81: Community, Bitcoin and Nuclear Energy with Grant Dever

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Hosted by
Will Jarvis

In this episode, I’m joined by Grant Dever to talk about Community, Bitcoin and Nuclear Energy. Grant is the author of Lead The Future and Seeking Tribe, and is working on nuclear energy at FREOPP.

Will Jarvis 0:05
Well, Grant, how are you doing today?

Grant Dever 0:06
Hey, how you doing? Well, I’m doing great. How are you?

Will Jarvis 0:10
Good, good. Well, thanks so much for taking the time to come on the show. Can you kick us off and just kind of give us a brief bio on some of the big ideas you’re interested in?

Grant Dever 0:20
Yeah, so my name is Grant Devere. I’m from Rochester, New York. And I currently live in Austin, Texas. I’m the author of lead the future strategies and systems for emerging leaders, which is a you know, kind of self help book targeted at mostly students and other young adults trying to level up their leadership game, I co founded a startup incubator at my alma mater, the University of Rochester targeted at the undergraduate population there, which is, you know, some of the, where I got a lot of the material for the book. And then I would say that, as far as big ideas, I’ve mostly been diving very deep into nuclear energy and nuclear energy policy, Bitcoin, just everything bitcoins giant rabbit hole, you know, every time you think you’re like, I get it, I understand everything you find, you find more, and then community building, and it’s declined. Those are all the kinds of things that I’m very interested in.

Will Jarvis 1:20
I love that a little bit less than PAC. But the decline of community, you know, I have a feeling this is a very real phenomenon. You know, even if you just look at the, you know, PT PTA participation, you know, since the 60s, like, just been on this huge decline, people, like don’t get together very much at all, especially with, you know, with COVID. Nowadays, it’s like, even explicitly banned. So, has there been like, some big decline community? Am I Am I sensing this correctly? And if so, like, what can we even do about it at this point?

Grant Dever 1:50
Yeah, I mean, I think it’s, it’s definitely real, I haven’t seen anyone even argue that it’s not real. So I guess that’s the contrarian take, people are actually not alienated. They’re not lonely. You know, that’s it. There’s, there’s something for you there. Um, but yeah, I would say it’s so so one thing that immediately pops to mind when you say that is especially bringing up COVID is I just think we have such a, and obviously, this isn’t, you know, to like, decline in the 80s or 90s. Obviously, the internet is not as as large, big contributing factor there. But especially as the internet has developed, and video games, and all this, you know, wonderful consumer technology that I’ve been addicted to at various points in my life. Um, you know, one thing, one little anecdote is like, when I co founded this incubator, I zone at the University of Rochester, you know, we’re trying to help students to, you know, whatever their idea was, it could be, you know, creative project, or artistic, it could be nonprofit, it could be a business, you know, we were really agnostic, it was about very early stage things, you know, so we had this 12,000 square foot space in the library, all these desks, you know, we just want and we built it from nothing, there was nothing there, there was just sentiment that students growing up watching Shark Tank, you know, the social network, all this, they wanted some space to find other like minded entrepreneurs. And we had this one student who, you know, took an interest very early, and he had already started a business, just preparing people’s phones on campus. And he, you know, sir, he had that he was just like, Hey, can I like, have a table where I can meet my clients, and, you know, maybe do a little marketing in the space, all this kind of stuff. And, you know, we were still figuring out like, what our policies would be. And we initially were like, yeah, totally, that’s fine. Which, right? Like, he’s a student, he already has a business. That’s amazing. Like, students have a problem. He has skills. He solves it for him. Yeah, amazing. But and then some of our compatriots in you know, fellow higher education administrators informed us that we probably couldn’t do that, because the university’s like, non for profit status could like maybe be in jeopardy, I like I kind of understand why that rule exists, like at the federal government, and some donor, like taken for some, you know, really expensive capital that then you can use, you know, you can’t just like let your friend use it on the weekend, to run a business and, you know, an extremely profitable, you know, high tech business. But at the same time, you know, that just seemed like kind of a glimmer, or, you know, so in juxtaposition like a student comes in, you know, let’s just pretend that I don’t even know what a good startup is started by seems but you know, some crypto, you know, startup had come in and they were like, you know, coding in this at the same table that I would have gotten the student they’re coding there. They like write all the contracts, they create all the marketing, they’re running their discord. They launched, you know, Ico territory, whatever back when I’m in there, and they just become like a millionaire with this. like business, whatever, that would have been totally fine. Like, there would have been no way in which we could have like known that was going on. So like, in some ways, like these rules, which makes sense have like criminalized in person commerce, and like really made it difficult for people to actually engage and do things in the real world. And then I think with, you know, the saying, I’ve written a little bit about I don’t remember the name. I don’t remember exactly the name of the piece. But, you know, I’m kind of worried it’s in some place, like, it really depends, like, with COVID restrictions really matters where you where you live, obviously, especially now. But, you know, I do have some worry that as alienated people are, and they don’t have these things, or have a community, we’re actually adding so much friction, that we’re actually going to kill it even more, because like, we went from being like, oh, yeah, you can’t engage in these commerce to be like, you can’t actually meet, actually meeting is not allowed. And like, someone’s gonna come stop that. And obviously, they’re, you know, whatever. I don’t know all the specifics. But I think if there is a question of, are we going, you know, we all have to take our shoes off the airport, you know, what are going to be the residuals, from kind of, you know, the pandemic? And to what extent are those going to, you know, further undermine community, I think, is a huge question. So what to do about it is kind of a whole whole separate piece. I personally, am just trying to do my own little part by, you know, being an active member of communities in various ways, both online and then especially in person. And I, you know, I want to be writing more about this, this subject, but in general, trying to help people to do that as well. I mean, there’s, there’s all kinds of little things you can do to to build community, I think community is kind of all about doing those things that don’t scale. Because you can’t you can’t be it’s, I think it’s a I forget Drucker the effective executive, he’s like, you know, you can’t be efficient with people, you know, and I think that’s, that’s kind of like the same thing. So, any other questions? But yeah, that’s my kind of, like, overview of thoughts.

