How to Save Open Podcasting

And everything else we published this week

Hello and happy Sunday! 

This week we published 3 new articles totaling ~5,300 words. We covered everything from a system for taking notes on books, to the reason PepsiCo decided to go direct to consumer, to a call to arms for the open podcast ecosystem.



🔮 The open podcast ecosystem is dying — here’s how to save it.

The largest podcast in the world signed a deal to go exclusive with Spotify this week. So, what does it mean for all the other apps? The danger to the open, RSS-based podcast ecosystem has never been greater, and the only way to respond to the challenge is to compete and innovate. Spotify is winning because they have the ability to introduce new improvements to the podcast listening experience, and this ability is derived from the fact that they can break out of the traditional constraints of RSS. In order to survive, the open podcast ecosystem needs to organize itself and innovate.

⚡️ The Fourfold Book Index

There are many ways to take notes on a book. But Dan uses a system that he learned from his high school english teacher 10 years ago, and it’s served him well. He takes one sheet of blank printer paper, folds it in half twice, and creates a little index as he goes. Every time he comes across an interesting idea, he writes a short summary and marks down the page number. This serves two purposes: first, as a map that helps him find ideas from the book later, and second, as a tool for understanding the structure of the book while he’s reading.

🔮 PepsiCo goes DTC

PepsiCo owns not just soda brands, but also all sorts of snacks and other types of food products. And their business has been hit by the coronavirus recession. So, in order to cope, they’ve launched two new websites that will sell their products directly to you. If a new startup were to try this, it would be a really hard business, because when you sell cheap stuff like bags of chips over the internet you need to sell a bulk order in order to make the shipping costs worth it. That’s a tough proposition if you’re buying a product for the first time. But PepsiCo’s products are already known and loved, so people are more willing to buy in bulk. And PepsiCo has surprisingly strong distribution capabilities already. So this is a great move on their part.


😔 Quartz Is Trying to Be Everything for Everyone and Struggling

Like many other ad-based media companies, Quartz was forced to lay off a significant portion of their staff recently. Our friend Jacob from A Media Operator breaks down why their subscription product isn’t working well enough to save them from this fate.


🔮 Sahil’s Second Act

Sahil Lavingia was the second employee at Pinterest, but he left after he dreamed up the idea for Gumroad back in 2011. For a time it seemed like Gumroad’s success was invincible. Venture capitalists threw money at the idea, it grew and grew, but eventually the growth slowed down, layoffs became necessary, and Sahil was alone. The company glided by for a year or two. Then something funny happened: it kept growing. Sahil emerged from “failure” and began his second act.

⚡️ Why Ceasar Bautista Wrote His Own Personal Encyclopedia

At some point in college Ceasar realized he didn’t remember many details of all the books he had enjoyed reading in high school. So he decided to create his own personal encyclopedia. It helps him consolidate his knowledge. And, perhaps more importantly, it’s a forcing function for Ceasar to confront the gaps in his understanding. Over time, it has become more useful to him than Google.

That’s it for this week! 

Thanks, and see you next Sunday :)

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