WBD083 Audio Transcription
Podcasting Head to Head With Anthony Pompliano
Interview date: Thursday 28th Feb, 2019
Note: the following is a transcription of my interview with Anthony Pompliano from Morgan Creek Digital. I have reviewed the transcription but if you find any mistakes, please feel free to email me. You can listen to the original recording here.
In this episode, I talk with Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano, founder & partner at Morgan Creek Digital. This episode was just a bit of fun where we share our experience and lessons in creating a podcast. We also discuss marketing, guns and McDonalds.
“People on Wall Street will spend millions of dollars on things which don’t work. The best way to build an asset management firm today is to build a media company which monetises through asset management.”
— Anthony Pompliano
Peter McCormack: Tell me about your marketing stuff, I know some of it. Let’s get to the bottom of the…
Anthony Pompliano: So here’s the thing.
Peter McCormack: What’s the truth of it?
Anthony Pompliano: Wait hold on, let me give you context and then I’m going to tell you. I have an entire perspective that most people don’t understand that I think is actually doing us all a disservice. I come from building and running growth teams. Our job as those teams is to use data to grow whatever the product is. So if we’re trying to get people to sign up for something, how do we get more people to sign up? If we’re trying to get more people to engage with something? How do you do that? You can break “growth” down into very specific kind of buckets if you will.
So when I was working at Facebook, for example, we need to acquire new users. We need to retain the users that we acquire. Then there’s going to be some sort of churn and then we need to resurrect the users who left and get them to come back. So that would be a formula for; today you’re going to work acquisition, today you’re going to work on retention whatever. So I look at Twitter very, very similarly and Twitter is a piece of a funnel for a much larger plan. So, one of the things when we first started thinking about doing Morgan Creek Digital, my whole premise for asset management is the best way to build an asset management firm today is to build a media company that actually monetizes through asset management, which is backwards.
Most asset management firms, what they do is they go raise money, say ‘our job is to invest money’ and then they take that money and they’re like, ‘oh, we probably should let you know what we’re doing’ and the marketing and sales and all that is an afterthought and they spend a lot of money. People on Wall Street will spend millions of dollars to do all kinds of crazy stuff that doesn’t work. I’ve always thought about it the other way.
It goes back to this idea, I tweeted it the other day and I think I’ve heard other people say it too, so I don’t actually know whoever came up with this sentence, but I didn’t come up with it…. ‘He who controls the meme controls the message’. So if you think of today’s world, the shareable content, whoever controls the meme controls the message of the narrative. So Twitter is a huge distribution channel. In 2016, I think I had around 2,000 followers. My girlfriend had more followers than me, she was a reporter and had more followers than me and she’ll never let me forget that. I remember saying, ‘how the heck do these people build these huge audiences?’ I went and I looked. I searched around and did loads of stuff and what I found was a bunch of people who said, ‘the best way to create an audience is to overly engage with everybody and it’ll bring it back’
Peter McCormack: Talk to them all day long?
Anthony Pompliano: Just build a community. So I’m going to do all that stuff and everything and I literally sat for hours. I’ve got a friend and the running joke among all my friends is that this dude’s job is Twitter. It’s basically because every time they are with me, I’m always checking it, I’m doing all the stuff and everything. When they stopped joking around and giving me a hard time and they start getting serious, they’re like, ‘look what you’ve built took hours a day, every day for multiple years at this point’. What was I doing in the beginning? I would literally go and I would go follow people. Every morning I’d wake up and I’d go follow like 600 people and then I would go through and I would like three or four of their tweets and then I would respond to two or three of them.
Why would I go do that? So let’s say that you’re one of those people, all of a sudden you see your notifications, you see that somebody liked your content, they engaged with it and they followed you. What do you do? The first thing you do is you go back and you look who the hell is this person? That is top of the funnel acquisition for eyeballs. Now where I think that the thought process of the divergence of all of this stuff about bots and content and following all this stuff is, I believe that people when they get to that page and they look at that content, they will say, do I think this person is interesting? Do I think this content is interesting? Do I want to see more of it? If they think that one, two, three of those things are true, they’ll follow you and they’ll engage with your content. If they don’t, they’ll just be like, ‘who’s this weirdo?’ And they just won’t follow back.
Now there’s a second kind of component to it, which is if they come back and they follow you, engage with your content, they also may at some point in the future be like, ‘you’re an idiot’ and they don’t stay around. So what I focus on is net new followers or net new engagement. So if you think of like a chart, if I get 10 people to follow m today and then 12 leave tomorrow, I’ll actually lose followers over time because it’s a net negative of two. But if I can get 10 people to engage and follow today and four of them leave in the future, that’s net new six. So if you look at my Twitter account specifically, pretty large numbers in terms of the number of people, but the engagement is off the charts compared to people who have millions of followers.
I will get much more engagement than some of these people that have millions of followers and the reason is the authenticity, the engagement. They know if they tweet at me, I’m going to tweet back, I’m going to engage with their content, I’m going to respond, I’m going to own mistakes, I make all this stuff. So the part that I think is funny is that you’ll only have to do that for so long. Once you get the flywheel going, you don’t have to do that. I no longer have to go and seek people out to follow them, like their content, engage with their content, now there’s the community and you may join the community, may leave the community whatever.
But that one person isn’t as important as it was when I had 2,000 people. So like that sounds very, ‘oh this is a machine, you were very intentional all this stuff’, I did because I enjoyed it. I thought it was going to be important in the long game. You don’t back into accidentally having 190,000 followers by… I woke up this morning and just sent some random tweet and now it went viral, now I got 190,000 followers. It takes time. It takes effort all that stuff.
Peter McCormack: So the follow/unfollow thing never bothered me. I’ve not done it, but it doesn’t bother me because I’m like, I don’t think people understand, this is a free marketing tool. You’ve just got an opportunity. See we have a real problem when people hate marketing and they want to hate you making money. It’s one of the reasons I did the whole transparency thing because I’m going to say that this is how it works. This is why I’m doing it. I started at zero.
Anthony Pompliano: That’s what I love, that you’re like, ‘I started at zero and I built this and you guys have been with me the whole time’.
Peter McCormack: I started at zero followers, zero listeners, zero income, everything! Every single metric started at zero and this is the journey to what I’ve done. But there are different tactics in there that work and one of them… To say I’ve not done follow/unfollow, but I’ve certainly followed people and tried to engage with them and get a conversation going because of I either want them on the podcast or I want to create that engagement. I get why some people might have a problem with it. I always say, is that person net negative or net positive?
Anthony Pompliano: You’re being way too kind to me. I’m even more ruthless myself. Here’s what I say. I actually would be upset if people didn’t get mad about it. But what I argue is, if you are upset about that, that is a tool that is provided to engage with people, to like their content, to follow them, to do all these things. You do not have to participate. The market in some vein or view will decide whether this content is valuable or not. So part of what I really focus on is if I had put in…. At this point, we’re going on literally almost three years of doing this. So people ask me all the time… Here’s a great anecdote for you. when Chris Burniske was doing all this crazy, I don’t even know where this came from. Like I’ve actually never even talked to the guy before.
Peter McCormack: Oh you had a little shindig didn’t you?
