My name is Luke. Let's create the world we want to live in.

9 months ago
70 in introduceyourself

Co-Founder and CTO of FoxyCart.com. Passionate about living life on purpose. Interested in Bitcoin.

Who Am I?


Identities are hard to pin down because ideally they're constantly changing for the better. My name is Luke Stokes, and today I'm a thirty-seven-year-old husband living in Nashville, TN, a husband to a beautiful wife, a father to three children, a PHP programmer, and a business owner. While maintaining a day job and with many late nights and long weekends, I worked for four years building a business which has now employed me full-time for over five years. It's an incredible thing to have thousands of businesses relying on you, your business partner, and your team to run their ecommerce. Since 2007, we've helped complete over half a billion dollars in transactions. I built my first website in 1996 (yes, AOL and Geocities), and I've been blogging for a while on various topics, though never seriously. Just this year I finally got a domain and a Wordpress blog over at http://lukestokes.info with my first post about a significant worldview change which is continuing to shape my life. More on that later.

Lifestyle

Running an online business allows for great flexibility. I can't remember the last time I woke up to an alarm clock. I work from home and get to see my little ones (2, 5 and 7) all day long. I've also been able to travel, speak at conferences, and sponsor events with my company. We love to travel as a family and hope to see the world once we pay off our house. My favorite trip so far was right after quitting my day job. We spent 10 weeks in Costa Rica (where I got the picture above). Here's a shot my wife took of my office while we were there:

Having grown up in Huntington Beach, CA, I surfed my brains out at Playa Grande the whole time we were in Costa Rica.


Passions


I want to live life on purpose. I like encouraging people through programming, writing, and speaking. Though I've given a few conference talks on Hypermedia APIs, Bitcoin, and business, lately I've been a little stage-shy. I haven't submitted to a conference in a while, but I did get asked to give a keynote at PHP World last year (Turning Your Code Into a Company: The Parts They Don't Tell You if you want to check out the video). I love camping with the family, promoting entrepreneurship, learning about new ideas, debating the need for a monopoly on the use of force in a geographic region (i.e. government), and, of course, Bitcoin. Also, I love me some sushi! Sad to say, the restaurant near my house where I got this beauty is now closed:

Bitcoin All the Things!

I started learning about Bitcoin in late 2012 and bought my first in 2013 at $20. Sadly, I didn't cash in when it reached $1,200 because I was too ideologically attached. I've spent days (literally) on bitcointalk.org. At one point I risked my stash and purchased an Avalon miner which then melted down in less than a day due partly to bad wiring and partly to my stupidity. That's a quick way to loose a lot of btc (though I was able to part out the boards and case and get about 65% of the investment back). I'm convinced decentralized technologies like Bitcoin will play a significant role in the future of humanity. I've been blogging about bitcoin to spread awareness and hopefully get more businesses to accept it on their websites. If you're still not sure what it is, you can fully understand it in 30 minutes (includes links to several other bitcoin posts I've written). I've also failed at creating a non-profit, the Tennessee Bitcoin Alliance. What started as a local meetup group morphed into bureaucracy which then voted me to the board. Long story short: lots of wasted time and effort.

Peace, Love, and Anarchy... but no Religion?


Since 2014, I started exploring the philosophy of anarchy which basically means no rulers. I also started caring more about epistemology which is the mechanisms we use for justified belief. That led to questioning so many things, including my Christian upbringing. I was homeschooled as a child, lived on a boat for 2 years, watched my parents pass away in 2007, worked in full-time ministry for 6 years after college at UPENN, and, eventually, came to the conclusion much of what I've been taught needs to be questioned. The more I learned about logical fallacies and improved my epistemology, the more I lost my assuredness in a theistic worldview. You can read the whole story in the Losing Eternity blog post I eluded to earlier. This has been, by far, one of the most challenging life changes I've ever experienced, and I'm still navigating through it with my family and friends. The truly amazing part of this journey is the deep love I have for my wife who has put up with me through it all. Ain't she cute?

My Place in the World of Steemit


On July 1st, 2013, one of my tweets ended up getting 226 RTs. I was Internet famous! I even blogged about it (Admit It. You're Insecure. We All Are.), but never got a check from Twitter. I also really enjoy great discussions on Facebook about whether or not taxation is theft, why you shouldn't spank your kids, or how we might thrive with no government at all. Steemit, to me, is a way to do the things I love while actually justifying the time spent because I can see real value being created not just for those liking the posts or engaging in the discussions, but for myself and my family as well.

