On this episode, Jason talks with anti-virus software expert John McAfee. John started the famous McAfee anti-virus computer software, which helps block viruses.
Narrator: Welcome to the Holistic Survival Show with Jason Hartman. The economic storm brewing around the world is set to spill into all aspects of our lives. Are you prepared? Where are you going to turn for the critical life skills necessary for you to survive and prosper? The Holistic Survival Show is your family’s insurance for a better life. Jason will teach you to think independently, to understand threats and how to create the ultimate action plan. Sudden change or worst case scenario, you’ll be ready. Welcome to Holistic Survival, your key resource for protecting the people, places and profits you care about in uncertain times. Ladies and gentlemen, your host, Jason Hartman.
Jason Hartman: Welcome to the Holistic Survival Show. This is your host Jason Hartman, where we talk about protecting the people places and profits you care about in these uncertain times. We have a great interview for you today. And we will be back with that in less than 60 seconds on the Holistic Survival Show. And by the way, be sure to visit our website at HolisticSurvival.com. You can subscribe to our blog, which is totally free, has loads of great information, and there’s just a lot of good content for you on the site, so make sure you take advantage of that at HolisticSurvival.com. We’ll be right back.
Start of Interview with John McAfee
Jason Hartman: It’s my pleasure to welcome John McAfee to the show. If you think that Name sounds familiar, you’re probably right. In fact, you’ve probably owned his software at one time or another in the past. He is the guy behind the very famous anti-virus software. A lot has been going on in his life lately, and he’s got a very interesting solution to some of the problems we’re all facing, really the oppression we’re all facing from big brother – big brother at the NSA, the national security agency, and we look forward to hearing more about it. John welcome, how are you?
John McAfee: Well I’m fine, thank you Jason. And thank you for having me on your program.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, well it’s a great pleasure. Thank you for joining us. First of all, just tell people a little bit about your background and your rise to really incredible success with your software.
John McAfee: I’ve been a software engineer my entire life. I started out in mathematics in school, and software is nothing more than applied mathematics. I’ve always had an easy capacity for programing – it comes easily to me and my mind integrates it well. So when computer viruses first came out, it was very easy for me to see how they worked and to see how it would be possible to circumvent them. I wrote a little program and then the rest is history. McAfee was born and it became the largest anti-virus product in the world.
Jason Hartman: Wow. That’s amazing. So what years were… was that like the 90s or the 80s? When did you start McAfee?
John McAfee: Let’s see, I started programming a long time ago, back in 1968. I’m probably older than you think I am. I’m 68 years old.
Jason Hartman: Just as a perspective, 1968…so that was on cards, right?
John McAfee: That was on cards. Absolutely – I worked at NASA Institute for space studies in New York City, and it was a card system. Punch cards – if you happened to drop your box of cards that ruined your entire week. So I cut my teeth on that, and 20 odd years later computer viruses came around, and I was perfectly positioned to take a look at them and try to combat them, and it was a very exciting time for me.
Jason Hartman: So you probably raised money, your company was giant. Can you give us some perspective on the size of the software company that you created?
John McAfee: It sold last year for $8 billion dollars to Intel. Headquarters in every country in the world, many thousands of employees, and still a power house in the field of computer security.
Jason Hartman: And so that’s 8 billion with a B…
John McAfee: With a B, yeah.
Jason Hartman: Wow. Okay so now, what has been happening to you since then? Did you retire after… I believe I could be wrong here – did you sell it to Symantec initially? Or someone bought you out, right?
John McAfee: No, I went public. I took the company public in 1991, and the company was so huge by then I just got bored. I hired a CEO who was the executive VP from IBM to replace me. And I wandered off into the world. But I couldn’t stop working. I immediately started another company called Tribal Voice, which I sold to CMGI for $17 million. And then I got involved with Zone Labs, which we sold to Check Point for $400 million. And then I went to Central America and dabbled in a number of different companies – none of them were technology related except for the antibiotic company Cormex. I just can’t keep still. I can’t keep my fingers out of building businesses, or out of technology.
Jason Hartman: Well, that’s great. You’re a creative person and you’ve got to do something and build something, and develop something, and share that creativity with the world. And obviously the world has responded very well because you’re a tremendous success. So it’s good that people like you keep working and don’t just retire. But what has happened to you? There have been some issues with the government and Belize… give us a little bit of that story and that will be a good Segway as to what you are doing now.
John McAfee: Well, in Belize I started a number of companies. Most of them were very small. I had a ferry business toward the island of San Pedro so that tourists and locals could get back and forth across the island easily. I had a water sports business, a flying business, I started a coffee business and even a cigar business. I smoked cigars for a while. And then I got involved in antibiotics using native plants, and the new technological concept called quorum sensing, which is really nothing more than bacteria’s ability to communicate among themselves.
