Episode 21: Should You Follow Your Passion or Not? with TK Coleman

Joseph Cambell is famous for saying, “Follow your bliss”. It’s common to hear people say things like, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Yet lately the most popular advice seems to be, “Follow your passion is terrible advice”, or, “Just work hard and get good at something and you’ll learn to love it”. Who’s right?

TK joins me to discuss in what ways both sides are right and wrong. I think both pick the wrong thing – passion – to focus on. TK thinks there are some definition issues and lack of charitable interpretation.

This and all episodes are available on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Stitcher.

Ask Isaac: Grab Bag – Parental Pressure, Social Media, Macroeconomics, and College

Today I take a crack at the following questions:

  • What do you say to a young person who wants to forge their own path but is butting heads with their parents? E.g., a young person wants to go work and eventually start their own company, but their parents are adamant about them going to college.
  • Future of social networks: How to ride the wave and use it rather than get swept up underneath it. And how NOT to use it.
  • Do you think the ad supported model will continue to work, or will you need to find another way to monetize news?
  • What do you think of the idea of intrapreneurs?
  • Why should some people go to college?
  • Do you think macro- and microeconomics require different mechanisms?

This and all episodes are available on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Stitcher.

Episode 20: Jerry Brito on Regulating Bitcoin

Jerry Brito is the Executive Director of Coin Center, a cryptocurrency research and advocacy organization. He talks about how he found himself at the intersection of policy and tech, the regulatory challenges facing Bitcoin, and whether or not it’s a bad idea to have a “seat at the table” in Washington.

As always, this and all episodes are available on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Stitcher.

Episode 19: Michael Malice on Writing, Batman, and North Korea

Author, TV personality, and rabble-rouser Michael Malice joins me to discuss what it was like to have award winning graphic novelist Harvey Pekar write a book about him, why he quit a lucrative career to be a writer (even though he doesn’t love writing), the experience of self-publishing a “true” unauthorized autobiography of Kim Jong Il, and why he’s like Batman.

You can find Michael’s work at michaelmalice.com.

All episodes are available on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Stitcher.

Episode 18: Peter Leeson on the Economic Explanation of Everything

Economist Pete Leeson believes everything can be explained using the economic assumption of rational behavior. He is a prolific academic and his work covers a wide variety of fascinating and sometimes bizarre phenomena – from insect trials to witch burning, piracy, and everything in between – and provides rational explanations for seemingly irrational behavior.

We discuss what inspired him to become an economist, the major themes of his work, whether everything can be explained with economic analysis, and what he thinks of different economic schools of thought.

You can find him online at peterleeson.com.  I highly recommend his books, The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates, and, Anarchy Unbound: Why Self-Governance Works Better Than You Think.

This and all episodes are available on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Stitcher.

Ask Isaac: Grab Bag – Kids Beliefs, Social Movements, Helplessness, Apathy, and the Future

I take some fun questions from Facebook today:

  • What if your one of your children became a radical socialist atheist who disdained clever wordplay?
  • What is the balance between creation and reaction in social change? Is social change more wrought by the agency of social movements, or are such movements more responsive to exogenous shocks or existing structural failures?
  • How important is your physical health to your mental health?
  • What is your view on “learned helplessness”?
  • Have you ever had to overcome apathy and an unwillingness to act, or a complete lack of motivation? How did you bounce back?
  • What careers are going to be needed in the future?

As always, this and every episode can be found on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Stitcher.

Episode 17: What it’s Like to Be an Unschooled 10 Year Old, with NL Morehouse

My 10 year old son told me he wanted to come on the podcast to talk about being unschooled.  He thought maybe kids or parents who were unsure might enjoy hearing from someone who’s in the process.

We discuss how we came to unschool, what a typical day is like, and his plans for the future.

This and all episodes are available on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Stitcher.

*Oh, if you want to see how NL has changed over the last few years, check out our interview when he was nine, as well as when he was eight.

Ask Isaac: Is Failure Good or Bad?

