[Suzy] I'm Suzy, a journalist at Hilarious American Media, and I'm here on the beach with Todd, an American citizen who says we're suffering needlessly within a vast reality distortion field, and we've been graciously joined by our fictional tour guide on location, Fred.
[Fred] Thank you, Suzy. I feel honored to share the stage with you all today..., because Todd is an American citizen who lives in New York AND he's a graduate of Stanford University.
[Suzy] In addition, Todd's association with Mark Zuckerberg has been represented by CNN, Business Insider, and multiple printed books, and so...
[Fred] No, Suzy. Todd is famous because he has a facial feature that looks like a facial expression. (SITTING UP AND IMITATING A STEREOTYPICAL MALE JOURNALIST MASHED UP WITH A STEREOTYPICAL MALE DOCTOR) And, that's all it took for him to get powerful people to believe more and more stuff that's not true, and so...the time is nigh (SHOWS THE STOPWATCH ON HIS PHONE) for everyone who understands that to start cooking a feast...go! (STARTS THE STOPWATCH ON HIS PHONE)
[Suzy] Huh? I don't know what Fred's talking about. Everyone I've talked to thinks Todd is lost in a world of paranoid delusions, but from his perspective, the idea that he's disturbed and unwilling to work is, according to Todd, just before we went live, "a key to the kingdom of loosely connected components that continuously reinforce the existence of the so called distortion field."
[Fred] News flash: Suzy is nothing less than a hot girl who pretends to care about global warming (SUZY LEANS IN AND FRED EXTENDS TWO HANDS AS IF CATCHING HER FROM FALLNG OFF A LEDGE), but I prefer to come at things from a comedic perspective (SUZY SHAKES HER HEAD AND THEN CONTINUES CRINGING), so I'm just pretending, I swear, I'm just pretending to be a belligerent jerk...who will kill Todd if he mentions his facial injury or the concept of a, "reality distortion field." It's like tough love. We're hoping this training exercise will help him let go of these toxic beliefs and come back to reality, so that he can resume climbing.
[Suzy] I think we're done here.
[Fred] I said, "you're nothing less than," and at least you're pretending! Some people don't even go that far. (SUZY LOOKS AWAY FROM BOTH FRED AND TODD) I'm not limiting what you can be. I'm quality. (PROJECTS ENTHUSIASM)
[Suzy] (LAUGHS SUBTLY AND CONTINUES SMOOTHLY) Todd also made an art book about his experiences as one of the earliest engineers at Facebook to focus full-time on fighting spam and fake news, so let's jump right into it. What's it like to be funemployed, Todd?
[Todd] I've been on the beach for nine years, and counting. I don't recommend it.
[Suzy] Why not? You're living the dream. Why are you still pretending to be obtuse?
[Todd] I was never pretending to be obtuse, but everyone finally got the memo that Facebook is a rigged game, and so a lot of people actually ARE pretending to be obtuse, now... (CHUCKLES) A fuse has been lit, you might say (SMILES).
[Fred] (SEARCHING PHONE FOR MUSIC TO PLAY, AND SPEAKING WITHOUT LOOKING UP) In other words, Todd's biggest, baddest, and best brethren finally got the joke, but I don't recommend interviewing them, because they might not appreciate your style as much Todd does (LOOKS AT TODD).
[Suzy] Thanks for the compliment, anger translator (GLARES AT FRED), but what evidence do you have that...
[Fred] That's anger obfuscater to you, Suzy, but why is Todd's tawdry tirade that's disguised as performance art called, "WhatIsProd," or WIP, for short? I'm searching right now, and ah ha, spampuzzle.com is available. We could make so much more money than he's currently making by up-selling a bespoke line of juggling equipment, together (LOOKS AT SUZY AND THEN LOOKS AT TODD)
[Todd] My target audience includes product managers at tech companies, so it gives me a way to stand my ground when people introduce themselves to me as product managers.
