Sometimes Measurement Doesn’t Mean Anything


I've never been a big fan of detailed measurement and data tracking.

Not because I don't think it's useful. It can be incredibly useful. But it is by far the easiest way to be deceived. Bringing about a desired end in a complex world of autonomous individuals requires the ability to recognize patterns. Patterns in motivations, words, behaviors, actions, and reactions.

Gathering data does not reveal patterns. Analyzing it rarely does either. But it's almost impossible to not think you see patterns from the data. Data tends to make people draw conclusions and most of the time they aren't warranted.

At its best, measurement is done based on a pattern already spotted by some other, more direct and less aggregated means. To measure the veracity of the pattern, or check its conditions, data is gathered and assessed. Ideally, the data is used to falsify a hypothesis. It works better at falsification than verification.

Case in point: I had a strong hunch recently that users of Crash were dropping off because of where the signup page was in the product flow. But we looked at the numbers and what I thought was the biggest roadblock was stopping almost no one, and they trailed off later in the flow. The data was only useful once I had a specific - falsifiable with data - hypothesis. Note the data did not tell us whether we needed to improve the signup page. It can't tell us that. It only revealed that my assumption about the signup page being the most frequent hurdle was incorrect. The signup process may be flawed in myriad ways, and no data can reveal exactly how and why.

Data can work well as a way to narrow in on insights, as long as the data gathering is a genuine effort to increase understanding and not just a way to slap numbers on a decision you've already made.

It's exceedingly rare to be collecting data for no particular reason, scanning it with no particular question, and discover a genuine and valuable insight. But we all kind of pretend that happens, which is why data can be dangerous.

It's important to be able to recognize and admit when the data don't provide any clear patterns or insight. This is most of the time. Just because you have numbers doesn't mean they tell you something and you need to act on it.

You Haiku


Doing things you want

Not what you're told people need

Is best for the world

It’s Most Important When no One Cares


The least popular freedoms are the most important.

When liberty is the most feared it is the most needed.

The time to fight slavery is when slavery is most appealing.

Inner Game of Startups #32


Read it here.

Check it Out


When we first went live with Crash, we did a Product Hunt launch. It was awesome!

Many of you lovely readers helped make it a big success.

Well we've changed Crash so much it's almost an entirely different set of job hunt tools, so we decided to do a Crash 2.0 launch on Product Hunt today.

I would love comments, questions, shares, and votes!

https://www.producthunt.com/posts/crash-2-0/

What if You Removed the Altar Call?


There's a lot of great content out there on every topic. One thing that prevents a lot of it from spreading or causes it to get hijacked by weirdos is that it often ends with an altar call.

If you grew up around evangelical churches, you know what that is. It's the part after the message when the pastor invites everyone to convert to Christianity.

Calls to action can be great, but they tend to be best when you're preaching to the choir. People who aren't new to the ideas and want action anyway. It's insider stuff.

Altar calls at the end of first time intro stuff usually sucks the life out of it and turns people away. An article about how the body processes fatty acids is great right up until the point when it demands you convert to some specific dietary cult.

So much great info comes from people who just can't resist asking you to join their movement. I'm sure I've done it too. I wonder if more and better ideas would get exchanged with fewer altar calls?

There is no action item with this post.

A Taste of Curiosity


I've been playing with a draft of a longer post for several months now. The post is about curiosity as the master impulse behind all human progress and good things. It's also about how every dominant belief and political structure are optimized as the antithesis of curiosity. Curiosity is the greatest threat to concentrated power and prestige, so those who have power and prestige labor endlessly to create the mind-killing opposite of all curiosity. Consensus. Obedience. Being seen as "normal", "in the know", "respectable".

Curiosity doesn't care about reputations and rules. That's why it's the only impulse with the power to cut through the human bullshit matrix and create progress and discovery.

The least respectable ideas often have more curiosity behind them than the most respected. It doesn't make the specific ideas any better or more true, but you can be sure that the curious impulse behind wacky ideas is more beneficial to humanity than the obedient prestige-seeking behind consensus.

