The Profile: The Oppenheimer of our age & the man who wants to live forever
This edition of The Profile features Sam Altman, Bryan Johnson, Mick Jagger, and more.
Good morning, friends!
In 2013, I was interning at CNN in Atlanta when I got a chance to write a profile of a truck driver named John Drury.
During the week, Drury was spending 50 hours behind the wheel. But on weekends, the 6-foot-7 truck driver transformed into a certified dance fitness instructor who had danced away nearly 100 pounds.
When I came across his story, Drury had been on a weight-loss journey having recently weighed 400 pounds. Doctors had prescribed him medications to control his high blood pressure and cholesterol.
But the seriousness of his situation didn’t hit home until a fellow truck driver, who was taking the same medications as Drury, died from complications of diabetes in late 2010.
Drury then joined a gym and discovered Zumba. He realized he could lose weight through his passion for dance. So he created his own dance fitness company called Big John’s Dance Fitness.
Drury started helping people dance off their weight through routines set to the songs of Usher, Rihanna, and Flo Rida. He held hour-long classes every Saturday and Sunday for a fee of $5 per class. The classes were often held at his home, and he’d had as many as 30 attendees.
At the time, he was having trouble making ends meet because he had reduced his driving from 70 hours a week to 50 hours to accommodate his new lifestyle.
“I can’t think of a male truck driver anywhere out there doing what I’m doing,” he told me. “I’m breaking all the stereotypes. I’m so passionate about dance fitness. This is my calling in life.”
Yesterday, for some unknown reason, I started thinking about John Drury. I wondered if he had stuck to dance fitness and kept up his lifestyle. Where was he a whole decade later?
So I Googled him, and I was astonished at what I found.
Drury, who is now known as “The Dancing Trucker” has 216,000 Instagram followers and his dancing videos have garnered 15.3 million views on TikTok. He’s been featured on Barstool Sports, interviewed by Steve Harvey, and recognized at airports and grocery stores.
I don’t know why, but it felt really good to see that he followed through with his dreams, and 10 years later, he’s still dancing. That’s the thing about writing profiles — you get to play a really small role in a stranger’s journey and, thanks to the internet, you get to see how that journey turned out.
— The man who thinks he can live forever [**HIGHLY RECOMMEND**]
— The Oppenheimer of our age
— The Rolling Stones frontman keeping the band in business
— The immortal Martin Scorsese
— The 13-year-olds navigating a modern world
— The woman behind Deion Sanders’ business empire
PEOPLE TO KNOW.
The man who thinks he can live forever: Bryan Johnson, 46, is a centimillionaire tech entrepreneur who has spent most of the last three years in pursuit of a singular goal: don’t die. During that time, he’s spent more than $4 million developing a life-extension system called Blueprint, in which he outsources every decision involving his body to a team of doctors, who use data to develop a strict health regimen to reduce what Johnson calls his “biological age.” That system includes downing 111 pills every day, wearing a baseball cap that shoots red light into his scalp, collecting his own stool samples, and sleeping with a tiny jet pack attached to his penis to monitor his nighttime erections. Can he do what no one has ever done before? (TIME)
“Most people assume death is inevitable. We're just basically trying to prolong the time we have before we die.”
The Oppenheimer of our age: Sam Altman, the 38-year-old CEO of OpenAI, knows people are scared of AI, and he thinks we should be scared. So he feels a moral responsibility to show up and answer questions. “It would be super-unreasonable not to,” he says. He believes we need to work together, as a species, to decide what AI should and should not do. He insists the AI he is creating could destroy us even as he hastens its advancement. Do we know enough about him? (New York Magazine, reply to this email if you can’t access the article)
“Failure always sucks, but failure when you’re trying to prove something really, really sucks."
The Rolling Stones frontman keeping the band in business: As the Rolling Stones put out their first all-original album in 18 years, the band’s iconic frontman Mick Jagger talks about staying together, using Instagram and what he has in common with Taylor Swift. (WSJ; Complimentary link above, but reply to this email if you can’t access the article)
“I made a lot of mistakes, when I was very young. But you learn.”
The immortal Martin Scorsese: In November, Martin Scorsese will turn 81. Since his debut, 1967’s Who’s That Knocking at My Door, he has never stopped working for any noticeable amount of time. He has worked through addiction, four divorces, critical and commercial failure, and 13 losses (and one win) at the Academy Awards. So what is he up to now? With his latest project, Scorsese says he is now engaged in an effort to “strip away the unnecessary and strip away what people expect.” (GQ)
“I feel strongly about the pictures I’m making and how I’m making them.”
The 13-year-olds navigating a modern world: Anna, London and Addi — three girls from three states, who, at 13, were legally able to join social media, and whose cellphones were always close at hand. The reporter followed them for an entire year, and they each wrote weekly diaries and recorded voice memos about their days (except when they were grounded). This is what it’s like to be 13 today, in a world that can’t stop talking about the dire state of your future. (The New York Times)
“I just feel like I need it, you know? Like it helps me get through the day.”
✨ The rest of this newsletter is only available for premium members of The Profile, whose support makes this work possible. If you’re not already a premium member, consider upgrading your subscription below for access to an additional section of weekly audio + video recommendations. ✨