November 14, 2019

The Fungal Future — How mycelium helps us rethink design

  • Dezeen
  • Oscar Vinck courtesy of Company New Heroes (Photo Credit)

The recent Dutch Design Week saw the debut of “The Growing Pavilion,” constructed out of a variety of natural materials including fungal mycelium. We take a look at what the sustainable material means for the environment and the future of design.

The Growing Pavilion

Dezeen’s Augusta Pownall gives the run-down of The Growing Pavilion, a pop-up performance space that debuted at Dutch Design Week 2019 in Eindhoven. The drum-shaped building was also created to demonstrate the potential for bio-materials.

  • Creators: Set designer and artist Pascal Leboucq and Erik Klarenbeek’s Known Design studio. The two met three years ago when Klarenbeek and Leboucq began working with bio-based materials.
  • Construction: mushroom mycelium panels, timber frame, floors made of compressed cattail. Panels can be disassembled and repurposed later.
  • Features: Benches made from trees felled by a storm earlier in the year, furniture made from manure and clothes made from bio-materials.
  • Waterproof Coating: comes from a bio-based product originally developed by the Inca people of Mexico and imported from there, which Leboucq argues is a situation where an imported natural product can be better than a locally-made polluting product.
  • Safe for Consumption: Company New Heroes, a storytelling platform of which Lebouq is a member, helped schedule events including the daily harvesting of mushrooms growing on the panels. These were cooked and sold at a nearby food truck.
  • Carbon offset: The CO2-absorbing properties of mycelium offset the building’s carbon footprint by capturing twice its weight back in carbon dioxide.

What is mycelium

Mycelium is the massive branching network of thread-like hyphae that colonies of fungi use to breakdown organic material and absorb nutrients. In fact, that’s one of the most important aspects of their role in the ecosystem. Mycelium breaks down dead matter and puts the nutrients back into the environment.

Here are some of the properties that make it useful as a material:

  • Shapeable: mycelium is easy to grow into the shape of whatever mold it’s put in.
  • Strong: Relative to its weight, mycelium is stronger than concrete, giving it some potential for use in construction. It also kills and repels termites too.
  • Resistant: because has fire retardant properties that make it safer and more cost-effective than other materials that use synthetic polymers.
  • Easy to grow: it grows fast and on just about any waste product we feed it.
  • Insulator: it forms a foam-like material that can work as an insulator such as Greensulate.
  • Detoxifying: A lot of petroleum products and some pesticides are carbon-based molecules that fungi can potentially remove from the environment.

Taking More than We Give

In the past, we looked at how Econyl, a completely recyclable nylon fiber, has become one of fashion’s favorite synthetic fibers. Made from recovered ocean plastic, it represents a case where we’re making something “new” out of materials formed out of a problem humans have created, similar to bioplastic Bloom, which draws from the algae population that’s exploded with warmer climates.

It’s a scenario one where we try to take more harm out of the environment than we put back in. While that dynamic might not be perfectly efficient just yet, it shows we can always either create by using a product that’s no longer of use (waste products) or putting to use something that already occurs naturally, meaning it needs fewer resources to produce.

The Takeaway

We acknowledge we’re probably late to the party in recognizing the potential of mycelium, but it’s gotten us thinking about a future where the cities around us won’t necessarily be this idea of “perfected” space-age design. These buildings often come across as sterile with buildings of glass, porcelain-white panels, and metal. Instead, we could very well go in a radically opposite direction, one where the buildings around us are organic (or even living) because of our need to “use what we have” and create with materials that have always co-existed with our environment.

November 14, 2019

Making It Up 108: Streaming services and tokenis

On Making It Up 108, Charis and Eugene talk about Disney+ and Apple TV+, two new streaming services, launching with series that cost an unprecedented amount of money per episode to make. They also discuss tokenism: what it is, how to deal with it, and whether there are silver linings to it.

November 11, 2019

Complex gets more complex with foray into product development

Digiday’s Tim Peterson explores media company Complex’s foray into product development that includes helping companies to reach its audience. We look at how this move fits into the bigger picture of connecting media, product and paying customers.

