The Atlas Society Asks Isaac Morehouse

March 30, 2022 00:58:50
The Atlas Society Asks Isaac Morehouse
The Atlas Society Presents - The Atlas Society Asks
The Atlas Society Asks Isaac Morehouse
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Show Notes

Join Jennifer Grossman and the founder of Praxis/CEO of Crash, Isaac Morehouse, on the 98th episode of The Atlas Society Asks. Listen as the two discuss homeschooling and alternative education along with how Praxis is working to provide young people the skills needed to get careers without having to go to college.  

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:00 Hello everyone. And welcome to the 98 episode of the Atlas society asks. My name is Jennifer andyou Grossman. My friends call me JAG. I'm the CEO of the Atlas society. We are the leading nonprofit, introducing young people to the ideas of iron Rand in fun, creative ways like animated videos and graphic novels. Today, we are joined by Isaac Morehouse before I even get into introducing our guest. I want to remind all of you that are joining us on zoom on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or YouTube. You can use the comment section to typing your questions and we'll get to as many of them as we can. So our guest Isaac Morehouse is CEO of crash and the founder of Praxis to startup companies that seek to be alternatives, to help people build skills and launch their careers without having to spend years in college or rack up student debt and entrepreneur at heart. Isaac is a lifelong advocate of self-directed living and learning. And he's a prolific writer, uh, offering 10 books, um, including a few that I have here. This was his first book, better off free. Don't do stuff you hate crash your career forward tilt. And, um, also, why haven't you read this book, which by, uh, have read on audible. So, Isaac, welcome again. Thank you for joining us. Speaker 1 00:01:38 Hey, thanks so much for having me, Jennifer. Speaker 0 00:01:41 So, um, before jumping into your approach to launching young people into their life paths, uh, without the direct expense and the opportunity costs of college, how did you get launched? Speaker 1 00:01:56 Yeah, I, uh, I stumbled through the hard way. Uh, I wish I would have. I wished I would've realized at the time, which is, I guess, part of what led me to eventually launch Praxis and do a lot of the work that I've done, but I wish I would've known, um, how much more I could have gone my own way. So in some ways I did have a very unconventional education from a young age. I was homeschooled. Uh, and so, um, you know, grew up with not a lot of structure in the school setting. It was, it was like a mix between homeschooling and what would now be called unschooling. Um, that was not intentional, but my mom was, um, you know, very overwhelmed with stuff and, uh, very social. So we did a lot of activities, but not super stringent on the curricular stuff, but we always had a lot of responsibility and independence when I was three, my dad was in a car accident. Speaker 1 00:02:49 And so he, he survived, but he was in a wheelchair, has no short-term memory and required 24 hour care. And so growing up, my mom's kind of care of him and trying to homeschool us. And we had to often help taking care of him as well. Um, so we had to be very independent by nature, you know, doing a lot of household chores, you know, sort of, um, you know, taking care of more things than most people do at a, at a young age. And I think that was great cause we had a lot of freedom, but also a lot of responsibility and independence. So, you know, I always had jobs and things like that. Like, you know, mowing lawns and delivering papers from a very young age and got to kind of have a lot of control over my schedule. So I went to, I'll try not to go on too long with this story. Speaker 1 00:03:35 But, um, my, my sophomore year I went to a private high school because a lot of my friends had started going there. A lot of who, who were homeschoolers. And I mostly just went to play on the basketball team and I went there for one year and it was fun. I enjoyed playing sports and social stuff and whatever, but the whole time it was like, this just feels so artificial. It's such a waste of my time at every single person, just because virtue of our age, we are all sitting in the same 50 minute segments and then a bell buzzes like cattle. We go to the next one. It just felt really constrained. I was used to working during school hours and earning money at different jobs and just having more freedom and flexibility. So after one year I decided, all right, I'm outta here. Speaker 1 00:04:20 I'm going to go take classes at community college a couple days a week. And then I can work the other days a week and just sort of pay my way through. Um, and I did that and, you know, I enjoyed some of my classes. I mean, I, I really enjoyed, especially anything, um, you know, on philosophy or political science or history, that kind of stuff. But I just, it was like for what I was like the only person who seemed to enjoy it, like none of the students seem to enjoy, uh, almost none of the students seem to enjoy this thing that they're paying all this money for. Um, and two, when I transferred after two years to the, to the four year university in the city where I grew up Kalamazoo, Michigan, and again, I was working three days a week, you know, living off campus, trying to be as frugal as possible, paying my way through school. Speaker 1 00:05:02 And I'm just thinking, why, why does everybody tell me that I I'll be like homeless and unemployed. If I don't get this degree, this doesn't make any sense because for what, I'm not really learning anything here, that's valuable. Um, the quality of the education was relatively low. In most classes, there was a few exceptions and I was looking at like, what am I going to do after I graduate? And I didn't really know, but everything I could think of, I was like, I don't see how any of this stuff is going to help me with that. And it just, I was, I was struggling. I had this frustration and the, uh, the seed of the epiphany that 10 years later would lead to me, starting practice was I was sitting there in a classroom and I was trying to figure out what, what is it that people are buying? Speaker 1 00:05:48 Because they don't, they don't seem to be buying the classes because they're happy when they're canceling, right? You don't pay for a service ahead of time. And you're thrilled when it doesn't, it's not delivered. Right. So clearly the fact that they're happy when class is canceled means that class is not the thing they're paying for. What is it that the social experience you could live on? I knew I had friends that lived on campus and did the whole social thing without ever registering or going to class. So you could do that without paying a diamond tuition. What is it that they're paying for? And I had this epiphany, I looked around, I thought they're all paying for a piece of paper that says I went here and I thought, well, I'm paying for that same piece of paper. And I remember it was a class where all these kids were like, kids next to me were like, dude, I'm so hung over. Speaker 1 00:06:31 And you know, we were doing like a thing where we try to grade each other's essay. And I'm like reading this essay that, you know, it was like barely legible. And I'm thinking all these kids are gonna get the same degree as me. So I'm what I'm paying for is basically a piece of paper that says I'm likely no worse than everybody else that has the same piece of paper. And I thought, well, that's, that's like a pretty weak signal that doesn't communicate very much. I've seen the other kids that go to Western Michigan university. There's not a lot there that would make an employer say, oh, wow, I got to hire you. So I had that epiphany and I thought the degree is really a signal. So I began this journey to like, think through and figure out, how could you create a better signal now I didn't do it right away. I went on, went on to my