What if there was a way to be freed of the pressure to follow the ‘norm’ and do only what we think is expected of us? Founder and CEO of Crash, Isaac Morehouse, talks about his childhood homeschooling experience and the steps he took to paving his own path while teaching others to do the same.

  • 2:38 – The freedom homeschooling can provide
  • 5:38 – The college alternative
  • 11:31 – Success is in the eyes of the beholder
  • 14:32 – Don’t get stuck doing something you hate
  • 17:48 – Embracing the hard things
  • 21:05 – Learning guided by interests
  • 23:13 – The different learning paces of children
  • 27:35 – The mindset behind Praxis
  • 37:45 – Crash: the three phase success program

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Full Episode Transcription:

Derek: (00:00)
Isaac Morehouse, welcome to the learn to win podcast. It’s awesome to have you on. I think I could stay for both Todd and myself. We’re really excited to speak with you. You know, we were introduced by a friend of mine and friend of ours, Jeremy Slate and you know, we, we were geeking out on the concept of education and how technology is going to continue to change the way that people can learn. And Jeremy was like, you gotta talk to my buddy Isaac. He’s doing so many cool things in this space and I think you guys really hit it off. And so that’s where we are and I’m excited to be speaking with you. So welcome.

Isaac: (00:31)
Hey, thanks. I love the name by the way, learn to win I, I think that success is a discipline, right? Like you sort of people sort of think that success is an outcome that maybe it can happen because a luck, maybe it can happen because you do some things right. But I actually think like, like success is something that you learn how to do. And I love that idea. Like learn to win. It’s just, it takes away that sort of happenstance. I hope good things happen to me. Mindset and puts you in the driver’s seat. So good, good stuff.

Derek: (01:01)
I’m glad you recognize that. Cause that’s like, that’s a key factor is that the depth, the multi meaning of that, right. The idea of actually learning and then also learning the mindset, learning, learning the habits. Right. So I’m cool. It’s cool that you see that and I, and I agree it’s a cool title, so thank you. So yeah, man. Tell us what about you. Obviously, you know, we’re, we’re both shared in the space entrepreneurship, which we’ll definitely get into, but why, why, for you personally? I mean, people can look at this a little bit already, but why for you personally? Is education so important and yeah. 

Isaac: (01:30)
You know, it comes to something even more fundamental to me than education. Education just happens to be where the rubber starts to meet the road the most. And for me, I’m like my core, I dunno, I guess like my animating value or core focus in life is freedom. I want to live free. And I want to help others live free. And that comes in so many forms. I mean, there’s so many things that like make us unfree and so much of the time we don’t feel free. So it can be just like guilt or shame or litigation or commitments we wish we wanted to made. It can be social pressure, it can be lack of political freedom, a lot of different things. And like to me that’s like the core animating idea that gets me excited. And I’ve, and I’ve had that since I was very young and was almost kind of rebellious, independent and, and I was homeschooled.

Isaac: (02:20)
And so kind of always had a lot of freedom, always had a lot of jobs when I was young and kind of hustling and doing stuff, but not, not so much a structure on the school side. And I remember when I went to college, yeah, everyone’s like, you have to go to college. Of course you have to go to college or you’re going to be a loser. You’re going to be unemployed, you’re gonna be sleeping on a park bench. And no one ever explained why, like what’s the causal connection, what is college going to do? But you just have to or you won’t get a good job. Right. So I did like everybody else and when I’m sitting there in these classes, you know, I enjoyed some of ’em, like I’m an ideas person. I like, you know, reading philosophy and whatnot. But I was working three days a week for a small business owner.

Isaac: (03:00)
I was in way over my head every day. All kinds of just learning on the job, like bs-ing my way through some situations sometimes, you know, and and then I’m turning around and I’m paying my way through school. I’m paying all this money that I’m earning and I’m sitting in these classes. Nobody seemed to want to be there. The professors didn’t want to be there. Everyone’s happy when classes canceled. Right? What other good do you pay for an advance and then you’re happy when it’s not delivered, right? Nobody wants to show up to class. Everyone’s kind of bored. And that’s where I realized like the knowledge, the information, that’s not the product. No one’s buying that. None of these kids are really that interested in that. They’re buying the piece of paper because they feel like if they don’t have that there’ll be seen as a loser.