Will Jarvis 7:12
Gotcha, gotcha. So it seems like a, like a, like a really difficult challenge, then, you know, like, how do you instill like, you know, community, like in American life again, you know, encourage people to get it. You know, people don’t join their social clubs, like social clubs, like Chronos, and all these Roatan. And like, that was very common, like, when I was growing up, you know, like, that just doesn’t happen anymore, like, these places don’t really exist, is part of that, you know, like, we got the internet, you know, so I can like find my super niche, like, interesting, like, thing, like, we met 15 7017 fun reading group, you know, and like, there’s no one within like, 50 Miles that’s interested in that reading group, except for me, that would read these, like, get a text and talk about them. And so like, I go on the internet, and I can meet like minded people like you, and we can talk about them is part of that, like, you know, that kind of crowds out like your local, like, you’ve got to, you know, hang out with my local people here in Durham. But you know, the local yokels aren’t, you know, grant, so it’s just like, like, less interesting. Is that?

Grant Dever 8:14
Yeah, I think I think to some degree, it’s, like, that’s certainly happening. I don’t know how true it is. You know, like, that’s, that’s kind of the question like, is that you get, you get to this point where it’s like, Well, it’s obviously a lot easier to do that, because I’m trying maybe not a specific group or something on the internet, that might not be possible, but it’s easier to coordinate even just now. Okay, let’s hop on Zoom. Like, that’s less logistically complex, then, like, the only fly in North Carolina? Yeah. Um, so, but I think, on the other hand, is like, there’s definitely a lot. Like, I think we’re, this is something which, which, which came up in one of the readings we did, which was Dark Age ahead by Jane Jacobs, which I highly recommend to everyone. It was, I don’t know, really depressing, but also incredibly insightful. And, you know, so she kind of defines, so one, one of the arguments she makes in there is that, you know, Google and you know, the internet broadly, Wikipedia are not going to prevent a dark age because a lot of the knowledge that’s important, which you know, is lost and leads to a dark age is actually that knowledge which is which is shared peer to peer, like embodied you know, how to do XYZ specific thing on and one of the things that she that she talks about in there is that in a dark age, obviously, you you’ve forgotten something, or society, your civilization has forgotten something. And because you’ve forgotten it, you you don’t you don’t know what it is, so you can’t so So with that, I kind of think we’re at a point where lots of people have never lived in a community I actually feel very fortunate that I grew up in like a small town with a clear community and you know, that does it does have its like process But I think at the same time, you know, I know what that is. And and I feel actually, at this point very blessed to have it. So growing up, I was like, why do we live here? Why do we live middle nowhere, it doesn’t make any sense. And, and I felt that way for a while. And that’s actually something I kind of changed my mind about because I feel like now I understand kind of the small town, you know, residual of what was a community life. And I understand obviously, like, mega propolis, you know, mass culture life as well,

Will Jarvis 10:29
kind of like these these hard trade offs, right, between these two that’s like, you know, and how do you get some more or optimal out outcome there? I am curious, you know, did you grew up in Rochester, or you just go to the University of Rochester,

Grant Dever 10:43
I grew up in a small town, like 25 minutes away from Rochester called

Will Jarvis 10:49
a false. Okay, so, in the area, though, so, you know, right. I think Rochester think of Kodak. I think I like you know, the decline this, like, great American company. And it feels like, you know, a lot of these things, all, they all run back to, like, 1971. Right. So, you know, communities getting hollowed out, you know, all kinds of you know, housing prices, shooting up all central goods shooting up, you know, where do you come down on on what happened in 1971? Do you think it’s like a cultural problem? Do you think it’s a, you know, just, we’ve used up all the low hanging fruit, like, what do you think about this city in the day? Like, if I had to push you on it? Cuz Yeah, really hard?

Grant Dever 11:27
I didn’t, yeah, I don’t think there’s an easy answer. I tried to, like sum it up. And I like, like, think thinking about this at the end of our reading group. And I think there’s just, there’s no way to talk about it without kind of rambling a little bit. So I’ll just say that, you know, I do disagree with people who attribute it all to the end of the gold standard, you know, even if I do think there’s their arguments about the merits of having the hard money, hard money to measure again, I don’t think that that’s even probably the the like, like, that’s probably a second order effect, you know, is what I’d say? Um, I think a lot of it. And, I don’t know, a lot of it seems to be a function of education. And with that, kind of, like morals and values, in the sense that, like, so So the piece of like, why would that have happened in 1971, I think be a function of how higher education ballooned, as far as the amount of people enrolled, as well as its kind of like social status on in like, following, you know, the horse, post war years. So like that, those chickens kind of like, came to roost in 1971. And then like, I, because I think a lot of the problems that we’re living in right now, are really kind of a function of like a mis mismatch between, you know, kind of, like humans, like human capabilities, and the things that we need done. You know, so there are a lot of people who get paid insane amounts of money to do good jobs. But then there are also like, all these great jobs that just are like, which are really even, like, robust against technological advancement, like, plumbing, and all these jobs, which are tough, for sure. But we don’t even like people don’t even know how to do those things. And more importantly, which is not their fault. But like, more importantly, you used to be able to go to school, and you know, to some degree, maybe you get like tract into like, Hey, you’re not going to college buddy, you know, but you know, like, it seems like you like to work with cars, you know, we’re going to train you as part of your public education. And then when you’re 18, you’re gonna be making like 50 grand a year. And it’s like, yeah, if you have a lot of people, if they could be making $25 an hour, when they were 18. They’d be like, Yeah, I probably want to go to college, you know, whether or not that’s the like, right choice, like, there are so many people in our world. Who would would say that, and if you don’t know, any of them, you’re, you know, in a bubble, um, and I think so. So I think some of that’s like the, the second order effects of, of that also, like, some of these questions, where people are, like, Why aren’t things still? Like, why aren’t these economic factors still the same way, as they used to be? Like, why can’t family do this or whatever? All great questions. You know, I find them very interesting. But I think there’s also a portion of this that just like, you know, the macro environment is just completely different, like certain policy things you could do, like you can’t do anymore, because it’s not like, America is the only place with capital and like, intelligent people. Like there’s lots of capital, there’s, there’s no shortage of capital. Everywhere. Yeah. And, and there’s, there’s lots of intelligent, competent people. So, you know, we’re just in a different competitive environment. And, you know, people can can, you know, there are lots of specific trade offs in there. And then I think that part does kind of tie back in to the education where you do have this like, kind of stratification of like people who are like, Oh, The elite and I deserve everything. And they kind of operate from like, either a more like either a more kind of like class based analysis or like just a raw individual or like familial analysis. But either way, none of this is comparable to kind of like, you know, if you if you had an economy, which was more localized, I’m not saying it all should be, but if you had an economy that’s more localized, like people might be like, Oh, how is this going to impact the community, you know, now you have some, you have, like, maybe small examples of that, where people are, like, you know, this company can abuse those workers. That means that, like, you know, no one’s going to be there to pick up those kids from school or something like that, like, you get, like little glimpses of that, but that kind of like, analysis and framework, which was probably a lot more common. And now that that’s just like, not really a thing. It’s like that not

