The Profile: The author telling the FTX story & the OpenAI CTO building ChatGPT
This edition of The Profile features Michael Lewis, Mira Murati, Gerry Turner, and more.
Good morning, friends!
You may remember in January when I featured Ryan Russell’s children’s book, titled My Annoying, Irritating, Always-in-the-way Shadow. Ryan had worked on the book when he was recovering after a partial craniotomy.
When they reached out to me on Twitter, Ryan and his wife Samantha were looking for a way to publish it. I wrote, “I do believe there’s a reason Ryan’s story made such an impression on me, and I feel confident that someone is reading this right now with an idea of how to make his book a reality.”
I called it the Great Profile Serendipity Experiment ™.
Today, I’m happy to report some good news and also some heart-shattering news.
It would mean the world to me if you pre-ordered a copy of Ryan’s book here. He wrote and illustrated the book, which allows kids to gain perspective and understand that their point of view isn’t the only one. There are many sides to a story, and it’s important to explore them all.
Thank you all for being the most amazing humans I know. I love this tiny corner of the internet so much, and I appreciate you being here.
— The journalist painting a portrait of Sam Bankman-Fried [**HIGHLY RECOMMEND**]
— The author telling the FTX story
— The OpenAI CTO building ChatGPT
— The first ‘Golden Bachelor’
— America’s most influential pizza influencer
— The clinics that have built a dental empire
PEOPLE TO KNOW.
The journalist painting a portrait of Sam Bankman-Fried: Author Michael Lewis got an extraordinary backstage pass for the fall of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried. He’d set out to understand Bankman-Fried, but Bankman-Fried defeated his customary powers of perceptiveness. Lewis didn’t expect bankruptcy and scandal – and he definitely didn’t expect to have to figure out what to do if his hero abruptly turned out to be a villain. With his new book, Going Infinite, he delivers an astonishing portrait of the fallen crypto billionaire. But did he get too close? (The Guardian)
“Michael finds these characters, falls in love with them a little bit, and makes them into heroes.”
The author telling the FTX story: Yes, that’s right — another profile of Michael Lewis. Michael Lewis normally avoids writing books about figures who are already world-famous. In this case, the character he thought was likable and relatively fringe has become a world-renowned pariah, a stand-in for an entire industry’s technical and moral failings. So: What happens when a writer who is used to rapturous reception, with a knack for shaping stories, collides with an active public drama he doesn’t control? (The New York Times; reply to this email if you can’t access the story)
“The radical thing here is to withhold judgment.”
The OpenAI CTO building ChatGPT: Mira Murati, the chief technology officer of OpenAI, is the 34-year-old executive who manages the popular chatbot ChatGPT and DALL-E — the products that have propelled OpenAI to unforeseen heights. In this Q&A, we learn more about her path to OpenAI, the challenges the company must grapple with as its products become ubiquitous, plus the latest versions of DALL-E and new features within ChatGPT. (FORTUNE; reply to this email if you can’t access the article)
“I think the downside is a race to the bottom on safety.”
The first ‘Golden Bachelor:’ Gerry Turner, 72, is the lead of “The Golden Bachelor,” the aged-up version of “The Bachelor” franchise. Turner spent 43 years married to his high school sweetheart, Toni, who died in 2017. During a period of loneliness in 2020, he texted their two daughters that he was considering applying for the show. “People my age still fall in love,” he said. “People my age still have hope, and they still have vigorous lives.” (The New York Times)
America’s most influential pizza influencer: Dave Portnoy, the founder of Barstool Sports, is almost certainly the most influential person on the American pizza scene. He is perhaps one of the most influential people in the world of food social media. With more than three million followers on TikTok and more than 136 million likes, he can change the fate of a pizzeria with a single utterance. A score higher than 8.9 can vault a shop to fame, filling it with customers for months. Here’s how he built a pizza empire. (The New York Times)
“Dave’s just raw. He’s just a raw person. He’s not sugarcoating it. He’s basically a voice for the real person.”
COMPANIES TO WATCH.
The clinics that have built a dental empire: Los Algodones, a Mexican town just outside Yuma, Arizona, is known as “the dental capital of the world.” Also known as Molar City, the town of about 5,000 boasts some 350 dental offices. Over the past two decades, it’s emerged as a go-to destination for people seeking relief from high out-of-pocket costs and long waits for dental care in the US and Canada. A filling costs just $50, a root canal sets you back roughly $250, and a crown goes for about $500—though most visitors are here for more intensive services. As many as 3 million visitors a year flock to the country seeking lower health-care costs than they can find at home. (Bloomberg; reply to this email if you can’t access the article)
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