mean, just think about how param mutual betting works. If you go to a racetrack, it only works if more people put money into the pool. Well, the difference more bodies,
Leo Laporte (01:40:13):
The difference ofu betting is the betting pool then is distributed to the
David Spark (01:40:18):
Winners. I know. I think
Amy Webb (01:40:19):
It's important to separate the technology infrastructure from the business model supporting it. Because I will say there's some interesting applications here when it comes to privacy. So there's a way now to create an NFT for your genome, for example, and grant permission. So you can license out parts of your genome for let's say remuneration by a pharmaceutical company but without giving them indefinite rights to it. So the technology's interesting, but so far the business models are totally there's nobody minding the store. Right?
Leo Laporte (01:40:50):
I feel like, well, that no one, hold on. In addition to these guys being scammers, they took advantage of the fact that the technology is somewhat confusing to do a lot of hand waving. And I really hear it all the time. Other underlying technology is interesting. Blockchain is just a distributed database. That's all. It's not magic. Cryptocurrency is just they're
Amy Webb (01:41:17):
Leo Laporte (01:41:18):
Fiat currency managed on a blockchain. And I'm not sure that ag gives it any real benefit. Unfortunately, part of the way this was sold, and I think again, I feel like this is criminal, maybe it was with the best intentions, but part of the way it's sold is, well there are a lot of people who the banking system disenfranchises in third world nations in the poor people in ghettos. So Jay-Z created a school to teach young black children, poor black children about cryptocurrency because it's somehow magically gonna reene them in a, and it didn't, I'm not saying Jay-Z knew better, maybe I'm not saying he was a con man, but I think he was probably conned because the technology, there's a lot of hand waving on the technology. But really underneath all this, it was a Ponzi scheme. It was a very traditional old fashioned scheme, a scam. And unfortunately the promise and of this technology fooled people. And that makes me mad because that is a really horrific misuse of technology and it's gonna make more people bitter about technology too. I think they played off the fact that nobody really understood it. In fact, they intentionally made it obscure. Okay, I'm done. I'll get off my soapbox
Amy Webb (01:42:42):
<laugh>. I don't think you're wrong. But again, I'm looking at, I see the sort of convergence of various technologies that are on the horizon and NFTs are kind of an interest. There's protocols that would allow for better privacy and sharing and value creation.
Leo Laporte (01:43:01):
Don't, how is it better than me having in an encrypted vault of
Amy Webb (01:43:07):
My own solid You mean the
Leo Laporte (01:43:09):
New solid protocol? Yeah, that Tim burner's. Lee's idea, right?
Amy Webb (01:43:11):
Yeah. So that works too.
Leo Laporte (01:43:13):
So the blockchain thing is not necessary. The distributed ledgers not necessary.
Amy Webb (01:43:17):
Yeah, I think it's in this, we're getting the wiggles out. I think we're just in the middle of this transition from our existing sophisticated technologies to the next set of sophisticated protocols and technologies. And it's just gonna take us a while to settle on what that is.
Leo Laporte (01:43:33):
I'm not necessarily impugning Sitoshi Nakamoto, He probably did. Well who knows? I mean whoever that has billions of dollars in Bitcoin somewhere. But probably maybe, let's say he intended this with the best intention and it's an interesting technology, but there were a lot of people who jumped on this bandwagon as a way to make a quick buck unfortunately. And it tarnishes it. Tim Burns Lee said Web three is not the web <affirmative>. It's not. And the people behind web three, the so-called distributed decentralized internet, are the very centralized Andre Horowitz. They wanna make money on this.
Amy Webb (01:44:16):
Jack would say web five. Everybody that I talk to is web five is what matters.
Leo Laporte (01:44:22):
<laugh>. It just sounds to me like yet another way to take people's money. And I really feel badly for, there were a lot of people who have lost a lot of money, a lot. What Sam Bank Bankman Freeman was doing was similar to what a lot of people in crypto do, which is moving stuff around to make it look like, for instance, a lot of NFTs are bought by the same person who made the NFT to kind of pump up the value. I think a lot of Bitcoin bros were throwing their money into ftx. So probably the people, a lot of the people who lost money were playing with the house money anyway.
David Spark (01:44:59):
But hold it, let's make this clear. Everyone knew, and if you didn't know this, this was an extremely risky investment this morning. I
Leo Laporte (01:45:12):
Think a lot of people
David Spark (01:45:12):
Buying stars on this.
Leo Laporte (01:45:13):
I think a lot of people buying crypto on Robert Hood didn't know that there's a hedge
David Spark (01:45:20):
Fund. No, that's their ignorance for not knowing that. But it is extremely risky investment through so much that throws risk on it. All investments have different levels of risk. This one has a super, super high one. And the reason that they got excited, they were excited at the high part of the risk, the part that you can get a huge return guess when you were looking at risky things, There is not only a high part, there is also a low part. Don't, we're not seeing the low part.
Amy Webb (01:45:47):
I don't think it's fair for a lot of people to, not that David you were shaming them or anything like that. But I don't think,
David Spark (01:45:56):
It's not, I'm risky investment.
Amy Webb (01:45:59):
But I think the point is, I don't think a lot
Leo Laporte (01:46:01):
People, Matt Damon told them it was okay. Matt Damon said it's
Amy Webb (01:46:06):
Okay. I don't think a lot of people understand that it is a risk, especially when you have famous football players that you really admire, seemingly endorsing whatever it is. Let's not forget now let me harp on American education for two seconds. Not as though we teach kids coming up in our schools, regardless of the school basic financial skills, basic statistics, like enough math to understand probabilities. So I think we're dealing with a lot of people who were feeling excited and believed in the marketing and I genuinely do not think they understood risk. And especially when it comes to Robinhood, which literally sounds like a good safe, I don't think we can entirely blame the consumer here.
David Spark (01:46:55):
And I don't know this, can you actually short crypto?
Amy Webb (01:46:59):
Well I do. The process to short anything is extraordinarily challenging to me. It's a little bit like playing craps, which is the only game that I played when I'm in Vegas. In order to make any actual money, you have to have time and you have to have a lot of cash on the table to make that work. And you have to be able to do math and you have to be able to do that over a long period of time to, there's like two ways to short a stock. One is you have to be Dr. Manhattan, like stop time, see what's coming in advance and pick the day that something bad will happen. And then make sure that you get your money out first. But you still have to have a hundred, 200, $500,000 to make that work
Leo Laporte (01:47:39):
And you're heavily, It
Amy Webb (01:47:40):
Only works if you're a hedge fund
Leo Laporte (01:47:41):
Basically. And you're heavily leveraged. So you can get bad to hurt as well sorted.
Unless you can have someone create an instrument for you to short
Leo Laporte (01:47:50):
One is gonna create an instrument for crypto because it's so volatile there. There'd be no way to properly gauge the risk.
