Every once in a while a book comes around that completely captivates us and leaves us with more questions than answers.
When we discovered “The Price of Tomorrow” by Jeff Booth, we knew we needed to hear more from the man who wrote it.
Jeff is a Canadian-based entrepreneur who has built and invested in numerous companies, including BuildDirect, which he helped grow to $220 Million dollars in annual revenue.
We were absolutely taken by the ideas he presented in his book, as well as Jeff’s perspective on the future of the global economy.
Jeff joins us on today’s podcast for what turned out to be an incredibly prescient conversation about the global financial system, inflation and deflation, technology, and so much more.
Listen to this week’s show and learn:
- How technology creates abundance. (7:08)
- The problem that comes with printing more money. (17:39)
- The ways that technology can lead to wealth disparities. (24:30)
- Jeff’s philosophies on self-improvement and “the sign on your forehead”. (38:57)
- Why Jeff believes the biggest problem our planet faces is growth at all costs. (53:43)
Mentioned in the episode:
Before the Exit – Our New Book
Partner With Us
The Dynamite Circle
Tropical MBA on YouTube
Post a Remote Job
How to Build a Portable Podcast Studio
The Price of Tomorrow by Jeff Booth
The Greatest Game
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Dan & Ian
Dan: Happy Thursday morning, it’s the end of the day. I just put in all the audio and things for today’s episode. It’s just the evening before this is about to go live. Ian and I had an all-day long strategy meeting talking about the future and stuff. And I just flip on the news and see these surreal scenes of protesters mobbing the American Capitol. And I want to point out Ian and I have a little introduction that we recorded earlier today. And this conversation is so very topical to these kinds of tensions that are not only happening in America but globally right now. And today’s author and guest suggested that the reason he took so much time out of his busy schedule to write this book was because of stuff like this, in part. And what’s cool about it is, it’s not political, he points to what he sees as the fundamental circumstance that’s leading to these sorts of tensions. And importantly, what we can do as entrepreneurs to help take on some of these challenges and perhaps, you know, even move things in a more positive direction for society in general. So I hope that you’ll stick around for today’s incredibly insightful guests and the relevant conversation just wanted to drop in to say, yeah, I saw this stuff, and I’m like, I’m glad we’re airing this show today. So thanks for joining us. Ian and I are going to do a brief intro and then we’ll get the interview rolling.
Happy Thursday morning. Welcome back to the pod, everybody. Welcome back to the pod Ian, how are you doing?
Ian: Good, we’re in the same room, what’s with that?
Dan: It’s fantastic. We’re pulling out the old. I gotta say, if you type in ‘portable podcast studio’ into Google, we have a decent ranking. And still, one of the most popular posts we’ve ever written. The technology we’re doing to bring this podcast to your day is something you can go onto Amazon tonight. You can purchase and you can start putting out your message, whether it’s your company’s message, something you believe in, just something you’re interested in. It’s just so cool that we can be here having a radio show. I think it’s totally amazing.
Ian: And relatively inexpensive.
Dan: Yeah, we have a mutual friend who’s going to start dictating, audiobooks and creating voiceover work and stuff. And this whole platform can do it pretty easily. So check that out, portable podcast studio, little pimp-ski for the TMBA, Tropicalmba dot com website, where you can go sign up for our newsletter, we send that out weekly. lets you know everything that’s going on. Below the blog here, of course, Dynamite Circle, Dynamite Jobs, and the TMBA podcast. Ian, how’s your new year been so far?
Ian: Yeah, it’s been nice. It’s good having you in Austin here and I just gotta say, we’re ramping pretty hard over at Dynamite Jobs so I’m excited about that. A couple of observations. One, we all took like a week and a half off basically.
Dan: Ramping because when you said ramping I was thinking about the lbs, I was thinking about my waistline. All we did over the break was to eat cherry pie and hang around.
Ian: I’m ramping down there, luckily. But the team took about a week and a half off from Christmas to NY. I thought that was pretty nice. I didn’t really look at my stuff that much, I don’t know if you did. And I feel very recharged. I think our team is too just for talking to people. I thought it was cool too also how few people contacted us during that time over at Dynamite Jobs and whatnot. Just to say like, maybe Americans have finally caught on to the concept of vacation. I don’t know if that’s true or not. But I remember when we were younger. Like I actually remember doing work during this time. And then I also remember like other people expecting work from me. And it didn’t really seem like that this year, so hopefully Americans have kinda caught on.
Dan: I think vacations and stuff have always been industry and culturally specific. But there does seem to be something about internet culture, where we’re all collectively getting into this idea that like, hey, from like the 23rd to the first, we’re just done-ski. We’re okay, we don’t need to see your vacation autoresponder. This is something we all do together. Because, you know, working on the internet’s a lot about having leverage, having feedback loops, working instantaneously. And you’re just not getting a lot of that from the 23rd to the first. So that’s pretty cool. In this case to the fourth. So yeah, I agree with you, Bossman, I feel totally recharged. The phone board, so to speak, virtually has been lit up. It’s been fun to open up Slack every morning and see new customers at the DC, at dynamite jobs. There’s plenty to do. We’re having phone calls all day long. It’s been a really fun January so far.