Anthony Pompliano: Oh he was going crazy because he accused me of when I tweeted about Kroger, he got so much engagement that he was like, ‘that engagement is fake’. I was like, look, you can accuse me a lot of things and I’ll own up to pretty much everything, but you can’t claim that these people are fake, because then, of course, everyone’s like, ‘oh, I’m not a bot’, they’re all tweeting it. But what was funny out of this was you would be shocked at who and how many people that are well known in this industry we’re immediately in my DMs saying, ‘teach me how to do this’. It’s kind of like when the podcast starts to be successful, everyone was like, ‘hey, I want to start a podcast!’
Peter McCormack: Right! As soon as you put out $30,000 a month, people want to know how to do it!
Anthony Pompliano: Oh my God and here’s what I told every single one of them. I said, ‘look, I can tell you exactly what to do. But the thing that is going to be the big question is whether you’re willing to put in the work to actually create this’.
Peter McCormack: Look what I just wrote down…. Hard work and if you want to start podcasts, so literally the next things I was going to say was how hard you work. I was chatting to the guy from Blockworks last night, saying ‘I’ll get an email from Pomp at half 4 in the morning!’ So how hard are you working? I know how hard I’m working. How hard are you working?
Anthony Pompliano: Look, hard work to me is always a sensitive subject because when I was younger I was in the army, I played football in college, like American football…..
Peter McCormack: No, I’m totally into it now!
Anthony Pompliano: Well the thing is that that culture of both of those communities is you don’t need sleep. Literally, time is a proxy for how hard you’re working and you can literally spend more time doing something that somebody else and therefore you outwork them and therefore you should be more successful. That is pretty core beliefs in both of those communities. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve actually spent more time understanding and thinking about the benefits of sleep. So that’s one thing, which is the number of hours I sleep today is actually much more than I used to. I used to literally operate off like four or five hours of sleep.
When I first met my girlfriend actually, she said something to me about like, ‘why aren’t you sleeping?’ I think I was like, ‘oh, wolves don’t sleep’, just being an asshole! Like I’m just giving her a hard time, whatever. But that was genuinely the mentality. Now I’m like, ‘oh man, I can feel the difference between six hours, eight hours’ and ‘how do I get to sleep?’ But the difference is that I’ve tried to become more efficient with my time. The problem becomes that there’s still all the work that needs to get done. So what I’ve done is tried to design my life. I wake up at 4.30/4.45 every morning, not because of any other reason, than I know between that time and 8:00 AM, nobody else is up! No one’s bothering me.
Peter McCormack: Exactly! It’s when you get the most work done.
Anthony Pompliano: I work out, I write, I do all these things that I know if I don’t get them done in that period, I’ve basically got, let’s call it three, three and a half hours. If I don’t get the stuff done in that three, three and a half hours, it’s not getting done today.
Peter McCormack: So what do you say the magic sauce is if somebody wanted to launch a podcast. What are the things they have to absolutely nail?
Anthony Pompliano: We may disagree on this section. I’d love to hear your opinion. I think just start.
Peter McCormack: Well, yeah, that’s what I always say, that’s like my first thing. Just start. But once you’ve started…
Anthony Pompliano: But this is important. So, there’s somebody, I won’t name them because I don’t know if they’d be comfortable with me naming them, but they called me one day and they said, ‘hey, it looks like you try a lot of different things and they tend to work. I’m really interested in, how do you start something and get it going’. I said to them, first of all, that’s misleading because you actually don’t ever see the things that I started or tried and didn’t work. So you’re selection bias.
But to what I said, the reason why it looks that way is because too many people want to do something and they spend time planning and there’s plenty of things that you should plan. You should probably plan if you’re going to start a company, a lot of things around that! But a podcast is a perfect example. The best thing that you could do is literally go and just say to yourself, ‘I’m starting today’ and you can do that and it’s going to suck! The first one you’re probably embarrassed by. I actually want to take down some of my first ones.
Peter McCormack: You can’t do that!
Anthony Pompliano: I have not taken them down, but I’ve wanted to because I’ve just said things I wouldn’t have said. I’ve learned things. You know it’s just better now. If I didn’t start then I would’ve have always said, ‘oh, I’ll do it tomorrow. I’ll do it next week. I’ll do it, whatever’. So I think that mental switch of today’s the day, if you do it that day, you have an 80% more likely chance to actually having a podcast.
Peter McCormack: You are totally right. I told you about it before. I was in LA and I thought, ‘I think I’m going to do a podcast’. I messaged Rich. He told me the equipment I needed. I contacted Luke. I said, ‘Luke, I’m in LA. You’re here. I want to do a podcast. Do you want to do an interview?’ He said yes, I ordered the stuff off Amazon. Three days later I was recording and then I was committed. I fucked up early on though. So I did my second interview and then I didn’t do one for like three weeks and then I was like, ‘no, I can’t do this’.
Anthony Pompliano: You felt yourself going to not doing that stuff and pulled yourself back?
Peter McCormack: Then I was like, ‘I’m never gonna miss a show’ and I’ve never missed a show. I did one after the Mt. Gox, I let a week slide because there were just too many shows coming out. But I never let one go.
Anthony Pompliano: So you were smart. What would you say is the key to getting started?
Peter McCormack: The same as you, you just have got to go.
Anthony Pompliano: Yeah. So you go, now what’s the next step?
Peter McCormack: I think there’s a lot of things I would say to people now because it’s a very competitive space. There’s a lot of podcasts now and then a lot more coming out. So I’m like what’s your incentive? Mine’s a business. This is my life. This pays for my living. So that’s my incentive. Are you doing it as a side gig? It’s really important to know that. I’m not asking that to you, just to anyone wanting to start!
Anthony Pompliano: Oh, you’re saying what their goal is?
Peter McCormack: You’ve got to know what your goal is. Is it a side gig? Is it fun or is it like for me; this is a business. Whenever I’ve sat down with somebody and I’ll show you afterwards, my spreadsheets and my organization and….
Anthony Pompliano: Did you start that way?
Peter McCormack: No, but as it started to grow, I realized there’s an opportunity. Then my son came to live with me full time and I realized that I’ve got to take this seriously. Then I lost all my money trading and I was like, ‘oh fuck, now I really have to take this seriously!’ I’ve always just been disciplined like that. But I think I would say to people, what is the goal? Mine is that I want to earn an income that pays for my family and everything’s designed around that. So if it’s a side gig, fine. Then what are you going to do this different? What is your thing? I think my thing is that I wanted to have the best guests and I’ve just focused hardcore on getting the best guests. Now it’s harder, now I’m like, ‘how do I get different guests?’
Anthony Pompliano: So this is a very interesting difference and it’s very subtle. We talk about it all the time in the asset management business. We talk about the founders that we invest in and Peter Thiel’s probably the one who has articulated this idea of the best and I’m going to botch it up so I apologize in advance, but basically it’s this idea that if you do something and you’re just trying to be better at it than somebody else, one, it’s really, really hard to just be better than everybody else. Then two, eventually a whole bunch of different things can happen where being better goes away. So if you and I are just competing on who can have a better podcast. What is better? How do you do that? It’s difficult. Being different is more important than being better. I think the way he articulates it is that you have to do something that no one else can do. What’s your special skill? What’s your special angle? What’s your thing that no one else is doing? Because the differentiation means you’re the best at doing whatever is different.
Peter McCormack: It’s funny you should say that and I think my differentiation has come out of luck because I started this when I was rich!
Anthony Pompliano: You have an epic story! It’s like my favourite thing that not only did it happen, you then publicly talked about it!
