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tv   Jimmy Soni The Founders  CSPAN  April 12, 2022 6:43pm-7:45pm EDT

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exploring the american story. what american history tv saturday on c-span2 and find a full schedule on your program guide or watch online anytime at >> my name is katherine boyle emmett recent recent partum please to be here to welcome off their jimmy soni to discuss his new book the founders by the story of paypal me entrepreneurs who shaped silicon valley prayer is especially wonderful to be a because i knew jimmy and my early 20s. this book really takes place in talking a group of people who support each other at work really to get him and lifelong friends meeting after college meet in the early 20s is very special for me as a former fellow journalist and writer to be interviewing him because we shared that time together as well. from a fairly non- startup and
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household name young son here is extreme competition will be covering a lot in the next hour. we encourage you to put the b question on youtube we love to have audience questions at the end. we'll get into your questions later in the program but for now welcome jimmy. >> thank you, thank you for having me. i honestly, cannot think of anyone better to do this with. we have known each other forno well over a decade. it will make a it more fun thate can tell embarrassing stories as well as stories about the founders. [laughter] >> what is great is one of the things especially for senior during this book is that you are an outsider silicon valley. it was really sort of jumping into a subject matter you had not necessarily dressed before. you are not somewhat on the west coast or high-tech journalist but what made you want to tell the story of paypal?re
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>> it was right freely admit that action the introduction a kind of right i'm probably not the person who should be doing this. sort of joke with my friends really this is a walter book. might s last book was about an engineer and mathematician named claude shannon. in the course of drink that book which is called the mind of play, i was at the place where he spent a big chunk of his professional life which was bell laboratories and in the 20th century and today and then was renowned as this incredible hub of innovation. they invent touchtone dialing. they invent the laser. they invent satellite technology, communications networks and the transistor. they went several nobel prizes. it's basically like the place to be innovative in the 20th century in the united states and technology. it's not from the mind of a one
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person is from a group of people per started thinking what other groups inre american history whe it has been that fertile and that rich. and i actually looked at other topics. the roads not taken more fairchild semiconductor, you famously have this group somebody had written a book -- mike there is a a book about xeroxed parks that covered that cluster as well but i think the book was called where the wizards stay up late which iou thought was the best title for a book about this. then there's a general magic. general magic i was excited about it and this incredible documentary came out. looks like it's going to be so good and everybody should see it. paypal i stumbled forward in history, stumbled into it. i just started asking questions of british sort of assume because of the personalities involved, elon musk, peter
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thiel, it was like the adventures. i assume somebody had done this. and then went no one had the other thing i notice by asking a few questions without stories were just fantastic. the untold stories were so good. and i knew there was potential there. that is how i came to it. but i most definitely came to it as an outsider i am not going to admit i called you with most basic questions about what is free money. [laughter] and terminology. they will say the virtue of actually being an outsider from the same thing apply to my last book and this book. if you are an outsider trying to decipher something in order to make an audience understand it, you have to ask really basic questions and build it back up and write it. as most excited about y that is everyone thanks they know and an ipo is. initial public offering, listing out a stocke exchange. if you go back to basic to
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understand it playback to a reader, i knew a lot of my readers were not going to be intact. there were never going to take a company public whatst is it mean to take a company public cosmic stuff like that the basic question asking is an asset not a liabilitynd for a lot of writs going going to spaces are not familiar with. >> is certainly a case in the reviews and commentary of the bucket like a historical book like written by historian for the course historians are never part of ecosystems they dive into. in some ways i think one of these books that a lot of books are not written by journalists who are actively part of the ecosystem and being an outsider can take that objective lens and treat it more as a moment in historyal. >> i think the other thingt its a really great book for the other piece of it is you can ask questions that someone who has the challenging task of reporting on these people every day, you can ask questions they are not allowed to ask. i admire daily journals to haptic cover tesla and spacex there so much harder than mine