Isaac: (03:40)
And so I thought, okay, well that’s helpful. Let’s see. Sort of like the signaling theory of education, right? You’re buying this, this signal that a third party has sort of said you pass their tests. So I thought, all right, well it’s a signal, whatever, I guess you need it. And then one day I’m sitting in class and I look around and there’s all these, you know, and I went to a big generic state school. It’s not like a good university or anything and, and all these kids are just like hung over and like talking about how they got wasted last night. And like, you know, no one’s paying attention. And I remember I just had this thought, all I’m really buying is a piece of paper that says to the world, I’m probably no worse than everyone else in this room. Cause I was like, they’re all going to walk out of here with the same piece of paper.

Isaac: (04:24)
And I’m basically screaming, Hey, I’m probably not worse than that, you know? And I was like, wow, that’s like a pretty weak signal. And so I just, I had this feeling like most people feel very sort of unfree in their educational process. It’s all very much like, I have to do this or you know, my parents will, you know, bust my chops or I’ll never be able to get a job. And like I don’t have a choice. Yeah. I wish I could do something cool or more interesting or follow something that I’m excited about, but I can’t, I have to do this. And I just that never, that never sat well with me. And so it took about a decade. I had all these ideas for a different kind of college and I remember putting together a PowerPoint and all this stuff and 

Isaac: (05:11)
alternatives to college. I wanted to build and you know, I like made a PowerPoint, whatever, but I was 1920. I didn’t know what to do with that. So I was sort of went about my career. I worked for a couple of different nonprofits and things and I was, I was working in and around sort of students, higher ed people getting their career started. But it took me about a decade of that frustration I had experienced and exposure to the world and a lot more people, entrepreneurs and the pain points they have in hiring people, students coming out with debt and being like, I don’t have any, there’s no jobs. No one will hire me to kind of have this epiphany that I wanted to start a company to do this differently. And that’s when, when I started praxis.

Derek: (06:23)
So first off, I, so many similarities of the experience. And I think it’s great that you came and actually did something about it first off. So I commend you on that and I’m going to definitely come back to your companies and the inspiration and what you’re doing with those in a moment. But I even take a step further back. I mean, you went from being educated and especially at the time and non traditional setting or you were homeschooled at a time before homeschooling was really becoming accepted. It’s like, it’s coming, it’s becoming more so now obviously because of virtual education and technology and so forth. But you know, when we were growing up, the homeschooling was definitely a large minority. And so you went from going from a very typical environment and I’m interested to hear about that process too, going into a large box, state school, traditional environment. And then you had this realization, I mean, talk to us a little bit about that process.

Isaac: (07:14)
Yeah, so, you know, it was funny. So our, my homeschooling experience, my dad was in a car accident when I was three and he you know, he has a closed head injuries in a wheelchair. He requires 24 hour care. So he was with us at home, but he was, there was usually home health aides helping take care of him. We’d help take care of it. So for all intents and purposes, my mom was sort of raising us on her own and they had decided to homeschool us prior to that. And so kind of out of necessity, it was a very unstructured homeschool experience. Like there are some homeschoolers who are like, they homeschool because they don’t think school is rigorous enough and they want like, you know, to learn Latin and Greek and the violin by the time you’re five or whatever. That was not us. My mom wanted that to be us, but it was nothing like that. It was like, I remember like I go upstairs and like do my math and then I’d grade my own math work and I remember just like, I’d like shoot squirrels with my BB gun out the window. You know, instead of doing my, you know, whatever, playing Legos, it was, it was pretty unstructured. Todd, it looked like you were going to say something there. Yeah.

Todd: (08:16)
Well I’ve got a couple of comments. I was going to ask the exact same thing about the homeschooling is like, but I was sort of imagining your parents are like these three to them loving hippies out in the woods and they have this whole curriculum they came up with for you. Which is a little bit like my parents were, but I didn’t do homeschooling. But when you went off to college, what was, when was that in alignment with what they wanted or like, because let me, where we want it a little bit. I really resonated with the story you told about people not having any freedom to choose what they were going to study, what they were going to do. I started school as a mechanical engineer and after my first I was like, this is boring. It’s kind of hard and I don’t know if this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. So I went to my counselor and I was like, I want to take a psychology class. That’s what I went and told him. And they’d looked at my whole plan and they were like, Oh well we can fit you in at the the third trimester of your junior year. I’m like, that’s like, I’m basically done like, no, no. So I actually got dropped the engineering major and I took a ton of different classes. So I stayed in school and I got a degree in film and English. But that really resonated and I, it probably happens much more these days. Cause that was 20 years ago. 

