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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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Interview with an Actor: Dominic Daniel


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Dominic Daniel is a hard working guy in the entertainment industry. You've probably seen his face on national TV ads, TV shows or movies. I first met Dom when he delivered a powerful performance in a theater production at my alma mater many years ago. He's an actor, writer, producer and forward-thinking creator in a dynamic and highly competitive industry. I've always been curious how people manage the thrive in Hollywood, and Dom was gracious enough to answer some questions.

IMM: Your life in one paragraph?

DD: A constant element of surprise. If you commit yourself to being an artist than that means mainly every thing in your life has to be flexible. And I thank God that my wife is so understanding.

IMM: Most people don't really know what it's like to be a working actor. Are you just having fun all the time?

DD: To be a working actor means you spend most of your time working to get work. Driving all around town for auditions (basically interviewing for work), getting doors slammed in your face constantly (you must have a thick skin), and then doing it all over again. The fun part is being on set for a couple of days, when you finally book a job. And the pretty handsome check that comes with it.

IMM: You have a pretty impressive acting resume spanning commercials, movies and TV shows. Does this mean you're professionally secure now and work will continue to flow in, or do you have to continue to grind it out? Are you ever worried about getting the next gig?

DD:(See answer above). There's probably only a handful of actors who are professionally secure, and I am not one of them. But I'm not really worried, although, it's always a concern, of course, as a family man because this is how I feed my family.

IMM: What made you think you had the stuff to cut it as an actor? A lot of people go to Hollywood and end up waiting tables, so why did you think you'd be different?

DD: My mom told me shoot for the moon and if you can't be a moon be a star. So I started out trying to be an astronaut and when that didn't work out... Actually, it was really simple. I believed my entire life that God uses entertainers to spread messages to the world and I just knew I was a messenger.

IMM: What is your message?

DD: It's kind of complicated but I can sum it up by saying that as only the messenger and not the sender, I feel that the overall message is about finding ways to help people connect. Most of the work I am doing right now as a writer/producer is all about giving a voice to different groups of people who we normally don't hear from. And by doing so, close the gap between people of different backgrounds - race, culture, gender, sexual orientation, beliefs, etc. - which I hope, will foster a stronger bond with the creator by exposing a greater design for life than the one we presently know.

IMM: What are some myths and misconceptions people have about the business?

DD: Well, a common misconception is that it's easy and anybody can do it. But hey, you wouldn't let a guy who decided yesterday that he wants to be a mechanic work on your car, right? Or a guy who's never been trained, be your surgeon. Then why pay millions of dollars to a goofball who isn't dedicated to working on honing his acting craft. And the myth that I always hear about is the actor who became an overnight sensation...only to find out that they've been a working at it for years before they became famous.

IMM: Do you see yourself as already doing what you love, or getting work that gets you ever closer to it?

DD: Yep, I get payed to use my imagination and expand the imaginations of those who watch me.

IMM: How much are you motivated by fame, and how much by the desire to create, even if no one sees it?

DD: I'd say I do what I love and everything else is just a byproduct of the work. For instance, I have been writing scripts and stories since I was 12 and out of all that time I've only submitted one of those.

IMM: Best and worst thing about being an actor?

DD: Best: It gave me the opportunity to meet my lovely wife and it keeps me sane. Worse: It can drive you crazy, mainly, because of all the people you have to deal with.

IMM: Thanks Dom. I look forward to continuing to follow your career!

Redistribution and Time Travel: A Thought Experiment


A means of effective time travel has been invented. People can freely traverse time, travelling from the present to any point in the past and vice-versa. Access to time travel is pretty universal, and due to this, knowledge of conditions at all points in time is acute.

For those who believe there is a moral obligation on the part of the better-off to help the less well-off, and who believe in redistributive policies to do this, play along and consider the situation.

People in the present are outrageously wealthy compared to people in the past. Even the poorest Americans today have access to abundant clean water, hot and cold water, heated shelter, air conditioning, an overabundance of cheap, calorie-rich food, more clothing than they need, refrigeration, telephony, transport by internal-combustion engine, laundry facilities, bathing facilities, vaccinations, pharmaceuticals, emergency care, and on and on. These present poor are better off by almost any measure than even the wealthy a thousand years ago.