Will Jarvis 15:53
in the equation, not factor

William Jarvis 15:53
in the equation. I’m so curious, you know, one of my friends, he’s an electrician, and recently shared something with me. He said, they’re in North Carolina, where I live, there are more licensed electricians over at than under 35. You know, and it’s just like this crazy thing. But but at the same time, like I am struck by the fact it seems like the the status penalty is a lot higher than it was in like, 1960 1970. Do you get that feeling as well, like, you know, like trade work is somehow like, much more stigmatized than it was in the past?

Grant Dever 16:27
Yeah, I mean, I don’t know, I think that’s kind of it’s like, or maybe there’s like a thing where we can measure ourselves against other people more more readily than we could see what’s going on? Like, yeah, yeah, I think that phenomena is just so real, and so toxic. And that’s kind of why like, and I think a lot of people are just kind of beat down. Because Because of that, or, you know, there’s also ways for you to just like, fall, you know, we all do it. I’ve done it numerous times, like fall in some kind of bubble where you’re just barraged by the same, you know, messaging over and over again, and you’re like, Oh, my God, I figured it out. I understand the whole world. And it’s terrible, you know, and it’s like, yeah, like, even if that’s true, it’s like, okay, well, that’s not fun. What are you going to do about it? Um, so I think there’s, there’s, you know, like, maybe the way out of that is to, you know, be like, actually, I think it’s a lot higher status to go do that, like, when I hear people making different client, like, kind of different decisions that are that are paying them? Well, they’re getting like hands on experience, and they’re not necessarily just like going on the conventional like, college college path, even though, you know, it worked out fairly, fairly well for me. So I, you know, can’t can’t knock it. But I would say that, I think people taking those kinds of risks, especially if they’re like, this is what I want to do. I know what I want to do. I respect that more than anything. So I think in general, regardless of what people want to do, if they know they want to do something, and they’re really good at it, they’re committed to it. If, if you’re knocking them for that, you’re really being a jerk, you know, like, just don’t don’t do that. Yeah, one of my, one of my friends he, like, knew he wanted to be on like a BMX, like, bike rider, like when he was, like, six or something. And he just spent all of his time doing that. And now he, you know, obviously, I’m sure there are lots of people who thought they’re going to do the same thing and didn’t go anywhere. But he, you know, actually does that professionally now. And like, I think he’s by far one of my most successful friends, you know, I have no idea like, what, you know how that pays or anything about the dynamics that really, but like he did, the thing that he wanted to is very niche, he doesn’t go to college? Yeah, it’s awesome.

Will Jarvis 18:38
And it worked? Well, it worked. Well, it seems like we would be better served just to look around a little bit less than and try and try and figure out, you know, what do we really want to do and try and go execute on that? What is easy advice to say, right, but like, very difficult to execute?

Grant Dever 18:52
Yeah, I’ve even found that I’m in Rochester, it was, it was kind of easier to do that to some degree. Because I didn’t really want to be doing any of the things that my friends were doing. So I didn’t really copy them. Like, I wasn’t interested in it. But then other things are, you know, now being in Austin and being surrounded by people who are all doing the things where I’m like, Oh, I could maybe do that, or that’s cool, or I wish I had your lifestyle. Um, you know, the, like, those temptations are much stronger. So that’s, and that’s something that I really experienced in college as well. Especially if you’re just like, select for like a certain type of like, hard charging, you know, you know, people born with piano for sure, very, like elite kind of thing. It just like, really compounds and like trickles down and you can create a culture where everyone’s like, maybe I also want to be an investment banker and

Will Jarvis 19:46
I don’t even know so great.

Grant Dever 19:48
I don’t even I don’t even know what that is. I still like I kind of know what it is now. But like at the time I was like maybe I should get an internship in investment banking. I was like, I don’t actually know what that is.

Will Jarvis 19:57
Yeah. It’s a great point, right? It’s very bizarre how these things are driven. So weird. I want to switch topics like now this left hand turn, but but Bitcoin, you know, we spend a lot of time with it. I’m curious, you know, to you what is the bull case for Bitcoin? To me it looks something like you know, it’s new economy gold or something like that. And that’s a good reason to be you know long Bitcoin like what do you think about it?

