The Proofs are In (and they’re beautiful)


So the new limited edition book, The Inner Game of Startups, has been proofed.

Got three proofs from the custom printer we’re using, and they really look and feel awesome. Clean, crisp, weighty, and fresh.

Only 100 will ever be made. But first I’ve gotta sell 100 of them! Can’t do the print run until we do.

To date, 54 have been purchased on Canonic, the publishing platform that allowed me to put the entire digital version of the book on the bitcoin blockchain and sell 100 tokens which entitle the owner to access digital versions and redeem a physical version. 46 left!

Grab one here. (If buying with BitcoinSV is too hard, just email me and I can do it via PayPal.)

This has been a fun experience trying to publish in this way as a unique collectible with both digital and physical editions tied to the blockchain. You can be a part of history, as this is only the second book in the world to ever be published this way!

Some pics of the proofs below. (A few small formatting errors and an error in the number of editions, since I changed it from 250 to 100).

 

 

 

 

I’ve had a lot of good feedback already from readers who dove into the digital version of the book. It’s always a little weird to put your writing out there, especially when it’s kinda personal, so knowing people find it valuable is a big boost!

 

PS - Yeah, $50 is a lot. But this is a first class doorstop!

PPS - Don’t worry, if you bought one and I don’t sell all 100 by the end of July, I’ll just buy the rest myself. So you’ll get your copy no matter what!

Help Your Friend Get a Job!


Today we launched a new FREE service on Product Hunt:

Help your friends get hired!

It’s a fun little tool where you can sign up anyone to receive the Daily Job Hunt newsletter (an incredible bit of info and encouragement on the job hunt) with a custom and somewhat snarky message from you.

As a bonus, today only they get a free 15 minute job hunt coaching call as well.

Please go leave a comment, vote, or share on Product Hunt. And sign up those job seekers you know!

I Published a New Book! (and how to buy it)


UPDATE: If purchasing the book onchain and getting token for print edition as described below is too daunting, email me at isaac at gmail dot com and I can work out an old-school mechanism to buy with USD.

Yesterday, I released a new book and I'm really excited about it!

This makes book #10 (not that I'm totally counting), and this one is a lot more personal than any of my others. It's a collection of weekly, private emails over the course of the first year of getting Crash off the ground. It provides a real-time look into all the craziness going through my head as we struggled to define the product, brand, market, raise venture capital, separate from my previous company Praxis, sell Praxis, and my own health crises in the midst of it.

The book is also unique for another reason. I skipped traditional publishers and Amazon self -publishing, and published it directly to the BitcoinSV blockchain. That means the digital version of the book is encrypted onchain, and anyone who purchases it can unencrypt and download it. There is also a physical edition - with a total of 100 that will ever be printed (collectors item!;-), and you can purchase a token that allows you to redeem one.

The book is called, "The Inner Game of Startups" and it's available in limited supply on Canonic.xyz (or click the book below).

Why publish this way?

I chose to publish on bitcoin for several reasons.

  • The book will live forever, doesn't live on any server, and can't be removed by any third party
  • Purchases instantly send BSV to my wallet and split revenue with the publishers, etc. No delays, bank transfers, etc.
  • There are zero fees (well technically near zero - more like 100th of a penny) for purchases
  • I love experimenting with new stuff that empowers creators to own and control their content
  • It allows for a combo of digital tokens ("NFT": non-fungible token) which can be bought and even resold to others on secondary market like any digital good, AND a physical book that can be redeemed with the token
  • Unlimited digital supply, plus limited physical supply makes it both scarce and non-scarce
  • I could work with the printer to do things however I wanted instead of whatever publisher or Amazon gives me
  • I believe decentralized data and instant micropayments are the future of the internet, especially for independent creators, and I want to show what's possible
  • The BSV blockchain is an incredible protocol with an exciting ecosystem of apps being built, and I love being a part of networks of people pushing limits and full of energy
  • It retains the intimate feel of the original newsletter the book comes from

It has been a really fun experience, and Canonic is an incredible platform. In fact, I've uploaded all of my other books and even a few papers there, but this is the first book exclusively on bitcoin and that included an NFT redeemable for a print edition.