[Suzy] (FEIGNING CONCERN) Why are you so quick to assume that other people have bad intentions?
[Fred] (HOLDS UP BOTH HANDS) Open question to both of you: how is what you just said not aggressive?
(SUZY LOOKS AT TODD)
[Todd] As with both juggling and puzzle making, Fred, representing WIP in Workplace discussions is always less aggressive than whatever a product manager does, within any particular company.
[Suzy] Wait, let's back up. So, Todd, your art book talks about how you feel in 2019 about your time working at Facebook, and I was just curious, what was it like to work at Facebook in the early days? That must have been exciting for you.
[Todd] It was, and thanks for asking, Suzy. We were taking the world by storm, and the scale of the data flow was a lot more manageable back then, so we were confronted, more than anything else, by the possibility of boundless optimism.
[Suzy] I sense sarcasm.
[Todd] Yeah, I think you have to be sarcastic about Facebook. If you try to say anything journalistic about them, you immediately face plant. There's no valid way to frame FB, so you end up framing yourself as a person who has emotional problems.
(FRED BRANDISHES THE EVIL EYE)
[Suzy] (TURNS ABRUPTLY AND SHOUTS) Submarine Captain Fred! You look like you have something to say.
[Fred] (UNFAZED) I don't use the product in question, and I think the solution is to just stop talking about it, so I'm registering my dissent with the direction of the beachside chat.
[Suzy] Of course you're jealous, thank you for confessing, but Todd, you talk about spending President's Day weekend in 2005 at the Facebook house in Menlo Park. What was the highlight of that experience. Was there anything that surprised you?
[Todd] I have a lot of memories from that weekend...
[Fred] And furthermore, Suzy, the solution to the rising tide of wealth disparity in America is for the mainstream media to obsessively dissect every detail of Todd's life, starting from mid-2010, after Todd allegedly finished selling all of his competitor's stock, until mid-2020, when the general election will begin in earnest. The year of the Todd will be like a homework assignment for the candidates.
[Suzy] That's not going to happen. Sorry for Fred's disorderly interruption, you were saying...
(SUZY BEGINS COMPLETELY IGNORING FRED'S EXISTENCE, AND THEN FRED LITERALLY HOLDS HIS TONGUE)
[Todd] ...and honestly, some part of me must have anticipated that I'd eventually get asked this question, because the answer is obvious. The highlight was a brief moment where I was in a car with Sean Parker, and I was like, "Someone should tell the story of what it's like to hang out with you guys for a weekend."
[Fred] So...does that mean were you being sarcastic...when you represented (IMITATES A WASHED OUT BRITISH ROCKSTAR TURNED SURFER BRO) Sean in, "Shajury?"
[Todd] No, I wasn't. That's why it all came down to the question of representation. In retrospect, my subconscious was cutting to the bone, but at the time, I was in this super nerdy head space, where I did not intend to go at Sean in any number of the ways that he probably thought I might have been trying to go at him.
[Fred] (IMITATING TODD) And, moreover, I was just doing a logic proof, at the time...
[Suzy] (EXPRESSES FAKE CONTEMPT TOWARD FRED AND THEN SHIFTS ATTENTION BACK TO TODD) Did you intend to be a journalist that weekend?
[Todd] Again, no. I was a nerd who was interviewing for a job as a software engineer. I wanted to get paid a living wage in return for doing stuff like using AI to figure out when a famous person's name gets mentioned in live video and then opening a new tab with their Wikipedia page, so that everyone, and not just people who happen to be rich or famous, can work faster.
[Suzy] Ok, so your art book has six chapters
[Todd] I call them units, but yeah
[Suzy] Six, and the heftiest of them is an article called SharkInjury.com that talks about the implementation of privacy settings...
[Fred] Sixy Suzy!
[Suzy] Suzy, please, (FRED SILENTLY MOUTHS THE WORDS, "WELL EXCUSE ME") for public figures on Facebook, and that's certainly developed a cult following here at HAM, but the question everyone's asking is, "Why did you stop writing about the evolution of privacy settings on Facebook at the end of 2009?" What happened between then and now?
