Very Fine Day #15: Ryan Mac
"I'm a dude with a keyboard and a good Rolodex, but you can hold those companies accountable. They will change things because you cover them."
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Very Fine Day • Season 1 • Edition 15
“They want you to think that there's a whole thought out thing, or there's a process and that it’s complicated. But a lot of the time it's not. It's just one person making a call.”
Ryan is a senior reporter at BuzzFeed News. He reports on Silicon Valley, tech, wealth, and all those billionaires trying to revolutionise the future for us. Previously, Ryan was a reporter for Forbes, where he spent a lot of time talking to people vying to stake their claim on a spot in the Forbes Rich List. His reporting directly holds the powerful to account – Whether it be police, politicians, or tech moguls, Ryan has a unique perspective and experience in uncovering the human stories beneath the rapid, money-making development of the social internet.
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VFD: Alright Ryan, as promised, tell me about Elon Musk calling himself an idiot.
Ryan Mac: Calling himself an idiot in court was the context, right?
Ryan Mac: I don't know. How long do we have? Do you want this to be the whole discussion because I can go to the very beginning.
VFD: He sent you an email, right?
Ryan Mac: Yeah, he sent me an email. In the summer of 2018, I think. It was during the Thai cave rescue, if you remember, and then he called one of the cave rescuers a “pedo guy” on Twitter. And they got in this back and forth, and then I emailed him out of the blue after one of these Twitter bust ups that he had and asked him what he meant.
He had followed up on this accusation of the guy being a “pedo guy” at some point in the Summer of 2018. And he sent me this long screed where he called the guy, among many other things, a child rapist who had taken a 12 year old bride. Of course, all these things are not true.
But he kind of titled that email to us off the record, unilaterally. I never agreed to that, and so we ended up publishing his email to me because it showed his state of mind and what he thought about this very odd situation. And it landed him in court because the rescuer ended up suing him in the US Court for defamation.
VFD: Do you think he is that off the cuff and just an idiot sometimes? Because there's two sides of it, right? There's all these fanboys on Twitter that are like: 5-D chess, Elon Musk is actually planning this out and there's a whole intelligent side to the way he handles media, and then there's the other side of people being like: he's got no clue.
Ryan Mac: I like how when we started this, before recording, we talked about the legal issues that you sometimes have to get around... and then you just right off the bat go for the kill shot.
VFD: Hahaha yeah. Go on, call a billionaire an idiot. Let's go.
Ryan Mac: So I have to be very careful what I say with this because he did try to depose me in this case.
I mean, he’s a very interesting guy.
I have this thesis that the most interesting stuff that he'll say is if you stay up West Coast hours, which Pacific time is between midnight and 3am, you'll see something that he'll say on Twitter that is just completely bonkers.
And it was like this for a long time last year, and even the year before that, where if you just stayed up to a certain point of the night - I guess in Australia it would be in the morning - he would just say some weird ass shit, y’know? And it was very funny.
Do I think this is planned? No, of course not. Is it off the cuff? Extremely. And I think that's what makes him interesting.
You just really don't know what he's going to say, and he could mouth off some completely insane Coronavirus misinformation, or he could say something profound about space travel. Or he could say: Dogecoin to the moon. Dumb ass shit like that.
VFD: People are complicated.
Ryan Mac: Yeah. Let’s leave it at that. He's a complicated guy.
VFD: What would you say you write about, then? I guess the broad understanding, from my perspective, is this: Ryan writes about tech, and Silicon Valley, and the internet.
But when I looked through a lot of what you have written recently it's a lot of holding individuals - wealthy individuals, usually, and people in power - to account, in terms of Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk, and government officials as well.
Is that something you do deliberately?
Ryan Mac: Yeah.
I joined BuzzFeed three and a half years ago now. In June 2017 or July 2017, something like that. And there was really no defined beat.