How the heck can I buy one if I've never used BSV?

BSV is not a typical cryptocurrency that people are buying and selling and trading on crypto exchanges for speculative purposes. There is some of that, but not much. Its primary use is within actual apps. Entrepreneurs are building on it and users are exchanging with it and using it for payments, games, and data storage.

The upside to this is that it has real use and utility. The downside is it's not well known and it's not listed on almost any crypto exchanges or Coinbase. (I used to think this was a bad thing, but I've come to believe this is a saving grace in the long run. These exchanges are basically casinos at this point, and keeping BSV cognitively separate from pure speculation coins makes the ecosystem stronger and more serious IMO.)

The other downside is it's not easy to obtain!

Once you obtain it, it's incredibly easy and fun to use on lots of really cool apps and wallets that work instantly and seamlessly with near-zero fees.

So here's the easiest way to get it so you can buy my book

  • Setup an account on Coinbase if you don't have one yet
  • Buy a few hundred bucks worth of USDC (it's a token pegged to the US dollar)
  • Go to RelayX.com and create a BSV wallet

Good. Now you have a wallet with USDC on Coinbase, and a wallet ready to recieve BSV on RelayX. Then you just need to swap the USDC for BSV.

  • Go to coinshuffle.io
  • Select USDC to BSV
  • Enter the amount you're swapping, click 'exchange'
  • Paste your RelayX wallet address where you'll receive the BSV (in your RelayX app, click "receive" then "copy address"; on desktop click "add funds" then copy address)
  • Paste your USDC address for refund in case swap goes bad (hit "receive" in Coinbase, and copy)
  • Execute the swap
  • Now buy the book on Canonic with a single swipe!

Though using BSV is instant and almost free, no other cryptocurrency is. So you'll have to wait probably ~10 minutes for the swap to execute because Coinbase and USDC are slow, and Coinshuffle will take a fee.

BUT here's the good news. You'll now have a few hundred bucks of BSV in your RelayX wallet, which means you can instantly buy the book, AND you can use a whole bunch of other cool apps and games on BSV.

Thanks for being with me on my journey btw

If you're reading this, I owe you a thanks. I've been blogging, podcasting, Tweeting, publishing books, building stuff and sharing crazy ideas for over a decade now, and all along the way I've had so many amazing people willing to read, listen, like, comment, and share great feedback and stories with me. I do these things selfishly, but of course I get a massive morale boost when I see evidence of a Remnant out there that appreciates and supports it!

UPDATE: Here's an in-depth convo with the creator of Canonic about the philosophy behind this approach to publishing and the implications for the world of ideas.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJZZ4AakDCo

Staying Playful


The older I get, and the more routines of family and work get layered on, the more I have to deliberately choose to stay playful.

If I'm not playing around and dabbling with new things, I get stagnant and bored and wonder why I feel that way. When I've always got a few things on the periphery that have no direct connection to my work or family, but are fun and interesting and make me feel like a novice, I feel connected to life.

I try to curb the old man cynic that wants to come out when some new fad pops up. It's too easy to just dismiss things that don't appeal to me like Clubhouse, or NFTs. But if I can ask around and learn from interesting people what it is that attracts others to these, it usually leads me to some kernel that then leads to a new area to play around in. Usually, the most popular instantiation of an idea isn't the most interesting, but it can lead you there.

I'm always looking for weird corners of the world to explore and play with.

The Inverted Hierarchy


The natural hierarchy:

God
Individual
Family
Community
Culture
Governance Bodies

Each level down is weaker, and subordinate to the one above it. In the natural structure of reality - the patterns baked into nature - any collective is weaker and subservient to smaller units like communities, which are subservient to individuals. To the extent the lower orders cease to serve the higher orders, they are altered, ignored, or disbanded. The more centralized, the more subservient. The more removed from the individual, the more subservient.

The world is constantly attempting to reverse this hierarchy, which always leads to suffering. Nation states are the particularly hideous form a governance body takes when it attempts to dominate the higher orders. They attempt to use or dictate culture as a subservient propaganda mechanism to control communities, which in turn control families and individuals. Brainwashing, guilt, shame, and naked violence are constantly needed to try to reverse the natural ordering and maintain the upside down structure, but it's always in a state of chaotic flux.

