Cost of Glory

An interview with Nat Friedman, former CEO of GitHub and creator of the Vesuvius Challenge, which aims to crack the riddles of the Herculaneum Papyri.

In this episode:
  • The Genesis of the Vesuvius Challenge
  • Early Attempts to Open the Scrolls
  • Using a Particle Accelerator to Scan the Scrolls!
  • Partnering with Daniel Gross and Brent Seales
  • Nat’s Childhood experience with Open-source Communities
  • How to Design Prize Incentives for a Complex Contest
  • Doing Crazy, Strange and Risky Projects
  • A Possible Resurgence of Epicureanism?

For the episode transcript, be sure to subscribe to my Substack!

This episode is sponsored by Ancient Language Institute. If you’re interested in actually reading the newly unlocked scrolls, you will need to know the languages of the ancient world. The Ancient Language Institute will help you do just that. Registration is now open (till August 10th) for their Fall term where you can take advanced classes in Latin, Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew, and Old English.

What is Cost of Glory?

The most influential biographies ever written, admired by leaders, creators, soldiers, and thinkers for nearly 2,000 years: Plutarch’s Parallel lives. Essential listening for anyone striving after greatness. Alex Petkas, former professor of ancient philosophy and history, revives and dramatically retells these unforgettable stories for modern audiences. The subjects are statesmen, generals, orators, and founders; pious and profane, stoics and hedonists. The stakes bear on the future of Western civilization. The cost of glory is always great. Visit to find out more.