Nerding out with “Oriented Strand Board”

It’s been since 2011 since I’ve worked in an office, and I know cubicles are frowned upon, but I’d totally be up for building something like this (Hack) for my own home office purposes.

I’ve been interested in this “Oriented Strand Board” look since I first saw it at Urban Outfitters eons ago. I think the Abelton website (below) played a part, too.

Seriously, I need to learn how to build some of this stuff (below, from Imgur).

Jocelyn Aucoin Makes Good Words

I met Jocelyn Aucoin years ago when running my first music blog (Buzzgrinder), and she was co-running Lujo Records. We lost touch as our paths drifted, but we started talking again in the past year and it’s been fantastic.

There is just something to this internet thing, when you meet other creative folk from far away places, and you don’t talk for years but you pick up right where you left off. Like magic.

That’s what Jocelyn creates, magic. With words. It takes engineers and programmers and designers to make all the amazing apps and services and brands we see everyday, but it still takes words to create magic.

It takes words to make compelling slides for presentations. It takes words to write all those amazing videos we see everyday. It takes words to make people feel something, fall for something, buy something.

If you need words for something you’re working on – paragraphs, articles, planning – you should speak with Jocelyn Aucoin at Jawbone Creative.

Working All the Channels

I have a love hate relationship with podcasts. Having worked in and around online media for 17 years, I can’t help but wonder about the work flow, the revenue, the sustainability… it’s just stuff that goes thorugh my brain all the time. I can’t help it.

It really seems like so much of podcasting is built via SqaureSpace, Blue Apron, and Freshbooks (at least the stuff I’m listening to). As SNL poked at last weekend, it’s pretty damn predictable. And once those dollars go away, then what?

I’m surprised the skit didn’t include a bit about Patreon, to “support the show” and get exclusive bonus content. Sigh. This is stuff I used to think about with Skull Toaster (RIP 2011-2018), and honestly I’m glad to be out of that game.

But this is all the million dollar question – how do you monetize? How do you support a media project without sponsors, or member support? I’m not trying to answer that here, but I think about that situation a lot.

How Much Longer for Evernote?

Look, I don’t know a lot about business, but this doesn’t sound good; “Evernote lost its CTO, CFO, CPO and HR head in the last month” (via Daring Fireball).

I used Evernote for YEARS. Then one time I lost a note I had been working on. Support wasn’t much help, and I ultimatly just had to redo the note. It wasn’t tragic, but it was an experience I had.

Then the whole WORK CHAT thing. What? I just want a place to copy and paste some information. Maybe import some emails or something.

“HI, IT’S MACHINE LEARNING!”

What in the hell, Evernote? That was it for me. I just saw too much emphasis on flashy things and not enough effort on substance. Things that work. It’s okay to not be Slack, just be Evernote! But nope.

I’ve since switched to Bear and I love it. It just does notes, and is really nice for writing, too. Worthy of the yearly pro subscription price.

You Can’t Hustle Every Single Day

There is a giant space between beginner and professional, so try not to compare where you’re at with those two. It’s okay to be a beginner. And okay to be a professional and not have *EVERYTHING* figured out.

Make your bed. Have some tea. Read a book. Wash your face. This 24/7 compare-a-thon is for the birds. Rest and recharge, friends.

Work You’re Proud Of

I love this recent bit from Seth Godin, ‘Entrepreneurship is not a job.’

The work is to solve problems in a way that you’re proud of.

When I started Skull Toaster in 2011 I saw people were bored in between sets at shows, or standing in line, and rather than start some new metal blog that’s always begging for clicks, I put the THING right there on Twitter (@skulltoaster). The “pay off” was on Twitter. Skull Toaster “posts” were on Twitter, and replying was the “comments.”

The problem I’ve always wanted to solve is helping bands sell more music. Because when bands sell music, they have money, which then allows them to do things like eat and have health care.

