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The Front Page of Global Fintech

The the largest fintech community in the world. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date on the latest in news opinions, and all things financial technology.

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🎧 Podcast: Hey Fintech Friends ft Simon Taylor

" I think the fall is a catalyst for pursuing self. It's like a forcing function. And it's how the vast majority of people will discover it, but it's not the only way to discover it. And so I personally have received a lot of joy and gratitude from having done so." - Simon Taylor

🎧 Podcast: Hey Fintech Friends ft Simon Taylor

This is such a great episode - enjoy!

In a riveting dialogue that takes you on a journey through technology, personal evolution, and societal shifts, Simon and Helen delve deep into the transformative power of gamification. From its impact on modern-day dating apps to finance and healthcare, they unpack the pros and cons of this motivational tool. Simon opens up about his personal tribulations, shedding light on how hardships can shape one's outlook and build resilience. But the debate doesn't end there; they also ponder whether adversity is the only path to developing empathy and resilience, or if self-mastery can be achieved through alternative avenues.

Throughout their conversation, expect a cerebral tennis match filled with insightful analyses and thought-provoking debates that promise to challenge your viewpoints on multiple fronts. Don't miss this intellectual feast that leaves you questioning, pondering, and above all, eager for more.


‎Hey Fintech Friends!: Hey Fintech Friends ft Simon Taylor on Apple Podcasts
‎Show Hey Fintech Friends!, Ep Hey Fintech Friends ft Simon Taylor - 26 Oct 2023


  • Moving to Lisbon, parenthood, and food quality. 0:00
    • Helen recently moved to Lisbon, Portugal
    • Simon reflects on parenthood, describing it as a fundamental shift in priorities and a reshaping of one's biology.
  • Emotional intelligence and anger management. 10:49
    • Simon shares their experience with testicular cancer at age 23, highlighting the challenges of navigating an identity crisis during that time.
    • Simon talks about anger responses and how they learned to control their urges by practicing self-control through an experiment, demonstrating their ability to choose how they respond to situations.
  • Quarter-life crisis and career uncertainty. 15:38
    • Helen expresses frustration when she came out of university and the idea of saving for retirement, feeling that it's too far away and uncertain.
    • Simon discusses the "quarter life crisis," a term used to describe the feeling of confusion and uncertainty that can occur around the age of 20-22, as individuals try to figure out their lives and careers.
  • Life struggles and resilience after traumatic events. 17:59
    • Helen reflects on her father's death and how it affected her life, including feeling isolated and struggling to cope with the loss.
    • Simon shares their experience with testicular cancer and how it impacted their life, including feeling lost and confused in their career and personal life.
    • Helen shares her personal struggle with burnout and the importance of taking time to process and live life, rather than just working and ignoring it.
    • Simon references a theory called "the fall" and how it can be observed in people's reactions to failure, with those who can adapt quickly being more likely to succeed in the long run.
  • Plato's chariot and personality. 29:07
    • Simon compares the human soul to a horse and carriage, suggesting that people have different personalities and ways of navigating life.
    • Plato's ancient Greek analogy of the soul as a charioteer guiding two flying horses is mentioned, with one horse representing the noble and aspirational self, and the other representing the base and negative self.
  • Self-mastery and the role of the prefrontal cortex. 34:01
    • The back of the brain is more evolved than the front, allowing for quick decision-making and world-building in flow state.
    • Simon suggests that the fall is a catalyst for pursuing self-mastery, but it's not the only way to discover it.
    • The concept of mastery of self is eternal and has been around since humanity itself, but the access to information and communication is more widely available now.
  • The power of technology and its impact on society. 38:42
    • Helen: Tech companies like Google and Facebook have become the new authority figures, owning our data and shaping society. (40:17)
    • Simon: Indian and Chinese analysts fear American hegemony through tech companies, leading to a desire for counterbalance. (40:52)
    • Simon: Large corporations control the world in a dystopian future, and nature will push back with decentralization and disruptive innovation.
    • SimonL Web3 and decentralization could become a countermeasure to big tech, with disruption coming from the edges.
  • Web3 technology and its adoption. 44:37
    • Helen: Web3 started off on a bad foot with poor marketing, making it difficult to gain traction.
    • Simon: Worst branding in the world, NFTs have little utility despite great concept.
    • Simon: Most people prioritize survival over understanding financial infrastructure.
  • Decentralization, web3, and colonialism. 48:24
    • Helen and Simon discuss the challenges of decentralization and adoption in the web3 space.
    • Simon mentions Bitcoin as an example of something that could survive a nuclear war, highlighting its anti-fragile nature.
  • Using crypto to create trust in a post-truth world. 51:54
    • Simon proposes a decentralized, blockchain-based system for creating and verifying intellectual property, using cutting-edge cryptography to ensure trust and consensus.
    • Helen and Simon : Those who can admit when they don't understand something are more relatable and honest.
    • Helen reflects on learning software engineering jargon and realizing that asking for help is valued in the workplace.
  • Web3, deletion, and data security. 57:42
    • Simon discusses the fast cycle time of learning and being corrected online, but also the potential for negative intentions (0:58:11-0:59:34).
    • Survivalists may benefit from storing data locally and having physical copies, as well as preparing for basic needs in case of infrastructure failure.
  • Data privacy and security in the digital age. 1:01:51
    • Simon discusses the importance of data resilience and consistency, highlighting the potential for data loss due to various factors such as hardware failure, natural disasters, and digital obsolescence.
    • Helen discusses the state of government systems, mentioning that many are outdated and inefficient, while Simon highlights the limitations of crypto and web three in creating a utopian society.
  • Gamification and its impact on relationships. 1:07:33
    • Helen expresses concern about the gamification of everything, questioning the loss of agency and the blurring of lines between games and reality.
    • Simon argues that while gamification can be well-intentioned, it can also remove a sense of agency and manipulate individuals, and that it's important to have choices and boundaries in place.
    • Dating apps can lead to transactional relationships, compressing people's personalities into small data points, and limiting the potential for deep connections.


Helen 0:00
I'm good. I just moved country on Sunday. So, just settling in and move to Lisbon.

Simon 0:13
How is that?

Helen 0:16
I think it's a good move personally. Yeah, it's sunnier, it's cheaper. Although it's getting kind of expensive.

Simon 0:24
I gotta say, it's like, it's the new hype, isn't it? Yeah,

Helen 0:27
everyone's moving. Yeah, and it's like, it's funny, right? Because it's like, oh, I'm British. I managed to, like, move to Europe post Brexit. Like, I've achieved something. And then you realise, okay, no, actually, a lot of people are doing it as they should. Because yeah, because I think because I was like, Okay, I have to do the whole visa thing. That would obviously put a lot of people off but you can do it if you want to do it. Yeah.

Simon 0:50
Wow. You can totally make it happen. You can get visa you can drink vino verde you can be you can be living that life. Alright. What's the best food you found?

Helen 1:00
Do you know what I know? This sounds ridiculous. But it's so funny. You're interviewing me. I love it.

Simon 1:05
I like food. I like all this, but and so What's there not to love.

Helen 1:11
I've mainly been like buying food and like cooking, which I love to cook. It's like my passion. But I just think the quality of like, fresh produce is better. So like, vegetables taste better. Vegetables have flavour. Do you know what I mean?

Simon 1:33
Do you know that you just don't get that British supermarkets. They've like ruined it. And it's the default and a lot of the continent of Europe to just have really great produce. And it makes everything taste so much better. You don't need to do anything to it. You just like, cook it and maybe add a little bit of salt.

Helen 1:50
No, honestly, I think vegetables in the UK just tastes like water. Like there's no actual flavour to them. And it's really sad that like, they're also expensive. They're not even cheap that we're talking about, you know, I mean, we're not talking about like bottom of the barrel. It's like you going to like a good shop trying to get the best vegetables which you have to search through like terrible produce anyway.

Simon 2:13
It's it's wild, isn't it? We're living that life.

Helen 2:35
you should you should come to Lisbon

Simon 2:39
Child number two is due in November. That's why I've got a bit of a no fly list, my base camp, you know, I'm hanging out in the UK, trying to avoid too much trouble before that comes along. And life gets wild, you know?

Helen 2:59
Well, congratulations on baby number two. That's exciting.

Simon 3:03
I'm super excited for me if the first one's gonna be a tough act to follow. She's beautiful and weird and wonderful, has completely changed my life. So yeah, I mean, I know as a parent, you're supposed to love your kid. That's kind of essential. But it's really, really weird how it just changes your biology on such a guttural level that you are drawn to this person that now suddenly exists in this whole other way. And it resets all your priorities and a complete flip upside down. Not to accidentally quote The Fresh Prince. But it really

Helen 3:42
that's such a nice way of like looking at like parenthood though. That sounds so cute.