Peter McCormack: Well we can come to that, but so I was loaded travelling around the world and on Blockfolio I was loaded! Travelling around the world, having a great time, start up the podcast and I lose all the money, but I’m suddenly in a position where I’m on this full time. So if anyone wants to launch one, if they have a job that is a side gig, what they’ve got understand is that I get up at six in the morning. I do two hours. I drop the kids off at school. Do another seven hours. I pick the kids up. I do another four hours before bed, most days and I’ll work weekends as well. I fit it around the kids and stuff, but this is all I’m doing. If you’re at work all day, you’ve got a distraction. So I’m spending the day getting a guest, I’m pitching to advertisers, I’m preparing for interviews. It’s a business.
Anthony Pompliano: You are building a business and you have to put the work in.
Peter McCormack: Exactly. So that’s one of the things I’m trying to make people aware of. Here’s all my knowledge… So I have to do list for each time I launch a show. If someone wants to launch a podcast, I give them my to-do list. This is everything I do for a show. There’s like 60 things and you know I share it all with them. But I’m just saying if you’re going to do it, be prepared, it’s hard work.
Anthony Pompliano: It’s funny to hear you say this, because one of the things that I always try to gauge with founders, people have talked about this before. One of the key components that I look for in a founder is whether they’ll quit or not. That sounds so simple and so dumb. But when a founder’s pitching a company day one, there’s a couple of ways I look at this, that what you’re saying actually you fit right in the sweet spot of how you have to build something. So one is, what are their motives? If they’re doing it to get rich, probably not a good sign. If they’re doing it because they were doing something they loved and it happens to turn into a business, very interesting.
But the other thing is, are they going to quit? It’s nearly impossible to know with certainty, are they going to quit or not? It’s actually the only time you can know for certainty is the people who have quit time and time again at other things, it’s like 99.9% you’re going to quit when things get harder. But you don’t even understand how hard what you’re going to experience and if you knew you probably wouldn’t start.
So you get started, it’s easy, you get a little bit of success, you feed on that, you can start building and then at some point you hit the first roadblock. I like to see what was the first roadblock that a founder hit and how did they get by it. If they, what I call it phone a friend and they did something that didn’t require them to push through it, like they hit a wall and they just went to a different direction or something; less exciting. If they hit the wall and they pushed through it through either effort or intelligence or whatever it is, very interesting because you know that the next wall that comes if it’s bigger, it’s thicker, doesn’t matter. They’re going to figure it out. You know that they’re not going to quit.
Have you ever seen the visual where there’s two tunnels on top, it’s a cartoon, there’s a tunnel on the top and a tunnel on the bottom and there’s a guy, a cartoon character, with an axe in both of them? One of them is the guy who is about halfway through the tunnel and he’s picking away, trying to get through the tunnel. The other guy is literally 99% of the way through and there’s a very small piece of the wall left and he’s turned around, he’s got the axe on his shoulder and he’s walking away. The whole imagery is about that you never know how close you are to breaking through. That’s how I think about entrepreneurship, building things, etc. You should tell us an episode of where it took off or you got some traction and that was enough light where you knew if you launched three more and they didn’t get enough traction, you can keep going. That’s important.
Peter McCormack: Well actually I think the point for me was one, it’s not so much a guest, but when I got my first sponsor.
Anthony Pompliano: Okay, interesting. Explain this more.
Peter McCormack: Well, because it was somebody saying, ‘I respect you enough and like what you’re doing enough that I want to give you money to talk about my company’. I mean obviously that was a goal and I always wanted to get there, but I didn’t get my first sponsor for around 10 months. So I started in November 2017 and I think it was August, so say eight or nine months. It wasn’t much money as well. But that’s somebody wants to pay me and then I was like, ‘you’ll pay me based on CPM and my CPMs growing’. So I looked at this and I said, ‘well if I can continue to grow this and people continue to like it, I can see the trajectory of what this is going to do’.
So I think that was the point and then there’s this period where you start to feel like…. It’s really weird because I don’t want to sound like…. It’s really humbling to do this because I’m from a little town called Bedford in England, not much goes on. I’m not from New York, I’m not from San Fran and I fell into this and then suddenly I’ve got people paying for me to go to Hong Kong to MC a conference. I mean this is insane!
I don’t know how this is happening and then people are spending good money on my podcast and then the most humbling things; someone will email you and say, ‘look, I’ve listened to every episode. I really appreciate what you’ve done. Thank you so much’. It’s really humbling. But I would say the last three or four months have felt like, ‘wow, this is really serious now’. Before it was like, this is good, but the last three or four months, it felt like this is really serious and it’s something I need to appreciate and protect. Because if I fuck it up…
Anthony Pompliano: Or you’ll lose trust and you feel like you did a disservice to the audience.
Peter McCormack: Well, yeah and so that’s one of the reasons why I always share my opinions quite honestly.
Anthony Pompliano: I don’t think you and I have any problems sharing our opinions!
Peter McCormack: This is my view now and even today’s episode with Andreas, I’ve changed my views and I said, ‘God, I’m going to see Pierre Rochard and he’s going to crush me when hears what I’ve said’. But I have to be authentic about that. I have to be authentic about the advertisers I work with because I’ve got to protect this as I think it’s important for me, it’s important for my family, but it’s actually, I think it’s kind of important for the wider communities. Community is a weird word, but it’s helping. Hopefully, it’s helping and it’s bringing people in.
Anthony Pompliano: So there’s two ways to look at it. Let me just ask, have you ever thought about you’re actually documenting history?
Peter McCormack: No.
Anthony Pompliano: That’s what scares me. So protecting the communities’ one piece, because if I deliver something that is a bad product, wrong ideas, etc, I’ll feel the blowback personally, people tweet at you, they’ll get upset. You and I probably are around a point where we could…. It’ll suck, we’ll have to defend ourselves and then you kind of move on and yeah, you may lose some people, but you’ll be okay. The part that scares the hell out of me takes like the Murad episode. That either goes down as the most epic thing of all time and it told the future or the dumbest thing in the world. People were like, ‘people believed this… You know this?!
Peter McCormack: But that episode was epic! You can be wrong, I think you can be wrong. I think people can look back and go… Because it’s like Chris Burniske, he started to get a lot of shit for his book, but he put himself out there and wrote it. He tried to challenge what are these things? Are they interesting? What are the models that can make it work? I think that’s really cool.
Anthony Pompliano: I respect anybody who puts themselves out there.
Peter McCormack: He might be wrong, that Murad thing might be wrong, but you put yourself out there to say this is what I think might happen. So I don’t think that.
Anthony Pompliano: You’re not worried about that?
Peter McCormack: No. But actually when you said ‘document history now’, I hadn’t thought about it, but I did recently because when I did the Mt. Gox series, one of the creditors wrote to me and said, ‘I just want to thank you for doing this. This is the best…’ What did he put it? He said, ‘this is the most comprehensive source of information around Mt. Gox that exists’. It hadn’t crossed my mind. I assumed all this information existed in one place or another and afterwards it was all out there and then someone’s saying, this is the best source and I was like, ‘wow, okay, thank you’. I feel a huge sense of responsibility for that and actually I kind of wish I can go and do it again and do a better job because I hadn’t thought about it like that.
Anthony Pompliano: So what’s one thing that you would have done differently? It’s a seven-part series right?