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in a way, right? i was always the enjoyable conversation not the antagonistic conversation but i'm not holding their accountability statements or cap am asking about 20 years ago but so for example journalist is not going to feel the say i take me back to the university of illinois let's talk about college but i could he was more than open about it. so in some ways my task was much easier but coming out from an outsider -- as an outsider i could also ask random questions that i think were relatively engagingd. >> totally, totally pretty start the book out this is one of the things i think even after reading the book and after thinking about it for a career still don't have the answer juice i want to get your answer print people look at paypal as one of these make out what the talent coming out of paypal is extraordinary. touches every aspect of silicon valley every venture firm, it touches multiple companies some the most valuable companies in the world. of course he said you're lookino at these innovation pockets of
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talent i blanked on the or do use but the use for talent growing together and sort of supporting each other. what was it about paypal? what have you learned about talent magnets? how does ecosystem function should be able to yield all these incredible new companies and kind of new results? >> the word i didn't coin it, it was brian eno the music producer use the word like instead of genius. and he was describing actually artistic clusters. he was l describing the era, period, place a much a ram back was convincing others and they are doing their work. when he writes about a riff on a on the intrepid he said when he was in art school he learned these were like solitary geniuses, revolutionary. but really when studying more he realized like there are collectors and there were people underwriting the arch route
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there were like different venues and people and a whole cluster and ecosystem that was supporting this particular gift, right? so it's interesting. actually it leads you to think about this story facebook equals mark zuckerberg microsoft equals bill gates, right? with paypal you don't havee tha. you have a lot of people at least 200 people and several hundred more in omaha on the public as company. you have some the brightest lights in modern technology. and so for me, what i was trying to do -- a one ambition was just tell the story. meaning what happened from 1998 until 2002 to create paypal. nobody done a detailed look of that. that was the sort of goal. the hope was in doing that you might aluminate like oh, here are a few of the things that actually made this a group --
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that made the group whatgh it is later. my stories going to disappoint some people because it actually stops in late 2002. i don't want to be right about all of these people are more famous for today per but i do think there were some common threads and things in the water in those early years that were really striking to me. and hopefully a striking to. >> totally, totally. yes a megawatt personalities in this book very famous people, tanja hester, elon musk, he start the story and in some way it revolves around. tells why he chose to start the story there and how you realize the story in many ways in the list many personalities, is one of the primary protagonist. >> yes. others are allowed editorial curveballs for that is one of the ones i wanted to throw up or there's a few of thehe book but that's one of them. if you take a step back the paypal we know is the merger it's treated by the merger of
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two companies one is called at elon's company and another is called it was first called feeling think infinity brick nvidia has a product called paypal that's cofounded by peter thiel and max.' the recent chapter and kicks off with max's origins are in cryptography mobile encryption mobile cryptography and mobile mobile devices were in college max felt a passion for palm pilots, sharp wizards and we are in a time machine now, right? power devices he was trying to basically take these devices and push them to the technical limits. like how much could you make upon pilate dune? that rise to the company he pitches to peter thiel who is an unknown investor. i have an idea of mobile library people rent the library and i'll get my name peter says says you
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seem smart sullen vessel make a thing of it. that company schofield link. that starts in late 1990 aber chronologically elon does not start until 1999. max is sort of the kick off, leadoff hitter. more personally i found that because he was not a super well-known figure there were so many things about his life and personality that were so interesting. one of my favorite writers has this line is is the best characters don't know they are characters, right? ithey aren't tense and it come alive on the page but they don't know what they are not self-conscious about it, right? max's not household name famous. in a way there's not this persona built up around him, right? art ask a few more questions talk to fewer people would have these insanely interests in it once in a generation mind. oh give you an example. in college if i remember
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correctly as a way of basically getting down a requirement to write a paper for d a class he decided is going to write ave paper on a film that film samurai pre-watch seven samurai at once and write the paper but it kind of light gets intond his head. he spends his entire >> re- watching seventh samurai over, and over, and over again. as of our discussion right now i believe his numbers he's watched at 110 times. this is through to have our black-and-white japanese movie, right? this is not like an episodic. it's not like billions. i[laughter] i found that, to him that's perfectly normal. to the rest of us that is like whoa, what are you seeing the rest of us don't see? i found moment afterer moment le this. near photographic memory it say something i find a piece of paper later that spoke too. i felt like he is a character who did not know het' is a character. his life is the stuff of legend.