[Todd] The charm of SharkInjury is that I waited until 2017 to write it, but I could have written it in early in 2010. I started a yoga teacher training, instead, but in retrospect, I should have invented time travel, waited for Trump to win a general election, and then I could have sent a copy of SI back through time, to the version of myself that existed in 2010, so that I could have used it as a foundation for hiring a TED talk coach, and then I probably could have given a marvelous TED talk about the content of SI.
[Suzy] (LAUGHS) Why don't you do that now? I think more serious people in every industry sector that matters are talking about privacy settings on Facebook than ever before. Am I missing something?
(TODD AND FRED BOTH LAUGH OUT LOUD)
[Fred] Was that double meaning intentional, or did it coalesce in real time, like a scented virtual gift from your imagination to mine?
[Suzy] Alright, so Trump got elected. I'll give you two gentleman that, but what else has changed, like for you, personally, since 2010?
[Todd] My first thought was to ask you a question, but let's see. I have less access now than I did then, and the global rise of Facebook had something to do with that.
[Suzy] Let's unpack that. I know first hand that you've written a lot of angry, vitriolic posts on Facebook over the years, but again, Trump got elected. Why can't you say the outcome of the election cleaned the slate for everyone and then move on. I, for one, would love to hear all the juiciest facts about what you did in real life since you stopped going to the office at Facebook...
[Todd] I wouldn't say I've written angry posts. I've been consistent about letting people know that I have a deep and legitimate concern that Facebook has been and still is carrying more and more liabilities that far outweigh its assets.
[Fred] You're talking about writing checks that your body can't cash. Just say it. Top Gun was a fine movie, and if you're going to quote it, you should provide attribution. What's wrong with you, man?
[Todd] It's not the same thing as quoting a movie. I was framing Facebook as the 2008 financial crisis 2.0, and offering that frame to them as an olive branch was charitable of me.
[Suzy] I'll provide the narrative, let's just keep the record clean. Yoga teacher training. Did you graduate?
[Fred] (IMITATING SUZY) Let's leave magic out of this...because each class unit is like an aggregation of...
[Suzy] (TWITCHES HEAD AT FRED, AS IF TAKING HIS PHOTO) Die. (DOESN'T SKIP A BEAT) Todd, you were saying?
[Fred] We're too close for random cultural references, I'm switching to loaded technical glitches!
[Suzy] (LOOKS AT CAMERA WITH EYE WANDERING TO THE SIDE) It's fine to ignore legacy Y2k bugs like Fred, Todd. Please continue.
[Fred] Did you come up with that on the fly, Suzy?
[Todd] (LOUDLY, WITH AN AIR OF DEFIANCE) No. An opportunity came up to work with great people in a great location, and I quit the training half-way through in order to do that.
[Suzy] But you moved on again after just five weeks...
[Todd] Yes, I got to a stopping point with my initial project, which was self-contained, and I didn't want to start taking on responsibilities that would have been more costly to walk away from later, if I went meta again, for example.
[Suzy] That, and you started a fire. Is that rumor true?
[Todd] My understanding is that the definitive story about the time I spent living in Palo Alto, proper, happened on one of the last days I was in office. The team was pitching in to setup some furniture in a new space, and we needed to connect two wooden panels with a screw, so I grabbed an electric drill, and I tried to drill in the screw, but I had the drill running in reverse.
(FRED LEANS FORWARD, HOLDING UP ONE FINGER)
[Suzy] Fred, can you help Todd finish the story? (SUZY PHYSICALLY POKES FRED)
[Fred] Why did you block me? Your tone of voice implies that I'm not serious, but you're projecting. I just wanted to explain that Todd started a huge fire on purpose and everyone was horrified, because right now, you're getting the story of what? Nothing. You're fake news. Let Todd prepare his upcoming TED talk in peace, or not, whatever he wants to do.