Complex gets more complex

In 2002, Complex started as a menswear magazine founded by Marc Ecko, founder of streetwear brand Eckō Unltd, known for its silhouetted red rhino logo. Over the years, it’s grown beyond its print origins to become a multifaceted media company that’s helped to popularize street culture and fashion. As can be expected of most media companies, there’s a lot of branches to it, all which are named after and tie back into the master brand.

  • Complex Networks: The video-centric network of creators and brands that includes other publications and shows.
  • ComplexCon: The multi-day event that is normally hosted in Long Beach, but recently hosted its first edition in Chicago.
  • Complex Collective: A research product that gives companies access to a panel of individuals signed on to provide feedback on any number of things including products and media.

What is Climate?

As Peterson writes, ComplexCon saw the company launch its first NextFront event, which helped the company to pitch its content and commerce business to over a hundred companies. It was here that Complex announced both Complex Collective and Climate.

Climate is a new division of Complex that will help use its expertise with working with both advertisers and audiences to develop products for other companies — and targeted at Complex’s discerning audience. Under Climate, this type of consulting work would become more formalized, where they’d already done so on an ad-hoc basis. For example, earlier this year, they connected Anwar Carrots and PepsiCo.’s Brisk to produce a line of special-edition beverages).

Hot Sauce, anyone?

This isn’t quite the first time Complex has worked with developing successful products. First We Feast is itself an online food-culture magazine and YouTube channel owned by Complex Media. Its channel produces several video series including The Burger Show, The Curry Shop and most notably, Hot Ones.

Hot Ones has host Sean Evans grill his celebrity guests as they dine on increasingly spicier chicken wings. What seems like a simple if entertaining concept has helped Complex to produce its own line of hot sauces, including Last Dab XXX, which generated $500,000 in sales within 48-hours of its October 17 launch.

As further proof of the company’s ability to leverage its properties to create opportunities elsewhere, that series is also being adapted into a 20-episode game show hosted by WarnerMedia Entertainment-owned TV network truTV (and shot in Atlanta in case you were wondering).

The Takeaway

Complex Networks isn’t the only media company to head in this direction and joins BuzzFeed and Clique Brands (formerly Clique Media Group). The basic idea is to use all of that experience gained from engaging a given audience and creating media products for them to form a profile other brands can use to then produce physical products that speak to that same audience. Done properly, this ensures a win-win-win situation for the original brand, the brand crafting the product, and the end buyer.

In the same vein, we recognize the benefit — and for a primarily digital media company, the importance — of having tangible connections between people and a brand. It’s not always about trying to sell merch (though our upcoming web store will certainly do that). Rather, it’s sharing with our supporters and audience the same experience we’d like to physically hold in our own hands. This means working with brands we either already respect and whose products we’d eagerly integrate into our lives anyways or those we know would be a good fit for our audience.

November 7, 2019

Where are we now with on-demand apps for creatives?

While the growth of the gig economy has produced many platforms that connect clients with creatives, we’ve curiously only come so far for on-demand apps for creative industries. We take a look at what’s available currently and some possible reasons for why we’re just getting started.

The Rundown

Ian Burrell writes for The Drum how Stringr, the Uber-style news footage sourcing app, opened a UK office in May and has since recruited 7,000 new videographers to the platform.

Stringr is named for stringers, freelance journalists, photographers or videographers that contribute reporting, images or footage to news organizations and are paid individually by the piece that gets published. Here are some key points about Stringr from Burrell’s article:

  • How it works: Videographers get alerts to assignments through the app, should they accept, they get to the location, shoot the footage and upload it. Videographers get paid if and every time a client downloads the footage.
  • Feedback: Like with Uber drivers, Stringr videographers get ratings that factor into how assignments get distributed based on their skill (as judged by Stringr’s Curation Team composed of experienced journalists), proximity and current traffic conditions.
  • Reuters Connect: Stringr is integrated with Reuters Connect, which helps clients to source text, photo and video content from other media organizations including Reuters. It also provides bespoke video production for clients in partnership with video editing tool InVideo and Amper Music, which leverages AI to generate soundtracks (making them rights-free).
  • Reach: Stringr is currently in Los Angeles, New York and now the UK with the opening of its Notting Hill office in London. It has further plans to expand to France and Germany.

Hasn’t this been done before?