Peter McCormack: Six. I wanted seven. I wanted Peter Vessenes, but he didn’t reply. What would I do differently? I never enjoy hindsight because I did what I thought was the best thing at the time. It would’ve been nice to have more time to prepare. Because it came around really quickly. It went from an interview in San Fran, to Mark Karpeles saying I can interview him, to going out to Japan, to suddenly doing six interviews and there’s so much information to digest. I wasn’t all-knowing as much as I’d like to have been. So I would like to have had more time. I’d like my microphone not too have broken halfway through the Jed interview, which was really annoying!
But no, I don’t think there’s a huge amount I would change apart from…. I tell you what I’ll do going forward, the next time I do and I’m going to do one of these. I’m going to do one on the Silk Road. I’ve got a close relationship with Lyn. So I want to get all the people together for that and a very honest group of interviews and that might be more, that might say 10, but I’m going to give myself a few months to plan this. I’m going to agree what I want it to be, how it to be positioned. It’s not a defence of Ross. It’s here’s the truth of what we know. Here are all the key players and here’s what they think and I’m going to give myself time to prepare to do it in the right way.
Anthony Pompliano: You almost get to triangulate the truth that way because if you’re one player in that, you have an opinion, you have perspective, you actually have forgotten some things, etc. But when you get enough people around the table, you get a really clear picture of what happened.
Peter McCormack: Yeah and that’s a funny thing. I developed a lot of opinions during the Mt Gox stuff, but there’s no like definitive ‘here’s the answer’ with Mt. Gox. I could sit there and write my version based on it, but what does that mean? I think what’s better is to say, ‘here’s a bunch of content. Here’s a bunch of information, questions and answers. What can you digest to it and what’s your opinion, here’s mine by the way. But what have you got from that?’ Rather than definitively tell them. So for example, here’s my views on Mark Karpeles and what happened with him. Here are my views on Jed. This is what I think of Brock Pierce. What do you think of him? But almost as an isolated little piece of information, not here’s my entire summary of the whole events and this is what happened, because I think that’s a dangerous thing to do.
Anthony Pompliano: Yup! What do you want this to become for you? If you look five years from now and you say, ‘I started this as a side project that was fun for me and it grew into X, it accomplished what I wanted it to’, what would that X be?
Peter McCormack: I would like to carry on interviewing. I really like interviewing people, but I want to go broader because I want to challenge myself and become better. I want this just to be what I do until I give up doing anything because it’s the kind of thing that I feel so blessed and fortunate because it’s not like a real job. It’s hard work. But I turn up and I talk to you and then I’m going to sit in an Uber and then troll you! I’m so lucky. I’ve flown to New York City, one of the most amazing cities of the world. I’m in your office doing this and that’s my job. Then I’m going to Chicago and I’m being taken out to dinner by somebody and then I’m going to have dinner and meeting up with Alex Gladstein — what a guy!
Then I’m going to MIT in Boston and I’m going to interview some people there and then I’m flying to Hong Kong and then I’m going to LA. How unbelievably lucky is it to have… I mean it’s not luck because I’ve worked hard. I used to have a web design business and we went to do some work for a pottery company in Stoke in England and it was a factory where they make pottery and this guy was on the factory line and showed me what he did. Afterwards, I spoke to his manager and I said, ‘tell me about that guy’s job’, and he said, ‘for 20 years he has done that job. He goes in and he puts the pots in that big oven and then he takes them out’. I don’t mean to disrespect to him, this is not a criticism of him at all, but that’s a tough job and he’s providing for his family, day in, day out.
I get to do so many amazing things and I feel so fortunate. If you offered me now… Say the revenue I’m going to make this year is good, it’s a solid revenue. If you said, ‘I can guarantee you this for the next 20 years and you’re not going to fuck it up’, I take a sign on the dotted line now because I could fuck it up and that’s scary to me because what am I going to do next? So if I could have the consistency of being able to just meet people, do interviews and get them out there, I’m content.
Anthony Pompliano: So I have a theory on this. What you just said is, the most interesting people are fascinated by meeting and talking with and learning from other interesting people. The reason why you are interesting is because you’ve probably spent your whole life talking to a bunch of different interesting people. So you are able to formulate different ideas, you get exposed to different topics, perspectives, etc and actually part of you being interesting is the variety of experiences, the ability to go into different cultures, see them talk to people, etc. So if you think of, who are some of the most interesting people in the world? They’re actually journalists.
They’re people who we think are ‘famous’, but a lot of the fame has just empowered their ability to have collisions with ideas, people, societies that they otherwise wouldn’t have. So what you’re doing is, you’re actually creating a bigger moat for yourself. You become more interesting every conversation you have and it’s harder for somebody else to catch you because you’re literally iterating every time you interview somebody. That’s pretty fascinating.
Peter McCormack: Well, yeah, I guess! Do you want to know a funny story? I guess my first ever job when I was 15, I started a fanzine music magazine. So I’m big into my heavy metal.
Anthony Pompliano: You literally have a Black Sabbath shirt on right now, which I respect so much. Go ahead.
Peter McCormack: Yeah I’m big into my heavy metal. Can’t afford the CDs every week. Can’t afford to go to every concert. So I started a fanzine. I was 15 and interviewing bands. I used to type it on my computer and go and print it at my friend’s Dad’s estate agents. We used to go and print 200 copies and I’ll sell it at concerts and give it away. So that used to get me into my concerts for free and I got all my CDs for free from the record companies and I interviewed some cool people. I did the first interview with the band, do you know Korn?
Anthony Pompliano: Oh yeah, man that is a throwback! I was a kid when that was popular.
Peter McCormack: I did the first interview with them in the UK. The reason I did the first one is because they did the first show in the UK and I got the first slot because it’s a crap slot. But I did the first interview with them. I interviewed the drummer of Pantera. I interviewed Kerry King from Slayer. I did some cool interviews.
Anthony Pompliano: Did you ever interview anybody from Limp Bizkit? They were my guys!
Peter McCormack: No I miss that man! Mine was a band called Biohazard who were from Brooklyn. So essentially, that was my first job and I was 15 years old, I used to get the train to London, go to a concert, turn up with my little dictaphone…
Anthony Pompliano: That is amazing!
Peter McCormack: … Do an interview, take that interview back, type it up and I only did 4 issues. I loved it! Then what happened is I went to university and it just kind of collapsed, so I didn’t do it again. This essentially has come full circle and 25 years since I’ve done that, I’ve come back and I’m doing essentially the same thing. It almost feels like it’s probably what I should’ve always done.
Anthony Pompliano: So, you’re describing a story that I see in founders all the time, which is there are moments in your life where you can look back and you can see what you’re doing today and what you are working on today. You’ve actually practised over your life. What I mean by that is those interviews, you practice interviewing. You had a web design company, you actually practised the ability branding. How do you get naming? How you get landing pages? All of these little components and when you take these components that had some success, great success rate, all these kinds of different outcomes and they all come together, you just hit it right down the fairway and it explodes.
The best example of this is, do you know who Sam Zell is? He’s a United States based billionaire who is very well known for real estate. I recently read a book that he wrote called, “Am I Being Too Subtle?” You and I probably would get along with Sam very well! In this book, what he talks about is, in college he basically finagled his way into a little bit of money, doing odd jobs whatever and he bought this real estate and saw, ‘oh, I buy this and then I get paid every month from the real estate’ and that idea resonated with him. Then he worked and he raised some money, did another one etc. He ends up growing very quickly this real estate empire, kind of in his twenties.