Talking about the bright future that we’re building, we’ve been having a strategy meeting all day long, Ian, some wacky ideas have come into the room, thinking about the future of remote organizations, the future of hiring, and you said, I’m gonna blow up your philosophical spot. We were on a partner call today with a venture-backed startup. And you said, ‘Hey, here’s the reality guys, if you guys are building the company, you’re building right now, three to four to five years from now it’s gonna have half the staff it has right now’. And there’s a decompression effect that all of us are working towards whether, you know, that’s something that’s politically cool or not. The reality is, technology puts a deflationary effect on the number of jobs classically, you know, considered ‘jobs’ that we need. That’s essentially the cultural backdrop under which today’s guest comes on to the pod. Ian, as you know, I was very excited to get this year kicked off with an author I spoke with just a few days about. one of the most stimulating books that I’ve read in a very long time. It’s called ‘The Price of Tomorrow, Why Deflation is the Key to an Abundant Future’.
The author’s name is Jeff Booth, and he’s a Canadian entrepreneur, who has built and invested in numerous companies, the best known of which he is probably called, it’s called build direct, which he helped grow to a staggering $220 million in revenue. But the reality as you’re going to all hear is that Jeff is a total thoughtful polymath. So let’s go into the conversation and we’ll zoom back at the end to make some comments. But the conversation basically fell into two different sections. The second half was much more focused on Jeff’s personal ethos, which I thought was really interesting, but we kicked off this discussion by asking Jeff to describe what lies at the core of, ‘The Price of Tomorrow’.
Dan: I want to start the discussion of the book by just reading a tweet you wrote that you’ve pinned, you said, ‘We are told we need inflation. This is not true. It only seems true. Because the rules of the game were designed that way’, what game and what rules, lay it out for us?
Jeff: I’m a technology entrepreneur. And what I do in a whole bunch of different companies is to see opportunities with technology to provide way better value to society. You’re not successful as an entrepreneur unless it wins by serving somebody else’s needs. So the entrepreneurial process, you only win, there’s a whole bunch of other people competing for a market, and you only win when you serve somebody else’s needs better than that. And with technology, what you’re able to do is create crazy abundance, so one of my companies started 18 months ago, it was zero revenue 18 months ago, it’s 10 million a month right now. So once you understand how to construct technology companies, where the opportunities are, and how to build gamification into it, and hope there are crazy opportunities. And those opportunities should be deflationary. In other words, don’t create a company, I don’t work with any company that doesn’t provide abundance to humanity, right, that doesn’t make things better. And you make things better by using technology.
Dan: Do you want to say the name of the company?
Jeff: That company is called Knock knock. It’s in Southeast Asia. But there’s many more. People could look up my personal website, Jeffrey Booth dot com if they want to. But it’s not about me, this isn’t about me. This is more about there’s a bunch of technology that creates this abundance, we use it everywhere. CEOs, founders of companies go and create technology companies to provide value. And what that means is they’re not adding technology to make prices go up.
Dan: You said a few things that might be worth digging a little deeper, which is you said ‘abundance’ and ‘make things better’? And I think there’s a lot of people that would just say, Whoa, wait a second, that’s I don’t necessarily agree with that just yet. What do we mean by abundance? And better?
Jeff: Let’s go to the thesis first, and then we’ll go back back to that because I think it’s really critical.
Jeff: I’ll give an example of your question. Kodak for years had a business where they sold us film. It was a huge business. And that film business, we took a limited amount of photos, because the film was so expensive, and we lost photos, and those photos got damaged, and everything else or overtime they disintegrated. But it was a really great business. And Kodak invented the digital camera. And, and Kodak isn’t a business anymore. Why? Because they were married to their old business. Today, we have an abundance of photos And you can prove to choose which ones you want in different businesses have emerged to be able to capture that value differently. And for you, it’s free. You don’t buy a camera anymore. The camera on your iPhone is such an incredible camera compared to what happened before. And it’s free, and it’s abundant. This is one example of what I’m talking about because the technology is driving. As you get abundance, as you get more and more it’s hard to price those things, pricing comes down. So that’s the central thesis of the book. What was happening is -, I was looking and I said if technology is moving this fast, and it’s exponentially moving. We’ll get into that in a second. But it’s exponentially moving this fast. Shouldn’t prices be coming down everywhere like crazy? Shouldn’t we be getting more for less on an exponential scale? And I wanted to investigate why that wasn’t happening. Because it should be if more of the world is moving on to technology, and prices should be coming down logically along that curve. And what I found is first, on the other side of the ledger, an inflationary monetary system needs prices to constantly go up to remain viable. Then I looked and said, ‘Okay, how much debt is there in the world?’
Dan: Why does the balance sheet require inflation to stay to work?
Jeff: So this entire system is based on credit. So inflation and deflation, two simple constructs, inflation is when the value of your money goes down over time. So goods and services cost more in relation to your money. That’s what inflation is. Yet a whole bunch of people have been brainwashed to think that’s a good thing, unilaterally we need inflation. It is not a good or bad thing. It’s good for some things. Inflation is good if you have assets, if you have a house that goes up in value by that inflation rate, then if you so if you have the assets, they there they go up in relation to the inflation rate. If you don’t, you get crushed. So different winners, different losers, not good or bad. So inflation creates that system. If you don’t have assets, what inflation is saying to you is your wages are going down over time. And over and over again. That’s what it is. Deflation is the opposite of that. Deflation, as is my money, is getting or is being worth more, and goods and services are going down in relation to my money.
So any normal person would think deflation is a pretty good thing, in your own life, wouldn’t you want it? I want things to get cheaper, I want them to get more abundant, that should be a really good thing. Yet, we live in a society, a financial and monetary system that collapses unless it has more inflation. That’s what’s happening today. And that’s what’s so hard to see. You have two systems colliding against each other. You have an inflationary monetary system that we’ve always grown up with, we don’t even question anymore colliding against technology that’s trying to make things cheaper, faster.