Grant Dever 20:21
Yeah, I think I think essentially that’s that’s like the thesis that I find most compelling as well is, you know, we still have essentially like you know the the global market for Bitcoin somewhere around a trillion dollars global market of gold is around like 10 $11 trillion, whatever it is, you know. So we still have 10x from here in Austin, there are a lot of people who are kind of like radical Bitcoin bulls who think it’s gonna go much higher, um, I love to listen to them talk about things, you know, and then there is a lot of technical development, it’s kind of funny, because again, people get like, stuck in their little echo echo chamber. And like, if I wasn’t surrounded by these people who are like working in Bitcoin, I wouldn’t hear about any of the like, little technical things either, just because like, most people don’t care about that. So they’re not on the internet, and they’re not like, oh, we invented a whole new use for Bitcoin, it’s like, here’s this thing, which is going to enable this kind of service, you know, whatever, like, they’re building the fundamentals. Um, but yeah, I think I think Bitcoin is strongly differentiated. Um, you know, no one is really trying to compete for its niche, it doesn’t have like, you know, Aetherium kind of is to some degree with like, the altra sound money thing, but that’s not actually the same, the same thing. And I’m, I’m kind of worried that that may be like an own goal. I’ve heard different arguments about it, but Aetherium has a lot of competitors. And Bitcoin maybe has one, or it has zero. And that’s, that’s kind of the thing there. Um, and I think that the, in general, um, you know, it, it made a lot of Bitcoin made a lot of trade offs to be the most decentralized, it could be, you know, so that everyone can run their own node. And that’s why it has so few transactions per second. You know, so and then I think mathematically, it’s kind of strongly differentiated in that it had by far the fairest launch, probably the fairest launch that will ever exist. People who were mining Bitcoin, were all just kind of random people who like stumbled upon this thing or like all run weird software, that money no one knew they were going to get rich. This is evidenced by the fact that people traded you know, what is now like, billions of dollars a Bitcoin for like, a pizza, or like, yeah, you know, we eat or like, whatever. So, you know, and even people who were early, like, you know, if you bought in at $10, you’re like, alright, you know, what, I’m smart. I’m just gonna buy, I don’t know, like, 1000 Bitcoin, or, you know, 10,000 of them, and then I’m just gonna hold it because like, whatever, if I lose that money, it’s not a big deal. A lot of those people sold it like $100 Yeah, or they sold it $1,000 Or they, you know, but either way, like, the idea that like, all these people were early and they mess it. Of course, there are some people who did that. And some of them just got lucky that they like God about their big guy. But but at the same time, it’s just like, it was extremely fair. Mathematically, it’s just kind of brilliant. Like, I think it kind of I need to write this piece, but I do think kind of border borderlines on like a religion, but like, in a good way, in a way that feels good as an investor. So So, yeah, no, I’m bullish on Bitcoin. I think it’s, I think it’s actually very interesting. And if you think it’s just kind of boring, you probably haven’t thought about it too much. Or you’re just, you know, extreme novelty brain. And it’s like, yeah, me too. So I feel you like no worries.

Will Jarvis 23:47
That I love that. Well, if you don’t mind me asking, like percentage wise, you know, what does your portfolio portfolio look like in terms of Bitcoin, you know,

Grant Dever 23:56
as far as as far as crypto, I’m mostly in Bitcoin, just because I under like, and some of this is memes, but also, like, it’s differentiated positioning, I just understand how to value it more. You know, like it has a clear kind of thing like I don’t know what the valuation of a theorem should be. I don’t really have a good model for that. Obviously, people are trying to create different ones and like I probably don’t own enough of it, you know, like or I should purchase more of it, like, you know, three years ago or whatever when I was when I was looking looking into these things. And I also wasn’t particularly early or anything like I’m just like, Ben stacking small amounts like little bit by little bit so yeah, I’m mostly in Bitcoin and part of that just because I didn’t get lucky with any you know, kind of all coins I’ve speculated like a little bit, but I’m also not a trader. It’s like that’s the other thing I also kind of like Bitcoin because it just like yeah, just by a little bit by a little bit, and you don’t have to trade it or anything, just hold it and, you know, don’t don’t be overexposed. I’m gonna be a little bit over goes right now, but you know what it is?

Will Jarvis 25:02
Yeah, I guess I guess. And I guess, I guess what I was asking is like in terms of overall portfolio, you know, is it like quarter half?

Grant Dever 25:09
Oh, yeah, I’m Yeah, so the other thing Yeah, I’m like more like a half, but some of that’s just because I like burn through my cash. Um, so I, you know, the last few years have been weird. Yeah. But I would say that. I also do think it is, you know, there are not that many investments that like, even really have kind of like a call for like a 10x or whatever. Yeah, I think Bitcoin is still kind of like the most the rest of them. So if you are a young person, like you should have, I think you should have some exposure to digital assets in general. And I think Bitcoin is the least risky at all. In my choice.

Will Jarvis 25:48
Yeah. Definitely. I think that’s definitely has the best case of of the stuff that’s out there. And there’s a lot of crap out there. Yeah. To be worried about.

Grant Dever 25:56
Yeah, it’s kind of like the even if like, right, the maximalist I’ve been wrong. Like you could argue, at least in the timescale. Yeah. Like, you know, like, who knows, like, maybe there’ll be more right in the future, but like, in the timescale that they’ve operated, obviously, if you were just 100% Bitcoin, and you like, didn’t get exposure to any given asset, like Yeah, your net worth could be a lot higher, but like the other hand is like there is a positive aspect of maximalism, where if you became a Bitcoin, maximalist, like maybe you wouldn’t have like, lost all your money on some other coin, and like, you’d be doing fine if you just bought Bitcoin. So like that. So I kind of see the argument both ways. I’m not a maximalist myself, but I understand the appeal.

