by James Altucher: How
To Be the Smartest Person on the Planet
nervous. On October 11 I
have to talk at Barry Ritholz’s conference, “The Big Picture”.
There’s a saying in poker,”When you look around the table
and you can’t find the fish, it means you’re the fish”.
When I look down the list of speakers at Barry’s conference,
one thing becomes clear to me:
a couple of other things going against me. For one thing I wrote
a post about “11
ways to be a great speaker”. So it’s like I took a
gun and just shot myself in the head right before the talk. Expectations
will be high so I need to use this post to drastically lower them.
The other problem
is “theme”. I once asked Barry how he writes three or
four posts a day for his blog. His blog is very popular. He shows
me the stats. He get’s 5-6x the traffic I get.
about whatever I’m angry about that day,” he told me.
And Barry is
always angry. The last time I saw him he was ranting about some
had that morning with the insurance company and he grew that into
a whole rant on how bad the entire insurance industry was. I just
kept nodding my head. What else is there to say?
I think the
time I got together with him before that he was…ranting about
the insurance industry! He had ANOTHER conversation with someone
from the insurance company. Were they the same company? I have no
in India at the call center don’t even know what they are dealing
with when Barry R calls.
angry about lots of things. The economy, stocks, the government,
unemployment. So when he has a blog and a conference called “the
Big Picture”, presumably these are the topics he wants people
to discuss. Today in his blog he talks about mortgages interest
deductions, FDIC bank failures, the growing difference between the
rich and the poor, and on and on. He’ll take a great stat/chart
built usually by an informed source, and then he provides his angry
rant on it. That’s “The Barry Method”.
the problem: I don’t want to talk about any of these things.
Particularly in a room filled with people smarter than me. The
economy, stocks, the government, unemployment, the mortgage situation,
insurance, bank failures, rich/poor. That’s eight things. I’m
sure if I read Barry’s blog a little more I’ll find two
more things I’d be terrified to talk about. I can rant also
about all these things. But what if I say something stupid? Then
everyone in the room will be like, “That James Altucher. He’s
just being crazy. Let’s get the real speakers on. What…is
he going to do
that Dow 20,000 prediction again? Barry will rip him to shreds
and everyone will laugh.”
So I have
some ideas of other things to talk about:
Wine. I actually had a dream last night about Barry. I think
it’s because I’m so nervous about this talk. Alec Baldwin
and I were presenting a business idea to him. Alec was very excited
in that 30 Rock way of his. Vitamin Wine. Sort of like Vitamin
Water except you get drunk. “50 Cent made $400 million on Vitamin
Water”, Alec and I both were saying to Barry. But it was a
younger Barry. Like in his Facebook picture. And he kept eating,
chewing his food in front of us while Alec and I were presenting.
Very rude, Barry!
B) The EyePad.
You’d heard of the ipad, right? It didn’t even exist two
years ago (heck, one year ago you could barely get one) and now
it’s completely changed computing and I’m dying for my
ipad 3. Well, it just so turns out I’ve spec-ed out my own
version that I call the EyePad:
- you gouge
out one of your eyes.
- Your new
eye is sort of like a Steve Austin bionic eye. What? You might
say. Wait for it..
a ton of research that brain scans can determine what a person’s
intentions are, or whether they are depressed (and what kind of
depression, happy, etc). We’re not that far away from a brain
scan being able to tell if we are thinking of the letter “A”
versus the letter “B”. Here’s how it would work:
You get the brain scans of 10,000 people thinking hard about the
letter “A”. Then 10,000 people thinking hard about the
letter “B”, etc. Now I take your brain scan and use
basic statistics to match it to the brain scans that most resemble
your brain scan. If your bran scans most resembles the As then
chances are you were thinking of the letter “A”. This
is not rocket science. This is the next generation of what is
- Using a
chip installed in my brain, the EyePad is constantly taking my
brain scan. Then, if I start spelling out a word it starts looking
it up on Wikipedia (via universal WiFi, whatever.)
- With my
optic nerves now hooked up to the EyePad instead of an actual
eye I can read the Wikipedia page of whatever I’m thinking
about. I would be the most sought after conversationalist at cocktail
- But think
of the other uses: if I stare longingly at a McDonalds then, BAM,
I start to see a coupon that entices me to get a free fries with
a Big Mac if I walk into that McDonalds. Get the FourSquare guys
on the phone, stat!
- If I just
LOOK at a girl I can instantly follow her on twitter (see recent
tweets), friend her on Facebook (if she looks back at me with
her EyePad) and rummage through all her photos and see if we have
mutual friends/interests we can discuss, check out her LinkedIn
profile so I know her employment history, and heck, even do a
search on any court liens assessed against her.