Dan: And so the idea, you know, just to clarify as because there’s so much credit involved in our system, that’s why we need to continue the upward inflationary trend in order to pay back the loans.
Jeff: Exactly., if you move into deflation, then the credit explodes in real terms, you can never pay it back. The only way you can pay it back is if you inflate it away and make the dollars that you’re gonna pay it back with worth way less.
Dan: So you’ve identified this rift, and there’s probably a bunch of bubbles along the rift, you know that the deflationary effect of technology plus like this momentum we’ve had since World War Two or whatever, and as a global economy. Where do you see those bubbles? Because there has been this narrative over the years, that’s sort of like, ‘Well, it’s okay to loan more. Because the technologies are going to be so profound that they’re going to create so much wealth that the loans will continue to be able to pay back at higher magnitudes’. Why doesn’t that story work? I’ve been rolling with a story for like 10 years in my head.
Jeff: So everybody says the same thing. But if you investigate this from a first principle basis, where: what are the facts, if technology reduces labor, if technology provides abundance, it’s deflationary. Technology produces efficiencies, which is deflationary. New technology doesn’t solve that problem. it amplifies the problem. That’s what’s the problem. Again, going back to what I was saying before, so now you have $250 trillion of debt on an $80 trillion global economy. And just for context, because these numbers are thrown around, and they sound so outrageous, that we don’t really dig into it. One trillion dollars in seconds is 31,710 years. So when governments are saying, ‘We’re going to make up new money, of 10s of trillions of dollars’, think about what that means, if you tried to pay back debt at $1 a second what that means. There’s no way that that debt can ever be repaid. So you have to have 250 trillion over an $80 trillion global economy. But let’s just stop there and argue for a moment. What if I didn’t see something? What if I made was making mistake in calculation or my thesis said, ‘There’s a new industry, space race, something else that could create a massive new employment, that wave way more employment, that you were losing with rest of the technology going the other way that could keep this game going and pay back this debt?’ So let’s just make that assumption. Maybe that’s out there somewhere.
So I looked deeper, and what I realized is, $250 trillion over an $80 trillion economy before COVID was a big number, but maybe a new industry, something else could come in and change management. But then when I look even deeper, I realize $185 trillion of the debt of the new debt of the 250 trillion came within the last 20 years. So it’s just a Ponzi scheme. It’s just more and more debt being piled on to drive prices higher and higher. With all of the populations all over the world as the victims, some people, if your asset owners, your winners, most people that don’t have those assets are victims of that policy all over the globe. Because you’re making up money, you’re distorting price signals and everything else. And when you do that, the next step is pretty logical with socialism and us versus them and people hating each other and blaming the rich or blaming other countries for their misery China or something else.
But it’s a game that’s being played worldwide. And all of the people downstream don’t know what’s going on. You’re measuring your life from the old system. If you can’t get a house, and you can’t feed your family, because food and housing is going up. You’re looking for somebody to blame. It’s endemic in the system, that if you stopped printing money right now, asset prices would collapse by 90%. All the banks would fail, governments would fail. That’s what would happen. It would completely collapse if he stopped printing money. So you can expect more printing. But what’s the problem with more printing? It removes the free market entirely. It gives all control to the government. So technology creates great abundance, and that is deflationary. That efficiency and abundance is deflationary up against a system that won’t allow that to happen. No actor in the existing system can change that. And you know, from the book, I talk a lot about this principle, and in business, you see it all the time, and ‘Blockbusters’ is a good example, ‘Blockbuster’ – 9000 stores, and then what changed, all that changed was download speed. They didn’t forecast how fast technology was changing, and download speeds that took downloading a movie in two weeks went to downloading a movie in a minute. And all of a sudden, ‘Blockbuster’ didn’t have the advantage anymore. Netflix had the advantage because you can download movies anytime. And so what did Blockbuster do? They put candy aisles in their stores. And that’s the same example on Kodak. It’s the same example. And anytime there’s a shift this great in tech in technology that’s happening, that the response from the existing system is pretty, pretty normal. And the problem is today, the response to what we’re measuring is all our own businesses kind of down below this. And the great game is happening on the International Monetary System.
Dan: You’re not incentivized to see this necessarily because you’ve done so well by owning assets in the system. What were the aberrations that got you starting to see this new alternative narrative?
Jeff: And I think that’s what .. so what does an entrepreneur do? What is an entrepreneur … I don’t want to call myself this type of entrepreneur? It’s totally ego. But what is an entrepreneur?
Dan: It’s okay to have a little ego, Jeff.
Jeff: What does an entrepreneur that changes the world do? They see something that nobody else saw? And they go after it with conviction. And Steve Jobs was one of those. Elon Musk is one of those. And a lot of those people are ridiculed early on. In all the businesses, I could see what was happening because you’re constructing these businesses to take advantage of this. ‘Build Direct’, that company, it took two and a half years and $5 million of investment to build the technology of the first layer. Shopify provides that technology today, way better than that first thing that we built for $50 a month. So you can see it, you can see it all around us. You should see prices falling everywhere. So why aren’t they and being curious enough, curious enough to really look at Why they weren’t realising they’re just being manipulated higher? It is not capitalism anymore. It’s crony capitalism. And it’s causing a whole bunch of problems.
