In the second season of Anatomy of Next, explore every aspect of going to Mars, transforming it into a habitable world, and building a new branch of human civilization. How do we bring a cold, dead planet back to life? Can we build an atmosphere on Mars, thaw the frozen plains, and build an ocean? How do we seed a barren land with life, and make a red Mars green? Then, it’s everything from politics and education to money, music, and architecture. What does it mean to be human on an alien world?
Patri Friedman // Starting Over
33:22What if we just... left? The challenges facing our cities are enormous. Our problems could take years to correct, or decades. The purpose of this season is to explore new ways to reinvigorate our cities, but it's worth entertaining the alternative. What if we built something new, from the foundation up? I sat down with Patri Friedman, founder of both the Seasteading Institute and Pronomos Capital, to entertain a wild idea: Charter Cities. What are they, how do they work, and how do we start over?
Robert Poole // Gridlock
33:01Why is the traffic so bad? And why is so hard to build new transportation infrastructure? Robert Poole is the co-founder and director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation, and the author of Rethinking America’s Highways. We talked about congestion, variable pricing, light rail, tunnel boring machines, and why they don’t seem to work in our cities — or rather, why we won’t let them work — and the infrastructure policy our politicians craft and pass that seems to be crippling us.
Garrett Langley // Standing Guard
37:08Flock Safety is building a national network of security cameras monitoring neighborhood traffic. In some cities, their work has been instrumental in reducing property crime by as much as 70 percent. In this episode of Anatomy of Next, Mike Solana sits down with Garrett Langley, the CEO and founder of Flock. They talk about the network — where it came from, and how it works — its impact, how Flock is approaching privacy, the tradeoffs between privacy and security, and the end of non-violent crime.
ASYLUM #3 — Trivial Pursuit
41:02In San Francisco, how does government work? Who is in charge, what can they do — structurally, what are they actually capable of? — and most importantly: what are they focused on? A look at our Board of Supervisors, its apparent war on growth (and possibly tech), and an argument for moving forward (spoiler alert: you just have to vote (sorry)) Featuring: Trisha Thadani (San Francisco Chronicle), Teddy Schleifer (Recode)
Daniela Perdomo // A New Signal
30:55There's almost nothing more terrifying than losing communication in the heat of a blazing wildfire. In recent months, California has been brought to its knees by natural disaster. Now more than ever we need the help of our firefighters, and to keep them safe. An entirely centralized communication infrastructure is a single point of failure we just can't risk. Daniela Perdomo is the founder and CEO of goTenna, the future of decentralized communication. Today, her work, inspired by the communication blackouts of Hurricane Sandy and a passion for fixing this critical problem, keeps everyone from soldiers and FEMA operators to wildland firefighters in communication while they work to save lives. And beyond disaster? There are no shortage of applications for this technology. Daniela and I talked about decentralized communication, the origins of her work, communication infrastructure and public infrastructure more broadly, and what exactly does a city fully reconceived for the 21st Century look like?
Fnnch // Brand New Paint Job
42:41Who owns our streets? Our bus and train stops? Our public walls and public parks? If public property truly belongs to the public, can members of the public (which is to say: us) do with our property whatever we want? And on the absolute ground floor, can we not just... make it all look a little bit nicer? Fnnch is an artist based in San Francisco, and the man behind the famous honey bear, which locals have seen... pretty much everywhere. Here, the bear is more than a cute apparition, it's a symbol of a 21st century philosophy of art, and a controversial way of thinking about public space. Among many things, Fnnch talked with host Mike Solana about art, the nature of art, celebrity, modernity, the tragedy of the commons, Burning Man (an actual city of art), and the nature of public property.
Matthew Putman // Nano City
37:09Consider the computer mouse. It takes a massive, sprawling, global system, and thousands of parts and people from all over the world, many months, or even years after conceptualization, and design, to get that product to your desk. But what if you could do it all in a "factory" the size of your one-bedroom apartment… in a building down the street? I sat down with Matthew Putman and talked about the future of manufacturing. In the first place, everything is getting smaller. We talked about his company’s journey from the microscope, his grand ambition with the work, the future of nanotechnology, the factory that lives inside your bedroom, and what this all means for the future of our city. It’s distributed, decentralized manufacturing. Welcome to the nano-factory.
Alexis Rivas // House Factory
21:20Separate from our government's anti-housing policies, a big piece of our crisis in affordability comes down to the way we think about new homes. In Japan, for example, where housing is significantly more affordable, newer homes are far more popular than older homes, and this has galvanized both construction and prefabrication. At scale, this reduces cost. I interviewed Alexis Rivas about his company, Cover, and the prefabrication market in our own country. We talked about what exactly prefab homes are, the history of prefabs in America, how technology is improving the prefab process, and how this kind of thing could dramatically reduce housing costs in the United States.
ASYLUM #2 — Legalize Housing
52:49The housing crisis is the root of almost every serious challenge San Francisco faces. From property to construction to regulation, when it’s possible to build at all it’s too expensive to meaningfully increase supply. Because it’s too expensive to build here, most people can’t afford to live here. So let’s get into it: why does the housing crisis exist, in what ways is it unique to the Bay Area, and how do we fix this? How do we finally start building again? Featuring: Keith Rabois (Founders Fund), Trisha Thadani (San Francisco Chronicle), River Davis (Wall Street Journal), and Kim-Mai Cutler (Initialized Capital)
Andrew Farah // Density
24:43Almost every infrastructural challenge our cities face begins with the question of density. How many people are actually in the city? Where are they spending their time? Which trains are overcrowded? What about parks? Sidewalk traffic? San Francisco has one of the worst housing crises in history. Which of our buildings are being used at capacity? Without an answer to these questions it's impossible to effectively build. So how do we measure these things? I talked with Andrew Farah, CEO of Density, about the work his company has done in the space, and the now essential work they're doing to help our businesses and cities fight back against the pandemic.