“What is the point of accumulating all this wealth, if I’m not around to enjoy it?”

Before we get started, I’d like to fill you in on a little something my colleagues Sam Volkering and Nick O Connor have been working on.

A special broadcast to help you move ahead of THREE potential crypto price eruptions.

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The broadcast goes live 2pm sharp on Monday 12th March.

Now, on to today’s topic…

What does a midlife crisis look like for a billionaire?

They already have the sports cars, swanky holidays and life accolades. So when an extremely high-achiever realises their own mortality and takes a look at their life, what do they decide to change?

Nothing. In fact, they decide that they want to go on living this life a lot longer.

As Eoin Treacy wrote in this month’s Frontier Tech Investor:

[The death of Steve Jobs at age 56] sent a jolt around Silicon Valley’s board rooms that it’s hard for many people to quite understand. Suddenly a big question was being asked.

“What is the point of accumulating all this wealth, if I’m not around to enjoy it?”

Imagine for a moment you are Sergei Brin, currently aged 44, or Larry Page who is also 44. How about Elon Musk is 46, or Peter Thiel at 50, or Jeff Bezos who is 54. You have more money than you could ever spend, you are known the world over for being a visionary and one of your ilk has just died at the age of 56.

That’s not an acceptable outcome and they have decided to do whatever they can to surmount the challenge death presents.

These are people who could retire right now and still provide for their families for generations to come.

Graduates can expect to earn around $1.8 million over the course of their lifetime. So even a single-digit billionaire could comfortably provide enough money to last over 550 lifetimes.

So why don’t they? Well, firstly, retirement – or what people think will make them happy during it – isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

In the book, Stumbling on Happiness, Daniel Todd Gilbert shows what people think will make them happy usually doesn’t. And what people think will make them sad usually doesn’t.

James Clear sums up the findings of this book succinctly:

Our brains fall victim to a wide range of biases that cause our predictions of the future (and our memories of the past) to be inaccurate. Because of these mental errors it is remarkably difficult to predict what will make us feel happy.

Perhaps these billionaires are on to something. If you’re happy living your life as it is now, don’t change it. Just find ways to prolong it.

The shark older Don Quixote

How exactly is Silicon Valley planning on prolonging the lives of its denizens?

Well, although living to 200 or even 400 may sound ridiculous right now, it may not be that farfetched after all.

By looking into the genetics of animals like the Greenland Shark, scientists are identifying what makes some animals seemingly immortal.

If you’re not familiar with the story of the Greenland Shark, it hit headlines in 2016.

By carbon dating the proteins inside the eyes in a sample of Greenland sharks, scientists were able to calculate their ages.

The range of possible ages for the oldest ones in the sample was 272 to 512 years old. So the average was around 400.

That’s right around the time Miguel de Cervantes was finishing the world’s first real novel – Don Quixote.

In fact, Don Quixote fits right into the midlife crisis theme. A rich man in his late 40s, he suddenly decides to give up his life of boredom and books and become a knight.

Here’s a photo of a statue of the literary hero.

Source: Michael Gwyther-Jones

Most people remember Don Quixote as the mad man who charged at windmills. Mention the book in any social situation and you’ll likely get someone bringing up the windmill. This is kind of strange, as he only charges a windmill once in the entire book. I don’t know why this small passage has caught the imagination of so many people.

Unlike Don Quixote, Silicon Valley execs haven’t decided to become knights. But, they have taken it upon themselves to cure cancer. Or at least to plough money into cancer treatment research.

The cure for cancer is… already here?

A few months ago I wrote an essay on “how to survive death”.

In it I listed the likely ways humans may one day become immortal – from cloning to uploading our consciousness, to becoming modern day vampires. You can read it here if you missed it.

For this month’s Frontier Tech Investor, Eoin took the idea of prolonging life and dug a lot deeper.

He discovered that cancer may hold the secrets to eternal youth.

As Eoin says:

When we get to about 30 years of age the rate at which out cells divide and die slows down and the cells we have get older, start to decay and mutate. It’s that decay that contributes to aging because our cells stop reproducing.

So what cells in the body don’t suffer from that slowdown?


Cancer is an aggressive multiplier. Its exponential growth – in people who are often seeing the rest of their systems slowing down – is an anomaly.

One of the biggest challenges researchers have in speeding up our metabolisms is that by increasing cell multiplication they also increase the potential for adults to develop cancer. That is why our best hope of solving for longevity and better quality of life resides in the immuno-oncology sector.

You hear a lot about supposed cures for cancer. But they never seem to materialise. There is a new “cancer cure” in the Daily Mail every other day. So it’s easy just to dismiss them.

However, there is one study that should not be dismissed.

This January, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have successfully cured a number of different types of cancer in rats.

They did is by using immunotherapy, which basically just means stimulating the immune system to attack cancer.

Here’s what researcher Ronald Levy had to say about it:

Our approach uses a one-time application of very small amounts of two agents to stimulate the immune cells only within the tumor itself. In the mice, we saw amazing, bodywide effects, including the elimination of tumors all over the animal.

By injecting a tumour with a small amount of this treatment, not only did the tumour disappear, but the rat’s immune system went on to kill cancer all over its body.

Here’s how the Stanford Medicine News Center reported the findings:

The approach worked startlingly well in laboratory mice with transplanted mouse lymphoma tumors in two sites on their bodies. Injecting one tumor site with the two agents caused the regression not just of the treated tumor, but also of the second, untreated tumor. In this way, 87 of 90 mice were cured of the cancer. Although the cancer recurred in three of the mice, the tumors again regressed after a second treatment. The researchers saw similar results in mice bearing breast, colon and melanoma tumors.

If you want to know about this study in more detail, you can read the Stanford Medicine News Center article here.

The great news is this injection is made up of two agents that have already been tested in humans. One of them is already approved, and the other has been tested several times. This “cancer cure”, may be on shelves a lot sooner than people realise.

Live long, cure cancer, and make money doing it

So, on one side, we have a cabal of billionaires pouring money into anti-aging research and treatments.

On the other we have (what look to be) legitimate cancer cures.

And In the middle we have the companies doing the work.

This, as Eoin says:

Presents an almost trillion-dollar opportunity. There is a genuine race on to get products to market. Small companies are being taken over at a prodigious rate because there is no large pharmaceutical company that can risk not having a position in immune-oncology today.

Until next time,

Harry Hamburg

Editor, Exponential Investor

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Category: Genetics and Biotechnology

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