Paleo Treats Podcast

-importance of experts, addressing the last show

 

Email from Mike in Flagstaff:

“I basically agree with everything you say, but want to push back just a little on your comments about experts.  I don’t take issue with what you say as far as it goes.  But, I do feel the general theme of not needing experts and that a generally competent person can learn what they need to know about any general topic needs a little clarification just because of the current social and political milieu.

 

We do need experts, and experts do know a lot that one can’t easily teach oneself.  You don’t want a self-taught person who spent a few hours researching things on the internet flying your plane, designing the steering and brakes on your car, or removing your appendix.  We need experts managing technology, the economy, diplomacy, and government. 

 

The so-called “death of expertise” brought about by wide social trends and leveraged strongly by the internet has led to the anti-vaccine movement, climate change denial, and a general push-back on the concept of truth.

 

This is not to say that experts can’t be mistaken or do things wrong, and left to themselves they may take things in a non-desirable direction, witness Facebook and the dissemination of fake news.  One could argue that an issue with Facebook is that experts in one thing, software engineering, were working in a field in which they were not expert, essentially social engineering, and got into trouble.  But when the experts do fuck it up, the people who generally need to fix it are other experts.

 

Maybe you agree with most of this (or don’t); it just wasn’t said in the podcast and I feel has relevance on a broader scale and to some of the things I have been thinking about, so I'm putting it out there.”

 

 

-Using affirmations, how I do it, not specific but general laying out of the state I want to be in the most during the day, setting the default

 

“I see every obstacle as a gift - as a challenge to be overcome, and in the overcoming to force growth and power that I can use forever again and again.  I am willing to see the world in such a way as to always reap the most benefit from it - I choose to perceive my world as an institution dedicated to my excellence.  Every challenge, every gift, every human, every animal, plant, physical, mental or emotional I object I encounter is a n opportunity for greatness!”

 

-What if each day was viewed as your opportunity to be great?

 

-“Are you light on that wing?” and working hard

 

-reading Terrence McKenna’s True Hallucinations, what we teach in school: food, body, drugs, sex

 

-crashing my paraglider: Not doing what you know you need to do, how we learn, one from the luck jar

 

-crypto tanked, loss, understanding luck, risk, money stress

 

-joy is cheap: great food, warm showers, time in nature

 

-the pulse circle & connection with humans

 

 

Direct download: ep-54-nik-hawks-2.mp3
Category:human performance -- posted at: 12:23pm EDT

John Gierach has long been a fly fishing hero of mine.  What I didn’t know, but came through clearly in this Paleo Treats Podcast interview, is that he’s also a writing hero.

We start the interview by talking about one of his major influencers, his Uncle Leonard.  Leonard was “just good at things in a duct tape and baling wire kind of way.  He didn’t always do things right, but he always got things done.”

That practical bent of making sure things got done “so that they worked” has certainly rubbed off on John.  His writing (18 books in total and about 800 articles, all on fishing) has the unusual ability to drop you into a story without realizing you’re not listening to him tell it around a campfire, or on a long road trip.

There’s no better example of this (in my mind) than his short story, “Headwaters” from the book Trout Bum

John talks about how writing in the second person gives the writing immediacy, even though it’s an unusual perspective.

John wrote that first book, “Trout Bum”, in 1985, coining the term and  realizing that, “I wanted to do what I wanted to do.”  Like many great artists and most of my favorite people, he wasn’t willing to let anything get in the way of that, least of all the judgement of others on a lifestyle that to him made complete sense.

We talked a little about fishing, what he calls a “pre-existing condition”, but mostly we talked about the factors that shaped him and his drive to make things that worked well.

We explore how fishing and writing share characteristics that reinforce each other; the mystery of landing a fish and the unknown of beginning to write a story both hold that desire to explore and somehow master the unknown.

John is a master craftsman both as a fisherman and a writer, and we talk about what it takes to gain that status.

From his book “Fishing Bamboo”, we discuss this quote.

“In fact, the best work is still usually done in the oldest tradition of craftsmanship:  You learn to do the thing the way it is:  as the end product of generations of collective genius. […] Those who strike out on their own without first mastering the craft can end up on some pretty thin ice.”

Some of what John said in this interview spoke deeply to me as a writer and lover of excellence at its base:

“When you first start writing, there’s this sense that you’re going to be great right away.” 

“…it turns out that the higher the pitch of your emotion the less objective you are and…it tends to hurt you.”

“If you can get fascinated with it, which I did, it's almost as much fun as fishing.”

