Hello friend,

Sorry for the month-long radio silence. Things have been crazy busy, and I've been thinking of possible new directions for this newsletter. I will share more in the coming weeks. For now, I'm playing with a new website and have put together a page with the best learning resources and tools I've used this year.

To make up for my absence, I've included more goodies this week. Here's what you'll find:

  • How technology shattered our shared reality,
  • Why what we pay attention to matters more than ever,
  • How to think for yourself and discover novel ideas,
  • Why streaming alone can't be the future of entertainment,
  • Future trends for creators and their hierarchy of needs,
  • Creative work from Nike, a list of classic YouTube videos, how to write an effective landing page, and how to learn from a bad creative brief.

🧠 Brain Food

2020 shattered our shared reality.

As we enter the third decade of the Twenty-first Century, we enter with less a common sense of what is real than at any other point in modern history. Our failure to agree on some basic sense of β€˜what is true’ permeates almost every aspect of our social lives.

Technology liberated us from the failures of a single, national narrative, but in so doing immersed us in a chaotic, kaleidoscopic dream world of new stories, new identities, and new faiths, with an ever-accelerating trend toward total social fragmentation. This is more than a period of confusion. Our civilization has transitioned to a new state of being.

πŸ‘‰πŸΌ Tether, Part I | Pirate Wires | 8 minute read

What we pay attention to matters more than ever.

In this new world, the battleground of the present and future is for our attention. The tech companies get it, the influencers and ad agencies get it, and the people now do, too. Attention is the scarce resource that is at the center of government and business.

As we are all now producers and consumers, paid to share ideas, paying for ideas to spread by giving our attention, we can choose to use this power wisely.

πŸ‘‰πŸΌ Where attention goes, money flows | Art $ Attention | 4 minute read

To discover new ideas, don't just do what you love. Do what you're curious about.

Treat it as a puzzle. You know that some accepted ideas will later turn out to be wrong. See if you can guess which. The end goal is not to find flaws in the things you're told, but to find the new ideas that had been concealed by the broken ones.

So this game should be an exciting quest for novelty, not a boring protocol for intellectual hygiene. And you'll be surprised, when you start asking "Is this true?", how often the answer is not an immediate yes. If you have any imagination, you're more likely to have too many leads to follow than too few.

πŸ‘‰πŸΌ How to think for yourself | Paul Graham | 13 minute read

Streaming alone can't be the future of entertainment.

On a purely practical level, theaters act as a filter, a way of separating out a small handful of the hundreds of movies released every year, and although the system by which they end up there is riven with biases and blind spots, on balance, the movies that end up there are better than the ones that don’t, and their limited runs create a sense of occasion and urgency that the boundless availability of streaming can’t match. (There are movies in my Netflix list I’ve been meaning to get around to since 2009.)

The world without movie theaters isn’t a world without gatekeepers. It’s just a world where the gatekeepers aren’t human, and instead of urging you to watch what they love, they serve up whatever seems most like the last thing you liked.

πŸ‘‰πŸΌ We Have Glimpsed Our Streaming Future, and It Sucks | Slate | 6 minute read
There’s an old saying that the first fifty years of the car industry were about creating car companies and working out what cars should look like, and the second fifty years were about what happened once everyone had a car - they were about McDonalds and Walmart, suburbs and the remaking of the world around the car, for good and of course bad. The innovation in cars became everything around the car. One could suggest the same today about smartphones - now the innovation comes from everything else that happens around them.

πŸ‘‰πŸΌ What comes after smartphones? | Benedict Evans | 5 minute read

Talent will increasingly own their audience.

If you’re a content creator of any kind, you can now spin up a community to gather your audience and spawn all sorts of offshoot services to delight (and monetize) your base. In such a world, the Instagram and YouTube type products simply serve as top-of-funnel marketing initiatives. The goal becomes simply converting everyone you reach on other platforms to your own privately owned and managed channel. We will see a massive acceleration of this trend in the years ahead.

πŸ‘‰πŸΌ 8 Themes For The Near Future Of Tech | Scott Belsky | 12 minute read

Creators have a hierarchy of needs as they grow. Understanding these needs helps you build products that creators love:

πŸ‘‰πŸΌ Creator hierarchy of needs | Peter Yang | 7 minute read

🎁 Box Of Random

A list of classic YouTube videos.

A reminder from Tim Urban that a lot of people not liking your stuff is the price to reach people who actually love it:

You can learn a lot from a bad creative brief.

Jovan Todorovic directs β€˜The Future Isn’t Waiting’ for Nike:

A great resource on how to write an effective landing page.

Did you enjoy this issue? Maybe share it on Twitter or forward it to a friend or two - they can subscribe here.

If you want to know more about how run this newsletter, check out the recommended learning resources and tools.

Stay classy,

-Gian