Not as much as we’d think. Searching for “The Uber of (insert creative skill or job here)” nets no small number of platforms in website form that promise to connect clients with a vast network of creative talent not unlike Fiverr. But in terms of the truly “on-demand” nature of smartphone apps, it seems fewer platforms have tried to bring the convenience and efficiency of Uber to the creative industry as opposed to other personal services like home maintenance, delivery, pet-sitting.

Unsurprisingly, going the extra step of developing an app on top of the back-end booking and order management system requires a great deal of resources, meaning there naturally needs to be a fair amount of demand to justify it. This list isn’t exhaustive but gives a cross-section of the type of on-demand platforms apps other than Stringr covering the creative industry:

  • Snappr: Australian startup that sources photographers (and another app jumping on the dropped ‘e’ naming trend) by the hour. Co-founders Ed Kearney and Matt Schiller expanded into the platform after working together on GownTown, their previous venture that acted as a ‘one-stop graduation shop’ selling gowns to graduating students.
  • GigTown: Founded by former president and vice chairman of Qualcomm Steve Altman and his son, GigTown connects musicians, event planners and venues. The app was started after the founders went through the troublesome process of sourcing a live band for a diabetes fundraiser.
  • Sofar Sounds: London-based Sofar Sounds differs in that it books and sells tickets to secret concerts around the world in hosted venues that include everything from retail stores to living rooms. The founding intention was to cut the bloat of most live-music events and increase intimacy between audiences and musicians. The typical format of a concert (branded as a “Sofar”) includes three diverse curated and no headliner.
  • JinzZy: This app, which serves India specifically, books live entertainers (specializing in characters like superheroes) within a window of anywhere from four hours to months in advance. Bookings range from the usual corporate and family events to campaigns and hospital visits.

The Pros and Cons

Looking at this very small cross section of on-demand apps covering creatives, we’ve come to a few broad conclusions about this diverse segment of the growing “gig” economy for the time being.

  • Connecting People: While every app is ostensibly founded with the goal of “connecting people” the smooth connection between client and service provider through Uber-like searching, quoting and booking systems makes that aspect especially smooth. But as Sofar would show, it’s not like Uber where you’ll hire and forget your driver (or delivery person if you got EATS). You have the potential to create longer-lasting and richer connections depending on the nature of the platform.  We’re also interested to see how future apps can have the potential for bringing people more in touch with their communities and surroundings.
  • Work for Free: Platforms like Fiverr get a particularly bad rap not just because of the race-to-the-bottom dynamic the bidding war encourages, but because it means a lot of spec work for free. Stringr has this dynamic too in the sense that you may work for that hour but not be paid for it (and the time geting to the location) if the client doesn’t want your footage.
  • Testing the Waters: With rates as low as $45 USD (with a quota of 60 shots) per hour, established photographers are unlikely to use Snappr. But for talented fresh-starters wanting to get their feet wet and earn something for their trouble, it can be a new avenue to explore.
  • Terms: Of the figures we could find, GigTown takes 13 percent per booking while Snappr takes 20 percent per booking, but it’s not just about the take-home pay but the entire workflow experience. Stringr pays the next day via PayPal, Snappr handles insuring photographers which can be harder for the individual and of course, some of the apps handle a part of the sourcing and negotiating phases. It all depends on if the exact package a platform offers is a good fit for the creative.
  • Drop Everything: the “drop everything and work for potential peanuts” scenarios that could have creatives tripping over themselves to compete for jobs and even produce work that might not be compensated with even a kill fee is a worst case scenario and we might decry the potential for devaluing creative services. But the reality is there will always be clients wanting to pay less and someone willing to work for that much.

The Takeaway

We’re still in largely uncharted territory with creative services in an on-demand format because the nature of that work is so specific with countless variables (and additional work to accomplish the finished product.

By comparison: if we’re ride-sharing, it involves the closest Uber of 3-4 service types getting you from point A to point B (or point C if you change your mind) within a reasonable amount of time. Even for all the bells, whistles and good conversation, those are all attempts to win your approval for that time you’re in the vehicle, which the driver is paid for. There will be idle time between passengers, to be sure, but we think it’s safe to assume it’s going to be less than the time between gigs for say, a photographer or live band.