Leo Laporte (01:47:57):
Get ready. There are crypto derivatives. In fact two-thirds of traditional hedge funds, not crypto hedge funds. Two-thirds of traditional hedge funds are invested in Bitcoin and Ethereum. I have to think those hedge funds are hurting at this point. And they're doing it with direct but also futures options. They're doing derivatives as well. Derivatives is another ver by the way, great example of something that was so complicated. Nobody understood it except a handful of quants on Wall Street. And there are people who really lost their shirt when the derivatives market crashed cuz they didn't understand what they were investing in. So I don't wanna blame people who lost money in crypto. I don't. Yes, it was risky, but nobody was telling 'em it was risky. I was telling him it was risky. <laugh> saying, I would say and stay out for more than a
David Spark (01:48:54):
Year. No, but I mean, I don't even know. But there are ratings bureaus that rate stocks that rate bonds. It seems like everything in crypto is No, but they
Leo Laporte (01:49:08):
Weren't rating. No, but they weren't rating.
David Spark (01:49:10):
Are there any ratings on these
Leo Laporte (01:49:11):
Things? No, no, no, no, no,
No, no. Crypto doesn't, How rated It's an unregistered
David Spark (01:49:16):
You're saying you can't even rate, It's like it's all got the high risk, whatever the highest risk rating is. It's that times 10. I mean,
But the average investor doesn't know that. The average investor knows that Alec Baldwin got on TV and
David Spark (01:49:29):
Toro, what they send they doctor right next to should, should be taking their investment advice from Alec Baldwin and Matt day. No, but to be fair, no,
Amy Webb (01:49:37):
But this listen ft mlb, let's talk about baseball, right? The umpires had FTX logos. Yeah, the umpires were, these are supposed to be the impartial judges on the field is brilliant. They have a sponsorship on their uniform.
SBF bought the
David Spark (01:49:53):
Yeah, but they don't have a choice in that. You're wearing the No, no, but this the
Amy Webb (01:49:57):
Sponsorship. No, no, no. But this is the point that I'm making I trust. No, I would take investment, advertise investment advice from Alec Baldman. But think about all the people selling reverse mortgages. All of the retirees selling. I mean listen, you may not be the audience for this David, but there are plenty of people. Oh
David Spark (01:50:13):
No, I know there's an audience. Hence why there was so much money spent at the Super Bowl. I keep bringing that up. It's like they're trying to get people who are not in
Sequoia. That's se
Leo Laporte (01:50:23):
Sequoia put offer fts, giving them a
Massive over here. Oh, sorry, go ahead. Over here, before the crypto crash, we would get at least one to two pitches a month for creating either a Jesuit crypto or a vock in crypto. Oh no. Because they knew that the number one currency in the crypto game is some sort of legitimacy. So for example, if a crypto market exchange has bought the naming rights for a sports arena, or if they are on the side of an F1 car, people will see that. They'll say there's obviously money there, so therefore it must be safe. So yes, you and I may look at that and say, No, this is a super high risk investment. But they're gonna say, if I saw it on the news, if I saw it on Netflix, if I saw it on the arena the last time I went to go watch the Warriors play, then it can't possibly be a scam.
David Spark (01:51:17):
But this gets back to the original premise that the value that it has, the only value it has, cuz it doesn't backed by anything. The value it has is how much marketing it has, what it associates its with, and the amount of news that comes out. That's why there's so many news outlets that are about cryptocurrency and there's so much advertising that's going on because that is how they can keep their value high. If all of a sudden they stopped advertising, there was no more news, it would all crash.
Yes, of course.
Leo Laporte (01:51:48):
I think there's
Amy Webb (01:51:49):
True of any currency at this point.
David Spark (01:51:52):
Amy Webb (01:51:53):
True. Yeah, actually that is true. And that's partially why China. So very long story short, when Russia did its thing and us levied sanctions this gave the world an alternative to, it showed the rest of the world just how strong the dollar is tied to decisions that are being made. And it gave China an opening. China's digital yuan is backed by the government. So again, there's different types of crypto and different types of exchanges. So the freewheeling ones we have in the west may crash and burn, but the ones that are being developed elsewhere that are CBDs or backed in some other way by the government, that actually poses a little bit of a geopolitical threat.
Leo Laporte (01:52:41):
And if the US decided, as I'm sure they will at some point to do a digital dollar, it's not really that much different than a regular dollar. It's all digital these days. It's not tied to anything. It's a fiat currency. But that doesn't necessar, I mean I think people would trust a digital dollar or a digital yuan, but that's not what we're talking about when we're talking about buying
Amy Webb (01:53:04):
Trust in exchanges. Yeah, I don't know. I don't know. I don't mean to be super down. I'm a little down on energy cause of the hike, but I'm really worried about these exchanges. Not for my own personal finances. I'm really worried that a lot of people are.
Leo Laporte (01:53:20):
That's what I think blowing
Amy Webb (01:53:21):
Through a lot of money and that's gonna just be these, It's gonna cause us problems going
Leo Laporte (01:53:25):
Forward with the crash in crypto. I've gotta wonder how these hedge funds are doing that have all this big, they're putting a lot of money in crypto
Amy Webb (01:53:32):
Fidelity is like a couple weeks ago, you can invest your 401k, right? This is your savings. This is
Leo Laporte (01:53:39):
A bad idea.
Amy Webb (01:53:39):
Retirement savings, bad idea. I'm terrified that people's retirement's gonna evaporate and we don't have a social safety net right in place.
Leo Laporte (01:53:48):
And why they do that, by the way, before they do that because of demand
David Spark (01:53:51):
Away their funds.
Leo Laporte (01:53:53):
David Spark (01:53:54):
Leo Laporte (01:53:54):
You know why they do that? They do that cuz their customers demand it. I don't think Fidelity thought, Oh we really gotta come up with this. No, no. People were saying, I wanna invest in crypto. So they created an instrument to do that. There
David Spark (01:54:07):
Are a lot ofs. They have to deliver a product.
Leo Laporte (01:54:10):
Their customers demanded it. And that's the problem. And I think you can't just say, Well it's an ignorant investment. You should never have done it. You should have known it was I mean, who's buying cartoon apes? I mean that's obviously stupid why people do it cuz they think they're gonna make money on it. They think, well, but it's hot right now, so I'm gonna buy it low and sell high. Maybe it's
Amy Webb (01:54:35):
Leo Laporte (01:54:36):
David Spark (01:54:37):
Yeah. That's exactly what it is. Yeah. If you want a guarantee, then it's gonna be less risk and you're gonna get less upside period.
Leo Laporte (01:54:44):
Yeah. F somebody's saying FTX guaranteed 8% returns. That's pretty good. I'd take it.
Amy Webb (01:54:49):
Did they actually guarantee
Leo Laporte (01:54:51):
It? Well, apparently not <laugh>.
Amy Webb (01:54:52):
Well, no, I meant, I wonder what
David Spark (01:54:54):
That should have been the first red flag. Yeah. Yeah. It's like, oh, okay. No,
Leo Laporte (01:54:59):
There's a great article in the Atlantic about the match king of the last century. Did you read that? They're kind of comparing him. Samuel Bankman freed to the match king who guaranteed 20 to 30% returns and was also basically a Ponzi scheme mean,
David Spark (01:55:23):
But that's all What Ponzi schemes do they offer? They're madly high returns
Leo Laporte (01:55:29):
And shouldn't people go, Oh, well that's ridiculous. Yes, they should, but they're not. Is it greed? Well,
David Spark (01:55:38):
Because every good Ponzi scheme does pay out at the start.
And so if you have a friend who's getting paid by the Ponzi scheme, if you have a friend who has made a million dollars on crypto, it's no longer I'm being safe with my investment. I am being stupid because I am falling so far behind everybody else.
