Sunday Digest

Hello and Happy Sunday!

In addition to the usual roundup of our articles, and a glance at what’s been happening on Twitter we added a few new things we think you’ll love.

For one, we summarized the new Matthew Ball essay for your reading pleasure. For another, we found a piece of sci-fi for you to read dig in to with your morning.

There’s a lot to get to, so let’s get into it!

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Everything Index - Week of 10/25

  • Articles we published — 5
  • Podcasts we released — 3
  • Live Conversations we hosted — 2
  • Amazing Average — 45%
    (Average number of readers who thought our articles were “Amazing” this week)
  • Tesla Stock Price — –1.2%
    (Change since last week)
  • Chamath’s Number — 0
    (Number of articles on Google News for “Chamath SPAC” from this week)
  • People Who Are Wrong — 0 (big week for Zero…)
    (Number of times Rabois tweeted the word “wrong” this week)
  • Days Until the Election — 10, somehow

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This Week’s Top Posts

Ranked by the % of people who rated the post “amazing” in our feedback forms.

  1. ⚡️Action Item #1: Playing Offense, The 10-10-10 Test, and Blending 🔒 by Dan Shipper in Superorganizers (620 words) 
  2. 💝Taylor Lorenz on the creator economy, online entrepreneurship, the changing media landscape, & more 🎥 on Means of Creation (53 min)
  3. 🗣Episode One: The Instruction of Influence 🎧 in The Long Conversation (33 min)
  4. ⚡️What’s Going on When Hard Work Seems Impossible? 🔒by Jonathan Shi in Superorganizers (1,637 words)
  5. 🔮Who Gets to Solve Death? by Taylor Majewski in Divinations (2,256 words)
  6. 🔮What I got wrong about Quibi 🔒 by Nathan Baschez in Divinations (1,157 words)
  7. 💝Passion Economy News #5: The Prop 22 Debate, Substack’s Mentorship Program, OnZoom’s Event Discovery Push, Business Insider’s potential Morning Brew Acquisition, and More 🔒 in Means of Creation (2,077 words)
  8. 💞#37 - Better Business Writing 🎧 by Dan Shipper & Nathan Baschez in Talk Therapy (13 min)
  9. 🗣Episode Two: The Function of Form 🎥 on The Long Conversation (1 hr)
  10. 💞#38 - RIP Quibi 🎧 by Dan Shipper & Nathan Baschez in Talk Therapy (15 min)


Join us this Friday on The Long Conversation for a discussion with award-winning journalist and author John H. Richardson. We’ll cover his career as a feature writer for Esquire and other major magazines, his research and writing processes, and how he turned the story of his father’s life and death into the 1999 feature, My Father The Spy, and later a book by the same name. (Here’s Richardson speaking with Jon Stewart about the book on The Daily Show.)

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If you missed last week’s episode of TLC on In The Dream House, be sure to look for the podcast version of the conversation on Monday!


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Tidbits from our little corners of the world.



Audio’s Opportunity and Who Will Capture It by Matthew Ball

“We tend to forget that media is a technology,” begins Ball. Music, film, and games have been around long enough for us to forget that they are the concrete results of advances in tech. Because tech drives media this way, the form with the best chance of growth is the one with the most potential for technological innovation. And for Ball, that field is Audio.

  • In Video, form follows tech

    • Advances from cable TV to digital streaming, and arcade/console gaming to online platforms, have drastically increased the amount of available content, democratized production of that content, and affected the content itself
    • Shows are longer, since they are not structured around ad breaks
    • By owning all of a current show’s previous episodes, streamers keep users watching, rather than leaving the service because they can’t catch up in time for the newest episodes
  • Audio is different...

    • Since iTunes “unbundled the physical album,” most innovation in audio has changed access to music, not the actual way it’s consumed.
  • ...But that’s changing

    • Industry leaders are investing in audio storytelling formats like podcasts and audiobooks. In response, platforms are building accessible creator platforms. Take Spotify’s Anchor – which grants users access to any song in the streamer’s library. Because of this new tech, anyone can make a professional-sounding podcast with a few clicks.
    • Remote live music is seeing a massive uptick in this pandemic era, presenting opportunities to rethink the once-exclusive concert experience. Live streams are now a medium of their own, with distinct visual identities and fresh tech supporting new modes of audience participation
  • Audio goes remote – and moves forward

    • Audio consumption is going fully remote for the first time since the invention of recording devices. The field is diversifying and unbundling itself faster than ever before. And with audiences discovering new music and stories using brand-new platforms and features, it’s the first time the field has seen real growth off the back of new tech. And the best part? This is only the beginning – the biggest disruptions and creations haven’t even happened yet.

What would happen if social media platforms were literally embedded in the criminal justice system? Read "River Rising", a science fiction story by James Yu for a glimpse into a world where the River's judgement is inescapable



Burn of the week:

Obligatory Quibi take we dig:

The (non-bundle) newsletter you should be reading:


Some of the best feedback we received in our forms this week:

  • Haha I love that you’re copping to your bad takes, not just cheering your good ones. Keep it up <3” (on What I got wrong about Quibi)
  • “Nice job guys, most people don't do a very good (or nuanced) job reporting on complex neuroscience research, and making the right connections with real-world examples. This was really well done, in a relatively short article. Definitely do more with Jonathan!” (on What’s Going on When Hard Work Seems Impossible?)
  • “I had been wondering how Rachel fits in to your business writing model - after listening to this I now understand.” Note: Just you wait… (on #37 - Better Business Writing)

Keep ‘em coming!

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This post was written by Babe Howard and edited by Dan Shipper.

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