It’s a brand new concept – we didn’t even know they communicated until about ten years ago. I poured a lot of money into the development of the lab. Working in the jungles of Central America in a high tech environment is not the easiest thing in the world. Clean rooms just don’t stay clean, employees just don’t show up to work. Every problem you can possibly think of. And the idea of hiring from other countries, it sounds very easy but every time someone would come for an interview, they would look at the facilities. No electricity – well, we had electricity and all that but no internet, the town had nothing, no movie theaters, no restaurants, very sparse living and people simply decided not to do it. So it was difficult to attract talent and the talent that was there was simply operating on Central American culture and time. And basically it just was not going to work.
About that time, since I had moved to the jungle I was the only westerner that lived in the entire district of Orange Walk – with 15,000 people I was the only white man. The locals treated me like a local. If you have money you have to give it to the political party in power. They came and asked for $2 million dollars, I said no, the following week they raided my property, destroyed my lab, shot my dog and then said you sure you won’t change your mind? At that point, I went to the international press, I cried foul. I talked about all the corruption, and that began my war with Belize.
I stayed for another ten months up until the time my neighbor was murdered and they wanted to question me. Well, in Belize they can question and hold you for as long as they want, or well 60 days and at the end of the 60 days they can renew that for another 60 without any charges. So I could be in prison for 50 years awaiting questioning.
Jason Hartman: When you say they wanted to question you and hold you for 60 days, they were thinking or saying that you were responsible for your neighbor’s murder?
John McAfee: No, not at all. They questioned all the neighbors. But see, I had been at war with them. They were looking for any opportunity to shut me up or to put me in a jail, that will sure shut me up.
Jason Hartman: That’s right.
John McAfee: I cannot talk to the press if I am in a jail. That’s all they wanted and I knew that was all they wanted, so I was not about to allow them to question me like they questioned the others. They were after me. And so, the next thing is I’m in Guatemala, I entered Guatemala illegally, I was jailed in Guatemala. Belize requested that I be extradited back and instead Guatemala sent me home, here to America.
Jason Hartman: Wow. That’s just something else. Just before we go on John, I’ve got to mention. I’ve been to Belize twice, and I host another show called the Jet Setter Show where I talk about different expat opportunities, I think it’s wise to have a plan B, we look at all of the stuff the government is doing here in the US nowadays. Maybe it’s not a bad idea to have a second home or a second passport or both, and I’ve been keeping track of these international real estate markets for years now. I have a real estate company that helps investors buy properties all over the US and different cities. That’s been a great business. I love real estate – been in it all my life. And I went to look at properties there, and I’ve got to say, it’s so primitive. I just don’t see the appeal. I can’t get a consistent internet connection, it’s a lot of the stuff you said, and I wasn’t even trying to run a business. I was just trying to email home. They won’t let you use Skype – the phone company suppresses Skype…
John McAfee: The phone company was nationalized. Here’s the other thing, five years ago they took away the phone company from Lord Ashcroft in England who ran a really decent phone company. They refused to give it back even after the high court said give it back, and then they just clamped down. They don’t want you using Skype because they don’t get to take their money. So it is tragic beyond belief, but you’re right. It’s very primitive. However, the reef, the sea coast, and the jungles are the most beautiful on the planet. So nothing is perfect in life.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, it’s just something else. I think that all these people that are looking to retire in a lot of these places, whether it be Belize or South America or Panama or Nicaragua, I think they’ve really got a rude awakening coming their way. Because it’s not what it looks like when you read those magazines and all those email newsletters that are sent out by these great promoters. I’ve been to 69 countries now and I’ve got to tell you, some of these places are really pretty primitive. It’s amazing. Their real estate probably isn’t worth a third of what they’re selling it for in a lot of these areas. But, that’s kind of a little tangent there, but I just wanted to throw it in. If you have any other comments on that I’d love to hear them.
John McAfee: Well, in the third world just beware. There is an ingrained system that everyone understands except us because we live in a system of laws and justice, sometimes at least, there’s at least the appearance of laws and justice. But there that’s not even the appearance. It’s run by pirates, everybody knows it’s run by pirates – you pay your dues. You don’t pay your dues, you get punished.
Jason Hartman: So probably the best thing to do if you ever go to or move to some of these places is just fit in and pretend that you don’t have any money so they won’t come and hit you up, right?
