INTERVIEW: Dumb and Dumbest Podcast

Listen to me talk with Matt Bacon and Curtis Dewar on their ‘Dumb And Dumbest‘ podcast, on the subjects of social media, marketing, internet metrics and more. Click below, or listen over at Ghost Cult Mag.

Some highlights:

  • My continued distrust of Facebook
  • How I stared Buzzgrinder and Noise Creep
  • Building Skull Toaster from the ground up
  • How to build engagement on Twitter
  • Helpful books I’ve read

Let me know your thoughts (hi@sethw.com or seth@closemondays.com), or leave a comment over at and have me on your show! Get in touch!

Delete It

How do you handle a new thing? I recently bought a new MacBook Pro, my first new machine since 2014 (and 2009 before that).

 I actually just got a new computer because my old one died. It feels like the first computer I’ve ever had as an adult. It has nothing on it, and every time I download something, every time I add something to it, I’m like, “Do I want this to be on there forever? Or do I just delete it?” I’m deleting a lot of stuff and it feels really good to keep everything clear, to have that lack of clutter.

Emily A. Sprague at The Creative Independent

My photos sit in the cloud, my music streams from Bandcamp and Apple Music. All of my important documents sit on DropBox or Google Drive.

That said, here are a few things I’ve installed on my new machine.

TextExpander: A few keystrokes and whammo, a string of text, a phone number, or a line of code. I use this every single day.

Spark: Holding my breath on this one, but this email app lets me export tasks to Tododist, snooze emails until later in the day (or any date I pick), and schedule emails to be sent (usually at 7am the next day).

Bear: A replacement for my beloved Evernote. Syncs wonderfully between Mac and iPhone, so I can bounce text and code between the two throughout the day as needed.

Todoist: I’ve tried OmniFocus (just too much), and Things (pretty, but I can’t make it work for me), but I’ve fallen hard for this minimal, stripped down to-do app.

Abelton Live: Bass riffs become loops, all easily recorded and sounding great. I only have the Intro version, which works fine for now, but could see upgrading in the new year.

Work When You Work

There isn’t a magical formula for success that relates directly to when you do your best work.

Every roommate I’ve ever had goes to bed around 11, so for me, the night is really nice because everything gets really quiet. I’m a big believer in not going to bed before something’s done, so I usually get around two hours of work in somewhere between 10:30 p.m. and 1:30 a.m. 

Photographer Aundre Larrow at Megenta

I started waking up real early, and started creating at 7 a.m, like real full-on sessions, not just like I’m poking around. I’m in. What I started doing before that was the last move of the night I clean the whole studio. Fill up the water pitcher, when I wake up I have the teapot ready, there’s nothing to do except get started. And I realized there sun’s shining down, you’ve got that pure energy, you’re just up, and all of a sudden it was turning 11 a.m and I hadn’t even looked at my phone and I was like, oh I just learned how to do it. 

Producer Nick Hook at Abelton

If you’re not a morning person, it’s okay. If you’re a night owl, great.

Personally I get up early and get cracking at some work, then I have the rest of the morning and afternoon to tackle my biggest work. And honestly, I’ll let some tasks slide into the early evening, because by then I am motoring, and can buzz through whatever else is on my to-do list.

Working Not Waiting

Though 2018 has been hellfire in general, it’s been pretty damn good personally for me and a handful of friends. Not perfect, sure, but damn good.

For me it came down to subtraction.

The most successful people I know have a narrow focus, protect against time-wasters, say no to almost everything, and have let go of old limiting beliefs.

Derek Sivers

After seven years I ended my beloved Skull Toaster. Over 2,000 metal trivia questions, 1,000s of emails, videos, and images. It was also never ending, a perpetual extra thing on my to-do list everyday. Sure, I ramped down from three questions per day to one, and a nightly email newsletter to weekly (and back again), but it would never stop. There was always something to do. An album anniversary to honor, the passing of a legend to acknowledge, or another time stamp worth noting. And it would never end.

I wish I knew exactly how to know when to quit, when the payoff isn’t worth the effort anymore. I recall Seth Godin’s “The Dip,” which touches on this. About the effort needed to get to where you’re going.

Investing all the hours leads to what exactly? Perhaps money, oppurtunties, new gigs? I haven’t done something in a long time that didn’t see those things as the goal. Skull Toaster’s purpose was to get me a job doing social media for some unknown media outlet, doing audience growth and community management.

And then I learned I really didn’t want to do any of that.

Was it a waste? Not one bit. But I wouldn’t have learned any of the lessons had I just sat around and waited for a sign, looking skyward for some divine guidance.

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.