Being Friends with the World

Found this bit from ‘F You Money, & Don’t Release Your First Font,’ which on a surface level doesn’t really apply to me since I’m not a designer, but holy moly, I’m glad I kept reading (and a nod to Nina Stössinger for RT’ing it in the first place here):

No matter what you’re interested in, the world will not know how to help you unless you scream from the mountaintops what it is you like to do, and how you like to do it.

James Edmondson

In recent years I got a lot of people asking me what I do, and I’d usually inhale and list a bunch of things, from email marketing to website updates, some audio and video work, writing, transcribing, content strategy… zzzz… quite a pitch, right?

Now?

I work with independent music publicists, managing their websites, social media, and back end operations. 

Like James says, “the world will not know how to help you.” The world  didn’t know how to help me out when I just did “everything.” Now that I know what I like to do, the world and I are now good friends.

WORKING LESS

The internet may lead you to believe that the only way to live is hustle. Do everything yourself, all the time.

“When folks ask me what I do, the answer is, ‘As little as possible.'”

Chris Glass

Now, Chris Glass isn’t doing nothing, of course, but not working all the time sure is pretty awesome.

Then, while listening to The Process podcast (done by Shannon Lee Byrne), she spoke with two guests in Ep #36 that about “how they’ve designed a life to work less.” They’re pretty frugal (give a listen), but they also own property and lead a creative and fulfilling life.

In my line of work, music publicists offload their busy work (or “digital dirty work” as I like to call it), so they get to work less. They can then use that time to meet a client, organize bigger projects, or just (GASP) not work. On the flip side, I’m not trying to work all the time, either, but I’m focused on just a few, well defined tasks each day, across a handful of clients.

It’s a wild time in 2018, for sure, and it’s bound to get even more bumpy. I think a lot of us are figuring it out as we go, but it’s always reassuring to hear about people who aspire to work less.

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.