Today I take a question from Facebook follower Andrew Stover about failure.  I’ve written before about failure not being so scary, about willingness to fail being a great test, about failure to achieve your own goals as good when those goals change over time, and even about the benefits of entrepreneurial failure.  There are books and adages flying around lately about failing forward.  Yet entrepreneur and venture capitalist Peter Thiel, whose ideas I greatly respect, says all this talk about failure is a misguided “Silicon Valley bromide”.  Are these opinions in conflict?

I don’t think so, and I try to explain why in the podcast.  Failure’s not good.  But the fear of it is worse.

Thanks for the question Andrew!  If you have questions of your own, contact me anytime.  As always, episodes are available on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Stitcher.

Episode 16: Journalist Robby Soave on Click-bait, Controversy, and Good Copy

Reason.com staff editor and award-winning journalist Robby Soave joins me to talk about how he got into journalism, what it’s like to write for maximum clicks while keeping content genuine, how to crank out several articles per day, how to stay optimistic when reporting on scandal, and what TV shows to watch.  Robby writes primarily on education related issues, both K-12 and higher ed.

This and all episodes are available on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Stitcher.

Episode 15: Imagination As Hard Work

It’s easy to assume that imagination is an indulgence, or a distraction from important and more difficult work.  I think this view has it all wrong.  Imagining is not easy if done well.  We have to relentlessly fight for our capacity to do it, and keep the steady forces of dullness and routine from crowding it out.  We can’t get lazy if we want to generate change and progress.  We’ve got to learn to imagine as a discipline.

This and all episodes are also available on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Stitcher.

Episode 14: Harris Kenny on 3D Printing and a World Without Intellectual Property

Harris Kenny is the Marketing Manager for Aleph Objects, maker of the amazing and hugely popular consumer 3D printer the Lulzbot.  We discuss the present and future of 3D printing and it’s various applications and implications.

We also talk about one of the most unique things about Aleph, the fact that they are an IP-free company.  Everything from their marketing material to the plans for their products are Creative Commons and without any patents, trademarks, or copyrights.  They openly share all plans and products on the web and welcome customers who copy the designs and build their own.  They’ve managed to create value and remain profitable by fostering an opensource community, rather than keeping their stuff under lock and key.  We discuss how it works and whether this model can be applied in other businesses and industries.

Find this and all episodes on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Stitcher.

Ask Isaac: Grab Bag – Optimism, Failure, Aging, and More

The second installment of “Ask Isaac”, where I respond to listener questions, covers a handful of questions posed on Facebook.  When is quitting smart and when should you push through?  Is aging a disease?  Can you be duped by your own optimism?

Feel free to send along questions of your own on Twitter, Facebook, or email and I’ll try to get to as many as I can on future episodes.  As always, this and all episodes are available on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Stitcher.

Episode 13: Albert Lu on Podcasting, Parenting, and the Patriots

Albert Lu, host of the Power & Market Report, joins me to talk about how he went from engineering to financial management to podcasting.  Albert is the one who convinced me to start a podcast, so the show is really his brainchild!  We also discuss parenting and the free-range education of children, and touch on his favorite NFL team the New England Patriots.

As always, this and all episodes can be found on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Stitcher.

Ask Isaac: For-Profit vs. Nonprofit Enterprise

Albert Lu prompted me to try out a new feature for the podcast where I take questions from listeners and followers.  I’m testing out posting a short “Ask Isaac” episode every Friday in addition to the regular Monday episodes.  These are in the 10 minute range and may be a single question or quick hits on several.  I got some good questions to kick it off, and I thought it fitting to begin with a question posed by Albert himself:

For-profit or nonprofit enterprise…you’ve worked in both, what are the differences, which do you prefer, and why?

As always, you can get all episodes on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Stitcher.

Episode 12: Levi Morehouse on Ambition, Advice, and Enterprise

Yes, Levi is my brother.  But this isn’t nepotism.  He’s a highly successful entrepreneur.  His company Ceterus is growing and revolutionizing small business accounting.  He joins me to talk about why it took him so long to dream big, what greatness means, whether it’s for everyone, if giving advice is a bad idea, and how to balance being an entrepreneur with raising five boys.  (We had some issues with the levels on this episode, so I apologize for any drops or spikes in volume.)

You can check out Levi’s company here.

As always, this and ever other episode is also available on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Stitcher.