Human Capital, Self-Education and Self-Investment

The Key to Fool-Proof Investing

The key to fool-proof investing is truly internalizing the implications of the following unsettling fact.

Most people are fools when it comes to evaluating their own talent in many of their own skills. (Including, as we’ll see in a moment, investing.)

Unfortunately, chances are, that includes us.

Studies show that 95% of people believe they are “above-average” drivers. Continue Reading

Human Capital, Self-Education and Self-Investment

What Socrates Knows About Investing That You Don’t Know…

There’s a strong case to be made that the two sentences I’m about to share with you are the most influential in the entire history of Western philosophy.

They were uttered during the trial of Socrates for “corrupting the youth” in Athens, 399 BC–according to the version recounted by his disciple Plato.

According to Plato, Socrates said–while commenting on a negative run-in with a supposedly wise man of Athens:

“Although I do not suppose that either of us knows anything really beautiful and good, I am better off than he is–for he knows nothing, and thinks that he knows. I neither know nor think that I know.”

A basic reformulation of this, is that a fool can become wise, simply by knowing that he’s a fool. For he is then wiser than the most other people, who are also fools, but don’t realize that they are.

What does all of this have to do with investing? Continue Reading

Persuasive Arts

How to Write a Killer Bio Story

Aside from your main headline, your bio is the single most important part of your website. But so many people completely screw this up.

You know the kind of bio I’m talking about… the one that contains many words, but manages to communicate nothing:

“Joe Blow is a passionate, heart-centered entrepreneur and creative visionary who helps bold changemakers live fearless lives and step into their full leadership. His mission is to make the world a better place by helping people align their passions with their purpose, and manifest their dreams through connecting their intentions with their vision.”

The problem with this type of bio is that *anyone* can say these things about themselves. For example:

–> “Entrepreneur” could mean => took a weekend course on how to be a life coach and the next Tuesday, decided he doesn’t want to “trade dollars for hours” so has just enrolled in his first course in how to create courses. Just last week, he put up his first online course so he can reach “one to many” with his weekend coaching skills.

–> “Creative visionary” could mean => took an ayahuasca journey. Continue Reading

Consent

Understanding the Debates Around “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”

Have you been hearing debates about “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” and wanting to understand the debate in more depth? I’ve got you covered!

I did a deep-dive on this debate last year. If you just want the net-net (and this is my concurrence with numerous feminist writers I cite, who I think make a conclusive case- not particularly original thinking on my part):

In 1944, when the song was written, it was absolutely unthinkable within “polite society” for a woman to spend the night at a man’s house if she wasn’t married to him. If you look closely (and understand the references in their historical context) this is a song about an unmarried pair on a date who want the night to continue at his place, and are coming up with reasons why she should stay over that will be acceptable to the woman’s strict family and nosy community. The song is a cheeky rebellion against what we would now call the “slut shaming” of the era, celebrating a woman’s desire to stay over at a man’s house if she wants, family and slut-shaming community be-damned.

All that said – and this is more my commentary/opinion now: the culture has changed enough in 75 years (thankfully) that what was once a cheeky rebellion against socially-conservative slut-shaming, now when heard in a ~2020 context – perpetuates tropes that play into what we see as rape culture today. Namely, the idea that, in order to defend her public virtue, a woman needs to hide her desire to sleep with a man casually and say no at first out of custom. With that idea floating in the culture, men are more likely to believe women’s no’s are her just playing “hard to get” or putting up “token resistance” in order to not seem “easy” – thus disbelieving those no’s and not taking them at face value. Continue Reading

Erotic Media

“Luminous Lust” on the Big Screen at HUMP! Film Festival

It was a huge thrill to see the short indy “docu-porn” I co-created, “Luminous Lust,” on the big screen at HUMP Film Festival in SF! If you’re in SF, Seattle, or Portland, don’t miss this festival, playing through Saturday, where you will see over a dozen incredible indy-feminist porn films, (very) explicitly celebrating and representing a wide swath of diverse human sexuality. www.HumpFilmFest.com

 Word on the street is that ours has a great shot at winning the “Best Sex” category! Here’s our description of our film: “Luminous Lust is an erotic short film directed and written by the 2018 class of Madison Young’s Erotic Film School. In this sizzling short film, real-life couple – Dylan Ryan and T. Pfister [in photo] – boldly bring the audience into the most intimate parts of their lives, sharing with the camera how the couple fell in love, what about their partner turns them on, and how they first met. This intimate sexual portrait of this passionate couple gets steamy when they open the door and let the viewer into their lustful and luminous sex life.”