Simon 3:47
Everybody talks about the tiredness and the tiredness is real. Definitely. And everybody tells me that like to is it's not linear, it's exponential. Like this stuff gets harder.

But if I'm at base camp, and I'm about to go to the summit, I'm going to enjoy this little golden moment. I get to have some fun with it. I know that I'm going to hit it because yeah, it's I don't know. Yeah, it's hard. You definitely have to divide that time that you want to watch Netflix is just gone. You're either sleeping or you're doing the bit of work that you weren't able to do or you're doing like your personal time is just gone. But the other side of it of just this little contact buzz you get from hugging or nobody talks about the contact was like you hook this person and it's like, holy crap, if I could bottle that and sell it then I'm sorry but like that, that's that would sell out sell anything that you can do like that was part of the booze or anything this this is amazing.

Helen 4:45
I'm gonna say like something weird, but you know, like, Okay, this does sound quite bizarre. Babies like between the ages of like newborn to I'm gonna say about six months.

Simon 4:55
With this smell. I know where you're going and I'm with you. This now so good luck. weird strange strawberry milkshake sort of goodness, baby smell. And it's probably newborns, especially if there's not a lot to him. Really, there's no personality till they start smiling. Except that smell. You know?

Helen 5:15
The smells so good. Bottling that that's what needs to be bottled.

Simon 5:19
I fear for the lives of many babies and how the process of creation like

Helen 5:29
Yeah, yeah, I mean, I don't know how we're going to do it without like disturbing babies. I don't know if there just needs to be someone

Simon 5:35
terrifically sourced responsibly sourced baby smell. Yeah.

Helen 5:40
Yeah, you could just like spray it in rooms, you know? I mean, like, some sort of HomeSense that'd be great.

Simon 5:57
What's that gonna add to the GDP of the internet? If ieverything smelled like there was just a fresh new baby up in here and you just there's new life.

Helen 6:09
The smell of new life is awesome

Simon 6:48
Yeah, I was gonna say it would be made redundant, although the other side of it is the other smells that come with kids like this. There's that whole side of just Yeah,

Helen 6:57
yeah, that's when I give them back. Yeah. For the good smells. When I smell something else. I'm like, Oh, I think you need to go back to your mom.

Simon 7:05
That's my policy on dogs love dogs love given a back because I don't like every all of the other admin comes with it. It is yeah, that's it. There's a lot of hair on things. Even with the ones that don't shed, there's a lot of smell on things. Whereas like a human baby, generally I can clean up their mess, or there's some sort of nappy situation I can kind of deal with and also, like, the contact is so much higher, like don't get me wrong. Having a dog in London is a public service. Whoever's doing that, you know, like a dog on the tube is just a wonderful thing for everybody on that tube line.

Helen 7:40
I totally disagree.

Simon 7:42
Not a dog person?

Helen 7:43
Whilst everyone else is like, Oh my God, his dog. I'm like, Oh, please don't come near me. Touch me.

Simon 7:51
Did you grow up with them or not?

Helen 7:53
I did not grow up with them actually, I've only stopped my fear of dogs at my big age. Maybe like this year?

Simon 8:01
Wow. Did you?have a bad experience? Or were they just always distant and scary looking things?

Helen 8:08
I don't know. I remember as a kid. I used to go to Hungary a lot. And I do remember like being in the village like we used to go to like the village and everyone had dogs and they don't just have like, you know, in the UK I guess people just have like, dogs as pets. Like in Hungary back then.

Like people have guard dogs. They have like farming dogs they like they like they have different dogs for different purposes. And I think it's just I think that's where maybe my fear came from because I just remember like walking around like the village and like, like being barked out or like running from a dog something. I don't know, I think I think but I can't actually remember. Like actually anything terrible happening. I just remember like, being in spaces with dogs with scaring me, especially guard dogs. They used to freak me out so much

Simon 8:54
fear imprinting age. I think it is toddler ish, where if something scares you during that it becomes a fear of Yeah, imprints on you like I see it with people in spiders.

Helen 9:07
And I've never understood people's like fear of spiders. I'm like, what's it doing to you? It's like, it's just that and so yeah, your

Simon 9:13
fear imprints on that. Like if you go oh my god, I'm scared of that thing. Yeah, at a very young age, it becomes this like visceral fear. Yeah, I don't know if it's like something evolutionary that you know, when we were tribal peoples we were working together and then the threat would come into the local community and the local community would react with fear and the toddler would go oh, God, that scary. I know it is because everybody else is panicking around me so I'm going to imprint that that thing is scary. Like it's just yeah, it's

Helen 9:46
like you get all your emotions like good and bad. Like you know, it's the same as like when you when something just makes you happy for no reason, right? And you're just like, This thing makes me so happy. I just like doing it. All that comes from the age of like zero to seven because that's like when you sit In your childcare, and so like, when you can't explain your emotions like positive and negative, it's all from the age of like zero to seven.

Unknown Speaker 10:07
So, yeah

Simon 10:14
I do not know. I mean, I'm male. So I don't know how to explain most the emotions, I feel most points anyway. Like, there's that side of it. But yeah, like that sort of this thing is passing through me. I've been really grumpy all day, and then not realising why until about halfway into the day. And it's yeah, it's sort of having a go back. And back was rationalising that probably does come from that. Yeah, yeah.

Helen 10:40
So that's like, if you can't, if you don't, if it makes you angry, and then you don't even can't explain it, that's your child. If you're thinking about like, this makes me angry. And I know it's an irrational feeling. That's you sitting in your adult chair because you're like, able to ordinary singing your teenager singing your adult choice is being able to be like, because this thing happened, then that's why I feel this way.

Simon 11:03
Okay, so child is have feeling can't articulate it. teenager is awareness. Awareness of feeling adult is awareness of feeling and root cause of feeling.

Helen 11:18
Exactly, yeah.

Simon 11:20
I learned a thing today. This is wonderful.

Helen 11:23
Yeah, I mean, I'm not a psychiatrist. Which is like a tiny bit of stuff that I've like read about and stuff, which I think just makes sense to me. I'm like, Oh, yeah. And when Pete when you see people who get, like, I remember like a friend she was when she talks to like, maybe certain people in our family, she's so emotional. And I'm like, and I told her like, you don't ever speak to me that way. Like, you've never spoken to me like the way you speak to, like, you know, certain people. And I'm like, it's because they take you to a place that I wouldn't we, I could never take you to like your anger comes from something really innate and deep and young. So that's why you even have the capacity to talk to those people that way, but you would never talk to me. And I think and same with me, like I can think of times where I'm like, angry at certain people. But I have never displayed that emotion towards other people, because they just don't, there's no context to take me there.

Simon 12:12
I did quite a bit of therapy in my early 20s. So I had his a life moment. I had testicular cancer at age 23. I was so lucky. I caught it super early, I didn't have chemo. So what I really had was surgery and an identity crisis. And the identity crisis was actually a lot harder than the health crisis, right? The health crisis is like, Oh, look, I'm done. I had surgery, I'm kind of fine. Again, for anybody out there listening, get checked. I went to three doctors who also do fine. And it was the fourth one who said no, you're not like, we need to get you in so persist with your healthcare provider, please. But actually, it was the identity crisis of being in your early 20s. And like, hey, Simon is weird. You're not chasing goals anymore?

Hey, Simon, you're weird. What's wrong with you? It was all of that, which was given me this anger response that then when I went through therapy, we went through the causes of like, you know, sort of what creates these anger responses and triggers in you? And then where have you learned that behaviour? Because Cognitive Behavioural Therapy understand the cognitive understand the behaviour.

And the cognitive is typically, I'm unable to meet other people's expectations. Oh, my God, I'm a people pleaser. So always unable to meet other people's expectations, always feeling overwhelmed. response from anger from that actually came from step parent stepdad. My therapist described it as being like, what you've done is you've taken a Polaroid picture, and you put it into your top pocket.

And when you experience a certain level of stress, you pull out that Polaroid picture of how somebody demonstrated how to cope with that level of stress, and you blow off steam. What I want you to do is figure out how it slowed down. And so there were a couple of techniques we can learn. And one of them was recognising the urge and being able to manage that urge. So he said, Do you have a favourite food that you can't resist? I said, Well, yeah, obviously, it's a boost bar.

Have you ever had one of these things that were amazing for if I boost Yeah, if you've not even a boost bar, you're broken. I'm sorry. Just just put it out there just out of this world. That was my thing as a kid. Now I could take a leave him. But he said, All right, get it, eat it. Take the first bite and just leave it in front of you and stare at that thing and do not touch it. Can you demonstrate your control over your body's natural urge? Can you prove to yourself that you have that control is almost like an experiment of your ability to control your urge. And then from there, once you can control the urge now you're buying time to choose how you want to respond to this moment.

