Everything I’ve Learned About Starting New Things…

Hello friends!

It’s been a moment since I sent my last newsletter, so I wanted to share some exciting news about Ursa, a new audio company and podcast I’ve been working on with authors Dawnie Walton and Deesha Philyaw. 

The podcast is called Ursa Short Fiction, it’s hosted by Dawnie and Deesha, and it’s all about celebrating short stories from underrepresented voices. We’ll feature author interviews, book club discussions, and immersive audio stories from some of today’s most thrilling writers.

I wrote a bit of a #longread on Twitter about how Dawnie and I first started working together on Ursa. And I’ve learned so much on this journey already. But here’s one big lesson: We live in a social media world that’s all about personal brands and individual content creators, but I work so much better when I’m collaborating with other people. I’m not a solo artist. I like to be in bands. I think I’m not alone in that feeling. So if you want my advice, go join a band!

It’s been such a joy to work with Dawnie and Deesha and be in this band with them, and to get to work with many other writers, artists, and producers whose work you’ll hear and see in Season One. 

I want to also send a special note of thanks to our advisors, investors, and partners who’ve helped us get here, including Lit Hub Radio, Franklin Leonard, Sharon Mashihi, Fran Hauser, and the folks at Coil.

If you like the show, leave us a comment and review in Apple Podcasts. And if you’d like to get involved with Ursa, join us! Drop me a line at mark [at] ursastory [dot] com.

Thanks for listening. 


Membership, Paywalls, and Funding Journalism Without a Football Phone — Longreads Community

In the 1980s, Sports Illustrated landed on a surefire way to drive subscriptions to its magazine. A high-quality print product? Top-notch journalism? Yeah, yeah, sure — probably all of the above. But as a child sitting in front of my television every afternoon, what really sold me — and then by my constant pleading, sold […]

via Membership, Paywalls, and Funding Journalism Without a Football Phone — Longreads Community

The Truth About Working from Home

I spoke with PSFK Labs about Automattic‘s “distributed” work model — at 430+ employees, we’re one of the world’s largest companies where everyone works from home (or anywhere they please).

There are pros and cons to any work situation. How a company performs depends a lot on who it hires, how those people get along, how they communicate, and how teams are structured to make it as easy as possible to be productive.

We can’t control for those factors, but the simple fact about distributed work is that people can be more productive when they don’t have to commute anywhere. Cutting commute times is better for employees, it’s better for companies to cultivate talent around the world, it’s better for families, and it’s better for our cities to reduce gridlock. I would love to see local governments — and the next president — embrace more policies that encourage companies to “go distributed.”

Photo: cdisegna