Leo Laporte (01:55:57):
It that's the weaponized FOMO that Amy was talking about. I
Amy Webb (01:56:00):
Think it's just, and it's people kind believe,
David Spark (01:56:03):
Oh, they wanna believe,
Amy Webb (01:56:05):
They wanna believe. Sometimes if anybody's out there interested in behavioral economics is a wonderful case study because I think that desire to believe and to just, then you start looking for information that reaffirms your existing beliefs, then you just get stuck. You get stuck. The fact that finance, there's a whole influencer category that is just finance bros who would've, That's crazy <laugh> if you stop and think about
Leo Laporte (01:56:30):
David Spark (01:56:31):
By the way, my lack of brush with greatness my mom and Birdie Madoff were high school classmates.
Leo Laporte (01:56:39):
Did they date <laugh>?
David Spark (01:56:40):
No, they did not. But I posted a photo cuz when I found out that my mom was in the graduating class of Bernie Madoff, I went to go find her yearbook and scanned Bernie Madoff's photo. And I posted to the chat
Leo Laporte (01:56:51):
Here. He was a varsity swimming team, locker guard. There's a job. <laugh>. He went to Alabama, I guess Bernard Madoff. Wow. Good looking young man. There have been great movies made about him. There've been great TV shows made about WeWork called, We Crashed about Uber
Two, about the fire festival,
Leo Laporte (01:57:16):
Two about the fire festival. Of course, Elizabeth Holmes, a dropout. I can't wait for the, and I'm sure it's being optioned already. The Samuel Bank and freed story <laugh>. Wow. So
Of course Elizabeth would like to leave jail now because she thinks she's suffered
Leo Laporte (01:57:35):
Enough. The judged, by the way rejected her appeal and she will be sentenced soon. The Feds are asking for, and I almost feel like this is too much. 15 years for Elizabeth Holmes. For Theo. Does that seem like,
Amy Webb (01:57:52):
How long did Sonny, whatever his
Leo Laporte (01:57:54):
Last name, son Bawan, been sentenced yet he will be sentenced after her.
The know it's one thing to steal 100, a hundred million from the people. It's another thing to steal 100 million from one of the wealthiest people.
Leo Laporte (01:58:07):
Oh yeah. There you go. That's what she did wrong. <affirmative>. That's what she did
Wrong. She got the boss family for a hundred million. Right.
Amy Webb (01:58:14):
Well, again, I come back to Elon and is he, I don't know. Is there some kind of defrauding that's happening or is just you don't any bear any real responsibility if you're just causing a giant cluster?
Leo Laporte (01:58:29):
Well, I think that's why I look, I don't think Elizabeth Holmes should get 15 years, 15 years, and $800 million fine, but she should get some serious punishment as a warning to people that you don't get off SCO free just cuz you're wealthy. <affirmative>. Although really, you're right. Father Robert, the warning is don't rip off rich people. Yeah. Don't rip off the powerful rip off the little people. Bernie Mo Madoff went to jail. <affirmative> died in jail. Alright. We
Amy Webb (01:59:05):
Keep lionizing and demonizing we of That's
Leo Laporte (01:59:07):
Amy Webb (01:59:08):
Allow this to happen. And then there are heroes go back and a couple people get punished and then we just kind of go back to the way things
Leo Laporte (01:59:12):
Were. We love him. Yeah. Elon, for years we've known he was the pump and dump king. What he pumped Doco, right?
Leo Laporte (01:59:20):
He's the reason why he was able to buy all those other cryptocurrencies <laugh>, because he pumped Doge coins so much that the previous batch of coin that I had that I think was worth a total of $5 was suddenly worth like $15,000. That was That's ridiculous. That should never happen. And I benefited from
Leo Laporte (01:59:42):
It. Right. The church doesn't just take that, when you make that money, they don't say thank you.
I mean, it's never been transferred into dollars <laugh>. It's always been going
Leo Laporte (01:59:52):
From one 50 to the hotel. Don't worry, <laugh> just Just bits. It's just bits. Bits. It's all It is just bits.
But for Elon, the pump and dump stuff, it would be really hard to prove that he has benefited from it. Others have benefited from it. I don't know if you could say that. He has. Yeah. That's across the threshold, right?
Leo Laporte (02:00:15):
Right now he's done a lot of really other shady things. Like for example, just was it yesterday they found out that he had a 10 year, the director of the car division of Tesla had, he had been getting paid in stock options and Elon Musk had asked him to forfeit 600 million worth of those stock options. That's one of the ways that Elon continues to appear successful. He just takes away money from the employees that they were supposed to get. He did the same thing when he went to TWiTtter. He's gonna go through this whole court case with the top executives because he says they were released for cause. Of course that's ridiculous, but it will run through long enough for him to be able to report it on his balance sheet. That was a successful sale.
Leo Laporte (02:00:59):
Wow. It It's
So Is it illegal? Probably not criminally. Is it a moral? Absolutely. But his stands don't care about that.
Leo Laporte (02:01:11):
Wow. Do you think that We don't do popularity polls on moguls, but we should. I wonder what TWiTtter's approval rating is. I mean that Elon's approval rating is right now.
I think the biggest benefit to the acquisition of TWiTtter by Elon Musk is Jeff Bezos because suddenly he doesn't look like a bond vi the villain
Leo Laporte (02:01:34):
I think Elon has taken that position.
Leo Laporte (02:01:39):
Amy Webb is here. She is the author of a fabulous book. I was just reminded in the chat the Genesis machine. I love this book and you should absolutely read it. It's all about biotech and how it will change the world around us. It's a fascinating read. Our quest to rewrite life in the age of synthetic biology available on Amazon. There's an audible version of it. You can get it on your Kindle as well.
Amy Webb (02:02:12):
It was just named to the New Yorkers specialist Best nonfiction books of the year.
Leo Laporte (02:02:17):
Congratulations. Thanks. That's really great.
Amy Webb (02:02:21):
Leo Laporte (02:02:22):
You. They're right. It's one of those books. I think it's important to read to kind of know about what's happening and what might happen in the near future. I mean, we're really headed into this. We've been in the information age. I think we're in definitely in the synthetic age of synthetic biology coming rapidly.
Amy Webb (02:02:42):
I really do think that's the next general purpose technology, which again is, it's a technology that at some point fundamentally shifts societies, economies, geopolitics, so steam engine, internet and at some point it gets so big, the only way to calculate the total value is to do it in reverse. What if we took the internet away? I really do think that's, That's engineer. Don't
Leo Laporte (02:03:07):
Take the internet away. Please.
Amy Webb (02:03:09):
<laugh>. Please don't do that. I won't won't do that.
Leo Laporte (02:03:11):
<laugh> your timing was great of course, because we all had a direct experience of synthetic biology with the mRNA vaccines. <affirmative> and what? I've had five shots now. <laugh>.
Amy Webb (02:03:23):
Good for you.
Leo Laporte (02:03:24):
It's kinda crazy. It's a lot. Yeah, it's a lot.
