When It’s Sunny, It’s Really Sunny


When it rains, it pours.

It seems like those times when you really just need a win, it doesn't come. When you need something good to happen out of the blue, you don't get it.

Then again, when things are rolling, they start to roll more. When you're winning, you get more wins. Unexpected good fortune follows expected good fortune.

I guess the lesson for me is twofold. First, never put myself in a mental position where I need something outside of my control to happen in order to be okay. It won't. Second, enjoy and celebrate the wins, lean into them, ride the good fortune horse hard and get the most out of it.

Is it Dumb to Try to Stay Innovative?


I was talking to someone this morning about big companies like IBM, Oracle, GM, etc. and how they get stagnant, bureaucratic, and fail to innovate with time and success.

Everyone wants to figure out how to prevent this calcification. But should we?

People mature. Adults aren't like kids. They don't have kid bodies or kid minds. They don't take kid risks and see the world through kid eyes. They have history and experience. The have grown and changed and learned. Sure, they can learn bad stuff and grow in bad ways. Yes, it's worth trying to keep some childlike wonder.

But adults with histories who act like wide-eyed kids are not healthy.

Maybe organizations are the same. Maybe innovation is a kid thing. Maybe a company with millions of customers and billions in revenue constantly pivoting and brainstorming and re-positioning would be sorta wrong. Maybe the well-functioning older, large firm is one that continues to deliver consistent value to a large market with healthy margins until they get too old and die.

Remember, companies are made of people, but when firms die people don't. They re-organize and re-assemble and re-configure and the core value prop of the company to its customers gets replaced by another business or disaggregated to many.

Maybe this isn't a bad thing.

Of course if I'm the head of a mature multi-billion dollar company, I'm sure I'll feel the tug of innovation and chafe at boring bureaucracy. But maybe that'd be a sign I should leave and start something new, rather than try to force a corporate Benjamin Button.

I'm not really sure. I've never been as much a fan of reform and resistance as new creation. Whatever the balance, I don't think it should be accepted uncritically that all firms ought to always act young and innovative.

Creative vs. Consumptive Writing


Writing is too broad a term.

There are two distinct activities that involve typing words. One is a creative act that takes a lot of will, focus, clear thinking, and imagination. The other is a consumptive act that requires nothing but a little free-flowing initiative.

I am almost entirely a consumptive writer. These daily blog posts are for me, not for anyone else. They are therapeutic more than any other goal. Every morning, I sit down and write because the act of doing so feels good and gets my day going. I have no creative, productive goal with the content. I'm not trying to teach or motivate an audience.

Sometimes I do creative writing. An article for a third party publication, or a topic I've thought about a lot and want to communicate to a specific audience. It's a whole different beast. I imagine writing books is like that on steroids. All of my books have been after the fact thematic compilations of my writing, rather than big plotted out works of creativity.

I think consumptive writing every day makes creative writing better, but it can also make me a bit lazy. Writing without accountability for the outcomes is easy, and when I switch to creative writing if I'm not careful I can let that easiness slip in.

Create Your Own Meaning


Humans can't survive without meaning.

But finding meaning is overrated. Creating meaning is the real super power.

I used to take the rationalist approach to things like holidays, rituals, or special occasions. Why should any day have more value or good fortune than another? Seemed stupid to make some sun cycles more special than others and get all worked up about it.

Now I have a more useful approach. Special days and rituals do have meaning if I choose to give it to them. It's like a power boost in my back pocket. I can create meaning in days that others already find special, or brand new ones. Rather than deny or decry the power of special occasions, I can use them playfully to have a better life.

Whether or not it's a necessary or objective part of reality, humans think in cycles and seasons, and narratize these to give some more meaning than others. There's a rhythm to it. On days, off days, and training days. We can let the meaning be imposed on us, or we can choose our own rhythmic calendar. We can work with or against the forces of nature. Both can be useful.

Rather than trying to discover where you are in someone else's story, you can decide where you want to be in your own. This is powerful stuff.

Today, I'm starting a new notepad. The other one got full and I scanned it for anything I wanted to keep, then threw it away. Today, I crack the blank pages of a new place to sketch ideas and to-dos. I think I'm going to choose to make today a momentous day; the beginning of a new season of life. A new notebook will mark a new level.

A created this post to mark the occasion.

(See how it works! It's fun!)

Counter-Scheduling for Better Quality Work Time


When people think about working a ton of hours, they tend to assume the benefit is that you get a higher raw number of productive hours. I think one of the bigger benefits is that you get to work when other people are not. It's not just the quantity of hours, it's also when they occur.

An hour of work in the middle of normal working hours is less valuable than an hour of work outside hours where everyone else is also working.

This is why I love working on minor holidays (which I consider to be any holiday other than Christmas). There's something magical that happens to my thinking and productivity when the world is silent. Few emails or Slack messages coming in. No latent feeling of the need to be available. No sense that my work is more just me floating downstream with everyone else. It's clearly, quietly, just me and my focus. And it's glorious.

