Humor Haiku

Tyranny Can't Laugh

It's helpless against humor

Satire brings freedom

Bitcoin Chats

Another convo with friends.

Inner Game of Startups Issue #38: Is That PMF I Smell?

The latest and all other issues available to subscribers here.

Weird Search Results

I've been posting to this blog since 2008, and have over 1,600 articles here. That leads to some funny stuff.

Every so often, an old post goes viral totally unexpected. Usually it gets found and shared on social somehow. Other times, random posts get a daily, weekly, or monthly spike due to showing up in search results.

I'm a bad blogger in that I never run SEO checks or do the stuff you're supposed to do to rank high in search. But some posts apparently show up for some searches.

And it's always sort of random and strange. The last two weeks, these are the search terms that have landed people here:

how was adam smith wrong,  differentiate justice and moral rights,  dream of human sacrifice,  3 forms of racism,  are collectivism liberals or conservatives

If you've read much stuff on this blog, you'll agree those are pretty off-beat searches to bring someone here. Still, it's kind of fun to see what stuff these posts rank for and where traffic goes. I sometimes go see what articles the searches led people to, and discover posts I completely forgot about.

Free Minds Avoid Movements

Open inquiry and free, fearless thinking can lead to many different questions.

Some of these questions put you in the company of people forming movements. It can be useful to find sources of information and conversation among movements. But if you fully join, your thinking gets less free. The open inquiry that led you there gets stagnant. Too many assumptions are shared. Defensiveness against the outside world or forces the movement seeks to challenge creates mental rigidity, stubbornness, and worst of all, a sense of something to lose, which leads to fear.

Fear is a mind melter and collectivism kills. Movements tend toward both.

Stay free. Don't join movements. Don't oppose them either. You needn't fear or fight a movement any more than you need to join it. Engage the people and ideas that bring you value, ignore those that don't. Whether or not they group themselves into a movement. Talk to individuals you enjoy, attend events you like. They may label you as one of them or banish you as a heretic. It doesn't matter either way.

Keep living and thinking freely. Movements want you to need them. That makes their incentives bad for your autonomy and actualization. They may help for parts of your journey, but you've got to be bigger than any movement to continue to grow.

A Comprehensive Guide to Good Job Interviews

The team at Crash helped me put together this guide to an effective job interview.

  • How to prepare
  • Example questions
  • Video interview tips
  • Followup best practices

And a bunch more. We wanted a one-stop shop to help you get your head in the game and put your best foot forward in every interview!

Read it here:

Sushi and Health Care

All sushi is not created equal.

If I brought you a tray of gas station sushi, you'd have a different experience than if we went to the best sushi chef in town. So different that it's a stretch to even consider them the same food. One will probably make you sick, and the other is good for you.

The cartelized, monopolized, credential-driven world of health care operates under the fiction that all sushi is interchangeable. Except not sushi, but providers and specialists.

You see a doctor. They ask questions, don't listen too well, check a few items off their list like robots, and do one of two things: tell you to take some drugs or go see a specialist. They don't know much about the risks and effectiveness of the drugs, as they've outsourced most of their critical thinking to standards and practices imbibed in the system. And they act as if the specialists offer uniform ability and quality; like every source of sushi is the same.

Since you can't see a specialist without a referral - a practice largely intended to give generalists more business and ration specialists time since price-rationing is all but non-existent in the quasi-socialized system - you need to see a general practitioner first. They send some paperwork to a specialist office and tell you you'll get a call for scheduling. It doesn't matter which office or which specialist within that office. They tell you nothing about their ability or quality and you're not supposed to ask. The entire medical profession must maintain the fiction that each practitioner in their field - since they all memorized the same dated, badly incentivized, doubtful textbooks - is an interchangeable widget.

The absurdity of this notion may be better expressed with spouses than sushi. Is every woman an equally fit spouse for every man and vice versa? "Here, marry this person. They are a woman/man." That's pretty much how it goes in health care.

But the deviation in quality of care is extreme. Granted, a majority of doctors are likely to provide the same brand of WebMD quality disinterested regurgitation. But the right doctor can literally save your life, while the wrong can take it. This is not exaggeration. Medical error is the number three cause of death in the US. And that's just direct error. How many lengthy treatment regimes result in a death that is not technically "medical error" but could've been avoided with a better doctor?

There's not much in the way of market accountability, price transparency, or responsiveness to the customer. The health care industry is too intertwined with bureaucrats whose every edict is backed by threat of violence and who have the ability to confer massive money to anyone who jumps through their hoops, regardless of the outcomes they produce for patients.

Humans are radically different. Bodies are incomprehensibly complex and unique. The uniformity of the medical market is a government failure. Often a deadly one.

Mom Haiku

You never pushed me

To seek status, except for

Sam's Club membership

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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Stories Open Doors

Learning to tell stories is an incredible skill. But learning to think in stories is even more fundamental.

A narrative arc is more memorable and impactful than factual bullets. The ability to create narratives is what allows attracting friends, collaborators, investors, customers, and fans.

Storytellers are interesting people who get interesting opportunities. Not just those who tell anecdotal tales, but those who weave all of life into layers of narrative. The price of wheat is not merely an economic fact, it's part of a story that started somewhere and will end somewhere. And it's probably nested in other stories.

But telling stories starts with thinking in narrative arcs instead of dots.

I've seen this illustration several times (I'm not sure the origin):

Data To Wisdom Via Information, Knowledge & Insight ...