Amy Webb (02:03:28):
Did you get all the same flavor or did you have all
Leo Laporte (02:03:30):
I got a new flavor experience. I've been doing vanilla and I said to go chocolate. I had for oders you for some reason. I don't know why I couldn't get 'em during they, I don't know why. They just didn't have any. They've been out for months, so they said, Well get the Pfizer. So I got the Pfizer. Apparently that was a good choice to mix it up. Yeah. Throw me the book. John went out and got the book, which I have. Oh, I have left here so I could prove I own it. <laugh>. <laugh>.
Amy Webb (02:03:56):
Leo Laporte (02:03:56):
You. Really, really great stuff. You do talk about the mRNA Vaccines lab Grown hamburger and you talk about risks, but you also have, it's one of my favorite parts of the book scenarios kind of future looking scenarios about what might happen.
Amy Webb (02:04:16):
I just got a wonderful compliment May, it's my version of a compliment. So I was doing something with DOD last week and I had a two-star come up to me. I had somebody come up to me and say, normally their job is to tell others scenarios for the future. And they usually, the other people say, Oh, I don't wanna go to sleep now. That's really terrifying. And the person who's in charge of doing that said that, I just did that to him <laugh>, and he feels like he's not gonna be able to go to sleep. So it's nice to know that my waking nightmares put enough fear into the people.
Leo Laporte (02:04:51):
Amy Webb (02:04:53):
Yes. Mission accomplished. Mission
Leo Laporte (02:04:54):
Accomplished. It's not all bad, right?
Amy Webb (02:04:58):
No, I Listen again. Well, first of all, I think it's inevitable, so it's good or bad. It's
Leo Laporte (02:05:02):
A matter here.
Amy Webb (02:05:05):
I think the risks for me have more to do with bio weapons, which I don't wanna see. And not having equal distribution, I don't think it was good that big parts of the world didn't have access to any vaccines because of money. I thought that was ridiculous. So anyway, I think there's significant risk. I'm very worried about what China's doing but I also think there's huge opportunity. I really do. I mean, I think it's probably our best at this point. Best hope for climate change mediation.
Leo Laporte (02:05:38):
Amy Webb (02:05:40):
Leo Laporte (02:05:43):
I started reading a book, I'm sorry, <laugh>. It's
Amy Webb (02:05:45):
A book about biology, but it's not like a super nerdy science book. Great. It's one book about
Leo Laporte (02:05:49):
The future. I just started reading about collecting DNA off of President Trump's fork and I now I've gotta put that Bad dreams bad. Yeah.
Amy Webb (02:05:57):
I was there when that happened
Leo Laporte (02:05:59):
Actually. Yeah, at Davos, right? Oh no. Yeah, yeah, yeah. They collected DNA samples from the discarded utensils of all world leaders. The earnest project. Crazy. You gotta read the book, The Genesis Machine, Our quest to rewrite life in the age of synthetic biology. Let's take a little break. David Spark's also here. Father Robert er, always fun to have these three in the room. I'm just gonna sit back and listen. It's fantastic. Our show today, brought to you by Mint Mobile. This is now, there are the big cell phone companies, which costs a lot of money. Just if you're an at and t T-Mobile, Verizon, you're probably paying 80 to a hundred dollars a line. You're spending a lot of money. I look at, sometimes I look at that cell bill and I go, Wow, wow, I can't believe I'm paying that much. And it's gone up and up and up, hasn't it?
Well, there's a better way. There's something called Mint Mobile, and I talk to more and more people all the time who say, Leo, I did it. And that's incredible. Premium wireless starting at $15 a month and there's no, there's no catch. There's no plot TWiTst. This is actually the price premium Wireless from Mint Mobile, $15 a month, no two year contract, no crazy fees when you open your bill. No, they don't lure you in with free subscriptions to streaming services that you'll forget to cancel and they get charged a full price for. They don't do any of that. In fact, the way they save money is by not doing that, by not even having stores, by doing it all online. And it is amazing. You're gonna get unlimited talk and text, high speed data on the nation's largest 5G network. 15 bucks a month gets you four gigabytes a month of data plus unlimited talk and text. You can get more 20 bucks a month, 10 gigabytes. That's more than I think almost anybody. I went crazy. I got the $25 a month. There's even an unlimited plan. It's still only $30 a month.
Unlimited talk and text. Nationwide. High speed data. It's on the T-Mobile network. I'll tell you the secret there. A T-Mobile Nnno, I, it's amazing. You can bring your own phone, they'll send you a SIM card for free. And by the way, they do eim. So if you've got the new iPhone, they do EIM as well, which is great. Makes it very easy to switch over. You can port your number over, keep the same phone number. They sell phones too. So in fact, I bought an iPhone from them. iPhone SE for $15 a month. Such a great deal. Switch to Mint Mobile, Get premium Wireless service starts at $15 a month. No hidden fees, no contract, no extras, Just simple, just simple. $15 a month, they're no unexpected plot TWiTsts. Mint mobile.com/TWiTt. Take advantage of this. Everybody I know is switching because it's just makes no sense to pay five times more.
Mint mobile.com/TWiT. You'll make your wallet very happy. Mint mobile.com/TWiT. Thank you Mint Mobile for your support for the show. We are go. We're going long. I know. I always could tell. The shows goes long and we have a great panel here. Let's do a few other things. A bit of trouble for Apple Gizmoto published a story that really I think stuck it to Apple a little bit. Basically saying that it's lip service that Apple's paying lip service to privacy. And they did a bunch of researcher research. They found that the iPhone data is collected even when Apple says we're not gonna collect data to they tested multiple iPhones Apple Analytics data, regardless of your settings sent to Apple. As a result, there's a class action lawsuit filed immediately after the article came out. And California federal court claiming that the iPhone is violating privacy rules.
The problem was spotted by two independent researchers according to Gizmo at a software company called mis, M Y S K. They found the Apple App Store sends the company exhaustive information about everything you do in the app. Now this, you have to be in the app store despite a privacy setting, iPhone analytics, which claims to disable the sharing of device analytics altogether when switched off. Gizmoto asked the researchers to run additional tests on other iPhone apps. Apple Music does the same thing. Apple tv, Apple Books, Apple stocks. Most of Apple Suite of built in iPhone apps track you violating the California Invasion of Privacy Act. The plaintiff said in the suit, Apple's privacy guarantees are completely elusory. Apple has not responded. Thoughts,
Amy Webb (02:11:16):
Well, I was gonna get an iPhone for the first time in many, many years and the reason was privacy.
David Spark (02:11:23):
That has been their differentiator. I know they, I'm now, I put billboards on this and this has been like a hot topic we've discussed is how security and privacy actually can be a product differentiator to push people to wanna buy. And so this is flying in the face of what they are in trying intending to sell. Now this is my first of hearing it right now. They could just come out and go, Oh, we screwed up big time. This is how we're fixing it. But it'll be interesting to see how it's handled.
Leo Laporte (02:11:55):
Researchers looked at health and wallet. They did not collect analytics data, but the stocks app sends your list of watch stocks, the names of stocks you viewed or searched for times, stamps for when you did it, as well as records of any news articles you saw in the app. You know what, okay, now this, since the app is connected to a server that has those settings, those news articles come from, all of that stuff would be collected anyway in the nature of the business of the app. I'm not trying to let Apple off the hook, but sometimes you see these things and it's like, Oh my God, they know what stocks you picked. Well yeah, because that's how it works. So that when you choose stocks on the Mac, it propagates the phone and vice versa. Apple does have to keep track of that.