You're developing almost that muscle to that strength to go or I'm feeling this. I really want to grab that. I really He wants to respond this way. But is that appropriate for this person in this context? Or can I deliver something better for them. And so that sort of control of self was, was a really important lesson for me. And so that was a personal story. I definitely see it in other people as well. But it's, it's amazing how the combined set of lessons there really, really taught me that I did not understand my emotions at all. And I think most men can get into their 20s and just be like, I'm just I've just sort of bumbling through life ping pong off one thing to the next thing without realising what the hell's going on with me. You know, like, that's,

Helen 15:38
I mean, if anything, Lotus, you know, like lotus biscuit, yeah, if you put that, like, I have zero self control, like, I will eat the whole thing. So I don't think I would be able to do that. Like I literally. I've even tried before, like, that's why I don't buy it. Because I don't I can't control myself.

Simon 15:56
Have you been on the Delta flight? Like, across the US the little do they give you the little ones? They give you the little ones as one of their free snacks? And I'm always like, Ah, you just have to say no, and just, it's the best way.

Helen 16:08
And have you tried the donut like Krispy Kreme. They're insane. I don't even eat gluten, and I will eat gluten. Just the dough. That's how bad it is. I don't have control. But to your point earlier, like, I think I mean, I don't know, it's a growing theory that I've just coming up I'm coming up with but there's something about the age of like, where basically everyone has breakdown and like, doesn't know what they're doing. Like you get maybe you finish university, you get job. Everything's going like, in theory, like, well, like, nothing is actually wrong. But everything is wrong. Yeah. And like it feels a bit like that. Am I going to do this for the next 60 years?

Simon 16:50
It's a known thing is called the quarter life crisis. Yes, it's like the quarter if you're gonna live to sort of, I guess Yeah, like, at so 2021 22 quarter way through your life? Who am I? What am I here to do? Oh, my God, I'm not in school anymore. Oh, God, I haven't got a job. What's my career trajectory? You know, it's, it's all of those things wrapped into one whilst being like, whoa, I'm having so much fun. And still still in that teenage keeping up appearances. Like, I've got to put on a front, but not and then not quite figured out the apple thing, which is, like, I'm just me.

Helen 17:27
Yeah. But it's like, you get your first job, and they start sending you stuff for your pension. And I'm like, oh, like, of course, great. Like, it's great. Like, oh, I work somewhere that gives me like a private prayer, you know, like, amazing, I guess for for Helen, like 60 years from now. But even just the fact that like, in a way, the trajectory is essentially saying now that you've finished university, now that you've got good job, do this. And then when you're when you're 50 years later will reward you by like giving you this like pot of money that may or may not be there. And so,

Simon 18:00
welcome to the beginning of the treadmill, you are gonna be on it for a very long time.

Helen 18:04
Yeah. And then I think I'm a millennial, right, but I'm like, just at the cusp of it, right. But I think actually, the generation of millennials are the people who've experienced this, like, quarter life crisis, it might be different for like Gen Z, and like, they might have their own struggles. But I think it's just like when you think of like the financial crisis of the, at that time, how that affected people's mentalities on like jobs, t just made things a little bit hopeless when you finished university, and I paid nine grand for university as well

Simon 18:37
as the opposite end of the spectrum on the millennial side, so I just sneak in. So in 2008, this was middle of the financial crisis. I just had testicular cancer, and I'd taken a voluntary redundancy from the job. So I left school at 16 I'd be working for eight years, and they give me a year's salary. So I've got like a year's salary. I'm not showing up to work every day. I've just had this health crisis, I've got this identity crisis, all the jobs I want to get are not available anymore because like there's a financial crisis going on. Like I think that that moment for a whole generation of people just robbed them of like, whoa, this this like tech world, this finance world that was here, it's just kind of gone. And you're, you're just like a rock pole moment. Well, and truly, it's confusing as hell. And yeah, I think it's it's kind of taken a long time to pull out of that. And now I turned 40 Next year, can I get my act together? Finally, you know, it's taken. It's taken a while. Yeah,

Helen 19:37
yeah. But you had like a very traumatic experience and you and it was me the same like I lost my dad when I was 21. And in a lot of ways, I mean, obviously I can't relate to your like having cancer but I do I can relate to like, as being that age, and then all of a sudden I'm like very isolated, because as great as my friends are like, they don't understand what it feels to be me and all these Like, and I guess as well, when I lost my dad, I was in university, like, basically, I was just finishing university. And so he dies in like a very traumatic way. And then, in a lot of ways, the trajectory that I thought was gonna happen all of a sudden, I'm like, wait, hold on, like, everything's on fire. And I did, I had no clue that this was coming. Like, I did not expect it. I did not plan for it. But now I meant to go to work, like every day and like, work, like, so it's so I think, you know, if I think back to myself, then I probably was very harsh on myself, because I was really keeping it together. But actually, like, it's kind of a big deal.

Simon 20:33
I think sometimes, like the keeping it together means you're not processing what's happened.

Helen 20:39
100%. Yeah. And then I think what then happens is you burn out. And I can't think of one of my friends. In fact, I can't think of anybody I know, who hasn't gone through their own sort of weird, who does, it doesn't you know, I mean, it doesn't necessarily have to be like, my particular struggle, but like, I can't think of someone who didn't go through their own version of that, and then doesn't burn out after that. Because you ignore you ignore it, you ignore. And then all of a sudden, like, it's like, a little bit older, maybe you're like 2122, two, or 2223. And then you're like, I'm so tired. I'm just tired, because I've just been working like a dog and like forgetting to like process and live. And then people like quit their jobs, I guess. And then like, do something else.

Simon 21:19
I was listening to a podcast, I remember that guy's name, he had a theory called the fall. And you can tell people who are pre and post fall. Because there are a lot of people that will go through life, especially the ones that have got a good schools get a great job, and then go on and have a great job for a little while, and they don't hit that moment of trauma. And so their pre fall, and their natural talent will carry them so far in life. And the guy's thesis was like he doesn't invest in people preform, no matter how brilliant they are. Because something one day, no matter how good you are, will come along and humble you. And the real question is, how do you react when it humbles you? Are you able to get yourself back on the feet? Because I mean, you probably see it all the time, right? You get this young, hungry, fresh out of college or university thing. And you're like, oh, yeah, life's gonna get you. I'll see you after the fall. And I'd love to patch you up, because you're super talented. Because there's sort of, there's all of this hunger and all of this scramble. But there isn't a like, breathe, I want to see who you are, when you make mistakes, I want to see how quickly you can adapt to failure. There are of course, exceptions to this rule. And there are people who can just react really quickly and also happened to be brilliant, but screw those guys.

I'm talking about most people, most of the time people post the fall of the people that have demonstrated their ability to get back up. And it's really character forming, do you think that you need the fall it's an almost impossible to a B test. In the sense that anybody who's been through it can't not have been through it. And any anybody who's not been through it will or won't be successful. So we we have a survivorship bias and both directions, right? Like there's no perfect data set for this. I framed it differently. I'm grateful for it. I like who I am, post fall a lot more than I liked myself pre for.

Helen 23:16
Yeah, like, obviously. Yeah, I get you in the sense of like, if I think about myself, like even like, I would say, like, pre my full, I don't think is a very empathetic person. That's something I definitely believe like, in the sense of, I was, you know, I was always a confident person. Even as a kid. I was always very confident. But the reality is, I had no empathy. That makes me sound like a slacker. Yeah. Just a little bit. But I would just say like, maybe so okay, here's a good example. People used to talk about anxiety. I'm not gonna lie. I had no clue what they were talking about. I thought I did. I thought I did. But as a child as a teenager, I wasn't an anxious person. You put me in front of something, I'm going to talk. And so then when my dad did die, I all of a sudden, I had no voice. I was feeling these feelings. I couldn't understand. Like, what this wasn't, I was like, What is this feel? Like? What is this is horrible. And people are like, you're at you've got anxiety, and I'm like, Oh, this is what everyone's talking about. This is deep. Like this is horrible. Yeah. And all of a sudden, it's like, oh, now I can understand something that I just to be honest, wouldn't have understood because I didn't ever experience it. And I thought I did that resonates.