These are all different ways to see facts. But none of them weave a story. There's no narrative in the dots or the colors or the lines or the connections or paths. They are facts with relationships, but they stop short of a narrative arc. Yes, there is wisdom in seeing that point A follows a path to point B. But why? How? For what purpose? What happened when the path was completed? What was going on before?

A narrative thinker will see these facts and be able to construct a story - a beginning, middle, and end - with motivations and purpose involved. Stories have teleology, facts do not.

The ability to see a meaningful story in any person, event, or series of facts leads to the ability to communicate in narratives. You can connect dots for reasons, and show the future if the dots continue to connect.

Thinking in story helps you be more interesting because it helps you be more interested.

When someone tells you, "I'm an engineer", instead of filing this as a fact in your mental Rolodex, you immediately want to know the story. How did they end up an engineer? Is this the end of a long journey, the beginning of a new story, or the middle? Curiosity drives you to ask good questions, good questions make connections, and connections lead to opportunities.

Discovering, telling, and re-telling your own story is a great place to start. Why are you sitting there reading this right now? What led you here? Why? What does it mean for the future?

Alternating Energies

I've discovered I have the best weeks when I can alternate frenetic days with deep dive days.

Several days in a row of either deep work (writing, thinking, planning) or loud work (people, podcasts, emails, tasks) and quality declines. But If I can have a single day of lots of calls and being "on" with other people, followed by a day doing mostly alone work, I get the best of both.

I can pour myself into the demanding work knowing tomorrow will be a respite. As I've gotten older, I definitely prefer the quiet work to the loud, but I need the loud stuff in some minimum quantity, and my work requires it more than that anyway. So I try to carve out days or half days in between the loud work to have plenty of quiet work.

Both types of work require energy, and both can give energy back if done right, but switching between energy states is optimal for me.

Keeping Focus Without Retreatism

I wrote yesterday about the information war. We're bombarded with so much information if we are tuned in it's impossible to think.

But I don't think the long-term solution is total retreat from the world at large, or what Venkatesh Rao calls Waldenponding.

The bad information experience is like artillery perpetually pounding around you, driving you mad. But there's another kind of information experience that's more like a constant stream. It flows endlessly, every moment bringing past new things. You can wade in, you can get refreshed by it, you can have fun, catch valuable bits, and you can also drown. But the info stream is not inherently hostile or trying to make you useless like the info artillery. You can step back onto the banks and just observe without getting immersed. You can contribute to it, consume from it, or use it for inspiration to create.

The info stream has always existed, even before computers and cell phones, radio and TV. It's the scuttlebutt, the gossip, the collective conversation we call culture. It's trends, fads, ideas, fashions, commerce, and events constantly moving around us.

The digital world has broadened the stream to include more participants, and the flow is faster than ever. But each individual also has more control over their experience of the stream, how they consume, and especially how they contribute.

Waldenponding sounds both difficult and welcome when under constant fire by the info artillery. If only we could go screenless and escape, we'd become whole beings and achieve spiritual enlightenment, we think. But I think the urge to retreat entirely is another form of delusion, less dangerous perhaps than the delusion of thinking it's all real and urgent and important, but a delusion nonetheless.

It makes more sense to take control of your relationship to information, rather than be controlled by it or completely shielded from it.

First, get the hell out of the bullshit battlefield. Don't let yourself be bombarded. Don't sit there and get shelled to oblivion. Get away from the noise and chaos and need to always know the news and have an opinion.


Maybe wander the quiet woods for a bit after leaving the battlefield. When you're ready, approach the stream. Look at it as something beautiful and fascinating. Respect it as something powerful and dangerous. Wade in from time to time as you are able without getting swept away. You'll get stronger and form a better relationship to the stream over time. Make it a part of your existence that serves you, not the other way around.

And when you realize it's pulled you under, or that you've wandered away from the stream metaphor altogether and are back on the battlefield, exit again. Go back to the woods.

Metaphors are how we make meaning. The conscious navigation away from a battlefield to a stream can help reset your engagement with the world of endless information. At least it does for me.

Information as Artillery

You are being bombarded.

The blasts just keep coming, day and night. It's so bad there's a perpetual ringing in your ears, you can't see straight, you can't focus, and the people and reality right in front of you seems far off, disconnected, a blur. The constant barrage of artillery overhead has your whole being humming, vibrating unnaturally.

You can't read, or write, or talk calmly, or think deeply, or experience silence. Even in gaps between the salvos, you're too shell-shocked to be of much use. Every sensation sets you off.

That is the environment in which we live.

The trenches are anything connected to the internet or television or news of any kind. Information is the artillery.

The good news is, you can leave.

You can get the hell out of the foxholes and away from the mud and blood and constant head-splitting noise. When you exit this battle, there's no negative consequence, no dishonor, no desertion, because the battle is not real. It's bullshit. There are no sides, no ground to be taken or lost. The only objective in this battle is to occupy you with it, to keep you from being useful, fulfilled, free, and productive.

You can't become useful, fulfilled, free, and productive sitting in someone else's trenches while information artillery rains down, paralyzing you. You can only lose if you play.

The only way to win is to quit. To enter the fray is to be consumed and lose your sense of sanity and self. To exit is to regain your humanity and reclaim your capacity for creative thought.

Don't let yourself become a casualty. Leave now, before the shell-shock gets worse. Exit the information barrage. Be alone with your thoughts. Be free.

Talking with TK Again

Felt the need to flip on the mic and catch up with my good friend TK Coleman.

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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