Isaac: (09:45)
Yeah. You know, it’s interesting with my parents, my dad probably would’ve been more focused on, he was an accountant, he was a CPA and worked at a, a large firm.And like he had a master’s degree and he, he probably would have been a little more focused on like go to get a certain thing, go study a certain thing. My mom was very practical. She was the only one in her of her six siblings that went to college and just sort of, they’re all very like in, in the trades and kind of very down to earth. And so she didn’t, she never put any pressure at all like on whether you have to go to college, what college to go to. Like we didn’t really, it was just sort of like, do what you want to do as long as you’re like working hard, not getting into trouble. You’re a good person. I’m not really worried about it. She didn’t have a lot of pressure expectations on sort of career and education, which I didn’t think about at the time.

Isaac: (10:23)
It just seemed normal to me. But now I’ve seen so many other kids with their parents and it’s always like really well intentioned parents, but it’s just, there’s nothing harder to break away from then the good intentions of good parents that they just, you need the freedom to explore and success by your parents’ definition is probably not what success is going to look like by your own definition. And you need to have that transition. So I had a lot of freedom there. So I was homeschooled and then I was the youngest of three siblings and when I was 14 my brother and sister were both, they both had their license, so they’re out of the house a lot. So I was like, all right, I don’t want to get around some friends some more. I’m like, you know, some of my friends had started going to this private school.

Isaac: (11:01)
I wanted to move from the homeschool basketball team to the school basketball team. That was better. So I went to a private school for one year, just a real small one. And like I liked it. I liked playing the sports and it was fun and stuff. But I remember just being like, this is so weird that we’re all on the same schedule. No matter what. No matter how fast or how slow kids learn, y’all take 50 minute classes, the bell rings, you go to the next class, no matter how deep you are in your work. I can’t. It’s crazy. Like, like, you know, I can’t get lost in something. I can’t just skip ahead several sessions. If I’m faster in one class, I can’t work nearly as many hours. And I was always trying to like earn money and stuff. So I just found it kind of very constraining. 

Isaac: (11:42)
And so after one year I decided to go to community college. And so I just took all my classes like two days a week at a community college and worked the other three days. And then I transfer that over to the state in my town. And so I, I got my bachelor’s when I was 19 and kinda just paid my way through. And I basically just followed the path of least pain. Like if I’m going to class and I really hate it, I’m like, okay, I don’t want to take more classes like this. I want to take classes that I hate the least. And so I ended up, I just, I never, like, I never spoke to a counselor. I never like really planned out what I was doing. I just took as many credits as I could fit in every semester, usually like 18 or 20.

Isaac: (12:21)
And then I’m like working 30 hours a week or whatever. And then I just, I remember like my junior year I went and looked through all the credits I had and I was like, Oh, okay, well I guess I’m, I almost have enough to get like a political science and philosophy degree cause those had like the least amount of credits and I just liked those types of classes. So I just had a lot of them. I was like, all right, I might as well just do that. And I don’t even know if I graduated. I think I did. I think they sent me something in the mail. I’m not sure. But it was very, it was very paper man. You got it. Yeah. Like yeah, I think you had to pay money to get the physical thing and I never did. So theoretically I have a degree. I’m not sure. I don’t have a high school diploma though, so don’t tell anybody.

Derek: (13:03)
You see that is fascinating? All of that. Again, I first again just love that you created your own path and based primarily on curiosity and what interested you and what you saw was not working for you and for others. And we’re able to create a new model. I mean that’s, that’s part of the journey that I think is representative of personalization at its finest. 

Isaac: (13:24)
I mean it’s kinda like, I’ve always had this belief that it’s too hard, at least for me it’s too hard to like pick a passion or pick an end point and say this is what I want to be when I grew up or this is what I want to do. That’s too daunting. And like the odds that I’m going to be wrong are just so high. I’m going to discover so many things I don’t know.

