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Solopreneur, Monkeyborg, & Hype

By: Michael Blankenship |

“No person has the power to have everything they want, but it is in their power not to want what they don’t have, and to cheerfully put to good use what they do have.”

Greetings from LA and Hawaii.

This week we interviewed a solopreneur who’s making $40k per month, found some documentaries to watch on Netflix, discovered the first human-monkey lifeform, mused about hype, watched Elon Musk discuss the deadliness of Mars, and drew some inspiration from Earnest Hemmingway. Our challenge is for you to start dismantling one unhealthy behavior.

Jacob “McKillen’ It”

This week we spoke with Jacob McMillen, a copywriter and content strategist turned solopreneur. After 8 years of making $15,000 per month as a freelancer, Jacob used his writing and marketing expertise to build multiple online businesses — Jacob McMillen, is his main website. Those businesses now average Jacob about $40,000 per month.

When we asked him what he thinks has contributed to his success, he said,

“I think my biggest strength in business is that I’m always willing to take action and try things, and I never let problems or challenges derail my forward momentum. Whereas most people get hung up for years on research, learning, second-guessing, minor problems, etc., I just do shit and find solutions as problems arise. I’m not the most intelligent or productive, and I can point to tons of smarter and more productive people who are out-achieving me, but I don’t let that keep me from plugging away and doing my thing.”

And when we asked him what piece of advice he’d give to a student of his, he said,

“Figure out what you want. Figure out what you need to do in order to get there. Focus on getting 1% closer to that every day. If things in your life, whether internal or external, are preventing you from doing that, be willing to make major changes and rearrange your life. Find out what YOU personally need in order to live the life you want to live, and make it happen.”

For people looking to get started as freelance writers, Jacob has a free course over here.


Looking for a documentary to watch on Netflix? Here are some recommendations from The New York Times.


Is human life more valuable than animal life? Being human, we’re inclined to say “Yes”. But a new experiment by Juan Carlos Belmonte at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in the US created the world’s first human-monkey lifeforms — called a “chimera”.

(A chimera is an organism that contains cells from multiple individuals)

After injecting human stem cells into monkey blastocysts, the researchers monitored the human cells for 19 day and found that they survived and proliferated in a monkey embryo quite well. In fact, Professor Julian Savulescu and Dr Julian Koplin said, in reference to the study,

“If implanted into a monkey uterus, the chimera could theoretically develop into a live-born animal that has cells from both a monkey and a human.”

So… why?

The goal is to better understand embryonic development and build new animal models for studying human diseases to develop new treatments (because tests can’t be done on humans).

It’s also possible, the afore-mentioned Doctors explain, that, “these cells… could produce organs and tissues for transplantation back into that human being. Neural tissue could replace damaged brain tissue in stroke or Parkinson’s disease, new kidneys could replace withered failing ones and so on.”

The further this progresses, the more we’ll need to wrestle with difficult ethical questions. For now, it’s a good reminder of how biologically similar we are to the rest of the beasts roaming this planet.


Hype (def: “extravagant or intensive publicity or promotion”) starts silly wars. It drives good people to make bad decisions. It justifies a gambler’s bets and a workaholic’s habits. It requests too much and pays too little.

Hype also builds successful companies; businesses that have helped millions of people are sometimes driven by a founder or CEO who relies on hype to motivate his or her employees. But it’s short-lived and usually leads to high turnover rates and low customer satisfaction.

Hype is easy.

And sometimes, it’s worth it.

But usually, it’s not — a steadfast and clear-headed approach toward growth and success is much more effective, satisfying, and sustainable over the long-haul.

This is something that Alec and I (Mike) had been thinking about. And we wanted to share it with you.

“People Will Probably Die”

In January of this year, Elon Musk — who we’ve heard described as “the closest person we’ll get to Tony Stark” — said that he aims to send one million people to Mars by 2050. He believes that becoming multiplanetary is critical for the long term survival of our species (and most scientists would agree). But before we imagine Mars as some foreign paradise, let’s not forget the reality: toxic soil, radiation exposure, cold temperatures, no water, low gravity, and complete isolation from our home planet means the venture will be extremely dangerous — particularly for the first few brave souls to head on a 7-month journey toward Mars.

In a recent interview, Musk confirmed that sentiment, saying…

“Going to Mars reads like that ad for Shackleton going to the Antarctic. You know, it’s dangerous, it’s uncomfortable, it’s a long journey, you might not come back alive. But it’s a glorious adventure, and it will be an amazing experience.

You probably won’t have good food. If an arduous and dangerous journey where you may not come back alive—but it’s a glorious adventure—sounds appealing, Mars is the place. That’s the ad. That’s the ad for Mars. Honestly, a bunch of people probably will die in the beginning. It’s tough sledding over there. We’re not going to make anyone go. It’s volunteers only.”

You can watch the full one-hour interview over here.


Here’s a bit of inspiration: Invictus by William Ernest Henley:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

Extra Stuff

Here’s some other stuff that caught our eye this week…

The clockwork universe: is free will an illusion? by The Guardian

5 neuroscience hacks that will make you happier by World Economic Forum

The man who stole a hotel by Capital Daily

The Weekly Challenge

What is one behavior that you’d like to stop repeating? We all have unconscious routines and reactions that we’re used to… but that aren’t good for us. It could be eating too much food, scrolling on social media, or overreacting to small slights. This week, commit to not engaging in that behavior for two full days. You have more power over your habits than you give yourself credit for. And this should serve as a good reminder of that.

Until next week!

Mike & Alec

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