I think the thing my editors John and Mat thought up was this thing of “Money, Power and Wealth”. Some overly broad umbrella. And literally anything can be money, power and wealth within Silicon Valley. I was based in San Francisco at the time and the goal was to just pick off these big stories under this umbrella theme… and literally anything could be under that. You could figure out any angle.
So I guess the way I think about what I do is corporate accountability reporting. There isn't any defined set of companies, although they tend to be the larger ones like Facebook, Twitter, Google, Tesla and Elon Musk, to a certain extent.
But it's corporate accountability, skewing to the idea that somewhere, something is going wrong with one of these companies. There are people that probably want to talk about this. We should find out what that is and how deep we can go with that. And so over the last year and a half or so that's been a lot of Facebook reporting, which I've basically dedicated a large amount of my time to. Probably 80-90% has been Facebook stuff, sprinkled in with larger investigative pieces.
We've reported on this facial recognition company called Clearview AI. During the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, there was a lot of Coronavirus stories on Elon Musk forcing his workers to come into the factory, or coming into work and flaunting local regulations and guidelines on Coronavirus stuff.
So it can run the gamut, but this idea of accountability is something that I go back to all the time.
VFD: Going back to the Clearview AI thing – obviously you published it recently - when you were reporting that out, and I think I saw you spent like a year on it, how many times did you say: What the fuck???
And how many times were you like: this is the point where we need to publish this.
VFD: I guess, how do you deal with holding something, or getting that information all bundled together, without giving into the desire to be like: people need to know this now. Yeah, no, maybe now. Maybe now...
Ryan Mac: Yeah, your idea of “what the fuck”… if you’re not asking yourself that question when you're reporting, I feel like you might want to be reporting on other topics.
There were so many times in the course of our reporting on the Clearview stuff that we were just blown away by what we saw. And so our team on that was Caroline Haskins, who's in New York, Brianna Sacks, who's in LA & Denver, and Logan McDonald.
I personally started looking at Clearview in June 2019. We had been concurrently reporting on this company when the New York Times had a big story on it in January 2020. And then we started writing these other stories on Clearview based on what we had reported and what we had found up until that point. But we got this large story – this internal information from a source – and we spent the year reporting it out from about February-March 2020 until the time we published, which was last month. But you asked when would we feel comfortable publishing it…
There were 1800 or so law enforcement agencies that had used this facial recognition tool very secretively, with no public disclosure. And we needed to give those agencies a chance to respond and see if what we saw in the internal data matched what people were saying. Or what they would tell us. And so we spent the year contacting every single one of these agencies, following up with every single one of these agencies, and then getting to a point where we felt comfortable enough where we could go with it. It just took a hell of a long time.
VFD: How much of this do you think is the future? How much else is happening that we're waiting on a whistleblower for?
Ryan Mac: You mean how much do we not know about?
Ryan Mac: I don't know. I mean, that's a good question. Is Clearview one of dozens of companies that are secretly operating within US law enforcement, or global law enforcement, and we are just like sheep and we don't know about this…
I think about this sometimes, but I don't know. I feel like we'd also hear about it. Don't you think if there was this crazy technology that cops are using someone would talk? That's what kind of happened here.
VFD: Yeah. I mean, we did find out about Clearview, I guess, but how long had it been running?
Ryan Mac: Clearview had been operating roughly since early 2019, late 2018. So they had quietly spread, and the way they were doing it is they were offering free trials to anyone with law enforcement email addresses.
They were even working with corporate entities, working globally, they had some Australian entities that were using it too. But yeah, I guess if there were this many entities, it was kind of puzzling that it took that long for a news outlet to get it.
VFD: I love that at the core of all these dystopian pieces of technology there's some growth-hacker, D2C, “free trial for 30 days” kind of thing.