Continue Reading

Politics

Using Marijuana to Combat to the Opioid Crisis

Silk-Road-David-KramAs a devoted stoner since age 13 (no, not “cannabis user” or other pretty words lol) I have always been skeptical of government warnings about a “drug epidemic.” After all, I was a proud, bong-ripping part of the “teen drug epidemic” bandied on TV, and I turned out OK, didn’t I? (or maybe I’m a poster-child for abstinence! lol)

Anyhoo, when I started hearing about the “epidemic” in opioid addiction, I was skeptical. Just another sensational ploy for headlines and further advancement of the war on drugs, I thought.

Then, I met David Kram, a cannabis entrepreneur who has devoted his life to promoting cannabis as a healthy and non-lethal alternative to opioids for pain relief.

And what he started telling me had my jaw drop to the floor. So much so, that I started doing a bunch of research into this issue, when before I had ignored it.

No, this is not government/media sensationalism. Currently, opioid overdoses are the #1 cause of death for Americans under the age of 50, far more than car accidents and gunshot wounds. Continue Reading

Erotic Media

“Luminous Lust” Premieres at HUMP! Film Festival

Michael Ellsberg Dylan Ryan Madison Young

I am thrilled to announce that a short indy docu-porn I co-produced, “Luminous Lust,” is premiering at Dan Savage’s HUMP! Film Festival – indy porn festival – in San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland. Screenings of the entire festival go through November 17th.

Here’s our description of our film: “Luminous Lust is an erotic short film directed and written by the 2018 class of Madison Young’s Erotic Film School. In this sizzling short film, real-life couple – Dylan Ryan and T. Pfister [in photo] – boldly bring the audience into the most intimate parts of their lives, sharing with the camera how the couple fell in love, what about their partner turns them on, and how they first met. This intimate sexual portrait of this passionate couple gets steamy when they open the door and let the viewer into their lustful and luminous sex life.”

Madison Young‘s Erotic Film School was one of the greatest educational experiences of my life. Over 2 days in Oakland, CA in August, four of us beginning film students–a diverse mix of genders, nationalities, races and orientations–gathered under the guidance of master feminist porn producer Madison to create a concept, develop a shotlist, and shoot a short “erotic portrait” based around this amazing real-life couple and their love and passion. (Dylan has been a pro performer for many years. This was her girlfriend T’s first time on camera for adult, though that’s hard to believe from her razzling performance!) Continue Reading

Misc

Inbound Communication to You, From Someone Who is a Distant Contact or Stranger, Entails Zero Responsibility or Commitment to Respond

Unpopular opinion: inbound communication to you–via email, text, social media, call, etc– from someone who is not a currently-active business relation, or close personal relation (however you define that), entails ZERO responsibility or commitment to respond, unless you want to. If they get upset at no communication, it’s understandable, but ultimately, you can’t take that on- it’s on them.

Not saying it never makes sense to respond to unsolicited communication from distant contacts, or strangers. Just saying that you really have no responsibility to whatsoever. Having met at a party and become Facebook friends, doesn’t entail a commitment to respond to that person right away, or at all, for years after the party. This is crazy-making for all of us!

“Back when I was a kid,” and you met someone at a party, or at a backpacker hostel in Europe or whatever, you might end up with a phone number scribbled on a scrap of paper. (For a landline! Which may or may not have even had an answering machine attached to it! Thirty-somethings and above, remember messages for people, delivered to whichever roommate answered? Remember guilt at your unanswered personal snail-mail letters, as you didn’t have time to write a minimum pagelong handwritten letter back and drop it off at the mailbox?)

When you met someone, you definitely wouldn’t end up with an immediate digital connection to someone’s pocket, and/or public social media connection, for years to come, along with an expectation of immediate always-on response.

When did people get the idea that, because they meet someone casually, or write or communicate to someone they don’t know super well, they are owed a response? How did becoming Facebook friends with someone, which is often done very casually and spur-of-the-moment with strangers or near-strangers, come to mean a commitment to be in touch for eternity? Good for Facebook, not good for our sanity! Continue Reading