Isaac: (13:46)
And so I’ve always taken the opposite approach, which is don’t do stuff that I hate and everything else is fair game and I’ll just take whatever the best looking next opportunity is as long as I don’t hate it. And that’s harder than you’d think to not do stuff you hate. Cause like it’s real easy to just keep doing something that you really hate. It’s like sucking your soul. But as long as you don’t hate it, you don’t need to absolutely love it. You don’t need to know for sure this is what you want to do the rest of your life, but keep doing it. And that process of discovery and all of a sudden the field of things that you hate will start to grow. Cause he’d be like, Oh, okay, now I know that I hate accounting. Don’t want to do that. Okay, now I know that I don’t want to do this.

Isaac: (14:23)
And the field will start to narrow in. Eventually you’ll be doing stuff that you love. Right. And I’ve always kind of followed that approach. I’ve been very selfish about the way that I learn, the way that I follow my career. Like if I’m not feeling, I don’t have to love every minute of it, but if I’m hating it, I gotta get outta there, you know? 

Derek: (14:42)
So this is really fascinating. Let’s, we can go, I’m going to go two ways. So one is so there’s a risk that we talked about this a couple weeks ago with another guest. There’s a risk that you’re only taking stuff that you like all the time, which I think is cool that you’re, that you’re ignoring potentially skills or knowledge that’s going to make you better. That’s required, but it quote unquote required that should be a fundamental level. Do you see that as a risk on one hand, like is there, it should, there is and this cause of my second question like how are your four kids, how are they being educated against the standard of, you know, if we can just all do it we want to do all the time, it’s great, but is it shortchanging like some standard that will back to your budget, your business will create a future of employability or a future of, of meeting the the minimum expectation of, of society. Maybe it go beyond that. Like I’d love to hear your thoughts on those. 

Isaac: (15:33)
Yea, I think that this idea that things that are good for you are things that you hate doing is actually unnatural to human beings. Largely. I think you have to get sort of worked. You have to be trained into that or conditioned into that. I mean you can even, you can even see it with things as small as, as diet. Like if you just sort of, you know, Oh like a human just kind of grows up going after what’s, what they’re craving and what sounds good and they’re not in a world where there’s just all this like artificial sugar forced on them that they get it. It’s kind of like, Whoa, this is too sweet. They’re not like dying habit. But once your system gets out of whack, once you get conditioned to it, right. With learning, with entrepreneurship, with education, because doing stuff that you hate is, it’s not like if I say don’t do stuff you hate, that doesn’t mean don’t do stuff. That’s hard. And you can see this with kids before they’ve kind of been, it’s been like worked out of them through the sort of schooling process. Watch a kid even from a very young age, try to build a tower with Legos. Try to beat a video game. Try to, you know, make a basket. When they’re playing basketball,

Isaac: (16:40)
They are frustrated. They will try for hours and hours. It’s hard work. They’re kind of like, like, it’s not easy, but they are, they’re motivated because they care about the outcome and that care about the outcome. It helps them achieve something they want that pushes them through the hardship. I always use this example. I ran a marathon one time. I hate running. I don’t, the training was awful. I didn’t want to tell my kids someday that their mother, 

Isaac: (17:26)
had run a marathon and I never had, so I was like, all right, we’re going to run a marathon together now. I, I hated the training, like in a very real sense, but I hated what I would have been if I didn’t do it more, you know what I’m saying? And so because, because I didn’t want to be a person that I didn’t respect or be a person that I felt bad about.

Isaac: (18:10)
I was willing to push through something that was hard. And I think that’s a different sometimes doing you know not doing things you hate actually takes more work. Yes. It’s hard work. And, and so, and kids are like, they’re interested in challenges and progress. Humans are, we naturally are. We want to explore, we want to take on challenges. We feel very stagnant. We start to not like ourselves. If we don’t.

Derek: (18:31)
We add meaning to our life. Literally. That’s how we define our lives. 

Isaac: (18:34)
Absolutely. But this weird thing happens when you get into a system that for years tells you, Hey, that thing you’re interested in building a YouTube channel, that’s bad. That’s a distraction. That’s something you should feel guilty about doing and that thing you don’t care about, you know, learning whatever quadratic equations, that’s good. That’s morally beneficial. You should like that.