Ryan Mac: And I mean, there’s the idea that it's based on the violation of personal data, right? In all these things, it's always a data thing. And every day you hear about these breaches that no one really gives a fuck about, but Clearview AI is based off 3 billion photos that were literally ripped from Facebook and Instagram and Twitter, LinkedIn, Venmo and stuff you put online to share with your friends and family is now being used to power a facial recognition dragnet that will put you in a digital lineup, without you even knowing. Yeah, it sucks.
VFD: Something that bothered me a lot when I was more online and more in media, was that it seems like there are data leaks every day. And there are huge breaches of privacy every day. And most people are like: whatever.
Do you see that changing as more reporting comes out about it? Or do you think it's just part of human nature, of dealing with the internet and everything that's happening on it, that we just, like, block out that shit?
Ryan Mac: I think people get desensitised to it. Every day it's like: oh, the American Airlines app got your birthday and the last four digits of your social security number from the McDonald's app. It could be literally anything. Literally, it’s every frickin’ week. But it's how the data is used.
With Cambridge Analytica, for example, the narrative around that became that your data was being used to subvert an election, or change how people thought about candidates, or sway public opinion towards Donald Trump, which I don't think that was ever proven, to be honest with you.
But I think outrage comes when people see their data being leaked, or mishandled, or hacked and taken, and how it's used from there. Whereas if it's just sitting there on some kind of pastebin site, or it’s somewhere on the dark web, it becomes less of an issue for people.
That being said, we've written about Clearview and there is some interest about Clearview, but it's not like there's this massive, widespread panic over it.
VFD: Yeah, well, that's what I’ve noticed too. I saw the story and I was like: 1) of course this was happening. But 2) this is proof this is happening. And 3) not as many people are attached to this and freaking out about this as I would hope.
And I think part of that is probably also… there's a lot going on!
Do you find it hard to educate an audience that is not always as switched on, or even as close to switched on?
Like, there are steps that you need to take before you even get to the Clearview step, right? Which is understanding data privacy and understanding that it's important, even understanding you want to read about it. Because none of those things sound sexy or particularly entertaining.
Ryan Mac: Yeah, there's a lot of setting the table. A story about a data breach is not going to get you a tonne of readers or a tonne of attention.
But what does this data breach lead to that will affect your daily life? Will you walk into a store one day and be misidentified as a shoplifting suspect because something misidentified you based on your face, because you put your selfies on Instagram, which were then public and scraped by this facial recognition technology?
But to get there, to get to that level, you have to get people to understand all those processes, and Clearview was something that was so new that you kind of have to explain it first.
And people still don't really understand how it's being used in their local communities, because these police haven't disclosed it. We've had instances in our story about cops literally discussing: Should we put this in the police report? I don't think it matters. Maybe, we will leave it out. Which is fucking insane!
It's an investigation, they're using this as an investigative tool, and they don’t think it’s pertinent information to include in a police report? That just seems like a dereliction of duty.
VFD: How much of your beat was a natural interest point to you from way back, and how much of it is like: you've been assigned it, and you had to learn to engage with it, and find it interesting, and pour into it?
Ryan Mac: I honestly can't remember the last time I've been assigned a story, not that I want to be.
But a lot of it is themes. Managers and I will think about themes. That being said, we will luck into a lot of stuff, like the Facebook stuff last year for example.
It was May/June 2020 and we were kind of behind on the Facebook stuff. We didn't really have a go-to Facebook reporter at the time. I think Alex Kantrowitz, who was our social media reporter, had left, or was on the way out and was leaving.
Everyone remembers the looting and shooting post from Donald Trump that Facebook decided to leave up, which then led to this internal strife and protests and internal walkout at Facebook – this virtual walkout because everyone was working from home because of the pandemic.
And I was like: shit, we've never seen anything like this happen before at Facebook. It's a very “rah rah” company. People are usually focused on the mission, even when there's a scandal.
Even in 2018 with Cambridge Analytica, people usually don't step out of line. Whereas this George Floyd moment really felt different. People were changing their avatars online, on social media, and on Workplace, which is the internal worker forum that Facebook employees discuss stuff on. They were making statements on Twitter against their employer.