At some point and I don’t know if it’s the late twenties, early thirties, whatever, he says, ‘I need to diversify 50% of my assets into non-real estate’ and so he ends up starting to invest in private businesses. Somehow along the way, he takes them public a couple of times and so he gets familiar with the going public process and the “Aha” for him or that like that culmination of the sweet spot was when REITs came along. So the ability to take a real estate investment trust and bring it to the public market. So it was the culmination of all the years he had spent buying and selling and transacting in real estate and his ability to take these vehicles public, all culminate in building one of the very first large REITs. Well Sam Zell, who is the kid from nowhere type all this stuff, sold it for $40 billion to Blackstone.
Peter McCormack: Whoa!
Anthony Pompliano: You’re sitting there and you’re thinking, right time, right place, right product, right experience and they all came together and there’s probably 10, 20, maybe 50 people in the planet who had those two very special skills and experiences that came together at that time, etc and he pulled the trigger and he ended up being successful. You’re telling me a bunch of details very similar! Had experience interviewing, had all this stuff and it comes together. It’s like football when the hole opens up, you just got to run through it and you shouldn’t be apologetic for doing it!
Peter McCormack: What’s the goal for you then?
Anthony Pompliano: So you’re farther along than I am in thinking about a lot of this. I’ll tell you something that I’ve never admitted to anybody outside of people that are very close to me. I’m actually very uncomfortable with a lot of this and so getting used to it… You know, we were at the event last night for BlockFi and somebody came up to me and very similar right, ‘I’ve listened to everything. I’ve read everything. This is great’, you know like the quintessential fanboy. I don’t like that situation, I’m super uncomfortable. I’m comfortable asking them questions, ‘actually just tell me about you!’ It’s very interesting we get put in that position to how you react, how you feel, all this stuff and I think that I’m getting over that a little bit. I’m very humbled by it. I try to kind of return the favour. So if somebody thinks that I’ve helped them, I try to help them twice as much to give back to them. Part of it is, what does that become?
Peter McCormack: I think once you start thinking, maybe you are different from somebody, that’s when you start to lose?
Anthony Pompliano: I actually don’t care about the notoriety and all this stuff. It goes back to what do you do that’s different than everybody else? I’m self-aware almost to a fault and I always say to myself, there’s two things that I think I can do differently. They don’t mean I’m better. I just don’t think other people are doing this. One is the ability to take super, super complex ideas in a very nascent space and to take those ideas and regurgitate them in a very simplistic way for a very specific audience. Nobody else is doing that and if you do it correctly, I think that there’s a lot of opportunities there.
The second is, I have these life experiences that allow me to use the digital tools that we’ve been given through Twitter and all these things to create massive distribution. So put those two things together, there’s nobody taking these super complex ideas, regurgitating them in a simplistic way and then being able to distribute them in the way that I am. I hope that changes. So part of what I’ve come to learn is, when I was a kid, I wanted to be better than everybody else and actually wanted to stay better than anybody else forever. I want to run faster than you and I never want you to catch me.
As I’ve gotten older, I actually now look at it and say, we as a group need other people to run faster than us. How do we help a bunch of other people become, from slower, to the same speed, to now go faster than us, because we’ll actually benefit? It’s the restaurant problem. There’s one restaurant on an intersection, they get some traffic. Most people think if a second restaurant shows up on the intersection, their business will be cannibalized. Actually, both businesses rise because then people think that’s the restaurant corner. Then three, then four and then you notice that they are all grouped together. I think that’s what we’re doing because I want more people.
Peter McCormack: I mean that’s why I will share your shows out. I won’t share everyone because that’s pointless, but if one really resonates with me…
Anthony Pompliano: Well half of them sucks, so you only share the good ones!
Peter McCormack: What it is, is you’ve got to be selective about the ones you want to listen to it because there’s too many now and also actually some suit different occasions. If I’m in LA and I’m going to San Fran, I’ll never fly, because I’ve got to get to the airport and get through TSA, it’s a four to five-hour journey of, stop, start, stop, start. Or I can get in a car and sit in there for six hours and I can get something done. I listen to podcasts and I’m going to listen to Marty Bent for six hours because that’s perfect. But if I go down the gym, I’m going to listen to you because there’s a different scenario.
Anthony Pompliano: Oh I’m the gym and he’s driving? I don’t know if I like that or not.
Peter McCormack: No, no that’s good. With Marty, I just want to relax. I’m separating myself from the world. I’m going to sit here and just listen to two people have an amazing conversation and it’s a relaxing one. Whereas yours, they’re high energy, they’re question/answer and things that, you know, it’s just different scenario. Actually usually when I’m in the gym, I also might be listening to Norma Jean or some metal; there’s different scenarios.
But, sorry, what I was getting at, is there’s different shows I listen to now and I have to select and I’ll pick out the ones and I will share out. But I think we’re all stronger together and it’s like when people put up those polls; ‘which is your favourite crypto podcast’, I always want to say, ‘but you can only have four and there are all these other ones that you’ve forgotten about’. There’s Laura (Shin), who often gets forgotten and I’m like, you can’t forget her. She was one of the first. Listen to her interview with Naval or listen to her interview with the Winklevoss twins or the one she just did with Rune about MakerDao. I mean, she’s brilliant, absolutely brilliant!
Anthony Pompliano: She has a skill that you and I don’t have, that she honed for years. She is a journalist…
Peter McCormack: … I guess we’re more like entertainers, but she’s genuinely brilliant. So I think we’re all stronger together, especially as media because what we’re hopefully doing is we’re bringing in new people in. I don’t even know where I’m going with this!
Anthony Pompliano: But what you’re saying is it’s fascinating that, we don’t have a plan. You or I. I bet you if we ask Laura, she had an idea and she had kind of a short term plan, but she didn’t know what it was going to turn into. Almost every founder doesn’t know what’s going to be. That’s the beauty of it; is the ability to kind of course correct and make these small adjustments and you know, ‘hey, I did an interview, people really didn’t like that type of topic. Let me go back to what people really like’ and you kind of refine it and those iterations get a product that people love.
Peter McCormack: Alright, so how much of what you’re doing is designed for your audience and how much of it is based around what you want to do?
Anthony Pompliano: So I take the position, I’m going to do what I want to do and the people that like what I like are going to be attracted to it and the people who don’t can jog on. Not in a, ‘I don’t appreciate you, I don’t want to be associated with you’, but in a… ‘The biggest reward I get from spending hours every week doing this, I learn’.
Peter McCormack: Do you prep for your interviews?
Anthony Pompliano: I don’t do any prep.
Peter McCormack: See I had a feeling that you didn’t and that’s insane because let me show you this.
Anthony Pompliano: Okay, let me see. He just brought out a computer.
Peter McCormack: So this is an example prep for… Let’s go with Andreas.
Anthony Pompliano: He’s showing me right now pages of notes.
Peter McCormack: So what I do, I create a structure of the things I want to do in the topics I want to get through. It’s funny, we haven’t done it for this one and I don’t know if it matters actually. Maybe I could survive without it. Maybe I couldn’t. But I know, I can tell you just sit down and you just go.
Anthony Pompliano: So here’s what I’m scared of… So let me clarify one thing. When they walk in the room, I do ask them, what do you want to talk about? That type of stuff. And I may jot down, ‘hey, here’s two or three ideas or whatever’ and I’ll make sure I weave them in. But for the most part, I’m just freewheeling. It goes back to this idea of authenticity. I don’t want to ever feel like I’m walking in to do a job and I promise you I will walk away from all of this, the day that I feel like it’s not fun anymore.