Simon 24:27
That resonates so damn hard. It really really does. I was only child to a mother who was told she could never have kids. I am to her Jesus. You know like I'm just wow, I'm I can do no wrong. Then I go to a high school where you know, I was the brightest kid in a bad school. Easy, I get I get a grades for showing up. It was just like, a terrible petri dish to really test yourself. And so I got lazy and just showing up made me I would get applause As and you get blind to the applause and you've not been humbled and you don't strive for anything, and I didn't like that person. And I didn't know I didn't like that person, because that person was striving to be more socially accepted, rather than to be more who they are and more get more joy from life. In what in who they really, really are. And of course, that's that's a an arc. I think a lot of us go on. But yeah, I mean, one anxiety was I always had a roof over my head. I always had a hot cooked meal. Like I parents grew up on a counsellor state, you know, like it was it was but it was always safe a there's you know, like humble ish, but God on the wheel of privilege, I'd check almost every box there is. And so what's the what's the humble you? And then it takes that I think lesson to be like, Yeah, I was not empathetic among my mum always says I was. Oh, you're very cut in love? Or? Yes. I mean, I love you to bits, but you're cutting. And what she means by that is I would just if something didn't interest me, I would almost shut down almost like on the on the spectrum. I would just shut somebody Nope. Not interested. Just walk out. Or if somebody would say my name. Oh, yeah, not interested. Thanks. just rude. just downright rude. Like it was it was horrible behaviour. Well, maybe

Helen 26:21
there is something that because like, again, I didn't go to like the best. It's actually it was so bad. They've actually closed it down. And it no longer exists. Also, because we had so many scandals. Yeah, we had so many scandals in my school that I think they just were so fun. Because no one wanted to take their kids to die. Right? So they had to change the name. And rebrand it. Yeah, I won't go into them. Because like, it's yeah, it's still like, it's an you know, so many news stories. But But I can't necessarily say even though I can say like, there's a lot of bad things that happened in my school, in a lot of ways. They didn't affect me, I had a, I had a great education in a school that was trying to do its best for kids who had so many, so many different needs, like inner city, London. So just just every you know, so many people had different and had needed support and help. So like, in a way, in a way, I felt like the school did as much as they could for what it was. But yeah, it didn't affect me. I was a smart kid. I, I was like, gifted and talented. So yeah, you're right, in a lot of ways. It's like a strange little dish to experiment on. Because I was confident because I was always the best in class. And I knew what I was talking about. But in a way, I'm so glad I did go to a school like that. Because when I went to university outside of London, which was way more white way more private, privately educated, I then was mixing with people who never didn't. Number one, some people, even in the UK had never really spoken to black people. But then also, you know, I went to Nottingham. And to be honest, most people went to private schools, and didn't really have an understanding of like, what it's like to go to a state school, or what what kind of the challenges we had compared to the lack of challenges. So I'm a bit like, wow, in your school, I would have thrived beyond measure. Because in my school, there was so many, there's so many little things that we just didn't have. And I thought was I thought when normal because that was my only? Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

Simon 28:17
Well, you don't know any different. It's your only frame of reference. Oh, it's funny. My wife and I've talked about this a lot with with our own children of like, we live in an area where we're in a really nice little village just outside of not so great, sort of part of the London you know, from a violence and crime standpoint and an economic development standpoint, but actually kind of love that balance where we are, we're right next to a park, a golf course, tennis courts, like, but this is kind of like London through but that's London.

Helen 28:49
And I love that like, that's what I'm trying to say like I went to school in St. John's word. It's like one of the most affluent boroughs you could go to. However, you know, most people, most people who went to like, like kids that didn't live in St. John's woods, because most people live in St. John's would take their kids to private schools. Do you see what I mean? So it's like, all these like oxymorons, like you're literally like, you're literally living the schools next to like celebrities, houses and stuff like that, but also, at the same time, and you know, our school is opposite the American School of London, which again, is like all these like, you know, so much afterwards, but like, Yeah, but to be honest, that's one of the things I love about London, I love that you can go down a road and like, it's like, everyone is next to each other. And you can't you can't escape it, because you'll go to another city. And you'll go to the poor bit, you go to the rich bit and they're so separate, that people can ignore other people's lives. London, you can't do that. It's literally intertwined. And I think it's one of the best things.

Simon 29:47
It's the chaos of it. There's beautiful it's the it's the terrible old streets and the skyscraper and the cabbie somehow making it through this somewhat racist views and it's like, yeah, you say it's all Have that

Helen 30:00
yeah, I just love you can look like my dad, he was a civil engineer. So he really liked buildings and stuff. And he always was like, I love that you could just like look at random spot. And you can see like a church from like, pre World War two next to like a massive skyscraper next to like, you know, I mean, you can see like 1000 year have hundreds of years of history just just by going like that like, and it's very unique to the city, like I can't think of many cities that have that same level of being able to appreciate the past, but also like, know when to knock it down. Because a lot of cities in Europe, they have the opposite issue where everything is old, that it's so beautiful, it's a museum, and it's really hard for the young population to imprint on that. But

Simon 30:42
a lot of the capital cities, there was a bit of a competition and I think the 18th century documentary Simon showing up here, watch the documentary BBC about it once. And I can't remember the name of the architect of St. Paul's. But the queen at the time, I believe, was the queen commissioned that architect to build a master plan. So a bit like Paris of how it's all sort of lined on a structure, London was going to be the same, it was always all going to centre around St Paul's. And so this architect had built a plan for the streets of London. And you see a little bit of around Buckingham Palace in the model and some of what that intended plan was going to be. And they were just going to raise to the ground, a whole bunch of London, essentially, between St. Paul's and Buckingham Palace, and we work all of that. And this is also doing bits of it, but that it never got finished. And in a way, I'm really glad. Because imagine all of the little things that would have been ruined along the way. So Paris had all of that history, but there's a point during the revolution, where they just flatten it all and start again. So now to find Paris has real history for 1000s of years, you've got to dig down rather than London where you've got, you've got this ancient ancient bit of Roman artefact being dug up in the middle of a cross rail station. It's just a while back,

Helen 31:58
yeah, I do love that bit. I do love that, even though I've left. I do love that about the city, I want to say like going back to your full thing I kind of disagree with you like, not necessarily about like, everybody. I kind of think there are some people who just their minds do that. And the full creates, like you said, like just a different personality. But I think for other people, they're happy, kind of like just not pursuing that element of their personality. And, okay, I kind of see it like a horse, right? Like, you know, like, I'm with you. You know, when you see a horse and carriage, I kind of think there's like, this is my theory, there's like three different kinds of people in the world. And depending on where you are at your life, you might be any of these people, but like you have the horse, and I think the majority of the population, basically other horse, it's not a bad thing to be a horse. You know, horses have blinders on their eyes. And you can go straight forward. And you can go home to your horse wife and have horse babies and live a good life, you know where foods coming from, you don't need to be too stressed about like the direction of like, left and right. Or you can be the man in the carriage who like can see through a 360. But now you've got the pressure of like feeding the horse, you have the direction, like it's a lot to like, process, but equally, you can like guide other people because like, now you can see everything. But there's a lot of stress that come to that at the same time. Or you're the person in the carriage. And that just means like you're very rich and like you just say what needs to happen.

Simon 33:29
Have you ever heard of Plato's horse and carriage analogy? You sort of just described it. You know, it turns out you're an ancient Greek philosopher. So Plato compared the soul to a person driving a chariot pulled by two flying horses. One horse is beautiful and noble. It wants to soar into the heaven. This horse is our finest spirit. The other horse is ugly and bad, of course. And the job of the charioteer is to figure out how I how I manage these two opposing forces. Another way to think about that, and I've heard this described in books is the human brain, kind of similarly, the back of the brain is much more evolved than the front of the brain. So the prefrontal cortex is the charity, it's the apple, it's the thing that gives you the ability to rationally think but this is an incredibly slow, incredibly weak little machine compared to the back of the brain. So two other analogies. One is when do you need to use the back of the brain? So the analogy from this book, it's called the decisive moment by John Alera is that when a quarterback goes to make a throw in a game, the amount of calculations that they have to do in a split second is more than the brain should be capable of. And it's physically impossible for the data to have hit the eyes to have made it to the brain. And yet the quarterback still consistently makes the right decision because they're feeding in data like and they're almost predicting they're building a world model. And they're predicting the way the world is going to play out, which is they're basically building a simulation of the universe, which is absolutely incredible. The back of the brain can do things that quantum computers still can't do, like, frankly, so incredibly powerful machine. So sometimes you just got to rely on that. And it's almost like it speaks for you, when you're in flow state, it's the back of your brain world building. And it's this incredible machine, the front of the brain, however. So he almost describes it as like a 9010 90% of the time. That's right. And you can go through a lot of your life, just trusting that thing. But sometimes you've got to really fight the thing. It gives one example of some firemen who are in a valley fighting a fire, and this fire is coming towards them and behind them as a steep version Hill. And so as the fire comes to them, the firemen one by one realise that they're not going to beat this fire, so the fire is coming towards them. So a lot of them take off and start running up the hill, except for the old captain fireman, who decides to get out a match and set fire to the, to where he's standing, and then stand aside, what he's doing is he's taking the fuel away from the fire, he then goes and stands once that little bit of fire burns out and stamps it out in that one piece, and the fire comes around him and goes up the hill and kills all of his colleagues. So your natural fight or flight response to run up the hill wouldn't have worked in that moment, the world map that you've built for yourself would fail. That's where your prefrontal cortex has to take over. So that's like mastering self. And I think it is key you are capable of mastering self, whether or not you've had the fall, like, so I your original hypothesis is, do you need the fall to have to muster self? I don't think you do.