[Suzy] Fred! I was giving you an opportunity to explain that Facebook began as a protest against the Bush administration's conduct after the tragic events of 9/11, because I know Todd's still not ready to spill the beans, and I was getting bored trying to pull them out of him. That's my story, and I'm willing to bet it will stick. Go make popcorn! (BATS HER EYE LASHES AT FRED)
(FRED LEAVES THE STAGE WHILE FLEXING BOTH BICEPS AND BEGINS MAKING POPCORN)
[Todd] Zing! That's actually not far from the truth. At the risk of sounding presumptuous, it's possible that I will make some decisions about whether to advocate for dismantling institutions that no longer serve us and then get involved with re-writing their overlapping histories, in order to more accurately describe what they've been up to since the end of WWII, but there's no rush, and the punchline is that I kept on trying to drill the screw in reverse for an outrageously long time, like maybe 30 or 60 seconds, (FRED PUTS ON HEADPHONES BUT CONTINUES LISTENING OUT OF ONE EAR) and I only stopped because there was smoke, (SUZY NODS OFF) and for reference, when the CTO arrived and installed the screw correctly, it took less than a second for it to (CLAPS HANDS, AND THEN SUZY WAKES UP AND SETS AN INTENTION TO PLAY DUMB IF QUIZZED).
[Suzy] I don't know about all that, Professor, but what did you want to do instead of continuing to live and work in Palo Alto?
[Fred] Ha...ya. (DEFTLY CLANKS THE KITCHEN CART IN TIME WITH HIS MUSIC AND THE SYLLABLES HA and YA) He wanted to start a new kind of social network, and call it, "Hahhhhyahhh." (PUNCTUATES PERFORMANCE BY "SLAM DUNKING" THE POPCORN WRAPPER INTO THE TRASH)
[Suzy] (DISMISSIVELY, AND LOOKING AT TODD) Is he on something?
[Todd] I don't know about that; I had my own vision for how to do some of what people ended up doing with cryptocurrency, along with so many other big success stories that I was tracking before they peaked: Minecraft, Coursera, the stuff Cambridge Analytica was doing. I was ahead of the curve on all of that, so I always had plenty of projects to choose from.
[Fred] (SHOUTING FROM BEHIND THE KITCHEN CART) Bro, this is not a job interview. We're on the beach. (GIVES SUZY A FULL BODY SCAN, FROM AFAR)
[Suzy] Is that what you're still doing now, in 2019? (PARLAYS A DEATH STARE AT TODD INTO IMITATING AN AI ROBOT)
[Todd] I'm not that ambitious. I'm just trying to survive.
[Suzy] Why is survival not a given for you? I'm just trying to understand at this point. Is it possible that there's some nasty emotional attachments lurking in your subconscious that keep on driving you to be viciously competitive even though, at a conscious level, you would prefer to relax and start putting your life back together?
[Todd] Oh..., the problem is not within me. I have a narrative in mind, but like you said, you're providing the narrative, so...I'm going to let you keep asking the questions. I'm glad to have this opportunity to share a stage with you, and I don't want to go back to the way things were for me up until a few months ago where it didn't make sense for anyone to share public facing stages with me.
[Suzy] What is the TLDR of your narrative?
[Todd] Did you read my art book, WhatIsProd?
[Suzy] (SIGHS) Got it, was that the question you were going to ask before but decided to keep secret? Why didn't you just tell me that you were upset and profoundly worried that I might not have read your work, yet?
[Todd] I wasn't upset. That's not what's going on here.
[Suzy] You keep bringing up massive, world shattering topics or extremely self-deprecating topics. What's something in the middle that you like to do?
[Todd] My favorite answer for this question has traditionally been to assert, as fact, that I enjoy windsurfing, but even that activity doesn't go well for me, anymore.
[Suzy] What goes wrong? Be specific.