So what I’ve found is the people who are the most popular episodes, they walk in and they’re like, ‘ask me about anything’. Nothing’s out of bounds. I’m here. I’m basically going to just shoot the shit with you. Very similar how we’re doing it and the episodes explode. The people who walk in and you can tell like they have a PR team and they’re doing all this stuff, you can just tell that they want to say things and they don’t. Or you can tell that they’ve been coached, stay away from certain topics and when I sense that, that’s where I want to go! Why do you not want to talk about this? Are you hiding something? Is it something that you’re sensitive to and I want to go do that.
If they trust you, they don’t care. They’re like, look, ‘ask me about anything. I’ll talk about my deepest, darkest secrets and I’ll talk about the greatest things in the world’. The people who come in and are very rigid, it’s a different feel. It’s not as fun and episodes don’t do well. So for me, that’s the whole key, is just, let’s go bullshit!
Peter McCormack: My biggest fear is that I’ve run out of questions in an interview. Get half an hour in and I’ve got nothing more to talk about. It kind of happened with Hester Peirce. That was a very tough interview.
Anthony Pompliano: Okay, explain.
Peter McCormack: Because a lot of it comes down to how much somebody talks. If somebody gives shorter answers, it’s hard. Obviously, she works for the SEC.
Anthony Pompliano: She’s being super careful.
Peter McCormack: She is being super careful and she’s tows the line and I didn’t have enough questions prepared and I didn’t know where to take it. We got to like 45 minutes. We ended up doing a little personal stuff, but I didn’t know where to take it afterwards. With you, it’s kind of easier because we can discuss anything, but with her, it was very, very difficult. That’s always my fear, that I’ve run out of things to say. That’s why I do so much prep.
Anthony Pompliano: So I’ve actually never thought about that because I just end it. If I’m done, I’m done. I don’t actually know now that I’m thinking about it, if that’s good or bad? Am I cheating people from a conversation where there’s other questions and not? One thing I’ve started to do now is a live stream on Twitter and I’ll stop the interview from the Audio podcast recording and many times I’ll then say to the people, ‘hey, five more minutes, send me questions like they’re here’ and people ask questions that I wouldn’t have thought of or that they find fascinating whatever. To me it’s just…. If you and I run out of things to talk about, let’s shut up.
Peter McCormack: Well this is my longest interview to date so far. Do you know what we’ve done? It’s two hours now and we’ve not even touched aliens! I really want to talk about it, it’s like my favourite subject!
Anthony Pompliano: At the two hour and two-minute mark, we’re going into aliens. There’s still a lot of people watching!
Peter McCormack: I know. I wonder how many have stuck through it. It’s gone back and forth. Firstly, why do you have the alien question? It kind of gives me the feeling that you enjoy interviewing and you want to get out of just being an industry.
Anthony Pompliano: So there’s two reasons. One, I have a genuine interest and it’s just so fascinating to me. The idea that we are such a small part of the universe used to scare the shit out of me. The idea that you and I, one day, are not here, whoa!
Peter McCormack: We are so irrelevant!
Anthony Pompliano: But yeah, like just super uncomfortable. It makes me want to just go do crazy shit. I forget who the first person I asked was and I asked the question because I genuinely was interested in their answer. What I found was it was the best way I knew to find out, how does this person think? What is the framework they use to think through something that they are unprepared for or they haven’t thought about? So finance and Wall Street firms are famous for asking things like, ‘how many golf balls can you fit in a Boeing 747’ and they want to hear the person in their vest with their pocket protectors say, ‘you could fit 4,732 golf balls into a Boeing 747 because there are this many cubic square feet and this many balls’ and they go through the whole thing, I got it. That’s super not cool to me because I just don’t give a shit how many golf balls go in a Boeing 747.
Aliens though, I actually really care what your answer is. But I also get to see how do you think and so there’s some people who come in and they’re funny. They say, ‘oh, we’re the pets’, or ‘we’re the aliens’. It gives me a lot of insight of who they are. There’s people who come in and immediately know some sort of theory, like an academic theory that has been created that basically backs into the high probability of aliens existing. That’s a very intelligent kind of structured answer. There’s some people who would come in and on the spot on the fly are doing the math, ‘well there’s this many planets…’, and you can see the very analytical and so it’s just a way to learn more about them with a very unassuming question. They’re so busy answering the question, they don’t realize that I’m learning not just the answer, but other things about them.
Peter McCormack: So what’s your answer then, do aliens have pets? Have you answered it? I can’t remember if you’ve answered it.
Anthony Pompliano: Oh, to pets. I’ve definitely talked about it. So I’m as close to 100% confidence as you could get about aliens existing somewhere. That’s where I’m at.
Peter McCormack: But what constitutes an alien?
Anthony Pompliano: That’s the big question!
Peter McCormack: Is it just about intelligent life or you’re talking about creatures because there can be organic life. Then there can be some kind of creature and then there can be intelligent life.
Anthony Pompliano: Absolutely. So I think that if there’s one species, there’s going to be multiple ones. So pets or not pets, they’re just going to be multiple species, which was really what the point of that question is. But, I’m going to surprise you. I recently recorded an episode and I asked this question and because now everyone comes prepared for the aliens right? So people literally say, ‘hey man, I want to come on and talk about aliens’. Not, ‘hey, I want to come on and talk about other stuff’. What do you think about the ocean? Are you more scared to go to the depths of the ocean or to go to space?
Peter McCormack: I’m not scared to go to space. I want to go to space!
Anthony Pompliano: Okay. So this is interesting because I’m the same way. I would much rather go to space then go to the depths of the ocean.
Peter McCormack: I’m not scared of either. I’m fascinated by both of them. I’m fascinated by the depth of the ocean because there’s probably shit down there we still don’t know exists.
Anthony Pompliano: Completely and that’s the fascination with space.
Peter McCormack: I always think of The Abyss, have you seen the film?
Anthony Pompliano: No, I haven’t seen it.
Peter McCormack: You will love it. But that fascinates me, but I guess I’m more into space because it’s so much more vast than the oceans. I mean there is so much more out there.
Anthony Pompliano: Is it though? This is why I asked the question, I completely agree with space from a size perspective. What if we’re actually underestimating the ocean and overestimating space, in the sense that we will learn and discover more things in our lifetime in our own ocean than we will in space.
Peter McCormack: I think there’s so much more out there in space because of so many varieties of things, not just life forms. There are supposedly planets that are entirely made of diamond. I mean, how amazing is that?
Anthony Pompliano: That’s wild!
Peter McCormack: That I really think is cool. There’s actually a really good podcast called “Ask a Spaceman”. Definitely check out Paul Sutter, he explains really complex things in a really funny and interesting way, like relativity. In a way that I never understood it before. The only thing I think about with aliens and stuff, is if you do the math on the odds of it happening, the math says, you know, billions of planets, it’s like a no brainer. But then I’m like, if life forms are created elsewhere, must it have the same… Must there be a thing called DNA? Must there be a thing called chromosomes? Or can it be entirely unique? Because things like chromosomes and DNA seem like some weird kind of design. How can DNA and chromosomes happen by chance? By a hot mess bubbling at the bottom of the ocean. How can that exist? How can that come to be, if it’s not designed? That always makes me think… Alright so you can be on another planet, another galaxy, bottom their ocean, there’s this primordial soup bubbling away, but how can that spark a DNA of exactly the same design? And does it need to be? Because that’s a fluke!