Isaac: (18:57)
If you were a better person, you’d like it. Internalize this idea that anything I like must not be good for me and anything I hate must be good for me. And it starts to warp us. And then you have the thing where like kids really start to think that you’re like, Oh you might like this book and they’re like, book books. Are those things teachers tried to make me read? No, I’m not going to like that book. Right. And you have to like run.

Todd: (19:19)
You are so right on Isaac. I think this is one of the biggest problems in the world honestly, is the like people’s aversion to reading a book. Like literally by the time your out of school you never want to see a book again ever. You’re done. Generally speaking, like it is such a shame. 

Isaac: (19:45)
Yeah. I hated reading until I was like, like all of a sudden at about age 16. I just started reading books and like, I loved it. 

Derek: (19:48)
And you know, part of it was because my teachers and parents and he’s like, you should read, you should read, you should read. And I just like, I don’t like to, I couldn’t sit still enjoy reading. Right. 

Isaac: (19:57)
Yeah. It’s, it’s pretty wild. So with my, with my own kids, we’re homeschooling, we’re basically unschooling them. Yeah. I mean they take some classes and things that they’re interested in and we, you know, we, we try to expose them to as many things as possible so that they have a chance to say, Oh, that’s interesting to me. Oh, I want to try that. And you know, sometimes if they’re shy you’ll push them a little bit. Like, I know you’re interested in this gymnastics class, let’s just go ahead and do it. But for the most part it’s, it’s directed by their interest.

Isaac: (20:27)
And I remember with my son, we tried sort of the traditional approach to teaching him to read. And he was a, he’s a very like, verbally intelligent child, so we knew he could learn to read and we tried for like six months doing it and he just, he wouldn’t do it. We get in fights every time. It was stressful for everybody. So finally, and I’d been reading and studying a lot more, you know, even though I grew up homeschooled, I didn’t really like think about the theory of education at all in terms of like, how do kids learn until I had kids. So I started reading John Holt, John Taylor, Gatto Peter Gray, a lot of these people on kind of this like unschooling child directed approach. And I was like, Oh my gosh, there’s like, this is like so obvious now. How did I miss it?

Isaac: (21:05)
So we just stopped trying to teach my son to read. And about a few months later, I walked by his room and he always wanted me to read like Calvin and Hobbes to him before he went to bed. He was like six maybe. And I was like, Oh, tonight it’s too late. You know, you stayed up and watched a movie or whatever. I’m not going to read to you, I’m just going to say good night. And I go out. And then I walked by the room later and I hear him reading Calvin and Hobbes out loud to himself. Now, I don’t know when this happened and he said that he had mostly just had it memorized, but at some point he just like taught himself to read cause he had, he was interested in it, he wanted to do it and it was like all these months of trying to force him and it didn’t do anything. And then when we just let it go so we’ve, we’ve got a pretty radical approach with our kids. 

Derek: (21:49)
So that’s fascinating. And so how are you, because you have four of them, how are you seeing each of them, you know, experience, education in that format differently and how are you seeing their skills and talents naturally and, and what they’re learning kind of, you know, show themselves. 

Isaac: (22:05)
Yeah, it’s, it’s pretty amazing because you do see just how different each kid is and the more that I’ve seen where we’re at, where our kids have sort of a lot of freedom to do things their own way and on their own time, the more absurd it seems to me to like imagine cramming kids into the same structure. I mean, like I was, I was reading this study about, about reading kids who learn to read at like age five versus kids who don’t learn to read until age 11 by age 13, their reading comprehension is the same.

Isaac: (22:37)
Yeah. It’s like people develop at such radically different paces in different areas. And so with my kids, they’re, they’re all so, so different. It’s been really interesting to watch. So like, my son doesn’t really care about math and science and, but he’s like writing anything, verbal storytelling very like, logical, philosophical, very imaginative. And just kind of letting him chase that down. And then he decided, which is exactly what happened to me at his age when he got around age 13, 14. I want to be around my friends more. I don’t want to be around the house all the time. And so he started going to these like homeschool classes one day a week and then this year he wants to start going to this school that’s like a half a day like four days a week after school that some of his friends started going to.