“People who are good at anything and who are happy about it,” are people who have learned to do something they once saw as difficult, and it brings them great happiness.

Of course, we turn to some of my favorite subjects; loneliness, hardship, and danger.  I was relieved to realize that I’m not the only one who wakes up every day thinking I haven’t experienced enough of any of those. 

John talked about an essential element of telling the truth about mistakes, and how powerful that is.  I’ve seen a general push towards this lately in the wider world, this “sharing your vulnerability”, and John does this (and has been doing this) for decades in a superb way.

His writing tips regarding when to write and the importance of telling it how it was, not how it could have been, well after the emotions of an experience have faded, were incredibly insightful for me.  “The temptation to try and make yourself look good is tremendous, and you have to back off in the interest of being honest with your readers.”

We talk about friendship and imperfections, how it’s hard to find someone you can spend time with, a long time with, and that’s the value of a great friend.

John’s been lucky (and good) enough to fly into and fish some exceptionally remote and wild places, including some places where [probably] no one had ever fished.  “That’s just awfully exciting, and of course, everybody has a thing for wilderness, most people don’t actually get into it, but there’s a tension […] if you’ve flown a float plane into someplace and get in trouble, the response time can be days or weeks instead of hours.”

“The other side of that, [my] home water, I’ve fished every year for 40 years, has something really comforting about the familiarity of it.”  John’s perspective on enjoying whatever is in front of him, whether it’s the wildly exotic or the well known familiar, is inspiring. 

John took up fly fishing “not for the sport but as a possible path to enlightenment”, and his determination to follow that path to enlightenment and to share it with the wider public comes through clearly in this interview. 

We finished up with the advice that he wouldn’t give to anyone, knowing that we each have to have the experience in order to learn and grow from it, and no amount of useful advice will save us from making mistakes which we need to make.

John's latest book is A Fly Rod Of Your Own.  

Enjoy the show!

Direct download: ep-53-john-gierach.mp3
Category:writing -- posted at: 12:37pm EDT

I’ve been driving around lately listening to all my usual podcasts and going off on my quests down various seams of curiosity and thought I’d share some of my convos with myself, with you.

This is the first solo-cast I’ve done, let me know if you’d like to hear more or if you’d rather get back to the interviews with another person.

In this episode I’ll talk about the following ideas:

-dare to be great

-power of reading books and leveraging experience/knowledge/time equation

-men need danger, excitement, community

-not everyone should be an entrepreneur

-better to be curious and listen when you want to accomplish a joint task

-why you should judge for yourself what’s “worth listening to”, and why a Navy SEAL (or anyone) may not be worth listening to, the effect of hazard on importance of message, see “men need danger” above

-brain intensity training, just like physical intensity training.  Intensity in general. 

Direct download: ep-52-nik-on-nik.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:34am EDT

I spoke with Joshua Cooper Ramo in this podcast interview, partly about his latest book, The Seventh Sense and partly about his overall life and pursuit of excellence.

Mr. Ramo started off as a journalist, working at Newsweek then for Time Inc back when, as he says, “it mattered who The Man of the Year was.”  He worked as both senior and as foreign editor at Time, and he wrote for them long enough ago (1997) that he wrote The Man Of the Year cover story on Andy Grove, one of the founders of Intel.

From Time Inc he moved to China to pursue adventure in the world of business.  He became fluent in Chinese and fell in love with the culture.

In China he worked for the former president of Goldman Sachs and eventually began working at his current company, Kissinger Associates, where he’s now co-CEO.

He lived in Beijing full time for a little over a decade and now splits his time between Beijing and New York.  Yes, he’s a busy, pipe hittin’ dude and I was super stoked to connect for this conversation.

I found him through his first book, No Visible Horizon, a lovely story about his journey to aerobatic nationals as a pilot that reminded me of reading Ernest Gann’s “Fate Is The Hunter”, another excellent and relatively unsung pilot book.

Curious about what else he’d written, I found his third book, The Seventh Sense, which I read through with great enjoyment and then went on to read his second book, The Age of the Unthinkable. 

Reading those two books gave me a look into the mind of a writer deeply immersed in international relations, intensely curious about connections in the modern age, and fascinated with networks in particular.  

Both books deal with the unpredictable nature of an increasingly connected world, and as a business owner running a small enterprise in that world I found them entertaining and educational.  In fact, they forced me to re-evaluate our strategy at Paleo Treats and the way we’re using our networks.