And we're looking at this and we're like: well, maybe there's an opportunity for us to report. There's clearly some unhappiness within the company and there's going to be a larger theme of this probably throughout the summer. There's no way Facebook can use its mission to sweep this under the rug.
This mission of connecting the world or whatever, this general happiness. Which is crazy.
And it happened in Silicon Valley, where people are so mission-focused and it’s where companies are like: we connect the world! And that becomes core to people's identities. And that's a key way of keeping people in line. But that facade kind of cracked a little bit, and we used that to be like: hey, maybe we can report some more stories on Facebook.
And lo and behold, it's been almost a year now and we've continued to report on the company through major events. Whether that's the Kenosha event that was organised on Facebook that led to the death of two protestors, to the Stop the Steel stuff that was coalesced on Facebook and led in part to the insurrection on January 6. Major shit happens on Facebook. And we've gotten an internal view on this because we made the decision back in May or June to focus on the company a little bit more.
VFD: Where were you before BuzzFeed?
Ryan Mac: I was at Forbes for five and a half years. Forbes magazine.
VFD: That's a long time.
Ryan Mac: Yeah. Man, I had a lot of things that I did at Forbes. But the one thing I started out originally doing was… you know the Forbes billionaires list? The Forbes 400, Forbes Rich List stuff? There's a lot of reporting that goes into that and there’s a whole reporting team behind that because you have to do these calculations. You look at public filings, you value private planes and yachts, real estate, and it's a whole reporting process. You talk to billionaires about some of this stuff. And so I was one of the reporters doing that.
And most people end up only seeing the final number, that up or down arrow. But there's a lot of reporting that goes into that. Years’ worth. And there’s a lot of historical stuff. There’s a whole database that is amazing – it's like one of the crown jewels of the company. And I spent a lot of time doing that, for Forbes out of San Francisco, so it's where I built up a lot of my early contacts. Just talking to people about their wealth. Which is pretty insane.
VFD: Is that fun?
Ryan Mac: Yeah. I mean, I remember one guy, he’s a billionaire, telling me like: Oh, don't forget to value my 40,000 bottle collection of Burgundy wines. And it's like: well, how the fuck do I value that, call up a wine expert so I could value private wines? It’s like that stuff.
And it was tens of millions of dollars. Or hundreds. I don't know what it was, but it was this significant thing where you had to include it in the net worth calculation.
VFD: How much of that is like... super competitive.
Ryan Mac: There’s all types of people. I would say just like there's all types of regular folks, billionaires come in all shapes and sizes. Some don't talk to you at all. They're just like us!
VFD: This is a terrible conversation.
Ryan Mac: Yeah, but some of them are extremely competitive, some of them never want to see a down arrow next to their name, some of them never want to be lower on the list than they were the year before. Others don't want to have anything to do with it. But their listings are public, so they can't really hide it.
Some people will walk you through all their holdings and what's up and what's down, and they invested in this, and they divested from that. It runs the gamut.
But yeah, it's weird but fun and kind of quirky. And in some ways it is accountability. You get to see these massive amounts of wealth accumulating at the top echelon of society. So that was eye opening.
VFD: I don't know why I didn't think about that, but in my mind it was always like a financial growth-hacking equivalent to People’s Hottest Man of the Year. Just all these billionaires being like: Here's some money, put me on the fucking list. But it's interesting to hear that.
Ryan Mac: Forbes has an interesting history, right? For a lot of people, yes, it's aspirational, they want to see themselves on there. You hear rap songs about being on the Forbes list, they “want to be a billionaire so fucking bad”. Shit like that.
But Forbes has a history of doing these takedowns of billionaires. And while there is always some inflation, typically there's a lot of vetting that goes into it. If they get something wrong, they'll go back and change it and do a dissection of what went wrong.
