Welcome to newsletter #0.
This is my very first newsletter, but I'm excited to write more.
Newsletters are usually emails delivered to your inbox, but I chose to write this first one as a blog post. This way, you can get a taste for my newsletter before you subscribe. Hence, Newsletter #0!
Oh yeah, I guess I have a new blog too! More on that some other time.
Here's what you can expect from this newsletter:
An email sent to you every week or so covering a range of topics that I think about all the time. Namely:
- Design & Tech
- Building a Business
- The Bigger Picture (aka the future, current affairs, sustainability, and our purpose and impact on this planet)
I hope you enjoy this read!
Last night, I came across one of the better articles on marketing I've ever read. It's titled, "So You Think You’re Ready to Hire a Marketer? Read This First." It's actually targeted at early-stage startup founders looking to hire their first marketer. But, because of that angle, it ends up being useful to anyone wondering what marketing actually is.
If you're actually in the industry yourself, I still think you'll find it enjoyable. I know I did. However, I also found myself disagreeing with some of her categorisations of product marketing and brand marketing activities. Have a read, and let me know what you think.
[Link to article 📝]
Design and Tech
I really enjoyed this podcast episode, "Can design process be distilled into a checklist?" from Beyond Users, hosted by Alen Faljic. In this episode, Tulio Jarocki from Blinkist talks about his design career, and pulls back the curtains on how the design process is run at Blinkist. I appreciated that he shared honestly and in detail about how a successful tech company is run. All without any attempts at propaganda or PR. A rare thing.
[Link to podcast 🎧]
Building a Business
Last week, I was commiserating with a client about how tricky it is to juggle getting new clients with getting the right people on board. It's one of those chicken and egg things - hiring too fast means excess overhead and not enough work to go around. On the flipside, it's impossible to properly service too many new clients at once.
Later that day, I found myself on this topic again. This time, it was with a cafe owner I'm friendly with. Unsurprisingly, she has this problem too.
Building a business can be difficult and lonely, so it's nice to be able to share and chat about it. I've definitely reaped the benefits of building up friendships with like-minded business owners and entrepreneurs.
If you're a business owner, or even if you're not but would just like to catch up, let me know! I'm definitely down to hang out over some tea.
If you read the previous section, then you might be wondering why I didn't suggest catching up over coffee. Here's the answer: I don't drink coffee anymore.
I didn't stop because of some brilliantly compelling article I read. To be honest, I stopped because I wanted to. Firstly, (good) coffee is expensive, and I didn't want to pay for it anymore. Secondly, yes, caffeine wakes you up. But once your body gets used to it, it goes from a pick-me-up, to a pick-me-up-or-else. And I'm done having my energy levels held hostage by coffee. It only took a few days to stop the caffeine withdrawal symptoms, but a few weeks to stop craving it. It's nice to have one less thing to regulate, worry about and pay for.
Somewhat frivolously, an unforeseen side effect is that I now struggle with ordering at cafes. Until I stopped drinking coffee, I never realised the extent to which non-caffeinated drinks are de-prioritised on menus. Both smoothies and teas are always stupidly priced and taste exactly like the afterthoughts they are.
As a result of my break from coffee, I've been enjoying tea a lot more, and love a good hojicha, matcha or mint tea. If you're a fellow tea drinker, let me know where you enjoy going or what you enjoy drinking. I'd love to check them out.
The Bigger Picture
I learnt a lot while listening to Roger McNamee talk about the Trouble with Facebook (also the name of this episode), on Sam Harris' Making Sense podcast.
Lately, Facebook has been facing a lot of negative press because of its lax approach to privacy controls. Roger McNamee doesn't see this changing any time soon. In this podcast, he very eloquently points out that their business model of highly targeted ads relies so heavily on gleaning data from its users, there's pretty much no way they can grant real privacy without severely handicapping their actual business.
Roger McNamee was an ex-advisor to Mark Zuckerberg. He's also a Silicon Valley lifer. All of this was clear from the depth and breadth of his answers, and I really enjoyed listening to what he had to say.
[Link to podcast 🎧]
On a personal note, I deleted Facebook off my phone a few months ago and found I haven't missed it at all. I expected to find myself reflexively wanting to open it up multiple times a day like I used to do previously, but haven't found that to be the case. I still head over there on my laptop occasionally, and find it interesting to see an entire world I'm missing out on. But there hasn't been any desire to jump back in. I have to admit, I still impulsively look at Instagram multiple times a day. I might explore deleting it in the future as well.
I'm still learning more about the moral issues around privacy and giving my data freely to these big companies in exchange for the convenience they bring. I look forward to diving deeper.
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