In this interview we dive into the important points of a network, the difference between complex and complicated systems, what topology is and why it matters, and how emergent properties of networks are inevitable.

I asked him how he curates and uses his curiosity, and he talked about his main theme in The Seventh Sense that “connection changes the nature of an object.”

We do dive briefly into some flying stuff and how flying may move from unnatural to natural as you become a better pilot, but the majority of this interview deals with networks and how to understand and explore them in this incredibly connected world.

Joshua talks about the importance of figuring out what tools you need in order to understand and investigate a problem.  He places the conversation in the context of historical cycles, the enduring nature of art, and the best kind of adventure you can have.

Enjoy the show!

Books Mentioned

-No Visible Horizon

-The Age of the Unthinkable

-The Seventh Sense

-Fate is the Hunter

-China’s Wings

-The Rational Optimist

For each podcast I do I end up writing a bunch of notes and questions.  While I don’t always ask the questions, it’s helpful to have them written down and reviewed before the show.

Here are my notes for this interview:

-You’re a searcher, a seeker, and a story teller.  Tell me about that.

-in Age if the Unthinkable you talk about the importance of relationships.  You seem very well connected to a number of different cohorts.  How did your learning of Chinese culture influence that?  Is there anything more important than building relationships when it comes to getting things done? (Planning to be Dan Kaminsky)

-connection changes the nature of an object.  What does that mean?

-how are the fourth revolution & the seventh sense tied together?

-how do we cultivate the 7th sense? 

-Clausewitz noted, “Many intelligence reports in war are contradictory; even more are false, and most are uncertain. . . . In short, most intelligence is false.”  How are you assessing a network accurately?

-in Age of the Unthinkable you talk about the spymaster Farkash asking questions no one else asked and being amazed that Israel’s actions had forced the enemy to evolve.  This evolution of both sides seems like a fundamental part of struggle.  Is anyone asking “How do we force our enemy to *devolve*?”  Examples of it working?

-how many languages do you speak or you speak or understand?  Is it worth it to learn another language, or is there a universal language of networks?

The standard visualization of a network is as a fish net, however, that is not what it might look like. When you talk about topology there is a deceptive notion that these things can be understood in nearly 3 dimensions. How else can someone visualize what a network might physically look like? Or does this require a new skill of four dimensional visualization?

-can you talk a little about how blockchain ties together multiple networks (financial, legal, social?)

-do we need to change to a network system without fallible leaders?  Our current leaders seem unable to solve problems for which there are fairly clear solutions.

-how would you befriend a network?  Can you be friends with a network?

-how would you addict a network? 

-assessing trust in a network? 

-assessing quality of expertise in the network?  use past predictions? 

-let’s talk about topology & networks.  As I understand it, topology basically refers to the way networks can be thought of in terms of connection time between nodes, regardless of physical distance.  If topology is 2 dimensional, is there a way to understand how a 3rd dimension would apply?

-how can we find the edge of a network so we can “shake the blanket” and cause change?  Is it possible?

-a group of almost successful (or even unsuccessful) people is far more powerful than a single lucky person; do networks remove the filter of luck, or offset the capriciousness of chance?

-how does a small business use the seventh sense?  practical example?

BACKGROUND

Dad is a cardiologist being outdated/outgunned by Google search

Mom is a high powered lawyer who wrote about the power of systems (specifically applied to law offices)

-aerobatic pilot, No Visible Horizon

-started as a journalist, a story teller in ’93 at Newsweek

-Time magazine in ’96, hired by Walter Isaacson, the guy who wrote biographies about Steve Jobs, Ben Franklin, Albert Einstein, and Henry Kissinger

-oversaw Time’s digital operations while covering tech; has been pursuing this idea of tech & networks for a long time

-moved to Beijing in 2002 & worked with John Thornton, former president of Goldman Sachs

-from ’03-until now he’s worked at Kissinger Associates, where he’s currently co-CEO

-fluent in Mandarin (and Spanish?)

 

NOTES FROM OTHER INTERVIEWS HE’S DONE
-how do we expand the network?

-the sixth sense is a feeling for history

-the seventh sense is a feeling for being enmeshed in networks

-what happened in 1848?  Massive backlashes?  Industrial Revolution

 

IDEAS SPARKED

-if I wanted to build my own network, how would I use the concepts in the book?

-AI + social media posts?  to what end?  What is the goal?  Maximum engaged followers.  What is engaged?  Contributing useful content.  Can I define useful?  Content that triggers conversations or additions to the convo like pictures or video

How can I let the Paleo Treats audience connect with each other and find their friends who are already in the network?

