Defining the Duration of Success


If it's just one game, you play on a hurt ankle.

If it's the start of a long season at the beginning of a long career, you don't.

How much to gut it out and push through sub-optimal conditions is contingent on how long the term of the goal. Stepping back to plan, plot, get setup, get optimized, get healthy. These are needed if you're going for the long haul. Stupid if you're in it for a sprint.

I've got to remind myself of this frequently. My goals have gotten much longer in life, but my play-through-the-ankle-sprain approach is deeply embedded. I'm trying to break the tendency so I don't break the ankle.

Make the Signal More Costly to Cut Through the Noise


From a Tweet thread.

We're drowning in information and almost all of it is terrible.

I remember a friend telling me of the coming "infocalypse" more than a decade ago. I didn't get the problem.

Now I see the pain everywhere.

Part of what we're doing at Crash is bucking this trend. Information is so cheap, every info problem is being solved with quantity.

We're juveniles in the info age. We're excited by this new low cost info so we just pump it out everywhere and apply it to everything.

Need more quality info? No problem, solve it with more quantity! Too much info?

No problem, let's build some AI or automated data crunching to reduce it down to something manageable!

Some places this works, in others it makes the problem worse. When it's almost free to make info, lots will get made. When all solutions focus on automatically reducing info overload, the cost goes even lower.

It's an arms race of every greater pieces of ever weaker info AI sifting for ever rarer good bits. Costly signals are one of the most valuable communication tools known to humans.

All this weak info overload presents an opportunity.

Create something costly, hard to replicate, and you have info 100x better than the crowd. In our space of finding and winning a job, we're making the end of the funnel (finalist interview and offer) way more efficient

By making the top of the funnel way less efficient!

You heard that right. The hiring arms race is to blast job ops to as many boards as possible for max reach. Make applying as easy as possible - click one button! - for max pool. Slap some keyword scanners or similar on your system and hope it weeds out the worst. You're left with a (smaller) undifferentiated mass to sort through. Yuck.

Candidated respond by trying to game keyword scanners, etc. so quality of auto filters declines rapidly.

Automation can be gamed.

Costly signals can't. Our approach at Crash is to make the first part harder.

Only if you really care about the company and role will you take the time to send them a costly signal - info that can't be re-used or copy-pasted to a dozen other jobs.

Only the most motivated will do it. Seekers go deep (learning and becoming more valuable in the process) creating projects and pitches for a few companies.

Hirers get a handful of finalists instead of masses of noisy chaff. This is just the tip of the "Secret".

I think raising the cost of creating and exchanging information (not necc money cost, more effort) is a better solution esp. for the most human of exchanges (dating, hiring, etc.) than ramping up quantity and slapping automation on it. To combat the Infocalypse, I don't think labels and filters and tags generated by bots are the solution. They only escalate the arms race. More cheap info in, struggles to reduce what makes it out.

Costly signals on front end are better.

Less cheap info in = better quality out.

Health Information is a Mess


I hate doing health related research.

Any medical stuff that's at all conventional is delivered as if the seeker is an idiot child. Surface level, full of prompts to go see a doctor. As if any old doctor will be knowledgeable on some super specific condition. It absurd. It's all a bunch of bland summaries created for the blubbering masses the medical industry thinks we are. Compartmentalized, cartelized, and hidden behind walls and calls to go see the experts.

Anything outside the walls of convention is on some low-fi website or forum and ends up fixating on one hidden truth or supplement. They find something valuable the conventional approach downplays, and become obsessed with it to the point of conspiracy theory, or application of a single idea as a magic cure all.

I want better information. And I want a House-like helper! A true medical detective who is passionately curious about finding the root cause and solution to health issues unique to each patient. I don't give a damn if they have some kind of medical license, I just want someone who's good at it, passionate about the process, an ally, and has some experience.

I cannot think of a single government intervention in the medical industry that makes it better, and I can scarcely find a problem with it that's not caused at least in part by government. Even patient acceptance of the paternalism of doctors is bred from years of government school factories.

If I could pick one industry to completely free from the tentacles of government power brokers and the rent seekers who feed them, it'd be medicine. We're sicker, poorer, less-served, and more ignorant because of the meddling.

The Inner Game of Startups #26: Life Outside of Work


Read it here. (Subscribers only)

The Scarcity of Shared Memories


When supply decreases while demand remains constant, prices rise.

This is at least a partial explanation for why the older people get, the more they value close friends and family.

I was listening to a DMX song on the drive in to the office this morning, and a flood of memories came back. It triggered the sights, sounds, ideas, jokes, and stories from an entire epoch of my life. Kalamazoo Valley Community College. Trips to the beach in South Haven. Lifting weights every morning with some guys before work or classes. The smell of my buddy's Mazda. Burning CDs.