God is mostly treated as outside the hierarchy. A mental plaything, or an idea to be invoked to justify tyranny. But reality cannot be wished away, and the natural law - the eternal, the source of the universe, the divine - is always the highest thing in the structure. God is not an abstraction to be invoked or imagined, but the most solid thing there is. Reality itself flows from God.

The creation stories and myths always follow the natural hierarchy, and stories of the fall follow the inverted one. God creates individuals, who then form a family, and are given dominion over their local environs, language and culture emerges, and finally interwoven institutions across the whole earth. Power flows downward. All the larger, further removed institutions are servants of the individual.

The stories of corruption begin the reversal. The temptation, though manifested through individuals, is about mankind, and whether humans as a category, the collective humanity, ought to be higher than God. It results in tyrannical governing bodies attempting to occupy the top of the hierarchy, sometimes literally equating themselves with God, sometimes trying to do away with God, and making power flow in reverse of its natural course. The individual is less important than the categories or cultural norms, which are less powerful than the state.

Attempting to maintain this inverted hierarchy is constant pain, death, and confusion. The starting place to right the ship is within each individual, since individuals are the most powerful part of nature under God. If we can reorient our own lives in accordance with the structure of reality, reality itself will begin to return to form.

The Daily Job Hunt Newsletter is Here


Hunting for a job is hard and, well, kinda sucks.

Screw that.

Let’s punch the job hunt in the face! (*ripping guitar riff plays in your head)

The Daily Job Hunt email newsletter hits your inbox like a freight train every day, six days a week. While you're working on winning that next job, let this newsletter be a guide, a coach, a friend, a kind word, and sometimes a kick in the ass to keep you pumped and on track.

Hope to meet in your inbox!

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If anyone you know is on the job hunt, share this! We just launched a newsletter for job-hunting.

Every morning we deliver a quick gut-punch of goodness to your inbox to help fill you up with opportunity and optimism so you can find and win that next gig. A daily stoke to keep the fire burning.

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On Living Courageously


The topic of courage keeps coming up everywhere I turn.

I went through a very challenging phase in 2019 where some health issues led me to face the possibility of my own death. Of course we all die, and I had made peace with mortality back in my teens, but the prospect of dying young and leaving a family behind was different. I hadn't grappled with it.

In the process of doing so, I leaned into a sort of Zen and then Stoic acceptance. I tried to train myself to spiritually release my hold on needing to live, and then practically go about setting up things so that if I should die my family would be best positioned in my absence. The release was the Zen part, and the practical steps were Stoic.

This was useful, and it got me through the early phase. It particularly helped get me through the parts where physical pain and the mystery of what was ailing me were strongest. Not needing an answer or even to survive were a huge release. And it was useful in helping me prioritize things that matter most in terms of time spent with my family. Also it was practically useful in getting some ducks in a row I probably should have any way, like setting up a will.

But it wasn't enough.

During this time, I kept coming across Gnostic thinkers. There are some really great insights to be found in Gnosticism. The focus on the eternal consciousness or spirit instead of temporary material matters was a valuable and encouraging way to direct my gaze into loftier things. But this wasn't quite enough either.

I kept thinking about how C.S. Lewis once said that in his journey from atheism to theism then Christianity, he explored all the major religious and philosophical traditions. After searching and testing, he was attracted to Taoism and Christianity the most, but Taoism felt to him to be lacking courage. (I am speaking from memory of something I read many years ago so don't quote me).

I always sort of got his point on an intuitive level, but couldn't quite get my fingers around it. I felt the same by Lewis saying that Christianity was like all the great myths - a la Joseph Campbell - except that it also happened to be true. He called it "true myth", and the combination of those things, as embodied in the form of Jesus as both God and man, was crucial to him. Again, I sort of got it but I couldn't quite explain it to myself.

Back to the present and how I keep coming across the idea of courage. One reason is probably because I'm re-reading Lewis' Space Trilogy and it plays a prominent role. But it's popping up lots of places, and it's been growing in my mind for quite some time.