Anthony Pompliano: Absolutely. What it begs the question is just how replicable are the things that have happened in the evolution of the Earth and humans, animals, etc and there’s two components to that. One is what is the actual DNA and what has happened to us and also what is the environment in which that has permeated. My guess is that there is other “life” or microorganism whatever it is, it’s in very different environments. So I probably to a fault, am difficult with a lot of people because I like to question the underlying assumption. One of the assumptions in space is that we are looking for something that is similar to Earth. Well, what if that’s actually the wrong question? What if we’re just looking for a different set of conditions that could also create? Why is earth the only thing that could create life?
Peter McCormack: You may have life that doesn’t need oxygen.
Anthony Pompliano: There’s probably some scientists out there who’s figured this out already, but I don’t know that. There’s so many different angles you could go. There’s so many different ways you could go. Now like I’ve been thinking more three dimensional and there’s space and there’s the ocean. I was telling somebody yesterday about the ocean question and they were like, ‘dude, you want to really screw up your brain. What about volcanoes?’ The idea that it’s not the ocean, which we think of, ‘okay, I can just go in the water and I just go to the bottom and then I hit the crust of the earth.’ But this idea that all of that stuff is in the earth and it boils up and explodes and it rips a hole in the Earth and then there’s lava everywhere. I’m like, whoa! You start going down and thinking just that the world is a big place. We don’t know anything compared to what is actually all the knowledge out there, all the information and we’re just so lucky.
Peter McCormack: So somebody explained this thing to me once they said, ‘you cannot calculate how lucky you are to be alive’. You can’t calculate that because if you try and do the math, you have to start the point at which your parents met each other. At that moment there was one moment in time they conceived you and any part of that moment conceiving you might not have happened. One variable changes it all. He said, ‘but what about your parents’ parents and their parents and look all the coincidence that have to happen for that moment in time for you to be born’.
Anthony Pompliano: And just that one of them happened, all the different sperm count and you’re the one who swam the fastest!
Peter McCormack: No, you go before that! What if the dinosaurs hadn’t been killed? You know, maybe humans wouldn’t exist because they’d all been eaten. Then what if the moon hadn’t crashed into the earth to create the moon or whatever. If you go back and calculate all the things that had to happen for you to exist, it’s an impossible number. You almost get close to infinity. It’s impossible. Somebody explained that to me and they said, ‘not only that. The universe is 13.8 billion years old and it’s your time right now’.
Anthony Pompliano: That’s crazy.
Peter McCormack: So you’ve got all these things and so that person says to me, they said, ‘I believe I’m always alive. I don’t believe it’s my 80 years within that 13.8 billion. I believe I’m always alive because I’m alive right now’. Does that make sense? Then I was trying to think about it and then it just screwed my head up.
Anthony Pompliano: One of the pieces of advice is that as an investor, a lot of founders will call when things aren’t going well. So I always joke and say when we haven’t heard from companies, that’s actually really scary because it’s not going so well that they want to call and basically brag and make us proud of them. But they’re also not calling cause it’s going horribly, so it’s just going sideways, which is not good and something’s going wrong. But when you get the good calls out, you’re happy and excited and they usually don’t need help at that point. But when they call, when things are going wrong, I can usually split the problem into two things.
One is things under their control, things not under their control. Things under their control are very action-oriented. Let’s come up with a plan, let’s go execute the plan, all that stuff. The things that are not under their control, the best piece of advice I’ve ever given them; ‘where are you right now?’ They’ll tell me and I say, ‘put your phone down. We’re going to hang up, put your phone down and I want you to go for a walk outside for 30 minutes with no device and just go for a walk and come back and call me’. It is the most fascinating thing. They come back, they’re calmer, they’re happier.
They have changed in a way that yes, maybe some of it is the device, but it’s the fact that they’ve had to go outside and just realize that there’s more to this. You and I are in an office, ‘oh my God we got to figure this out’ and he’s walking, talking like nothing else matters. I definitely don’t do it nearly as much as I should do it. But that’s the stuff that just fascinates me. It’s literally just removing yourself from an environment, putting yourself in a new environment and breaking a routine, completely changes your perspective.
Peter McCormack: I feel robbed of this interview. Do you know why? Because normally you get to go, ‘you can ask me one question’. I’ve got to ask you loads! I didn’t have to be diplomatic about that one question. I didn’t get to go, ‘what’s that one question I had’.
Anthony Pompliano: What would have been, what would you ask me?
Peter McCormack: I don’t know. I would have to think about it. Where’s the best pizza in New York?
Anthony Pompliano: Oh Man….
Peter McCormack: I’ll tell you where the best burger is in New York — Parker Meridian Burger joint. You ever been there?
Anthony Pompliano: I have not. I’ve heard that from a few different people. So here’s a dirty secret. People get mad when I tell them this. Let me ask you, what’s your favourite restaurant in the world?
Peter McCormack: Chotto Matte in London. Actually, this is one I’ve been to most, it’s not my favourite, sorry. It’s a Peruvian/Japanese fusion and it’s opposite Ronnie Scott’s on Frith Street. The same street that I get all my tattoos; Frith Street. So it’s not my favourite. My favourite is Hakkasan in London in Mayfair. That’s my favourite restaurant, but the one I go to most is Chotto Matte.
Anthony Pompliano: So mine’s McDonalds! Here’s why… It’s the most consistent experience. It’s the most economical and it satisfies two aspects of my life, which is the food tastes good. It’s not healthy, but it tastes good. Every time I walk in there, I am absolutely amazed that somebody built a business that is this global, this well optimized, etc and so I literally sit there and eat some unhealthy piece of food that I’m like, ‘oh this tastes great’ and like how epic that somebody built this!
Peter McCormack: You need In-N-Out here so you can get over McDonald's.
Anthony Pompliano: Oh man, this is super unpopular. I don’t like it In-N-Out! I love Shake Shack, so there’s a whole In-N-Out/Shake Shack thing. But the In-N-Out burgers are actually fine. I actually think it tastes pretty good. It’s the fries!
Peter McCormack: I never get the fries though, because you can have more burger!
Anthony Pompliano: Oh, see that’s a good strategy. So maybe I would change my opinion on In-N-Out if I just didn’t get the fries. The fries are just a little a too ‘papery’ for me.
Peter McCormack: Whenever I go, I never have fries because I’m always like, I’d rather another burger. Do you know what they also have? They do their Neapolitan shake? That’s so good!
Anthony Pompliano: They definitely get points for that on the menu.
Peter McCormack: You do dip fries in shakes?
Anthony Pompliano: Not every time, but yeah, I used to as a kid all the time. People thought I was weird. You want to know the question I asked somebody recently, talking about dipping stuff… How long do you dip a Oreo in milk?
Peter McCormack: Oh, we don’t.
Anthony Pompliano: Oh you don’t at all?!
Peter McCormack: But we have tea in the UK. You dip biscuits in tea.
Anthony Pompliano: Okay, how long?
Peter McCormack: It’s tricky because you dip it too long, it collapses and it ruins it! The whole things ruined. I get pissed if I drop a biscuit in tea, it’s like ruined my fucking day. So like it just in then out. The best one though, there’s these biscuits from Australia called Tim Tams. They’re biscuit wrapped in chocolate and you bite the corner off one and you bite the corner off the other and then you suck your tea through it and then you put your mouth and the whole thing melts. It’s fucking amazing!