I sent the link to my brother when I got to my desk and said, "Remember this?" He immediately acknowledged and even though we didn't exchange any words about it, I knew that he was thinking all the same things I was.

It hit me that he's probably the only person on earth who would share that whole bundle of memories from that phase of life, or who would feel the same things about the song.

When I was younger, I was mostly surrounded by the same people. Friends, family, etc. Pretty much anyone I knew would have the same shared experiences. As time moved, the number of different people I did different stuff with expanded. Each year, there are fewer and fewer people who share big chunks of memory with me. There are many more people who share slivers - work life for this segment of time, softball for that one year, etc. - but those get smaller all the time as a percentage of my life.

Shared memories are fun. There is a steady demand for them. But the supply decreases as life goes on. They become scarcer, and therefore more valuable. My wife and I have shared memories going back almost twenty years. My siblings and I have shared memories for the first fifteen or so years. Nobody has complete shared memory of course, but those with really big chunks are really fun, and I appreciate them more over time. It allows a kind of joyful or poignant communication without words. It's telepathy.

Fads and Phases


Here's a little rule of thumb I use to navigate all the trends, buzzwords, advice, and expertise in the world:

If it seems dumb or boring, ignore it.

There's no "must read". There's no "consensus opinion" to imbibe. There's no best practices you can't live without.

There's just stuff. A lot of stuff. Some stuff I like, some I don't. Some that's useful, some that's not. Some that adds to my stock of energy, some that drains it.

So I pick what works and forget the rest.

I have no malice for it. I make no claims about its truth or applicability to others. I just don't make space for it in my own life, and I don't even devote enough resources to it to provide a clear repudiation or reason why. Why would I? What a burden to be forced to provide a reasoned articulation of every abstention or predilection. I can't die on that many hills.

So I pick what matters to me, enjoy it, use it, and keep moving.

I can't tell you if it's a good idea for you, but I have no regrets.

Writing Regularly Without Speaking too Soon


Sometimes I don't feel like writing.

I go through phases where what's on my mind is too deep and unresolved for daily dispersion, and writing a post seems like a dumb, surface level thing.

I have tested breaks from daily blogging, and there are benefits to being more inward for periods of time. But the bigger reward have come when I take those times with not a lot of ready for consumption ideas and use them to redefine my relationship with writing. Can I explore something without resolving it? That's the biggest question.

When an idea or even an unformed sensation gets in me, writing gets it out. It's cathartic. But if I get it out too early, I'll only scratch the surface and let off the steam needed to drive me to deeper stuff below. So daily blogging can feel like a penny-wise pound foolish activity. If I give me two cents on everything, I'll never find the gold. Boy, these metaphors are clunky.

I'm in a phase where there's some transformation going on inside me. I'm in a new phase in life, a new act. And it has new patterns I'm not accustomed to. I've got to figure out which parts to write about in my daily discipline, and which parts to give time to better form.

So today, writing about how to figure out how to write about it was the best I could do.

Copy


I love writing copy for websites and landing pages and marketing materials.

My favorite is starting with a design that's done and rewriting the copy. There's something about having a placeholder framework to work from that helps my brain connect the content to the goal.

Writing copy is one of the only activities in a professional context where I truly enter a flow state and feel completely in love with what I do. It doesn't last long though. I tend to write fast and be done. I wish it could take longer, but I've learned the initial take is almost always better than followups.

One way to scratch my copy itch is to help other people and other companies improve theirs. I have no scientific method and never try to sell this as a service, but I get excited when people ask for help. I can't prove I'm good at it. I've never run A/B tests on my copy vs other copy. But I know with my knower that when I really focus on it, I can put good words together.

I'd write all day if it were leveraged enough. But it almost never is. So I do a once daily blog post for fun, a few Tweets, and when needed, weigh in on the copy for the company.

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 -

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Defining the Duration of Success


If it's just one game, you play on a hurt ankle.

If it's the start of a long season at the beginning of a long career, you don't.

How much to gut it out and push through sub-optimal conditions is contingent on how long the term of the goal. Stepping back to plan, plot, get setup, get optimized, get healthy. These are needed if you're going for the long haul. Stupid if you're in it for a sprint.

I've got to remind myself of this frequently. My goals have gotten much longer in life, but my play-through-the-ankle-sprain approach is deeply embedded. I'm trying to break the tendency so I don't break the ankle.

Make the Signal More Costly to Cut Through the Noise


From a Tweet thread.

We're drowning in information and almost all of it is terrible.

I remember a friend telling me of the coming "infocalypse" more than a decade ago. I didn't get the problem.

Now I see the pain everywhere.

Part of what we're doing at Crash is bucking this trend. Information is so cheap, every info problem is being solved with quantity.

We're juveniles in the info age. We're excited by this new low cost info so we just pump it out everywhere and apply it to everything.