Most of the time, I don't like to work tons of hours. I'd rather have some of those hours with my family. But I still want the benefit of working when others aren't. The best way is often to just get up a few hours before most work starts for most people. And to work a few early hours on weekends and holidays. Right now I'm on the west coast, which makes this almost impossible. Even if I get up a five AM, half the working world is already at it, and so is my inbox and peace of mind. Out here, I feel like I have to start early not to get ahead, but to prevent getting behind.

But counter-scheduling works here too. At six PM, most of the rest of the world is watching Netflix and winding down. The late afternoon and evening hours out here are so much quieter. Pushing my work further on the other end brings big benefits. I prefer morning solo work, but I can adapt.

I try to set up my week so that at least one third of my productive time happens counter to the work time of others. I probably get two thirds of my work done in that time; if not in quantity then in quality.

Some Random Crash Whiteboard Brainstorm Stuff


It's kinda fun to document various phases of thinking and brainstorming along the way as we build a product and company.

A few pics I found on my phone. Some from almost a year ago when Crash was an idea, some from a few months ago as we dialed in the beta, some from last week.

Find Your Idiot Sponge and Use Them


It's important to be unafraid of looking like an idiot. It's also important to minimize the cost of looking like an idiot.

The higher the cost, the greater the fear, which strangles innovation and learning. It's easy to focus on the "don't be afraid to look like an idiot" part and forget about the lowering the cost component. True, you don't want to shut yourself down to avoid looking dumb, but you might harm yourself without even knowing it by being dumb in high cost environments.

It helps to pick a padded room where you can be an idiot without hurting yourself.

In my case, I use people.

I get a lot of ideas that feel super awesome. I'm very action biased so I want to go do all of them immediately. Unfortunately, the majority of the ideas turn out to be dumb. Before I go talking about or acting on them, I've learned to test them in an environment where the cost of stupidity is very low.

I call my brother Levi or my friend TK.

They are both great idiot sponges. I've heard Secret Service agents called "bullet sponges", since their job is to jump in front of a bullet to protect their client if need be. These guy absorb my stupid ideas before they have a chance to harm anyone. They provide the padded room I can be reckless in without harming myself too much.

Most of my big ideas now get filtered through one or both of them before I take any other action. They allow me to have the best of both worlds. Fearlessness about my reputation or looking dumb, and near-costlessness for when I do.

I can't tell you how many times they've saved me from my own stupidity.

Find an idiot sponge and use them.

What to Not Do is the Toughest Decision


Building the Crash career launch platform is a lot of fun. It's also super hard.

The hardest part isn't so much figuring out what to build to solve users pain points and help them launch careers, though that is a challenge. The hardest part isn't building the things we come up with either (especially for me, since the engineering team does most of that;-).

The hardest part is committing to NOT build a whole bunch of awesome fun stuff we want to make and that some customers would probably really like.

Choosing those "not yet" items, and sticking to the stuff we know we need more is way harder than you'd think. None of the trade-offs are clear cut. Lack of a super slick and sexy new feature might not impede customers from accomplishing their goals, while a really boring and tiny bug might. And in most cases, you won't know if either do or don't!

Sure, you try to be informed by the data, but early on, data is fairly thin, and choosing what to measure, how to measure, and to put in the time to create the ability to measure is not a data based decision, but a point of view, philosophy, gut decision. Plus data is useless without a theoretical lens through which to interpret it.

So you have to do a lot of thinking. Then clinch your teeth and say no to all the awesome stuff you want (and may even need...but who knows?)

I don't imagine this gets any easier with more resources. It just levels up the awesomeness of the stuff you have to say no to.

Scarcity is a pain in the ass. It's also the sole source of creative innovation, so there's that.

Isaac Morehouse


Isaac Morehouse is the CEO of Crash, the career launch platform, and the founder of Praxis, a startup apprenticeship program. Isaac is dedicated to the relentless pursuit of freedom. He’s written some books, done some podcasting, and is always experimenting with self-directed living and learning.

Featured on -

Occasional Email Updates

Looking for something?


Blog Archives

Archives

When It’s Sunny, It’s Really Sunny


When it rains, it pours.

It seems like those times when you really just need a win, it doesn't come. When you need something good to happen out of the blue, you don't get it.

Then again, when things are rolling, they start to roll more. When you're winning, you get more wins. Unexpected good fortune follows expected good fortune.

I guess the lesson for me is twofold. First, never put myself in a mental position where I need something outside of my control to happen in order to be okay. It won't. Second, enjoy and celebrate the wins, lean into them, ride the good fortune horse hard and get the most out of it.

Is it Dumb to Try to Stay Innovative?


I was talking to someone this morning about big companies like IBM, Oracle, GM, etc. and how they get stagnant, bureaucratic, and fail to innovate with time and success.

Everyone wants to figure out how to prevent this calcification. But should we?

People mature. Adults aren't like kids. They don't have kid bodies or kid minds. They don't take kid risks and see the world through kid eyes. They have history and experience. The have grown and changed and learned. Sure, they can learn bad stuff and grow in bad ways. Yes, it's worth trying to keep some childlike wonder.