So... What Should We Talk About?

Talking about myself so much feels a little weird. What do you want to talk about? Lately I've been interested in exploring universal moral frameworks, especially as it relates to super intelligence, philosophy, transhumanism, and future technology. Does that sound interesting to you? If you want to connect more, please leave a comment and a link to your #introduceyourself post so I can learn more about you and keep the conversation going.

Thanks for welcoming me to the Steemit community!

Where I Am Online

https://lukestokes.info/
https://www.facebook.com/bestoked
https://twitter.com/lukestokes
https://www.linkedin.com/in/bestoked
https://keybase.io/lukestokes
https://onename.com/lukestokes
https://about.me/luke.stokes

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70
  ·  9 months ago

I just saw @nextgencrypto mention in Slack that introduceyourself posts should include a self verification, so I'm adding it here as a comment.

(Oh, and if you're curious about the unicorn pooping rainbows and lucky charms, it started as our 404 picture on FoxyCart, then became stickers, and eventually tshirts).

69
  ·  9 months ago

Welcome! Great intro all the way through!

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70
  ·  9 months ago

Thanks Jun! I loved your intro and congrats on BitCash.

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69
  ·  9 months ago

Thx Luke!

64
  ·  9 months ago

Regarding this statement about you buying $20 of bitcoin:

"Sadly, I didn't cash in when it reached $1,200 because I was too ideologically attached."

Which do you favor more? The $20, or being ideologically attached? My guess is the latter.

We have people constantly saying "I should have sold when it was $1,200". What if in 10 more years, its at $120,000. We never know where things are going to go if this takes off.. if anything takes off... :)

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70
  ·  9 months ago

Great question @intelliguy! I definitely favor the ideologically attached. I would have preferred to sell, pay down debt and then continuously buy a bunch back after it crashed back down to the $250 range. That would have been nice, but, as you said, no one has a crystal ball. Thanks for the comment.

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57
  ·  9 months ago

Also, a lot of people did sell at 1200, withdrawing them from mt. gox was another thing...

72
  ·  9 months ago

Welcome, nice intro!

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70
  ·  9 months ago

Thank you. I really enjoyed your recent Steem Community Building post. It's kind of neat to click on a user name in a comment and see the first post on their blog one you've already read, enjoyed, and upvoted. :)

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57
  ·  9 months ago

I find that something to happen all the time lately when I've been sitting here non-stop 24/7. :P

62
  ·  9 months ago

Great introduction, hadn't heard of Voluntaryism (from your anarchy link) until today. After reading Ayn Rand, I too like these concepts but wonder if they could ever be a reality.

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70
  ·  9 months ago

Thanks @discombobulated. Yeah, you can probably guess I've read a few Ayn Rand's books (Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, and Anthem). I recently enjoyed some great interviews and presentations with Yaron Brook (check YouTube), head of the Ayn Rand foundation. I was recently at the Porcupine Freedom festival where they had daily presentations on Objectivism. Really interesting stuff.

As for whether or not it could be a reality, I'd argue 90%-95% of all our daily interactions are voluntary. No coercion is involved to tell you where to live, who to marry, what to eat, what car to drive, where to shop, etc, etc. Humans high enough up on Maslow's Hierarchy of needs seek self-actualization. As automation moves forward, my optimistic hope is we'll become so prosperous as a species that more and more people will move up that hierarchy and work towards win/win interactions. Game theory in nature shows tit for tat everywhere as being the most advantageous stable strategy. Someday in the future, I think we'll laugh at how silly the time of governments were.

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69
  ·  9 months ago

I'd never heard of tit for tat, and it sounds interesting. My only knowledge of game theory comes from trying to wrap my head around the attempts being made at finding optimal poker strategy. I like the concept that cooperation can be the most successful strategy when it is a shared strategy. Though one thing stuck out at me when I was reading about tit for tat just now. The word "opponent" kept cropping up. That's a very specific social relationship; one which I would not want to consider the foundation of any ideal society. But I found your use of the phrase "game theory in nature" very interesting. I think you might enjoy the book "Mutual Aid," by Kropotkin. He is my favorite anarchist writer, and his studies in biology found that cooperation had evolutionary advantages.