Will Jarvis 26:41
Very cool. Thank God love that. I love that. Nuclear energy, very important solves like a lot of our energy problems for the future. And it’s technology that works today. But we just like, you know, it’s just not allowed. How did you get to start working nuclear policy in house? I know you’re new to it. But But how’s the journey been so

Grant Dever 27:01
far? Yeah. So I’m Yeah, so my journey is kind of weird. I, I definitely like I remember being interested in nuclear energy. And I think getting more interested in it in 2016, was actually part of Andrew Yang’s class platform. So that was something where I was like, okay, like, let me look into this. I think I heard him talk about it a little bit. And I was like, Oh, that makes sense. Yeah, we need we need all the, you know, low carbon, you know, energy that we can get, like, make sense to me. Um, you know, and I had heard people kind of like, actually started reading this book. Again, a couple years ago, I didn’t finish it called physics for future presidents. And I remember it all. That’s like, yeah, yeah, I read that one. Yeah, like, kind of addresses, like a lot of concerns about radiation, and like, all the kind of like basic things. Um, so So anyway, I became interested in nuclear energy. And then it really kind of accelerated over the last two years, because I became connected with my friend Emmitt Penny shout out to the nuclear barbarian himself. And he, um, I, you know, we connected to this community that I, you know, joined in 2020, called indie thinkers.org. And there I connected with Emmet, and he was this cool guy. And we would just do these, like, work sessions where we all hop on Zoom, you know, say what we’re going to work on, and we just like sash for, like four hours. And, and it was kind of like falling down, like the nuclear energy advocacy, rabbit hole. And, you know, I was just following him on Twitter and his substack and stuff like that, and reading more and more about it and kind of hearing arguments in favor of nuclear energy and why we why we need it. And he actually doesn’t even totally come at it from like a environmental standpoint, he actually comes at it more from like, a labor and like society thing. He’s like, we need reliable energy. Because like, you know, you can’t just have like, right now, whoever, whatever vulnerable population you’re worried about, like, they’re more vulnerable, if they, if they have a rolling blackout. Exactly, you know, so the extent to the extent that you’re letting a grid like approach or become, you know, like, you know, where the, you know, there’s not enough supply, like, where the base load is not there. If you’re letting that happen, then like, you know, all these people are totally vulnerable, you businesses can’t operate that way. You know, hospitals have generators and stuff, but like, you know, if that if that stops, whatever, so you need reliability, you need affordability. You know, if no one I haven’t heard anyone be like, oh, man, my electric bill has gotten so much cheaper, you know, like, that’s, that’s, that’s kind of like the fundamental heuristic, like, until we hear people saying that, it’s like, well, I clearly we haven’t figured this out, you know, and like, currently, what we’re doing isn’t is hasn’t really solved the problem. And then and then he really comes at it from kind of like the labor standpoint to where he’s like, you know, a lot of these are actually like, you know, that’s that’s more of his background, but he’s like, you know, a lot of these are really high paying good jobs. And you know, New York City is like I was actually in New York City and they had rolling blackouts like, I actually think it was before Indian Point closed. Yeah. And then like, I got this, like phone notification being like, turn off the air conditioner or whatever. So it’s like a heat wave, they’re like, turn off the air conditioner, you know, some like, working class person who’s listed good versus, like, I guess I’ll turn turn it off. And I don’t want there to be rolling blackouts. And then like, meanwhile, you just know, in Manhattan, there’s just like, some empty

AC. So it’s like, yeah, so and then I guess, like, when they closed any important, it just like destroyed like several towns, like, there’s just all this like Fallout, and then the big thing for people to understand is that building a new nuclear reactor is so much more difficult. Like, just because of the like, regulatory things, and like, the capital requirements, and all this kind of stuff that comes up on the front end, that preserving our existing nuclear fleet is like, absolutely vital. So that’s why people are so focused on that. And then hopefully, it’s actually interesting, both the Trump administration and the Biden administration are actually for the most part, like extremely pro pro nuclear. Um, so, like, it does seem like the tide might, might start to change on that. And then we also just saw that in the, the EU, they like a taxonomy of like, essentially, like, I don’t know exactly what it is. So this is this may be conflating it a bit, but kind of like what energy sources like qualify for like some sort of ESG type thing. So like, essentially, they had tons of investment available, maybe through like pensions, tons of investment available for renewables, and they ended up kind of like under invested in natural gas, which is like caused some problems and then like also it’s been difficult to maintain and expand like nuclear fleet because like nuclear energy was not was also not classified. And now both natural gas based from lobbying from Germany is now considered to be like a green and environmentally friendly energy and and thanks to France nuclear energy is now considered to be a you know, environmentally friendly low carbon source of energy. So it’s so it’s interesting so so like, to some degree, we’ll you know, we’ll see kind of how this shakes out in Europe but could could also be kind of positive for America in the same regard. But um, yeah, I just had a weird kind of as far as getting into the actual policy stuff. Um, you know, I’ve been reading a lot of it actually kind of came to it also through Bitcoin. Obviously, there’s concerns about bitcoins energy consumption, which I don’t think is a good argument against Bitcoin also, it’s not gonna stop Bitcoin so it’s not really worth arguing about um, once you understand Bitcoin, you’ll understand why I just said that. But anyway, and anyway, there’s lots of things you could read I was reading Nick Carter about this he’s probably my one of my favorite Bitcoin, you know, analysts and propagandists. I wish I only wish I was as good as him. Um, but we I was I was after reading. Basically, when I got to Austin, I didn’t really know that many people I knew some people through Twitter. And then I knew I knew that I wanted to get involved in everything Bitcoin here, because there’s so much so many companies and people and developers and all this stuff. So I actually had like a LinkedIn subscription that I had gotten on, like, an extreme discount during the pandemic. So I was like, I’m unemployed, or like, here’s, you can get it for like, 20 bucks or something ridiculous. So I was like, I was like, I mean, if it gets me a job, you know, so all these emails go. Yeah, exactly. So I had like, all the credits that they give you left, and I was like, You know what, I just got here, I’m gonna lose them. So I was like, unsubscribe. I’m not paying to renew this thing. Thank you for the cheap members. Yeah. And I just started, I just started cold messaging. Like everyone who had Bitcoin in their profile in Austin, who seemed interesting. And was just like, hey, I just moved to Austin. Like, I’m a big pointer. You know, I’d love to meet any recommendations for meetups or things I should go to or people should meet. And I got like, a bunch of responses. And they invited me to this meetup.