career, just pursuing things that were interesting to me. But 10 years later, this kind of came back up again when I started practice. Speaker 0 00:07:23 All right, well, we're going to get into that. Um, but I don't want to leave your, uh, your childhood experience quite yet. You mentioned that your mom homeschooled you a combination of homeschooling and unschooling. So I would love for those of us who aren't familiar with the distinction, maybe to let us know about that, but also, um, given your perspective as a homeschool EA, and then I understand you have four children, which you and your wife are homeschooling. Uh, I'd love to get your perspective on the, how homeschooling may have changed given the increased popularity of homeschooling as a result of, uh, the lockdowns and mandates, um, for children in public schools, how has homeschooling changed and prospects for the future? Speaker 1 00:08:15 Yeah, it's pretty crazy. When, when my mom started, my parents decided to homeschool us and, um, it was like the early mid eighties and it was borderline illegal. It was full on illegal in some states and in Michigan where we were, it was borderline illegal. You had to be a certified teacher to homeschool your kids. Now, my mom was a certified teacher. Um, but most of our homeschool friends were not. In fact, we knew people who had their children taken away from them by child protective services because they were homeschooling. Um, so this was like a risky and relatively legally dubious thing at the time. And my mom was a part of, kind of a group that formed a network there in Kalamazoo. And, um, you know, eventually the laws got changed so much. So that Michigan to this day is probably one of the freest states when it comes to homeschooling, there's, there's really no regulations or restrictions against it. Speaker 1 00:09:15 Um, but it was, you know, it was legally, uh, on, on shaky ground, but it was also socially. I mean, I had so many experiences as a kid, we'd be at the grocery store or something with my mom. And then somebody would say, well, why aren't you in school? We'd say, oh, we homeschool. And then they would be like, well, how are you going to get socialized? You know, they'd be, I mean, just like right to your face. And I remember I had some experiences where I'm talking to an adult carrying on a conversation and they're like, oh, they're all like friendly and nice like, oh, this kid's all nice and gregarious. And then they'd be like, oh, you're homeschooled and everything would shift. And they'd be like, well, you're not, how are you going to learn how to socialize? And I'm thinking, K I'm 10 years old, carrying out a conversation with you. Speaker 1 00:09:54 And I look at your kids, they're incapable of talking to anyone that is not within one year of their age. Like in, you're asking me, how am I going to socialize? You know? But I just, I had this experience. It was very, um, very hostile from almost everyone. When you said you homeschooled and that I've watched over the years, that progressively shift first, it went from like crazy hostile. Then it went to a phase where more and more parents were defensive. They would, when you tell them you would homeschool, they would respond as if you said you're a bad person for not homeschooling. Like they would basically read that into it. They would bring some kind of, I mean, this is my psychoanalysis. They would bring some kind of subconscious guilt that they had about just shuffling their kids off to school. And they would say, well, oh, I don't think that's a good, maybe that works for you, but I don't think that I could never homeschool. Speaker 1 00:10:42 My kids would hate it. I would. And they would start giving you all these reasons why they're not homeschooling. And I'm like, I never said you should homeschool or anything. Like, you know, take it easy. It'd be like, if you, if you came up to somebody and said like, yeah, I don't drink alcohol. And they started going, well, I don't think alcohol is bad for everybody. And I'm not an alcoholic. You'd be like, oh, there's, you know what I mean? I would have that experience. And now over the years as my wife and I have homeschooled, it's amazing what the response you get. Now, when you say homeschool, the number one thing I get is that is so awesome. I really want to do that. I'm trying to convince my husband or I wish we could do that. I'm, I'm hoping that we'll get there. Speaker 1 00:11:18 You know, we, we both have to work or it's like, people envy you now. And they say, that's really cool, which is incredible to watch that change over, you know, 20, 20, some years. Um, so yeah, it, it, it has been very amazing. And I think, I think what's driven it in the early days. People homeschooled almost exclusively for religious reasons. I mean, that was the main reason my parents did. Yes. Educational reasons too. They knew that the public schools weren't great, but they were like, we want to be able to teach our kids. Um, you know, the religion that we believe, and we're not going to send them to a really expensive, or we can't afford an expensive, you know, a Christian school or something. Um, and that was most homeschoolers. And then there was always like a few others who were like, nah, it's just for academic reasons. Speaker 1 00:11:59 Or, eh, there's always like one is like I, a kid got kicked out of every public school cause they were like really crazy bad behavior, something like that. So it was always like a little bit. Now my wife and I have lived in four different cities now where we've homeschooled. It's really interesting. You will have multiple different often overlapping communities. Homeschoolers, you will get the, like really lefty, hippy, crunchy love, and rainbows homeschoolers who are like completely antithetical to the like religious conservative homeschoolers. You'll get the religious conservative homeschoolers and then you'll get the like straight up pragmatist, purely. I researched learning methods and education and came to the conclusion. This is the best for my kids. And those are often wealthier people. You're seeing this with a lot of like professional athletes, professional actors who are, who are homeschooling or unschooling their kids because of this growing body of evidence that the kind of schooled process is not great. Speaker 1 00:12:57 And so it's interesting now in any city that you can find these different types of homeschoolers and they often intermingle and they'll take classes together and there's not like hostility or anything, but, um, but you can kind of find a lot of different types of homeschoolers. Whereas when I grew up, it was like, like if you were not a Christian and you homeschool, you would probably feel like you were kind of the odd person out if you did like, you know, field trips and stuff with other homeschoolers. So it's been amazing to watch it change. Speaker 0 00:13:22 Interesting. When you talked about kind of shifting demographic and the broadening and the diversification of the demographic, the people who were homeschooling. I just recently learned that mark Andreessen, uh, took his kid to son, at least out of, um, a private school in San Francisco. Um, in part, not just because of critical race theory and the, um, the trans agenda identity politics, but, uh, but also the, you know, kids have to get vaccinated or they have to wear masks all day long. And so that's, that's driven it. And I think that a lot of these lockdown, um, policies and the masks have also, uh, driven, you know, not just, um, a renewed interest in homeschooling, but, but other, other, uh, shifting paradigms, um, as well. And I was listening to, um, one of your interviews and you were describing, uh, growing up entering adulthood as a relentlessly optimistic young person. But, uh, you mentioned that the past two years you've had to consciously work on maintaining that optimism. So tell us a bit about that experience for, for you and for your family. Speaker 1 00:14:44 Yeah, absolutely. And before I do, I will, one quick comment on