John McAfee: That’s basically it. Keep a low profile, don’t let anybody know your name if you have a name that’s recognized, don’t display money, don’t display wealth, don’t buy new cars, wear ragged clothes and you’ll get along just fine.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, and who wants to do that? That doesn’t sound like that much fun anyway.
John McAfee: It isn’t that much fun, I can assure you.
Jason Hartman: Okay, so were they trying murder you and just do away with you in Belize?
John McAfee: Well, I don’t know. They were certainly trying to shut me up because I had a blog, I was shouting out on the blog every single day about corruption and murder and mayhem. Belize is the murder capital of the world statistically, and it truly damaged their tourist industry. And tourism accounts for 70% of the gross national product. So I was harming the country dramatically and they didn’t like that. They just wanted me to be quiet. But I didn’t want to be quiet. I wanted an apology. Good lord, these guys came and shot my dog, destroyed my property, kept me in the sun handcuffed. All I asked for was an apology – apologize. Be a man. But no, the Prime Minister refused and so I did my campaign. It was a very foolish thing to do. I don’t advise anyone else to follow my footsteps.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, the government has unlimited resources. Of course the US government especially, but other governments too and you can’t fight a government. It’s just that they’re too damn powerful. When you control the laws it’s like controlling the air supply. So what did you do next? You were kicked out of Guatemala, you were sent back to the US, and where did you move in the US? Were you in New Mexico or Arizona or something?
John McAfee: I was in New Mexico, I lived all over the US but when I came back I went to Portland, Oregon. It’s about as far away from Belize culturally as you can ever get, so it gave me some respite there. And then I just began working on technology again. And as I was working, the technology just became timely with Snowden and the NSA and our privacy leaks, and then the sudden understanding, I’d known for years we don’t have privacy in this country, but the general populous now knows it, and that’s spooky. People don’t want their privacy barrier broken.
I’d like to close my door and what I do behind my closed door, if it hurts no one else then it’s none of your business. But unfortunately that’s not the world anymore. And so now I think probably my last major battle, my last campaign, I want to do something about it. I want to bring sanity back to the world.
Jason Hartman: So what do you have now? Well first of all, let’s talk maybe about the problem for just a quick moment here. Everybody knows about Edward Snowden, everybody knows about Bradley Manning. The US doesn’t like people telling other people about its dirty deeds, do they?
John McAfee: No, they absolutely do not. And the US doesn’t like people knowing that they know everything. For example, if the administration had publicized the fact that the NSA is snooping around in all of our phone records, we would have been outraged so they hid that fact from us. But you can’t hide things like that forever
John McAfee: No, they absolutely do not. And the US doesn’t like people knowing that they know everything. For example, if the administration had publicized the fact that the NSA is snooping around in all of our phone records, we would have been outraged so they hid that fact from us. But you can’t hide things like that forever, you simply cannot. And now we’ve found out and we are outraged. You’re snooping in my phone records without court orders, without anything? And you’re trying to find out who our friends are through Facebook and why we’re friends with them, and what connections we have and good lord, this is 1984 times a million.
Jason Hartman: It goes right in the face of everything that our founding fathers put in the constitution to protect us against intrusive government. The freedom of association, the freedom of speech is being restricted dramatically. The police are taking people’s cameras away, Apple just recently patented a technology that allows them to shut off iPhone cameras remotely. It makes me want to go out and carry a second camera with me all the time. Maybe use good old film. Something that they can’t do anything to.
John McAfee: Right. And it’s getting worse by the day. The more we depend on our electronic systems to support us and provide information and communication, the easier it is for the government to know everything about us. Well, that frightens me. Not that I’m doing anything wrong – it frightens me from a social and cultural perspective. Without privacy we are nothing. We become cogs in a wheel.
Jason Hartman: You are absolutely right, and here’s the scary part about it. It may seem innocent enough now, but this huge data center in Utah is just accumulating information, just mega terabytes, I don’t even know what they’re called past a terabyte, you probably do. But just incredible amounts of data, and we don’t know what that data might implicate any of us in 10 or 20 years from now.
John McAfee: And the weird thing is, they have brainwashed… I was just talking to a friend just a moment ago about secrecy. And some people just don’t get that without secrecy we aren’t individuals, we aren’t human beings. And the government wants us to believe that, wants us to understand that. And so it’s frightening what has happened to us, it’s frightening what we’ve become as a society and as a culture. It’s like, I don’t know what to say about it. It boggles my mind.
Can you imagine Benjamin Franklin sitting around somewhere and someone telling Benjamin, you know George Washington is reading everything that you write? What would happen? Ben Franklin would take a gun and shoot old George Washington, wouldn’t he? But now we take it for granted. Oh, no we don’t need secrets. Of course not. But without secrecy, we have nothing. We are not people, we are not human anymore. And people are starting to see that now. When I say this people go, wow you’re right. But certainly, when did we lose this perception?
