I have a confession to make.
Since the start of this newsletter, many of you have generously hit the "buy me a coffee" button. Now, the truth is that I haven't bought any coffee with this money. Instead, I used them to move this newsletter to a new platform, Ghost. I think it's a better reading experience, and there's now an archive where you can find past issues if you're looking for something you've read.
If you're curious about Ghost, I highly recommend the installation service I used, Gloat. Ghost offers plans from $29/month, but the software is free and open source. Gloat charges a one-off fee for installation and sets it up so you can pay just $5/month for hosting. Dan, the developer, is super helpful. If you decide to give it a try, you can use my code 4LH94F.
What do you think of this new design? If you think it sucks, you can write me "it sucks" and I will shed a tear.
BOX OF RANDOM
Smartest way to market a country: let people scream in it from their bedrooms.
An elderly Taiwanese couple use the clothes left behind in their laundromat to create fashion shoots.
YouTube rabbit hole alert: this grandpa's ASMR channel may be the most soothing on the Internet.
Storytelling advice from the creators of South Park: drive your story with "but" and "therefore".
A ruthless commentary of the worst fried rice tutorial ever:
Why you shouldn't buy cheap logo design:
Anyone else thinking ducks are the most ghastly animals on our planet?
5 minute read
You may be familiar with minimum viable product (MVP), which is "the version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.” In other words, an MVP isn’t a perfect version. The entire point of it is to get progress going, get money in the door, and to get feedback loops started so the product can improve.
Ryan Mulholland suggests we should use a similar approach for creativity. He defines Minimum Viable Creativity as the creative process that allows you to produce quicker and collect the maximum amount of validated learning from your audience with a lower barrier to production.
I think it's an awesome way to look at it. The goal is not to produce low-quality work, but only at the quality needed to get progress started and get the feedback you need to turn good into great. It doesn't need to be perfect, just good enough.
8 minute read
If you're going to read something this week, I recommend it being this wonderful little comic. Many of the problems we're facing today as a society are due to the fact that many people don't believe undisputable truths, no matter how much evidence is provided.
This happens because of something called backfire effect. Our brain responds to physical threats in the same way it responds to intellectual ones. In both cases it fires up the amygdala, the emotional core of our mind.
In the course of our lives we all develop some core beliefs. Those beliefs become part of our identity and are deeply held. When they are being challenged, we react the same way we'd react if we were attacked by a predator.
It's okay to be outraged and irrational. We can't separate the emotional cortex from the logical one. The best we can do is being aware of this mechanism, so we can listen and change.
12 minute watch
A wonderful video on how to get unstuck. Ze Frank shares his process to flesh out ideas when working on something new. He suggests focusing on three key things.
Specificity - in terms of observation and experience. When you're describing something, be as specific as you can about that observation. Throw away all the obvious and clichés. Similarly, be specific about the way you feel in that particular scenario and experience.
Scale - life is never lived in the medium, it's always lived in the extreme (very big vs very small). When you're thinking of the scenario, make sure to explore both extremes to have a sense of the range of possibilities you have.
Surprise - everything we do has a rhythm. That rhythm become a hallmark of the piece, creating a pattern of expectations. Identify as many rhythms as possible, all facets of the media you're making, and break them.
20 minute read
Truth without narrative is like music without rhythm. They both exist, but they won’t move you in any meaningful way. In today’s era of content abundance, adding in the visual component immediately adds a recognizable aesthetic to your stories. It simplifies concepts into something graspable, and it also provides a quality to them that only you can readily produce.
Lawrence Yeo explains his four steps for creating compelling visual stories:
1. Select an idea
2. Define the Problem and the Takeaway
3. Create the Visceral Journey
4. Simplify the message visually
Need help with content and audience-building? Just reply to this email and I'll offer some bespoke ideas - no pitches (seriously).
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-GianBuy me a beer