It’s all about the packaged relationship between expectations, the work done and the compensation. The original goal for Fiverr founders Micha Kaufman and friend Shai Wininger was to give freelancers a way to slice their skills thin and sell them. Stringr might be the closest to on-demand we might get for now (because videographers go, shoot and upload, but the client does the editing) but the comprehensive nature of a lot of creative work makes it hard to carve a skillset so cleanly that it can be done on location. This is likely why most creative fields don’t do “on-demand” apps and are more represented on freelancing platforms instead.

Still, there is some veracity to the argument that the prices for creative work is in a race downhill, but there’s also a difference between a highly commoditized service provider and a creator who provides not only the requisite skill set and professionalism, but also a strong point-of-view and style.

November 4, 2019

News ⚡ — 4 November Monday

Vetements to support young designers with new platform. A full-time musician shows his daily expenses in Spotify streams. The end of an era for retailer Barneys.

1. 👚 Vetements is Launching a Platform to Support Young Designers | Highsnobiety

Vetements co-founder Guram Gvasalia is planning on launching an accelerator-type platform to foster and nurture new fashion talent. The setup will look to provide shared offices, mentorship and scholarships for up and coming artists looking to grow.

Who knows, perhaps some talent will surprise the world with actually innovative designs for once. One can hope…

2. 🎹 A full-time musician works out how much his daily expenses cost in Spotify streams | Alex Leonard
Ever wonder how much it would cost to live as a full-time German musician subsisting on Spotify streams? Even if you haven’t, read this article by Alex Leonard, which breaks down (roughly) the number of streams needed to cover the daily cost-of-living. Spoiler Alert: it’s not an encouraging number.

3. ☠️ Barneys Is Sold for Scrap, Ending an Era | The New York Times
RIP Barneys NYC. The legendary department store which first opened in 1923 is being sold for next to nothing to Authentic Brands Group (which will own the Barneys name). As a local and global institution, Barneys lead the way in introducing some of the world’s premier brands including Armani, Louboutin and CDG.

As it shutters, fashion aficionados and fans alike lament this sad ending to this illustrious company. Ultimately, Barneys is yet another main-street victim in today’s e-commerce world, amongst other factors.

4. 🍄 This mushroom building cleans our air as it grows | Fast Company
Known as The Growing Pavilion, the building was created by Krown-design and debuted at the recent Dutch Design Week.

Constructed out of mycelium, which forms part of fungal colonies, the material offsets the carbon footprint of a building by capturing two times its weight in CO2 whereas the rigid foam plastic EPS panels common in most buildings emit three times as much. No word yet on when the living building will achieve sentience.

5. 📱 iPhones are getting thousands of new fonts from Adobe | The Verge
Apple users can rejoice as Adobe brings thousands of custom fonts to iOS that can be used with iOS 13.1 and iPadOS 13.1 apps that support them.

What was once a painful multi-step process is now made simple by downloading Adobe Creative Cloud. iOS users can get access to up to 1,300 fonts for free while Adobe CC subscribers get access to 17,000 fonts. We’ll just stick with Founders Grotesk, thank you very much.

6. 🎛️ The Loupedeck Creative Tool is a physical control deck for creative apps | The Verge
An upgrade to Loupedeck’s original consoles known for their dedicated buttons and switches, the Creative Tool forgoes labels for mini screens for better personalizing the interface.

These include a giant wheel that doubles as both touchscreen display and customizable dial for manually scrubbing through media tracks or adjusting properties.

See all our recent News ⚡ updates here.

November 4, 2019

The Importance of the Daily "Brain Shower" aka Sleep

The Wired’s Sara Harrison breaks down the results of a study by Dr. Laura Lewis on the importance of sleep (as if you needed another reminder). Lewis and her team at Boston University Lab have revealed how our body clears toxins out of our brains as we sleep.

The Study

The study aimed to test the role of non-REM (deep) sleep in removing toxins in the brain by examining sleep cycles that were as realistic as possible. Here’s how they did that:

  • Late nights: to ensure the sleep cycles were as realistic as possible, subjects were instructed to stay up late the night before so that they could drift off easily at midnight, when the tests were run.
  • Non-invasive: Participants had to lie down and fall asleep inside an MRI machine and were fitted with an EEG cap to measure the currents flowing through their brains. The test was as non-invasive as possible, even forgoing the use of injected dye commonly used for mapping out the body during MRIs.
  • Isolating Metrics: the MRI measured the levels of oxygen and cerebrospinal fluid — the clear liquid found in the brain and spinal cord — in the brain. This was to better understand their relationship during sleep.

