The Sunday Digest: Stepping Back In
Our first articles of an already-eventful year
Wow, we haven’t done a Digest since last year. And based on the 12 months of news that were packed into this week—it really feels like it.
Returning from a break—whether it’s actual Away Time or just time away—isn’t always easy. For some of us, it’s not always fast, either: the muscle memory is there, but it takes some time to get back to working at your usual pace.
But maybe you’re starting something new, and it’s giving you momentum. Or maybe the time off was just what you needed. Maybe—or probably, given this crowd—you never actually stopped.
Wherever you’re at right now (on the map, or in your feelings), you’re reading this in a new year. Some years start slow but this one has—ahem—not. We don’t want to distract from everything that’s happening in the world—and we probably couldn’t. But we can, quite simply, offer something else, and something different, for you to read.
Since the last Digest, we’ve seen the year out by introducing The Prediction Game and letting you in on some of our favorite books. In the first week of this year, we managed to churn some new stuff out, too—from a followup to one of last year’s biggest Divinations hits to reactions to the first batch of 2021 business news. Consider this our quiet entry into a year where we’re planning to turn up the volume quite a bit. And yes, that’s a reference to the launch we keep plugging:
Things will be a little quieter around here for another week or two, but you should expect something awesome soon :)
What We Published
The lowdown on our latest, including 3 articles, 2 podcasts, and a live conversation.
📝 ARTICLES 📝
📐 My Favorite Company Deep Dives of 2020
by Adam Keesling in Napkin Math
Adam kicked off the new year in generous fashion, highlighting the business explorations he kept coming back to over the past twelve months. The outlets are as varied as the subjects, from Kevin Kwok going long on Snowflake & Mike Speiser to Scuttleburb’s look at the leaders in freelance marketplaces. Plus, there’s space carved out for some Napkin Math classics. We could get into this as a New Year’s tradition.
Read (4 minutes)
💝 Why Vice is Building an OnlyFans Community
in Means of Creation
The MOC News Roundup is back with takes from Li and Nathan on Vice’s faith in Munchies, Twitter’s podcast acquisition, Walmart x TikTok (?!?) and plenty more. If you’re entering 2021 wanting to stay up on the passion economy, this is the weekly feature for you.
Read 🔒 (11 minutes)
Check out the MOC YouTube and Transistor pages tomorrow for recordings of Friday’s community hangout with Li and Nathan!
🔮 “Why Content is King” Follow-ups
by Nathan Baschez in Divinations
Nathan wrapped up the year in Divinations with a mic drop (a humble one, of course). Why Content is King drew plenty of attention, and just as much feedback. Aggregating some of the thoughts he received from readers into a few overarching categories, Nathan returns to his argument that the Content field is as naturally powerful as social media or software. Answering questions and welcoming critiques, he’s published an excellent followup to an already-cohesive essay.
Read 🔒 (9 minutes)
🎧 PODCASTS 🎧
🗣 #8: The Body Question
The Long Conversation with Rachel Jepsen
In their final conversation of the year (maybe think of this as the season finale), Rachel and the Bundle writers took things back to the place where so much begins: the body. The chat began with shared experiences in learning, and covered a lot of ground on its way to exploring why we aren’t always encouraged to be enthusiastic about what we do and love doing.
Listen (38 minutes)
TLC is taking this Friday off, but will be back next week! In the meantime, check out the homepage to catch up on the first batch of episodes from last year.
💞 #52 - Inside The Prediction Game, with Andre Plaut
Talk Therapy with Dan Shipper and Nathan Baschez
Shortly after announcing The Prediction Game—a competition to predict the events of 2021 that is likely already off to a wild and unexpected start—Dan and Nathan took to the airwaves to talk through the game’s finer points with its creator, Andre Plaut. Whether you signed up to compete or not, it’s fascinating to hear Andre describe how he went about construction the game, and why it might end up being a great way to look back at years past.
Listen (18 minutes)
What’s Going On
News you might have caught or missed this week, with takes from Bundle writers.
Trump Gets the Boot (from socials)
The deadly riot by Trump supporters at the United States Capitol this week has echoed through the news—and occupied as much space in our minds, too. The jarring personal accounts from journalists, politicians, and workers who found themselves running and hiding on are certainly worth a read. So is the coverage of the reaction from social platforms, particularly Twitter and Facebook, which began on Wednesday evening and will continue to unfold over the weeks to come.
On Thursday, as Twitter’s 12-hour ban on the President ran out, Facebook banned him “indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks." The next day, after what CNN described as “a game of chicken,” Twitter spoke again…and took his personal account permanently offline. The platform went bananas, to put it mildly. Many breathed a sigh of relief, and some immediately expressed worries of future censorship. Meanwhile, a similar effect is taking hold on other platforms, too. Here’s some of the coverage we’re reading this weekend:
What We’re Reading: Staff Edition
If you missed our full Holiday Reading List when we published it last month, that’s alright—the picks are evergreen. Here are a few of the Every team’s recent favorite books:
Fadeke Adegbuyi: The Revolt of The Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium by Martin Gurri
“Gurri explores how ‘industrialized elites’ and a ‘digitalized public’ are intertwined in a battle that’s led to the rise of populism and the erosion of democracy across countries. It’s a timely read for understanding what’s unfolding politically around the world and how access to information by ordinary people is undermining entrenched institutions.”
Dan Shipper: Philosophy and Social Hope by Richard Rorty
“Is truth found or made? If you answer that question, you'll have a much better answer for how to organize your notes. That's one of the central questions that Rorty deals with in this collection of essays—and his pragmatic bent forms the background reading behind many of the most popular Superorganizers essays.”
Rachel Jepsen: The Unreality of Memory by Elisa Gabbert
“This essay collection made me feel like I was sitting in a dark bar in the middle of the day with one rough guy practicing his pool game in the corner while I whisper-talked with a good friend about What We've Been Thinking. Tough, even terrifying, material a lot of the time, but a comfort nonetheless—something about reading this book made me feel normal again. Like: let's keep talking.”
An Invitation to Everything
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