For anyone thinking that the nubile minds behind FTX, the cryptocurrency juggernaut once viewed as the future of banks until being gutted this week by the reality that maybe a cadre of thirtysomething League of Legends addicts aren’t equipped to handle billions of dollars, weren’t receiving proper mental-health care, don’t worry. The nerds all shared a therapist, although a lot of good that did them.
The nugget is buried in a slobbery, 13,000-word profile of FTX’s founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, that has now been humiliatingly removed from backer Sequoia Capital’s website (though you can still read it in full on the Wayback Machine). The writer, a thrillingly uncritical Adam Fisher, grills the therapist, George Lerner, about why Bankman-Friedman can’t simply enjoy anything (besides, presumably, alleged fraud):
Arguably, the person who knows SBF the best is George Lerner, the FTX company therapist. Lerner’s psychological services are available to everyone in the company, and he’s on speed dial for more than a few. Lerner strikes me as an excellent shrink, the kind I’d want in my head, so I ask him about SBF’s seeming rejection of earthly pleasures.
“It’s interesting,” Lerner says, “because I’ve spoken to Sam at length about this particular topic.”
“It’s not some pathological thing,” he continues. “For some bizarre reason — and I don’t get it — they want to help.” We’re talking about EAs in general, but also about SBF in particular. “They want to make a difference, and they want to devote their lives to doing that,” says Lerner, who is definitely not an EA. “But that still doesn’t clarify why, or if, that somehow diminishes the pleasure drive.”
SBF is a mystery even to his own therapist.
This is all a lot more interesting now that we know FTX employees were engaged in a sort-of “polycule” in which they were probably all losing their virginities to each other through extended LARP sessions.
Lerner has mixed reviews on Yelp, where some testimonials allege he mixed his personal life with his professional one. Sounds familiar!
Calls to a number listed on Lerner’s website went to voicemail.