Yeah, they invited me to the to this meetup. That’s like, you know, at from unchained capital that recurs regularly. It’s pretty fun. It’s like kind of a developer meetup, which is, you know, people talking about all these like little technical developments that are way over my head. And I’m like, I kind of understand what’s going on. And then there’s a big barbecue afterward with drinks and that’s more my speed. So I went there and met a ton of people anyway, connected with all these Bitcoiners. And then Emmet came to me, and there’s this group stand up for nuclear, which is doing like kind of like Global Pro nuclear advocacy. And he was like, Hey, man, I’m working with stand up for nuclear on on these events that they’re hosting. We need someone to kind of represent in Austin and I know that you’re interested in nuclear energy to retweet and, you know, share your own posts on this thing. So I’m gonna put you in a call, basically, I’ve just moved here, I’d like no friends, I’m on this call with these organizers. And they’re like, so do you know anyone in nuclear, you know, basically, this please kind of wanted, like, you know, to educate people, and organize a little bit and then also get like, kind of a photo op be like, you know, in Texas, they care about this and awesome, they care about this. Um, and I was like, I think I know one guy. He’s like, a big like Nixon guys. He likes nuclear energy, because Nixon wanted to build a ton of it. And then I like thought about it a bit more like, Oh, I know, all these Bitcoiners. So I actually ended up hosting a couple meetups at the intersection of nuclear energy, and Bitcoin. And, and a lot of people were very interested in that they were familiar with some of it, I learned a lot through the experience, but some of the people were like, Yeah, I like work in, you know, transmission, and they’re explaining all these things to me that I didn’t really know. And then I actually, I wrote a substack I have a, I think I own nuclear Bitcoin fixes this, that substack dies. And I wrote, I wrote a piece, just kind of outlining the gist of like, why Austin Bitcoiners should be in favor of nuclear energy. And just kind of like making that case as simply succinctly as I could, partially because I didn’t want to, like, have to grab a microphone and like rant at people for like, 20 minutes at at the event I was having, um, and then had the event, it was fine, got my photos, all that met a lot of cool people. And then like, a week or two later, the president of free up the think tank that I’m working at, DM me, and was like, hey, like, I run a think tank, like I saw your piece that you wrote about nuclear energy and Bitcoin, like we should get lunch. And then he offered me a role 19 Part time with the think tank. So. And right now, I’m just very deep. I’m like, definitely, you know, trying to get all the fundamentals down on nuclear energy, but also just trying to understand the energy market and in general, like how it works. And I’ll just say that energy is just an insane topic. It’s so complicated and maddening, and based on everything I’ve learned right now, and I’m kind of radicalized, but I think in that we definitely need nuclear energy. And we probably need all sorts of like regulatory reform, that the, you know, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, probably like lots of other bodies as well. We shouldn’t be living this way. Yeah, absolutely.

Will Jarvis 37:45
It could be so much better, right?

Grant Dever 37:46
It can be so effective. Yeah. That’s always optimistic. Right? Like, it could always be better.

Will Jarvis 37:51
Yes, exactly. Well, you know, people like you were working on so it gives me hope, like, you know, it is possible to fix some of these things. I’m curious. So, you know, I just want a big grant to help implement land value tax. This is kind of like a majority. This is kind of like a, I can put a pin in this. Like, I don’t know if you’ve heard of it. But

Grant Dever 38:08
yeah, no, no, I read radical markets. Yeah. Okay. Yeah.

Will Jarvis 38:11
Gotcha. Very cool. Very cool. And I’m curious, you know, you’re new to the policy game, but you know, what have you learned so far about, you know, actually changing like policy on the ground? And have you found any big takeaways yet, I know, they’re fresh to it, but

Grant Dever 38:26
I’m pretty, I’m pretty fresh to it, I would say. I mean, from the inside, I’ve just seen, like, how, how much work goes into, like, connecting with people, you know, like, really the, like, obviously, you see the papers or the articles or whatever, but actually, like the amount of like phone calls that are going on relationship building, um, some of the, like, strategic kind of marketing that goes into it, too. So I think that’s something that’s interesting. For example, Avik Roy, the president, he wrote a very great piece about Bitcoin and kind of like America’s, like, current fiscal and monetary situation. And he like went out of his way to get it published in I think it’s national affairs, I was gonna confuse but like, he got it post, like published in a specific journal, because that’s the one that all these staffers read. Gotcha. Yeah. And he, like he, like, plan that out, like, way ahead of time to make sure that it would launch, like, you know, and it’s kind of about inflation, and it came out when everyone was talking about inflation. Yeah, but he had, like, he had like, laid the groundwork to get that in the journal like months earlier. So So you know, that’s, that’s like the, you know, maybe the tastiest thing I’ve gotten and I’m sure he’s fine with me saying that. That’s not a word that’s just in basic inside baseball kind of stuff, but

Will Jarvis 39:48
Right, right. Yeah, yeah. And I have been impressed how important it is like getting in front of staffers seems to be like, you know, and how it’s almost scary how much of a driver that is for a lot of policy. Just just in general.

Grant Dever 40:01
But this is kind of a weird act up, but it’s related to nuclear energy and Stafford, my mom, brief after college, she kind of also randomly ended up working for the senator of Oregon. Senator Hatfield, and she tasked or he tasked her or like someone tasked her in the team, with doing research about nuclear energy at the time to decide whether or not he was in favor or against nuclear energy. And my mom decided that he should be in favor of it. Nice.

Will Jarvis 40:35
Cool runs in the family. Yeah. Must be genetic. I love that. Let’s see. So another left hand turn, you’ve written a book, are they you know, if someone wants to go out, they want to be a content creator. You know, are there any? Is there any general advice you would give up? You know, in started that journey?

