There was widespread panic in fall 2008 with the collapse of Lehman Brothers—the largest bankruptcy in history—but by late-winter/early-spring 2009, the bottom really fell out and there was widespread pessimism and gloom. By March 2009 the stock market was screeching to a 13-year bottom. The Federal Reserve was about to unleash record liquidity, but before that happened, many hedge funds went out of business and there was massive consolidation in the commercial and investment banking sectors. It felt like a precursor to the next great global recession.

There was a small firm named SkyBridge run by a guy that I had never met. His name was Anthony Scaramucci and from what I could tell, they had a small fund that was hobbled by the global financial crisis but they were trying to pretend that they were going to be okay. A partner there named Victor Oviedo reached out to me to see if I wanted to speak at their hedge fund conference, which they were calling the SALT (which stood for SkyBridge Alternatives) Conference. They wanted me on a panel to discuss the future.

“Why me?” I asked.

“Our industry is facing unprecedented turbulence and downturns, highlighted by dire forecasts and unnerving negativity. You, however, are an extreme optimist and we need a boost of positivity.” Victor explained. It would be another three years before I co-authored Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think, but I was prepared to talk about a future where technological innovation would make ...

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