In my last episode of Metaverse, I had the pleasure of chatting to Anthony Scaramucci, entrepreneur and founder of both SkyBridge Capital and the SALT Conference, which has become the foremost gathering for investors, policy experts, politicians and business leaders around the world. SkyBridge Capital entered the Bitcoin market with their own fund, asserting itself one of the most well-established financial institutions to launch a Bitcoin product. In 2016, Anthony was named to then-President-Elect Donald Trump’s 16-person Presidential Transition Team Executive Committee and famously served as the White House communications director for an 11-day period in July 2017. Today, Anthony is the author of four books and hosts ‘Mooch FM,’ a podcast that explores the top stories of the week with the biggest names in media, business politics and beyond.
We got started by discussing Anthony’s blue collar-New York upbringing, and the seminal moment at age 16 where he resolved to hustle his way to college to ensure he’d escape a future in manual labor, the standard employment for generations of men in his family. He described the challenges of self-doubt, fear, and fashion that came with finding his way out of his humble beginnings to Harvard—he describes himself as being “fully flammable” in a polyester suit for his first Goldman Sachs interview.
Touching on his brief foray into politics as a “young boy in an old boys’ network,” Anthony cautioned listeners to “check your ego and pride at the door when making decisions,” since clearly the job was not right for him. Luckily, getting fired essentially meant he could return to his work at Skybridge, where in 2017 his interest in Bitcoin was just beginning—as Anthony says, it’s hard to cancel you when you own your own business.
Anthony sees DeFi as the inevitable future, with the digitising of the dollar likely to roll out in the near future. The smartest banks and institutions will start adapting to this, he thinks, while others that resist will not stand the test of time. Right now, he says we need to weather the storm, as growing pains are an inevitable part of this kind of massive change. He likens Bitcoin’s volatility to Amazon: whilst enormously successful and valuable today, there were eight periods of time when the company lost 50% of its value. Keeping this in mind, Bitcoin holders need to play the long game to come out the other end successful. To help demystify the crypto industry for the broader public, Anthony’s made his weekly live event, the Skybridge bitcoin review, free and accessible to all. This signals they’re in it for the long haul and makes their knowledge open source, encouraging wider confidence.
We then turned to discuss the United States, both analysing how the country has wound up in its current state and how they might move forward from there. Anthony drew on Spencer Ackerman’s book Reign of Terror to explain briefly how Bin Laden’s attacks succeeded in destabilising the country, as it kept the U.S. from focusing on manufacturing, infrastructure, and reinvigorating K-12 education, and resulted in today’s tribalism, where foreign adversaries prey on America’s vulnerability through disinformation and bots. Whilst no strong leaders have been explaining this or seeking a cure, Scaramucci is hopeful his country can recover, as there is nothing more American than the ability to reinvent oneself.
Pivoting to this hopeful perspective for the future, Anthony sees us as entering a new age driven by new technology. Just as in the 1920s, where we saw a vast commercialisation of the modern world with the highway system, telecommunications, radio broadcast technology, and flight, we are on the precipice of another worldwide revolution fueled by new advancements. Eventually, this pandemic will end, and when it does, we’ll see an abundance of leaps forward, from 5G to programmable biotech that will be able to improve health. To truly make the most of these advancements, Anthony believes we need a form of capitalism that creates equal opportunity, where regardless of your zip code, you’ll have access to good healthcare and education. Having come from modest upbringings himself, Anthony is keenly aware of how much underutilised intelligence there is in America, which to truly advance should be taking full advantage of all its seven billion citizens’ intellectual resources.
We concluded by touching on Anthony’s own podcast, MoochFM, which I had the pleasure of joining as a guest, and what lies in store in his future—like so many of us, he’s seeking to lose those extra pandemic pounds he’s gained over the past year.
It was delightful to gain Anthony’s candid insights on the future of business, U.S. politics, and how to learn from one’s mistakes. To hear our full conversation, you can listen to the podcast here.