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Jason Fried on Online Sharing & Commerce

Everything I bought was from someone who had taught me something… So I started thinking, ‘what if we started sharing the way these chefs shared?’”

Jason Fried

Jason reminded me of the basics in this video. Making and sharing things online is the cheapest advertisement you can get.

And it can do more than just “get eyeballs”… it builds trust, understanding, a kind of friendship.

I’ve been blogging in some kind of way for the past 6 or so years. I had no hopes or plans about it early on; I just liked to write things that made people laugh and think.

Now I do it for a living… professionally it’s called “content creation,” but it’s the same ol’ shit: making stuff that teaches something people want to learn (and entertains wherever possible).

It feels new to hear Jason say it like this, like I somehow guessed right several years ago when I wrote random things here and there that earned a few comments.

David Hieatt on Art & Commerce

You make things in order to sell them. The difference between you and an artist is you can’t wait years to be discovered. You have to make what people want to buy. This is commerce. This is not art.”

Davie Hieatt

Textmate 2 & Mavericks Markdown/MultiMarkdown Bundle Update

It’s ridiculous to me how much crap I have to deal with to get Markdown to work in my favorite text editor. I had it all sorted, then upgraded to Mavericks which botched it up again. But I’ve fixed it.

The trick is this: you’ve gotta use Fletcher Penney’s MD bundle because it’s better (basic bundle doesn’t support hyphen lists… absurd). But that bundle hasn’t been updated in forever. And mavericks needs some updates to this shit due to a ruby change.

So I did a lil’ hack job and updated the ruby path in all the files in Fletcher’s MD bundle. I’d update it on Git also but what’s a git? You can download it here:

Textmate 2 Markdown Bundle Fixed for Mavericks »

Creativity is the residue of time wasted.”

Albert Einstein

What Makes Online Publications Super Successful

Editorially’s online publication launched a day or two ago. It’s made by people I pay attention to. I admire them because they’re so good at the things they do.

I’m in the middle of designing a big, exciting, new thing for us at Fizzle so I was extremely curious: what decisions did these people make about their online publishing thing?

  • what’s the reading experience like?
  • what bits about the author, pub date, twitter, comments, etc, do they show?
  • is there a sidebar? What’s in it?
  • what funky things do they do to show the reader “this isn’t some stock WP theme?”
  • of course they’ll have interesting people from that scene of theirs, Craig Mod is a good example.
  • of course there’ll be an editorial angle (it’s called “Editorially” fuggryanoutloud).
  • will it feel like they’re trying to ooze out between the html5 asides, “hey! this is big boy stuff, like the New Yorker, we promise, it totally is.”

Here’s what struck me: it’s fine. The design is the design. It’s fine. And this thing will survive not on the quality of the design or the decisions about the sidebar.

It will survive or not — for me, the individual reader — based on the ongoing relationship I have with what they publish. The “content.”

They probably call this the editorial voice… cuz they’re smart. I look up to them for words and ideas like this.

  • big ol’ background images on articles? Cool. didn’t really care for the article.
  • artsy illustrations that feel made and human and tangible. That’s interesting. And that one, about half way through the article, I was already glad I read it.
  • drop caps… good looking. Different colors, though? Hmmmm.

Investigating this site, the decisions of these lovely and smart people, makes me realize how much I already know about online publishing.

  • stewarding an audience.
  • caring or not caring about the audience.
  • serving them or being cool at them.
  • putting loads of work into a piece that’s immediately forgotten by the web.
  • putting loads of work into a piece that’s immediately forgotten by myself as I rush into the next piece.
  • work, numbers, eventual questions about “wait, why are we doing this again?”
  • revenue questions, ideas, strategies, and results

As people building our thing online it’s easy to get wrapped up in the skin of stuff. “Oh damn, i have got to figure out how to do that big ol’ background header thing. So cool.” But that skin is only valuable as a conduit for the guts. We don’t stay friends with superficial and beautiful people from high school if they stay superficial (unless we’re horny). They’re pretty, which is nice, but they don’t get MST3K, they don’t like to play cards, I don’t feel connected to them. And life is too short for that kind of disconnection.

Wishing the team at Editorially all the best. I hope they connect super hard.

Max Temkin on Business Strategy

Knowing what you’re doing is not nearly as important as knowing what you believe in and what your values are and understanding how to translate that into the decisions that you’re making.”

Max Temkin, Creator of Cards Against Humanity

Click the name and watch the talk. An excellent story of success found doing stuff you and your friends like.

David Foster Wallace on the Important Kind of Freedom

“The freedom of all to be lords of our own, personal skull-sized kingdoms… alone at the center of all creation.

The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline and being able truly to care about people and to sacrifice for them, over and over in myriad petty, little unsexy ways everyday. That is real freedom.”

David Foster Wallace


Marco Arment on Podcasting (and competition) but Mostly the Podcasting Part

Oh goodness I loved this. I was there, in the audience, sitting with my friends, one of whom has a podcast, the artwork of which is prominently features on one of Marco’s slides.

I love this for several reasons.

1. Marco’s thoughts on podcasting. I am a podcaster. I love it. I feel this way about podcasting: up to now, it feels like the most natural thing I’ve ever done.

So I’m thrilled when a guy I admire, someone I think is much smarter than me, lauds podcasting as a beautiful, enriching, important and likely profitable thing. (See the quote below).

2. Marco’s openness about and investigation of his fears. He says “I’ve always been afraid of this.” But he doesn’t stop there. He also says, “so I asked myself, ‘why am I like this?'”

He a). realizes the stress level, the anxiety, the internal horror, b). does enough introspection to name it, and c). investigates why his self responds this way.

I’ve done some work of my own in this regard… but I’ve got things to learn from Marco in this regard because he doesn’t stop there.

3. He creates a business project in an attempt to get over his fear. Overcast forces him to swim upstream towards the fear he thinks isn’t true, isn’t necessary.

When we start businesses we think they’re forever. That’s what makes them exciting and horrifying. What if we thought about them as projects to learn and develop ourselves so our next thing is that much better? Yea, sounds la la, but I dig it.

4. “This succeeds or fails based on what I do with it.” Fuck stressing about the competition. Fuck stressing about market trends. Fuck trying to be like Steve Jobs. Engage yourself.

5. His closing thought:

I love this medium. This is so good. It really enables independent creative people and it’s fulfilling to listen to, fulfilling to make. I’m going to find it immensely satisfying to do anything I can to promote and improve and strengthen this world.”

Marco Arment

There isn't time by John Baldessari

When my son died I learned how flowers in vases don’t last long. So when I found this by John Baldessari it hit hard.

Frank Chimero on Marketing

I don’t expect to reach or change anybody I don’t already know. I realize there’s potential for that, but I don’t expect it.”

Frank Chimero

This has been rattling around my brain since I’ve heard it. In Fizzle I keep encouraging folks to think small, small, smaller. If you think about women who ride unicycles to work in north portland you can a). find those people easily (there are 10 of them), b). study and serve them well in small and meaningful ways that c). make a serious impact on that crew.

But in our online growing stuff — marketing stuff — for Fizzle and ThinkTraffic and, shit, even this blog, my mind defaults to “i need more people” mode.

Getting in front of new folks.

Making a good impression on them.

Creating an emotional experience with them on the page.

Making it easier and more enjoyable for them to find us.

But when I heard Frank say this I knew it was True™.

We still need to grow (maybe that’s another question to explore), but we can do it more like a family or a neighborhood than a “startup.”

First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him.”

Ray Bradbury

Well, what do you want?