But adults with histories who act like wide-eyed kids are not healthy.

Maybe organizations are the same. Maybe innovation is a kid thing. Maybe a company with millions of customers and billions in revenue constantly pivoting and brainstorming and re-positioning would be sorta wrong. Maybe the well-functioning older, large firm is one that continues to deliver consistent value to a large market with healthy margins until they get too old and die.

Remember, companies are made of people, but when firms die people don't. They re-organize and re-assemble and re-configure and the core value prop of the company to its customers gets replaced by another business or disaggregated to many.

Maybe this isn't a bad thing.

Of course if I'm the head of a mature multi-billion dollar company, I'm sure I'll feel the tug of innovation and chafe at boring bureaucracy. But maybe that'd be a sign I should leave and start something new, rather than try to force a corporate Benjamin Button.

I'm not really sure. I've never been as much a fan of reform and resistance as new creation. Whatever the balance, I don't think it should be accepted uncritically that all firms ought to always act young and innovative.

Creative vs. Consumptive Writing


Writing is too broad a term.

There are two distinct activities that involve typing words. One is a creative act that takes a lot of will, focus, clear thinking, and imagination. The other is a consumptive act that requires nothing but a little free-flowing initiative.

I am almost entirely a consumptive writer. These daily blog posts are for me, not for anyone else. They are therapeutic more than any other goal. Every morning, I sit down and write because the act of doing so feels good and gets my day going. I have no creative, productive goal with the content. I'm not trying to teach or motivate an audience.

Sometimes I do creative writing. An article for a third party publication, or a topic I've thought about a lot and want to communicate to a specific audience. It's a whole different beast. I imagine writing books is like that on steroids. All of my books have been after the fact thematic compilations of my writing, rather than big plotted out works of creativity.

I think consumptive writing every day makes creative writing better, but it can also make me a bit lazy. Writing without accountability for the outcomes is easy, and when I switch to creative writing if I'm not careful I can let that easiness slip in.

Create Your Own Meaning


Humans can't survive without meaning.

But finding meaning is overrated. Creating meaning is the real super power.

I used to take the rationalist approach to things like holidays, rituals, or special occasions. Why should any day have more value or good fortune than another? Seemed stupid to make some sun cycles more special than others and get all worked up about it.

Now I have a more useful approach. Special days and rituals do have meaning if I choose to give it to them. It's like a power boost in my back pocket. I can create meaning in days that others already find special, or brand new ones. Rather than deny or decry the power of special occasions, I can use them playfully to have a better life.

Whether or not it's a necessary or objective part of reality, humans think in cycles and seasons, and narratize these to give some more meaning than others. There's a rhythm to it. On days, off days, and training days. We can let the meaning be imposed on us, or we can choose our own rhythmic calendar. We can work with or against the forces of nature. Both can be useful.

Rather than trying to discover where you are in someone else's story, you can decide where you want to be in your own. This is powerful stuff.

Today, I'm starting a new notepad. The other one got full and I scanned it for anything I wanted to keep, then threw it away. Today, I crack the blank pages of a new place to sketch ideas and to-dos. I think I'm going to choose to make today a momentous day; the beginning of a new season of life. A new notebook will mark a new level.

A created this post to mark the occasion.

(See how it works! It's fun!)

Counter-Scheduling for Better Quality Work Time


When people think about working a ton of hours, they tend to assume the benefit is that you get a higher raw number of productive hours. I think one of the bigger benefits is that you get to work when other people are not. It's not just the quantity of hours, it's also when they occur.

An hour of work in the middle of normal working hours is less valuable than an hour of work outside hours where everyone else is also working.

This is why I love working on minor holidays (which I consider to be any holiday other than Christmas). There's something magical that happens to my thinking and productivity when the world is silent. Few emails or Slack messages coming in. No latent feeling of the need to be available. No sense that my work is more just me floating downstream with everyone else. It's clearly, quietly, just me and my focus. And it's glorious.

Most of the time, I don't like to work tons of hours. I'd rather have some of those hours with my family. But I still want the benefit of working when others aren't. The best way is often to just get up a few hours before most work starts for most people. And to work a few early hours on weekends and holidays. Right now I'm on the west coast, which makes this almost impossible. Even if I get up a five AM, half the working world is already at it, and so is my inbox and peace of mind. Out here, I feel like I have to start early not to get ahead, but to prevent getting behind.

But counter-scheduling works here too. At six PM, most of the rest of the world is watching Netflix and winding down. The late afternoon and evening hours out here are so much quieter. Pushing my work further on the other end brings big benefits. I prefer morning solo work, but I can adapt.

I try to set up my week so that at least one third of my productive time happens counter to the work time of others. I probably get two thirds of my work done in that time; if not in quantity then in quality.

Isaac Morehouse


Isaac Morehouse is the founder and CEO of Praxis, a startup apprenticeship program making degrees irrelevant for careers. Isaac is dedicated to the relentless pursuit of freedom. He’s written some books, done some podcasting, and is always experimenting with self-directed living and learning.

Featured on -

Occasional Email Updates

Looking for something?


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