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ninety mostly from chernobyl when the reactor on the way to the g train scans his foot the foot sets out the geiger counter's they think it's a geiger it's radioactive this one talk of having his foot at butte tainted. as a note take off his shoe anda rescan the foot. they do, the foot comes back clean turns out it was a rose thorn an issue that had set up c the geiger counter. chernobyl and the aftermath amshaped his life in powerful ws his family secures funding for jewish refugee agency to come to the united states, he arises as a sophomore in high school. he went english by watching different strokes. on so i found the details that were so rich and were not pickes
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over. he is not wanted nor built a big gigantic illuminating public life for himself by think he imstill regards himself as engineer engineer. when you have that as a writer you hit pay dirt. you have somebody go watch the same movie 100 times also as a photographic memory i am taking off with you. >> you mention something else when he was in college. if your not permit the paypal store everything so silicon valley stanford. us must've gone on at stanford. of course universe it actually mattersll is the university of illinois champagne. talk to about that how the cofounders meet their? what were they working on? talk about how that university plays into o it. >> it is one of the things i am more than happy as somebody who grew up in illinois is more than happy to discover this for them to correct the record in this way. so, stanford is a big part of the paypal story to be fair a lot of the business heavies come
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hoffman is a stanford graduate, peter does 2 degrees at stanford, on and on he can go down the roster and sort of look at that. the a lot of the engineering half of the company does come for the university of illinois. it is always kind of come at lute tell me when will my first conversations he said he was very skeptical as with a all of this project, he said if you're going to do this just please don't write university of illinois out of history as everyone else has. to give context, in 1990 5a company called netscape goes public. netscape's founder was himself at the university of illinois, the person who founded your firm. and, for an entire generation of engineers not just the university off illinois but a lt of places that is likely starting on for the internet revolution. university of illinoisax person.
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max and others there describe it that -- you should see them in the fall he was on the quite nice seemed cover of "time" v magazine but if you can do it so can we breathe their very direct links the university of illinois has an amazing history of contributions to computing but some of the world's first digital computers are made there so the worlds earliest social networks are born there. that a lot of defense department funding throughout the 20th century they were able to do big labs and national center for supercomputing applications is there probably ncsa. and you have a ton of really talented engineers to go there, the first two engineers he hires cap out of the university of illinois. the cofounder of youtube come out of the university of illinois. i have all of these people who are inspired by the example and also have places on campus where
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they are building things, building early prototypes. applications are great app aunt -- describe this amazing technology called caffeine. caffeine was the use -- they put the office vending machine on the internet and they could pay using i think a mobile device, right? it added time to the transaction. it go up butte put a crank coins in the slot, right? you have this excitement of putting the machine online print elbow was also emphatic in the midwest it's a pop not soda. i should probably correct that it is pop not soda. but the enthusiasm about digitizing everything. creating primitive prototypes the students are doing this would have a veryng fertile grod for a lot of years. : : : influential he builds several
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failed as you describe. it failed companies, right and then as a very small exit with the last company that he built it's enough money for him to come out west and begin the process of building. what becomes paypal and that is that is part of why i think of the university of illinois as this unheralded center for a lot of talent and it was a place that was like a perfect place to start this story because it was also hugely unexpected everyone expects a story about paypal or silicon valley to start on the west coast. not in the midwest. yeah. no, absolutely. so, you know later in the book we get to the story of elon which is a totally different trajectory, but one of the things that i think you talk about that, i didn't know anything about and i think we all think of elon as this, you know, eccentric character, but he had mentors and as mentor was ds a >> that he had mentors and one was doctor peter nicholson to talk to me about that relationship and how he got his start in what you learned. >> yes.
