Sunday Digest: Platforms, Publishers, and…Politics
Hello and Happy Sunday!
If you peek below, you may notice that this week’s index is a bit…Spartan. That’s partly because we’re rethinking the Digest — how it should look, what it should contain — and partly because there’s one category that’s particularly pertinent this week (well, unless you’re the founder of Soylent).
This probably isn’t the first place you’ll read about the election today. But whether you’re tiring of hearing how important voting is, or if you’re the one saying it to everyone you know, one simple, cheesy thing is true: voting is a way to make yourself heard.
Why mention any of that? The theme of the individual voice — particularly in contrast to larger, collective noise — runs through today’s Digest.
There’s Mario Gabriele standing up to censorship. The dozens of independent creators writing on platforms we suspect might eventually become publishers. There are the founders wrestling with whether they should “do politics” or not. Even if you’re only looking at the corners of the internet we tend to cover, the work of self-expression is everywhere. It’s a constant practice — as a great writer said to us this week, “It took a while to get a voice that felt more like mine.”
So read what you like, ignore what you don’t, and let us know about all of it.
Oh, and vote.
(If you’re reading this and you haven’t made like Dan yet – what’s your plan?)
Everything Index - Week of 11/1
- Articles we published — 7
- Podcasts we released — 3
- Live Conversations we hosted — 2
Amazing Average — 50%
(Average number of readers who thought our articles were “Amazing” this week)
- Days Until the Election — 2
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This Week’s Top Posts
Ranked by the % of people who rated the post “amazing” in our feedback forms.
📐What You Need to Know About the Ant Financial IPO by Yiren Lu and Grace Zhang in Napkin Math (1,204 words)
- 🔮Facebook's cloud gaming strategy: smarter than it seems🔒 by Nathan Baschez in Divinations (997 words)
- ⚡️Action Item: Progress Over Process, Remembering What You Read, Zettelkasten🔒by Dan Shipper in Superorganizers (581 words)
- 💞#39 - Cultivating Caring🎧 by Dan Shipper & Nathan Baschez on Talk Therapy (14 min)
- 🕊Jerry Colonna on Co-Founder Resentment by Andy Sparks in Ask Jerry (1,224 words)
- 📚How I Spend Five Minutes Per Day on Email🔒 by Nat Eliason in Almanack (2,091 words)
- 💝Building The Best Tools for Creators, with Joseph Albanese🎥 on Means of Creation (time TK)
- 💝News Roundup #6: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Livestreams on Twitch🔒 in Means of Creation (1,579 words)
- 🗣Episode Two: The Function of Form🎧 on The Long Conversation (1 hr)
- 💞#40 - Engagement is the Ice Cream, Polarization is the Vegetables🎧 by Dan Shipper & Nathan Baschez on Talk Therapy (18 min)
COMING UP THIS WEEK (NO, NOT THAT)
This week on The Long Conversation, the team will be talking pedagogy, otherwise known as a few of Rachel’s Favorite Things: how are we taught to write and how might that contribute to a trauma around self-expression? What is this anxiety we feel when it comes to that blank page? What is the role of the body in writing through our digital omnipresence? Let this TLC be a balm for the week to come.
Missed Friday’s episode of TLC with special guest (and award-winning magazine journalist) John H. Richardson? Check back on Monday for a podcast edition of the chat – which Richardson joined from the East River. It was awesome.
MOC HITS DISCORD
Means of Creation fan Jen made a discord server for fans of the show! Check it out to chat with everyone else who’s been getting learnt on creators and the passion economy:
Over at The Generalist, Mario Gabriele started a series on companies that see growth in double digits over extended periods of time. Then this happened:
In short: Durable Capital, the hedge fund Mario refers to in that tweet, tried to force him to take an article down, then threatened legal action — all off a baseless claim that he had lifted proprietary information. As Mario writes:
I knew that we had not done anything wrong, that “compounders” is a well-known business concept, and that we had not plagiarized or improperly taken “proprietary” information. But Ana had twice threatened to take the matter to Durable’s General Counsel. Durable is a six billion dollar hedge fund. The Generalist is a start-up newsletter with $0 in revenue. Six-billion dollars can stare you down, no matter how right you are. It can cow you and shame you and make you slink to your bedroom in the middle of the afternoon and cover your head with a pillow and think about crying, which I did.
It’s a pretty harrowing read, but it’s worth your time. Mario is brave to lay the story out as clearly and publicly as he has here, especially since Durable could still try to sue him on whatever legal basis they claim to have.
Read it, then check out the article itself, which Mario put back up.
The dark wizard strikes out on his own
It’s been quite a week for the Platform v. Publisher debate — but that’s not unusual these days. Glenn Greenwald’s resignation from The Intercept was a highly visible move that put an added dose of scrutiny on an already-active conversation.
As Nathan said on the most recent episode of Talk Therapy, “Some people with a lot of clout are adopting Substack as a community.” And the leaderboard (minus us, basically) makes it easy to argue that the platform is serving a very specific audience right now. But how much should we be identifying the most visible writers of the moment with the platform itself? And just how close is Substack actually getting to Publisher territory?
Nathan and Dan covered the grey areas of platforms, publishers and responsibility on the most recent episode of Talk Therapy. It’s worth a listen, because this debate isn’t likely to go away anytime soon.
- To Do Politics or Not Do Politics? Tech Start-Ups Are Divided
- Insider Inc. buys majority stake in Morning Brew in all-cash deal (🎉congrats Alex and Austin!🎉)
The week in Launches:
- Eric Newcomer leaves Bloomberg to write a Startup/VC newsletter
- First Round is launching its first podcast
- iPhone gaming gets a hardware and software boost from Backbone
- Stripe Climate allows vendors to donate revenue to carbon removal
- Tiny Capital cofounder Andrew Wilkinson tames the inbox with Mailman
- Eight Sleep wants to “Make your dumb bed cool” ➡️ Best Copy of the Week
SMART ARTICLES FROM GOOD PEOPLE
- A Media Operator: BuzzFeed's Repeat Reminder That it Might Breakeven This Year
- Six lessons from six months at Shopify, from Alex Danco
- Packy McCormick on how Software is Eating the Markets
- Leon Lin: Who Gatekeeps the Gatekeepers?
TWEETS OF THE WEEK
Bundle Tweets of the Week:
Experienced at least three different emotions over the course of reading this:
At least someone sees a glass half full:
So last week, but also so good:
An invitation to Everything
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This post was written by Babe Howard and edited by Dan Shipper.