Helen 36:54
But would you want to, I guess to your point, would you want to pursue self without the fall.

Simon 36:59
So where I was going was I think the fall is a catalyst for pursuing self. It's like a forcing function. And it's how the vast majority of people will discover it, but it's not the only way to discover it. And so I personally have received a lot of joy and gratitude from having done so. Yeah. And

Helen 37:16
would you say like, do you think that the fall was something that is of this generation? Or like, for instance, if you think about your parents, do you think like they've had to have a full? Or do you think you know, I mean, like is that? Is that a definitive thing that is happening now? Or has it always happened

Simon 37:37
with humanity, generally, wisdom is eternal, and every generation thinks they're discovering it for the first time. So be very surprised if this concept doesn't exist in multiple forms, and that the ancient Greeks weren't discussing the exact same thing. I think mastery of self is something that's been around since humanity itself like it, that's, that's as old as time. What's not as old as time is our access to information and our access to the rest of the species and our ability to communicate it more widely. So a select group of pontificating white dudes in ancient Greece is very different two people having a podcast, one of them in Lisbon, and one of them in London, you know, and then people listening around the world. And I think that's what's different is it's more generally available, versus historically, this would have been something that was preached on a sermon that most of the people didn't understand. And your job was to give money to the church people so that the power structure remained. Now it's a little bit more the power structure is the knowledge itself that just came out of my mouth. I never thought about that before, but

Helen 38:42
But I love that when that happens. Yeah. I mean, I think like, it's, yeah, like you said, it's like, we've liked democratised information. And it's that's been something that's been happening for the past hundreds of years, like the Bible used to just be in Latin. And then one day kings James was like, let's make this in English. And that was like, revolutionary. And it's the same in every religion, that same with the Koran. And like, the Quran, a lot of the time was just in Arabic, and like there are hundreds of Muslims. So it's, you know, the dissemination of information and stuff. And the internet, obviously, is a catalyst for that. Would you say it's gone too far? Like now that we can kind of you know, like, when you think of like, misinformation, the fact that like, now, the concept of truth is something that's debated because there's just so much information. And the idea of what is right is more of an opinion, or has become more of an opinion,

Simon 39:31
information, and has always been it has been a weird thing. I look back at the there's I can't remember who said it, the Gutenberg Printing Press, and then the Reformation that follows the printing press being evolved. And I wonder if they were having the same debates at the time about the importance of information, and then society finds a new way to imbue authority on to something. We went from the church being the authority to governments and laws and The thing the words, we wrote down being the rules rather than the people upon hyping the rules, and the Bible being the rules, so the power structure just shifted. What's not happened yet is what the power structure shift is, will it still be governments? Or will it be something else? And that's probably going to take well, people would

Helen 40:17
say, the tech companies, right, people would you know, what? Not to get too much. But like, before energy companies, as an example, were like the companies that made all the money, they were like, oh, energy companies here. Now it's become tech companies, or has always, I don't know the numbers has become tech companies, as the people making the most money, people. So money equals power. So they're the most in charge. And also, they own all our data, which obviously like leads to like web three and like decentralisation. But like, isn't that the whole? Isn't that where we're at? Currently, in like a web two world? It's

Simon 40:51
interesting, isn't it that the biggest fear if you were to speak to analysts of Chinese and the Indian geopolitics is of American hegemony, through their tech companies that actually these tech companies run the internet, run the world. And that's, that's their biggest fear. And they're desperate to try and create some sort of counterbalance to that in some way, shape, or form. And I think India has been remarkably effective at doing so. I mean, if you look at UPI, and Aadhaar, and how it's built its own national infrastructure, it's done a really good job of defining its own landscape and how you play in it. And even to that credit, Brazil. You can't use pics. You couldn't use pics through WhatsApp until Brazil was really happy about how the data flow works. So there are some folks getting this right, God bless them. Europeans are trying with GDPR. But it's, it was it was like everything in Europe, great intention, guys, I can see what you were driving up probably could have done, but you brought a knife to a gunfight like Sorry, it's not legal pros you need at a technical standard and picks as infrastructure up is infrastructure allows you to capture market in a way that's completely different that that I think's really, really powerful, so detect companies around the world. The other thought that was running through my head, as you were saying that was I played the cyberpunk 2077 video game which TLDR Keanu Reeves 100 years from now, in stock, it is a guy who runs a band in the middle of a corporate war. And the world has essentially domiciled around a few large mega cities. And these mega cities are controlled by I think four large corporations. One of them's our soccer, the other one's something else, and the government's are still there. But the corporates really run the world. And everybody works for those corporates, and they've become these massive conglomerates. And obviously, it's dystopian sci fi fantasy, setting a neon future. But you can sort of see what it's pointing out right? Like I can, I can sort of get the lesson of history here. And I can sort of see how governments couldn't push back. But that whenever a force in the nature gets so big and over powerful nature tends to push back herself. So how will nature the economy, the water, the life flow, the incentive mechanism for the species we call finance, start to find countermeasures, to which, as you say, one hypothesis is web three decentralisation, that could become a thing, we are inevitably going to need a way to trade across borders, even if the world does start to balkanize, we are inevitably going to want to control our own data, even if it's just through corporate interests. And so there are other companies there is a long tail. And whenever the long tail of countries companies, individuals is not served. That's where we get disruption, Clayton Christensen's disruptive. Disruptive Innovation says that disruption always comes from the edges. So the edges are not big tech at the moment, the edges or whatever weird things that nobody thinks is important enough to really pay attention to. And frankly, right now the only thing people think is absolutely the most unimportant in the world completely useless. should get rid of it is oh, my God, this web three stuff is terrible, isn't it? Should we do? Should we just stamp it out? Have you seen how much money people are losing on NF T's? God, it's so bad. Have you got any Gen AI? By the way? Have you seen any Gen AI? Would you like some Gen AI with that? It's yeah,

Helen 44:37
yeah. It's interesting, I think, because when I work, because I, I guess we both sort of work like, you know, you're around people who are in web three. I mean, I work for web three company, right? So in a lot of ways, it's very, you think that it's like something that people think about or like a thing, but it's a small bubble. And I think we don't want to say it's a small bubble. Even me like I'm like, if you understood it You would get it like I'm drinking the Kool Aid and I want other people to drink it. But you know, that like, the average person has no clue. Like the average person doesn't unders know that we're in web two, they just know the internet, right? And they don't, and they don't need to, they don't need to be like, this is web two. So like, it's, it's like, in a way, it makes sense. But in a lot of ways, we're just so far behind. Like, the concepts. And in a lot of ways, I'm not sure if people need to know the concepts. Because if, if the tech is so good, it shouldn't even be like, Oh, this is web three, it should be so seamless that we don't think like NF T's or NFT's or like, you don't need to know what blockchain is like, you shouldn't actually

Simon 45:39
yeah, I mean, you don't consciously sit there thinking, thank goodness for cloud technology that really enabled me to watch this Netflix series and have Spotify. You don't sit there thinking, Oh, my goodness, I'm so grateful that mobile came along, and maybe you do a little bit so that I can now have a new dongle with USBC like, you just got off. This app's really cool. I really enjoyed Angry Birds the first time I played it, and it's always that sort of everybody talks about the iPhone moment for things. But I think did what was clouds iPhone moment, you know, social what was it iPhone moment? Was it MySpace? Was it Facebook,

Helen 46:20
but the problem was web three is its it started off on a bad foot, if that makes sense. Like NF T's NF T's are great. Like if you think of the concept of NF T's, and like not just necessarily like a pitcher, like there's so much utility. But the marketing has been so bad that to now get like a different opinion on that. It's just so difficult. Oh, it's got

Simon 46:41
the worst branding in the world. This is it. And also it probably doesn't help that most of the richest, most successful people that did well, in the first run up all the most anti establishment people in the world, and good for them, you know, we need push people pushing back on the the establishment. But the problem is, they represent a very small minority of the human population. Most people most of the time, want to go about their job and do things that you know, they want to live their lives. They don't want to be. Yeah, I just want to get through today. I just want to get through tomorrow. And I've got these other priorities. I'm not thinking about the nature of financial infrastructure and how central banks around the world. That's not my primary concern. Right now, my primary concern is paying the bills and eating this evening, you know, it's a completely different set of concerns. And so to try and sell them on the old but central banks or a Ponzi scheme narrative, every time you probably shouldn't NFT everything has to be so web three. I'm going to decentralise all of the atoms and all of my body and we're not going to have any sort of pragmatic conversation about Yes, but where is all of the money? And why does regulation exist? And what do what was the intent? What problem was that intended to solve? What what are you cuz you're solving for humans. And it's weird how like, web three have this whole moment of like, really, really nice homepages with really crappy UX, once you got into the product. And then people built, you know, instant wallets, better wallets, but the problem is the infrastructure so early, it's like reusing a really great browser on the internet of like, 1991. And people are building

Helen 48:24
in, you know, I think the difference I guess in it with like, a lot of web three projects is like people are building an open space like web two, it's like, you when when it's finished, then you show that final product, but I think like web three takes that on its head and it's like we're building but we're also testing and we're doing this quite openly. But if you're from an outside perspective, if you're not in that space that then just looks like oh, this is shit like I'm just gonna move on.