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nicholson was one of the best interviewees i have throughout this project. and i i will offer a bit of background. so when elon musk moves from south africa to canada to attend the queens university in ontario he knows no one and so what he does and then to contact interesting people in these articles that you find ways to connect with them. and at the time is an executive at the bank of nova scotia and you have a background in computing and in physics to go first on and on was a giant brain andan supersmart. and i said let me track him
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down. probably like the widest set have ever met i've ever seen with another human being $1000 square dancing and financial stuff and computers in the history of technology but for a young 19 -year-old elon musk is one of his only boxes of her so they have lunch at doctor nicholson and then he goes to nova scotia bank as an intern. so he joins a bank but the right part of the bank is that it's a team run by this gigantic brain and with the little unit withine the bank
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and because it's a team they develop a very close relationship and then to say to me to create math puzzles and space expiration and physics and whether elon should start a company and go to grad school or join the company and the basic problems that are for the rest of us and really trying to help him think through those and doctor nicholson notices right away this kid is veryor pretentious he gave him more challenging assignments and demanding assignments and it was revealing to seeee even then some of the thinking he would be with automotive engineering was evidence back then he is a serious person and he said quite clear even back then it
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something you just on see many people he's one of my favorite interviewees because he was thoughtful enough to see how those early experiences shaped and one of the biggest after the summer working at a bank is very skeptical. >> it's funny to picture him as the investment banker so one of the things that people probably don't know is they had somewhat different ambitions so talk about having merged. >> w so we are on with elon. in early 1999 he's fresh off in creating a company and he sold it and thinking about what comes next based in part on the banking experience he sees an opportunity and
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finance what he wants them to do with everything under the financial son. they will beon a mortgage broker and stockbroker and checking accounts and transferring many of you want to wire transfer you will go to them. for credit you take to them. it was supposed to be the global financial center. and like most of the people using the internet are not using it for transactions they are still nervous about entering credit cards but even then he said we have this technology now that can upgrade bank mainframes that is written on old code and cut the fees. that is a revolution finance. and then you have consented which is at the time and mid- 1989 focused on making a
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successful product out of palm pilots.le with the latest a version cannot in 1989 had a little infrared port in the corner just to understand that i went bad palm pilots for dummies to get inton these devices they say if you hold it too far away and can communicate that holding it to close it cannot communicate nobody could come up with the use case for the infrared port was not a remote control what do you do with it? he said you andou i would be at lunch you need to send me ten dollars will take other palm pilots and that it would be a thing. and that summer that evolves to become transmission of over e-mail and that is where
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paypal was born and where the a name paypal was born. >> and who liked and who didn't. so places whenal you are writing books and then places you feel like you are at sea. i was like an outsider to the world of code. i read a lot of people papers about mobile encryption. just the academic papers. but even if i read the papers i was. not on solid ground that i could be so i wanted to find out where did the name paypal come from? so it was shared with me they recognized he said his web browser. the website for a company
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called master mcneil founded by mr. master and that's the firm they contacted to come up with the name paypal. but she's so thoughtful about naming. so she had a hold on process when she contracts of the company to create a product or service she goes through hundreds of names, interviews the team members to understand the history of the company and t some of her claim to fame she named the trackpad. touchtone pictures and westin hotels and then her fondest memory is naming paypal. and actually they kept in her files the slides that advocated for paypal i had
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that information and included in the book six or seven reasons why it was the best possible name for this company. they are very specific. so throw it up against once he was stick she says no i name is a crucial business decision and then with a harvard mba and a background in literature and with paypal it is memorable and then your pal has your arm around you it's a warm relationship and those that create closeness so to stop the areas that we made has you remember the name there is different linguistics research
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but then that p-uppercase-letter and the owl-lowercase-letter and that is the visually symmetrical we can never find the origin but at some point they capitalize the middle ostp and she came back and said building i can find is a little note that says chose paypal with a p-uppercase-letter. but that's where it was born to help think through very diligently how will you make this process between palm pilot to be more inviting and more inviting than the name of the company that starts with the word palm. >> i have heard them talk many
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times the name of the startup is so important as an investor. with something like bluebird doesn't have a menacing tone and those thaty created with goodness so in some ways it's interesting to see how that may have carried on to the investors and people in this book want to be great. but also to mention that we always thought paypal was friendlier and facebook was more genial than myspace which was selfish. uber which is better than left which has an uplifting quality. so i think of the naming, i like the etymology of how things come to be so to understanding where the name came from was interesting.
