Not too interested in the Apple Watch

This is pretty much why I have little desire for an Apple Watch. Mel is more patient than I am. The lighting up while eating, the notification madness, the constant charging: none of that sounds fun.

From my very first look at the Apple Watch previews, I couldn’t believe how much junk they were putting on it. I really think putting full featured apps on it was a mistake. I understand it being a notifications center (if notifications can be tamed, especially), but full on apps? Ugh.

The Pebble looks way more attractive to me, at least while the Apple Watch is first generation.

Source: A week with my ????⌚️ | Choyce Design

The Bus Station

What’s so special about a Greyhound station? The one in Huntsville, Texas, isn’t much to look at — but is remarkable to thousands of inmates being released from prison each year. It’s the first place they go as free people. NPR spent two days there taking photos. Here’s what it’s like.

Sad statistics in this photo essay by NPR, but I like that it helps humanize America’s devastatingly large prison population.

Twitter Needs New Leadership

Ben Thompson makes a compelling case that Twitter needs a leadership change to find success on Wall Street.

I love Twitter, and use it for hours per day (it’s a primary source of news for curating Post Status). I don’t own Twitter stock. I dislike Facebook for the most part, but own Facebook stock.

My stock decisions have turned out to be pretty good ones (to own Facebook but not Twitter). Similarly, LinkedIn has done pretty well on Wall Street but isn’t exactly a joy to use.

I’m not sure a better Twitter on Wall Street would mean a better Twitter for me.

I’d rather see a subscriber model versus an advertiser (only) model, that means revenues go up as subscribers go up. That’d keep me happy as a user, even if it’d be unlikely to be sustainable enough to keep Wall Street happy.

$450,000 in a year as a self-published author

Building an audience who loves your product — whether it’s for a book, an app, a game, or a widget — is tough, time-consuming and expensive. Once you’ve got them hooked, give them something else to buy from you. As you choose your next project to work on, make sure it’s something that will appeal to your existing audience.

That’s just one of the lessons from Mark Dawson. This is a fascinating story on an author that’s crushing it by self publishing on Amazon.

I have to admit, just reading about his success makes me want to read his books.

Recycling the family business

One man’s junkyard is the next generation’s modern recycling center.

This is a good story on The Distance about running a family business in a less-than-sexy industry: automative recycling.

With a new generation, they are adapting to a new environment.

“It’s not a sexy business,” Kyle says. “And what we’ve been finding over the years…is that as the older generation either wants to retire or dies off, the younger generation does not want to get into it. More and more yards are being sold.…When I got involved in the business 25 years ago, there were something like 20,000 automotive-recycling yards or junkyards in the United States. And now that number is closer to 8,000. [But] it’s a great business. If any of you guys are listening, it’s a great business. Don’t go into the technology field. Believe me, you’ll like this business.”

I love good longform stories like this. Thanks to Ryan Sullivan for putting me onto The Distance.

News newsletters worth subscribing to, and why they are so good

I write a daily paid newsletter for WordPress. It’s the bread and butter of Post Status memberships, and it’s relatively hard work. I’m always seeking quality information that’s worthy for my readers’ eyes.

After all, they are paying me to be their filter. I only include what I think will be interesting to a large percentage of readers, and I also try to mix it up between business, technical, and other topics that I think suit the readership.

Therefore, I tend to appreciate other high quality newsletters. I get most of my daily news from a small handful of emails. These are the ones I like the most:

NextDraft

Dave Pell is simply a superb curator. Based in San Francisco, he typically grabs the most important things that happened in the day, with a healthy dose of culture, tech, and other fascinating articles.

He reads everything so that I can read what’s best. I absolutely love NextDraft. You can always check out the current edition on the web as well.

Sidenote, I interviewed Dave in 2013 on Post Status.

FirstDraft

I’m a political news addict. I admit that. I’ve flirted with inside baseball newsletters like Mike Allen’s at Politico, but that was a bit much for me. A happy balance of campaign and political news — both wonky and serious news — is in the New York Times FirstDraft.

FirstDraft is both a blog and a newsletter, but they provide me pretty much everything I want to know in a day for national political news in their daily email.

I subscribe to the New York Times, and usually consume it through their NYTNow app (though now that they are changing it I’ll probably start using the regular app more). However, it often leaves me wanting more from a political perspective, so FirstDraft gives me what I miss from the top stories in their apps.

Quartz

Quartz (they are online at qz.com) offers an outstanding business-focused daily newsletter. They have an interesting combination method for the newsletter as well. During the week they link both to their own articles and others around the web, and it’s a news roundup, essentially. I like that.

