James Altucher: The Daily Practice

James Altucher is a best-selling writer, and one of my favorite authors and podcasters.

But the first time I read his blog posts, I could not stand them.

His writing seemed masochistic. He was reliving dramatic failures: tremendous financial loss, loneliness, rock bottom. There was lots of caps lock and list-based article writing. The first time I read him, I stopped before I finished the first page.

Two years later, I’m reading all of his material. It turns out to be excellent.

Topics we discussed include:

  • “bulletproof” coffee
  • his bestselling book Choose Yourself 
  • do you need to first hit rock bottom in order reach your greatest potential?
  • Poker vs. Chess
  • Quora vs. Wikipedia

Right-click to download.

Leonard Kim: The Etiquette of Social Media

Leonard Kim has a new book, The Etiquette of Social MediaHe explores conduct on a variety of platforms, from MySpace to LinkedIn to Quora.

We’ve all made mistakes when presenting ourselves on social media. There are now many social media sites, and they all have different norms, and different levels of visibility.

Leonard’s new book helps readers avoid common pitfalls, and keep their reputations intact.

Right-click to download.

Jill Uchiyama: Leaving a Legacy

Jill Uchiyama

Jill Uchiyama is a teacher and film maker. She writes about feminism, philosophy, and Japan, where she spent part of her life. She is also the pioneer of Legacy film making, which seeks to capture the most important aspects of a person’s life.

In a past career, Jill worked as a counselor. She tells a fascinating story of why she became dispassionate about her hopes of being able to help clients. However, she continues to apply the skills she learned on that job on Quora, where she routinely provides useful life advice.

Right-click to download.

David S. Rose: Angel Investing

Image result for david s rose

David S. Rose is an Angel Investor, Quora contributor, and author of the excellent book, “Angel Investing: The Gust Guide to Making Money“.  He’s the CEO of Gust, a platform that connects start-ups with investors. Through Gust, over $1.8 billion has been invested into start-ups.

David’s book is about investing in early-stage entrepreneurs. It may seem like this isn’t useful information for typical “main street” investors. Not true–it is a prescient topic. There are more entrepreneurs than ever before, because of such tools as Amazon Web Services, crowd funding, Google App Engine, easy-to-use frameworks such as Ruby on Rails, and advanced outsourcing tools.

It’s also worth simply mentioning the Internet itself. If you believe Metcalfe’s law, that the value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users in the system, then there is an immense amount of latent value waiting to be unlocked as the world becomes globalized. To capture this value, more and more entrepreneurs will spring up. Many of these entrepreneurs will need angel investors.

The amount of power endowed in a contemporary founder creates an undeniable value proposition for an investor looking for high upside. An investor could put $10,000 into an established company, and be taxed on all the slippage and slowness of an institution–or she could put $10,000 into a founder, who can get far more mileage on the dollar.

Notable topics David and I spoke about are angel investing, The Singularity, and several points on which he disagrees with Peter Thiel.

Right-click to download.

Aaron Ellis: Creativity and Perseverance

Aaron Ellis

“Nobody likes a struggling artist until they’ve made it as an artist.”

Aaron Ellis is a screenwriter with a background in music and film criticism. Like myself, and many of the people I have interviewed on the Quoracast, Aaron is working to establish himself as an artist, while simultaneously plugging away in more conventional ways to pay the bills.  We talked about the friction between an artist’s desire to succeed at his craft, while also needing to stay employed.

After graduating from Berkeley, Aaron gave himself ten years to focus on screenwriting. During this time, he focused less on the content of his day jobs and more on his passion. Those ten years have passed, but Aaron continues to pursue screenwriting. Though he hasn’t had a glorious public success yet, I have no doubt that it is in his future. He has a voice of resolve, and I got a lot of solidarity out of speaking with him.

Right-click to download.

Graeme Shimmin: A Kill in the Morning

Graeme Shimmin

After a successful career as an IT consultant, Graeme took his career in a completely different direction, and began focusing full-time on creative writing. His first published novel, A Kill in the Morning, is a well-researched recreation-history spy thriller, and an innovative work unlike anything I have read in the past.

Through the end of high school, I wanted to be a writer as well, but now find myself more interested in technology and business. In that sense, my pursuits have been an inverse of Graeme’s.

Right-click to download.

Gary Teal: Republican

Gary Teal

Gary Teal simplifies his identity on Quora with one word: Republican. During our interview, we discussed the definition of that word, and his lasting interest in politics and government. Professionally, Gary is a political strategist and voter list expert.

Politics is not a subject I follow closely on Quora, or anywhere. Topics like science, engineering, and business tend to provide information that I can leverage more effectively in my day-to-day life. But despite this, I find Gary’s writing appealing enough to seek it out actively.

Right-click to download.

David Leigh: Quantitative Music

David Leigh is an opera singer, teacher, and composer. I had a great time interviewing David and talking about music theory, composition, and how his background led him to becoming an opera singer and teacher. His quantitative approach to music appeals to me—I was particularly fascinated to learn how he approaches the “low level” aspects of opera by using a spectrograph and spreadsheets.

When it came to talking about Quora, David expressed an interesting criticism I had heretofore only associated with Wikipedia. How do you deal with answers that seem great, but may not be credible or authoritative?

Right-click to download.