🌎 A big change
Read before Friday
Hey there Shit Givers!
BIG announcement below, but first, some quick gratitude, and a goodbye.
I am so thankful to have spent quality time this holiday season with my wife, kids, friends and family, eaten an enormous but frankly unsurprising volume of coffee cake, and read enough fiction to help me forget about the world for just a moment.
I would like to tell you I'm coming back bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, but it's been a chaotic few weeks, highlighted by the not-unexpected-but-still-crushing death of my cherished pup and original INI co-founder, Teddy.
Teddy was born on the mean streets of Los Angeles, and was an instrumental part of getting the podcast off the ground. He was a beloved friend and confidant who in his later years absolutely refused to sleep anywhere else but with my children.
And while I'm thankful Teddy loved as long as he did and passed peacefully in his sleep, I have cried more or less every day since and will miss him until the heat death of the universe. RIP, my friend.
Next up: some exciting news. Beginning this week, the INI newsletter format will evolve (see butterfly, above).
That is, your weekly newsletter — still and always free — will be measurably less a round-up of the week's news, and instead feature mostly original thoughts from me, with a more brief breakdown of the news towards the bottom.
Why the change? Because I have in all honestly felt less fulfilled over the past few months.
I love hosting the podcast, and I unexpectedly love our video work (damn you Willow), but writing a couple hundred words about each category in our purview and then moving on to do it again, once a week, really just doesn't feel like...writing.
For better or worse, our long-time format has prevented me from fully fleshing out ideas or frameworks about what's here and what's needed and how we get from one to the other. For a while, before INI was my full-time gig, this was on purpose. I simply didn't have the time or the knowledge to do it right.
Constraints are essential, of course, but I've been at the previous version for a while, and while you're among the most engaged communities out there, if I don't actually feel fulfilled by the work, I'm increasingly less likely to put my best effort in, and then what the hell's the point?
Also: I'm self-aware enough to know -- to have known for a while, really -- that a breakdown of the news isn't the "content" a reader is mostly likely to share.
I'm proud of what was, and we've moved mountains together, but it's time to grow, and we're going to grow most organically by publishing work that (fingers crossed, deep breath, tosses salt over shoulder, etc) makes you shove your phone in the face of someone you love and declare "You gotta read this shit."
Can I execute on that? We'll find out!
And here's what else is new:
In an effort to avoid night-before "oh god what the hell should I write about, everything is on fire" issues, I've introduced a new Members-only benefit called "Top of Mind".
Very simply, Members now receive frequent, brief, informal updates from me throughout the week, letting me share relatively unvarnished thoughts in real-time, share questions, constructs, resources, polls, and more.
This idea is related to my research notebook, now available to Members in real-time, plus commentary from me, and questions for you. Still more async than our Slack community, but with far less pressure to make it into the weekly paper.
Top of Mind began yesterday and if you'd like to get on board, you can become a Member for just $5/month or $50/year.
Alright alright alright. Now that we're all on the same page, it's back to work. I'll see you all on Friday.