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70
  ·  9 months ago

I haven't yet read any Kropotkin, but I plan to. Thanks for the recommendation. Game theorists use competitive language, but that doesn't mean it can't be mutually beneficial in a cooperative sense. I recently read the Selfish Gene, and it's interesting to me how much evolutionary stable strategies involve cooperation and tit for tat game theory. In many ways, tit for tat (as far as I understand it) is similar to the NAP. It's not pacifism, but it also won't initiate negatively. It rewards cooperation.

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61
  ·  8 months ago

“Anarchism is not a romantic fable but the hardheaded realization, based on five thousand years of experience, that we cannot entrust the management of our lives to kings, priests, politicians, generals, and county commissioners.” —Edward Abbey

voluntaryism will set us free! cheers @discombobulated

72
  ·  9 months ago

This is a terrific introduction. It looks like you'll fit in well here. Thank you and welcome to Steemit!

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70
  ·  9 months ago

Wow, @donkeypong. Just read your shark post. Intense. I'm so thankful I never experienced that down south. I've heard the stories up in northern California though. Glad you all made it out of there. I hope you find joy surfing again some day in the future. Thanks for the compliment.

60
  ·  9 months ago

Welcome. Nice to have you here.

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70
  ·  9 months ago

Thanks @bitcube. Missed saying hello earlier. :)

61
  ·  9 months ago

Great intro Luke, welcome! Enjoy your photos so keep em coming!

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70
  ·  9 months ago

Thanks @krypto! It's exciting to see your passion for this platform over the last day. It's pretty addicting, huh?

68
  ·  8 months ago

hey luke, a great life you have! do you think a guy in late 30s, with no programming training or relevant working experience but is really interested in cryptocurreny and new digital economy, have some chances in giving up current job and make a new living from this new area? yeah, that's what i am thinking right now...

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70
  ·  8 months ago

That's a good question. I think anything is possible for someone who is determined enough to accomplish their goals. I wouldn't recommend giving up anything unless you have a solid foundation to launch from. I worked 4+ years basically doing two full time jobs to build my company before I started doing it full time. Full story here:

This stuff is hard. It doesn't come easy. You have to be smart and only take calculated risks. You have to be willing to give up things other people aren't willing to give up. If you want to learn to code, than get busy. Set up a schedule for yourself to run through online tutorials several hours a day. Be diligent. Build out some tools you'd like to use yourself.

Again, anything is possible if you're willing to put in the work.

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68
  ·  8 months ago

Thank you for the prompt response. I am thinking more like developing applications/services on platforms/codes as coding is comparatively not my advantage and there are professionals out there to team up with. But getting to know more about coding is definitely necessary as it determines the intrinsic properties of whatever applications upon it. Thanks again for your time and story!

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70
  ·  8 months ago

You're welcome! Thanks for commenting.

61
  ·  9 months ago

Welcome to the STEEM community! Looking forward to seeing more. Great intro btw!

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70
  ·  9 months ago

Thanks @ajvest! I'm looking forward to some fun conversations here.

40
  ·  8 months ago

that is a great life ur have ..i like ur wonderful family, ur work place is awesome, i am into php as well, and questioned ur religion...and u live life on purpose. Nice to know u.

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70
  ·  8 months ago

Thanks Vikram!

69
  ·  9 months ago

Excellent introduction! Welcome to the community.

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70
  ·  9 months ago

Thanks @bacchist! Glad to be here.

45
  ·  9 months ago

Seems a beautiful journey you're on, man :)

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70
  ·  9 months ago

Thanks @citizen. I have no complaints. :)

55
  ·  9 months ago

Can you posting your photo with a sign that says Steemit and the date that you take the photo?

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70
  ·  9 months ago

Hello @ibnu. I added one as a comment about 23 hours ago.

55
  ·  9 months ago

That's great, but would you mind to post your photo with a sign that says Steemit and the date when you take it ? It is for verify your account, to show steemit community it is you and the other people that used your photo...

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69
  ·  9 months ago

He did that. Please check again.

41
  ·  9 months ago

Great to have you in the community!
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