Isaac: (23:21)
And when he decided he wanted to go there and he saw what the math curriculum is, he was like, Oh crap, I need to learn a bunch of math. So he just got on Khan Academy and started teaching himself math and it, and like he’s gone through like three or four grades in like a summer because he’s motivated and he wants to do it. And instead of spending three or four years of fighting with him to get through that, it’s like he’s, you know, he can learn it enough when he wants to. So it’s been really interesting to see. My, my daughters are, are very different as well. And we’re just kinda, you know, we’re, we’re the, the hardest thing is to not define the way we educate them by peer pressure from other parents. Cause you can easily feel like, Oh your daughter’s eight and she’s not reading very well. And then you just feel like, Oh my gosh, I’m embarrassed so I’m going to go and force my daughter to do that. Not because it’s what’s best for her but because I don’t want to feel embarassed around other parents. Yeah. And it’s hard to fight that. 

Derek: (24:14)
That’s fascinating. It’s, so first of all this, I love this conversation. We could probably talk for five hours about this. 

Todd: (24:23)
I’ve written three different topics. 

Derek: (24:26)
You probably will at some point, but I am for the listeners and viewers here, I actually curious to know, you know, so cause I have you planted some seeds. So going back, coming back to the present day, you know, you built your launch Praxis, you launched crash, which you know, please tell the audience about those. How did that connect back to the question around personalized self directed learning, equating into employability and purpose and fulfillment in one’s career. Over the long run, how those come together for you as part of your, you know, how you’re defining your success in life.

Isaac: (24:58)
Yeah. And Todd, I want to make sure you had, you had some things you wanted to throw on the, on the docket as well, right?

Todd: (25:05)
I think that I actually have a really good quote to segue us into the business conversation. I don’t know if either of you are familiar with Frank Kern, pretty, pretty good marketer, a pretty well known like online marketer, one of the kind of original gangster online marketers. You just sparked this, this memory of a quote in one of his trainings that I did years ago and here, here’s what it is, it’s called Frank Craig’s law to live by a successful and fulfilling business is one that safely and consistently pays you what you want in return for doing stuff that’s fun and avoiding stuff that sucks. 

Isaac: (25:42)
That’s a great quote. 

Todd: (25:44)
Pretty solid, right? That’s like mean like you really like nailed like boil that down to pays you is fun and avoids things you hate doing. Yeah. Like that’s a good life right there. Right.

Isaac: (25:55)
So in the little book, let’s see if I even have one here. I don’t know. I might have one, but it might not show up too well on the screen, but I have a little Venn diagram. In the most recent book I published crash your career, which is like in addition to sort of don’t do stuff you hate, it’s like, okay, this is how you get started in your career. Like don’t do stuff you hate, don’t do stuff you’re bad at and don’t do stuff that nobody will pay you for. And as long as people will pay you for it, you’re not terrible at it and you don’t hate it. It’s fair game and that that will help you sort of narrow down. So yeah, I love that approach. So you know, with praxis, as I said, I had spent about a decade kind of trying to figure out how to, how to do things that I thought would sort of enhance human freedom for myself and for others.

Isaac: (26:38)
And so I worked in some different nonprofits and doing, working on different college campuses, doing educational. And then I was doing fundraising for a nonprofit and and when I did fundraising, I was flying all over the country and I’m meeting with all these black self made millionaires, occasionally even billionaires and you know, soliciting donations for his organization. And I always ask them about their businesses. I just want to hear all the stories about how they started and everything. And I would say like, what’s your biggest constraint to growth? And every time they would say, talent, you can’t find enough good people. And then I’m working with all these students who are like, nobody’s hiring. I have a degree, I have debt, I can’t get a job. I guess I’ll go get a master’s so I can defer making loan payments, you know? And so I truly, this is one of those, I’ve had a very few of these in my life that you would call like, I dunno, some kind of a transcendent or mystical experience, whatever you want to call it.

Isaac: (27:27)
I went for a walk on the beach. I had a job that I loved, was doing things. I had a lot of autonomy working remotely, living here in Charleston, but I was just restless. I kind of like got good at my job and then I was restless. I needed a new challenge. So I went for a walk on the beach and I just like see in my mind’s eye like the word Praxis in all caps over the, you know, sort of horizon and for the word is I comes from Greek. It means like the combination of theory and practice and I was like that’s it. And like this whole business plan, which has all these bits and pieces that I’d kind of played around with over the years, it all like coalesce. It’s like my subconscious had been meshing around all this stuff for a long time and all of a sudden it was like boom.