Harrison notes how Dr. Lewis sacrificed her own sleep for science to conduct the late night study, running tests until 3am before sleeping in the next day: “It’s this great irony of sleep research,” Lewis says. “You’re constrained by when people sleep.”

The Findings

Lewis found that during non-REM sleep (also known as deep sleep), the following took place:

  • Neurons synchronize:These specialized cells that transmit impulses start to switch on and off at the same time.
  • Blood flow decreases: When they switch off or “go quiet” they have less need for oxygen and as a result, blood flow to the brain decreases.
  • CSF fills in:  When this happens, cerebrospinal fluid rushes into the added space and washes over the brain in large slow waves.

The results builds off of a previous 2013 study led by neuroscientist Maiken Nedergaard that showed toxins like beta amyloid, a potential contributor to Alzheimer’s disease, was cleared out in mice during sleep. Suffice to say sleep is as important for humans as it is for mice.  “[The paper is] telling you sleep is not just to relax,” says Nedergaard. “Sleep is actually a very distinct function.”

The Implications

Harrison notes that this study only focused on non-REM sleep in healthy young adults and not on other sleep cycles and in older people, which means more research is needed. Still, the findings might help improve treatment for conditions such as Alzheimer’s: where previous medications just focused on targeting certain molecules like beta amyloid, understanding the important role cerebrospinal fluid plays means a new path towards other treatments. For one, Nedergaard says, future treatments might emphasize increasing the amount of cerebrospinal fluid washing over the brain.

Where we’re going with this

Even if we don’t have Alzheimer’s, we can’t ignore the important relationship between sleep, healthy brain function and mental health, issues of which are exacerbated by sleep problems especially in those with pre-existing conditions. To add to that, workers in our creative industry are more susceptible to certain issues such as depression.

Even for those who don’t suffer from said issues, it’s unlikely we’ll hear the conclusive end of the debate on how much sleep is good for creativity, with some arguments broadly praising the benefits of less sleep and others suggesting it depends on the type of creative. For that reason, we’re not going to flat-out suggest you get more sleep than you need to feel good nor will we be penning an Analysis titled “Why You Don’t Actually Need to Sleep That Much” anytime soon.

Rather, we take this study as proof of the overall importance of a good night’s sleep, which now that we see how cerebrospinal fluid is involved, could be affectionately (and accurately) called our daily “brain shower.” Just like a real shower, the exact length varies by the individual and you take as long as you need to start/end your day feeling clean, refreshed and creative.

November 2, 2019

Making It Up 107: New tech is a hard sell and rich people are really lucky

On Making It Up 107, Eugene and Charis discuss why new technology is difficult to convince people to adopt. They also talk about the habits of the ultra wealthy as well as a new study that shows a key factor in becoming very rich is luck.


00:01:20 Ultra wealthy
00:27:22 New tech
00:44:45 Banter


November 1, 2019

News ⚡ — 31 October Thursday

  • Getty Images/Paweł Czerwiński via Unsplash (Image Credit)

Twitter to ban all political ads. The coming NBA sneaker revolution. President Obama calls out call-out culture.

1. 😯 Jack Dorsey says Twitter will ban all political ads | TechCrunch
Twitter CEO Jack recently tweeted that the social media platform will be banning all political advertising endorsing specific candidates or stances on particular issues.

The exception to this ban will be more neutral exceptions like advertising for voter registration. Dorsey added the company will share the platform’s final policy by November 15, and begin enforcing it on November 22.

2. 👟 The NBA’s Sneaker Revolution Is Just Getting Started | GQ
Where the league once held a strict on-court dress code, the 2018 relaxation of some of those rules means teams and players can get creative.

Players were originally allowed only predominantly black or white shoes with a bit of team color accent, but the reversal means we’ll be seeing a lot more rare and custom kicks make their way into the game — and in front of adoring sneakerhead audiences.

3. 💯 Watch President Barack Obama make an excellent point about call-out culture. | Rolling Stone
While speaking at an Obama Foundation event in Chicago, the former president criticized the desire among some young people to accentuate their wokeness solely by judging others harshly online.

