Forty Six. / Contributor Thirty Nine: Jonas Guenther, We Are the New Farmers.

On the Summer of Reckoning, the Future of Engineered Farming, and Stone Paper Notebooks.

Hey, everybody. As the world continues to reopen, even through some very emotionally trying times, we have to treat this moment like a rebirth. The circle of life in the plant world can feel so gentle and fragile, but it is a great model for us to recognize that we all have bright futures ahead, even as the moments can feel a bit bleak.

The difference is, unlike plants, that we need to take our own actions to create our own rewards. Sure, we can count on a little luck, but as the Roman philosopher Seneca said, luck is just when preparation meets opportunity!

Nature is healing. NYC is undefeated. This is going to be a good summer.


All this plant talk leads me to this week’s contributor. He’s another longtime friend from the startup world, and I got to know him when he was building his then fledgling business at Futureworks and he’s evolved it into of the rising stars and companies to watch within the sustainable foods and proteins space. He’s a humble and kind soul who I hope you all get to meet.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Jonas Guenther.

Enjoy!

Jonas Guenther is the founder of We Are The New Farmers, an urban algae farm located in Brooklyn, NY on a mission to make the world’s oldest food source a mainstream staple. Jonas also started the magazine Finding Tomorrow that offers a glance of a future in which we have overcome climate change and implemented solutions that make the future exciting. Prior to launching New Farmers, Jonas completed his Master’s degree at NYU where he built the Urban Food Lab - a project platform and indoor farm that enables students to learn about sustainability and food by running their own mini-projects connecting their studies to the world of farming.  

A fun fact: Despite never leaving Germany (that’s where I grew up) until I was 22, I have been to over 40 countries thus far. The travel bug hit me late, but it hit me hard and I had the privilege to experience countries as foreign (for a German kid) as Iran, Albania and Nicaragua.

I realize it’s such a feel-good-Instagram-caption-nothingness to say, but I am so grateful that I had this opportunity and truly think that many of today’s discussions could use a dose of perspective that you only gain by leaving for a while.

Here we go.


What are you currently working on?

Over the last several weeks, I have developed an online curriculum for nutritionists and health professionals about the history and health benefits of microalgae. We identified nutritionists as important multipliers for our business (we sell fresh frozen microalgae cubes for smoothie evangelists and algae aficionados) and we want to fulfill their hunger for information around algae. It’s been a lot of fun shooting the videos and coming up with the content and I am excited that we are now only weeks away from launching - hit me up if you want access to the beta!

Apart from that I want to write more stories for Finding Tomorrow. It was honestly a little bit scary to publish some of my writing for the first time, but the feedback was great and there are so many stories to tell. We live in times where dystopias are many, utopias few and plausible visions for the future rare. But we need to stay optimistic to be able to create the future we want.

What are you currently excited about?

Reopening! I mean I bet we all are and I am incredibly excited to meet a lot of people that I haven’t seen in a while, but I am also excited about it for professional reasons. Where do we go from here? This summer will be a summer of reckoning: after months at home many millennials have changed their behaviors and want to reduce their social media intake.

We are asking ourselves: where are they going to spend their time (and money)? Will they spend less time online and more time IRL? I think optimistic messaging is on the rise, but how quickly will that feel superficial and not substantial? The pandemic has shaken up marketing departments - reopening will force them to adjust messaging again. 

Oh, and New York is Dead, obviously.

What’s a story or article that you're currently thinking about?

One article that has stuck with me for the past weeks is Matt Klein’s The Meta Trending Trends: 2021. It’s a meta-analysis of more than 30 trend reports and it aims to answer the question: what are the overarching themes of our time? I am a little obsessed with the future (if you haven’t been able to tell by now) and this article gives me inspiration. Maybe it’s nothing more than a science-based horoscope but I keep going back to it. Is it confirmation bias?