the schooling thing. It it's been amazing to see how many people have suddenly had that realization. Wait a minute, like this school should not be allowed to like bodily autonomy is important to tell my kid they've got to get injected or they got to wear a mask or whatever that's been amazing to see, but it's also been kind of interesting because I, I felt like for years, am I the only one that's seeing this, when you look at, even before this pandemic stuff, you think about the typical school, literally most public schools they'll remove the doors to the bathroom stalls because otherwise kids will like smoke in there or whatever they're not supposed to do. They have to ask permission to go to the bathroom. There's they have almost nowhere during the entire school day where they can go and be alone without being surveilled. Speaker 1 00:15:34 There's like no bodily autonomy and no privacy. It's like a prison, literally a prison like setting. And so for me, it's like, well, of course, they're going to do all this mask stuff and this other crazy stuff it's right in line. But, you know, just to, to like an institution can't change its stripes. Right. And so whatever it takes for people to realize what it is and kind of what it's always been good, like more people that wake up the better, but I'm kind of like, Hey, all right, join the party. Where are you been all this time? I've been trying to tell you, this is like a dehumanizing approach. Um, but with that, you know, these, these shifts there's, that's one of the, that's one of the ways that I've stayed optimistic is seeing how many people have said, hold on a second and it's come at various points. Speaker 1 00:16:15 Right. For some people, it still hasn't come for some, it was like, okay, I'm all right with mask mandates. I'm all right. With lock downs. I'm all right with this. And then, you know, by the third vaccine mandate, I'm starting to say, hold on a second. Right. But, but the silver lining is people are starting to, and once you start to say, this is a line where I feel intuitively you shouldn't be able to cross, then you go from acting out of your gut intuition, intuition reaction to, to your mind rationally. And you say, well, why, why do I think that? And then you start to work through the arguments of what a government ought to be able to do and ought not to be able to do. And what you find is people often they end up being like, well, I actually, I don't think they should have even been able to do this or this or this. Speaker 1 00:16:58 Right. And you start on that path. You get that initial question is Morpheus said in the matrix, the splinter in your mind, it starts to drive you mad. So that's been a really positive thing that I've, um, you know, really, really look to. But when, when 2020, it was a crazy story when, um, so 20, 20 rolls around and I was, I was having all kinds of crazy like health issues going on. And I, and I think it was a long story, but I think it's very much related to just how the startup I was building and the amount of stress that can manifest physically when you're trying to build a company and you're not getting things going. And so I was like, I went through this, like I was basically doing like a, like an immune system reset and was doing like fast. And then like, you know, this sort of, sort of strict diet and kind of like taking a month to like reset my whole system and then gradually get to get things back and to start that it was the, it was the beginning of April, the first week of April, I was doing a whole week of no work, no screens whatsoever and no work, which I've never done. Speaker 1 00:17:59 Like, I always work on vacation. I mean, I love my work. I was like, I'm just like a reset, everything. So like, no computer, no phone, no TV, nothing. And I don't follow the news or anything like that anyway, but I'm on Twitter a lot. So I'll see stuff. So I'm in this week of this, like, and I'm like fasting and doing this like intense sort of like immune system reset. And then I come out of like a week of that and I'm like, all right, I'm coming back at it. And I jumped, I jump on, I jumped back online and I'm like, wait a second. Within that one week that I was off they've canceled college basketball tournament, they've canceled the NBA. They get like what this is like, because the COVID said, it just looked like every other one of these things where it's like a bird flu or whatever, there's all this hype. Speaker 1 00:18:43 And I just didn't think anything of it I'm like whatever. And when I saw that and when I saw that it happened almost the entire world simultaneously like locked to their citizens in their houses indefinitely. I, I was stunned. I realized that where I thought the Overton window of political possibility was, was wrong. And in fact it felt to me like the whole window shattered, like now I have no idea what's possible if this is possible, what else is possible? My grasp on the limits of what governments can get away with was, was totally disconnected from the reality, which was really shocking to me because I've always felt like I've had a pretty realistic grip on that for, you know, over years being in politics back in the day. And so that kind of threw me for a loop and then, you know, watching the way people act acquiesced to it and like just the, the dehumanizing and dispiriting effect of going out to grocery stores and whatever, and seeing people wearing masks and seeing people just turn into, into kind of like, like looking at each other with suspects, looking at every person, like they're a vector of disease, right? Speaker 1 00:19:48 Like the humanity was gone, everyone was acting like a, some kind of a, you know, inhuman, robotic something. And it was just very strange. Now that experience, yes, I did have some of that. And I certainly saw plenty of people tweeting about that, but what kept me grounded was every time I would see that kind of crazy stuff, you know, of course, then you have the summer where it's like, everybody's riding, there's race riots. There's all this stuff. Every time I would like go out in my turn off Twitter, go out in my own town, Charleston, South Carolina at the time, or Mount pleasant, South Carolina, I would experience almost none of that. Most people still weren't wearing masks. Most people were still smiling. I didn't see any, you know, I was going, I was going to various visits at various specialists and things to see, and like hospitals were empty and were not overflowing in any way. Speaker 1 00:20:34 Like if you watch the news, you would, you would think that everything was falling apart, but like staying connected to what was happening outside my door was really, really crucial to be like, well, in my world where I have the power to actually influence things, it's actually not that bad. There's some things that are getting a little weird. Um, but it's not that bad. And I would say, if you live in a place where it was that bad, that's a good sign that you, maybe you should get out of there because there's a lot of places in the country where I live now in Tennessee, you would have never known the entire time that anything was going on in the world. Speaker 0 00:21:07 Total enrollment. I'm happy I'm coming, coming your way in, in two weeks. So, uh, from, from California. So, uh, well, let's get into it now. I'm want to get into your business and to your, your moonshot and to your really your life's passion. Um, you've been saying that college is dead for the past five years at that most people don't realize it. What do you mean by that? Speaker 1 00:21:35 Yeah. You know, that's, it's, uh, it's provocative on purpose, but I actually believe it, like something can be dead and, and have the appearance of living for a very long time. Like, look at the city of Detroit. It's dead. It's a dead city. It's been a dead city for like 60 years. 