In addition to decrying online call-out culture as self-congratulatory but shallow clicktivism, he reiterated the inherent complexity of the real world and the need to approach it with nuance.

4. ⚽ Juventus Officially Unveils Monumental Palace & adidas Soccer Kit | High Snobiety
Officially debuted at the Italian football giant’s match with Genoa, the kit confirms long-held rumors about the collaboration. The most noticeable addition to the kit is the neon green logos, names and numbers as well as green and tangerine bands on the cuff of each sleeve.

5. ♻️ Can regenerative agriculture reverse climate change? Big Food is banking on it. | NBC News
Regenerative agriculture relies on methods that optimize the natural efficiency of ecosystems to both raise livestock and grow crops in a sustainable manner.

Large companies like General Mills are seizing on the idea with the promise that this approach to farming will tap carbon in the soil and help reverse climate change. That said, it’s unsure how effective regenerative agriculture will be at doing this and how long the carbon can be stored for.

6. 🐄 We’re very close to disrupting the cow | Fast Company
The US stands to gain significantly if it can cash in on a growing market of tasty, cheap and nutritious foods developed through advanced food science and technology.

That industry is estimated to create 1 million jobs and grow to $1 trillion annually by 2035.

See all our recent News ⚡ updates here.

October 31, 2019

Smart Brevity & "Dumbing Down"

We look at how Dr. Ian Bogost views the misplaced academic fear of needing to dumb down ideas for wider audiences and how to reframe that perspective. We also break down how to approach gaps in knowledge in situations where we assume the role of educator or expert.

Smart Brevity vs. Dumbing Down

Speaking about academics lamenting the need to dumb down their work to reach broader audiences, editor for The Atlantic Ian Bogost (and scholar himself), argues that if you write from a place of contempt, your information might not be so valuable and you might not be so smart after all: “Doing that work—showing someone why a topic you know a lot about is interesting and important—is not “dumb”; it’s smart,” he says. “If information is vital to human flourishing but withheld by experts, then those experts are either overestimating its importance or hoarding it.”

We can’t ignore the fact that we have unprecedented access to information and people have a need to know — whether out of genuine curiosity or anxiety out of not knowing. As such it’s become equally important for audiences to be able to absorb large amounts of complex information and media to process that for them, especially on relevant if specialized topics.

We previously wrote about the importance of slow journalism, the long-form content it tends to produce and the need for audiences to make time to actually process information again. Axios, for one, was launched with both the intention of sharing important (and accurate) information efficiently. In fact, this very Analysis series was inspired by Axios’ approach to “smart brevity” with the aim of helping readers make sense of the world around them.

In short, if you’re frequently in a position where people turn to you for knowledge, it’s less that you have to deign to “dumb down” your ideas — not too far off from the fear of “watering down” the craft for exposure that many creatives have — but rather, you have to get creative with how you package them if you deem them important enough to share.

Dumbing down is not as big a threat as imagined

To debunk the myth of dumbing down as being necessary to impart knowledge (especially if coming from a more formal context of expertise like academia), Bogost says scholars need to keep two key things in mind:

  • Context is Key: Where scholars need to write and publish a means of gaining the reputational currency to fund their careers, writing outside of the academic context is for different purposes. Similarly, what you do as an artist (title or not) will differ what you do if and when you do client work or collaborations.
  • We’re All in the Same Boat: Bogost notes that unlike other experts, academics are often teachers and as such, are involved in careers that emphasize helping people anyways. He also points out that writers and journalists write with the same core intention as well, even if yes, their work does also serve double-duty for career advancement.

We personally recall some professors in junior courses that would instruct us to write as if we were talking to non-experts and others in later courses emphasizing the need to speak directly to the expert grading them. It’s less about which approach is correct, but that the audience — the very people listening to our message — should be at the center. So in the context of creatives, we’d add another special point:

  • Don’t Throw Them Into the Deep End: As creatives, you need to communicate ideas of varying complexity to all types of people. Thinking of how to move the narrative (or production) along begins with something shallow but progressively, you’re bringing them deeper into the story, opportunity, or workflow. This isn’t a hard-fast rule because naturally, some things are common knowledge and others can be inferred, especially if you work with someone closely and regularly.