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saw the leading technologist of our day they were sos backwards on these names and had to advocatedi for paypal he did not wanted initially. people in the room saying this is a terrible idea you will trust your money with paypal? than one year later but years later especially they said we were wrong. >> it is nice he did get that so it came full circle. >> now he owns the url again and purchased it from the people corporate years ago one of the final scenes of the book to reacquire the domain that was restored to its rightful owner the wasn't just talking the famous names so
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you can get troves the e-mails those that work at ostp power pack rats but talk about how they impacted their understanding in the story itself. i let people have picked up on it. the most interesting stuff happens in the boardroom or in the suite. with that micro- creation and ideas amount employees to get the richest material and stories that are never told him personally when i start at the beginning of the story it's easy to get seduced with the idea with the well-known people that drove the company
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forward and those that they play back to me to say you should really talk to david because he was responsible to help invent cap shut and amy had a product team. you should talk to scott because she is the designer. and then consciously i wantede to tie the threads together. it so easy to reach out to people who are not accustomed to press and he's never been contacted by a writer. others have their guard up i try to set up questionnaires and gain trust over years and take redeye flights just to make schedules work for part of what happened is i found a series off characters they are
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novelistic but they don't know that they are and nobody had actually gone into their life one of the great examples for me is a gentleman his name is don j. he is not someone who is a household name. elon musk hires have very early on and he is a brilliant mind who has worked in financial services for a long time at that point. he had a failed startup. one of the signature contributions that he makes that almost all of us have used before you had to register your bank account with another institution youe probably gone through the experience putting three cents and 25 cents. that was invented by him at paypal. and the reason was because the
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companyyo needed to find a way to authenticate backgrounds if you see you have a bank account how do i really know unless you can access it? but the routing number anybody can do that. he figures out what if we do random deposits to random numbers and it was a breakthrough innovation to help the company shift the cost curve dependency on credit cards. watching him navigate the financial system was have a conductorgh which is an amazing thing to say. on the together word us anthony attached to it so it was i went searching for those in the person closest to the
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action not the person whose name is in the paper you never know if it will work but i will say but it was packed to the brim with that type of people is not an accident all these people have gone oner to do many amazing things in the post paypal life because person after person made these contributions ever hugely consequential which is why i write you cannot tell the story of paypal of one or two or three people. >> going back to the talent manyion there are so people that are known in the valley to be the best judges characters of talent. and a great seo is how they are recruiting. you don't talk about as a great recruiter but a lot of the people in this book were recruited by elon musk.
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was it surprising to you he was recruiting a lot of the great characters? >> i'm glad you mentioned it because it's one of the things that have been written out of thee history and he like a few others he has an incredible eye for engineering talent and h product telling and business talent and he recruits amy and sanjay and in those at sequoia capital he tried not only once but twice to bring them aboard and they reject him both times until the third time when there's a personal financial crisis and said can i can in turn for you and everything that makes them recruiters that he is relentless and he's
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relentless until he closes somebody he wants so is on j he was connected and said i'm next in the valley out and see you he says no no buy a plane ticket you have to come tonight so he flies and tenrt minutes at dinner at a hamburger joint they don't stop talking until 4:00 o'clock in the morning and then elon must asking you can end at 7:00 a.m. and get your offer later on —- or offer letter i will make you an offer letter he could sense a quality of somebody who's a good fit for his team but a good person to have on the team in general and one of the things i hopee that the book corrects is that there's a lot of credit to the people they plrecruit don't think he is got an equal credit and it doesn't
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get written enough so that's a dry subject. that comes through in the paypal story and those that paint in inspiring portrait of what that could be and that encourages these people to sign up. >> let's talk about friday huge portion of the paypal story why does it matter and how do you approach in the book? >> it is one of the many i wouldn't say and told but undercooked stories is not the only payment system on the block in 1999 their mobile
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wallets and institutional banks. and one of the things you have to ends on —- ask yourself as an outsider is why do they succeed what everyone else fails? so paypal could successfully defeat digital and online fraud added time when it was just starting it wasou the wild west and no established case law. so what happens is millions of people including bad actors. and then to use bonus incentives and that you can manage but more sophisticated from abroad with x satellite soviet stage and using paypal and there was paypal i so it