Jason Hartman: It’s really amazing, yeah. But I’ve got to ask you one question just to keep this in perspective though. The thing I like to always say is compared to what? When you tell the story, that terrible tale of Belize, yes the US is going in the wrong direction, god we know this. But what I say John, is I think the US still has a long way to fall before anything else looks much better in comparison. You’ve just got to compare.
John McAfee: But how much further can we fall? Aren’t we near bottom? If we’re not near bottom, I do not want to contemplate what bottom is. If this culture and this society has sunk so low that basic human principles are no longer valued, I don’t want to live in it.
Jason Hartman: I agree with you, but where are they valued more? That’s the question. Are you going to go to Russia? You still live here, I still live here. Where are you going to go? What else are you going to do, right?
John McAfee: There’s a good question. I do not know. My hope was it’s somewhere in Asia, but I don’t think so. China has gone the reverse. China wants everyone to think exactly like and dress exactly like, and individuality is discouraged, and so is privacy. So I don’t know, but I’m doing my part and I will stand up for people because we the people have done this to ourselves. We have done this through apathy, indifference, and fear. And only we can fix it. Here’s the issue: vote. You are lucky Americans. You can vote, all of you. We all these people, throw them out of office, start something new.
Jason Hartman: Well what solution in terms of technology do you have? Tell us about your gadget. Do you have a name for it yet?
John McAfee: Yes. It’s D-Central.
Jason Hartman: Okay, D-Central. So what does D-Central do?
John McAfee: D-Central takes your cellphone or your smart phone, your iPad, your laptop or whatever and turns it into two different devices. One, the thing it’s always been which is you can connect to the internet, you can do your email, you can do whatever you want, get on Facebook. And the other, we have an application where you press a button and suddenly it is a completely private device. And it only works within the local area that you happen to be in.
Let’s say that you want to send a private message to your girlfriend. I don’t know, sometimes people want to send something juicy that you don’t want people reading. Well you do it. No one knows where this message even came from. It’s a floating network in constant flux that cannot possibly be tracked. That’s not replacing internet, it’s adding a layer of privacy that you can use when you choose.
Jason Hartman: So it’s a box…describe it.
John McAfee: Well, it’s a very small device, about the size of a very small cellphone. You just slip in a pocket, there’s no screen, you just turn it on, there’s an application that you download for your smartphone and that’s that. The application connects to the device, the device is powered on and then everybody else within about a quarter of a mile radius that has one of these devices is connected up. Let’s say you have files you don’t care for. I’ll share this song, I’ll share this news report I found today. I’ll share a poem I wrote today, whatever. You just fill it in that common area.
As you pass, let’s say in the morning you wake up and you like to hear, I don’t know, you’re looking for a specific song. As you move around throughout the day, the hundreds of thousands of people in your local area, these devices are communicating. If it finds it, it just grabs it, because that person has put it in the common area too. You have no idea where you got it. The person who sent it even has no idea that they sent it. There is no record.
Jason Hartman: Interesting. The music industry is going to have another fit about this.
John McAfee: Well, the music industry has called my product dangerous, as I suspect they would. But if you think about it, the telephone is dangerous. People use the telephone to perpetrate all kinds of scams, don’t they?
Jason Hartman: Yeah, sure. Telemarketers. So you have this device, now does it only work over the internet part of your smartphone?
John McAfee: No, it creates a separate network apart from the internet. You can communicate with the internet if you choose, but in privacy mode it is a completely separate network, encrypted and impossible to track.
Jason Hartman: Okay. And what does it do? Your cellphone signal goes to the D-Central device…
John McAfee: It’s not the cell phone signal. We’re connected up via Bluetooth. Your cell phone signal was not intercepted or affected in any way. The device itself is a communicator with a range of about a quarter of a mile. Everyone else with one of these devices within that quarter mile are connected up. You can choose to share nothing or everything, but at no point does anyone know who you are or where you are.
Jason Hartman: Okay, but the person I’m sharing with has to be close to me, within a quarter mile?
John McAfee: Within a quarter mile, or it will also relay. For example, if there’s not much traffic it can relay to the next local network, and the next and the next. And it could actually go around the world in the fraction of a second if necessary. Btu it will depend on traffic. But you can certainly depend on, for example, a college campus. Everyone on the college campus would be able to communicate through this private network. And everyone would be connected. And no one would know who is doing what.