I remember when I was there my editor Kerry Dolan wrote this story about Prince Alwaleed, the Saudi prince who was on the list, and how he manipulated the Saudi stock market to blow himself up around the time the list was coming out because he knew every year it was an annual thing.
So what he did is, there was a very small float of these company shares and he could control the float by buying around a certain time so it jacked the price up, so then his net worth would go up. It's really fucked up and egomaniacal and insane, but you could see it happening and it was an incredible story.
Forbes has a history of this. I don't think people realise this, but “The Wolf of Wall Street” story came from Forbes as well. That started as a Forbes story. So yeah, it was a fun job. I really enjoyed that.
VFD: Was that your first job out of college?
Ryan Mac: It was my first full-time. I did a bunch of internships. I had done internships at this paper called the Half Moon Bay Review in Half Moon Bay, California. And then Orange County Register, which is my hometown paper. I interned for the New York Times while I was in school and then Bloomberg for a little bit.
VFD: Where’d you go to school?
Ryan Mac: Stanford.
VFD: Doing journalism?
Ryan Mac: No, no, I kind of winged it for a while. I got in and was so stoked to get in that I didn't even think about what I would do. The goal was to go to medical school, but three classes away from finishing the prereqs I was very tired of it. And it was probably my junior year, winter quarter, that they put a gun to my head and were like: You literally have to declare something. So I looked up what would fit with the classes I had taken and it was like: American Studies. So that’s what I declared.
VFD: I wonder how many people that happens to, because I talked to Henry Abbott and he has almost the exact same story. He didn’t go to Stanford, but I think he was doing something else and they were like you have to pick something, and eventually he came through.
Is Stanford like the picture books and movies make it seem?
Ryan Mac: I want the transcript to reflect that I just had a long sigh before I answer this...
VFD: Does your California-ness just resent the fact you had to go?
Ryan Mac: No, I fucking loved it there. It was so awesome and very pampered and everyone lives on campus and it's beautiful and it's sunny all the time. But I can see how this is going to be read and people are just gonna be like: God, what a fucking douchebag. So I have to balance my online cred with that. But yeah, it was a fucking awesome place to go to school. But also very coddled and sheltered and it has its own problems.
Honestly it wasn't the classes that I appreciated most out of Stanford. I did the school paper there, which has led me to this and had some fun stories that I did on campus that led me to think that I could do this as a full time job.
One of the pieces I did in my junior year, there was this rumour that there was an easy class list for athletes at Stanford and that if you read all this shit and watched the sports games, Stanford plays it off as as like: our athletes are best in class, but also they're geniuses in the classroom.
Like: They're gonna get drafted by the NFL, but also have Bioengineering degrees. And this is a huge marketing thing for the university. And there was this rumour that athletes got this list where they could just pick off certain classes and kind of skate by if they needed an easy five units.
And so we ended up finding this and we published it. It was like an investigative journalism class I was in at the time, but we co-published it in the student paper, and it caused a massive ruckus and it got on ESPN. So there were stories like that which were always just so funny to me. Well, not funny, but formative and solidifying this ability to report, I guess.
VFD: I remember when that happened at UNC, that was a big story.
Ryan Mac: Wasn't that like a tutoring scandal or something?
VFD: I think off the top of my head they had a class or a department that was called ‘African Studies’ or something like that, and they would just put all of their athletes into it and they'd all get straight A's.
Ryan Mac: I think this is completely unfair to the athlete, by the way. I think this is like an institutional thing. If you're a student athlete and you’re gonna make millions at the next level, of course you’d do that! You're gonna enjoy your college career. You don't want to stress. Fuck it, y’know?
VFD: Yeah. Also they make money off these guys and girls.
Ryan Mac: There was a similar class at Stanford that was on the class list that we wrote about called Ancient Athletics. I think it was a five unit class and the final was that you had to recreate a game from the ancient athletics. So these guys go out into the field and they just, like, throw a javelin however far they can throw it and they're like: OK, well, A+. Or they throw a discus.