17. Engineered Farming 🌱

Innovation is bred with dirt and livestock to feed all more sustainably

Keywords: urban and vertical farming, -ponics, agri-tech, food security

Drivers: sustainability efforts, mega-cities, STEM dev, hungry populations

What’s a product you’re currently obsessed with?

I am still very much an offline note taker and a notebook accompanies me to pretty much any meeting. I recently came across Karst Stone Paper notebooks, which is made from recycled stone rather than wood pulp. It’s unbelievably smooth and resistant to my frequent coffee spills.

Everyone who appreciates the feeling of writing the first line in a brand new notebook, will understand the joy of finding a notebook that just works for you.

Wild Card: What’s an item you can’t shake your mind off of?

Right now I have to tell everyone about a book I finished recently that had a surprisingly strong effect on me: The Overstory by Richard Powers. It gave me a new perspective, the vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible perspective of trees.

Plants are willful and crafty and after something, just like people.  


~ C O L O P H O N ~
  1. Please send all feedback, both positive and negative, to sumeetshahwork@gmail.com as this project continues to evolve.

  2. Interested in contributing an edition? Email me at sumeetshahwork@gmail.com!

  3. Want more great things to read? Follow my Flipboard Magazine, #Reads_Feeds.

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Forty Five. / The Call to Teach Edition.

On Becoming Teachers, Re-Bonding With Our Loved Ones, and Literally Getting Away.

Hey, everybody. On Saturday, March 20th, the first day of spring came. It’s a season of rebirth, renewal, and what feels like a fresh start to the coming months. That Saturday also was what would have been Fred Rogers’ 93rd birthday.

Many of you know that Mister Rogers was (and still is, even if he’s passed) one of my biggest role models. A calming, empathetic presence to those big and small, his show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” objectively built a foundation for viewers, teaching everyone listening and watching important life lessons and mottos to follow. There was no secret agenda, only a genuine desire to make us all better humans, to treat each other, respect each other, and look to each other as equals.

As I said above, in these emotionally troubling times, it is hard these days to be feel optimistic, when so much hatred, anger, and distrust still flows around us. Social media, misinformation, and groups of people unapologetically not taking responsible for their actions (and the consequences that follow) have been chipping away at our collective optimism.

As Mister Rogers always told us, you need to look for and to the helpers. I would take one more step: The world needs more helpers. Be the helpers. Do the hard work. Lead in a way that encourages others to join you, as Justice Ginsberg also told us. Preach respect, accountability, and empathy. Hate, fear, and distrust only come from what we don’t understand.

Let’s go out and teach like him. Thank you, and we miss you, Fred.

Here we go.


What are you currently working on?

My work at Swiftarc has transitioned more to a special projects/new firm initiatives/future of the firm role, and it’s a role I’ve deeply embraced. From our DEI work to building new forays into investing. I’ve enjoyed reading, learning, and experiencing various ways the consumer world can be a stronger force for good across all ecosystems.

I caught up with Chris Cantino and Jamie Schmidt last week and we had an interesting chat about what makes a stronger consumer company these days. We believe in the idea of “Contextual Commerce” and it’s a mindset that holds even stronger as we come out of the worst of the pandemic. Genuine, human-like connections matter.

What are you currently excited about?

Continuing on the original theme from above, we all can become teachers in our own ways. It can feel like a daunting task, especially as many of us don’t know where to start. I would recommend two areas where you can begin:

  1. With Your Family: The pandemic created a crater-size hole in our routines, our daily lives, and most importantly, our collective mental health. Things and people we love were taken away from us and left many of us trying to sift through the emotional rubble, trying to understand what happened while we pick through the pieces. It’s difficult to let go of the past and have memories (or nightmares, even) that block us from being able to grow forward. But as we come out towards a brighter future, our family members (especially older ones like our parents and grandparents) need us more than ever as they’ve taken the hardest tolls.

  2. With Your Inner Circle: I’m going to go more into this below, but in the same way we need to check in with and spend more time with our family, our friends need us.