Isaac: (28:08)
I had this idea, I got in my car, I drove home, I sat down for like two hours and typed up like this 15 page kind of business plan thing. And it was this I basic idea of what’s the fastest way to get somebody into a career from, you know, sorta like from high school into a career. Do they need to spend four years learning all this stuff that really doesn’t have anything to do with their career, all this inefficiency. And I thought like, really there’s just a very small number of things people need to know. And most of them are incredibly simple. Like how do you use Google calendar? How not to sound like an idiot on an email when to BCC people, right? Like, like to know what, what is Salesforce and how do you use it? What, you know, like just really basic stuff.

Isaac: (28:50)
And if you have that and you have the right attitude, you can learn everything else on the job. You don’t want to come in and be a giant tax on everybody by being like, what’s email? Right? You have to know something. But as long as you have that raw work ethic. And I thought, so what if we could give people just a really basic bootcamp, really mostly on mindset and then a few practical tools. And skills and then let them come in at a really low cost and apprentice at a company and learn on the job. And we’ll de-risk it for the company by saying we’re going to vet them and we’re going to, you know, make sure it’s quality people and it’s going to be really low cost for you. You’re going to pay them 15 bucks an hour, but they’re going to come in at an entry level role and a and learn on the job and for six months.

Isaac: (29:28)
And then, you know, if they’re good, they’ll get hired. And I thought like, kid, it’s hard for me to imagine six months working at a startup being less valuable to me, then four years in college, like there’s no way it’s going to be more valuable. Right? And so I just kinda, I went home, I told my wife, like, I’ve got this idea, I think I need to do this thing. And and we decided to go for it. I just bootstrapped it at first. I raised a little bit of angel money after that and and got this thing going. And so since then, you know, we’ve had 300 people have gone through the program. Almost like at least three quarters of them never went to college. 96% of them get hired after the program at an average of $50,000 a year for a nontechnical roles at startups for the most part.

Isaac: (30:14)
It’s been, it’s been really awesome. It’s been really amazing. So it’s a, it’s a six month virtual boot camp and then we place them in startups where they apprentice for six months. And they’re getting, you know, sort of weekly coaching and all this stuff. So that’s kind of the Genesis of of the program. 

Derek: (30:27)
That’s very cool. And so then the startups themselves, is there certain segment or a certain area of industry expertise that you find your people of gravitating towards? 

Isaac: (30:37)
Yeah, so it’s, we, we’ve kind of found a sweet spot in any, any company, we say startups, but really any high growth company, usually that’s got somewhere between 20 and a few hundred employees. So kind of small, mid size ish. And we really focus on non technical roles. So we’re not a coding bootcamp. There’s a lot of those out there.

Isaac: (31:01)
But for all of those other people who are like, I don’t know, I’m not a coder, I’m like good with people. I’m smart, I’m hardworking. Is there anything for me? So we tend to place people in roles like sales, marketing, customer success, kind of entry level nontechnical roles, usually at high growth companies that tend to be tech startups. But it doesn’t have to be just really anywhere where you’re going to be exposed to a lot and you’re going to have a huge opportunity for growth. You know, a company that’s like a, a restaurant or something that’s doing the same thing every day, not really to going to be a huge career step, but something where if you can go in, you can crush it for 12 to 24 months at that customer success or business development role, there’s all kinds of upward trajectory. 

Derek: (31:43)
Absolutely. I love it.

Todd: (31:43)
What’s the revenue model? How does that work? How do you monetize that as a business or you hire the employees getting a commission and on that, or how does it work? 

Isaac: (31:55)
Yeah. So participants pay tuition. Tuition is $12,000 for the year long program, but then they earn $15,000 during the apprenticeship. And so the goal from day one was we want this program to be a net cost of zero. We want a zero cost, one year experience where you’re, you know, you’re, you come out, what you earn, covers what you pay and you come out with a portfolio of projects, a website, all these things you learn in the bootcamp, a network, six months of experience, and almost always a job offer for essentially zero cost. So that’s the way we’ve, we’ve monetized it. And we were very keen on, even though we’re like sort of indirectly getting money from the business we’re very keen on having the participant be, our customer we want to be accountable to.