And five units at Stanford is a lot! You think of engineering courses which are like three units, and some people are studying cancer and shit. But that was so funny to me... Just the images of these giant football dudes going out and just running the 100 metre dash,
VFD: Doing a shot put.
Ryan Mac: Yeah, exactly. And just like: Alright sweet, five-unit A. There you go.
VFD: You said before it’s been a while since you’ve been assigned a story. What are you thinking about for this year and going forward? What are the stories that you want to cover?
Ryan Mac: I mean, I'm weird, right? I have three or four big stories that I want to work on, or ideas of big stories that I want to work on, at any given time. Which helps, because if someone's like: hey, can you do this story? I’m like: No, I can't, because I'm working on this other stuff.
But the themes for me within this bubble of tech – we're continuing to report on ClearView stuff. I think the Facebook stuff won't go away, either. With Facebook, there's always something, and there's no way we can cover everything if you didn't have a five person team, and we don't, so it’s not even worth it.
But antitrust stuff, for example, is gonna be massive this year in the US. How authorities handled that. I’m thinking a lot about data privacy stuff, even though - we talked about this earlier - there is a general nonchalance to data breaches. But there are some apps that we're looking at that are very interesting in terms of what they share and how it's used, and hopefully we can portray why that's meaningful to you as a user, and why it'll suck if that stuff is found out by the general public.
VFD: Don't you just get tired...from the outside it seems like it must be so exhausting. To be like: Guys, It's happening again. Come on.
Ryan Mac: Well, the alternative as a reporter would be writing about product launches. And there's nothing wrong with that. There are great journalists that do that stuff. What's the newest gadget, or what Facebook’s doing. Are they launching an audio product, stuff like that, y’know? It's one of the leading companies in the world, what they do matters, but for me, why I get out of bed every morning, is that these companies fuck up a lot of the time. They screw up a lot of the time. It's worth writing about it, it's worth covering it. It doesn't matter how many times.
I'm a dude with a keyboard and a good Rolodex, but you can hold those companies accountable. They will change things because you cover them.
We had a story earlier this year about how this company was profiting off of gun ammunition sales and gun accessory sales and body armour after the insurrection and we found all these ads and Facebook stopped them. And having that impact I think is meaningful and rewarding in a way. Although, yeah, sure, it can get tiring after a certain point where it’s like over and over again. I see that too. But it's still fun.
VFD: That's why you go on Twitter and troll some people and get a bit of steam out.
Ryan Mac: I have a whole thought process on Twitter and it's not all idiotic things. Sometimes it is…
VFD: What's your thought process on Twitter?
Ryan Mac: My thought process on Twitter is it makes a reporter more accessible, in a way, if you are more aggressive, or combative.
Without being, like: Nothing I say is untrue. I try not to exaggerate, but if your goal is to hold companies to account…
You’re smiling. Why are you smiling?
VFD: Sorry, I'm just imagining the pull-quote like: “Nothing I say is untrue”.
“Nothing I say is untrue”
Ryan Mac: That's what the lawyers will pull out and be like: see! But yeah, when you're on Twitter the goal is to get noticed, I guess. You're a reporter, you want to promote your work, you want to get in front of sources, and so there is an unhealthy dynamic to Twitter rewarding shitty behaviour that plays into that stuff.
But there’s always a way of taking advantage of that as a reporter. Whether that's tweeting out stuff about Mark Zuckerberg moments after the Chauvin verdict comes out. How he says: ‘We stand with you’, and pointing out the contradictions. Which is something I just did right before I hopped on this call with you. I mean, these are the most powerful, most wealthy people in the world, why wouldn't you hold them to account?
VFD: Yeah. Alright, last question. What is the scariest thing you think about on your beat? What scares you that you uncover all the time? I feel like maybe it's gonna be data privacy. But if it’s not that?
Ryan Mac: I don't know if the word is “scary”, but I would say how decision making is so capricious at some of these companies.
