Issue #25

E is for Everything

"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do." --Eleanor Roosevelt

What I thought I could not do...

This week, I took a leap and launched E is for Everything on Patreon.

So, what is Patreon? Well, it's a way for creative people to make things for others and make a living doing it -- or at least some cash to support their effort. Some of my favorite creators, such as Eric at The One You Feed and Khe on RadReads (who really inspired me to take this leap) are on the platform.

I joined Patreon because I believe it is my responsibility as a creator to invite others to hold me accountable for what I put out into the world. Media, in order to be of societal benefit, will need to be directly funded by and accountable to those who consume it. If you think I'm wrong, check out this post from Ev Williams over at Medium, in which he writes:

"...It’s clear that the broken system is ad-driven media on the internet. It simply doesn’t serve people. In fact, it’s not designed to."

Ev goes on to announce that Medium has cut its team by a third (roughly 50 jobs were eliminated) and will focus on creating "a transformational product for curious humans who want to get smarter about the world every day." I'm one human who's always curious, and I'm especially about what Medium will look like. In the meantime...

What does this mean for E is for Everything? Nothing other than this one-time announcement and the fact that you now have an opportunity to support my work, hold me accountable and begin forming and leveraging a community around what is shared here. That's it.

If you want to learn more about my goals and longer-term vision for the platform, you can read about them on the Patreon page, or check out my full letter announcing this move: 

If you choose to support E is for Everything, thank you, and a special thank you to the three folks who have already jumped on board. I really can't tell you how much I appreciate it. I also look forward to collaborating with you. If you choose not to, I totally get it. The newsletter has always been free and will always stay free. So will my content on Medium (barring any changes from the top). I will keep experimenting with new formats and keep an eye and an ear out for your input. Thanks again and again, and now...

...let's dive in.

It's that time of the year when the gyms and running trails are at their most crowded. Some people are bright-eyed and ready as ever to get back to work. Others look like they need a vacation from their vacation. If you're like me, you're standing by your water-cooler-for-one (mine happens to be an electric kettle) and gearing up for a day of writing. If the trend lines continue, there will be more people like me than not. The phenomenon goes by many names: "the gig economy," "the freelance economy" or "the open talent" economy". Whatever you want to call it, it's here, and it's not going anywhere.

If you can stand one more prediction, here it is: I predict that 2017 will be the year when this cohort of solo entrepreneurs comes into their own. Predictions are as much wishful thinking as they are based in fact. So, of course, I self-interestedly want this to be true. That said, here's the fact my predicition is based on:

"...more than one in three workers in the United States is a freelancer and this number is projected to reach 40 percent by 2020."

Enter our first read: 

This new economy could go in just about any direction in terms of worker well-being. Some are more pessimistic, while others are optimistic about what's ahead for freelancers and entrepreneurs. Others are chatting about a universal basic income as a potential solution. Whichever way you go, one thing remains as true now as it did before: we need to take care of ourselves. Enter our second read via @mindfuleveryday

More rest may be nice, but bad things can happen when we stop paying attention. Our third read via @edge looks at the universe's natural propensity towards disorder (or order that is not our desired order). Somewhere between taking a load off and fending against the chaos of the universe is balance. Right? 

Talk of chaos and the universe leads me to technology. It appears that the bloom is slowly coming off of the Silicon Valley rose. (See Ev's letter. I also think this is great for the Valley and everyone, but more on that later.) I shared Amy Webb's Tech Trends report in a previous letter, which I am still pouring through, and I hope you are too. Here's a shorter take from @Wired (and a bonus on Silicon Valley from @FortuneMagazine).

Also, quick, what would you name IoT (Internet of Things) if you got to rebrand it? 

Finally, speaking of fraud, freelancing and the future, do you think your job should even exist? It's a pretty obnoxious question, but then again, so are some of the assumptions that dominate today's workforce. This is a piece from a few years back, but it's worth re-investigating. The coming year may see more and more "bullshit" jobs going by the wayside, replaced by the meaningful jobs we want to take on, but aren't sure how to yet. I got to this via my new favorite blog @evonomicsmag. It originated on @strikeyo. Note, to read it, click the "here" at the end of the first graph under "coming soon", or check it out on Evonomics here

Thank you to our patrons!

This month's featured Cur-e-osity Community Patrons are:

These folks have generously supported E is for Everything on Patreon. Please jump on through to learn more about both them and their projects.

Oh, before I go...

Something really interesting happened in the pay-it-forward category of my creative life. Here's a peek at how inspiration is begetting inspiration in our Cur-e-osity Community. 

Are you up to something awesome? Please let me know. A direct reply to this e-mail goes straight to me. 

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