Books, Apps and Performance Art

filtered, week of dec 15 2014

I collected a list of all the books I read this year, along with one highlighted passage from each. Subtext: Goodreads sucks.

On the reading list: How Star Wars Conquered the Universe, by Chris Taylor. This New Yorker interview with him is fun.

Creative constriction worked for him in a way he never quite appreciated. He never understood that it was a good thing that Tatooine was sparse and Sergio Leone-like; he would’ve preferred it full of spaceships and animals. The prequels are what “Star Wars” would’ve looked like if he had no creative constriction at all.

Note: The New Yorker’s website is now full of so many crazy ad calls, on top of the custom fonts and the static, persistent header that it is basically useless on desktop web. It’s difficult for the user to do the most basic thing on a content site: scroll. So, caveat clicker.

Profile of Ed Sheeran in the Financial Times.

“At Atlantic everyone said James Blunt was the hardest-working guy in the music industry. So I asked my manager to get James Blunt’s diary from 2005.” He studied Blunt’s diary of shows and told his team: “We’re doing all of that — times two.” He grins. “And that’s exactly what we did. Because he was the hardest-working guy, I wanted to work twice as hard as him.”

Sheeran’s not my thing. But I saw him open for Taylor Swift last year, and he’s really great on stage…and the fans went nuts.

Honan on distribution:

Much as Hearst, Henry Luce, and Ted Turner figured out how to amass huge audiences using newspapers, magazines, and television, the latest would-be kingpins are learning what kinds of stories resonate with readers on phones and Facebook. Instead of hiring newsies to scream at you in the streets, they are enlisting social media experts to scream at you on Twitter. Instead of investing in satellite trucks or paying for prime placement at the corner newsstand, they are reverse-engineering Facebook’s algorithm to ensure their stories dominate your News Feed.

Speaking of Honan, this piece at Nieman about Hayley Nelson at Wired is a great overview of how product management is being applied to news organizations.

“If we’re going to be organized by vertical on the digital side, maybe those editors oversee the vertical coverage across all the platforms. That would be a sort of an end goal,” says Nelson. “I think eventually we want to break free of this print/digital paradigm, and it’s just going to be about content, streams of content.”

Bryan Boyer: Lionizing the overdue investment in New York’s branch libraries.

If neighborhood libraries gain more recognition for their position at the center of our neighborhoods, UNION argues, they can move from being mere branches of the library system to local roots of social change. Because libraries are already playing a role in education, disaster resiliency, public safety, social services, workforce development, and many other important aspects of civic society, we need to recognize and find a way to account for this. Then we can rethink how we invest in, and measure, the success of our libraries.

Can we just fast forward to the time when we’re living in a city planned by Mr. Boyer?




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Michael Sippey

Michael Sippey

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