50 years. Yeah. It still exists. There's still some people that live there and they're still all well, there's a sports team downtown, you know, in a federally subsidized stadium. Oh, there's a little less or a little of Speaker 0 00:22:02 That, Speaker 1 00:22:04 But it's dead. Right. And like acknowledging and admitting that instead of clinging onto it in the hope that it'll someday come back, uh, to this former glory, this idealized state, I think is really important. I think when you, again, another, you know, another analogy, you can look at some of the big cities of today, you know, New York. Oh, well, look at the population. Look at the real estate value. It's not dead eyes like, yeah. But on the inside, it's dead, it's rotting. The outside can still maintain. But if there's something rotting at the core, and if you see that pattern, you say, that's, that's a corpse. That's just waiting. It's a zombie. I gotta get out of there. I gotta go to something that's growing. That's got life, that's got something. And I think that's what universities, that's the state that they're in there they're dead. Speaker 1 00:22:50 They're just not broke. They still have huge endowments. They've still got a lot of sort of unthinking, just the system, just turning people through, going in, getting there, but the what, the life, whatever, whatever was real and living and vibrant at the core, in the case of most universities, of course, there are always exceptions. It's dead. It's kind of rotten. It's hollow, like from the inside out. Um, certainly in a moral sense. Um, you know, again, the fact that you can find a couple of good professors here or there, those are the exceptions that prove the rule. Like it's, it's a decay Speaker 0 00:23:23 System society, by the way. Speaker 1 00:23:25 Right. I mean, yeah. There's and that's, and that's a great point. I used to work at, at sort of nonprofits that would help, you know, free market thinking, um, professors. And you would have to, like, you would have to obtain funding from donors that had nothing to do with the university to like allow these people to keep studying because the university is system itself. It's not going to feed those people and sustain. Like they, they have to be somewhat outside of the academic system. Maybe they have one foot in, but to stay alive, they gotta be at least partially detached. So yeah. I mean, from a, you know, from a cultural narrative standpoint, these narratives take a long time to fade away. I mean, look at the, look at the queen of England, right? Like it's probably never going to go away as a figurehead, look at the us post office. Speaker 1 00:24:11 All it does now is deliver junk mail. Like you don't actually need it anymore. It's probably never going to go away. Cause it's got a big bureaucracy and a big lobby, but it's for all functional purposes, it's like it's dead in terms of being the crucial, important thing to deliver messages to people. Right? And so the university as the place of learning and the place of vaulting you into your successful career, it's dead. It's not that any more. And the sooner you realize it, the sooner you can think clearly about what it is you want and how to get it. Now, it's possible that what you want may demand that you go into that system and get that degree. Like if you're really passionately, want to be a certified public accountant while there are, unfortunately, there are laws that say, you have to have a degree in accounting to do that. Speaker 1 00:24:57 If you know, that's what you want and you know, it's, it's worth the cost and you just see it as, as a price to pay it. So I'm going to get the most I can out of it. I'm going to go in knowingly. But the idea that you just go in, I don't know what I want to be, but I know I got to go to college. It's not true. And the sooner you can wake up to that fact, like this thing is going to, is going to saddle you this big zombie that just sucks the life out of young people. It's going to saddle you with debt, give you a bunch of crappy ideas. If you pay attention at all, give you what the opportunity to party and get drunk. You can do that for free. That's what you really want. You know? Um, so just realizing that like, you don't need them. Speaker 1 00:25:35 They need you, this pernicious myth pushed by like the blue check marks, the journalists, the academics, that to be a person who matters, you need a college degree to be sophisticated, right? To be intelligent, to be, to be one of the important people. You need a college degree. That's the bullshit that peddling because they need you, you, you don't need universities there. If you walk away and go do what you want to do, they're going to dry up and die right there. They're the ones that need your money and you don't need anything that they bring to the table at all. They're stale rubber stamp of approval, who the hell is going to be like, oh wow. A BA in communications from the university of Iowa. Oh my God, I'm going to hire you today. You sound incredible, right? Like, no. Speaker 0 00:26:20 Yeah. Well, that's the whole kind of, uh, moral of, of Atlas shrugged. You know that when we, you, uh, when you withdrawing find out who Billy needs, whom so, uh, so let's get into Praxis. What, or what led you to launch it? What's the model and what are some of the results? Speaker 1 00:26:39 Yeah. So, you know, as I mentioned, I had this, this is irritation in my own university experience. And by the way, I never used, never used my degree was listed on my resume. Nobody ever asked about it. I could have just made it up and put it on my resume. Nobody ever asked it was, I got all my jobs from, uh, I interned for free and I did a good job. And then someone recommended me to another job. And then, you know, from there on out, once you have one job that carries more weight than whatever past education experience you had, nobody cares. Right? So like, so I'm in my career, I'm working at a nonprofit where I'm helping a lot of young people, um, get their career started. I was running a fellowship program, placing people in journalism, think tanks, uh, academic type roles. Speaker 1 00:27:20 And I'm running this fellowship and I'm seeing all these young people are getting degrees and they have a lot of debt. And then they're going out and they're saying, well, nobody's hiring. I can't get hired. And this was not long after the 2008, um, you know, financial collapse. And everybody's like, oh, it's the economy. Economy's terrible. No one can get a job. Well, then I move into doing fundraising for this non-profit and I'm traveling all over the country and I'm meeting with self-made millionaires, occasionally billionaires. And I'm asking them about their businesses. How'd you get it started, what's it like, blah, blah, blah. And I would always ask them the same question. What's your biggest constraint to growth? Every time they would say people would say, I can't find enough. Good people. I'm always hiring. I don't care what the economy says. I'm always looking for good talent. Speaker 1 00:28:05 And I'm thinking here's all these business owners saying they can never find enough good people. And all these young people saying nobody wants to hire them. Well, something's wrong here? Um, so I had this idea. I thought, well, instead of spending four or five years, and a lot of these kids would go back and get a master's degree, just as a way to delay paying their student loans. I thought, instead of spending, you know, four or five years, the average now is about six years to get a four-year degree, hoping that you learn something that's valuable. And then hoping that when you come out, someone will want to hire you. What if you like found out right away what you're interested in and what's valuable in the market, instead of just guessing, instead of hoping that some professor who's never been out in the real-world marketplace and is scared of it and hates it, that they're going to teach you what's valued by the marketplace, right? Speaker 1 00:28:52 Like how about you go into the marketplace? So I thought, what if I could find a bunch of business owners and say, look, if I'll pre-qualify and vet them and give them a little bit of training, I'll