Simon 48:47
Did you ever see like crossing the chasm? Right? There's that 2% of super early adopters 30% of innovators chasm, everybody else. And we're Bitcoin probably got to the innovators, you know, maybe even a third where you've got like that, but it never really crossed the chasm into the rest of humanity. What three probably didn't get past the 2% of innovators like God bless it, you know, it's still so so early in that world for it to cross the chasm. It has to be 10x Better than something else in their lives and it will find a way it will come bottom up and it will find something but who knows what it is,

Helen 49:27
if decentralise but to your point to your earlier point, if that's what people want, right? If decentralisation is actually what the chasm one like and I sometimes I don't know, because you'd like you said like, everyone's going to find a new government find a new way and it's necessary it needs to happen. It's going to happen. It's just life. But I don't know what that chasm wants and I think even people who work in my three years are trying to work out like is is that the way because equally Like for instance, I went to eath Barcelona and there was one talk which genuine I was like, I put my hand up to ask a question because I was like, this is like, like, people talking to people, if that makes sense. They were basically talking about this city. I can't remember it's called Zulu Zulu, or something like that, that they went to like Montenegro. And like, they basically created a city within a city. And they were like, just basically discussing it. And I just basically number ones, like, the digit sounds like colonialism, like you've just gone somewhere. You've, you've said, like, how can we make this land better? And like you've put up a flag? But to be honest with you, like everyone, you know, on the stage, were white people who probably, you know, didn't think about it that way. But I'm like, That's what I think when it comes to a lot of these, these processes. Like, they're not as diverse as you think. Because you tell me that, and that's the first thing I think of, whereas like, I don't think they were necessarily thinking like this were colonising.

Simon 50:49
Neither would the economy. So yeah, exactly. Cuz I was like, we're bringing enlightenment, have you heard of that? Like I would will living an

Helen 50:57
enlightenment other than serving you? How were people from Montenegro involved in this. And then they were talking about some like Montenegro day they had and it just sounded uncomfortable to me always. But it was just more just like, You guys went to Montenegro for three months to like, solve the world's problems. Not really sure the outcomes, but like, do you represent society? And also, even me as a British like, Nigerian? I'm even conscious of that sometimes where it's like, okay, I could go and live in Nigeria and like, solve Nigerian problems? Like, I'm sure we will have been trying to do that for 60 years. I have no, I'm not the brainchild they were waiting for. I'm not going to solve people's problems. So like, sometimes we think we know but we have no clue.

Simon 51:40
No, I come back to like, what's web three good app that things other things aren't as good at and it's anti fragile, like this thing would survive a nuclear war, Ethan, Bitcoin is just going to keep on trucking. And so in the age of where Sony hacks, target hacks, Equifax, there's no data I can trust Gen AI, is it creating intellectual property? We don't know, where did that intellectual property come from? We don't know. Wouldn't it be great to have an audit trail of every bit of data that we all agreed on? And wouldn't it be great if that audit trail was also programmable, and globally available instantly? To anybody in the world? That'd be really cool. And if it used cutting edge cryptography, that'd be great. Maybe Maybe this has us, maybe, maybe in a post, maybe in a post truth world, having some consensus around a set of facts, where people who don't really trust each other in a more polarised world can come to consensus about a base set of facts around some numbers, and a picture of a cat, like, picture of that cat really does belong to that one wallet. And we can all see that that's true. And because that picture of that cat does belong to that one wallet, maybe we could also send them a bouquet of flowers automatically, and they'll get free access to every Taylor Swift concert for the rest of their life.

Helen 53:01
But you've explained you've explained it without using any buzzwords.

Simon 53:06
Do you go I mean, that's my purpose in life.

Helen 53:09
No, but I think that's that's also it, right? So like, you could explain that to anyone. You can explain this. Like literally what you just said to someone in the street and someone would say, that sounds like a good idea. We should do that. Then you say like, it's crypto. It's web three. And people are like, Nah, don't mean and it's just I think, as even FinTech, FinTech, web three, everything has just a lot of words that could be cut out or not unnecessary. And like if you just cut them out and just speak to like, in normal language, and not make it seem like it's like this crazy new thing. People understand and people are on board. But yeah,

Simon 53:40
it's my purpose in life, like push past the jargon, and understand what it really means. I've always been kind of Nadi in the way I understand the world, I guess a bit like yourself, I saw it in something you said earlier, where you were describing something like classic from Plato, that like you, you, you build a map of the world as a system, and it just sort of makes sense to you. And you don't even know why. I've kind of got similar brain like, I don't know why it makes sense. It's obviously that isn't it? And then I hear all this jargon. And I'm like, okay, you've just put all of this jargon around it, but you go, it's just that. We just say that. And then it turns out that like, that's actually a really useful skill. If you just sit and explain it in the way that's like, just make sense to you rather than you. And you just ignore the jargon. You can do two things. One, you can find the people who like the jargon and say, though all that jargon to them and be like, Oh, you like these words, I'm gonna give them to you. And they're like, Oh my God, you're such an expert in this. And then you go around to the other people and you explain it in like normal words, and they go oh, my God, you're such an expert in this and you know, it's just it was that when I did it think that the ability to look past jargon is something that most of the species likes. It's something that is really powerful as a translation tool. But that can be learned as well. Like I've seen a lot of people take it on, and then you can then start to see value and things. And I think it requires some intellectual honesty as well to be able to recognise the pros and cons of web three and to recognise that 99% of it is absolutely scam filled, riddled with horrors. And yeah,

Helen 55:20
yeah. I think that people who like don't like who can look past jargon, but also people who can basically say, like, when they don't understand something, I think I think I think it's, you know, when you're in a room and like, you can ask a question, or you can just say, like, I literally have no. Yeah, I think that I think that's the only difference, right? And like, it's hard to say like, I have no clue because you don't you don't assume like the stupid person. But like, that's, I feel like that's pretty much it. What's

Simon 55:47
that acronym mean? Yeah, that was my 20. Hand up. What's that acronym mean? And I meet people I know that stole a job and build an acronym database. And then they share it around like, it's incredible. And I get it. Like, in software engineering, there's this thing called regular expressions. I don't know if you've ever seen these things. Oh, my God, they break my brain. And software engineers absolutely love this stuff. It looks like the kind of math sign Stein does on a wall. Like it's just, it's just codes and numbers, and I can't get my head around it. So I just had to ask what each one of them was. And you put a lot of regular expressions together and a software developer go, Oh, that's beautiful. And I'll go I've no clue, quickly learn that software engineering is not my skill set. But with the jargon language of the business, I don't wish sort of get it. And I could make sense of it. So you early in my career, I'm forced to like ask this question and VAT in the room for my actual job, which is software engineering, but I'm picking up this other jargon and having sense for it. And I think that's true of all of us. There are some things that just come to us. And there are some things that definitely don't. But I remember, I also worked at a company again, in my mid 20s. And it was the girl I was dating at the time, who also worked in the same company pointed out how one guy in that one office would always go, Ah, I'm really bad at this. Can anybody help me, and everybody really liked that person. And because they were obviously really good at what they did, they were obviously really good at their job, but they just wanted to help him. And I was like, Oh, my God. Wow, like that counterintuitive. If you just go, I'm bad at this, can somebody help? They will help you, you don't get shunned and thrown away. You don't have to be embarrassing.

Helen 57:39
It feels like you do that.

It feels like someone's writing a book about like, how silly you are like, or, like, you know, I mean, if that's how it feels like, tell people that I don't know this thing, then everyone's gonna think I don't know. Like, I'm stupid. I think that's definitely like, sometimes my thought process is like, impostor syndrome, right? You're like, I'm stupid. Like, I don't know, this, I should, I should now go in a corner by myself and learn this thing that I don't know, and not ask for help. Until I've worked it out, then use someone else to verify that, like, whatever it is, is correct.

Simon 58:11
The Cycle Time on learning when you publish a blog, and people on the internet want you to be wrong, is incredibly fast. But it's also it's also like, a great humility, builder, and a great filter builder. So you one, people will come to you and correct you when you are wrong, which is phenomenal, because you're learning and you're getting better. But to you start to build a idea of like, who always thinks you're wrong, no matter what you say. Or, and I think it's early on your fear of being wrong is not going to tell the difference between those two things. Because some of it is done with negative intent to show themselves as being successful or capable. And some of it is done with like, genuine positive intent to be like, Hey, man, you got this wrong, you know?

