Everyone say hello to August.

For a few years, Undercurrent was one of my favorite companies. Not to say that I knew what they actually did, but a lot of people that I’ve respected have worked there, and they talked a mean game online as individuals and an organization. In fact, one of my professional regrets, not involving holiday parties or fantasy football, is having not had the chance to work with them.

Naturally, I was taken aback when it was announced that Undercurrent was no longer a company.

That wasn’t too long ago. Maybe a few weeks. And there’s already good news coming out of a seemingly bad situation … it looks like at least some of the team is rising from the ashes with a new vision and a new company: August.

From their website:
> August was founded with the belief that today’s most valuable work depends on teams of people who work well together.
>
> Unfortunately, the way most organizations operate today gets in the way of good teamwork, instead of supporting it.
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> All around us are missions with the potential to change our world for the better. Some are incremental and are struggling to survive the next status meeting. Some are massive and require the coordinated resources of global institutions. Some will fix our biggest problems. Some will invent our future.
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> Each of these missions needs a team that is capable of learning and adapting fast enough to get it done.
>
> August helps teams meet this challenge.

Sounds good to me, and not just because I’ve become obsessed, to a fault, with how great work is done, personal, organizational, and otherwise.

There are incredibly interesting problems to be solved within the companies that make up the brands that agencies service.

That is where changing to meet the future is going to come from…it radiates from within.

Congrats guys, looking forward to seeing where you take this thing…

Welcome to the New Site. Same as the Old Site.

I like to keep Phil on his toes by changing blogging platforms every few months.

Actually, he’s the only person I know that gives me grief about doing so. And I deserve it.

Usually my changing of blog platforms is symptomatic of something else going on in my life, almost always it happens during a time of high stress.

When the going gets tough, the tough fiddle around with to-do list apps and blogging platforms.

This time isn’t much different. Though it has come along with a few realizations about my own struggles with writing regularly.

  1. When I look back at my very first posts from 2005, they were mostly things that would have gone into some sort of social media platform nowaways. It seems obvious, but it’s a realization that’s come with clarity.
  2. Squarespace is a really, really great service for hosting a website. The only issue I’ve had with it is the friction inherent in their writing tools. How many clicks does it take to get to the text input field on a new post in Squarespace 7? It seems like a lot. And while that is certainly an excuse, it was also adding friction to a task that I don’t need any help avoiding. I want to post more frequently, and I want to post smaller bits, and I don’t feel like wading into the depths of their CMS to do so.
  3. The reasons that I’ve been avoiding using WordPress are largely irrelevent. In fact, the reasons to use it vastly outweigh the negatives. Just about everything that you could possibly want to do with a blog or a website is right there. It just works, as they say. They have plenty of statistics to show just how successful they are. Most bloggers (mainly beginners) may be more likely to use a platform like this that is easy to use and generates good figures.
  4. I don’t like writing in web forms. This is related to a few of the other bullets on this list, but if I never have to copy and paste from a native text editor into a web form again, I’ll be a happy guy.

So that’s that. I’ve broken the seal on the new site. Same as the old site, but hopefully a better place to write.


Advertising’s Golden Rule

John Gruber on ad blocking being introduced into iOS 9:

I run a business almost entirely based on advertising. I am, thus, naturally disinclined to support ad-blocking. But from the outset, I’ve followed the advertising version of the golden rule: Present ads to readers (and podcast listeners) that you yourself would not be annoyed by. Advertisers and publishers who present user-hostile ads should not be surprised when the users fight back.

Unfortunately, it seems like a lot of ad tech is built to be user-hostile from the ground up. It’s not sustainable.

Find Boredom

Iain Broom’s newsletter is a pretty good one. This tidbit from this week is something I’ve been thinking a lot about … or at least, meaning to find the time to think about: 

Writing tip: find boredom. I spend most of my life in front of a screen and I bet many of you reading this do too. It can be stifling. It can make us feel like we are doing something useful when we are not. It fills our time. We don’t get bored.

Give yourself time to think about your work away from a screen. Mow your lawn. Wash the pots. Build a bookcase. Drift away. Find boredom. Think your thoughts. Write them down. Do your work.

I spend a lot of time shoving content into my head. In between meetings and running around taking care of kids and family business and work, social media has oozed into the cracks like some awful time-mildew. I feel bad about the amount of time that I spend with it. But I don’t stop.  

Then there’s the digital media that I feel bad for not immersing myself in enough like RSS feeds and my ever-increasing backlog of articles in Instapaper.  

Then on top of all of that, if I’m doing any sort of work that doesn’t take much thinking, like emptying the dishwasher or commuting to work, I’ll usually have a podcast streaming through earbuds. 

What I’ve realized is that I’m shoving other people’s ideas into my head like commuters on a Japanese subway.  

The long and short of it is that I’m hardly ever bored anymore. And when you’re not bored, you’re not processing life. And when you’re not processing life and drawing connections and achieving that state where you’ve suddenly taken a step back and can see the matrix, as it were, then you’re not going to be as good as you want to be at your job or whatever other creative pursuits you’re involved in. 

And when I’m referring to “you” in the above paragraph, really, I’m referring to myself. I’m now publicly lecturing myself in the form of blogging. I’m pretty sure this is what Tim Berners-Lee had in mind for this whole Web thing.  

In a post he called On Creation Without Consumption, Brett Terpstra wrote about his struggles coming from the other side of things, about actually being bad at consuming content because his mind is constantly trying to interject his own ideas. 

I’d like to actually try and find the happy medium between where I’ve driven myself and where he’s trying to push away from. Meet in the middle, drive a golden spike into the ground, and never look back. 

Though I don’t think it’s ever going to be that easy. The reality of having all of this media in our pockets means being ever vigilant to behavior. Catching yourself in the act when you’re reaching for Facebook at a stoplight or checking Twitter while your kid is in the bath. 

In fact, delete Facebook from your phone for a day, just to get an understanding of the hold that thing has on you. I didn’t quite understand until I caught myself constantly reaching for one more effing hit.  

Choose life, as the drug addled Scots used to say.