send you some really young talent. They're going to be raw, but they're going to have the right work ethic. Will you bring them on at a really low cost for a six month apprenticeship? And then they'll learn on the job. And then at the end of that six months, I thought there's no way. After six months of working at a real company, you won't have, you won't have more, that's valued by the market. Then four years in college, like it seems impossible. And it turns out it is impossible. The bar is really low. You could probably get that in like one or two months, honestly, on a, on a real job. Speaker 1 00:29:34 So I thought, man, I think I got to do this. I think I got to launch this thing, this idea of like apprenticing, it just seems so simple. It's like, why not learn on the job? You know? Um, so I, I basically just went all in. I quit my job. I like put, you know, put it on the credit card until we had, you know, we didn't have any customers at first. And, and I'm, uh, I'm like, honey, we're, we're, we're doing this. My wife was, she was all about it. And we launched in 2013 and got, you know, just our first handful of participants to go through the program. And the program has changed and morphed over the years. But, um, you know, we're, we're almost nine years in now. And, uh, over 500 people have gone through the program. Um, 93% employment rate, like immediately after graduation at an average of, I think like $55,000 a year. Speaker 1 00:30:24 And these are for students who are often 17, 18, 19 20, no, no degree, usually no prior experience, um, getting great jobs and going on to have, have great careers. And so the structure of the program is very simple. It's a six month bootcamp, which is all virtual, where you're really figuring out, okay, given my skills and interests, what types of roles would I be a good fit? And we place people mostly at high-growth tech startups, so that they really get a dynamic experience. There's a lot of upside in those companies. Um, so what kind of roles would I be a good fit in? And, and then what can I build during this bootcamp that would signal that to people who hire for those roles? So let's say you decide you're really empathetic. You're patient, you like talking with people you're detail oriented, organized, you might make a great customer success rep at a tech startup. Speaker 1 00:31:16 And so what you might do is, is go, uh, you know, in our curriculum kind of guides you through this process, weekly coaching and all this stuff. You might create a project that demonstrates some of these skills like, Hey, uh, I created a chat bot and here's what, you know, the whole sequence that I set up, or I created a very simple, um, FAQ. I looked at your product and I saw all these people on Facebook asking these questions about it. And I didn't see an FAQ page. So I created one for you. Here you go. Like really simple things that can kind of demonstrate. And the minute you do that, that's more valuable than a degree. Like if you're interested in marketing, for example, if you create a landing page with an email sign up and a five email drip sequence that sends to those people, you know, saying, Hey, welcome to this list, blah, blah, blah. Speaker 1 00:32:00 And then show that to someone instantly 10 times more valuable than a piece of paper that says BA in marketing, like BA in marketing means literally nothing in the marketing world, but having built anything, even just the landing page, huge. So it's, it's helping participants kind of gain those skills through actual projects. And then they go out and we prepare them up with businesses in our network. And they're, they're apprenticing there for six months. Um, you know, learning on the job, continuing with coaching and practice, like, you know, evening programming, things like that. And, um, and it's a, it's a paid, you know, it's a paid role. And, uh, at the end of it, like I said, it's a 93% are getting hired. Um, you know, immediately, usually in that same job, they're usually getting an offer from that same company to come on full-time. Speaker 1 00:32:43 So, um, and the whole goal from day one was can we make something that is one year or less in that costs $0 on net to the participant. And that's exactly what it is. Participants pay tuition is $12,000, but they earn about $15,000 during the apprenticeship portion. So imagine if you, you know, paid for college, but part of college actually paid you. Part of it was learning on the job and it paid for all of your tuition, right? At the end of the program, the net cost is zero. Um, and, uh, you know, believe it or not, especially when we first started, it was really, really hard. People were like, yeah, okay. You're guaranteeing me an apprenticeship and it's a zero net cost and it's just one year and I'll probably get hired at the end of it. I just don't know. It seems risky. I guess I'll keep spending $40,000 a year on a communications degree and hope that something good happens. You know what I mean? It's like the narrative is so strong, but it's, it's gotten easier and easier every year. Like now we don't even have to convince young people that college is a waste. They get it. Now it's just a matter of if they can convince their parents to not kill them for not going, you know, Speaker 0 00:33:51 So I'm going to ask you the same question then I'm going to, you've got a bunch of questions coming in. I'm going to start grabbing some of those, but the same question that you asked those, you know, successful business men, when you asked what their biggest constraints to growth, uh, were, what have been your biggest constraints to growth? Speaker 1 00:34:10 Yeah, that's a great question. Um, I think honestly the biggest constraint has been from day one in our, in our growth is like slowly increased as this has shifted, has really just been the percentage of the population who sees this fact, uh, who sees this fact about universities and who kind of understand who's who are willing to take a chance and say, I want to do something different. I want to invest in myself. And that started as like a pinprick and now it's slowly grown. Like we could, we could handle, we could scale to a much, much larger size if the market was large enough, but we have to, we have to have participants that are serious about it, that care that you can't just show up and be like, eh, give me a job. And like, not put in any work you're going to fail. Speaker 1 00:35:03 The program's not going to work. Um, so you have to want it, but you don't have to have any special skills or any academic background or any type of, uh, you know, specific intelligence level or anything. Like, like you just have to have the work ethic and say I'm willing to put in the work. Um, and so if you think, if you asked like a fitness trainer, who's really good at getting people into shape, like, what's your biggest constraint. It's like how many people are willing to put in the work you've got, if you show up to that fitness trainer, you can't say, okay, make me fit. They're going to be like, well, I can help you, but you gotta want it. You gotta put in the work. Right. So that's, that's really good. And that's why, you know, over the years we have just leaned very, very heavily on writing books, doing podcasts, you know, writing blog posts, because helping people have that mental transformation is necessary. Speaker 1 00:35:49 We're doing something where, you know, if you're selling a product where people already know that they have a, a pain point, oh, I have a headache. I'm going to go buy some Tylenol. Right? You want to be in the Tylenol business. Everybody are either they're problem aware. And they're even solution aware. They know that Tylenol exists. They're just Google it and they want to go find it. Right. We're selling something where people are starting to be problem aware. Like they know something's off, it feels wrong to spend so much money. College feels kind of wasteful, but no, one's really articulating the fact that yes, it is. It's a joke. Right. And we've been trying