I’ve been covertly getting the word out about bands with Skull Toaster since 2011, not with “SONG PREMIERES” or copy and pasting tour dates, but by asking a metal trivia question about a band (like this one for Vastum), and then sending a nightly email filled with words about that band, which sometimes leads to people discovering a new band, then possibly becoming a fan, and… buying their music.

And it actually works.

It ain’t a glamorous life, but it’s work I can be proud of.

You Can Totally Give Me Money

Image of Tweet used instead of embedding because someday Twitter will close and the above would disappear

This was hard, as not many folks put their Venmo / Cash app / PayPal link out there, but dammit they should (here’s mine: PayPalSquare Cash / Venmo).

If people want to think this is cheap, or “expecting a handout,” fuck them.

Life is short and times are tough. Sure, an artist should just “make paintings and sell them,” or a writer should just pitch more outlets and get paid that way.

But hey, maybe the artist doesn’t want to come out and say they can’t afford paint right now. Or the writer is left too exhausted after a 12 hour shift at a mind-numbing job that they have zero energy to even make a microwave pizza, let alone pitch an editor.

Don’t like when people “beg for money?” Great. Move along, mind your business, and stop talking shit.

Don’t like Patreon and Kickstarters? Great, you’re so edgy.

Instead of putting down everyone who explores various means of funding (and sometimes fucking surviving), shut your face and donate to a charity – or wait, is that somehow offensive as well?

The Stress of Journalism

The state of journalism is a wild one these days.

Back in my senior year of high school I was encouraged to go to school for journalism. My thinking then was I could live anywhere and always have a job, since every town has a newspaper! Even with knowing what I know now I still regret not going to school for journalism.

Photojournalist Ryan Kelly won a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography for an image he made at The (Charlottesville, Virginia) Daily Progress on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017.

It was the day of a white supremacist rally. It was the day a man plowed his car into a group of counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. And it was Kelly’s last day in the newsroom.

Kelly left to run social media for a Richmond brewery and still works as a freelancer.

From ‘This photojournalist won a Pulitzer for an image he made on his last day in the newsroom

Kelly cites “the state of the industry, the stress and the schedule” a reasons for leaving. I mean, I can’t imagine going to bed at night without replaying the images of that day in Charlottesville.

Work For Yourself

This quote from Seth Godin’s post, ‘Speaking up about what could be better‘ is right on point:

“Our social networks have turned us into unpaid factory workers, toiling in a giant system, one that pushes us to feel shame, to be in a hurry, to worry about nothing but the surface.”

If I asked you to upload all your photos and thoughts to this site (sethw.com), and told you I was going to use that content and activity to sell ads against it and make lots of money for myself, you’d probably walk away.

But that’s what we all do on social media. All our discussions make money for social media networks. Our event pages help pay for the health care of social media employees. Uploading vacation photos helps pay those six figure salaries.

Our time, our attention, our focus is shifted to the short term on social media, and when those sites shutter (and they will), we’ll be left with nothing.

Starting is the Easy Part

Lots of people start email newsletters.

Starting is the easy part.

Running an email newsletter, well, that’s serious work. But really it’s not.

Everyday we read, consume, have thoughts, conversations, take photos – there is never a reason to sit down at our computers and not have anything to write about.

It’s just that sitting at computer can be paralyzing.

I’m telling you – if we took half of our flippant Tweets and just threw them into a draft folder (text file, Bear, WordPress), we’d never run out of material.

The allure of tossing these ideas and pondering to Twitter is strong, I get it. You’ll get four likes, and you’ll recognize some of the faces, and maybe one or two people will reply. But four hours later that Tweet is gone, pretty much forever.

But if you put that on a blog, or in your newsletter, it has a home. It can have a life now.

The fun part? You can do both.

You can Tweet it, than flesh out your thought even more in a bigger piece. The people that don’t use Twitter (which is a lot of people), they can read it now, too. And three years from now, your blog post or newsletter has more of a chance of coming back to life that that Tweet.