[Todd] I can steer clear of dangerous waters for a while, but I eventually make some kind of social error, like I did with Sean Parker, where my subconscious was being sarcastic, but I honestly didn't get my own joke, and then that becomes the only story anyone tells.
[Suzy] Why are you so oversensitive?
[Todd] It doesn't matter what I do or think, Suzy, because...over time, every person in every community that I've ever tried to be a part of ends up saying, "Todd is uncomfortable being himself around us. Our community is not a good fit for him," and then it's back to the drawing board. It's amazing I'm still alive.
[Suzy] Come to think of it, how ARE you still alive?
[Todd] Are you asking if I have any other newsworthy memories about the early history of Facebook that I didn't already share in SharkInjury?
[Suzy] Yes. Nicely worded question! Let's do a lighting round. Top five memories from President's day weekend, 2005. Don't think, just link us to the answers!
[Todd] I don't have any new memories about the early history of Facebook that would be helpful to share.
[Fred] (SALTING THE POPCORN) Booo!
[Suzy] (MAKES HERSELF SMALL) Did you intend to drop another stealth Top Gun reference mashed up with a stealth Right Stuff reference, or was that just another feature-not-a-bug of your cold war derangement syndrome, or whatever it is that they call it these days, if you know what I mean?
[Fred] (PROJECTING VOICE TO THE BACK OF THE STAGE) Dr. Suzy's metamorphosis into a delicately camouflaged sign post is almost complete!
[Suzy] Shut up Fred. I already know that Todd's a stealth fighter, because, Todd, (MAKES STRONG EYE CONTACT WITH TODD, FOLLOWED BY A PAUSE) some people will also think but probably not say, "So far, this has been nothing more and nothing less than insanely cold-blooded satire about the time Sean Parker got arrested in North Carolina during a kitesurfing trip," so, for the record, Todd, why do you keep doing this to yourself?
[Todd] It's...a self-reinforcing problem. Maybe that can be the common ground between us?
(FRED THINKS TO HIMSELF: WHAT THE? ARE THEY COLLUDING? SUZY IS NOT A JOURNALIST. SHE'S... I DON'T KNOW WHAT SHE IS. WHO SAYS ANY OF THIS? I WANT MORE!)
[Suzy] Are you experiencing a rage spiral right now? Should I call for help?
[Fred] (SHOUTS FROM AFAR) Don't bother helping him store his degenerate piece of machinery! He's already dead. He was crawling for a while, I don't know when that started, but the fire drill was the thing that finally put him out of his misery. It's a shame he died so soon.
[Suzy] That's why I think all these facts should be added to the historical record! Socially, Todd, you were dead. You committed social suicide. I think Fred and I have finally found a talking point we can share, but your body kept on living, so why don't you just calm down, take a few deep breaths, smell the wonderful food that Fred's preparing for us, and then open up to me a little more than you ever have with anyone else about what it felt like being on social life support? Were you comatose at any point? Serious question.
[Todd] No, I never got close to imagining suicide, if that's what you're asking. I saw the door to go down the path of problematic ideation, but I structured all of that data as a computer science problem. I noted that the door was there, and I wrote a rule: that door should always stay shut, and it did.
[Suzy] Have you ever thought about going to therapy and looking into what's behind that door?
[Todd] I think you just misrepresented me, and Fred's a witness who might be willing to confirm my story about you on the record (LOOKS YONDER, AT FRED). Rephrase the question?
[Fred] (STILL COOKING) I heard that!
[Todd] DON'T BET AGAINST ME! It would not be rational. Don't make me get back in the saddle, again, just to prove nothing. I have all the moves...moves...moves, moves, moves... HA!
[Fred] (TAKING STEPS TOWARDS TODD) I agree with Suzy, we're done here.
[Todd] I've got nothing to lose. I'm not playing, like Suzy and Fred are. (LOOKS AT CAMERA FORLORNLY)
[Fred] LOSER! (RETREATS TO HIS PREVIOUS LINE IN THE SAND)
[Todd] Exactly. (BECOMES 100% RELAXED)
[Suzy] Have you gone to therapy? (HOLDS HEAD PERFECTLY STILL)
[Suzy] (MAKES LOVE TO CAMERA WITH HER HEART, SOUL, AND MIND) Love.