Dan: One of the fascinating things you mentioned, like sort of the social contract, you fell to write the book, in part, because I was actually shocked when you drew a lot of parallels to social unrest directly to this issue. And it’s something we’ve all been kind of vaguely feeling and seen more of, and can you help us to see that connection that you drew in the book.
Jeff: So does anybody that’s listening to the show right now believe that commercial real estate should be higher than it was pre-COVID? Just ask yourself a logical question. Nobody’s in the commercial real estate, buildings down downtown Vancouver, empty 70% because people don’t want to use the elevators. So should those assets be higher than they were before COVID right now, logically, you would say? No, they should have had a price correction. Why are they higher? Because if they had a price correction at the level that we need price correction should have happened, you would have had a deflationary spiral, and banks would have failed. So you push those asset prices up higher. And then a whole bunch of people who can’t afford those businesses or anything else get punished by the same pushing up those asset prices and get mad and they can’t put their finger on it either. There’s a whole bunch of winners out there that don’t know why they’re winners. They’re not bad people, I’m friends with lots of them. They just don’t know why. Because they’re not realising that the money is being manipulated under it as well.
And then there’s a whole bunch of losers out of that equation, that are seeing prices going up higher and higher. And I use commercial real estate as an example, the same thing is true in residential real estate, same thing is true in food and everything else. There’s a whole bunch of people that are losers out of that equation, they’re getting evicted, they’re hitting the street, something doesn’t feel fair to them, either. And they’re seeing this massive concentration of wealth, it is only being manipulated. They don’t know that it’s being taken from their pockets, but it is. And they’re rising up. And they’re blaming the asset owners because that’s when you get this divide in society. It is pretty logical.
Dan: It also feels intuitively the case that the fact that one operator in an economy can wield more technology every day, that that would naturally lead to disparities of wealth as well.
Jeff: Well, it wouldn’t if the game were set up differently. Again, we’ll use examples. I’m a CEO, I have $100 million of cash on my balance sheet. So we say pre COVID, I have $100 million of cash on my balance sheet. And I’m making sure I have cash for a rainy day in case there’s something like COVID or something. Because if that happens, then I can take my cash and deploy it. And when a whole bunch of other people are failing, and I can create a really good business, right, that’s what I probably should do.
The government and the Central Bank and the Fed and everything else says, ‘Here’s what we’re going to do to spur the economy. We’re going to take interest rates to zero and then negative. And we’re going to punish you for holding cash’. So think of airlines. So what would I do as a CEO? I’m competing with a bunch of other airlines, I have all this money? Shouldn’t I use that money to buy back shares instead of holding it on my balance sheet when the government actually said, ‘I’m going to try to destroy your currency through inflation’, holding it on their balance sheet, I’m insane? You create more instability in the system. Because then when there’s no cash there, and all these jobs are going to go away, every single airline goes back to the government and says, ‘I need you to bail me out. Because otherwise, all the jobs go away’. So you’re creating more and more instability in the system, by not letting it in that not letting the free market work.
Dan: You mentioned that you know, one of the two big implications of your book or two of the many are, we’re seeing is unemployment. Andrew Yang made a really interesting public case for the trucking industry going away, and you made an equally compelling one, I’d love you to tell the story of how you see the auto industry playing out in America. I thought that was a very compelling part of the book, like you said, It stuck in my mind, I imagine this new world that you feel is coming our way pretty quickly,
Jeff: Yeah and Elon from Tesla if you see the self-driving capability and what’s happening, how fast that’s advancing. It’s incredible. I didn’t think it would happen this fast. But he came out and said by next year at this time we’ll be level five self-driving. Now, you could question maybe it’s the next year or the year after that, but it’s coming. So that transition is coming. So if you looked at all the research reports by all the analysts and everything else, looking at car production, it all looks like it’s going up on a line like this. Everybody needs more cars. But what happens when you have self-driving cars is, it changes the economic paradigm completely, because the car can drive to you. So now if you think about what ends up happening because we all need two cars in our family or three cars in our family, we also need parking at home and business and everything else. And most of the time, I think cars have a 7% utilization rate, most of the time they sit idle. So what happens when a company like Tesla, or somebody else says, ‘Hey, you could buy a car and lease it back to the fleet and have it available for other people. And you could make money on it all the time. So it can come around, pick other people up, or you can just buy it for your own use, what do you want to do?’ A lot of people will probably say, ‘Well, geez, I can buy a car, and it can make money for me’. And with that, nobody needs all those other cars, because we only use a car 7% of the time. If you had a car on-demand, anytime you wanted you might not buy a car, you might do to us use an on-demand service, just like we use servers from Amazon today for our businesses, because instead of buying my own server.
Again, some of these changes change the construct, but we typically measure our world by the old construct, not by the new, and it changes so many things. So now, all of those car companies, with all of that production, all goes away, it becomes more efficient. Our economies are based on all of the aggregates of all of those things going up forever. And it changes radically. So that’s just one example, but as you know from the book there are hundreds.
Dan: If you’d like that example, there’s literally, this is what the book is inspiring you to imagine, this idea of just being receptive to change when a lot of these sort of things strike us as intuition or align with our values or identity. So you can imagine our politicians put forward like auto working jobs as exactly the kind of jobs that a good old fashioned American would really want, you know, and that we really need to keep in this country and this kind of thing. And you’re just pointing out that this is just the next set of so-called certitude that a technology you will have in its sights.