Do people in the present have an obligation to give some of their wealth to those in the past? Is there some minimum standard of living that we need to keep the ancients up to? Do the poor among the rich (present day poor Americans) have an obligation to the rich among the poor (the well-off a millennium ago)?

What kind of redistributive policies should be enacted? Would they work? What might some side-effects be? Is it required to fulfill a moral duty? Is it wrong for someone born in the present to enjoy the relative luxury and wealth they are inheriting from their era, by no merit on their part? Should they pay an inheritance tax to support people in the poorer past?

What about future generations. What if the future is also poorer; does the present owe them a chunk of our wealth? What would be the result of efforts to redistribute from the present to the future? What if the future was wealthier; do they owe the past a portion of their bounty? What would happen if resources flowed to us from the future, in order to ease our relatively lower condition?

Spanning all of human history, would we have a moral obligation to attempt to make all people across all eras more equal? Would we be obligated to narrow the gap between the caveman and the flying-car-owning future woman? How big could we let the gap be? Would narrowing it be possible? Would there be any side-effects of efforts to try?

What is the difference, morally and practically, between redistribution across time and that across space?

Why Don’t Universities Try Something Crazy?


What if a university decided to try something crazy: What if they hired professors based entirely on the quality of their research and/or teaching?

Imagine if the hiring committee dropped all other criteria.  They ignored where the applicant got their degree, or even if they had one.  They ignored who they studied under.  They ignored which journals they were published in, or where they presented papers.  They examined in depth the quality of the research; the ideas, the writing, the breadth and implications of the work, the ability to draw on multiple thinkers to make a serious and credible case.  They tested, in front of real classrooms, the teaching skills and took seriously student feedback in person and things like ratemyprofessor.com.

If they wanted top researchers, they focused only on that.  If they wanted great teachers, they focused only on that.  If they wanted someone who was good at both, they focused on both.

This would seem common-sense in any other business, but it sounds radical in academia.  Of course there is value in the filtering mechanisms of degrees granted by prestigious programs, of publications that make it into the top journals.  There is value to the university in hiring people with prestigious repuations.  School ranking, the protective journal publication process, and all the credential hierarchies exist for a reason and they provide valuable signals.  They make the hiring committees job easier, as they have to do less serious digging themselves, and can rely on the stamp of approval given by others.

All that is well and good, but still I wonder what would happen if a pioneering university just scrapped it all. Would they suffer?  In what way?  If a university made very public that they no longer cared about anything but excellent teaching, excellent knowledge of subject matter, and excellent research, wouldn't it attract some excellent job applicants, some of whom may not have PhD's at all?  Wouldn't it attract some interesting and excited students?

I understand the basic incentives in the university system, but it still seems to me there would have been by now some entrepreneurial president who would have tried to break free from the institutional norms and tried something like this.  Maybe the time is near.

More Public = More Private


It seems people with a high public profile almost never publicly discuss or reveal their private lives and thoughts.  They try to maintain as large a scope as possible for personal privacy.  They don't post pictures of their kids at the park, or status updates about fights with their spouses, except when carefully crafted to present a certain image.  That image is typically constructed and maintained not as a way to let people in to their lives, but as a protective barrier to keep people out of the real thing.

People with no public profile on the other hand, who are not household names, tend to put themselves out there with regularity.  You can learn astounding amounts of highly personal information and get a real slice of the personality of non-celebrities today through the prolific sharing on social media.  People voluntarily offer huge glimpses into their private affairs, perhaps hoping that more people get to know them.

I'm not sure what to make of this.  It seems possible that, the more people know who you are, the fewer people really know you, or at least the harder it is to get to know you; and the fewer people know who you are, the more people have a chance to get to know you easily.  I don't know if this is because your preferences change as you become more well-known, and you no longer seek to be known as much as rare privacy, or if it is because the type of people who put everything about themselves out there all the time are also the type who do not have the qualities that tend to result in becoming famous.  Or maybe it's something else entirely.  I'm not done with this thought.  Maybe I'll come back to it in another post.

Daily Blogging Haiku


To blog ev'ry day

Requires some lackluster posts

This is one of them

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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