to do that and then that's step one and then it's okay, well, what do I do instead? And then trying to help them see, well, in a general sense, you can learn by doing, you can create projects, whatever. And in a specific sense, here's this program that can help you do that. So trying to move customers a lot of steps, it's a long play and we're, and we're up against a very entrenched sort of cultural dogma. And it's like a, it's like a generational shift. And I think in many ways we started too early. You know what I mean? Like very early now with again, it's getting easier and easier. So I think, I think belief that's the biggest constraint. Speaker 0 00:36:53 All right. Here's a great question. Um, from Tammy worth on Facebook, she asks, what do you think happened to build this narrative that people need to go to college? Why did apprenticeships and trade schools fade away in the first place? Speaker 1 00:37:12 Yeah, that's a really interesting question. And I wish I had like a single definitive clear answer, but from a lot of years of just kind of looking into it and looking at the various dynamics here, I have a few thoughts. I think when you really saw this takeoff, the biggest impetus was after world war II was the GI bill. So now you have all of this artificially inexpensive money, right. Or, you know, Hey, we'll pay for your college altogether. So now you can go it's free. And it's, it feels like because, because universities were short of a, you know, they were kind of like a high end thing. Right. And like, whatever rich people are doing, everybody else wants to do is sort of a status thing. So it was either for a very, very specialized thing. Like originally it was like, if you wanted to be a clergy member, you know, you would study at these universities. Speaker 1 00:38:00 Um, and then some, some of the sciences, you know, got in there. Um, some like, you know, literature in some of these things. But even then it wasn't like most writers were, you know, going to, going to college to become writers. But it was, it was like, uh, you know, it was kind of like a luxury status thing for wealthy people as the government started to say, okay, we're going to do this for everybody. And I think the schooled mindset, the schooled approach to learning in general, as that took over as the United States, lower education system deliberately modeled after the Prussian system whose sole goal was make obedient. Soldiers was like, everyone's a widget. We cram you through this industrial factory like system. This is how learning happens. And it became, it's like so weird. It became to where people forgot that humans learn stuff without going to school, like, like go look at the literacy rates in like, you know, pre, pre industrial mass schooling America. Speaker 1 00:38:58 There were like 90 plus percent. And how do people do this? Right. In other school houses and stuff like that. But how do you, how do you learn to speak? How do you learn English, the language as a toddler or how to walk you're around it and you practice it. That's actually how humans learn everything. But this was like forgotten this idea that, and really the school system is about unlearning have having people unlearn the things that come natural to them like independence and entrepreneurship and creativity so that they can be molded into obedient kind of citizens. Right. And so, so after like, uh, you know, 50, 60, 70 years almost a century of that mentality dominating and the people who were educators, they were, they went to universities, right? A lot of them teaching schools and teaching colleges to sort of normalize so that everyone would learn the same thing and then go and teach this to young people. Speaker 1 00:39:49 That shift started to happen. So the way we viewed learning. And so then you have this post-World war II and it's like, well, what are all these people going to do? Well, they gotta have jobs. Well, how do you learn? Well, you learn in a classroom, so we'll give them money to go to classrooms, right? So you have like a failed assumption about learning coupled with a artificial incentive from the government. And now you get all these student loan programs coming on and suddenly the universities are like, oh, this is a gravy train. So now we're going to continue to compete for those cheap dollars. And everybody who, people who love the university system are disproportionately. Robert knows it, cause an essay on this. Um, and, and actually Hayak cause the intellectuals and socialism as well, but, um, they're disproportionately like, okay, I went through school and I was rewarded for doing things well and obeying and doing what the teacher asked. Speaker 1 00:40:33 And then I went through university and the same thing. And now I answer the market and the kid who could barely read is making a million dollars selling real estate. Well, something must be wrong. Capitalism must be flawed because I'm better than them. I'm smarter. I would, the teacher told me, right. And so then you get these kinds of academics who are, they're kind of in the positions of influence with young people, as teachers, as you know, people who've gone through that system. And they tout the virtues of that system. They say to be a good citizen, to be a good person, you have to go to the cyst system. So you kind of have this confluence of incentives and ideas, financial incentives, and some misguided ideas. And they feed each other. The people who rely on that system to feel important, they tend to be people who are good at writing people who are good at talking people who are they're intellectual, right? Speaker 1 00:41:22 They're not, they're not the types who are just out there getting business done. They're writing books and they're talking. And so they have disproportionate influence and they can say, well, this is what a good person does. This is what a smart person does. And so it just kind of feeds on itself. And then I think the final thing is when you had this sort of massive increase in productivity and wealth and standard of living that let the baby boomers, their parents could basically afford to send them to college, or they could pay for themselves in college, many, many of the cases. And for many of them, like a lot of them went to college, but not all of them. And this was seen as like this big achievement. And so they set in their mind, the proxy for being a good parent is getting my kid into the best college and getting them through college. Speaker 1 00:42:06 And if I do that, all of my peers will, will judge me well. Right. That's, it's a status thing. So if you go to the cocktail party and I mean, I've seen this firsthand as a parent, you say, oh, you know what, what's going on with, uh, with Joe? Oh, uh, yeah, he's a, he's at Florida state. He's doing he's, he's about to graduate people say, oh wow, that's great. You must be so proud. Now Joe could be an alcoholic. Who's depressed in borderline suicidal. But as long as he's going to Florida state, everybody will be like, wow, you're a good parent, but what about Jane? Jane didn't want to go to college. So she started a business and I don't really know what she's going to do. Jane could be crushing it making $200,000 as a 20 year old. And people will still be like, oh, and they'll make you feel like a bad parent. Speaker 1 00:42:48 Like that's how tied the idea of being a good parent to having your kid go to university is, I mean, I've literally talked to parents who have college grad kids were living at home, were struggling who can't find a job for years and they're depressed. And they are more proud of them than their 19 year old who skipped college and is crushing it with a business that he owns and is happy and is living on his own independently because they have this idea that college equals success. That's just, it's this religious thing that has kind of evolved. So there's a lot of factors. That's my best attempt that kind of pointing out some of them. Speaker 0 00:43:19 So, you know, one of the things that comes up a lot with our