What is our network strategy?

And email centered around the idea of “Who can I introduce you to?”

PODCASTING EQUIPMENT USED FOR THIS EPISODE 

Finally, I love the technical geekery of podcasting and am psyched on spreading the word.  Here’s the equipment I use to make mine:

Mackie Onyx 1220i mixer

ProAudioLA cables

ElectroVoice RE20

Fethead inline preamp

AKG K-240 headphones

U-Control UCA222 splitter for Skype

Avantone Mixcube

Reaper DAW

Direct download: 051_-_Joshua_Cooper_Ramo.mp3
Category:innovation -- posted at: 10:45am EDT

Dr. Amy Kruse began tearing things apart as a (very) young girl, ripping apart her first typewriter at 5 years old.  Raised as an only child by high school English teachers, she ended up in neuroscience working in the defense industry helping soldiers learn to shoot faster, more accurately.  Of course.

She currently works at the Platypus Institute, which is an "Applied Neuroscience" institute. That means they figure out how to use what we know about the brain to make humans better.

Dr. Kruse wasn't sure what she'd do once she finished her PhD in neuroscience, but quickly fell in to the defense contracting world.  Yes, the government knows and wants to know a lot about how your brain works.

In this interview we talk about her environment growing up (pretty much the perfect childhood), how she thinks when it comes to "moonshots", "The moon is just a little too close for me", and what she's learned in over 15 years poking around and watching the human brain.

From watching how brains interact in a group to accelerating learning in individuals, Dr. Kruse has explored way out to the edge of the possible in neuro-land.  We talk about neuro-marketing, neuro-protection, how people become radicalized, and how the next big thing is going to be upgrading our attention span.

For those of you paying attention to human performance, Dr. Amy Kruse is definitely someone to watch closely.  Enjoy the conversation!

Direct download: 050_-_Amy_Kruse.mp3
Category:human performance -- posted at: 11:29am EDT

"The more we understand, the more rational we are and the more courageous we can be."

In this conversation with Prof. Dr. Chahan Yeretzian, a Syrian born Armenian physical chemist based out Switzerland, we dive deep into where the arenas of science, academia, industry, culture, and coffee meet.

From the advice he gives his students to why undergrads can't make good enough coffee, to the religion of freshness, this is a fascinating dive into a different world.

The elements of quality, the translation between measurements and sensory experience, the way that coffee is a cross cultural experience; all these and more are part of Chahan's world.

What will you hear if you listen in?  I'm going to try something new, and just include the notes I typed down while editing.  Please comment if these are useful, or email me if you'd rather I do your thinking for you. 

Notes from a convo with Chahan:

Plenty of mysteries to solve in coffee.

“At the base, good coffee is a sensory experience.”

Sensory profiling vs Q grading .

What he likes (intensity, strong body, aroma), very taken with smells.

“One element of quality is consistency.”

A big field is predicting specific sensory attributes based on objective measurements.

“Fresh had become a religion, but not an understanding.”

The problem is that a lot of people still serve horrible coffee in the industry.

Practical and hands on experience that comes from work in industry vs academia.

“You go into Origin countries and you’re learning cultures [based] around your product, coffee.

“Coffee is a peace building product, a trust building event.”

Soluble or instant coffee, Sudden Coffee.

Q grading coffee.

Q grader and co-worker Marco Wellinger.

Q grader Gloria Pedroza.

Coffee shows the connectivity of the world.

A very important quality of roasting is…consistency, that you’re able to reproduce what you’re doing.

“How does the mineral content of the water affect extraction or flavor profile? We’re still scratching on the surface [of coffee].”

We’re looking into how CO2 affects storage, freshness, formation of crema, flavor, acidity notes; it’s like taking one small molecule and trying to get a more rational understanding [of it’s impact.]

Creativity based in understanding. Knowledge is freedom and helps people explore new facets of coffee.

“Coffee is just as much art as science.”

Mold & mycotoxins in coffee?

The three ways Chahan makes coffee:

-high dollar semi-automatic coffee machines via coffee experts

-filter (hand brewed, freshly ground)

-Single serve capsule

“At home I do filter coffee. I had a professional machine, but it takes too much space.”

What I don’t do is French press. Sometimes I do soluble coffee, sometimes I mix it with Nespresso.

The research that we do is quite high level, so to do good research on coffee, you can not just rely on undergrads.

[The people who make most of the coffee I drink are] highly experienced scientists and also very good in coffee preparation besides being scientists.