David Spark (02:12:44):
That's a part of the functionality of
Leo Laporte (02:12:46):
The app. That's the functionality app.
You can't actually search for an app if the app doesn't know what apps are. You can't search for an app at the app store, doesn't know what apps are compatible with your phone. So it needs that data to be able to offer you the selection that will work with your device. So if you were, and I get that Leo, but the problem is, as both David and Amy have already stated, they sold this as a product feature. They told people in their commercials and in all of their press events that we will not track you at all. We give you that power. Now, if they had told you that, Oh, except in the app store, then everything would be fine. I use an Android phone. I know I'm being tracked six ways to Tuesday. Yeah, I mean I expect no
Leo Laporte (02:13:31):
Privacy. It's a given.
But if I went with an iPhone, that would be the reason why I did. And to now know that, oh, this was just another PR puff piece to try to get me to buy them, then no, you've just broken my trust again.
David Spark (02:13:44):
But he, honest to God, what amazes me most about all of this is how we care about it. Now, I'll just backtrack. 12 years ago I was in an event of which I heard Eric Schmidt of Google saying, We can track with very high probability where you will go next. And nobody blinked like, Oh my God, nobody could. Everyone's like, Oh, that's quite fascinating. No one cared about privacy 12 years ago. They simply did not. Today they do. You could not say that without tomatoes being thrown at
Leo Laporte (02:14:18):
You. Right? I don't, Yeah. And as my friend Jeff Jarvis would remind me, and I want to create techno panic because some of this is just the operation of the app itself. And also EFF has pointed this out as well. A lot of times the thing is, well, they sell that information to third party. No, neither Google nor Facebook nor Apple tells third parties about you. They don't want to, They keep that to themselves so they can sell ads against it. It it's not in their interest to give that information away. And so most cases, first party information is held by the first party, but Apple's perfectly happy to say no Third party can let that information and kind of pretend that they're not collecting the information when they certainly could if they wanted to. And now that they're putting ads in many places, including by the way Apple Maps, there is certainly an incentive for them to start collecting that data and use it to sell those ads. Right?
David Spark (02:15:37):
And that's an extremely good point, Padre, because again, we bring this up all the time. Being breached, having a privacy issue or something like that is not the issue because now it's literally happening to everybody what the issue is, how you deal with it in a very public manner, how you dress it and manage it. And also these moments really can present staff and companies an opportunity to shine. This could actually turn out good for Apple if they respond extremely well. And I do wanna throw out one other comment here about people making comments of like, I don't care. Track me. And I've heard this so many times and I just wanna stress to people who say that, yes, you do need to care because the way to hack the way to get to you is to use your information and to use the information that others have on you. So your relatives too, and your friends. And so you do actually need to care about this even if you quote, have nothing to hide.
Amy Webb (02:16:47):
Can I offer one additional, one dynamic to what David just said? Yes <laugh>. We were in Ireland on a, we rented a car. This pre covid we're driving around we were at the southern tip. Brian decided to take a shortcut to get to the ferry and was my daughter. And he and I, we were all very excited to be on a ferry. We'd never been on a car, on a boat. So this was a very exciting moment. But we needed to make sure it's the little things
Leo Laporte (02:17:17):
It, it's the little things that make
Amy Webb (02:17:19):
Such. And so anyhow he says to me, Drop a pin. And I say to him, I can't. And he's yelling at, he's very frustrated. This is how he's trying to explain to me how to do it right on an Android. You don't know. And I'm like, Nope, I'm just telling you I can't do it. He starts losing his mind and he never gets mad. But he was so frustrated he wanted to get the car on the boat so we could have a whole experience. And finally I was like, I don't have any location turned on. It's, he was like, What the hell is wrong? <laugh>, if you were overseas, you're supposed to be navigating. I'm like, Yeah, I'm following a static map. I know where we're going. I just can't drop a pin. I'll remember where we are. Almost caused a divorce, <laugh>.
David Spark (02:18:02):
But the other issue is people who post photos while they're on vacation or post announcement, they're gone there. I can't remember the name of the website again, I'm hoping the chatroom comes through here. It was for people who posted on TWiTtter like, I'm on vacation here. I'm doing this. I'm that. It was entitled, Come Rob me <laugh>, or come break it to my house.com advertising that fact. Cause you were literally advertising. I'm not home.
Amy Webb (02:18:28):
There's a business model that does work. Yes. For some people.
Yo, one day I'm gonna show you my location data out of Google history because since I fuzz my data, right, Google constantly thinks that I'm in about 15 different places. How
Amy Webb (02:18:43):
Do you do that Padre?
I have dummy devices in many of the data closets. Data
Leo Laporte (02:18:48):
Works really hard around
The world. And so yeah,
Amy Webb (02:18:51):
Fair enough. It does mean that my advertising is never accurate. I'm always getting pitch stuff from cities I'm not in. Right? Or in languages I don't speak. That's
Leo Laporte (02:19:00):
Fine. And here is the, by
David Spark (02:19:01):
The way, it's please rob me.com. Thank
Leo Laporte (02:19:03):
You Scooter. Yeah, I was gonna say Scooter X found the site <laugh>. Please rob me. I don't care. I have alligators living in the house when I'm not home. I'm not worried too much. I share a lot of as
David Spark (02:19:15):
You have alligators. The
Leo Laporte (02:19:16):
Only bad thing that ever happened to me was Robert Scobel once showed up at lunch. I said, How'd you find me? He said, You posted on Foursquare all the time, but that's the only bad thing that ever happened. Well, it's specifically, Well, you just have to block Robert. Yeah, <laugh>, by the way, nobody else has ever done that. Just Scoble. Of course, Right? Just of course because of the alligators. Cause the alligators to stay away from the house. Apple has lost its web search team to Google. They came to Apple from Google and now they're going back. Apple in 2018 bought a company called Laser-like. Now this is not search on the app store, this is actually Apple creating technology like Google for Spotlight and Siri suggestions. Siri, which is notoriously stupid, often says, Let me show you what I found on the web about that. They wanted to make it smarter. So they hired or bought this company and hired the founders. Four years later they probably vested their stock cuz they're gone back to Google <laugh>. So don't expect Siri to get smarter any anytime soon. Let's see what else.
Let's take, actually, let's take a little break cause wanna you got a couple of stories in here? I want to talk to you about David Spark, about security. I wanna get to those in just a little bit. First though, I want to talk a little bit about our sponsor, Noom. Usually when we do Noom, I like to parade. My wife in here, she is the poster girl for Noom. We actually have a lot of poster people for Nom Rec Con five who's in our charm. He's the poster boy. We were on the TWiTt cruise last July and I knew that he was gonna come on the cruise and I couldn't find him. And I went into the discourse. I said, Rick Con, I thought you were going on the trip with us. He said, I'm right. I'm right behind you. Turn around. I said, I didn't even recognize him.