What’s a story or article that you're currently thinking about?

A friend of mine in the startup world, Julie Schecter, runs a great care package startup called Small Packages. She recently wrote an incredible piece entitled “Hold On” that I cannot stop re-reading especially as I’ve also been looking deeper into how we’ve abandoned our original communities, whether it’s due to the work hustles, new engagements, and other, well, excuses we put in between.

The pandemic ripped open this issue and put it in front for all of us to see. In Julie’s words:

The sooner we view investment in our friendships as crucial to our mental and emotional health, the sooner we begin to act.

I highly recommend you read the piece from start to finish, but I want to bring up one other item in her story: Julie at one point look at Maslow’s Pyramid, which showcases a heirarchy of human needs.

When we look at a diagram of it, what sits in the load-bearing middle?

What’s a product you’re currently obsessed with?

Nitasha and I tried Getaway for the first time last week. As someone who’s been a hardcore camper in the past, I was a bit worried about the “glamping-fancy RV-style” experience that we consistently saw in Getaway’s Instagram with influencers aplenty.

Let me tell you, after a night without Wifi or cell phone service and only a campfire, tea, s’mores, good books to read, and a sky literally painted with the most stars I’ve ever seen, IT. IS. WORTH. IT.

(And yes, we both took influencer-y pics. #sorrynotsorry)

Wild Card: What’s an item you can’t shake your mind off of?

The light at the end of the tunnel is near!! 100 million doses have been administered in the US already!! Places are reopening!! Games are back on!! The energy is coming back!!

But we still have a lot of work to do, especially with extinguishing the rapidly-spreading amounts of hate out there. Let’s keep teaching. Let’s keep leaning on each other. Let’s keep learning.

And, above everything, let’s re-embrace the fact that actions have consequences, and no matter what, let’s own our actions, own the consequences, and hold ourselves accountable.

It’s the hard work we need to keep doing.


~ C O L O P H O N ~
  1. Please send all feedback, both positive and negative, to sumeetshahwork@gmail.com as this project continues to evolve.

  2. Interested in contributing an edition? Email me at sumeetshahwork@gmail.com!

  3. Want more great things to read? Follow my Flipboard Magazine, #Reads_Feeds.

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Forty Four. / Contributor Thirty Eight: Keith Petri, lockrMail

On An Open and Free Internet, Quantitative Dieting, and Wood-Burning Ovens.

Hey, everybody. These days, it’s so important to celebrate all the wins that come across our way. For me right now, it’s the fact that my parents have officially been vaccinated!!

I was able to spend my Sunday comfortably indoors with my mom and dad, catching up and reminiscing over happier days, from our travels and baby photos to going through some of my old middle school, high school, and college items (and deciding which items to give away/donate). I found some great memories in the process (and got to enjoy some wonderful home-cooked food), but what was more powerful to me is seeing my parents’ glowing faces as they started figuring out their travel plans.

They’re still cautious as to where they’ll go, but seeing the faces of two people who thrive off of exploring the world get excited to go on the road again is yet another win for me to experience.

Celebrate those wins, friends. It’ll only get better, warmer, happier, and sunnier.


Speaking of happier days, this week’s contributor is a longtime friends from the startup world and is working on his fifth (!!) company. He’s spent a lot of his time building tools and platforms that truly value the average person and give them back the power, and his latest venture is no different. I also got to spend some time upstate at his new cabin, which has resulted in my new plan to randomly show up and “borrow” his and his wife’s second bedroom. (Kidding. Maybe.)

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Keith Petri.

Enjoy!

Keith Petri is the founder of lockrMail, a pre-filter for your inbox, making your email work for you. Prior to starting lockrMail, Keith held executive roles for a variety of startups in the technology field, facilitating 4 successful acquisitions. As a product specialist experienced across emerging technology standards, digital privacy regulation, and complex partnerships among advertising technology vendors, Keith has recently refocused his efforts on the consumer. lockr’s mission is to empower consumers to benefit from their own personal data and the company’s first product, lockrMail, introduces a necessary lever of consumer consent into the email marketing funnel.  