donors, um, at the Atlas society, uh, they are doing their best to raise children with a firm grounding in reality, and, um, a sense of gratitude for living in America. And they send their kids to college, um, only to have them become brainwashed by things like socialism and critical race theory and intersectionality. I'm wondering, you know, especially with your comment that you said, maybe I started practice a little bit too early, if, uh, you know, was it purely a business opportunity that you saw, uh, that you wanted to capitalize on or was any part of your motivation? I mean, given that you'd been interested in, in freedom and in philosophy, uh, was any part of it, like you wanted to do something good in the world and maybe, um, providing an opportunity, uh, for people to avoid, not just the expense and the opportunity costs, but also some of the ideological contamination and peer pressure at the university setting, or is that just an added, extra social, extra benefit to just getting on with your life and getting Speaker 1 00:44:32 That was the primary motivation. I have always been motivated by human freedom, expanding my own and others freedom. And so my career trajectory really follows my intellectual trajectory and trying to understand how to bring about social change, how to, how to make the world more free. So I started in politics thinking that, well, that's, I guess that's where you do it. And I realized, no, that's not it politics. Politicians are followers, not leaders. You know, they're, they're operating within a window, that's defined by broader cultural forces. So then I kind of moved into like think tanks and the world of ideas. And in the process there, I came to the conclusion that the Mo the majority of people's beliefs are not formed by direct arguments and engagement with ideas. Some are, but the majority are formed by experiences. What is normalized for them through their experiences. Speaker 1 00:45:22 So if you have grown up where something has just always been that way, you're going to tend to think that it's probably okay. Probably should be that way. If it hasn't been something foreign is introduced, you're going to tend to be skeptical of it. And so I thought, well, how can we create experiences where people were, where people have more freedom as a default, which will make, uh, tyranny seem foreign and, and, you know, horrible to them. And, you know, I looked at some various examples of, of where I saw freedom, expanding in some tangible ways. And I realized it was not coming primarily from ideas and intellectuals and arguments. It was primarily coming from experiences. And I remember when Uber first came out, you know, how many, how many times did think tanks been writing about the dead weight, losses of taxi cartels and the morality of, you know, making it illegal for somebody to offer you a ride for pay and all this stuff? Speaker 1 00:46:17 No one really cared. They just always had seen taxis. They didn't really know how it worked. It didn't matter. Now you introduce Uber, you put an app in their hand, that's way more convenient. And they use it. And the guests, what, when the, when the various local governments say we're going to ban Uber, suddenly everybody sounds like a libertarian. There you tell me who I can pay to give me a ride. No, you're not going to ban Uber. And Uber ended up winning pretty much. Every one of those times, they got banned temporarily or whatever. Now you can argue that, you know, Uber started to become more and more regulated and getting more. Um, but just seeing that initially emergence of something that had been around that had been really like a mob run racket for decades, the taxi medallion, you know, racket to, to see it get disrupted like that, without anybody winning a big debate or publishing a white paper, it was like, you create a new experience. Speaker 1 00:47:06 And now suddenly people, they like it. And so I thought I'm really passionate about this world of education. And I think that that's ultimately the depredations of the state are limited to what the populace will tolerate. And the populace is toleration of tyranny is heavily, heavily conditioned. I would say, predominantly through the education system. Like that's the reason states want education systems. If you can normalize, obeying arbitrary authority, then there you go. That's your, that's your gateway to whatever you want to do. And so I thought, okay, so if I can kind of work backwards, right? The reason the reason people tell themselves that you have to go to school is so that you can get into college. And the reason you have to go to college, so you can get a job and not be a loser. Well, if I can demonstrate, if I can just offer people a product and say, I'll get you a better job faster and cheaper. Now, suddenly they say, well, maybe you don't have to go to college. If you don't have to go to college, what's really the point of high school and trying to get Speaker 1 00:48:08 Right. And if you don't have to do that normal high school, whatever thing, maybe there's a better way to like be a kid and grow into an adult and learn things. And then all of a sudden you have a generation where more and more people aren't going to school and doing all that stuff, because they realize there's a better way what the state is able to get away with shrinks. Right. And that, I mean, that's, that's literally, my mission is like, how can we shrink the state? Well, let's start with higher education and show people that they can get a job that's better, um, without it, and have a better experience. And that will eventually, and it will start with a small remnant of people, but a disproportionately influential remnant, because these are people that, I mean, the Praxis alumni network is amazing. So yes, it's a very long answer to your question is very much a part of my desire to, to spread freedom and to, and to help people live as free as possible. And that's, I mean, that's what gets me up every morning. And I think there's a million ways to do that. But any way you can connect it to a for-profit enterprise where you get that immediate feedback from customers. And if my idea about how to make the world more free sucks, then I'll go out of business. If there's something to it, I won't go out of business. I kind of liked that. Speaker 0 00:49:15 I like, I like it too. All right. We got about a little less than 10 minutes. Um, I've got some, a couple of really great questions. I don't think we're going to get to all of them. Um, so I am going to take the prerogative to, uh, to ask you about iron Rand, because, um, I, there, there is some iron Rand in here. Uh, you wrote well before I wrote, uh, my wall street journal op-ed can you love God nine ran? You wrote a very, um, interesting, I thought very compelling article, um, about Christianity and Iran. Let's get to a couple of, of your main takeaways. I know you said that article isn't isn't, you know, for every maybe pissed off some Christians, maybe it pissed off some Objectivists, but I would also say, you know, just as you talked about this arc of seeing how attitudes changed about homeschooling over the course of the years, I've seen attitudes among, uh, religious Christians toward Iran change. You know, even during the past 10 years, there was a lot more hostility for, and now I don't know if it's in part our partnership with turning point or just some of the outreach that I've done, trying to promote a more inclusive way of, uh, appreciating Iran. But, um, but it, it doesn't seem to kind of set people quite as much back on the heels. So where did that article come from? Speaker 1 00:50:42 Yeah, you know, I, when I first came across, I and ran, I think I was, I think I was maybe 18 or 19. Um, I just thought it was incredible. I was like, this is amazing, you know, like this is just absolutely incredible and I, I didn't really find anything to disagree with. And as I mentioned, I grew up in a, in a Christian household and, you know, my, my religious views have morphed and shifted over time, but