The Profile: The CEO spending $2M to reverse his age & the unknown hedge fund that got $400M from SBF
This edition of The Profile features Bryan Johnson, Modulo Capital, and more.
Good morning, friends!
As a writer, it seems a day can’t go by without someone asking me the question: “So what do you think about ChatGPT?”
ChatGPT is OpenAI’s chatbot powered by artificial intelligence. At this point, we’ve all seen the headlines about how it can write college essays, tweets, articles, and novels.
But here’s the thing: Every time someone publishes a story titled, “ChatGPT wrote this article,” I’m … not very impressed. It has perfect grammar, perfect sentence structure, and perfect flow — and that’s the problem.
I’ve been trying to find the right words to explain why I don’t think it’ll ever replace the (good) writers, and I found the answer in Rick Rubin’s new book, “The Creative Act.” Here’s a short excerpt:
“Flaws are human, and the attraction of art is the humanity held in it. If we were machine-like, the art wouldn’t resonate. It would be soulless. With life comes pain, insecurity, and fear.
“We’re all different and we’re all imperfect, and the imperfections are what makes each of us and our work interesting.”
Whether we realize it or not, we relate to each other’s imperfections. We like imperfect people, imperfect art, and imperfect writing.
When I wrote a deep-dive on author Malcolm Gladwell, the biggest lesson I learned is that people talk more about the flawed things that get stuck in their heads than they do the obvious, perfect things.
“You want an aftertaste, and that comes from not everything being perfectly blended together,” he says. “The question is: What is interesting? That’s what has to drive any creative act.”
Do I think ChatGPT could be used to supplement your writing? Sure. Will it displace all writers? Absolutely not. The beauty in any sort of creative endeavor is found in its messiness, in its flaws, and most of all, in its humanity.
THE PROFILE DOSSIER: On Wednesday, premium members received The Profile Dossier, a comprehensive deep-dive on a prominent individual. It featured Steven Pressfield, the author helping you defeat ‘resistance.’ Read it below.
LET’S CHAT: Substack recently launched its new feature called Chat, a private space in the Substack app to have conversations with fellow readers in the community. To access it, download the Substack app here. Today, I’ll be hosting an ‘Ask Me Anything’ chat with the readers, so feel free to pop in and ask your question! See you there.
— The 45-year-old CEO spending $2M to reverse his age [**HIGHLY RECOMMEND**]
— The unknown hedge fund that got $400M from SBF
— The woman who wants to destroy your lawn
— The hot-dog seller who rose to the top of Putin’s war machine
— The detergent company causing rashes
PEOPLE TO KNOW.
The 45-year-old CEO spending $2 million to reverse his age: Bryan Johnson, 45, is an ultra-wealthy software entrepreneur who has more than 30 doctors and health experts monitoring his every bodily function. The team has committed to help reverse the aging process in every one of Johnson’s organs. This year, he’s on track to spend at least $2 million on his body. He wants to have the brain, heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, tendons, teeth, skin, hair, bladder, penis and rectum of an 18-year-old. (Bloomberg; reply to this email if you can’t access the article) (BONUS: Read Bryan Johnson’s Profile Dossier here.)
“What I do may sound extreme, but I’m trying to prove that self-harm and decay are not inevitable.”
The unknown hedge fund that got $400 million from SBF: Not long before FTX collapsed in November, its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, sent $400 million to an obscure cryptocurrency trading firm called Modulo Capital. The fledgling firm, which was founded in March and operated out of the same Bahamian compound where SBF lived, had no track record or public profile. One of the founders, Duncan Rheingans-Yoo, was only two years out of college. His business partner, Xiaoyun Zhang, known as Lily, was a former Wall Street trader who had previously been romantically involved with SBF. Now, Modulo is emerging as a crucial part of the investigation by federal prosecutors into SBF’s and his once giant cryptocurrency exchange. (The New York Times)
“Focusing on large, questionable transactions to a fund, company or a person with close connections to the debtor before the bankruptcy filing is basically the low-hanging fruit in a bankruptcy case.”
The woman who wants to destroy your lawn: Heather McCargo established the Wild Seed Project in 2014 to teach people to appreciate and grow native plant species. Initially, the organization comprised only McCargo, a working board, and a small cadre of volunteers. Today, WSP has a staff of eight, an office, a nascent horticultural center in Cape Elizabeth, and some 2,000 dues-paying members, who get access to garden tours and Q&As, discounts on seeds, and more. The rapid growth of the Wild Seed Project coincided with a broader war on lawns gaining traction across the country. (Down East)
“I grow everything from seed. I’m for sexual reproduction. It’s critical to keep native plants sexually active.”
The hot-dog seller who rose to the top of Putin’s war machine: Yevgeny Prigozhin has earned a reputation as the cruelest commander among those leading Russia’s grim invasion. He appeared to tacitly endorse a video showing the murder, with a sledgehammer, of a Wagner defector who had apparently been handed back by the Ukrainians in a prisoner exchange. “A dog’s death for a dog,” Prigozhin said in a statement at the time. After years of operating in the shadows, he is clearly relishing the spotlight as one of the most powerful – and most talked about – members of Putin’s court. (The Guardian)
“He’s driven and talented, and won’t shrink from anything to get what he wants.”
COMPANIES TO WATCH.
The detergent company causing rashes: The Laundress was supposed to be the nice detergent on the market, the one you overpaid for to ensure you did not blotch up like a tomato. The $22-plus bottles were sold at stores like Bergdorf Goodman, at uptown pharmacies like Zitomer, and in Park Slope groceries like Union Market. It turned its customers into loyalists — and then everything changed when people started breaking out into hideous rashes. (New York Magazine)
“I thought I was going to have miserable skin forever.”
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