A fun fact: Here’s two:

  1.  I originally chose to attend Skidmore College in pursuit of a career in the arts. I was an accomplished photographer with a passion for pen and ink. While at Skidmore, I combined my love of art with a newfound respect for business

  2. Like the rest of the world, the pandemic has impacted all aspects of my personal and professional life. My wife and I have relocated to our cabin in the Catskills and I am suddenly obsessed with classic trucks and restoring the beauty of traditional tools.

Here we go.


What are you currently working on?

After a decade as a data broker, I am refocusing my efforts on the consumer - building products to empower consumers to benefit from their own personal data. Our first product, lockrMail, focuses on consumer consent in the email marketing funnel. As more and more websites require email registration to view content, personal and professional inboxes are becoming unnecessarily clogged. 

lockrMail provides a public-facing email address you can use across publishers, retailers, newsletters, and other online services, enabling you to pre-filter and customize which emails you receive.

We are slowly rolling out early invitations to users on our waitlist, gathering feedback, and quickly iterating and adding new features. If you are interested in taking back control of your inbox, I’d be happy to get you set up.

What are you currently excited about?

Ever since losing 50 pounds the summer before my senior year in college, I have tried to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I was paleo for a few years, decided to trick my body and become vegan for as long as I could muster (2 weeks!), and landed as a pescatarian for the past 3 years. Throughout this process I have always approached any diet or exercise routine with a quantitative mindset. Whether tracking calories, sporting the hottest new wearable, or logging my physical activities - I did it all. As you might imagine, I am anxiously awaiting innovations around continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) from companies like Levels, Supersapiens, and the like. 

What’s a story or article that you're currently thinking about?

Having spent my career facilitating access to the open and free internet by optimizing the revenue publishers earn through targeted advertising, I am deeply concerned with the macro impact of policy changes at Apple and Google. Most recently, Google formally announced, “charting a course towards a more privacy-first web.” Authenticated traffic, identity, and the cookie drives the Internet’s unspoken economy. A lack of targeting capabilities has caused publishers to lose 64% of their ad revenue. 

While Google (and Apple) have masked their strategic initiatives in the veil of privacy, it is the consumer who loses the most. The historical quid pro quo of the Internet - users see relevant ads in exchange for free content - is being re-written as users required to register and give up complete control over their personal and professional inboxes in exchange for free content.

The value exchange of the Internet was originally negotiated without consumers at the table. The death of the cookie presents an opportunity to redefine the Internet’s value exchange and incorporate consumer choice and consent. Now is the time to bring to the industry a consumer-facing tool to connect end users with the world of advertising in a trusted, transparent, and fully opt-in manner.

What’s a product you’re currently obsessed with?

There is an endless and futile debate among journalists, technologists, and the like on the various note-taking systems and organizational tools available today. I am not here to declare a winner, but for my personal use case, I find myself more and more entwined in the utility offered by Roam Research. I won’t butcher its sales pitch, but I will say that the supportive community paired with an endless array of seamlessly integrated extensions make the product extremely versatile for however you work best.

Wild Card: What’s an item you can’t shake your mind off of?

While I love building things with my hands, I am not a chef - and certainly not a baker. However, I have been blessed with a partner who is inspired by all aspects of culinary experimentation. We have enjoyed our fair share of home baked breads during quarantine, but more importantly, my wife has a new appreciation for the art of making pizza! As someone who always feels like the latest gadget and newest technology can only be additive to your experience, I cannot stop looking at all the innovative pizza ovens on the market.

I have my eye on Ooni’s pizza ovens - specifically the 16” gas powered. If anyone has any experience in this area - or even a self-made backyard wood burning setup - I am all ears!  