Jeff: You want some irony? So the House of Commons, Canada’s government, asked me to speak on this topic. So they’re speaking on this topic, there’s always the all of the different parties that are kind of using this to gain their own political influence and everything else but on speaking the House of Commons finance committee, and the irony of me speaking to them is they’re using Zoom, there isn’t one job in Canada for Zoom. Technology is borderless, it doesn’t care. So to think that the government is willing to impose an imaginary border, because of that technology. It moves, it spreads out and so it changes, it changes a whole bunch of things. But our brains don’t change very fast to where those things change. Look back for critical thinking and all the negative people, all the people that were saying the internet is nothing. It’s a science experiment. Paul Krugman, one of the leading economists, in 1998, said it will become clear that the internet will have no bigger impact on economies than the fax machine. So what I’m getting at, me too, we all make these errors in judgment. But, when things are moving this fast, we make more of them. And we hold on to our past beliefs. One of the things I use from the book that just blows people’s minds, but if you fold a piece of paper on itself, 50 times that piece of paper will reach from here to the sun.
Dan: So like so lengthwise.
Jeff: Yeah, if you took this piece of paper, fold it on itself.
Dan: So it starts to get thicker. I see.
Jeff: Yeah thicker. So if you got folding that and you could fold it 50 times that piece of paper, that’s three folds, four, would reach to the sun. Most people when I asked them that question after four folds, guess that, when I say most I mean 99% of people guess that some people guessed this, but very few people, if no one guesses the sun. And, what it says it’s not. I’m smarter because I had to look that up. If 50% of the people could get that answer. Okay, great. 50% of people can help us all get it? If nobody can get that answer, nobody. Intuitively, what it means is we all can’t understand exponentials.Why is that important? Why is it really important? So you, me, everyone, we can’t understand exponentials and how fast things are moving. Moore’s law is that – we’re on fold 33. So in 18 months, the last 50 years of technology doubles in the next 18 months. So we’re projecting, looking backward, we’re projecting on a line going forward. And it looks nothing like that. That’s why it’s such such a big deal. But it’s the same reason why we miss technology gains so early in the folds if you compare that to artificial intelligence. Artificial Intelligence has been talked about since the 70s 60s. And, and failed a couple of times. Because you were in the early folds. Now where artificial intelligence is going right now, you are in the thicker folds, and it’s getting faster and faster and faster. And it’s exponential, we’re underestimating it by as much as we overestimated before. By the way, if you look at some of the really great entrepreneurs of our time, I’ll use Elon as an example just as a construct because I know there’s a whole bunch of entrepreneurs on your podcast. If you think about what Elon does, which is brilliant, is he sells you something he can’t deliver now, has you put it to pause it down and delivers it a year or two or three later when he can deliver it. Because the technology keeps coming down, the battery improvement, the technology, what ends up happening in that course he’s forecasting the exponentials of what he’s doing.
Dan: If it is true that governments are wielding power irresponsibly, and unsustainably. And it’s a Ponzi scheme. What are some likely implications of that?
Jeff: So I wrote this, I don’t know if you read the paper called ‘The Greatest Game’. There are really two paths. Normally in currency regimes like this, when the currency gets away on countries, there’s a global war. If you look through history, that’s what ends up happening. There’s a failure of Rome and there are a new transition and new rules are set. And, and the winners of the war can dictate the new rules, Bretton Woods out of World War 2 was new rules, Bretton Woods, tied US dollar to the gold reserve. In 1971, because taxes in the US were 90% in the 60s, and the government couldn’t pay for the Vietnam War or anything else. And France was asking for its gold in payment. So the US went off the gold reserve to be able to push inflation to everybody else to be able to inflate and pay back those dollars in cheaper terms. So inflation, you could look at inflation as a hidden tax, because governments can’t pay for all their bills, because people will rise up too much if the taxes go up too much. So you can look at it as a hidden tax but a hidden tax applied to society’s most vulnerable.
So that game is being played all over the world. So if you’re in China, and you want to, you could create money out of nothing in China, and get people in Africa to take your money as loans, and then pay back that money that you created out of nothing with interest, you probably do it. And so what you can see is rising up the geopolitical game, because of not having sound money, which every nation-state around, is trying to play. And all of that stimulus all over the world is happening is it is getting it has to if technology is driving exponentially this way, exponentially the other way has to be monetary easing, printing money. Once you’re printing money like this effectively, you’re saying there is no capitalist and there is no free market, you’re distorting price signals everywhere. So people think, okay, I’m a free market, and the stock prices always go up. Ask what would happen without the easing to stock prices. And the easing is just printing money, make-believe money. So once you get this far, there is a reset coming, that reset can take a couple of ways, it’s too hard to get into all of this on the show. But today, effectively the Fed takes bad bad bad assets off banks balance sheets and gives them fresh currency to lend out instead. But the banks won’t lend that money to businesses unless those businesses … because banks are a free market enterprise kind of quasi and have shareholders and won’t lend that money unless there’s an economic return chance getting paid back. So the next step of this game, you can expect the government, essentially Treasury to become the Fed. So where the government gets dollars in the hands of people to be able to get them to spend, and at some point on some order of magnitude more printing, then you could drive inflation, but then it turns into hyperinflation and everything gets reset. Through really ugly hyperinflation.
Now, I say, ‘at some point’. Right now, the odds are still more deflation, they’re dumping money into a hole, as prices want to come down. And why employment doesn’t have leverage to make prices go up, and is an employee because jobs are coming out. And what companies have to do in that scenario is, if you don’t remove labor, and make your business really efficient with technology, you need to become a ward of the state, you’re going to rely on government financing forever. And so that’s a really slippery slope.
