March 18, 2017 edition of my newsletter

Here’s the latest edition of things worth reading. You can subscribe at Tinyletter. No podcast edition this week.

Monopoly replaces boot, thimble and wheelbarrow with a T-Rex, penguin and a rubber ducky (Telegraph)
So rarely do I play Monopoly anymore that I had no idea they were retiring pieces in favor of new ones, but alas. Are you outraged? Or is this a sign of progress? Ha.

The Problem With Interactive Graphics (FastCo)
Turns out, nobody actually looks at interactive graphics? Shocked? Not in a world where millennials confess to only reading headlines and people have less time to engage with things.

The decline of first-generation college athletes (ESPN/The Undefeated)
One of the great myths of college athletes not being paid is how it’s providing opportunities to kids who’d otherwise not be able to go to college. That might be true, but it’s a lot less true now — across all sports — than it used to be, as fewer first-gen kids are getting scholarships.

The Roots of Cowboy Music: The Search for the Black Self in The American West (MTV News)
I thought this was just a good piece of writing about self-discovery, so I shared it.

The disturbing trend of homeless community college students (Washington Post)

Craigslist Is Old, Janky and Unbeatable (Backchannel)
In 2003 when I was interned at the Boston Globe, Craigslist was responsible for me finding my apartment, my computer and pretty much all of my non-work friends.

What I’m Reading: Memoirs of a Polar Bear (Yoko Tawada)
Why We Can’t Look Away From Our Screens – A review of Adam Alter’s book “Irresistible” which is also what I’m reading this week.

What I’m Listening To: Quilt – Plaza (LP)

On being known for a particular craft


How do you get to a place where people recognize you for a particular thing or discipline? Doing it a lot or doing it successfully. Perhaps the two go together?

I’m always fascinated when I meet people in real life and find out what they know. It’s the distinctive things that stick out. Maybe they’ll watch a video of one of my talks at a conference somewhere. Mostly people don’t ever meet at a conference at all, so it’s harder to translate what I do on the road with folks I meet in everyday life because it just seems so distant to them.

For these folks, they’ll remember invented Tennis Polo years ago, the shoe brand I started once or more recently, that I launched a conference or my obsession with Finnish Baseball.

As I think about ‘branding’ myself or plot my course professionally, I am always struck by what things to accentuate and what thing to put down into the background. What people remember and what I tend to accentuate don’t often match, making me think there needs to be a repositioning. That said, most of the fun stuff I do isn’t especially lucrative. I have a lot of tangible skills that I think I’d do well to share. It’s just a question of choosing what things matter and then moving the ball forward.

The real issue here is being known as a jack-of-all-trades in a world that rewards specialization.  I try to specialize, but it becomes very difficult to slough off the other skills I’ve honed over the years. So. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to stop trying to fit myself into a paradigm that’s perhaps better suited for people with more conventional, linear professional paths. That means (somehow) melding the memorable with the marketable. It also means consolidating my myriad web presence into something a bit less confusing, so a new person discovering me for the first time doesn’t have to chase down what it is I’m actually good at.

Things Worth Reading (4 March 2017)


Here’s some things worth reading this week:

Are the 2010s like the 1930s? (The Guardian)
I’m intrigued reading about the Depression, because most first-world living people don’t have a real concept for a world with that kind of scarcity.

The world’s worst flavor was designed in a lab by accident (Tedium)
Apparently Bitrex is everywhere and we don’t even realize it.

Earth In A Suitcase (538)
What would space colonists need to take with them on a trip away from Earth?

Sex, Husbandry and the Infinite Scroll (Design Week Portland)
A piece about real life and navigating spaces in a social media dominant world.

Why do we work so hard? (1843)
Contemplating work.

Reading: The Art of the Restaurateur (Nicholas Lander)
Listening: Quilt – Plaza (LP, 2016)
Luminous, unfiltered, haunting psych-folk that teeters among three dangerously creative mind