~ C O L O P H O N ~
  1. Please send all feedback, both positive and negative, to sumeetshahwork@gmail.com as this project continues to evolve.

  2. Interested in contributing an edition? Email me at sumeetshahwork@gmail.com!

  3. Want more great things to read? Follow my Flipboard Magazine, #Reads_Feeds.

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Forty Three. / Contributor Thirty Seven: Zi Xie, Dailyhuman

On Spreading Gratitude, Inspiration Repositories, and the Work and Life Ethic of the Bangtan Boys.

Hey, everybody. I turned 35 last month. It was hard at times to feel comfortable celebrating a big age milestone, thanks to how emotionally swerving 2020 was. But as more great news continues to pour out ahead of post-pandemic life, the following year forced me to revisit the quality of my routines, especially around being more present, mindful, and caring about my own happiness.

Thus, Nitasha and I took a few days off and headed upstate to Saugerties, NY, where we stayed at the incredible Diamond Mills Hotel. We ate some incredible food, got some self care routines in, and came out of the trip refreshed and rejuvenated, especially as this was our view every morning.

It’s very easy to push aside self care these days, as it’s gotten lots of stigmas tied to it. But if anyone pushes the “it’s a weakness” argument to you, counter with this:

By taking care of and refreshing yourself, you end up becoming exponentially more productive in your personal and professional work. Who wouldn’t want that??


As a lovely segue, I’d like to introduce to you all this week’s contributor. I’ve known her from my early days in the startup world and she reached out loving Le Cinq and asking if it was possible to write an edition. (Note: I always love people reaching out, don’t be afraid!)

Here’s her piece, which frames so well into how we really need to take care of ourselves.

Ladies and gentlemen, Ms. Zi Xie.

Enjoy!

Zi Xie leads content creation at Dailyhuman. She’s Australian-born-Chinese, lived and worked across 4 continents, and decided 2 years ago to move to New York with her husband in search of new adventures and challenges. She wanted to work in an industry that merged all her top passions in food, education and technology. Dailyhuman started as a food data company to help restaurants find new customers, but during the pandemic, pivoted into a gratitude company to empower the connection between humans via acts of kindness. It’s launching later this year, so come join their conversations on gratitude via, Instagram, Youtube and Podcasts.

When she’s not creating content, she’s usually dancing, cooking or doing an Airbnb experience with friends and loved ones. 

A fun fact: Here’s two:

  1. Hmmm, Sake Somm is a pretty fun one, right? I am a certified Level 3 Sake WSET. (I can always whip that one out at parties :-) ) People seem to love being guided through a flavor profile during a tasting, particularly in more nuanced foods, such as sake and tea.

  2. I randomly got cast in a Walgreens Ad...so if I look familiar to you, I may have subconsciously lived in the back of your mind as that trusty pharmacist, hah!

Here we go.


What are you currently working on?

Personally: I'm launching my website and I have found it to be the most reflective exercise ever. When I was going through the process of writing my bio from scratch, it was a humbling realization that all my unique experiences in life have led to my present. I’m often inspired by others and their journeys, so to have experienced a sense of awe while writing my bio, was an example of self-love and acknowledgement, which I’m always working to get better at. 

Work-Wise: Podcasts. I have launched a Podcast called ‘Gratitude, but we digress’, where we talk about all things gratitude. We are currently recording an Industry series, where we chat with industry professionals about what gratitude means to them, and in the context of their industry, how gratitude is practiced, and how they would prefer to experience gratitude from others. As you can guess from the title, we digress, a lot, mostly into food, but also into everyday life, relationships and everything in between. It’s been so much fun, and super insightful.

What are you currently excited about?

Travel. We have a lot planned. My husband and I are Australian, but he’s a dual citizen, so we’ll be heading to Europe soon. We just did a 3-month stint in Mexico and it was incredible. I am at my happiest when I travel. And I’m not talking about plane rides or escapism.