He had lost this blows me away a hundred pounds. I've saw him recently, kept the weight off. Looks great, a hundred pounds. I said, How did you do it? He said, Nom, I've done Noom. Lost 20 pounds. Lisa lost about the same. She did not need to lose it. She looks great though. She's happy and she, I'll tell you what, she's doing it religiously. She loves Noom. Noom Weight has a psychology first approach that really works. It works for me. It worked for Reccon. It, it worked for my wife. It empowers you to build more sustainable habits and behaviors. And the results last to date. Num weight has helped more than 3.6 million people lose weight. And it does it with a very personal program, in fact, because they're completely customizing the program to you, to how you think about food. How do you relate to food, to your goals?
Every journey is different. Your lessons are personalized to you, your goals, and also how much time you wanna spend. You can choose your level of support from five minute daily check-ins to personal coaching. They have a group you can join. So you get a coach, you get the lessons, you get the group. But one thing you don't get a list of things you can't eat. Nom does not believe in restricting what you can or cannot eat. That was kind of a mindblower for me. I'm, I've been on such restrictive diets in the past, Nom, it's not about perfection. It's not about restriction. It's about learning how you think about food. For instance, I learned, I'm a fog eater. I come home after work and I stuff my face and I'm not even aware of the food I've eaten. I don't even know it. It's almost unconscious.
By becoming more conscious of where Lisa and I now sit down, we turn off the tv, we put away our phones, we've got silverware, cloth, napkins, and we eat. And sometimes, and it's a little weird, but it's just the two of us. We'll, we'll stop. We'll close our eyes and we'll actually really taste what we're eating. And I can't tell you what a big difference that makes. Progress isn't a straight line. Noom knows that off day's. Totally okay. In fact, I even get bonus days when I've been doing well. They said, Oh, eat anything you want today. It's a bonus day. And then Noom way gets you back on track. It's grounded in science. Active ERs lose an average of 15 pounds in 16 weeks. So I should say Matt and Lisa and my experience is not typical. Typically 15 pounds and 16 weeks. I have to say though, 95% of customers say Num weight is a good long-term solution.
I think that's a real test of anything. It's easy to lose weight, really. It's hard to keep that weight off. And Nom does it. They've published more than 30 peer reviewed scientific articles that inform users, practitioners, scientists in the public about their methods and effectiveness. The best thing about nom, it's not work, it's not suffering, it's not deprivation. It's fun. It's like I'm learning, I'm do. And then it's natural and you absorb it and you do it for the rest of your life. Stay focused on what's important to you with nom weights, psychology based approach. It really works. Sign up for your trial today, Noom, N o o m.com/TWiTt. Go to the website actually and read up on it. There's some really good stuff there. If you have any questions, you'll find it all there. nom.com/TWiT. Sign up for your trial at nom.com/TWiT. They've got a new book too, which is great.
You could check it out. The NOM Mindset it's called. It's a deep dive into the Psychology of Behavior change. Actually, it's not out yet, but you can get it. You can pre-order it right now. The new mindset another great way to kind of learn about what's going on. But honestly, I want you to do the Get the app, do the program, put it on your iPhone, your Android phone. You log your meals, you take, you do the lessons, you talk to your coach. You talk to your group. It is a system that really supports you and really works. NOOM N o om.com/TWiT. We are very happy numerous in my family. Now let's take a little break and watch a little movie that we made about this week on TWiT!
Leo Laporte (02:28:16):
In there and Bitcoin. It's all in there together. It's all at once. Anyway, this is the kind of fun that happens in the Discord. You also get the Trip plus feed, which is where that whole singing thing showed up. Stuff that happens before and after shows, plus shows, like I said, that we don't normally put out in public. Like hands on Macintosh with Micah Hands on windows with Paul Throt, the Untitled Linux show with Jonathan Bennett, the GFIs with Dick d Barto Stacy's book club. There's a lot of stuff we do. I'm gonna do more and more in the club as well. I've been planning a whole bunch of ideas. We have our own Minecraft servers. There's a lot of stuff going on and all of it is really about financing what we do here at TWiT. So we're less dependent on advertisers. We love our advertisers, but frankly with a recession, the downturn, it's getting a little harder.
The club makes a big difference. We really need that. So please, if you're not a member, and I understand money's tight, but if you're not a member, you can afford seven bucks a month or more. TWiT.tv/club. It also finances the TWiT forums, but you're open to all a TWiTt.community and the MA on instance, which what did it 20 times more expensive than it was last month? <laugh>, unfortunately. Well you had what, 2000% growth? No, no, no. That's underestimating it. I had 15,000 per, You wanna see the growth? You wanna see the growth? Man, this is cray cray. And what happened was eight, now it's 18642% growth in new users, active users now almost 3000. It was like 300 until two weeks ago. So that ends up costing money and the club supports that as well. Although it is open to all. So if people ask me, Well how can we help you with the MA on server?
Join the club. Join the club. And you get a lot more than just access to our MA on server. But everybody can go to the forums and the MA on server and our IRC and all of that. We really wanna continue to offer all the free services we do. It's just that it really is helpful. <laugh>, if you help us out. Hey, I wanted to mention that this weekend is a tribute to the Internet's own boy Aaron Schwartz. Oh yeah. It was his birthday, I think on the 12th. And EFF has been celebrating his life. Aaron was a very important person to the internet, worked on some of the most important pieces of the internet, including what? RSS and a whole bunch of stuff. He was, I think, persecuted <affirmative> by the feds in 2013 under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. What did he do?
He was trying to free academic journal articles from the J Store database. He downloaded a bunch of them because we paid for them in the first place. And J Store was charging people to get access to them facing the prospect of a long and unjust sentence. He took his life at a very tender age, 26. But he was for everyone who knew him just amazing. So we just wanted to mention that. And EFF had a streaming event at the internet archive this weekend. I'm sure they'll put that online for people who can't make it in person and so forth. The internet, his
Story needs to be told more.
Leo Laporte (02:31:49):
Agree. I mean we all know the story, but there are generations that need to know that. No, there was a man who was doing something absolutely right and the full weight of the US government was brought down on him for no other reason than they didn't know how to deal with people who wanted the information they'd already paid
Leo Laporte (02:32:07):
Leo Laporte (02:32:09):
Was it. Yep. He worked on rss mark down Creative Commons, the web framework web dot pie. He was given the title of co-founder of Reddit by Paul Graham after the formation of not a bug incorporated <laugh> the company that he merged with Alexis ohi and Steve Huffman's Reddit. He worked on civic activism. He was a research fellow at Harvard's Safra Research lab on institutional corruption under Larry Lessig. He founded the online group Demand Progress. That's the group that fought SOPA successfully. I might add. He was very important to the internet and a great loss to us all. So I thought I would mentioned that. I wanted to talk a little bit about this piece you did in your CISO series, David <affirmative> about cyber attacks. You'd think, Oh, they're constantly creating new stuff and no, in fact, <laugh>, some of the dumbest, easiest hacks are still in widespread use. You did this at Black Hat? Yes.
David Spark (02:33:28):
Yes. At Black Hat. So the two guys you see in that photo there for that video, that is Bart Stump and Neil Weiler, who goes by the name Grifter and they run the knock at Black hat, the Knox stand for the network
Leo Laporte (02:33:41):
Operation. Oh, that must be fun.
David Spark (02:33:44):
Oh yeah. And in fact, Grifter has referred to it as Christmas for him because what he sees in over just a period of three, four days on that specific network is what you might see if it's bad an entire year at some other company. It's just this highly abused network. Mostly because people go to Black ad the first couple of days for training and they're purposely trying out techniques on the network.