I think what the Zen and Stoic and Gnostic approaches were missing for me is the same thing Lewis felt was missing in Taoism and most myths in general. That is, redemption of "the flesh", or the material.

The true part of true myth; the flesh part of God made flesh. The process of ascension, or what the Orthodox call Theosis, is becoming or realizing your divine nature. It sounds very Gnostic. Except where Gnosticism might reject the flesh and leave the material plane, Theosis is about redeeming the flesh and bringing it with you.

This is very weird. And very bold. And very interesting. It also scratches an itch that I think all humans have. I certainly do.

We don't want to endure terrestrial life by believing it's all an illusion. We don't want to solve the mind-body problem by denying the body exists (or denying the mind exists as materialists might do). We can't just be perpetually high on DMT, living outside our bodies. Nor can we live well if we despise our bodies as meat-prisons.

I have always lived in my head and my heart. My body has always been a bit of a distraction. Eating sometimes feels like a chore when I just want to work. Health problems are a massive irritation to me. But trying to escape from this by accepting the idea that my body is a mere illusion or a corrupted cask from which I need to ascend feels lacking. It's demeaning to half the thing that makes a human human. And it seems sort of, well, cowardly.

This is where courage comes in.

I don't think enlightenment or a full, meaningful life comes from overcoming fear of bodily death and living in some elevated, non-corporeal state. Nor do I think it comes from obsessive efforts to cheat or overcome death and extend material life.

I think it comes from living with courage.

I think this means doing the most uniquely human thing imaginable: fully fusing and integrating the spirit world with the material world - fully god and fully man.

To live with courage is not to deny or ascend beyond fear. Nor is it to live only to avoid danger and difficulty. To live with courage is to walk out into the adventure (even battle if you must) even though you are afraid of it. Fear of pain and death keeps you tethered to the material, temporal part of yourself. Proceeding boldly ahead despite this fear is what keeps you tethered to the spiritual, eternal part of yourself.

It seems to me my task as a human is to live courageously.

Whew. It feels right, but what a thing to face. It's the tallest of orders. There's no escapism here, except escape from any beliefs or habits or situations that might tempt me to be less than courageous; to abandon or idolize either the material or the spiritual.

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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Information in Streams and Pools


The very best podcast episodes are those that leave me feeling better than when I started listening - like I added to my understanding and value.

That kind of episode tends to have something in common: they are time-insensitive. That is, they can be listened to any day, week, month, or year and the content will be no less relevant. They don't have anything to do with current trends or events, and there's nothing "must listen now!" about them.

A few days ago, I wrote about the long-term internet vs the short-term internet. You could think of the former as a lake or pool, while the latter is a stream. There is so much good stuff to be found plumbing the depths of this vast pool of information and ideas. And the stillness of the pool seems to allow for better focus and higher quality yield than the constant rushing of the stream, which is never the same from moment to moment.

Days when I'm super plugged in (or "very online" as I've heard some say) to Twitter or recent, trending type podcast episodes about current events, I can get a surge of "stuff is happening" excitement. But it's directionless and overly general. I feel like lots of somethings are going on in the world at large, which gives the illusion of import or progress. But nothing specific is happening in my own life or mind. It's like a hit of abstract momentum that creates the mental rewards of real momentum but without anything left to show when the hype wears off.

Being plugged in to the "action" is like living in LA when you want to be a screenwriter. It's enough to trick you into thinking you're really close to doing big things, because you're in close proximity to other people doing things. But it's a lie. A person living in LA not writing scripts is no closer to being a screenwriter than a person living anywhere else and not writing scripts. The difference is, when you're not in LA, you feel your need to make progress, so you're more likely to start writing. When you live in LA, you feel like you are making progress even when you aren't, so you're more likely to do nothing.

The stream is not bad. It's interesting and fun and sometimes useful. A good meme or piece of satire is dependent on the stream, and can genuinely make your day better. Laughter and shared kvetching with friends about what's passing in the stream can be a valuable part of a rich life. But it's dangerous. So much moves by so fast, it's easy to get stuck watching it and siphoning that secondhand energy instead of creating your own.