I think of something like Facebook, again, Mark Zuckerberg has complete decision-making power. Complete voting control. And decisions about things that affect people's daily lives are sometimes made because he doesn't feel a certain way.
We had a story last year about Alex Jones and the decision that went into removing his content from the platform. And we go into this meeting, and in this meeting, Mark Zuckerberg literally just makes it up on the fly. He says: we need to make a new policy to deal with Alex Jones.
And so the people underneath him, which is everyone, literally have to go and figure out a way to deal with this personal problem, or this personal approach of Mark Zuckerberg. And I don't know if that's scary, but the concentration of power and decision making at some of these places...They want you to think that there's a whole thought out thing, or there's a process and that it's soooo complicated. But a lot of the time it's not. It's just one person making a call.
VFD: Yeah, shit. Well, it’s the same as it has always been, right? There's always been a guy with his finger on the nuclear button.
Ryan Mac: Not to be conspiratorial on 420.
VFD: Oh let’s do it. We can do a whole ‘nother hour.
Ryan Mac: Hahah, yeah, and your readers can't see it but I'm holding a giant bong.
No, but I mean, there are powerful people out there and I feel like, again, my reporting comes back to this idea of holding these people into account.
VFD: Yeah, yeah. OK but, coming back to conspiracies. Maybe we have to talk about this. This is the actual interview, everything else... whatever. Forget it.
Ryan Mac: Just setting the table.
VFD: “The Social Network”, the Zuckerberg movie, OK: He...made it. That's my conspiracy. He made the movie with some company that has a different name. He funded that movie. I stand it up as one of the best pieces of 21st century PR to get ahead of the curve. And maybe he didn't, maybe I’m crediting him being too smart and him creating Facebook with being too smart, but I look at that movie and I'm like: Man. That bought him another six years. People just being like: Jesse Eisenberg runs Facebook and wears pyjamas everywhere.
Ryan Mac: We talked about Elon playing 5D chess earlier to start this interview, but that would be an incredible move.
But what I've heard about this is he didn't like the movie. He screened it for Facebook employees on campus. He showed it to them, I don't know if you knew that. Can you imagine sitting in a theatre of your – first of all, I don't have any employees, but to have employees, have a company, and then screen a movie about you which is not very flattering about you to your company and then have them uncomfortably watch it knowing that you're in the back of the room? Just like: should we laugh about our billionaire overlord sitting behind us?
VFD: That would have been fun, the end credits...Do you clap or?
Ryan Mac: You boo. Walk out halfway through like: I can't stand this!
VFD: Yeah, the Winkevoss twins are on and you’re like: No! Lies!
Ryan Mac: There's talk about the second one now, did you hear about that?
VFD: Yeah, the second one. I think it'll probably be a bit different. Not as quirky. Trent Reznor might not be able to save that one.
Ryan Mac: Now the Winklevoss’s are billionaires too.
VFD: Oh, don't get me started on that shit. We're not gonna go into cryptocurrency otherwise we’re gonna be here forever. I've had multiple people email me being like: interview someone about cryptocurrency. I want the Bitcoin thing. But I gotta work myself up to do it, to have the mental capacity to deal with that.
Ryan Mac: Today’s supposed to be the day they were pushing Dogecoin to like, peak over $1. It was at 30 cents today and they’re just trying to inflate this complete pump and dump thing.
VFD: Yeah, and it's transparent in a way that's it's not just who you know, and it's not just being private school connected, or white collar. It's like: if you have a Reddit account and you've been on it for long enough, then it's pretty open and available.
Ryan Mac: It's weird. It’s like this, ‘I’m just joking’, thing, but more ‘I’m just joking and trying to...
VFD: Make a lot of money.
Ryan Mac: Yeah.
VFD: All for the lols. Hold on, keep buying. Alright, well thanks dude for taking the time, I really appreciate it.
Ryan Mac: Thanks for having me.