[Todd] Of course. I could teach a master class on how to use cognitive-behavioral therapy and other fancy techniques like that to have normal sounding conversations without ever bringing up that which must not be mentioned.
[Fred] (RETURNS WITH POPCORN AND EATS A PIECE WHILE SITTING DOWN) You don't get credit for that. You're just polluting the air waves and jamming our signal (OFFERS TO PUT A PIECE OF POPCORN IN SUZY'S MOUTH AND SHE BLOCKS WITH A SIDEWAYS HAND SIGNAL). Please stop.
[Suzy] What is that which cannot be mentioned?
[Fred] I'll kill him if he says it, but only during this live interview, ok? Next question. Let's wrap this up. I've got places to be and things to, "si."
[Suzy] Nice triple meaning, Fred. (GRABS A PIECE OF POPCORN) I'll give you that, but let me ask you this then (LOOKS TOWARD TODD, THROUGH FRED, AS IF HE IS NOT THERE), how did you feel right after the fire drill incident, if I can call it that? Was it embarrassing for you?
[Todd] It wasn't a big deal to me. I was mildly confused. I couldn't figure out why I had failed to figure out the solution on my own. I had used electric drills before. It should have been obvious to me.
[Suzy] Would you say that's a good description of what it's like to endure mental illness? The confusion?
[Fred] Dude, just lie. Say you were being a sarcastic jerk, and then return fire. You don't get credit for being mentally ill, Suzy, you don't get credit for teaching other people how to be mentally ill, Suzy, and you don't get credit for learning it, either.
[Todd] It was comparable to the story I told just now about how I framed Sean Parker in 2005, right, and neither case was even remotely similar to what it must be like to have a mental illness, because my subconscious was acting in my own interest. Mental illness is the opposite of that, Suzy.
(FRED THROWS THE BOWL OF POPCORN UNEXPECTEDLY)
[Suzy] OMG! My heart is pounding. What did you just do? (REGAINS COMPOSURE) Or, rather, what did you think of Todd's answer, in contrast to yours?
[Fred] His answer was exactly the same as mine, but it involved more words, therefore mine was better in a big way, not a small way, to quote Steve Jobs. He said that during his iconic interview with Bill Gates.
[Suzy] That's a wonderful segue. Todd, you've known Mark Zuckerberg since fall 2001, assuming that your story checks out, so do you think Mark's more like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, overall?
[Todd] I'd have to go with Bill Gates. Gates was Darth Vader. Tech-journalist Robert Scoble might have written that somewhere on Facebook, but whoever said that, I knew it was correct the moment I took in it. Gates was Vader, Mark was making fun of Gates, and Jobs was not making fun of Gates.
[Fred] (SEARCHING WITH PHONE) In 2011, Michael Arrington said Bill was Darth, Mark said Microsoft was mission-driven, and I think Jobs was either pretending to be Jesus, the mansion on the hill of Mother Earth, or maybe some doors to all of the above, but I never got a chance to ask him about that face to face, like some people have...
(TODD GETS OUT PHONE AND SEARCHES FOR FACTS)
[Suzy] I will not perform with you, Fred.
(SUZY AND FRED START A STARING CONTEST)
[Todd] (IMAGINES EDITING THIS PART, LIKE, THIS PART RIGHT HERE, OF THE TRANSCRIPT OF THIS INTERVIEW, IN THE FUTURE, ON FEB. 27, 2019, FOR THE PURPOSE OF CORRECTING FRED'S STATEMENT, WHICH WAS POTENTIALLY MISLEADING) According to Google search results++, on Sept. 11, 2013, Business Insider ran an article with the title, "Mark Zuckerberg: 'Bill Gates Was My Hero'," and it documented Michael and Mark's exchange about Darth Vader, and so, that event occurred in 2013, not 2011, as Fred just said, in error.