“How do you roast to increase sweetness, or fruitiness, or a particular flavor note? We have some understanding, but it’s far too little to have any control over the roasting process.”

Advice to students: Looking over the borders of where we are.

Traveling is vital.

Moving between academia and industry and the importance of experiencing both worlds.

Academia needs people who have industry experience.

The path from Knowledge - Execution - Community

Armenian from Aleppo.

Armenians have a strong feeling of community and family, strong drive to perform, we are pushed to be the best.

A lot of unconditional love from parents.

The importance of being competent before you do benevolent work. If you don’t have the competence then you’re wasting your time being benevolent.

Further interests: indoor air quality, wine, oakwood aging, 2 kids who are 21 months old.

How complexity evolves in our world and how it’s related to self-organization, how life appeared on the planet.

Aspect of self organizing complex systems.

Direct download: 049_-_Yeretzian_Coffee.mp3
Category:science -- posted at: 7:42pm EDT

Bob Gannon, World Flying Adventure

Ready to listen to the embodiment of curiosity?  Bob flew around the world two and a half times in a plane about the size of a Ford F-250.  He’s visited a few hundred countries and the “accomplished” side of his bucket list reads like a compilation of any 5 normal people.

“At a project up in Spirit Lake, Iowa, in a bar, a drunken popcorn seed salesman gave me a quote to live by: Seize upon the moment of exotic curiosity to acquire knowledge.” 

Adventurous, curious, and deeply connected to his spiritual side, this is a fascinating look into one man’s journey around the world.  Twice.

Don’t say No until you know.

I had intended this to be mostly about curiosity, but we got into inspiration and personal development topics as well.  If you like adventuring and learning what the world is like, you’ll dig this episode.

Make your desire bigger than your fear.

Direct download: 048_-_Bob.mp3
Category:adventure -- posted at: 10:22am EDT

Every so often you come across a dude who appears normal but turns out to be a real gem.  Brad Barlage is one of those guys.  At 5'9 and all of 150 lbs, he's a rangy, stringy dude with bright eyes and a stoked smile.

How you do one thing is how you do everything.

A superb climber (redpointed 5.14), a real adventurer (kite skiing Baffin Island with Andrew McClean), a dog lover, and the kind of guy willing to build his life based on the "do the right thing always" mantra that marks so many of my mentors.

Brad worked his way up from the shipping floor at Black Diamond (the climbing company) to being a Sales Manage for North America, and split off to go his own way and continue selling outdoor gear under his own brand.

Good attitude going out equals good back in.

Brad is a very private guy, and I owe this podcast to two things.  

First, Brad's willingness to grant a friend a favor.  Second, the folks over at Enormocast, a climbing podcast.  

Brad's been listening to them. and seeing just how useful podcasts can be, so when i came bumbling along with my request, he understood how much it can help to hear someone else's story.  

Thanks Chris Kalous at Enormocast for doing a good enough job to inspire Brad and shining a light. Right on!

 

Direct download: 047_-_Brad_Barlage.mp3
Category:adventure -- posted at: 11:10pm EDT

I first heard about Gavin when I watched The Rocky Mountains Traverse.  The possibilities of paragliding immediately captured me, specifically the vol-biv work he and Will Gadd were doing.

If you're into adventuring, whether it's kayaking, sailing, kite surfing, or paragliding, you'll probably dig Gavin's take on the world.  

Whether he talks about his early "frequent bad decisions" or how he's not quite an adrenalin junkie, this is a great window into the mind of one of National Geographic's 2014 "Adventurer of the Year" recipients.

Enjoy!

Direct download: 046_-_Gavin_McClurg.mp3
Category:adventure -- posted at: 11:05pm EDT

Upon getting back into rock climbing after a 17 year hiatus, I quickly discovered Mark & Mike Anderson's contribution to training for the sport in the form of The Rock Climber's Training Manual.

After reading through it I realized that these guys were demonstrating more than just an interest in training, this is total "pursuit of excellence" material.  

In this episode of the Paleo Treats podcast we talk about where they learned about hard work, why climbing satisfies so many human cravings, and what stops most climbers from becoming better.

This is definitely not a "sets and reps" episode; if you're looking for specific training advice, buy the book.  :)  However, if you're looking for practical examples of what works to improve anything, not just climbing, you'll find enough in here to inspire and encourage you to do the very best you can in whatever endeavor you engage in.

Enjoy!

Direct download: 045_-_Anderson_Bros.mp3
Category:human performance -- posted at: 9:40am EDT