Jason Hartman: So what would we share on it? You gave the example of music. Can we talk and have like a phone conversation?
John McAfee: Not yet. That is certainly coming in our next generation. You could have your own private email. You could share anything you wanted. Photographs, let’s say you just want to share a photograph with your fraternity brothers. So you would set their privacy level and no one else would even receive that photograph, no one else would even know that that photograph had been transmitted. Anything that you wish to keep private, you can do so.
Jason Hartman: Right. And do you do it over the email application on your phone, or…
John McAfee: No, absolutely not. It’s done through our own application on our device. Even though there’s no screen, we don’t need a screen. We’re using the screen on your cellphone.
Jason Hartman: Alright. Yeah, very interesting. This is a great idea. How much does it cost John?
John McAfee: We’re shooting for under a hundred dollars.
Jason Hartman: And when does it come out?
John McAfee: Our prototype will be ready in approximately 6 months, and then 6 months after that we hope to have a marketing version available.
Jason Hartman: Now one of the things it depends on is, what’s known, of course you know it all too well, is what’s known as the network effect. Because it wouldn’t do you any good to be the only one with one of these D-Central devices.
John McAfee: Of course, and the first person to buy one… we’ll probably have to give out a few thousand of them for free at first just to get people to take them. But as it builds up, the functionality increases. I can imagine on a college campus, if ten or fifteen buddies get together and have one, I promise you that everyone else will want one.
Jason Hartman: Right. Very interesting. What kind of opposition are you looking for on this? Because I have long said, ever since I learned about bit coin, I’ve long said the feds are going to shut that down because it’s in competition with their central banking cartel.
John McAfee: Right, with central banking. Well I anticipate all kinds of problems – the music industry, the movie industry will hate it. Even though every study done by anyone outside the music industry has shown that people who pirate actually spend more money buying things than people who don’t.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, I’ve heard those studies too.
John McAfee: And that it certainly hasn’t hurt the bottom dime, the movie industry has record earnings. So tell me how that hurts. We need a new paradigm. Selling music, the movie industry, I’m afraid most of the government. Governments do not like to blocked in their attempt to intrude.
Jason Hartman: Well I think you’re so right about that. When you read or listen to the audio book version of Chris Anderson’s book Free, that’s really well explained. Oddly enough, you’ve got to come into business with an abundance mentality. And the music industry and the movie industry certainly don’t have that – they have a scarcity mentality.
John McAfee: Of course.
Jason Hartman: That if people rip you off a little bit or even if you allow them to rip you off by giving it away, more things actually come out of that. I saw an interesting presentation just the other day in Los Vegas by Steve Pavlina who is a well-known blogger, very successful. And he decided to give away all of his material. He took all of the copyright notices off, in fact he said take my stuff. You can have it. It’s not even a creative common’s license. It’s just a steal it.
John McAfee: Of course.
Jason Hartman: And what’s happened to him has been nothing short of amazing.
John McAfee: Well that’s exactly what I did with McAfee. I put on the front page, please steal this software.
Jason Hartman: Kind of counter intuitive, isn’t it?
John McAfee: It is counter intuitive, yet it works.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, really interesting. So this will be out in about 6 months you think?
John McAfee: Yes. We’ll have a prototype in 6 months, we’ll have proof of concept.
Jason Hartman: Great.
John McAfee: And six months after that we’ll have a version capable of being sold.
Jason Hartman: Fantastic. So is there anything else that you want to share with the listeners? Any tips or ideas or concerns?
John McAfee: Well I would say open your eyes to the reality of the world around you. It is not what it appears.
Jason Hartman: No question about that. Give out your website if you would, John.
John McAfee: It’s WhoIsMcAfee.com
Jason Hartman: WhoIsMcAfee.com, and some really interesting stuff there about your history and Belize and so forth. I’m just glad you’re safe and I hope you continue to be. I look forward to your D-Central product coming out. It’s something we need.
John McAfee: Well thank you very much and thank you for having me on your show.
Jason Hartman: Thank you John.
John McAfee: Good bye.
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Narrator: Thank you for joining us today for the Holistic Survival Show. Protecting the people, places and profits you care about in uncertain times. Be sure to listen to our Creating Wealth Show, which focuses on exploiting the financial and wealth creation opportunities in today’s economy. Learn more at www.JasonHartman.com or search “Jason Hartman” on iTunes. This show is produced by the Hartman Media Company, offering very general guidelines and information. Opinions of guests are their own, and none of the content should be considered individual advice. If you require personalized advice, please consult an appropriate professional. Information deemed reliable, but not guaranteed.
Transcribed by Ralph
Guest: John McAfee
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