The Takeaway

When it comes to different contexts where knowledge is exchanged, whether it be in a public talk, in a private meeting or on set, there will always be scenarios where someone doesn’t get it or wants to know more. It simply comes with the diverse territory we work in.

Yet in all cases, sharing of knowledge — assuming it’s that it’s true to the name and not flaunting how much you know — has to come from a place of sincerity that takes effort to:

  • Get to the point intelligently: to render the most helpful amount of knowledge and in the most helpful terms necessary for a person to understand its importance if not do something with that information.
  • Reserve judgment: not everyone is a serial Googler (or reader of decks and briefs, sadly). You will always encounter situations where there will be a gap in up-to-date knowledge, expertise or understanding, and you will be on either side at some point. There’s no certificate or badge of honor for you to rattle off what you casually absorb on Reddit, in your news feed or anecdotally and yet be unable to actually explain that information to the uninitiated.
  • Reach understanding: means actively and dare we say, creatively, searching for new angles or means of communicating ideas, intents, and emotions so that we reach understanding — even if we don’t reach consensus.
  • Direct frustration: We aim to keep anger and frustration to a minimum projects in a way that’s distinct from pointing out gross errors or maintaining a sense of urgency on tight deadlines. Try as we may, we still might not reach understanding, however. But if you’re redirecting frustration at the situation rather than people, you’re more likely to focus your limited energies on immediate problem-solving as opposed to “hunting for the screw-up.” Save that for the debrief.

The final caveat is, of course, if you’re creating as an act of expression and less of communication or if you’re doing so for a niche audience. If you as an expert in your style or your work isn’t intended to be understood or engaged with by a broad range of people, then by all means, stay true to your vision and don’t let the need for greater exposure cloud that.

October 31, 2019

News ⚡ — 30 October Wednesday

Media outlet Eldorado uses shoes to fund its documentary. A new anti-meme law is introduced in the US. The Apple Airpod Pros are great but are destined for landfills.

1. 🥑 Avocado Rise is a documentary by sustainable footwear company Tropicfeel and Eldorado | Kickstarter
In an interesting partnership, media outlet Eldorado has partnered with sustainable footwear company Tropicfeel to release a shoe that will subsequently fund a documentary. The documentary focuses on the destruction of Sierra De Bahoruco, listed as a Biosphere Reserve by Unesco, all in the name of farmers looking to expand their avocado farms.

2. 💸 Why a meme could soon cost you $30,000 | Dazed
American creators now have a new law on their side that would allow small claims to be made for works they had created and subsequently used without their permission. The law titled the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act has been dubbed the “anti-meme” law. The new law’s difference is that it now allows a more affordable approach for creators to protect their IP versus traditionally expensive avenues.

3. 📱 The initial AirPod Pro earn positive reviews but you still can’t fix them | 9to5 Mac
Apple’s latest and greatest Airpod Pros have arrived in the ends of the tech elite (aka influencer reviewers). For the most part, the reviews have been positive, except one big issue, they are once again ripe for the garbage can when things go astray. Like the previous generation, the Airpod Pros are nearly impossible to fix.

4. 📱 Netflix wants to let people watch things at twice the speed, but Hollywood is pushing back | The Verge
The company is experimenting with letting a select group of Android users adjust the playback speed of their videos — something Netflix claims is part of its ongoing experiments with improving the viewing experience.

But directors including Judd Apatow voiced their opposition, saying that it would mean the platform supports filmmakers and creators on one hand but utterly destroys the presentation of their work on the other.

5. 🥢 Sarula Bao’s Real Chinese Food is a zine about take-out, shame and diaspora identity | It’s Nice That
The zine is an exploration of the shame ethnic diaspora often feel towards their heritage food, a by-product of internalized racism and assimilation, through the eyes of a Chinese-American woman and her complicated relationship with take-out.

6. 🦿 Chinese University experts develop a device that can generate power from the motion of your knee joint as you walk | SCMP
The lightweight device, developed at Hong Kong’s Chinese University, attaches to the user’s thigh and shank to generate enough electricity to charge a smart band or Apple Watch through the some 10,000 steps a healthy person takes a day.

Professor Liao Wei-hsin, who led the team that developed the “prototype harvester”, says that the device would especially be useful for mountaineers and other wilderness travelers who get lost and said companies have already reached out hoping to incorporate it into clothing.

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