Leo Laporte (02:34:13):
The most pen tested network in the history of mankind.
David Spark (02:34:18):
<laugh>. Yeah. What Bart said. He goes, You saw this in a real environment, it would be a bad year. So <laugh>. Yeah. Which I thought was a good line. But I always ask him, I go, So what's cool and new? What did you see? Cause honestly, that's why people come to Black Hat and to act to any conference. I want to know what's new and cool. And the sad reality. And I can't remember the CISO who said this. He said, The reality is the thing you were worried about before you went to Black Hat is going to be the same thing you're worried about after you leave Black Hat. It's not going to be anything new. And honestly, it's because the simple things like credential stuffing and fishing work and they're cheap. Yep. And they're effective.
Leo Laporte (02:35:06):
Yep. Sad to say, I bet you go to Black Hat. Did you go to Black Hat this year, Father Robert?
I was supposed to, but then there was a last minute change of my schedule. I will be going this year though. And I have promises from over here that they've cleared that there's nothing that can possibly change my schedule except for one person. One person, one
Leo Laporte (02:35:30):
Thing. One little thing. One little thing. But other than that, So you usually go to Def Con and Black Hat. You would never attempt to hack the knock, would you?
Apps always <laugh>. Are you kidding me? The first thing I do, <laugh>.
Leo Laporte (02:35:45):
Well, there's the wall of sheep, isn't there? That's where they the
Leo Laporte (02:35:49):
That's Defcon where they put up. Oh
David Spark (02:35:51):
No, I think they also do it at Black Hat. Actually.
Leo Laporte (02:35:53):
The list of,
Oh, that's right. Yeah, they've added it.
David Spark (02:35:55):
They do a black hat. But I will tell you, the wall of sheep is getting a lot of negative press. Oh. I will tell you definitely why among the cybersecurity community. Because it is
Leo Laporte (02:36:05):
David Spark (02:36:07):
It's embarrassing. And this is not what we want to do in cybersecurity. You know, don't bring people into cybersecurity. And let me define what the wall of sheep is. People who get hacked get literally exposed and published <laugh>. And the idea being look at how weak this person's security is, we were able to break into them. And that to mock someone is not a way to bring them in the fold of understanding the importance of cybersecurity. Cuz one of the things that we talk about endlessly is it is not just the security department's job for security. It is the entire company's responsibility. You want everyone to be on board. You do not want to expose people, mock them, make them look like a fool because that is not a way to get people excited about joining your club. Here's
Leo Laporte (02:36:57):
Why people are mad.
I do have two plus sheep that I got from Wall of Sheep and I have a very nice shirt. So if you ever do get hacked, you can go over there and they'll actually give you,
Leo Laporte (02:37:07):
At least you get a reward on the Wall of Sheep website. What are a few of the most crazy things you've seen while sniffing traffic? Someone decided it'd be a good idea to file their taxes while at Defcon. Oh no, we disagree.
David Spark (02:37:20):
It's funny you say that. I, I've gone out with an editor and the number one thing I say is don't do anything financial while you're at Black Hat.
Leo Laporte (02:37:28):
Yeah. Just stay off of it. Well respected author and authority in the security community decided to share their unpublished book and their bank statements with us by not using ssl. Great book by the way <laugh>. Anyway, it's It's pretty, it's funny. Well I hope they keep doing it but I understand why some people might be a little bit upset.
The best years were when AOL Instant Messenger was still active. Oh boy. Because that was completely
Leo Laporte (02:37:57):
That was all in the clear. Yeah. So if you started sniffing the network, you would just get all of these conversations sometimes out of context. Sometimes it's salacious information and Yeah, that's actually part of the show that's, everyone expects that. That's the reason why every device I have that goes to Defcon black hat gets reformatted immediately after the
Leo Laporte (02:38:19):
Show. Yes, exactly. <laugh> do they still do Spot the Fed?
David Spark (02:38:24):
Well, I don't even know about Spot the Fed.
Yeah, yeah but that's kind of,
Leo Laporte (02:38:30):
Is that old
It's easier now.
Leo Laporte (02:38:31):
Yeah. Cause the Feds don't really hid in the fact that they're there. This is like Right. Big thing, black hat. They're there and then they're there and they're publicly there. Defcon correct is where they might be surreptitiously there. Yeah.
We'd actually had feds do presentations at Defcon. Oh, okay. Well there you go. So that's
Leo Laporte (02:38:49):
Easy to spot
A spot. The Fed <laugh>. Yeah.
Leo Laporte (02:38:53):
I have to say, I did not know this was a big deal, but the internet schooled me. Kevin Conroy passed away this week and I confess I didn't know who he is. He was a young 66 passed away after a short battle with cancer. He was Batman. Now you may say, wait a minute not which Batman was he? Well, he was the voice of Batman and all the animated Batman serials that apparently most of the internet grew up with. So you knew who he,
The animated series. Superman, the animated series. Justice League. Justice League Unlimited. The movies that came off of those. Batman Beyond, I mean really of all, he had the most screen time of any actor playing Batman.
Leo Laporte (02:39:41):
Amy Webb (02:39:43):
Keith Levine died too.
Leo Laporte (02:39:44):
Who's Keith Levine
Amy Webb (02:39:46):
The Clash and Oh
Leo Laporte (02:39:48):
Yeah, that's right. Republican. Yep. Yep. If you were,
David Spark (02:39:51):
Well, if we're talking also, Gallagher passed away. Gallagher
Amy Webb (02:39:54):
Passed away. I saw him. My parents took me to see him a billion years ago. <laugh>,
Leo Laporte (02:39:59):
He was fairly young. I think he was 76. Great comedian. Famous for smashing watermelon on stage. Apparently not the nicest guy ever, but very funny. He
David Spark (02:40:09):
Rubbed. Rubbed a few comedians the wrong way. Yes.
Leo Laporte (02:40:12):
David Spark (02:40:13):
There's an infinite episode of Mark Me's podcast, Wt
Leo Laporte (02:40:17):
David Spark (02:40:17):
On where he walked out on it.
Leo Laporte (02:40:19):
Why did you know? I haven't heard that. I saw that. But who walked out on who? Gallagher walked
David Spark (02:40:23):
Out. Gallagher walked out on Maron. I believe they actually, they were in a hotel room. I'm thinking of Maron's. And he walked out and essentially Maron just started getting into it with Gallagher just asking about its act. Honestly, I don't think me respected Gallagher's act. Right. There's a lot of comedians just flat out do not respect prop
Leo Laporte (02:40:44):
Comment. He's a little bit like gall carrot top. Yeah, a little, little too much prop.
David Spark (02:40:48):
So essentially Gallagher just didn't want to hear it and he walked out and instead of sort of engaging Mark, he just said, I'm not dealing with this. And he walked out
Leo Laporte (02:40:56):
On him. It's just a podcast. Do I? Nobody listens to this. <laugh>
David Spark (02:41:02):
Mar Me wasn't as huge as he is now when he interviewed him, but he had a significant
Leo Laporte (02:41:06):
Audience. Yeah, yeah. Well I gotta say, it's one of the things that everybody mentioned when they mentioned Gallagher. So it be careful who you walk out on. Thank you all for not walking out on me. I appreciate it. We love seeing you. Father Robert Ballas here, The digital Jesuit digital jesuit.com. He's on the master do
Leo Laporte (02:41:29):
Let's fix that. We've had the wrong lower third. The whole
Oh net.com. They all go, They'll all go to the Oh, they all work. Okay. I tore the website down because I needed to redo it so it will verify Ma Don.
