Joe Rogan Sells to Spotify

Photo by Jonathan Velasquez on Unsplash

Podcaster Joe Rogan has sold his immensely popular podcast to Spotify:

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/may/24/spotify-podcast-deal-the-joe-rogan-experience

From the article:

“By requiring Rogan’s listeners to use the Spotify app to tune in, the company gains far deeper data about who, when and where their audiences are; that, in turn, can be fed through to advertisers, who are more likely to pay higher rates if they can be assured that the target audience is listening. Control of the player also allows Spotify to vary the advertising to the audience, again increasing revenue.”

Alex Hern, The Guardian

This is unfortunate. I understand the need for these podcasters to generate revenue for their shows – they deserve something for their effort and advertising is one way to do that, however I prefer the more direct ‘donation/subscription’ model of someone like Sam Harris – where I feel I’m more directly supporting the person and their work vs. paying a large corporation who’s going to track my actions and advertise back at me. There are several other people on the internet who’s work I feel I directly benefit from and therefore I’m happy to support directlyBrad Warner and Ben Weaver among them. This move by Spotify will effectively position it as the Facebook of Podcasting. 99% of people probably won’t care – and to me that’s part of the problem.

I’d never used Spotify for several reasons, I am happy with Apple Music and I didn’t like their app/interface. This gives me one more reason to opt out. It will be a shame because if/when Rogan’s show goes exclusive on the platform, I’ll miss it.

Meditation in an Emergency

It may seem counter-intuitive to sit down and meditate during an emergency, but we are currently, all of us – globally, experiencing an emergency of a very unique nature. One where many of us will find ourselves with nothing but time to occupy. The default would certainly seem to be to spend that time freaking out. Or you could try something different. Sam Harris lays it out very well in this specifically targeted podcast Meditation in an Emergency. Perhaps, check it out with some of the free-time you now find yourself strangely enough, burdened, with.

Really, It’s OK to Do Nothing Sometimes

The latest episode of Douglas Rushkoff’s Team Human podcast is pretty good. The guest, Tiffany Shlain, has written about about unplugging from screens one day a week in a practice that is sort of a modern day throwback to the notion of a weekly ‘sabbath’ or ‘Shabbat’. Some really interesting discussion ensues.

They talk about the notion that people don’t know how to just sit with themselves anymore – or that it’s become thought of as a bad thing to ‘sit idly’. I feel the generations my kids belong to will especially have no concept of this, or construe it mostly as ‘wasting time’ having been exposed/connected to tech their entire lives.

The reality is that in many cases time spent in self reflection, or simply being present in the moment with others without the distractions of tech, is time better spent but we’re not taught that anymore and indeed, most tech companies/platforms are trying to encourage the very opposite.

When Good Intentions Go Bad

https://fs.blog/jonathan-haidt/

Great stuff here from Shane Parrish over at Farnham Street on The Knowledge Project podcast. I’ve posted stuff before in relation to Jonathan Haidt and he continues to be full of insight and useful information. I’ll post a few standouts here, but the whole thing is really worth a listen – I can’t transcribe all the worthwhile commentary:

Some people have sent me quotes from ancient Greece, where they complained about the kids today and how they don’t respect their elders, and things like that. So partly, it is a constant generational thing. But the reason why Greg Lukianoff and I think that this is so different is because, never before have the mental health statistics just gone haywire for generations so quickly. So, whatever we’re doing, kids born after 1995 have really high rates of anxiety, depression, self harm, and suicide.”

As a parent – this should be a required listen. It’s at turns informative and terrifying if you let it be, but ultimately empowering.

I’m realizing that, in some ways, I have missed the boat a bit with my older two kids and I’m almost too late with the younger two, but there’s still value and ideas to be gleaned from this discussion. I wish I’d had this podcast – and Haidt’s insights in general – like, 6-8 years ago – but, if you listen, you’ll realize that in many ways we as a society and as parents had no way of knowing then the way the internet and social media would effect kids and their mental health, it was simply new, uncharted territory.

Any parents who are listening to this podcast, I urge you to follow a few simple rules. That is, two hours a day of screen time, not counting homework. And no social media until high school, and lots of free play outside. Let your kids out, especially by the age of seven or eight. Let them out to have unsupervised time with other kids, in a place that’s physically safe.”

These seem like, “well, duh” type revelations, but speaking from experience, I know I got very much caught up in the tendency and social pressures to over protect and shelter kids – with the best of intentions – versus how my generation was raised.

If you can imagine growing up, where in your teen years you’re always self censoring, you’re always careful, we think this is what’s happening. This is what many students tell us it’s like. They often just accept it as normal, because that’s all they’ve known. And this means we might have a generation that’s afraid to take risks, afraid to play with ideas. Afraid to challenge dominant ideas. It’s going to lead to a lot more conformity, a lot less creativity.

And much more great discussion here on learning the importance of how to disagree with people, how to engage with those you disagree with and the importance of surrounding yourself with people you disagree with and expose yourself to ideas that you might not like in order to grow as an individual which in turn makes you more of a benefit to society as a whole.

Quiet Desperation

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things..”

-Henry David Thoreau

Joe Rogan: “That’s Thoreau’s quote – that ‘most men live lives of quiet desperation’ – that’s one of my favorite quotes ever, because it’s true – and I’ve been that guy. You’re just in this world where you just can’t wait to run away.”

Annie Jacobsen: “And how do people get stuck there – how do you think they get stuck there?”

JR: “Bills and commitment. You have an apartment to pay for, you have a car you leased, you have a wife that you have to feed, you have a child you have to raise. You have your mortgage. You have your this, you have your that…and that’s where it all comes from.”

AJ: “Where do you think opportunity plays into that?”

JR: “Well, the opportunity takes place, usually when you’re young and you have no responsibility. That’s when you have your options. Your options are severely limited the more you gather responsibilities. Like, if I as a 51 year old, father of 3, married man, pays taxes, has a house and  mortgage and a business and all that jazz, if I had to quit everything now and struggle the way I struggled as a standup comedian – it would never work.” 

“The only way I could be this person now is if I took that chance when I was 21, when I was dead broke and had my cars repossessed and all that stuff. That’s the only way that you ever get where you want to go. You have to take a path that’s dangerous and most people want to take the safe path. And the safe path leaves you stuck in ‘quiet desperation’ almost every time. It’s hell. It’s hell. You’re selling insurance or some other shit that you care zero about.”

AJ: “But can people just make that change?”

JR: “Yes, yes you can, but you have to plan it out. The way to make that change is you have to put aside enough money to give yourself a window. And then you have to have a plan, and you have to spend all your waking hours outside of whatever shit job you do planning your escape, and you have to come to the realization very clearly, that you fucked up – you got yourself stuck, so whatever you’re doing you have to do it like your life depends on it.  Whether it is…if you’re going to try and be an author and you’re working 8 hours a day, plus commuting, plus family responsibilities plus whatever else you have, whatever time that you have, you have to attack like you’re trying to save the world, like you’re trying to save your life, you don’t want to drown. That one and a half hours a day that you have to write – god damn – you better be caffeinated and motivated. You gotta go. You gotta get after it. You gotta have discipline – that’s what most people don’t have, those things, most people don’t understand what it’s like to really go for something and to know that the consequences of not doing that are horrific.”

-Joe Rogan Podcast #1299 with Annie Jacobsen, 1:04:00