The pool, on the other hand, is calm. It just sits there. Vast and quiet. It doesn't do anything. You have to actively engage and explore it to find stuff. It has a whole different pace - a pace that forces you to create momentum, since it has none you can live vicariously through.

If I stick to the pools for the first several hours of the day, it makes popping into the stream from time to time later less of a snare. If I get my own momentum going and put in the work, the stream is more likely to be useful.

I guess TLC was right about all that chasing waterfalls stuff.

Technology Does Not Make Us Worse


Only an individual human can make themselves better or worse by the choices they make.

Technology opens up previously impossible choices. It increases the area of expression for what's inside us. Sometimes what it reveals about us is dark and disturbing. We are capable of a lot worse than we like to imagine, and technological change - just like changes in cultural norms and economic conditions - provide new opportunities to see what we are and are not made of.

Many of us are not capable of using new technology in a life-giving way. At least not early on, when protective norms and market incentives haven't formed around it. But banning or restricting tech with violence will not improve who we are or reduce our evils. They will still exist and still do damage, only in less visible ways. And the use of reactionary violence in opposition to tech is more dangerous than the tech itself.

Understand the dangers and risks and changes technology brings, but know it's not creating new evil. It's only revealing what we already are. Treating the symptoms won't stop the disease.

Karen On Camera and the Effects of no Privacy


Yesterday I saw a video going around of a "Karen who attacks lady then plays the victim". It appeared to show some kind of altercation at a store, followed by a woman collapsing on the floor and crying and begging and pleading the person recording to turn off their camera.

The idea of the video and general sentiment in response was basically, "This annoying, meddling person does something bad and then pretends like she's the one suffering. How pathetic. She got what she deserved being exposed like this on camera."

I have no idea what actually happened or whether and to what extent various parties deserve blame. It's none of my business and I don't really care to know. But I did find it a little troubling that there seemed to be universal glib dismissal of any potential suffering experienced by this woman being filmed for several minutes for the world to see, whether or not she had it coming.

How many times have you heard someone say, "Thank god social media didn't exist when I was a teenager"? It's a funny but true statement about lack of privacy and lack of grace that comes with it. People are stupid sometimes. People are weak sometimes. People are dicks sometimes. People lose it sometimes. Is it a good thing for those people to have every single one of these instances streamed in real-time with the potential to go viral and ruin their entire life forever? Would you want the dumbest or rudest thing you've ever done to be trending on Tik Tok or Twitter?

The mere possibility that every salty interaction with a waiter could be being filmed by a fellow diner is a kind of psychological torture, or at least stress enhancer, running in the background at all times.

The idea that people with a monopoly on violence and no accountability - police - should be surveilled while on the clock is a very good one. Sure, it probably adds some stress to their job, but it's well worth it considering the high stakes and track record of cops with power operating in secret. But what about a grandma at the grocery store on a bad day? Or a dog owner who accidentally runs into a cyclist while not paying attention? Is it a good thing for people in every social setting to have the looming fear of being surveilled and having that footage go global in an instant before they even have a chance to apologize, explain, or make things right?

It feels like a callous and cruel way for humans to live and interact with one-another. The stakes are too high. People lose their ability to be human and show compassion.

I noticed in the video as this woman was moaning and sobbing on the floor begging for mercy many people stood around her at a safe distance. Even people who arrived late and never witness her alleged instigation and knew nothing except that a woman was sobbing on the floor simply stared and did nothing. Not one person got down on their knee, or put their arm around her and tried to calm or comfort her. Maybe she's a big baby. Maybe she's been conditioned to be a victim. Maybe she's been made helpless and taught to demand safe spaces. Who cares? She's still a human suffering. Yet no one wanted to hazard the attempt to help her out.

I suspect the fact that cameras were rolling had a major chilling effect on any such human responses. When the camera is on, you have to think twice. You can't just follow your human instinct. You have to step back and try to figure out who will be perceived as the "bad guy" when this video is posted and shared. Do you want to risk being seen as aiding them? What if something goes wrong when you approach? What if you end up doing something that makes you look bad?