I've essentially always been a Christian, although maybe some Christians would not define me as one, but, um, there's always something in every, in every sector. Um, but I, you know, I, I've also been, uh, very, very interested in political freedom and my political views, you know, as I first discovered Milton Friedman and then Ludwig Von Mises and the Austrian school of economics, it became know, sort of got dragged kicking and screaming to essentially anarchism or volunteerism, anything that's peaceful, right. Speaker 1 00:51:32 Just be peaceful interactions between people are always pressed preferable to the initiation of violence, essentially. Right. That's kind of my political philosophy in a nutshell. And that to me is like 100% compatible with Christianity. In fact, to me, the idea of the use of political violence seems utterly incompatible with Christianity and the churches that I grew up in that were like your sort of typical conservative Republican that were like, you know, they'd have like a flag up on the next to the cross and be like, you know, praying for, you know, whatever, whatever politicians to succeed in this thing that I, you know, as I, as I, my views changed, I was like, that is not what I'm seeing when I, when I study Christianity, this is, that's not the way that, um, you know, that I read the gospels. So when I came across Iran, I just thought it was amazing because to me, the elements of religion that get warped and they get dangerous and they get manip, manipulative are all the things that Iran is concerned about with religion, orbit state is, and more with anything, um, with the idea of operating out of a sense of guilt, um, uh, that you have a duty to someone else, uh, that supersedes your own self-interest, that is, that is anti-life has ran put it right? Speaker 1 00:52:44 Like if, if I have a duty to, um, you know, suffer for some vague collective, uh, that, you know, they, I owe them, um, whatever they say, I owe them. That's a very, very dangerous thing and that, so I always found that that really resonated with me. And it wasn't until like, I sort of went along and I read, you know, Atlas, drugged, I read, um, Anthem, I read the Fountainhead and I started to encounter more like really hardcore objectives where I was like, oh, I guess I, and ran like hated Christianity and hated religion in general and whatever, and sort of encountered that and thought, huh, well, it never really struck me as incompatible. And it just seems sort of like, not a big deal to me when people started to push an app, cause I was writing more libertarian stuff and people found out that I was Christian. Speaker 1 00:53:28 They were like, how can you reconcile this? Especially this Randy and stuff. Cause you're quoting iron ransom times and whatever. So that article was just a very simple attempt and the way I see it as like, I am not at all claiming that, um, you know, oh, and ran was secretly a Christian or anything like that or that Jesus was secretly a objectivist or something. But I think if you look at the core idea behind both Christianity, sort of what CS Lewis might call mere Christianity and what I might call mirror, mirror objectivism, um, those overlap a ton like, like maybe like 80%, not a hundred percent, but there's, there's something there. And I think even just when you dig into get semantic or really quickly, but what is, what is self-interest really mean? And like the idea even of self sacrifice, right? So, okay. Speaker 1 00:54:18 The whole Christian idea, self sacrifice, even martyrdom, I think there is a way in which you can interpret that that is not, um, antithetical to the, to the Randian idea of pursuing your self-interest it's self-interest rightly understood so to speak, right? If, if you believe that life extends beyond the physical plane, which you don't have to, but if you do, let's just assume that you do, how might that change your idea of self-interest if you are going to live beyond when you die physically? Well, then a lot of the things that Christians do, for example, those, those aren't necessarily done out of manipulation and guilt. Sometimes they are, they may be done out of genuine self-interest right. And so just that idea, I think that you own yourself, you own your choices, you are accountable and responsible for them. You owe nobody anything, and nobody owes you anything. I think that is the starting point for a genuine version of Christianity or just any life philosophy, like start there, stop being a victim. And now, now there's a lot that can come from that. And I think those, they both share, um, in my view, a lot of overlap there. So anyway, I'm sure there's a lot that people can find to disagree. Speaker 0 00:55:24 That's fantastic. We, we put the, uh, we put the link to the article. I've got Scott shifts, uh, as ready to book you on his podcast. Uh, so anyway, I think, uh, I think it's fantastic. We don't want a hundred percent. I think when you have a hundred percent agreement on everything, then don't stop growing. And, um, you know, even if that's our founder, David Kelly said, if we are, uh, right, we have nothing to fear. If we have, if we are wrong, we have something to learn. And so, um, I personally find it invigorating to talk to people who don't agree with me on everything. And, uh, even people that don't agree with me, um, within our, uh, within our faculty, we have, uh, you know, we all agree on the core principles of objectivism, but do we have different applications? So, uh, so Isaac, we could have gone on forever. I can just attest folks having done the research for, um, for this interview. If you want to learn more about Isaac, um, he is a prolific, uh, podcast or a prolific blogger you can go to, uh, to his site. Is it it's Isaac Morehouse, Speaker 1 00:56:37 Morehouse.com.com. Speaker 0 00:56:39 Yeah. Just again, type in Iran and type in any subject that, uh, that you want, um, 10, 10 books, as I mentioned. Uh, but, but especially if there are those of you who have, uh, children or grandchildren, uh, or just young people in your life, um, that you, you want to make sure that there is a richer and more varied and more vibrant, uh, universe of options for them please, uh, check out Praxis and is, is crashed. We didn't really get to it, but is, is, is crash for so young people, is that basically anybody along the path of their career that wants to Speaker 1 00:57:19 Yeah. Crash it crashes specifically for job seekers. So if you're on the job hunt, um, you know, we just sort of have a series of tools and resources for job seekers [email protected] Speaker 0 00:57:29 Excellent. All right. And, um, where else should we follow you and find you, Speaker 1 00:57:34 I mean, I'm on Twitter, but, uh, you know, I mean really if you go to Isaac morehouse.com, you'll find everything else got links to Twitter and Praxis and all that other stuff. So, Speaker 0 00:57:42 Oh, and everybody watches interview with, uh, with Tucker Carlson, that was a really worthwhile, and it was the result of something that he touched on really briefly earlier, uh, that T was, uh, with a group of students and there was a shy, quiet boy in the corner, um, that he went out of his way to talk to and give a little encouragement. And five years down the road, that kid was a associate producer at Fox and said, Hey, we're talking about college. Let's let's book this nice man. It was took some time to talk to me. So it is interest to be nice. Speaker 1 00:58:21 Yes. Acts of kindness, uh, can be in your self-interest even if you can't see how immediately they'll come back, they'll come in without getting Wu and karma. There's a way in which it'll expand your, uh, it'll increase your luck surface. Speaker 0 00:58:35 Absolutely. All right. Well, sounds good to me. Uh, Isaac, thank you very much. Good luck to you. Uh, we're going to be following you and wishing you the very best with, um, both practice and with crash and looking forward to book 11. Speaker 1 00:58:49 Thank you so much.

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