Anthony Pompliano: A Tim Tam? I’ll order them off Amazon.
Peter McCormack: What’s the best pizza in New York?
Anthony Pompliano: Oh, so the reason why I said this is and people are going to get so pissed… I love Dominoes.
Peter McCormack: Oh man, fuck this. Cody, what’s the best pizza in New York? Are you going to answer for him?
Anthony Pompliano: That’s what I’m saying, the shitty places, I actually enjoy them. But you have to remember I grew up in a family with five boys. One of my best memories from childhood, my mom used to take us to McDonalds and I think that they probably still do this. They used to have a 50 bucket of chicken nuggets, five boys, 10 a piece, get your sauce. Literally sitting there, we’re like she’s never fed us before, it was kind of animal! She’s like, ‘here’s 10, here’s 10, here’s 10' and we’re sitting there with our arms around, eating quick so nobody grabs it, whatever. That’s just the stuff that I remember, that was a delicacy in the sense of my parents were like, ‘we’re not going out to eat’.
Peter McCormack: Yeah but I think your food choices are shit!
Anthony Pompliano: They’re horrible!
Peter McCormack: If you come to London or when you come to London, I’m going to take you to Chotto Matte and I’ll take you to Hakkasan and we’re not going go anywhere near McDonald's at all! The last thing, I’m conscious of time, you’re meant to be in another thing, aren’t you?
Anthony Pompliano: Nah you’re good. This is the most important thing I’m doing all day.
Peter McCormack: So last thing I want to find out about, who are your sports teams? Give me everyone.
Anthony Pompliano: My sports teams? Oh man, I’m New York Giants, American football team. They’re good sometimes, they’re bad sometimes and everywhere in between. I love them! For basketball, probably unpopular, I’m a LeBron believer. I actually don’t like the Lakers at all, but I want to cheer for LeBron. He was in Cleveland, then went to Miami, back to Cleveland, now to LA. Here’s why I like him. You’re going to love this.
Peter McCormack: Didn’t he just set some record or two records in one game for both scoring and passing?
Anthony Pompliano: I haven’t been paying attention. The reason why I like him is at 16 years old, he was put on the front cover of Sports Illustrated magazine, which is a big sports magazine in the US and is labeled “The Chosen One”; incredible pressure for 16 year old! This guy has not only lived up to that hype, but has probably surpassed it, in terms of what people thought he could accomplish. He’s played for 15 odd years. He’s been married to his high school sweetheart the entire time. He’s never had a scandal where he’s cheated, committed a crime, been in trouble with the law, any of that type of stuff. He’s donated millions of dollars to charity, done all this stuff. He’s made, what many people would consider bad decisions or in bad taste in terms of, he announced he was going to leave that team, that type of stuff. But the amount of pressure that he was in or under as a young man till today, you and I can’t even fathom and he’s navigated the whole thing.
Peter McCormack: Did I hear right, that a lot of basketball players don’t have a long career, around three or four years?
Anthony Pompliano: So football players, I don’t know what the NBA average cycle is, but football is three years, three seasons.
Peter McCormack: So if you have a 10/15 year career it is incredible?
Anthony Pompliano: Yeah it’s incredible.
Peter McCormack: So do you like hockey?
Anthony Pompliano: I would go with the Carolina Hurricanes only because, the only real games I’ve ever been to are in North Carolina. Baseball, New York Yankees. Come on! They’re the best team of all time, dynasty, I don’t care if they don’t win for 10 years, they’re still the best team ever. Every Yankee Fan will rub it in their face until somebody else wins 27, 28 world championships!
Peter McCormack: Do you watch our football? Do you watch the Premier League?
Anthony Pompliano: So I’ve started to get more into it actually.
Peter McCormack: You look like a Chelsea fan to me?
Anthony Pompliano: No! Who’s your team?
Peter McCormack: Liverpool.
Anthony Pompliano: I like Manchester United. I’m a little jaded because the people that got me into it, they are Manchester United fans, so like you can’t…. I’ll be contrarian only to some degree!
Peter McCormack: I’m getting into your sports.
Anthony Pompliano: What are you for American football?
Peter McCormack: So as a kid I was 49ers. When we first got it on the TV, it was a Joe Montana. Then very quickly Steve Young, Jerry Rice. That was the team and I was like, that’s cool. I’ve started getting into the Raiders. I just think it’s a cool brand and I think when they go to Vegas it’s going to be pretty cool.
Anthony Pompliano: They’re going to be in Vegas and they’ve got the whole kind of hard rock mentality.
Peter McCormack: Well me and the kids went and it was brilliant. They’re playing Metallica in between… I’m in! It’s crazy! I actually quite the college football. I don’t really have a team, but I never forget the first game I watched. I was in Vegas. It was for my 30th. Texas plays Texas Tech. Crabtree, last minute catch, touchdown.
Anthony Pompliano: You got spoiled!
Peter McCormack: The game was incredible and every time I watch college football, I’m just like, this is great. I’m not that into basketball. I find it quite boring. Would probably pick the Celtics just because they’re Irish and I’m half Irish! Hockey I’ve been to see, who was it here in the city, Rangers? I’ve been to see them a couple of times, find it kind of cool, haven’t really picked a team. But baseball, I’m LA Dodgers because I started to go see them a lot. I think it was the season before last and I ended up going to a playoff game and it was the one where Justin Turner hit a walk-off home run and I was like, ‘what just happened!?’ Because my whole experience with baseball was kind of calm, I guess a bit like cricket and it never gets too crazy. Then he comes up, literally last guy, walk-off home run, the whole thing ends and the whole place just erupts and everyone’s going wild and I was like, ‘okay, I’m in. I’m totally in.’
Anthony Pompliano: The thing that’s funny is, most sports, like football, is pretty fast-paced and towards the end of the game, there is the two-minute drill and they’re running up and basketball obviously is back and forth fast pace, hockey same thing. With baseball, it’s very start and stop. Some of my best sports experience ever is Yankee Stadium, night game, the bleacher creatures are going wild, I mean they are literally throwing stuff at the opposing team, all kinds of crazy stuff. Then somebody hits a home run and the place just goes bonkers! You’re just sitting there and you’re like, ‘this is an amazing experience’. So that’s pretty cool that you, not living in LA, but you got to be there when that happened, to experience it.
Peter McCormack: It was insane! It was really special actually. I’ve got to say, I did enjoy it.
Anthony Pompliano: Peter’s goal is to buy his local football team.
Peter McCormack: Yeah, Bedford town and I nearly did it. So when I had all that money in Blockfolio, I made an inquiry. I mean they wouldn’t cost a lot of money at all, but still.
Anthony Pompliano: Should we tell them the game we played?
Peter McCormack: Well, I owe you $20.
Anthony Pompliano: No, no. I have an idea for your $20, but should we tell them the game? So we went through this entire interview, two hours and 20 minutes and our goal was to not talk about Crypto, Bitcoin, Blockchain or anything one time. We’ve actually been keeping track…
Peter McCormack: You got a $10 fine each time.
Anthony Pompliano: Yeah, you got a $10 fine every time either one of us mentioned it. We only mentioned it eight times in two hours and 25 minutes. Five for him, three to me! I started bad, I was out 2–0 real quick! It caught my attention.
Peter McCormack: So Pomp, thank you. That was amazing.
Anthony Pompliano: Absolutely.