What I love about travel is connecting, both with old friends and new ones in authentic environments. Life is richer when it’s shared. I lead content creation at work, and we are working towards achieving a billion acts of gratitude. I honestly can’t think of a cooler topic to create content for.

I can already visualize myself going around the world, initiating conversations and acts of kindness to spread gratitude, then capturing that in creative ways to share with my team and the world. 

What’s a story or article that you're currently thinking about?

At work, we love having freestyle days where we present and share what is inspiring us at the moment. Juana, a colleague of mine recently shared Paper Planes from Experiments at Google, which explored the concept of bringing people together from all over the world, by virtually throwing paper planes from screen to screen. Experiments by Google is an amazing repository, and I have discovered so many cool projects that I would have never come across since I’m primarily an iOS user.

What caught my eye was their Hack to Help: COVID-19 page (below). All of the projects are so cool. I highly recommend checking it out!

What’s a product you’re currently obsessed with?

I am currently obsessed with emerging audio platforms such as Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces. It’s Zoom without a waiting room and video. These platforms are taking the nostalgia of tuning into live radio, but instead of having to call in for the opportunity to speak, these apps facilitate that live interaction by tapping the unmute feature. Many other platforms offer real-time voice interactions, Discord comes to mind... but these new platforms are zeroing into this spontaneous way to connect. I love being a fly on the wall for topics that interest me, and something about live audio makes them feel exciting, fresh and current. As a Host, it’s also thrilling to have random people drop in to listen to our conversations.

The last time I hosted a talk on gratitude on Clubhouse, Brad Pitt was also on Clubhouse, talking about Climate Change.

I forgive everyone who tuned out of my session… #climatechange

Wild Card: What’s an item you can’t shake your mind off of?

Truly and honestly...BTS...have taken over my life, in the best way possible. BTS is a South Korean band that has been around for over 7 years now. I first came across their music in the fall of 2020 as their hit ‘Dynamite’ was topping the charts, then slowly, (or quickly), fell in love with their energetic yet suave choreography. I started doing dance covers and the addiction of nailing a dance choreo injected a lot of drive and satisfaction into my everyday life. At some points during the pandemic, dancing literally got me out of bed in the morning and got my endorphins rushing as I practiced like crazy.

I have since discovered many reasons to be inspired by BTS, from their meaningful lyrics to their work and life ethic. The way they share their stories is so human and sincere, and that relatability is part of what makes them so dear to the fans. In one of their non-music related pursuits called ‘Run BTS’, a variety web series, the members are put through various individual and team challenges, and I find myself implementing ideas from that show, straight into our company culture, to strengthen team bonds. 

“How are my dance covers going,” you ask?

There was a turning point for me when I made a choreo for a BTS song titled ‘Life goes on’ on TikTok, and I woke up the next day to over 100’s of videos of all these people around the world, posting dance covers of my choreo. I realized then, that by sharing my joy, I initiated this ripple effect and inspired others to share their joy and creations.

That’s something that I know is worth pursuing. 


~ C O L O P H O N ~
  1. Please send all feedback, both positive and negative, to sumeetshahwork@gmail.com as this project continues to evolve.

  2. Interested in contributing an edition? Email me at sumeetshahwork@gmail.com!

  3. Want more great things to read? Follow my Flipboard Magazine, #Reads_Feeds.

  4. Did this get forwarded to you by a friend? Please consider subscribing below!

Forty Two. / Contributor Thirty Six: Eli London, The Breads

On Surfing (and Surfacing) the Internet, The Heroes in the Service Industry, and Sea Shanty TikTok.

Hey, everybody. Is it just me, or has this year (with January 6th being a MAJOR exception) felt like a giant weight has been lifted off of us?

I can’t seem to put my finger on it, but the social media world feels lot, well, friendlier. I’m still trying to figure out why… ;-)


In the meantime, I’d like to introduce to you all this week’s contributor and the first one of 2021. Many of the authors who share the pen here come from various friendships I’ve made along the way, and yet this friendship is only a few months old.

