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Season 1

July 7, 2023

E15: Richard Hanania on Affirmative Action, Political Realignment, and the Winning Agenda for 2024

Erik sits down with writer and political scientist Richard Hanania. This extended discussion encompasses Richard’s intellectual education and views on how the world works, including affirmative action, the dynamic divide between conservatives and liberals, government overreach, geopolitics, and intellectual contemporaries worth reading.

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June 30, 2023

E14: Balaji Srinivasan on the Fiat Crisis, Russia, and China.

In this episode, Erik sits down with Balaji Srinivasan to discuss the Fiat Crisis, geopolitics, and the signs of decline for a hyperpower.

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June 23, 2023

E13: Kevin Kelly on Multiple Futures, AI, and Becoming Better Humans

This week our guest is Kevin Kelly, the founding executive editor of Wired magazine, technologist, and author. We go into Kevin’s predictions for AI, interspeciation, and how humans need to be having more children.

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June 16, 2023

[Bonus] Palmer Luckey of Anduril Industries on China, DefenseTech, and U.S. Policy | The HIll & Valley

Palmer Luckey is the founder of defense technology company Anduril Industries and Oculus VR.

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June 9, 2023

E12: Tim Urban on Liberalism, Heresy, and Equality

Erik Torenberg sits down with Tim Urban, writer of the popular blog Wait But Why, and author of the 2023 book What’s Our Problem? where he offers a framework for thinking about our chaotic political landscape. In this discussion, Erik and Tim discuss liberalism, why heresy is important, and the notion of equality.

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June 2, 2023

E11: Katherine Boyle on Building Companies, Families, and Careers

Erik Torenberg sits down with Katherine Boyle, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz where she invests in companies that promote American dynamism. Erik and Katherine discuss the private sector versus the public sector, the American dream in conflict with the rise of therapeutic culture, and how to reinstill a love of public service.

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May 28, 2023

E10: Sam Harris on Populism, Polarization, and His Beef with the Left and the Right

Erik sits down with Sam Harris, an author, neuroscientist, podcaster, and philosopher. Sam is known for having crucial conversations about morality, religion, rationality, and the pursuit of truth. This discussion covers Sam’s concerns about populism, polarization, and inequality. We also discuss why Sam is hated by the left and the right.

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May 26, 2023

[Bonus Episode] Moment of Zen w/ Mike Solana, Erik Torenberg and Dan Romero

We're excited to introduce Upstream listeners to Moment of Zen, a weekly podcast hosted by Erik Torenberg, Dan Romero, Antonio Garcia Martinez, and additional guests. This episode features special guest Mike Solana, Editor in Chief of Pirate Wires ( in conversation with Erik and Dan.

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May 19, 2023

E9: Benedict Evans on AI, Web3, VR and the Future of Tech

Erik sits down with independent analyst Benedict Evans for a wide-ranging discussion of predictions and frameworks spanning the vast realm of technology - where we’ve been, where we’re going, and what really matters. AI scout and podcast host Nathan Labenz (The Cognitive Revolution) joins for the last 20 minutes to deepen the discussion on AI.

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May 12, 2023

E8: Samo Burja on America's Future, China, AI, and the New Global Order

Erik sits down with political scientist Samo Burja ( @SamoBurja ) who founded Bismarck Analysis, a consulting firm that analyzes institutions (ranging from governments to companies). Samo is one of the most interesting and wide-ranging thinkers today. In this episode, they discuss the current state and future state of America, China, Russia, Ukraine, energy, the US dollar, AI, and more.

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May 5, 2023

E7: How Andrew Yang Would Cure American Politics

Andrew Yang is a former founder of Venture for America and former candidate for president of the United States. Yang is now focused on introducing a third party to our two-party political system. He sits down with Erik to talk about why politics is broken and how to fix it, the current political landscape gearing into the 2024 elections, an inside look as to what's actually involved in running for president, and reflections on what he would've done differently.

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April 29, 2023

E6: Vivek Ramaswamy on Running for President in 2024 and His Message to Silicon Valley

Vivek Ramaswamy is a 2024 Republican presidential candidate who founded biotech company Roivant Sciences, now public.

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April 21, 2023

E5: How Exactly Joe Lonsdale Would Fix The Public Sector

Joe Lonsdale is the founder of Palantir, 8VC, a number of other unicorns he’s incubated, and Cicero Policy Institute. In this episode we focus mostly on his policy, breaking down what are the real problems in healthcare, education, crime/police, homelessness and what are the solutions he recommends to fix them.

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April 15, 2023

E4: David Sacks on His Intellectual and Political Journey

David Sacks is known as a CEO/investor in multiple unicorns, and most recently a media mogul with All-In. In this episode, we trace David’s intellectual and political history from his days fighting student activism at Stanford to now.

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April 7, 2023

E3: Ezra Klein on Supply-side Progressivism, Polarization, and What Silicon Valley Misses About Politics

Ezra Klein, journalist, political analyst, and podcaster sits with Erik Torenberg to go deeper into the intellectual movement of supply-side progressivism and what Silicon Valley misses about politics. This conversation was recorded in early February 2023, but is even more relevant today.

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March 31, 2023

E2: Balaji Srinivasan on His Past and Future predictions, the Future of the Left and Right, and Why Tech Can’t Escape Politics

Balaji Srinivasan, author of The Network State and co-founder of Counsyl, talks to Erik Torenberg about his past and future predictions, the future of the left and right, and why tech will never be able to escape politics.

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March 24, 2023

E1: Marc Andreessen on His Intellectual Journey the Past Ten Years

Marc Andreessen of a16z sits with Erik Torenberg to go deeper into his intellectual and political journey. TIMESTAMPS: (0:00) Intro (3:25) How much has Marc changed vs the world changed? (6:55) How much do ideas matter? Who drives society — the elite or the masses? (09:56) People respond to interests more than ideas (12:08) Mental models for the left and the right (14:45) Sponsors (Secureframe | Mercury | MarketerHire) (16:53) The road to hell is paved with good intentions (18:40) Master moral…

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March 24, 2023

Trailer: This is Upstream with Erik Torenberg

Upstream is where Erik Torenberg interviews the world's most foundational thinkers to map the constellation of ideas that matter across tech, culture, and politics. You'll hear topics here first, and in the mainstream months later.

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