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was so there is a copycat site because it looks the same so they were giving way the personal financial information. and in 2000 bringing up the balance sheet there between 11 and $13 million a month. they have to figure how to fix this it is multiple multiple fixes many of whom i interviewed the most amazing characters like star wars figures they are incredible. and also item is working with law enforcement to educate
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after 9/11 the government turns to paypal to understand with terrorist financing moving to the networks is not what killeds the company and with the signature breakthrough. the reason the company survived and others fail with those organizational ballots. and those arere lazy. and with those competitors and then to that weird competitive edge. >> it is incredible. so one of the things going back to how much detail is in the book. with that contemporary history and those who still have
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e-mails and hear about the process and with those characters to share those personal anecdotes to help people at that favorable. >> there is a few answers to the question. the one thing is that the story is 20 years old and then it goes public when two decades i have passed they are a little more open about reminiscing and war stories that hard to push as hard and how many of them make fun of me when i was interested in the topic from something that happened 20 years ago and in the back of my mind if you talk about the future no
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longer am i a curiosity. and as i was targeted and i would say there were two other pieces i did have the good fortune to have a number of people who shared know why they kept these board minutes but they did and it gave me the ability not what somebody remember to the haze of time but atnd the moment so i you get the immediacy of salt-and-pepper being played and the power rangers and like the 19 nineties because i was reading these notes and documents and lastly the virtue of a phone list is that i could diligently try to
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contact several hundred people over the course of five and half years so with that color coding system i would try everyone a couple of times then to make my way through. and other people were there for the entirety a lot of this was just shoe leather. and for enough of those two responded very eager to talk and sharet memories. so part of that was work and luck and timing. i was living and then i woke up and then he said this is
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great. [laughter] >> and then it comes full circle. >> now we will hop to audiencen q&a hope you're okay to and here is a moving part of the book i don'tt want to make you tell the story but i do want you to tell the story because it is so moving that you and the book basically in a prison and maybe you can tell us how you found the people and the story and how it ends this way? >> it is the most surprising thing to me looking back. i struggled with how to end the l book. this is the thing that kate —- kept me up at night because you could float intohe the paypal mafia which is the name
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given and then the cover story called the paypal mafia but it felt like like it was their rave wavelets trope and then i started to look abroad. where else can i find that? so when the company has successs in kenya the founders right explicitly about want to build the paypal mafia of south africa in kenya and india it was flipchart and it was the flip cart mafia so i had that. so what group could emerge this ecosystem? and then i learned that a young man named chris chris wilson who was a friend of
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mine had studied and thought about the paypal mafia while incarcerated at the hudson institution. and i had no idea and then taught he talked the paypal story imprisoned in a series of entrepreneurial workshops. and they became captivated by it. and anyone that came into the prison they would find articles about this group and then assemble a packet and entrepreneurial workshops inside this maximum-security facility.
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today they both run businesses. he works intact. his technology is helping cities do logistics for covid 19 testing. and chris wilson, has booked a butte on know he's a i globetrotting artist. he has real estate business and out bills that is a very successful artist using all kinds of things. they found inspiration in this. it was the place where there thought about it frankly went beyond where i had thought about it. it isou interesting to me and i had hoped it would be interesting to readers for. >> it is a remarkable story and it shows we rarely talk about
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the mafia on technology but really all had abnormal people's lives to its really powerful story. i want to turn to audience questions. are any of the founder still involved in any way with the company? >> i cannot speak to whether they are shareholders of the company. that number none the original founders are involvedd operationally different company now it's much bigger it'st achieve this dale its founders had hoped. it's actually funny the question leads to another thought which is the afterlife of the company in 2002 they go public they're acquired by ebay, 2015 they go public again.ha today paypal is many times it's first found success. as far as i know, can't speak to
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that did not come up in conversation paypal the distant part of their path for the first conversation started out in a not great way looking to spend that time with him. i do not want to be just the person who created paypal like 15 years ago. that cannot be my legacy. [laughter] so i think in the way it iss ths thing they all credit with so much. they'll try to escape in some way. >> all of us one that we are involved. that is so impactful. another question, are the founders friendly with each other now? >> it depends how you define the founders and how you define friendly. so as far as i know i found