Helen 59:01
Yeah, yeah. But like, it's kind of goes back to the sort of misinformation thing, right. It's like it doesn't if someone doesn't like you, they're not going to go out of their way to agree with you. And like that has gotten worse in politics and in most like Western countries, like it's not even about whether I agree with the specific thing you're talking about. It's just like, fundamentally, I dislike you and what you represent. So I'm not even gonna listen

Simon 59:25
just hearing that sentence hurt me like I just like the way that that Fred was was very is fundamentally I dislike you.

Helen 59:34
I like you, but um, I do have a random I do have a random like question to ask that like is related to like the web three thing though. In this so like, I'm just now just this whole time has just been like my gender generally I'm just interested in the things you have to say. But anyways, if there was like, like a great deletion right, like so I think that's the you know, you said Greg three title. Great deletion. Yeah.

Simon 1:00:00
That would be a great book title. What a novel that would be. Yeah, let's write

Helen 1:00:03
it. But yeah, like if there was because you said like web three, the thing about it is like it's on chain. It's never going anywhere. But in this like imaginary world, everything gets deleted. Like, we all have phones, but like everything on the internet no longer exists, right? They're just like some massive file, some, some massive thing happens. And there's just no data. No data anywhere on your laptops on your phones, like, what then do you do right like it? I don't know what even really know what my question is, at this point. It's just like, like, what do we do? I guess?

Simon 1:00:35
This is where the Bitcoin a survivalist is absolutely fine, because they've stored everything local in physical copies, they've got loads of gold, they've got guns, they've got tinned food. Like if, if we were ever at a point in which basic utilities broke down to such a level, chances of you actually having food in a month are very, very limited. So it the the the level of infrastructure these companies have around their data centres is incredible. The last mile is a different thing. But the scale of that hack, and the redundancy you'd have to do is beyond incredible. I did at one point work in a data centre that ran the mainframe for a lot of banks. And I didn't realise the level of military planning that went into that place. Like it was a it was a national strategic area of interest. There was an army base about 10 miles away, that constantly had radar scanning, and one of the things it was looking at, and keeping his eye on was this thing that designed it so that you couldn't drive truck bombs into it. They had four on site backup generators, they were connected to four different power stations, like this thing was had reinforced concrete that went a mile into the ground. Like, what you don't know this stuff exists until you go see it for yourself, and you happen to work somewhere like that, like, do you ever see that scene in a do I don't know if you ever watch the movie Golden Eye. With Pierce Brosnan, it's Bond movie. And there's a scene where they're launching a nuclear missile. And two people have to plug in keys are the opposite sides of the room. So somebody with long arms obviously couldn't do it. And then they have to twist them at the exact same time, the amount of stuff like that, that they had for various like checkpoints to get through this building. Absolutely incredible. So I guess what I'm saying is the odds of a great deletion is somewhat limited. The odds though, of stuff you really care about being deleted forever. Definitely possible speak to anybody who had a PlayStation three, who had a Nintendo Wii U, speak to anybody who had the short lived Sony Movie service that bought films through it, or that had things through that subscription. If you bought video games online on those platforms, guess what? You no longer own that?

Helen 1:02:58
Yeah, or I think, or even like, I don't know, anyone who hasn't had Okay, no, well, I remember having an iPhone and just like be not wanting to back it up, not wanting to back it up, not wanting to back it off. And then like literally like two three years of data just like being deleted, and then just sort of being like, that was stupid. Like, why did why did I not have that backed up? And then obviously, that happens once you never do it again, like just pay for the backup or sorted out. But yeah, it definitely happens.

Simon 1:03:25
And that generational like leap of stuff you care about not being available is like inconvenient to a person. It's a problem for a company. It's probably law breaking for a company could expose them to GDPR violations, data protection violations, information retention violations. So that the the resilience and the consistency of having this global network and this audit trail and being able to store in multiple places. One of the things that Estonia does is it uses its gold time network. And it's a residency programme, essentially, it's an auditor of individuals data, and their design philosophy for the Estonian residency programme. And the reason they can make it International was it was an inevitable consequence that one day they might face the threat of invasion, because of their geography. So they needed to be able to continue to exist as a nation digitally when that landmass was not available to them. And sort of like that's an interesting way to think about statehood, personhood, nationality, and the way the world could play out.

Helen 1:04:36
Yeah, but I think, you know, I've not worked for a government, but I did work for the UN for a bit. And like, when I looked at when the systems we were using were like from like, late, late 90s, like 1990s. I mean, they were not good. And I think a lot of governments don't have as advanced systems as you think they literally are using. Like,

Simon 1:04:55
I know Estonia is an exception. Oh, hon. I mean, yeah, I want to see The stuff that would make your eyes bleed, go go will see behind the curtain of any government department in any country. It's it's it's just people scrambling with bits of paper and hoping for the best. Yeah, mainframes it. And then yeah, as you say as you get into the global South, it's that type 200. It's a if there's a filing cabinet, you're lucky Yeah. And

Helen 1:05:23
it's in Mr. roat. So and Mr. Robot, I don't know if you've ever watched it, but it's really good. I mean, it got a bit silly in the end. But that does happen, right? Like, well, he hacks, banks, and then and then his, and he gets rid of old debt. So there's just no data on like, who's rich or his war poor, and who owns who owes anything. But that just like basically becomes the catalyst of using like crypto and web three as like a main form of like finance. So it doesn't necessarily like change anything in the end, it just kind of like, like, makes that acceleration faster.

Simon 1:05:57
The interesting thing about crypto and web three is it's actually its first incarnation, been far from utopian and being brutally capitalist, and brutally driven by power laws and brutally driven by exploitation. So the assumption that web three equals utopia, I think, is extremely naive. Because the problem is always humans. And the problem is always information asymmetry. And information asymmetry, when we have a perfect record of transactions is still a problem. Because I might know more about the technology, I might know more about the context surrounding this trade, and the human people involved. And therefore, this is a bad thing, not a good thing. So I can bet against the market and suck them all in. So like humans, incentives are typically driven by finance and finance is the incentive mechanism for the species and the entire economy. So we have to understand and design these things as incentive machines, if we want to create different outcomes for people. And that's extremely difficult to do. Like it's extremely hard to do. So you start having to think about game theory, which actually weirdly, Bitcoin did do is probably one of the No theorems some extent. But it's one of the few that really thought through the game theory of what it was doing. And that's why it uses so much power because it's so ardent on its game theory, prisoner's dilemma of how this network would continue to be resisted and resilient and continue running.

Helen 1:07:32
But I question like,

I'm gonna let you go soon, because I realised like, it's been like over an hour, but I do question just, I do question the gamification of everything. Because like, right now, right, we gamify like fitness, we gamified dating, we gamify like, everything in our lives, basically, like, we're gamifying. And in theory, it sounds like great, right? Like, you know, you can't sit you know, because people wouldn't meet the love of their life if it wasn't for like, gamifying dating and, and so there are these aspects, you know, that it's not necessarily a bad thing. And same with fitness and stuff like that. But also like, some like, it's kind of like we no longer can just do things for the sake of doing it. Because it's the right thing to do.

Simon 1:08:11
It removes a sense of agency. It does, it's like, but the assumption that we were acting as independent agents may have been a naive one anyway, we were always being manipulated. On some level, it's just the manipulation has turned into a form of product design, rather than a form of marketing. Like it all, or a form of government or a form of something else, like manipulation is not unique to our generation. The gamification is one form of manipulation, but it's, it's, I think, well intentioned benevolence, self manipulation is not a bad thing. It's the I think the thing you're pointing out is interesting, which is Yeah, but when do I get to unplug and be a bit Buddhist and just kind of like, become one with the universe again, and just wander through my life without, without the sense of being gamed and being manipulated? I think that's a choice.

Helen 1:09:02
We just everything feels unreal, if you think of, like endless if we talk about FinTech, you know, it's great, like how easy and accessible most like FinTech apps and stuff are I'm not I'm not saying that I want to go back to like, I mean, obviously, I still have like, my normal banks, but like, I'm just saying, like, I'm not saying that's bad. But there isn't that much of a difference between that and a game. Like my niece has a go Henry card, which I think are great. And like it's great. She does her little tasks, and she gets like money. And, and she needs that because there's there's generally no point giving a 12 year old physical cash, because they don't understand physical cash as they shouldn't there's like, why would she put that what does she do with that? But at the same time, it's like, there isn't that much difference between what that looks like in the interface and like, a literal game or gambling or like, you know, the negative sides of these things that we see because they all they all look like a game like like, what is money like? I don't know, being very nihilistic.

