The Profile: The privileged jocks bucking the system & the man betting on spectacular doom

Good morning, friends!

Is there a short, snippy piece of advice you’ve heard from a relative, a friend, or a complete stranger that has stayed with you over the years?

In an article titled, “The Best Advice You’ve Ever Received (and Are Willing to Pass On),” The New York Times crowdsources some memorable words of wisdom. They’re categorized under sections like, “life advice,” “work life,” and “parenting guidance.” In honor of Mother’s Day, I wanted to share a few entries about raising children from the article:

“Teach your children to swing from the trees — not to keep them from falling, but to see that they never hit the sidewalk.”

“The greatest gift you can give to your children is your own emotional well-being.” (BIG ONE)

“Always smile at your children, so they will remember you that way.”

When I turned 23, I was having some sort of existential crisis about getting old (hahahahahah yes, I was the worst). So for my birthday, I asked my mom to write me a letter listing the 23 things she wished she knew by age 23. Here’s one of her lessons/pieces of advice that has carried me into wise, old age:

“I wish I knew how to let things go. If I only knew how important it is to stop dwelling on the stuff that I have no control over, I would’ve probably had at least three extra years to concentrate on something important — like becoming a millionaire before I’m 40! Unfortunately, I learned this too late in life. Don’t make the same mistake. Let things go & move on. The faster, the better.”

She also signed it, “The Queen,” so we all know she definitely wasn’t having existential crises at age 23. Please share with me some of these nuggets of wisdom you’ve learned from family, friends, or complete strangers.

SEE YOU SOON: We’re officially sold out for Wednesday’s Profile & Children of Bulgaria event. I’m looking forward to seeing you guys! As a reminder, you can make a donation to their latest campaign here. Thank you for being part of this community. It means the world to me.

Now, for this week’s profiles:

The privileged jocks bucking the system [**HIGHLY RECOMMEND**]
The philosopher who says we should play God
— The author who doesn’t believe in work-life balance
The man betting on spectacular doom
— The companies curing your loneliness
— The company targeting blindness


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PEOPLE TO KNOW.

The privileged jocks bucking the system: In 2009, Facebook was the revolution, and Mark Zuckerberg the revolutionary. Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss appeared to be his perfect foils: privileged jocks who represented the Establishment. But 10 years later, the dynamic has changed. The Winklevii have emerged as the leaders of a new digital revolution that could not only to decentralize money itself but also to succeed where Facebook failed.

“No matter how many times we win this race, it isn’t going to matter.”

The philosopher who says we should play God: OK, this one shook me. Julian Savulescu is a bioethicist who has a knack for provocation. For example, he says most of us would readily accept human cloning if it benefited us. Savulescu thinks we need to become far more adept at sorting out difficult moral issues. Otherwise, he says, the human species will face dire consequences in the coming decades. This one will challenge some of your most ingrained core beliefs about morality and ethics.

“I think we are the biggest threat to ourselves. For the first time in human history we really are the masters of our destiny.”

The author who doesn’t believe in work-life balance: Author Danielle Steele could teach a masterclass on productivity. She’s written 179 books, works 20 hours a day, and holds the Guinness record for most consecutive weeks on the New York Times best-seller list. Oh, and she has nine kids. Steele credits her ‘get shit done’ mentality to her drive to push through moments when she's stuck. "I keep working. The more you shy away from the material, the worse it gets,” she says.

“There are no miracles. There is only discipline."

The man betting on spectacular doom: In 2011, Russell Clark took over hedge fund Horseman Global. The $3.2 billion fund he inherited sank a staggering 96%, to $111 million, in just two years as clients withdrew their money. It had shrunk so much that it was barely economical to run. Clark concluded in 2012 that if he didn’t become a short seller, there was no reason for clients to pay him the kind of fees hedge funds charge. Now, he’s betting everything on a spectacular, earth-shattering market crash that he believes is just around the corner.

“This could be my farewell interview,” he says. “But if my views are correct,” he says, “it’s not going to be good for anyone else.”

COMPANIES TO WATCH.

The companies curing your loneliness: We’re in the midst of a loneliness epidemic. We’re moving across the country, delaying marriage and kids, and working all the time. Now, companies are selling us “on-demand connection” because loneliness has become a big business and a powerful marketing opportunity. Does any of it work — or is it just an expensive VC-funded Band-Aid on a much larger societal problem?

“Hypervigilant to social threats, the lonely brain detects them everywhere, wreaking havoc on the body by putting the nervous system on constant alert and spurring further isolation.”

The company targeting blindness: Gore-Tex is a company that makes waterproof clothing, air filters, headlight vents, and guitar strings. Its next innovation is a total pivot: Gore is making its first foray into the eye. The company has decided to tackle corneal blindness by making artificial corneas that are easy to implant. The question remains — Can an incumbent disrupt itself when the pressure’s on?

“There’s millions of people outside the U.S. who are blind. We have unique materials. We have done this kind of work.”