It’s a cloudy morning in Portland, Oregon, on Thursday 5 January, 2023.
A few short ones today.
I’ve subscribed to a few more newsletters on Substack lately:
Okay, all of that out of the way, here are some horrific ideas for product development at Substack, which to be clear:
I don’t like Substack because of how the founders run their business, which includes things like “we don’t make editorial decisions” but also “but there’s a distinct profile of people we pay advances towards, and paying advances are not editorial decisions, they are just business decisions” ugh even just typing that again is irritating.
Anyway! That won’t stop me from coming up with irritating product ideas, to wit:
Substack should make it easy for writers to bundle individual newsletter issues together into collections and then trivially turn those collections into eBooks, taking a cut, of course.
Then, as a bonus, and realizing that this idea has all of its “Oh, Mastodon is so hot right now” tinted glasses on, Substack also could spin up an ActivityPub/Mastodon interface to show that it’s not too tied to Twitter, but really, as another reason for writers to choose it. There’s a whole bunch of writers who are weirdly On Mastodon And Therefore Not On Twitter But Are On Substack, so in the Venn diagram of “don’t like Musk” and “are totally okay with certain a16z-backed plays for content that have certain ideological editorial stances”, there are certainly people in the middle! Those people might like a Substack-authenticated/hosted Mastodon account! I mean, it would solve several problems:
Some people who have Substack newsletters are very insistent that Mastodon is too hard to use and they don’t know how to pick a server. So boom: use the one Substack gives you.
Er. And then it also lets them share their newsletter on Mastodon? Which is okay, I guess?
Anyway, if Substack did this, then they would kick of such a firestorm of drama around blocking and de-federating that it would make them the main character for at least six hours.
In an example of the health-technology-surveilance-complex, via Lee Edwin Coursey1, Walgreens publishes its own COVID-19 Index (proudly running on Microsoft PowerBI!).
Caught my attention because: the fact this data is public in the first place (even in the form that it’s in) is super interesting.
This happened a while ago, but the videos from 2022’s Eyeo Festival (also the final Eyeo Festival ever) are up.
Caught my attention because: It’s Eyeo!
Neutrogena has improved on its skincare app at this year’s CES by, well, letting you “use AI to give users personalized, on-demand, 3D-printed skin supplements called SkinStacks”2.
Caught my attention because: There are so many buzzwords in here. So many.
Okay, that’s it for today. How are you doing?
“The National Test Positivity Rate from the Walgreens COVID Index has exceeded 40% for the first time in the entire pandemic.”; Lee Edwin Coursey on Mastodon, 2 January 2023 ↩
CES 2023: You can now 3D print your skin supplement habit, thanks to Neutrogena, Christiana Silva, Mashable, 3 January, 2023 ↩