I subscribed to his newsletter after reading his interview with Coefficient Capital’s Anna Whiteman (hey, friend!) and subsequently signed up for his new newsletter. He then reached out to learn more, which of course gave me an opportunity to shill for Le Cinq and offer the Contributor pen to him.

Needless to say, he gratefully accepted it, and the resulting piece below is really, really good.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Eli London.

Enjoy!

Eli London is a freelance writer, photographer and marketing consultant living in Brooklyn. He’s written for such publications as InsideHook, Paper Mag, October, Men’s Journal and The Hustle among others. He runs a weekly newsletter called The Breads (we’ll get to that later) and before working freelance he was the Director of Partnerships and User Acquisition at InsideHook. He’s just started working with a few clients on email/marketing/content strategy. He’s excited about it.

A fun fact: Here’s two:

  1. People always lose their freaking minds about this one, but, I’ve never actually been inside of a Trader Joe’s. There I said it. (Editor’s Note: Wait, what??) And I also think I’ll never be able to go because this is really the only “fun fact” I think I have, even though I do want that sweet, sweet cheap beer they offer. And I guess the food too. 

  2. Thanks to a few extended cross country road trips in my youth and subsequent traveling as an adult I think I’ve been in at least 45 of the 48 contiguous United States (can’t remember if I’ve ever been to Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont as a wee lad or not).  

Here we go.


What are you currently working on?

Ugh. I know. Another newsletter. But alas, that’s what it is.

I write a weekly newsletter called The Breads. The purpose of said newsletter is to surface and discuss important and interesting non-political things from the internet (articles, videos, twitter threads, art, products) that would give readers points of conversation with friends and co-workers – the sort of things that make you go "I was reading an article about X and found Y and Z things super interesting. Don't you think?" It usually features around 20-some odd links with varying levels of commentary depending on importance.

I also do one-off original pieces occasionally and have a running interview series called “Cool People, Heck Yes!” where I talk to people about their success, but also ask them very random questions to get a sense of who they are. I’m working very hard to grow it in very organic ways currently, so if it sounds interesting to you I’d love for you to subscribe!

Also, it’s how Sumeet found me and then subsequently invited me to share a bit about myself with the legendary Le Cinq community which is making me feel dreadfully unaccomplished. I think this is my first ever media appearance, so shoutouts to you Sumeet, you the real MVP.

(Editor’s Note: <3)

What are you currently excited about?

To have you-know-who out of the White House and off Twitter, but we don’t have to really get into all of that right now. 

Personally: I’m super excited about a show I’m writing with my best friend about a fucked up family in the Midwest running a home shopping network. It’s all about family dysfunction, weird-ass on-air personalities trying to sell things through a television screen, the station’s reluctant advancement towards modernization and need to use new methods (social media) to maintain relevance.

In the world: To be able to travel again hopefully very soon. I haven’t really done anything since Covid began other than come back to America from living abroad (I was becoming a Chilango in Mexico City when Covid began – if you need recs holler at me). So I’m really dying to travel again. And also with the return of travel and normal daily life I’m cautiously excited about the fact that many people will now now have a greater appreciation and respect for all those workers and employees in the service industries that make enjoying free time possible. This greater appreciation and respect will hopefully translate to more empathy and awareness around how service industry people are treated and paid.

(I’m a pretty cynical person so I’m not holding my breath, but you gotta hope at least a portion of previously ungrateful assholes are changing their tune post-pandemic, right? RIGHT?!?)

What’s a story or article that you're currently thinking about?

I put this in my newsletter last week. This is as close to political content as I really get, and this article actually came from Cosmopolitan of all places, but it was so damn interesting and telling that I think you guys should check it out too. I’ll just share the snippet about the article I put in my newsletter. See below:

The Unlikely Connection Between Wellness Influencers And The Pro-Trump Rioters

Just Give Me A Synopsis:

According to this piece there are a growing number of folks– ones normally pawning tummy tea and teeth whiteners – who have been successfully radicalized over the past year. This article focuses specifically on the Q rabbit hole and how, big surprise, many of these influencers end up where they are because the social platform algorithms push the most controversial topics and the influencers are chasing likes, so yup, they start pushing more of it and here we are.

