Issue № 50


In March of 2022 I returned to tracking my activity. For me, what gets tracked gets optimized. I created the simplest tracking worksheet that did what I wanted and I set about keeping track. There are things I loath about my current FitBit; I can’t quite entirely disable the notifications. And touch screens don’t work with sweaty fingers, which leads to frustration just when I’m exhausted. I’ve never had an Apple Watch, but maybe it was time?

When I bought the phone last year, I went all out. I got the 1 terabyte model (a ridiculous amount of storage space, in hindsight), because I expected to have the thing for a while. But I’ve come to resent this phone.

~ Chris Bailey from,

I went to the Apple Store to arrange for a battery replacement for my iPhone, and I intended to spend my waiting time examining watches. I spent an hour exploring and testing, and picked one out. I bought it, booted it up, synced it to my Apple ecosystem, and strapped it on. I went on my way with a new phone battery and $700 in conspicuous consumption on my wrist. Intending to lean into wearing and using the watch as much as possible.

And for the next two days I wanted to rip it off my wrist and smash it with a hammer. I spent endless hours trying to disable this, silence that, adjust this feature, avoid setting up that other feature… All because I wanted the Watch’s better GPS tracking of distance covered, and better biometric measurements. I struggled with trying to sleep with a digital screen strapped to my wrist—there is no digital screen that will ever exist, which is permitted in my sleep space. Alas, the Watch is the antithesis of calm technology and it was clear I was never going to change its DNA.

On the third day, I carefully put it all back in its packaging as best I could. I drove all the way back to the Apple Store. I knew Apple had a 7-day, no questions asked, full money back guarantee. I handed it back to a rep. They of course asked, “Was there a problem? Or something you didn’t like?” My reply—

“Meh.” And then I left.


Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.

~ Bill Nye

Somewhat wacky

At this point I’m resigned to my nature being unchangeable. I need structure to work within, and I cannot suffer long stretches of boredom. I’m comfortable knowing that at least some of what I do makes the world a better place; I’m comfy with my internal validation. I also know that if I start to focus too much on making money I lose my spark. What I’m left wondering is wether there is some thing focused enough that people could dig in and follow (in the sense of deeply understanding the thing, my motivations, and my goal.) I’m certain however, that without that clear thing I must continue to explore and satisfy my curiosity, and not focus overly on monetization.

If you’re thinking about running a membership program, you’re probably a bit wacky. Everything I write about membership programs should be filtered through the lens that: I live a somewhat uncommon, sometimes extremely wacky life. It’s good to keep that in mind. My work is mostly, inherently, non-commercial. Or less commercial than it might be “optimized” for. When people ask me: Who are you? What do you do? And I tell them — I walk, I write, I photograph, I make books, I run a membership program. Their suspicion is plainly visible: No, but what do you do to survive? As if the soul itself wasn’t a thing to be nourished. This is survival, I want to say.

~ Craig Mod from,

I’ve tried several times to create membership systems around passion projects. The core problem I encounter is that bolting on a membership system creates in- and out-groups. Any passion project I’ve had feeds that passion through my connections to the other people who engage. The in-group has always been too small to sustain my passion. If you wish you can support my work. But for the foreseeable future, I’m focusing on the passion and not the monetization.

The future

To refuse to participate in the shaping of our future is to give it up. Do not be misled into passivity either by false security (they don’t mean me) or by despair (there’s nothing we can do.) Each of us must find our work and do it.

~ Audre Lorde


Learning to distinguish the map versus the territory is an essential step. It’s critical to learn what a map is, and what maps are good for, in order to proceed with one’s life. Maps enable me to see and do things otherwise impossible; maps reveal unknown unknowns. Maps can also frustrate me endlessly. Sometimes I don’t want to have an opinion; I don’t want to spend the energy to have an opinion. I don’t care how I get from here to there. Just. Tell. Me. how to get there. And of course nothing in this paragraph has to do with literal maps of the world— I’m not talking about cartography nor driving directions.

On closer examination, it turns out there are many things wrong with it. Thousand True Fans is a hollow philosophy. It is Chicken Soup for the Digital Creator’s Soul, ultimately devoid of any real nutritional value.

~ Dave Karpf from,

Kevin Kelly’s 1,000 True Fans is a map, before it there was another map, The Cluetrain Manifesto, and there were others. When you find a new-to-you map it opens your mind to new possibilities. I would assume the first children’s books I encountered were astounding, but wouldn’t have the same effect today. (I’m not denigrating either of those works; I’m not suggesting they are “children’s books”.)

But I do get frustrated. I see a terrific map, and then I want to make a terrific next “move”. That’s not how maps work, Craig. You look at the map, then you take the next small step informed by everything you know, including the new perspective from the new map. You write one sentence (for example, on a page soliciting support for your work) and that’s informed by all the maps you’ve previously seen. Big picture. Little steps.


Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.

~ Simone Weil


If I identify the main feature of my personal growth—a task well worth your effort too—it is a shift in orientation. Where once I was primarily interested in changing the world (in the sense of carving my own path, creating a unique path; not trying to change the entire world) and changing others, I am now primarily interested in understanding the experiences of others. Where once I was focused on developing tools of reason and logic to understand reality, I am now free to build upon (_not_abandon!) those tools to use empathy and compassion to understand others. Certainly, this remains an aspirational work-in-progress, but it is work, in progress, none the less.

But what if the primary way in which we are unique, and one of the ultimate causes of our remarkable rational and linguistic capabilities, turns out to be the unique way in which we are emotionally drawn to one another and the world? What if humans have become so rational and linguistic because of the very special kind of social way we interact and emote? How might it change our way of understanding ourselves, our relationships with and responsibilities to one another, our fellow animals and our planet if we came to see the foundation of human uniqueness not in our capacity for reason, but in our capacity for empathy? If we realised that we are the very special animal we are because of our very special ways of caring for and about one another – a care that we project into the nonhuman world?

~ Hayden Kee from,

What if, indeed! I clearly see a trend in the sorts of things I read, the blogs I follow, the podcasts I listen to, the conversations I seek to create, and the movement opportunities I chase. How about you?

Until next time, thanks for reading.



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