Grant Dever 40:57
Yeah. So So for writing a book, specifically, a couple couple caveats. One, it’s definitely tough to, you’re unlikely to make a lot of money selling a book. So so keep that in mind, you will learn a lot though, which is, which is valuable. Um, and I also kind of think there’s multiple reasons, but I think, you know, writing a book is actually a pretty good project to do. Or at least one book, it doesn’t matter, right. Like, you know, I wrote a book kind of over, you know, I talked about it, I don’t have the access to material, I can do things with it in the future. But like, I don’t think about it all the time. It’s just like, oh, yeah, that’s the thing I did want. Yeah. So so if you’re, like, worried, like, Oh, is it gonna be good or whatever, like, I’m lucky that my book is good. So but, but I’d say that, like, if you’re, if you’re worried about it, like, you know, it doesn’t, it’s not going to define your whole future, and it’s probably not going to pay you any money. And you’ll be lucky if people read it and tell you, they don’t like it, or even just give me negative feedback. I want more negative feedback, if you listen, this podcast, and you read my book, and you give me a three star review, and tell me why it’s kind of bad, but not that bad. I’ll appreciate that. Um, but so I would say I actually taught a CT, I wrote my book as part of a cohort, partially led by this urn kind of collaboration with this Professor Eric Kosar, at which one is at Georgetown University. And essentially, he created a curriculum to help students to write a manuscript to that nice, publish it through like some indie press, or self publish, or whatever. And he kind of created a toolkit for this. So I did, I wrote my book, through a cohort that I like, co led at the University of Rochester at the incubator that I was working on. So I was kind of leading the cohort, I was like, well, if I’m gonna help you do this, I need to also write a book. And, um, and I actually was initially going to write a book about Bitcoin or not about Bitcoin, but about like, not money, uses of crypto back in the time when no one like people were talking about it, but like, compared to much smaller, like, not at all, and actually pivoted, because I realized that I didn’t understand it at like, a depth, like writing about technology is incredibly hard. And I realized I didn’t understand it at a at the appropriate level of analysis. So I was like, this book is going to be trashed. So you know, if you know that your books gonna be trashed, maybe also don’t publish it. But, um, but I. But anyway, we kind of had like, a formula, where first you so so the beginning is you just want to do research, you want to get exposed to a lot of information, and ideas and, and, you know, practice taking notes. So the kind of theory of this course, or curriculum was like, Okay, you’re a young person, you think you’re really interested in a specific thing, you want to get, you know, a job working in this field that you’re interested in, you know, you’re so interested, you’re going to write a book on it. So basically, what you would do is you would start, like, you know, generate a list of like, people you know, or people who are like trying to friendlies within your network, who then you can go interview, you know, just come up with some basic questions. They’re probably not that good. It doesn’t matter. You know, call call these people ask them about this. People are probably not doing this. Also, if you’re like, I’m a student. I’m writing a book about this thing. Can I interview you as like, an expert? They’re probably like, I’m not an expert. But sure, yeah, no one wants to hear me ramble that this thing I’m interested in.

And you’ll learn some things that way. Those people might be able to make intros for you. But either way you’re kind of developing the skill set. You get a little confidence you learn more about what your what you’re writing, or what you’re planning on writing about. And that a lot of times those turn into to warm intros, and like people have like started this like talking to a lot Like, their uncle, and like their Mom’s best friend’s husband, and like, their brother’s like, you know, dorm, you know, like freshman year roommate, and then like, ended up talking to, you know, whatever some, like, you know, you’re writing about, you know, venture capital something something and then all of a sudden you’re like, you know, talking to Michael Gibson, you know, so it’s like these, these things happen like, pretty, pretty quickly. So I And so essentially, that’s like, the beginning of it was kind of like you do this, like, kind of primary research via like interviewing people. And the goal there is that you want to pull stories from from people because like, if you look at like the structure of most nonfiction books, it’s like, here’s, here’s some, like, takeaway pieces. And then here’s like, a bunch of stories that kind of, like, beat the point into your head, which is absolutely important. You know, like, if you just listen to like, you know, I’m sure there are some, maybe some blankest fans here, I’ve never actually used it. But I think if you just like spam, the like, SparkNotes of books in your brain, it really doesn’t do anything you kind of need, like visceral story. Yeah. And like, maybe you could use Blinkist to, like, get the summaries. And then you could like, create your own stories to make it visceral. But either way, I think you kind of have to, like, engage the imagination to have like, a lasting thing, or, you know, better yet, like, act on the thing. Just be like, Oh, let’s see if this is true. I’m going to apply it and see how it feels. Um, so those are, those are some of the things that I that I learned. Oh, the other thing I would say is that, beyond just general a being kind of tough, I kind of felt like it was three different sprints that are back to back to back. Which, yeah, I don’t use it. But anyway, yeah. So it’s kind of like three, three sprints that are back to back back. So it’s like, you know, researching, it’s like, maybe that’s like kind of a warm up. Like, that’s really not that bad. Yeah, then right. drafting the manuscript is like, especially when the deadline is definitely like very intensive. You know, there was lots of, you know, late nights, early mornings, like lost sleep, especially like those last couple weeks trying to get it done. Before you go to Oktoberfest with your friends. Right? You know, like, you get, like, de lagged out a little bit. But you, and then there’s the sorry, and then there’s editing is like kind of the second sprint, which is, you know, its own whole kind of thing. And, and that’s where you I didn’t really feel too stressed about anything until I was kind of in the editing thing. It’s like, okay, like, whatever is here, is going to be in the book. Um, and like, that felt really heavy. And it actually didn’t, it felt the heaviest. After I’d like press submit, when I press submit on the on the book. And I, you know, maybe I had more time to like, where I could have edited if I wanted to, but I submitted it, I was just kind of like, like, I was like, I was at a I was in the Czech Republic. I wrote a lot of the book while I was traveling, and I was in the Czech Republic. And I like submitted the book from this, like bar Cafe thing, it was already mostly done. It was just like, depress the button there. Yeah. And then I like went and got like a beer and was like, kind of celebrating. And, you know, talking to people having fun. And then I was like walking home and I was just like, is everyone gonna hate me? Like, that was kind of like my, my feeling because like, you know, like, like, you know, I I don’t think I mean even if you read I mean I’m I’m a good good liberal. So like, I didn’t say anything too bad but it’s just like, it just like you know, I my like, heterodox takes in there, whatever, like people gonna still like me after right. And then and then the whole third sprint is is selling and my book got published in December of 2019. And then I had the holidays, and then it was kind of like, I was like, getting getting everything ready in January. Like I was like, Alright, I’m gonna be like, working out and stuff and like, in January, I think I worked out like 20 out of 30 days of like, January 2020. I was like, totally on my grind. And then and then I was on Twitter at the time and I just started seeing like, the early philosophy posts and like people talking about things and then I got totally round Coronavirus story and like Little did I know I would just be like, down like, like, on and off again like kind of down the like Coronavirus like rabbit hole for like the next two years. Anyway I like that kind of suck the wind out of my sails. I are like my like desire to sell and like go out and do things I was you know, the beginning of the pandemic was definitely really kind of like tough last year was also not very good. feeling a lot better. The last like six months especially since moving to Austin and feeling very bullish on 2022 But