Dan: Now, it’s obvious that Jeff has some really thought-provoking ideas and, in some ways, it’s pretty difficult to encapsulate all the nuance and detail he shares in the book in this interview, so I absolutely encourage you to get a copy of the book for yourself, personally speaking, I’ve revisited it a couple of times now. But there’s another thing I wanted to explore with Jeff, and it’s an opportunity to get on the phone with such a smart person. The reason I love working on the show is when I got Jeff on the phone, I couldn’t help but notice how incredibly open and approachable he was, especially given his amount of success. He was absolutely so kind and generous to us with his time. It was refreshing. So for this second part of the interview, I wanted to ask Jeff a bit more about that, about where his ethos comes from.
Jeff: I think people like to put a label on somebody and say, this person is like this, because they have this big business or because they started this. If you think about every single entrepreneur that you know, every single person, you know, they are all different and special in their unique way. And what makes Elon Musk special, there’s no way that can be copied by Jeff Bezos, or Steve Jobs or anyone. And yet, then when we look at it across the landscape, we say ‘all entrepreneurs need to look like this. And so you need to look like you. You need to look like and in. And you need to. And when you do that, you attract people that can help you get to where you get to. So I can only be me. I’ve had a lot of walls. I know how many mistakes I’ve made on the way through. And so people, people look at me now on the learning and everything else to get to here. I think it always looked like this. But it didn’t always look like this.
Dan: What was that unique thing about you, in retrospect, that isn’t shared by everybody else?
Jeff: Probably an incredible curiosity. Instead of thinking about what somebody else did to inspire or a market did or anything else, it’s always me, I always look inside, what could I have done differently? What could I have done? How in a conversation when I meet somebody? How could I do that better next time? And when you do that you learn faster, and you learn what works. A lot of times what holds us back from real success. Everyone else can see, they just won’t tell us. And you can see it in all your friends, I can see it and all my friends so I can but nobody tells us it’s I call it ‘the sign on your forehead’. You know what’s holding them back. They have this ego that they’re trying to protect. That’s not telling them a different story. You know, what’s holding them back, but you don’t tell them and you tell yourself a lie. And that lie goes something like this, ‘I care about them, I don’t want to hurt their feelings’. But what you’re really saying is, I care more about what they think of me than them. Because you typically have no problem telling all your other friends, what’s on the sign. Now take the exact opposite side of that, what we just talked about, and you’ll have one to five people in your orbit or in your relationships that are so deep personal, that they will tell you but not in a harsh way. They will tell you from love, kindness. They’ll say, I have to tell you this, I don’t care if you change. But I have to tell you this because it’s something you don’t see. They’ll never tell anybody else, they’ll only tell you. And those changes are the breakthroughs, the zero to breakthroughs in our lives that allow those changes. So if you think about that, and what that person is actually doing is saying the exact opposite of what they’re saying is ‘I care so much about you. I have to tell you this’, and why sometimes those things breakthrough and change our mind is because it comes from somebody who cares much about us. So if you think about that process, wouldn’t you want to do that with everybody. And they do it with you. And so what I would say is that’s what my general life looks like, forget money forget anything else. That’s what it looks like in my life. Because I don’t spend time with people I can’t do that with and I expect them to do it with me and it requires a crazy level of learning to your life.
Dan: That’s so fascinating. I mean, I’ve often thought that entrepreneurship itself is a really fertile ground for that kind of thinking. You know, I run my business with my best friend for example, and because we’ve agreed to a vision of what we’re trying to do, if something that has to do with my ego, or my habits, for example, gets in line with that vision, he’s very incentivized. And I’ve already opted in to receiving feedback on that, like, that’s what’s powerful about our partnership. I love the image you paint. But I’ve never managed to achieve it really, in my personal life.
Jeff: Most people don’t it’s not it’s not that what if you could? And I would say it’s not possible, it’s probable too if you work if you actually work on it? Isn’t it staggering? You choose your time, you choose your friends, you choose all of your time. So why wouldn’t you do that? It’s way easier to see in a victim archetype. What does the victim actually want the most?
Jeff: They want to belong, they want to be loved. It’s actually about love. So as they’re being a victim, people listen and listen, and then those people talk about it to everybody else, and that person stops getting attention. And what do they do? Because they burned out all their friends. And what they did do is they typically create more drama to create more attention to be able to .. so by that victim archetype, you can see that the very thing we want most, we typically push away with all our might, and nobody tells us but they’re talking about it behind our back. It’s the exact same thing for the CEO, that is working from six to 12 at night, saying everything’s about my family. And spending zero time with their family. We’re driven by love, belonging. And we’re trying to get that. And so when people give it to us, we spend more time doing that. And a lot of times we don’t even see the trap in our life that that happens, because we’re after that so desperately.
Dan: I’m tempted to ask you about your own personal situations. But I know you advise a lot of young entrepreneurs and you mentioned archetypes, what are some of these archetypes if we want to start to figure out what the sign on our forehead says I mean, this is a very intriguing possibility.