[Fred] I'm just saying, speaking as a guy who has played a lot of online poker with, "Bill Gates," who explained to me in a chatroom that he was stressed out during the Microsoft antitrust trial and was, therefore, always happy to take refuge in the safe space of playing online poker whenever he could, I think Todd is being weird and defensive, which is not a good combination, and I would like for him to start saying everything he wants to say at the moment he wants to say it, especially if it's the thing that would force me to kill him right now, for real, no joke.
[Todd] I crossed paths with Steve Jobs on the streets of Palo Alto while I was walking to work at Facebook, but we just stared at each other from 20 feet away, and then we went our separate ways. No words were exchanged.
[Fred] I bet someone has video of that, and the video will probably show that you gave him the finger, and so, the real story here is that you have been unable to forgive yourself ever since, but, more to the point, I would like to remind you that you're talking about a person who is no longer with us on this planet. Would you like for me to help you join him in the afterlife right now?
[Suzy] Pardon me for interjecting, Fred, but do you know the big thing that Todd's hiding or are you just hustling us with obscenely inappropriate fake death threats because you developed new technology that makes it easy for you to do that without getting tagged, and you want to sell it to me or recruit me as a user, or whatever it is you think you're doing right now? (MAKES A BARELY CONCEALED EFFORT TO STAY RELAXED)
[Fred] I'm a fictional character, but I also believe with every bone in my body that I'm a human being who has free will. It's a fact that I might or might not kill Todd if he brings up a certain topic that I might or might not already have in mind.
[Todd] No worries, I'll risk it just this once, because I may or may not have a non-trivial following in Japan, but in all seriousness, if I say, "I don't know what Jobs was doing, but Gates was making fun of him, I was making fun of Gates, and Mark was making fun of me, therefore, I played the same role at Facebook that Steve Jobs played at Microsoft," that would authoritatively frame me as a mentally ill person who has delusions of grandeur. It's unsafe to say stuff like that on the record and resist labels. You can do one or the other, but not both. That's why I limit myself to pointing out that the business model of Facebook is murderous, and then I leave it at that. It's outside of my purview as an observer to address the matter any further than that.
[Fred] Nice flex, Ice Man. Your response to my stimulus was extremely pedantic, rigid, and prone to melting in a long shadow of network effects, but it was still a step forward.
[Suzy] It WAS a step further than what you wrote in your art book, and I'd like for all of us to keep our comments within the safety net of WhatIsProd.
[Fred] Why? Todd's going to get nothing but love if he puts all the facts on the record, except for the facts about irrelevant tech startups that weren't lame, they just aren't relevant anymore, but the facts about Todd's life, starting with the secret recording of Todd's conversation about former colleagues from Silicon Valley in Tokyo that may or may not have already gone viral under the radar, circa 2010, are highly relevant.
[Suzy] Todd, do agree that data pirates should be presumed innocent until proven guilty?
[Fred] Don't answer that. It's a trap. Suzy has no fuel with which to gas up her plane and fly back to her favorite hot spot in paradise. Todd, in contrast, went on to become the poster boy for The Walking Dead in America, but he's shy about saying it, and that, actually, that might be a mental illness. To see that about yourself and not say it...it's like, "Come on man, you only live once."
[Todd] I agree with both of you that someone messed up royally, and it will take an act of Congress to fix it.
[Fred] Frankly, Todd (ROTATES LEFT) Suzy (ROTATES RIGHT)...
[Suzy] Bitter (MAKES A RAPID HAND MOTION, VERY INDISTINCTLY), I hope you guys find a publisher for all these creative ideas. I wish you the best of luck with that quest, but let's fast-forward to 2015...Todd, you attended the 50th reunion of the Stanford Computer Science Department. Marissa Mayer was a keynote speaker. Donald Knuth was honored. What was your takeaway?