but you know, I’d planned to go do like a college tour. Yeah, and like all this kind of stuff and like I could I could have been like Like, oh, like, let me do all these zoom talks and stuff like that, like, you know, as you and I know here right now, like fucking on Zoom can be cool, but I was just like I don’t want to do that like I wanted like the schools to pay me to like show up and for me to be, you know lecturing in front of the class like you know being wild and then have some students come up to me afterward and be like can I get dinner with you or something? Yeah, I don’t. Yeah, so that’s what I wanted. So yeah, I never did that but maybe I will at some point, but I haven’t I haven’t done that so that those are my my takeaway, so just be mentally prepared for that. But I think concerning them both, like maybe they’re marathons instead of Sprint’s that’s probably the better thing. They’re tough. They’re long it keeps going. Yeah, something like that.

Will Jarvis 50:49
That’s that’s the structure of the process. I think that’s really helpful just to think about and how each, each piece I think people often forget the third piece, right? You know, you got to actually go sell it. It’s a no, you gotta have some distribution mechanism to really, really make it work even though you know, I know Matt Iglesias is talking about it recently. Even his books don’t sell that many copies like it can be it can be very difficult, right?

Grant Dever 51:10
Yeah, yeah. No, I I did I did buy 1 billion Americans so he knows that. I’m one of one bought I read it. I also read it. I didn’t mean to you though.

Will Jarvis 51:24
Oh, man. Oh, man. Bomber bomber. Are you down for a round of overrated or underrated?

Grant Dever 51:28
Yeah, I’m totally I’m totally down. Awesome. Can I can I like can I caveat or is it John?

Will Jarvis 51:34
No, no, you can give a sentencing caveat. Whatever you want. All right. Awesome. Ah, overrated or underrated to lip.

Grant Dever 51:42
Alright, I would still say that to lab is underrated. I disagree with him on on couple issues so far. And I think some of his students will succeed him. But I would say that he’s underrated it to the extent that like, not enough people have accepted parts of his worldview. And I think if they, if they do, they’ll, they’ll be better off and will be better off.

Will Jarvis 52:04
At the very least, I find to hilarious. I mean, just like oh, yeah, straight up calling people be I love your

Grant Dever 52:10
books. The books are credible. Funny. So funny. And they’re great. Yeah, yeah.

Will Jarvis 52:15
Yeah. And they’re, they’re not really reducible either in a very in a way that very few books, you know, art passed that criteria nowadays. Fine. Yeah, I

Grant Dever 52:23
would, I would say that right. Like to live is actually the opposite of kind of the the pattern that I you know, if you’re, if you’re an undergraduate student, or like someone who’s still like me, or whatever, you probably write a book the way I said too, but if you want to write a great New York Times bestseller, you know, you got to figure out how to write something is kind of unique as what to lab is put out there. That’s all. There’s no formula,

Will Jarvis 52:47
no formula, therefore, that’s a great point. That’s the formula. The formula is there’s no formula. The University of Rochester, overrated, underrated.

Grant Dever 52:56
I think it’s, I think it’s hard for me to say, um, it’s like underrated to the extent that like, I think I don’t think most people have have heard of it. And they should because it’s like, you know, top 30 school or whatever. But like, should it be ranked higher? I don’t know. It’s hard for me to know, because I’ve been on the inside. So like, when you’re on the inside of any institution like this, you’re kind of like, how does this thing actually work? Like, I’m kind of surprised that this thing is as good as it is from like, the inner workings that I see. But like all colleges and universities might be like that. Maybe maybe like slight slightly underrated, underrated if you’ve never heard of it. It’s totally underrated. You know, get informed, but

Will Jarvis 53:38
awesome. I love that alone. Austin, overrated or underrated?

Grant Dever 53:43
Totally overrated. Don’t move here.

Will Jarvis 53:45
Anyway, keep the record.

Grant Dever 53:47
I’m a local now. So I love that.

Will Jarvis 53:50
I love that. That’s great. Well, Grant, thank you so much for taking the time to come on today. You know, where should we send people if they want to find your work?

Grant Dever 54:00
If you want to find my work, you should go to www dot Seaking tribe.com. I also do post on Twitter at grant a Devere. I’m currently deactivated, but maybe by the time it comes out, I’ll be online but either way, you may or may not find me there and then go to Amazon or just Google grant ever honestly, just Google grant ever and you’ll you’ll find everything that you’re looking for. Yeah.

Will Jarvis 54:27
Awesome. I love that. Thanks, Grant. Yep, thank you.

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