Jeff: I just gave you an example, of so there are tonnes of different archetypes, but I’ll just give you an example of, of something that I use as a way to learn at a greater rate. Okay, there’s a lot of abundance in the world, there’s lots of opportunity. I could spend my time doing anything, is that time getting me further to where I want to go? And then am I getting caught in my own trap too, I mean,I did not write the book to make money, I wrote the book for my kids. But how many people all over the world, so many people have come away and said, ‘Your book changed my life. It’s created wealth in my life in a whole bunch of different ways’. And, and by the way, for me too that can feel really good. Feels like attention, love. And so I could get really caught in a loop pretending it was about something else and then losing that intention of why I did it and I could spend all my time there instead of some of the businesses that I like, or my family or friends and everything else. So you have to be careful and there are 1000s of these things that we get caught into. And it’s up to us to find them. And so if you surround yourself with people who will call you on your bullshit in a really kind way, you find them faster.
Dan: That’s really cool. Your Twitter accounts, such a great follow. And you mentioned that for 32 years, you’ve been asking yourself a set of questions, and you sort of did this on New Year’s Eve this year. ‘Am I putting thought into action? Am I setting new and interesting goals? Am I visualizing my goals? Am I stretching my comfort zone? Am I being a positive force for others?’ And so on. Where did you get these questions? I’m curious about how this has come about.
Jeff: I dropped out of school and dropped out of university, University was too slow. It was and I thought, What can I do at 19 years old to get into business fast. So I went into real estate first and spent 19 years old. And obviously at that time, none of my friends are buying real estate. And I didn’t just start in real estate. I started 100%. So I rented a desk in a 100% commission operation and had to make it on my own. I had three months to live like living on my own, I had to make it and I didn’t know what to do. And so I opened the phone book the first day and started calling people. It’s a really brutal way, making 50,000 calls. Do you want to sell or buy a home, and you learn and you learn. And then I saw a seminar. And in that seminar, I spent some of my last money to go to this seminar, I can’t remember the person’s name, otherwise, I would have put it in that tweet. But he gave those questions. And I started asking those questions. You’re not great at a bunch of them in the beginning. And so asking the question every day, and contemplating the answer, where can I be better? kind of changed my life.
Dan: You mentioned that you wrote the book, in part as a service as a calling, not only for your children but for your entrepreneurial children, so to speak, the rest of us, you want us to have this conversation? What are some things that you would like to see people do with this information? What can we do as entrepreneurs to respond?
Jeff: So, so number one, if you see that it takes a little while. But once you start to understand, okay, this isn’t bad people, on any side of this, they’re bad actors in any system. But it’s not predominantly bad people. It is people trying to get by in their own lives, their own family lives, trying to figure out the game, so that they can best be okay. And you have these two different, essentially systems colliding against each other, if you understand that, which one is likely going to win, right? Because the technology is not going to stop. So you have to assume what’s, what’s going to happen with technology, things are going to get more efficient. If you understand that alone, you can look for opportunities, and there are hundreds, 1000s of opportunities to provide tonnes of value today. I’m so excited about some of the things that you can change and help society with some of the businesses and technologies that are coming. So that’s one. As a person and as a society member in that, realize that you’re going to hear screaming through the tornado from both sides. And blame and unrest and everything else with neither side knowing what’s happening. That’s going to be it’s going to be kind of the order of the day. So where can you do better? Or where can you create value there? I would say for anyone listening to this show, this is not investment advice, explore Bitcoin, learn about it. It might be that important for your future.
Dan: Let me read a quote. Bitcoin is from you. I just grabbed it off the internet somewhere you have to confirm it. ‘Bitcoin might just be humanity’s greatest invention, because it allows changes without historical precedent, and allows humanity a great leap forward as a result. With a potential change of this magnitude, you owe it to yourself to really understand it’. Help us with that injunction a little bit, ‘the greatest invention humanity’s ever achieved’.
Jeff: So now, keep in mind, invention stack, you’ve read the book, so inventions and our knowledge stacks on top of itself. So opening up the printing press, opening up more thinking scientific methods, which opened up thinking about computers, so each type of invention, we should be getting smarter. Now AI is doing a whole bunch of that thinking for us and eventually, artificial intelligence is going to, at some point, eclipse our ability. So that’s what’s happening today on that path. So each invention leads to a new invention. We have never had the ability to trust anybody anywhere with money. It’s always had to be centralized. We believe in money. Why do you believe the dollar bill? Why do you believe faces and numbers? You believe because somebody told you it was worth x? And you don’t question if they’re changing that value behind, you’re trusting a central authority. It’s that important? I didn’t say that lightly? It is that important. Because if you’re doing that, everything else measured by that thing that’s being changed is broken.
So Bitcoin, we’ll see how it goes. But I would encourage people to really look at why it allowed you to trust anybody anywhere. It’s code. And so you can trust in a unit of value, that it can’t be manipulated. If you think actually about currency at a certain level So what why do we do what we do? So you have a job, you do this and you make money. So you spend your time to make a certain amount of money that you believe that you deserve your pay for. Only to have you say, effectively, if you change the currency unit under that contract that you decided what you’ve said is ‘I destroyed my time. It’s not valuable’. We all vote with our time. The construct of currency is to say, what is that time worth? So when governments say ‘I’m going to create inflation, and everything else to destroy your time’, you should worry. And so Bitcoin solves that, in solving it, it solves a whole bunch of other things. And some of those things, it’s going to be hard to understand some of those things from measuring the existing system in their daily life. But if you think about some of those things, take global warming. Today we say okay, global warming is a really big deal. And everybody says, ‘Okay, solar and everything else, and let’s invest tonnes in solar’. Adding solar, at today’s prices, is deflationary. It’s the lowest-cost energy. And it’s getting cheaper and cheaper every year. So it’s adding new energy sources at lower prices. And more energy is moving that way all the time. And it’s getting cheaper. So it brings prices down. So we’re doing all this work to make the planet more livable. Sounds pretty good, as an entrepreneur. Now think about what has to happen as a result in an inflationary monetary system. You have to eradicate all those gains by printing more money at the rate the prices are coming down. So then, by an order of magnitude, the problem isn’t entrepreneurs and innovation and everything else making the event by an order of magnitude, the biggest problem for our planet is growth at all costs. We need more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more forever, escalating forever. And we’re gonna change money to be able to do it. It’s the biggest problem for our planet. And nobody sees it. Because they’re, they’re measuring it from within the system.