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everyone was actually somewhat still and lose touch with each other for they done a few reunions. as a broader then cofounders of some investment document. my people they've never heard want to expand the definition to anyone who has had this very intensive. that may not be legally the definition ofua founders. i would defend that editorial choice because these people went to this very difficult experience together. porta blood, sweat, tears into the company. they credit david zach's he is not technically a cofounder. but people would put him in that group. i found there were certaind friendships that i think matured and developed differently than
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others. they are always bonded that. these people are tied to this experience. they have invested in one anotheran so ralph simmons together the three cofounders of youtube work together to build youtuber a number of people at a firm alumni from paypal, there people who'd join elon at tesla in spacex. i think it depends on which friendships you are talking about. but for the most part what we heard was mostly positive relationships. certainly very strong professional ties with this t group. >> certainly on the investment side if you're trying to map all of the investments to elon, in rusted intent invested in number former colleagues the map would be completely overrated. if there was any sort of non- o friendliness would invest in all of the projects working together on those things. exiting the rivalry people might be interested inn the most, or
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made into something it isn't, is there some fiction about elon not liking each other. the day i interviewed elon that his that night was peter thiel it. i think someone d used to blow p this idea that they don't get along for they are co- each other pretty elon is inside peter's book zero one. again you don't have people over for dinner if you do not get along withh them. >> one other colonel on this, these people operate in rare air intellectually. there is a kind of fellow feeling that emergence from doing paypal together. with technology the futurend ano science i saw a lot of positive
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interactions across the group. >> we might have already answered this. someone asked you speak with peter thiel for the book? your impressions there brickwork several times he wasas in great help me think about the ideas in the book. he is not an anecdote person. we would talk about about technology, teambuilding, he had a lengthy meditation what it was like to hire his friend. what happens when your friend becomes your subordinate and the company it's things like that we had multiple chat about. basically an employee to heat the ceo of the company, ceo and it goes public. i'd multiple interactions with him for the book. >> will have a few minutes left, my last question, what did you personally learn about silicon valley?ho there a lot of perceptions how
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the ecosystem works all of the crazy people thinking about theu future. what did you learn about how the system works and ecosystem works and what surprised you mow the most about it? >> it's a great question to that jump to mind for me. one is silicon valley is unusually tolerant in other parts of society. as a high degree of openness perfect english who might not dress within the company job life extension toce space trave. that is embraced. that level of un- orcs the doc's thinking is embraced in this
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place. in those topics would come up all the time. talk about the weather and live to be 150. that's par for the course by don't know their other places in american life that embrace that truly heterodox thinking. he found it very encouraging. bele good, someone should stirring the pot on some of these trade that is great. the second thing i found interesting is as a writer from your time in journalism, when you find the perfect word for a paragraph or thete perfect sentence something smashed together it is a complete thrill. it's not a thrill at homework for other people, right? you and iec chose lives we may have decided to do homework for years, and years, andas years.
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writing code has a lot in common with writing. i found that same satisfaction when the one thing into the other thing that thrill is real. it is easy to miss it when you press a button on your phone and something works you type in an address on a google map, it's very easy to miss. months of labor and satisfaction and joy that are actually underneath those things. we have this really distant herelationship with these are nt hot rods that felt pretty sweet it's really good someone has to do all of that. i found in speaking with the engineers there is a real pride of craft and a real joy about one something fit right into i place. the only way to describe it writers have the same joy. >> that makes a ton of sense. a dichotomy you're either a code
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or engineer or your reader and a writer literarye hound. law more than we think there are brickwork psychic off a book for exactly that reason because some of her meditation the earliest computing have a literary quality pretty found that in the people i >> with that thank you so much for joining the conversation. again the new book is the founders. we also do think our audience for watching and participating live for if you would like to watch more programs to support the commonwealth effort making in-person virtual programming please visit and thanks again everyone for joining us have a good evening. ♪ weekends on the cspan2 are an intellectual feast. every saturday american history tv documents america's story and on sunday book tv brings the latest nonfiction books and
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