So instead of engaging or helping, everyone becomes a spectator or documenter. Whipping out their own cameras so a circle of mutual surveillance crisscrosses this poor woman as she moans and ruins her reputation further with every second that gets recorded.

Privacy matters. Knowing you're dealing with a real human being in front of you and not also their fans and followers online matters. Room for error and grace matter. Not being made into a spectacle matters.

If we're always being documented by each other, we're subjects and slaves to each other. We could use some humanity.

The Long-Term Internet vs. the Short-Term Internet


I was thinking about how well some writers understand the human condition and it dawned on me that they lived pre-internet. They had no access to all this information and human interaction at a vast scale through which to observe, yet they completely nailed with penetrating insight the way humans behave, even at this scale.

It made me wonder if the internet makes it harder for us to understand humanity.

Things move so fast on the internet, and incentives are so different. The world as reflected on the web is not the real world, and internet people are not real people. Sure it's part of the world and part of humanity, but it's a small slice. The more of reality gets filtered through it the more distorted.

The ephemeral nature of internet experience forces us to think on very tight time horizons. Pre-internet, you'd be forced to look through a broader lens. There was no way to know the immediate reactions across the globe of something that just happened today. You'd have to watch the wave unfold through time and only the stuff that really stuck would make its way into your analysis.

I wonder if there's a way to use the internet that improves this more distanced, longer time-horizon type of experience. What if you restricted yourself to the long-term internet? The long-term internet are the parts that take longer to form (e.g. no instant trending hashtags) and take longer to vanish. There is tons of tons of amazing content on the web, but when I think about the stuff that has deepened my understanding, it's stuff like decade old essays or lectures, century old books, or well documented and repeated research.

If those pre-internet thinkers and writers had access to all of that - basically their local library and lecture hall on steroids - it's hard to imagine it weakening their insight. But if they were on Twitter much as I am, I suspect they'd get some of the same short-term distortions I can.

I'm not anti social media. Nor do I think people or culture were inherently better in the past. I am curious about how shifting media of communication impact our understanding of the world. People are easier to dupe with limited access to info. They also seem easy to dupe with near infinite access to info. I'm curious what kind of informational environment best fosters understanding of our own condition, and how to take individual responsibility for creating it.

When I spend more time on the long-term internet, I walk away feeling like I learned something. The short-term internet can entertain and create some useful human networks or social reference points, but I rarely feel sharper after scrolling.

Arm’s Length People


There are people you just want to keep at arm's length.

They're not bad. They're not at odds with you. In fact, they often seem just a little too aligned, and to say a little too much of the right thing.

You just don't quite trust them. Sometimes there's been no clear breach of trust, but you know with your knower that something is slightly amiss. And it is. Even if you can't peg why.

I once broke the world into three types of people: ideas dominant, angles dominant, and hustle dominant. The arm's length people are angles people.

Angling doesn't mean doing something bad. You can work angles to do good or bad, just like you can hustle or pursue ideas for good or bad. But by its nature, angling is about orienting oneself in relation to other people. Which means angles people are always reading the room to discover what other people value and adapting themselves to it. You can't trust this.

Of course some degree of reading the room and adapting to what pleases others is considered courtesy or social graces. If you have none, it's a bit boorish, or the result of autism or similar. It's not nice but it is honest.

The other extreme is not honest. When room-reading is placed above all other values you can never trust that person because they are not a person. They do not have a self. They are ghostly, unsolid. They are in a constant state of flux, perpetually morphing into whatever is reflected back to them in the positive responses of others. That means under the right circumstances, they could turn on you. You never really know them because there is no them.

It may sound selfless to be exceedingly sensitive to what pleases others, but it's really a form of narcissism. Idolizing how others respond to you is to idolize your own reflection. You can't discover and be who you are if you're obsessed with how you appear to others. And you can't be truly valuable and heroic for others if you don't have a self.

People read the room and angle to varying degrees. But certain people do enough of it that you just always feel like, "Yeah he seems like a cool guy, but something is just slightly off". Listen to your gut. You don't need more justification to keep that person at arm's length.

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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