Dan: We gotta leave it there. You got to read the book. This is a very bookish crowd. Jeff, if after three months, you know, depending on how the books are going and everything if we have a list of questions or further discussion, maybe we loop back with you or something.
Jeff: I would love to, I love to.
Dan: I really appreciate the energy you put into this. I know you didn’t need to.
Jeff: Really appreciate it.
Dan: Big shout out to Jeff Booth for swinging by the show. I certainly hope this won’t be his last visit to the show. If you have questions about this, I’m sure there are going to be discussions about this book inside the DC and on Twitter. There are discussions about these topics every single day. I just would love to have Jeff back on the show. I really enjoyed speaking with him. You can check out his writing at Jeffrey Booth dot com. And you can also email me, Dan, at TropicalMBA dot com. You know, we had a whole phone call about this is one of these situations where you get to have a guest come on the show. I read this book, I was hanging out on Twitter and DC member Christopher Gimmer said, “Hey, I read this book ‘The Price of Tomorrow’, it’s pretty good. I thought, ‘Chris Gimmer saying pretty good. I’ll go for it’, you know, and picked up the book. And at the production meeting, I was like, ‘Do you think we could get this guy Jeff on the show?’ He really didn’t need to write the book. He could probably just go do laps in a swimming pool filled with money somewhere. But the reality is, you can tell, that’s not how Jeff got to where he is. He’s like a thoughtful, creative, caring guy and truly believes that this narrative that our international monetary system has been running since post World War Two, that depends on printing money inflation, in order to service a great amount of debt that we have is in direct contrast to the community that we’re in. I mean, is it any surprise that you know, while this big meta world war is going on of narratives, we’re throwing, like, Molotov cocktails on the podcast? Like, ‘You should be saving your money, you shouldn’t be taking debt?’ It’s like, well, yeah, because we leverage technology to live anywhere we want. We leverage technology to hire wherever we want. And so we don’t have to fall into line with how the institutional systems distribute capital and property around countries.
Ian: Yeah. Man, 2020 was a crazy year. And it seems like it’s continuing a little bit here into 2021. I mean, just like watching the news, and especially in America, you know, this election process, not to get too political about the situation. But it’s good that the government doesn’t know much about the internet. And it’s clear also, because they’re not regulating it, which is why we’re all hanging out here. It’s the Wild West, we don’t have to deal with the bureaucracy. And you can see where the bureaucracy gets the bureaucracy, you know, pretty much nowhere good. We have a bunch of people in America that don’t have health care, that doesn’t have jobs, that are falling behind on their rent. Bad things are happening to good people. And the government is not there to help them. The government is not doing what they, in my opinion, maybe should be doing. But these companies that are creating technology products are creating jobs. And there’s not a lot of regulation there. So there’s not a lot of hoops to go through.
Dan: But not as many jobs as maybe a traditional company would, you know, so there’s that right. Well, here’s the other interesting illuminating detail that, you know, if you live in California, putting a patio on the back of your house is a more highly regulated activity than developing a new medical technology or a website that changes the way people work or, in other words, we are literally living outside of regulation in some important and strategic ways. And I think that that is a way, as someone who’s building wealth, building a career, you really ought to consider doing it. Unless you really understand the system.
Ian: Yeah, I actually have a friend who lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and I think you said something. I don’t think I’m making this number up. I think he says, it’s like 19 permits to move a power pole on his property, something like that. I mean, it’s just insanity. It’s part of the reason why I live outside of Austin because there’s nothing like that. And you can do what you want. And you can build on the land the way that you want. And it’s the same thing with the internet. Like, if you’re any kind of creative, if you’re trying to forge your way forward, if you’re trying to change the world, the last thing you need is a bunch of bureaucrats getting in the way. And look at the value that they provide in most cases.
Dan: Not to get too political.
Ian: Not to get too political. Charges me up, man.
Dan: All right. Well, you can email Ian your political thoughts to Ian at TropicalMBA dot com. You’re not a very political guy.
Ian: No, not at all. And there’s a lot of money to be made, playing in that space too, if you understand some of the rules and regulations and you take the time to weave in and out of it. There’s a lot of money to be made there too, it just depends on the game you want to play.
Dan: Cool. Well, we’ll see what the price of tomorrow actually is. Again, shout out to Jeff for coming by the show, do pick up a copy of the book, it’s incredibly thought-provoking and pulls together so many threads that we’ve heard about in this space through jobs to AI to what’s going on with the international monetary game, even to things like, ‘Hey, let’s take a look back at previous revolutions, like the electricity revolution’, Jeff takes a look at all these things in his book, ‘The Price of Tomorrow’, absolutely fantastic. It will certainly spark some ideas in your entrepreneurial journey. No question about that. And also shout out to our sponsor Woven.com. Happy New Year to everybody. It’s great to be back on the pod 2021, hoping for a better one. But a lot of that is on us and we gotta make it a better one.
Ian: That’s right.