And A Quote From The Article Please:

Instead, these influencers were just doing what influencers do: following the metrics. “If something interests you, and every time you post about it, you get more followers or subscribers, that’s helping you a lot,” says Kelly. It’s not that they didn’t believe what they were posting. But, she adds, “we’re persuaded into what we believe a little more strongly by the response of those around us.”

And Tell Me Why I should Care:

We all probably know someone in our feeds who is susceptible to and possibly even gone down the path to radicalized conspiracy theory-dom. This piece lays out how easily that can happen, even for those you would think would be antithetical to such ideas. You wouldn’t think Yoga influencers would be some of the strongest proponents of far right conspiracies, but it happens.

It's important to treat this stuff as a serious issue rather than just kooky people going off the deep end. A lot of it is very calculated by recruiters and uses tried and true tactics to get people interested and then on board. Big tech obviously has a huge, huge, huge part to play in this and everyone should also take a step back to look at how you are using social media and how it’s affecting how you look at the world. And this is probably more political than I usually want to get in here but, I guess all I'm saying is check up on your peoples.

What’s a product you’re currently obsessed with?

I might be late to the game but I finally got on the dutch oven train and it really is revelatory. I got my girlfriend a Lodge Dutch Oven for her birthday (Le Creuset is dope and all but, well, I’m trying to make freelancing work currently so those bad boys ain’t exactly in my price range at the moment). But as fate would have it, I do most of the cooking in our apartment so I actually don’t think she’s used it once. I ain’t mad at it though because I have been going hard at the braising of fine meats and stew making (brewing? stewing?) to get us through the winter months. It’s also helped get me more into cooking in general and so my girlfriend actually got me J. Kenji López-Alt’s amazing cooking tome The Food Lab, which I would also highly recommend to go with your dutch oven. In addition to having hundreds of amazing recipes it really breaks down the “why” behind just about every aspect of cooking. Food science at its finest. 

Can I add one more thing? I’m adding one more thing because it’s so damn useful. My friend turned me on to JustWatch recently and it’s honestly one of the best things to happen to my life. Everybody has ten different streaming services and never knows what is where – a true problem of the 2020s. This is an app (also has a web version) that allows you to search a show/movie and see where it’s available. It’s that simple. But it makes the slog of finding something to watch that much easier. It also has search/recommendation functions but at its base level it’s a super useful product that has a really good UX and doesn’t ruin everything with tons of ads. And it’s free.

Wild Card: What’s an item you can’t shake your mind off of?

There is really only one answer here and it’s the way that Sea Shanties have taken over the internet. This was like two weeks ago at this point, so in internet time that’s ages, but it’s still amazing. Just google “Sea Shanty” and you’ll see about eleventy-hundred think pieces from every publisher you know. 

The whole thing was started by a Scottish postman named Nathan Evans who blew up big time and is now signed to a major record label. The sea shanties are amazing, don’t get me wrong, but what is really intriguing to me is how TikTok allows for super niche things that were maybe seen as uncool or lame previously to gain broad appeal and mass traction. The platform, more so than the likes of Twitter and Instagram, thanks to its functionality serves as a springboard for people to fully embrace and collaborate with others who have their same “quirky” interests that maybe would have been too shy or embarrassed to share on other mediums. And furthermore it allows outsiders to realize that “oh wait, this thing actually is really fucking cool” and engage with and learn about something that in the past they may have just scoffed at or made fun of.

It has been a pleasure, everyone. Feel free to holler at me on whatever platform tickles your fancy. You can find me on Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram or The Breads.


~ C O L O P H O N ~
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