We'll see if I ever finish this larger article. I rarely write anything longer than a thousand words. But there's so much to say about the unpredictable power of raw curiosity unencumbered by the need to be seen as serious.

Optionality and Simplicity


I am a very minimalistic guy. I like simplicity. I don't want multiple of anything I can get away with one of. I don't want anything I can get away without. I am constantly purging, consolidating, deleting, and reducing.

I also like optionality. The ability to be flexible, have several courses of action open to me, and a large degree of freedom in any situation.

These compliment each other more than you'd think (for example, having fewer things to worry about makes jumping on a last minute opportunity or changing direction easier). But sometimes they are in conflict.

Keeping everything in a single asset class for example, like cash, is simple and clean and low mental overhead. Cash is highly liquid as well, so it preserves optionality. Except when it doesn't. Say a big inflationary period is going on. You want to preserve or grow your wealth so that you have maximum feature optionality. Lack of diversification can reduce long-term options by making you vulnerable to cash devaluation.

So preserve more options, you could own some land, some precious metals, some stocks, etc. This increases complexity. Increased complexity reduces optionality in some ways (harder to make quick changes, mental and physical resources locked in many places, high cognitical overhead) even as it increases it in others (hedging and preventing lock-in if one thing goes bad).

I think a lot about the zone of maximum freedom through time. Not just present simplicity and optionality, but extending it as far into the future as I can. I try to make things as simple and minimal as I possible can, but no simpler. The no simpler part is the challenge for me. Adding complexity to increase optionality is neccessary for my goals at times, but it's mentally taxing. I'm a low-maintenance kind of guy. It requires some maintenance.

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.

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Sometimes Measurement Doesn’t Mean Anything


I've never been a big fan of detailed measurement and data tracking.

Not because I don't think it's useful. It can be incredibly useful. But it is by far the easiest way to be deceived. Bringing about a desired end in a complex world of autonomous individuals requires the ability to recognize patterns. Patterns in motivations, words, behaviors, actions, and reactions.

Gathering data does not reveal patterns. Analyzing it rarely does either. But it's almost impossible to not think you see patterns from the data. Data tends to make people draw conclusions and most of the time they aren't warranted.

At its best, measurement is done based on a pattern already spotted by some other, more direct and less aggregated means. To measure the veracity of the pattern, or check its conditions, data is gathered and assessed. Ideally, the data is used to falsify a hypothesis. It works better at falsification than verification.

Case in point: I had a strong hunch recently that users of Crash were dropping off because of where the signup page was in the product flow. But we looked at the numbers and what I thought was the biggest roadblock was stopping almost no one, and they trailed off later in the flow. The data was only useful once I had a specific - falsifiable with data - hypothesis. Note the data did not tell us whether we needed to improve the signup page. It can't tell us that. It only revealed that my assumption about the signup page being the most frequent hurdle was incorrect. The signup process may be flawed in myriad ways, and no data can reveal exactly how and why.

Data can work well as a way to narrow in on insights, as long as the data gathering is a genuine effort to increase understanding and not just a way to slap numbers on a decision you've already made.

It's exceedingly rare to be collecting data for no particular reason, scanning it with no particular question, and discover a genuine and valuable insight. But we all kind of pretend that happens, which is why data can be dangerous.

It's important to be able to recognize and admit when the data don't provide any clear patterns or insight. This is most of the time. Just because you have numbers doesn't mean they tell you something and you need to act on it.

You Haiku


Doing things you want

Not what you're told people need

Is best for the world

It’s Most Important When no One Cares


The least popular freedoms are the most important.

When liberty is the most feared it is the most needed.

The time to fight slavery is when slavery is most appealing.

Inner Game of Startups #32


Read it here.

Check it Out


When we first went live with Crash, we did a Product Hunt launch. It was awesome!

Many of you lovely readers helped make it a big success.

Well we've changed Crash so much it's almost an entirely different set of job hunt tools, so we decided to do a Crash 2.0 launch on Product Hunt today.

I would love comments, questions, shares, and votes!

https://www.producthunt.com/posts/crash-2-0/

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.

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