Author Archive

12 Newsletters I highly recommend. Aka here’s how I stay relevant.

Leaders who don’t have time to read are leaders who don’t make time to learn. Not me, I’m obsessed with staying connected. It not only keeps me fresh but it’s a competitive advantage that enables you to relate, inspire and empathize – all qualities us creatives need to continue growing. And while information is flying at the speed of social, there’s a ton of great resources to keep you on top of your game. My daily routine includes a heavy dose of Flipboard, Twitter and newsletters. Yes, newsletters. Forget inbox zero, I get psyched when one of these nuggets of old-school electronic mail shows up. Here’s my top 5 12:

Thingtesting by Jenny Gyllander – Jenny is a VC by day and emerging product tester by night. She’s single handily reinvented product reviews and her emoji game is fire. What started as IG posts has now turned into an amazing roundup of some of the most interesting consumer products on the market.

Dense Discovery by Kai Branch – Kai’s previous venture, Offscreen was a staple on every office newsstand I ever curated but is currently on holiday. Thankfully, Kai launched Dense Discovery and it’s become a weekly favorite amongst nerdy creative types like myself. It’s chock-full of interesting apps, tools, tips and recommendations – I often find myself clicking on multiple links that provoke curiosity. Even the classifieds feel relatable and that’s a testament to Kai’s thoughtful, transparent approach.

Glimpse – Discover exploding trends before the take off. That’s the motto behind Glimpse and I gotta say, it’s been quite effective. I signed up for their free newsletter which sends a monthly report on a few industries you want to track. In just a few months, I’ve upped my game on reverse image search, VPN’s, hyper-growth consumer shopping insights and more. I can only imagine how valuable their paid-reports must be as I’m left feeling totally inspired.

Sidewalk Labs – Just as the way we work is changing, so are cities. Sidewalk Labs offers an excellent newsletter that speaks to how we reinvent our future cities. From urban data and mobility to creating more public spaces that foster community, each issue has me feeling like an inspired citizen ready for action. Plus, urban planning never felt so cool.

The Awesome Farm by Rashid Zakat – Rashid is a creative genius and his newsletter is pure fire. I’m not just saying that because he’s an incredible storyteller, filmmaker, internet-junkie, photographer, DMX impersonator or that he DJ’d my wedding. Nah, this guy has more creative firepower in one email than most people dream of in a lifetime. Know this, when The Awesome Farm drops, you better block off your cal for a solid hour.

Forerunner Commerce News by Forerunner Ventures – Named in Time’s 100 Most Influential People, founder of Forerunner Ventures, it’s safe to say Kirsten Green has made smart investments in some of the most exciting, visionary brands this decade. Her portfolio counts Glossier, Away, Warby Parker, Hotel Tonight, Hims, Stadium Goods totaling nearly 80 investments. Impressive? You bet. But even more, her team puts together a weekly newsletter on key trends across the commerce landscape (the most recent issue included live-streaming shopping and concept stores) that leave me feeling empowered as both a consumer and experience designer.

Design Dispatch by Surface Magazine – I’ve long admired Surface Magazine for their gorgeous cover portraits but their daily newsletter has become my new secret weapon. Think of it as your cheat sheet to all things design. I typically wake up and read their daily dispatch in bed. It’s easily digestible and includes my all-time favorite section, “Today’s Attractive Distractions.”

Antler Update by Red Antler – Many of today’s top direct-to-consumer brands were strategically launched by Red Antler. Along with Gin Lane, they’ve helped design (and sometimes invest in) startups such as allbirds, Brandless, Casper, Keeps, Burrow and more. They’ve definitely locked in on a successful formula that gets consumers talking and while their newsletter contains a healthy dose of “check out our clients” the real gem is “What We’re Reading” and “What’s On Our Mind.” Super insightful links from the master architects shaping our new relationship with brands.

Good Measure – If you’re like me, you want to continually know how to be a better human and Good Measure offers just the right dose to help get after it. Subscribing to Good Measure means you’ll get links to thought-provoking articles, trends, reporting and more — on social impact, design for good, sustainability, and how to do good with what you’ve got. Staying informed is a magical thing.

Design Dept – Design leadership takes ongoing creative practice and thankfully, Design Dept helps bring all the wisdom straight to your inbox. In addition to their masterful publication, Within Magazine, I find a tremendous amount of advice, resources and empowerment from their monthly newsletter.