Need more quality info? No problem, solve it with more quantity! Too much info?

No problem, let's build some AI or automated data crunching to reduce it down to something manageable!

Some places this works, in others it makes the problem worse. When it's almost free to make info, lots will get made. When all solutions focus on automatically reducing info overload, the cost goes even lower.

It's an arms race of every greater pieces of ever weaker info AI sifting for ever rarer good bits. Costly signals are one of the most valuable communication tools known to humans.

All this weak info overload presents an opportunity.

Create something costly, hard to replicate, and you have info 100x better than the crowd. In our space of finding and winning a job, we're making the end of the funnel (finalist interview and offer) way more efficient

By making the top of the funnel way less efficient!

You heard that right. The hiring arms race is to blast job ops to as many boards as possible for max reach. Make applying as easy as possible - click one button! - for max pool. Slap some keyword scanners or similar on your system and hope it weeds out the worst. You're left with a (smaller) undifferentiated mass to sort through. Yuck.

Candidated respond by trying to game keyword scanners, etc. so quality of auto filters declines rapidly.

Automation can be gamed.

Costly signals can't. Our approach at Crash is to make the first part harder.

Only if you really care about the company and role will you take the time to send them a costly signal - info that can't be re-used or copy-pasted to a dozen other jobs.

Only the most motivated will do it. Seekers go deep (learning and becoming more valuable in the process) creating projects and pitches for a few companies.

Hirers get a handful of finalists instead of masses of noisy chaff. This is just the tip of the "Secret".

I think raising the cost of creating and exchanging information (not necc money cost, more effort) is a better solution esp. for the most human of exchanges (dating, hiring, etc.) than ramping up quantity and slapping automation on it. To combat the Infocalypse, I don't think labels and filters and tags generated by bots are the solution. They only escalate the arms race. More cheap info in, struggles to reduce what makes it out.

Costly signals on front end are better.

Less cheap info in = better quality out.

Health Information is a Mess


I hate doing health related research.

Any medical stuff that's at all conventional is delivered as if the seeker is an idiot child. Surface level, full of prompts to go see a doctor. As if any old doctor will be knowledgeable on some super specific condition. It absurd. It's all a bunch of bland summaries created for the blubbering masses the medical industry thinks we are. Compartmentalized, cartelized, and hidden behind walls and calls to go see the experts.

Anything outside the walls of convention is on some low-fi website or forum and ends up fixating on one hidden truth or supplement. They find something valuable the conventional approach downplays, and become obsessed with it to the point of conspiracy theory, or application of a single idea as a magic cure all.

I want better information. And I want a House-like helper! A true medical detective who is passionately curious about finding the root cause and solution to health issues unique to each patient. I don't give a damn if they have some kind of medical license, I just want someone who's good at it, passionate about the process, an ally, and has some experience.

I cannot think of a single government intervention in the medical industry that makes it better, and I can scarcely find a problem with it that's not caused at least in part by government. Even patient acceptance of the paternalism of doctors is bred from years of government school factories.

If I could pick one industry to completely free from the tentacles of government power brokers and the rent seekers who feed them, it'd be medicine. We're sicker, poorer, less-served, and more ignorant because of the meddling.

The Inner Game of Startups #26: Life Outside of Work


Read it here. (Subscribers only)

The Scarcity of Shared Memories


When supply decreases while demand remains constant, prices rise.

This is at least a partial explanation for why the older people get, the more they value close friends and family.

I was listening to a DMX song on the drive in to the office this morning, and a flood of memories came back. It triggered the sights, sounds, ideas, jokes, and stories from an entire epoch of my life. Kalamazoo Valley Community College. Trips to the beach in South Haven. Lifting weights every morning with some guys before work or classes. The smell of my buddy's Mazda. Burning CDs.

I sent the link to my brother when I got to my desk and said, "Remember this?" He immediately acknowledged and even though we didn't exchange any words about it, I knew that he was thinking all the same things I was.

It hit me that he's probably the only person on earth who would share that whole bundle of memories from that phase of life, or who would feel the same things about the song.

When I was younger, I was mostly surrounded by the same people. Friends, family, etc. Pretty much anyone I knew would have the same shared experiences. As time moved, the number of different people I did different stuff with expanded. Each year, there are fewer and fewer people who share big chunks of memory with me. There are many more people who share slivers - work life for this segment of time, softball for that one year, etc. - but those get smaller all the time as a percentage of my life.

Shared memories are fun. There is a steady demand for them. But the supply decreases as life goes on. They become scarcer, and therefore more valuable. My wife and I have shared memories going back almost twenty years. My siblings and I have shared memories for the first fifteen or so years. Nobody has complete shared memory of course, but those with really big chunks are really fun, and I appreciate them more over time. It allows a kind of joyful or poignant communication without words. It's telepathy.

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 -

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