Simon 1:09:58
I think I think the differences in The difference is intention. So, Warren Buffett said the hardest thing to do in becoming successful is managing emotions. The the way to be successful is not difficult in financial markets. It's dollar cost average on an index and keep doing it. And don't stop and ignore the price. Simple as that. Compounding is amazing. Just sit there and compound and don't stop. And yet how many people don't do it? How many people Detroit how many people get it wrong. So if you design a game, to follow Warren Buffett's advice that is, to my mind, somewhat benevolent, and a good thing, if you design a game to get people to open loot boxes, and to gamble and to day trade, that is a bad thing. So intention matters when you're using this, this tool, this technique. And unfortunately, because there are commercial interests in either direction, there's no way to enforce benevolence of design in game design. Game design is simply the tool, it's the hammer, the hammer can be a weapon, or it can be a tool to build a house. Like, I think it's hard to blame the tool of gamification itself.

Helen 1:11:09
Well, I, if we look at like dating, like, let's take, like, I think, like finances is a very, like, obvious one with where you've got like pros and cons, right? But if you look at like dating and like apps, they're great. Like I said, people, that to be honest, that's the main way people meet people. But at the same time, there is this element that you could say, like, depending on what app it is, everything is so easy. Everything is so quick to get, like, once you find a guy or girl or whatever you like, yeah, it becomes transactional, it becomes like, there's always something else you could get. And I think mentally, I think that's done some things to this generation,

Simon 1:11:49
it becomes transactional, it becomes I don't disagree, I don't disagree. I look at where I've been successful in relationships. And it's always been non related to that stuff, good for people for whom that's not the case. But I do think your your warnings are well taken. And well. And it's an argument well made, because the there is something about the ability to play to strengths that are not obvious through the app, and through the game. That is the resolution of the human, it's much more high bit rate. Whereas the compression algorithm of those apps is compressing you down to these small data points to to create the game. Whereas the best games create infinite richness with a simple set of building blocks. And they want you to

Helen 1:12:47
continue to be on the game. So they you know, they've got they've built things in there as they should. That's the aim. But I think it's just yeah, it's just even how people see relationships. So like, I have, maybe this is a lot of like, male friends, but it's like, I don't know, sometimes when people break up with people, they actually spend enough time like just like processing that these days. I'm saying like, because it's like, like, just go on an app and find someone else. Oh,

Simon 1:13:08
dear God, no, because you can just go next year. Yeah, completely. And also how emotionally how emotionally invested as each party and how much how emotionally invested did each policy think the other policy was? That's that's always the interesting question going on. I'm, my wife is, interestingly, the easiest mode person on earth in that she will be brutal about her intentions in every interaction. I call it the velvet sledgehammer, because if you look at it, she's very gentle, very soft, very softly spoken, but she'll come out and say, so I'm looking for this. And I'd like that, and I'm interested in you because you hear that. Okay. Thank you. Very nice to meet you. Like, wow, like really pleasant interaction. Can't be mad at her. But it's just well, because that wishes is done there is I think, even in it, she does it regularly in a professional context, is try and figure out filter in a way that the previous filter that was supposed to be the filter. Yeah, hasn't succeeded. So it's now it's like, okay, these are the last bits of the questionnaire that we didn't get through. Yeah. Yeah. So now it's like, Okay, now we can have a conversation and it's worth me actually investing some effort. But the level of self confidence and self esteem that takes is so much higher when you're sitting there in person, and that's, that's something I admire about her endlessly is just, it's bulletproof. That sort of stuff. So yeah, I'm a lucky man. God bless.

Helen 1:14:41
I realised we're at an hour 15 I'm gonna just ask you a couple just to end I'm just gonna ask you like I'm gonna go through a quick fire.

Simon 1:14:51
Fire quickly. Okay, so

Helen 1:14:52
would you rather smell like onions but not be aware of it or always smell onions that no one can smell?

Simon 1:15:03
you know I can always have a nose clip so I'm gonna go always be at smell them. The olfactory senses can be trained and you grow numb to smells that you are consistently surrounded by. People can't smoulder and mock love as my mom used to say.

Helen 1:15:19
Would you rather sweat maple syrup or cry lemon juice?

Simon 1:15:23
Oh, sweet maple syrup? Hell yeah. I mean, it'd be a bit sticky in summer, actually, who has been crying acid? does sound like the worst of the two.

Helen 1:15:35
Would you rather have your Google Search History broadcasted on national television? Or be trapped in a room with every spider you've ever killed?

Simon 1:15:44
I mean, obviously, the spider one because spiders are chill, like, I'm good with them. But the Google one like, you know, like fine. People saw were kinks. I was into my team. That's fine. We're all learning. I think ultimately, if the world figured that out, I'm just I'm just gonna keep on truckin. I'm not a politician. So

Helen 1:16:06
would you rather have permanent clown makeup on your face? Or wear a tutu every day for the rest of your life?

Simon 1:16:12
I hate having stuff on my face. I'll go to Yeah, and you'll go to like, Oh my God. You know what, like, legit tried to offer gender neutral toys. Goes for the two two loves it. I love. I don't know if this is something socially reinforced by school or grandparents or anything. Just drawn to her credit. Like it's twinkly. I don't know. I'll give it that. Just Yeah, seems really, really happy to try to get it off. However, that is a whole other boat.

Helen 1:16:42
Would you rather have to sing? Rather than speak every word for the rest of your life? Or dance everywhere you

Simon 1:16:48
guys. If I could dance, I would dance everywhere we go. But because I I have all of the left feet. Yeah, just sing everything, I think improve all of my podcast appearances, frankly. But me again. I can't really sing. No, I can imagine that you've done alright, sing now. It's I'm all baritone. It works better for speaking. I can't. Once I get out of this vocal range. It's not good. Let me tell you.

Helen 1:17:12
Yeah. I mean, you do have like the perfect podcast voice. So like,

Simon 1:17:17
thank you is very good.

Helen 1:17:19
Would you rather have to navigate a blockchain needs to achieve your last crypto will be stuck in a never ending capture loop for your internet banking.

Simon 1:17:30
A never ending capture loop. Just sounds like some kind of weird punishment because it's never ending. So I never get to my money. So therefore, I'd rather do the blockchain thing because it's assuming it's solvable. Yeah, I

Helen 1:17:44
guess it would be solvable.

Simon 1:17:46
I don't think that was the intention of the question. But

Helen 1:17:50
would you rather be compelled to high five everyone you make eye contact with or required to do cartwheels, as your only mode of transportation?

Simon 1:17:59
If I could do a cartwheel successfully? I would obviously do that. Because I mean, I'm naturally No, I'm a bit of a recluse and sometimes accidentally make eye contact. And, you know, somebody wants a whole conversation I got I really need a week, you know, like, just let me go. Right? So yeah, saying like, and I suppose people who walk around doing like random happy High Fives 105. We're doing a high five Pi. Great for you. Good on you. But go away like to uncover and I'm gonna pretend to be nice to you. But also, I don't want to be a big so please leave me alone. Please leave me alone. Please leave me alone. Oh, there's this

Helen 1:18:43
girl. She she puts a water bottle on her head and walks around. I think Melbourne. And just like just does that like, that's her thing. But then people get really angry. And she said people have literally tried to like, hit it off her head and all this stuff. And it's like cheap, unnecessary

Simon 1:18:59
stuff. Just like I mean, this is my philosophy you do you so long as I don't have to get involved necessarily. Or it's like I want to opt in to that I don't want to be have some social pressure to be to conform. Like generally peer pressure just really irritates me.

Helen 1:19:18
Would you rather always have to pay for things using one p coins or every transaction? From now on? solely through bartering

Simon 1:19:26
or one Pete Goins boss is hard. Boss is hard. I just Yeah, screw it. Yeah. Like how many chickens is a cat worth? How many books do I need to? Yeah,

Helen 1:19:40
I think I think I'd be alright with that. I think I would choose that. I think it'd be fun.

Simon 1:19:43
Be fun for a week and then you're just bartering over a tennis shoe cuz you're hungry. No,

Helen 1:19:52
yeah. But it's just you know, it's a different economy. Do you know I mean, like, do you need do you need a printer? I can make a cake. That's what you Okay,

Simon 1:20:01
so the issue is I'm not good at most things except having opinions on fintech. So would you like some opinions on fintech? No. Oh, I guess I don't eat today.

Helen 1:20:10
I guess I guess I gotta get creative. Okay, thank you so much Simon for coming out. This is this was actually fascinating. I thought I could talk to you all the time. And they're like, I need you like to just like, tell me like the truths of life. Every now and again.

Simon 1:20:26
I think I've need you to bring that truth bomb into my life and reflect it all back and stimulate this conversation. You're an amazing host. Thank you for having me.

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