First Drought by M.G. Siegler – There’s much to love about M.G.’s brain-dump of thoughts around tech, beer and more tech. His newsletter reads like a conversation on the couch, which I find totally refreshing. It’s a fresh perspective on our constantly shifting industry and his predictions are almost always on-point.

Magenta by HUGE – Show me an agency that cares about design and technology as much as their merch and swagger. There’s little not to love about HUGE. Their brand is bold and you should expect nothing less from their content – it’s presented with fresh graphics and raw commentary – just how I like it.

These brands are throwing shade at your content game.

Netflix, Apple, Hulu, HBO, Amazon, Showtime, Facebook, Disney…there’s never been a better time to create content. Subscription wars are heating up amongst the corporate giants but if you look a bit deeper you’ll find a small army of creative brands investing in content. Shopify, MailChimp, WeTransfer are all delivering gorgeously shot, thoughtful stories. And their goal? To connect with us. That’s right, personalized, relatable storytelling is flying off the shelves and when done right, it’s an influential marketing tool that’s moving us beyond double-taps into full-on purchase mode. I, for one, am totally on-board with this trend and have no doubt more tweets like this will be showing up. In fact, I’m hoping brands will continue to up the creativity and experiment with new formats – perhaps an Everlane or allbirds cartoon teaching kids about sustainability? Or maybe Etsy pop-up crafting shops in airports or The Sill coloring books given out at community gardens? Shift those marketing dollars because eliciting an emotional response through creative storytelling is something I’m willing to pay for. 

Part sculpture, part vase, there’s little not to love about Starman.

Part sculpture, part functional vase, there’s little not to love about the Starman. Sure, the price tag might be hefty but listen, outer-space ain’t cheap. Fire up your Apple Pay here.

Here’s a few of my favorites things in 2017.

2017 has been an incredibly bizarre year but we’d like to close it out with a post that celebrates some of my favorite things. Holiday Matinee has always been about spreading good vibes and hopefully turning you on to new, exciting products, ideas or people. In keeping with that spirit, here’s a totally random list of favorites from 2017.

Monocle, like many indie publishers understand that print is far from dead. This summer, they released a fantastic weekly newspaper edition and now they’re back at it with a 4-issue winter edition. From it’s gorgeous design and fresh content, I absolutely love taking an Insta break and thumbing through this newspaper goodness.

Throw your headphones on and check out What’s Good with Stretch and Bobbito featuring Stevie Wonder. Yes, Stevie Wonder! These guys make you feel like you’re right there in the room just hanging out, talking to a legend. In this episode, Stevie talks about almost getting dropped from Motown Records, campaigning for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, how he knew Barack Obama would become president and missing Prince. It’s epic from start to finish and I’ve found myself re-listening to this gem multiple times during the year.

As a frequent traveler, I’m a huge fan of Ursa Major’s bamboo face wipes. They’re incredible for wiping away the grime after a long flight. Plus, great design and easy to carry.

At 41, the inner voice in my head struggles with “growing up.” However, one of the steps I’ve taken on this year is being more fiscally responsible. My wife and I started using Mint (remember them?) and I gotta say, it’s been quite rewarding. Their mobile app is aces and I’ll even go so far to say I’ve found it somewhat therapeutic tagging all our transactions.

Keeping an eye on our son’s napping has never been easier thanks to Nest’s indoor cam. We got this as a baby gift and wow, it’s really delivered. It was so easy to setup and whether I’m watching our little guy from home, work or on a business trip across the country, it’s been totally reliable. Plus, night mode, motion sensor tracking and audio notifications helps ensure you parent like a pro.

I’ve long been a fan of Everlane for their ethical, transparent business practices and this year, I discovered one of my favorite articles of clothing. It’s their Men’s Crew Sweatshirt and I’ve already picked up two out of the three colorways.

Placing a deposit on Tesla’s Model 3 had me feeling just as giddy as the iPhone did ten years ago. It’s about time someone came and disrupted the auto industry. I can’t wait for this to arrive.

Watching Chance The Rapper perform “Juke Jam” on NPR’s Tiny Desk concert series was absolutely magical. This kid is not only so damn talented but so damn inspiring. His story, his music, his activism… fuck yeah Chance!

Have yourself a 3D holiday.

Less than 2 years ago, Taj and I joined Microsoft to design products and experiences that introduce the world to 3D. Today, they’ve made our first product its global holiday campaign and we couldn’t be more excited to share the message: when we are inclusive and celebrate our differences we can make the world a better place.

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