Leo Laporte (02:41:40):
Oh wow. All you have to do is put a link that says equals me.
I know, but I got obsessive compulsive and I didn't like how Look, so I just tore everything up
Leo Laporte (02:41:50):
Now I get it. You're one of those, Do you still do the factorial server and the various servers? The Vatican servers.
We've got a couple of them running the Minecraft server melted down a while. Literally melted down. Physically
Leo Laporte (02:42:07):
Of graphing but we're getting that back. It's fun. I don't get as much time to game as I did during the pandemic but yeah, I probably spent too much time playing a game called Oxygen Not Included.
Leo Laporte (02:42:23):
Oh, that sounds deadly.
I think I've spent more time playing that than you played. Simpsons tapped out
Leo Laporte (02:42:30):
<laugh>. Not possible. <laugh>. You didn't spend more money on it though, <laugh>. Anyway. Great to have you Father Robert. I look forward to seeing you in the Vatican in the spring and perhaps here sometime sooner than that.
I'll be back for
Leo Laporte (02:42:45):
Ces. Yay. Oh, that's right. You did put that up on the TWiTtter and the Mask it on that you're going to CES this year. Very brave of you. <affirmative>.
Oh, I'll be baed up. I'm gonna wear a bunny suit.
Leo Laporte (02:42:57):
Yeah, that's a good idea. Are you looking forward to that ces?
No, sorry, you cut out.
Leo Laporte (02:43:04):
Oh, okay. He's not looking forward to that. Are you looking forward to it?
Oh, absolutely. Okay. I mean, okay. For me, the tech is really secondary. It's seeing people that I only see once or TWiTce a year. That's my network. That's the fun part. Those are my friends, those are my colleagues and they'll let me in on some interesting stories around Tetum.
Leo Laporte (02:43:26):
Good. We hope you will give us some pieces or something or report in something like that. Cause we're my pleasure. I don't think I'm gonna be going, I haven't gone since 2020.
Amy Webb (02:43:38):
I was just at Jex, which is the Middle Eastern version of ces. Yeah. Where I did actually see some pretty, where was interesting stuff because I was, It was in Dubai. I was in Dubai working and Jex is the Yeah, but like Iranian technology, I saw Iranian. Oh, interesting. Drones. I saw stuff from Russia. You know, you see stuff you can't see in the us.
Leo Laporte (02:43:57):
No. You might see in Ukraine though.
Amy Webb (02:44:00):
You definitely might.
Leo Laporte (02:44:01):
Yeah. Yeah. Amy Webbs
Could probably be at the International Pavilion. There's a pavilion at,
Leo Laporte (02:44:06):
That's where it's fun.
Specifically dedicated to smaller
Leo Laporte (02:44:08):
But not national firm. I don't think Iran will be there. I really, I don't. <laugh>. Thank you Father Robert. Thank you. Amy Webb, Future Tech Today Institute is her futurist effort. Of course, her books, all of them are great. The latest the Genesis machine are Quest to rewrite life in the age of synthetic biology. Her fate, her dogs might be barking, but she's happy to be here. That's what I'm gonna say. Thank you. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. Always a pleasure to have you on Amy and thank you. David Spark, Seeso thank you series.com. If you're interested in security and what the chief information security officer thinks about CISO series
David Spark (02:44:58):
In cybersecurity, want to break into cybersecurity or a leader in cybersecurity. We like your community as well. One of the unique things I found about the cybersecurity community, they have a damn good sense of humor. I love it. It's a very funny group. Oh
Leo Laporte (02:45:13):
Yeah. Oh yeah. I love him. Absolutely. Thank you David. Thank you Amy. Thank you Father Robert. I want to give one plug, we don't usually do picks on this show, but this guy puts so much effort into it. I don't know why. His name is Parker Reed and he did a cutdown of how many, two or 300 TWiT opens right from 2009 to couple of weeks ago. You can watch my hairstyles change <laugh>. You can watch my seat change. There we are at ces. You can watch hear about what stories we were talking about at that time on you. Could you, I mean it's just over and over and there's a lot of them. It's time for TWiT, this Weekend Tech, the show where we cover the latest tech new. So I don't know why Parker decided to do this <laugh>. I guess it was fun. I'm glad he did that A whole thing. You watch the whole thing.
I watched the whole thing. I mean, it's fascinating to see the set change, the quality of the video, change the topics, change the
Leo Laporte (02:46:18):
Hosts four hours and 41 minutes of nothing but me. I could can watch it for more a minute, but thank you for, I guess, and thank you very much Parker, for doing this. It's on YouTube. youtube.com/parker. Read this tech intro and you know might say, Well, what happened to the first 200 episodes? Why aren't they there? Well, we didn't have video, so I guess he started with the very first with video, which is me this weekend in the co. Kevin Rose goes makeup free. Patrick Norton files his first lawsuit and Dvorak goes retro TWiT is next. That was like the beginnings of TWiT Dvorak Rose Norton.
David Spark (02:47:01):
I did, I did one of those audio episodes I remember with Kevin Rose and Jason Ka Canis. Yeah. And I was in the cottage once as well. Nice. With Jim Louderback, and I'm trying to remember
Leo Laporte (02:47:15):
The other, Well just go through this. You probably could
David Spark (02:47:17):
Find it. Oh Barton Day. Oh, Barton Day as well, Yeah.
Leo Laporte (02:47:20):
Yes. Apparently Jason is in the room where it happens at TWiTtter, which is hysterical. In fact, <laugh> didn't, we didn't talk about it. But the best article about the whole TWiTtter thing is a New York Times article that does in fact talk about Jason. It's called Two Weeks of Chaos. If you want a great read. This is the beginning of a book, I think two weeks of chaos inside Elon Musk's takeover of TWiTtter. They even have a picture of Jason and they talk about one point where Jason was tweeting all these ideas about what to do with TWiTtter. Let me see if I can find this quote. And Elon sent down an assistant to say, Can you knock it off as this embarrassing <laugh>, which is now TWiTce that Jason has been spanked. Last week, Mr. Must dispatched Lieutenant to the war room to ask Mr.
Calla Canis, who was there to cool it on TWiTtter and stop acting as if he were leading product development or policy. People familiar with the exchange said to be clear, Elon is the product manager and CEO can Canis tweeted as a power user. And that's all I am. I'm really excited <laugh> knowing Jason. He is very excited to be in the room where it's happening and probably does not wanna take any of the blame for anything that did happen. Thank you everybody. Have a great week. We do TWiT every Sunday, 2:00 PM Pacific, 5:00 PM Eastern, 2200 utc. You can watch us live TWiTt tv slash live. You can chat with us firstname.lastname@example.org or in the club TWiT Discord after the fact. Download those episodes of the show from the website, from the YouTube channel, or use your favorite podcast player and subscribe. That's the best way to get it. We'll see you next time. Another TWiT is in the can!