Isaac: (32:39)
And so they’re paying tuition. So that means they’re going to demand a quality experience for us that keeps us accountable to making sure that’s a very quality experience. And then we’re replacing them with businesses where they’re getting paid, you know, and, and earning that back. 

Derek: (32:51)
And did your, the 300 people that have gone through your program there, they’re all over the country or is it geographically. 

Isaac: (32:58)
All over the country? Yeah, since the bootcamp is remote, we have business partners in pretty much every city. And we place people, usually they’re moving across the country or moving somewhere to go for the apprenticeship portion, which is kind of part of the adventure. Like I tell young people all the time, like, get out of your hometown. I don’t care where you grew up, get away for at least two years before you decide if you want to live there.

Isaac: (33:20)
Don’t just do it by default. 

Derek: (33:22)
Yeah. I love it man. Very cool. So then tell us how that has been forked for you with crash. 

Isaac: (33:27)
Yeah. So you know, we spent five years building this thing and you know, getting it to a a, a really good spot. You know, it’s been, it’s been profitable and growing for several years now. And I just, you know, I’m an entrepreneur at heart. I get the itch right and I thought, okay, we have something really great here. This is like a really elite program. When I say elite, like not everybody can do this, right. Only so many people are able and willing. It’s a very intensive program. And so I want to take some of the basic things that we’ve learned, which are essentially three sort of phases. 

Derek: (34:00)
Hold that thought actually question. What’s the dropout rate of the people that join your progress? Do you have a 96% job placement rate? Well, what about the dropout of people that start and don’t finish? 

Isaac: (34:12)
Yeah, we have a 87% graduation rate, so about 13% usually what happens is they just stop doing their stuff and we have to boot them out of the program. Or, or, or they say, Hey, this is, you know, this is not for me. It’s too, usually it’s more into, yeah. 

Derek: (34:29)
So the reason I ask is because both those numbers are far superior to the university system, right? I mean, or comparable. Comparable. They’re comparable. I mean, I think the reason I ask questions, they’re for much lower costs. The graduation slash turn rate and or job employability rates are, I think are, are on par, if not better than the educational system.

Isaac: (34:58)
Yeah. Well especially when you look at most of those educational stats about employment, right? Those are normally employment rate after six months after graduation. Ours is 30 days and 96% of people are employed within 30 days. And once I’ve done some of these back of the envelope, like opportunity cost calculations, so the average, you know, when you figure out average tuition and all that stuff average, you know, foregone earnings and everything, you’re talking about like 200, $250,000 difference. 

Derek: (35:31)
Yeah. And you’re, you’re, again, you’re, you’re basically going from neutrality of debt or you know, right. Versus, 

Isaac: (35:38)
Yeah, we have, we literally have people that are like, they did Praxis, their friends went to school four or five years later. Their friends are on the job market and they’ve got $40,000 a debt and they get a job that starts at 40 K and the is grad is five years into their career making a hundred K and they’ve made like two or 300 K over that time and they have zero debt. They’re like, and in some cases they’re in the position of hiring the person that went to college or would have

Derek: (36:09)
Such an awesome statistic. I mean this is, I think this is fascinating and super needed and can’t wait to talk more about it. So talk to us about, I interrupted you, but I was excited about that. Talk to me about, or talk to us just real quick. I’m going to do a time check. We have a two o’clock unfortunately. So we’ve got like seven minutes, but I want to make sure if you want to get into crash right, which I’m assuming you do. I’ll do it. I’ll do it in two minutes man. Awesome. We’ll just start this part. Tell us about the crash for work.

Isaac: (36:37)
Yes, absolutely. So you know, we, we noticed there’s sort of a three phase thing that we help people do through praxis and we help them in a very intense hands on way, but it’s discover, discovery, building and launching. It’s kind of, we call it. So discovering sorta, okay, what’s your personality, interests and abilities and where does that map onto the market? Like most young people don’t know what roles are out there that would be a good fit for them. And if they just read job titles, it doesn’t help them. They’re like, I don’t know what that means. So the discovery process, the building process is Hey, you have to have a way, do you have to have that signal that I talked about? And a college degree is not a very strong signal. You have to have some way of signaling your skill to the world.

Isaac: (37:14)

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