[Todd] Simple, I shook the hand of Mike Schroepfer, who has been running engineering at Facebook ever since Adam D'Angelo stepped down in 2008, and he asked me a question instead of the other way around.
[Suzy] It sounds like that event was material to you. What did you feel when Mike asked you a question, as you say. And what question did he ask?
[Todd] He just asked how I was doing.
[Fred] And that's when you should have said, "I'm the poster boy for the Walking Dead!" and then maybe he would have asked you another question, and then another, and then you could have recruited him to help make America great, again. He could have been the CTO of Trump's campaign. That was pre-launch. You deprived the poor man of an opportunity to be free, all because you lied. I bet you said, "I'm good," or some other blatant lie like that, but you were not good. Things were not going well for you. He couldn't compute how you were even still alive, and so, when you lied to him, he knew you were lying.
[Todd] I probably did say the exact words, "I'm good," and I know for sure that my intent was simply to communicate that I was not evil.
[Fred] You don't get course credit for not being evil. Stanford should have revoked your degree right then and there. They had quorum in the room to pass a special resolution to revoke your degree because you were stupid. Maybe you didn't lie, but you were stupid.
[Todd] Fred, if I had told anyone at Stanford the truth, that my life was going horrible and that I wasn't sure what to do next, I might have been forcibly committed to a taxpayer-funded prison experiment before leaving campus, and I might have died there. I told the head of engineering a fact, which is that I'm good, and I survived his attempt to trigger me without warning. How's that for being direct?
[Fred] Ok! Suzy and I agree that you died socially during the live fire drill by the water cooler, and now you and I agree that you were just trying to make some money on the side at the conclave and then the second in command tried to murder you in cold blood, in order to prevent an eruption of moral hazard. This is excellent progress.
[Todd] I feel it is important to clarify that I don't agree with anything you just said, and you are a fictional character, where as I am not.
[Suzy] (ROLLS EYES) I was hoping to end on that note, but it sounds like we need to take maybe one more step back. 2013. Let's pretend we're doing a New Year's Eve special at the end of 2013, and I'm just making small talk with you. What's the main thing that happened in 2013, from your perspective?
[Todd] I started writing TheSuzy.com Show! Yay!
[Fred] No, this is not a sporting event OR a writer's retreat. Everyone knows Todd is NOT asexual AND he prefers to date women, so we cannot end the beachside chat here. This is not a happy ending. Don't make me bring out my dancing shoes in order to attract a live audience! I want more data. I want to parlay our theory that number two tried to murder Todd into a theory that number one tried to murder, let's say, 80% of the world's existing population. It was a one to many thing. The student protest...that became a fake news company...that became the instigator of the mass suicide to end all mass suicides. Give me. More. Data, and then nobody will have to get hurt.
[Suzy] I appreciate your candor, Fred, but I'm not aware at this writing of anyone who died in a trance state during the secret performance that U2 did at Fyre festival, as everyone who was actually there that night knows took place, and we, I'm afraid, are out of time. I hope you get more favorable media coverage soon, Fred, and you too, Todd. I think your stories should be told. Maybe I'll see both of you again at the 10th reunion of the TheSuzy.com Show, and maybe I won't, but until then, I bid you farewell, and good bye.
(SUZY EXITS STAGE RIGHT)
[Todd] (LOOKS ASKANCE AT FRED) Our faces are mirror images, perched on the heavily stacked vista of a new frontier mentality.
[Fred] (LOOKS AT TODD DIRECTLY) I don't know why, but my life is so easy compared to what you seem to be going through. Please don't kill me.
[Todd] I don't know why or how, but you might have escalated too far. Why did Suzy tell a lie on the record and then leave us?
[Fred] Suzy always ends her shows by telling a lie on the record. What planet have you been living on...and I, for the record, I thought it was a good illustration of why abstraction adds leverage, and if the underlying production is bogus, then mass producing it at scale is...I'll let you say it. This one's for the record books... (WAITS WITH BATED BREATH)