But what really shines at Quartz is their weekend brief. They usually highlight a single issue and go a bit more in-depth, and they also share the most important business news of the week. I catch probably half of the daily briefs, but always read the weekend brief.

Buzzfeed News

The Buzzfeed News newsletter is outstanding. It’s very personally written — like the editor is talking straight to me. They cover mostly serious news in this edition of their newsletter (though they have other newsletters for the cat gifs, literally).

I’ve found Buzzfeed to be a great source of high quality journalism, though it’s certainly not what they’re most known for yet. They have serious news and political journalists, and are investing more into investigative journalism while other media sources pull back.

Other than the New York Times, I wouldn’t be surprised if they are investing more in original journalism (versus reporting what other folks report) than anyone in the United States. They are rapidly opening offices all over the world as well. I think Ben Smith is super smart and I love what they’re doing at Buzzfeed.

Nieman Lab

Nieman Lab offers the best journalism on journalism out there. They are heavily focused on the changing media landscape, and you end up with a healthy mix of news on all sorts of media, and they aren’t afraid to get technical either.

You can get Nieman Lab’s newsletter either daily or weekly, but I go for daily. It includes their new articles, plus the most interesting links from Fuego, their tool to gather other interesting links about journalism.

Sidenote: I interviewed Nieman Lab director Joshua Benton in 2014.


All of these newsletters share some common traits.

  1. They are personal. I don’t feel like I’m being fed automated junk, even if parts of them are automated. It feels like it’s been written to me, as a human, by a human.
  2. They are generous. They aren’t just teasers; there is real meat in the newsletter itself, not just in the links they share. Also, they don’t just link to their own publications, but each of them is willing to link to external sources.
  3. They have personality. Part of why they feel personal is because they have a personality themselves. Whether they inject humor, or are willing to go on a tangent within the newsletter, or are a bit more quippy than a traditional article would be, I feel the personality of the newsletter editor in the writing. That makes me want to read it, versus an automated feed that feels emotionless.
  4. They are consistent. I can rely on these newsletters to hit my inbox when they say they will. Over time, as they keep delivering good stuff, that makes me become more reliant on them and more committed to opening them each day.

As a newsletter writer (and blogger), I attempt to emulate those that I think are doing a great job. Of course, I use my own personality, but there is much I (and I bet you) can learn from the folks that write the newsletters I’ve outlined.

A note on email

My daily newsletter for Post Status Club members gets read by around 85% of subscribers each day. That’s because it’s a decent newsletter, the content is relevant, and it’s an engaged audience (because they paid for it!).

I get a lot more newsletters than the ones I included here, but these stand out and I make sure to read them. They send me good email, and it’s a great delivery method to make sure I consume their content.

People say they hate email, but they don’t. People hate bad email, and most email is bad. People love great email. So send great email.

Minimum wage of $70,000 a Year

The owner of Gravity Payments, a credit card processor in Seattle, said he heard stories of how tough it was to make ends meet even on salaries that exceeded the federal minimum wage.

This is a pretty radical experiment by Gravity Payments. Their new minimum wage is going to be $70,000 per year, and the article also cites that the CEO is reducing his wage to that amount as well. I’d love to see more companies think outside the box like this.

Source, NY Times: One Company’s New Minimum Wage: $70,000 a Year, via Dave Pell’s NextDraft.

Full stack employees

I can’t decide if I love or hate this article on full stack employees, by Chris Messina. I certainly don’t think many companies are setup very well for such employees.

Furthermore, the job description sounds more like that you’d hope for in an entrepreneur or partner; or you better be willing to shell out incredible money for such a person.

I think T shaped employees are more realistic and perhaps preferable as well.

Domain extortion

There’s been a lot of domain craziness around the new TLDs. I know they were enabled to allow for less competition for short domains, but it really doesn’t seem to be working to me.

It seems it’ll be years, if not decades, before people really trust URLs with non-standard TLDs. I still have to explain anything that’s not .com to most non-tech friends – with exceptions perhaps for .gov, .net, and .org.

Even when I held a .us domain hack for Post Status, it was complicated for my tech-focused audience. Domain hacks and a few trendy TLDs like .io have done okay, but most of the new ones just don’t seem to have much, if any, traction.

Moreso, the barage of new TLDs pressures companies to register all of those with their own name, pointlessly raising costs. And worse, a domain like .sucks is a straight up “extortion racket” as EasyDNS puts it.

I’m glad to see them being sensible and not giving in to an obviously ill-intentioned TLD like this.