The album still blazes. Thank you.
[This was a comment on the article “Squirrel Not Zippers” by Tom Maxwell on Medium.]
The album still blazes. Thank you.
[This was a comment on the article “Squirrel Not Zippers” by Tom Maxwell on Medium.]
Thanks so much for sharing this Bryan! I’m a huge fan of Makeshift Society even though I’ve figured out that I’m one of those folks who gets more work done alone at home. Very glad you all took the opportunity to create this experience—and glad you were able to make this experiment and extricate yourselves from it with relatively minimal pain.
Seems as though about two years is the right amount of time to figure out that the plan isn’t going to work. When I had my one-woman bookstore in San Jose in the mid-1990s I spent roughly that time in site prep (built-in bookcases, signage) and being open. By a couple months before the end I had determined that though the store could pay for itself, it could not pay me. My initial runway was shortened radically when the long-term relationship I’d been in while planning and opening the store and during its first year ended, leaving me with a need to pay my own security deposit and rent for a new apartment, and thus needing the paychecks I’d been getting by without.
Thinking through “What if we learn we’re wrong about something and we need to close in a year or two?” is a great exercise for anyone planning a business. I was able to safely walk away from the end of my grand adventure because I’d planned my payments to my major investor such that I could continue making them while working a post-adventure full-time job. Sure, a painful expense comparable to car payments or hefty student loans, but doable—and enabling me to keep both my honor and my credit rating.
There’s certainly no defeatism in doing this planning. Something hard to predict could turn out to be a major factor—as with the differences between SF and Brooklyn you found—or a huge influence on your market could appear after opening—as occurred for me when Barnes & Noble opened 30,000 square feet of bookstore space in the south bay within a few months of my 400 square foot store opening, or when after I’d managed to pivot to add games to my offering as a funny little sideline called Magic: The Gathering came out, quickly becoming 70% of my business, the supply of Magic: The Gathering dried up for a couple months. You just never know. You make your best guesses, work up a range of spreadsheets, and go for it.
The best thing about sharing experiences like this is how it helps everyone guess better.
[This was a comment on the article “The mystery of the white dress shirt: Death and life of a Brooklyn coworking space” by Bryan Boyer on Medium.]
I’ve been around on the web long enough to know it isn’t just about the way in, it’s how good the options are for moving on when your needs change — or the service does.
Not that I don’t love Medium, but services that encourage import without having robust, full export are traps.
[This was a comment on a post from Medium, on Medium. Their post has since disappeared. – January 21, 2019 ]
Last June I quit using Facebook both personally and professionally. I'd been feeling pretty queasy about their creepy terms of service switcheroos already, but pile on real name policy problems and ever-increasing revenue-generation interference with having your posts actually seen by your followers and I was pretty dubious already. But it seemed necessary. "You've got a brand! How can you not be on Facebook?!" So I held my nose and stuck with it, at least for my Discardia and Art of the Shim social media presence.
The turning point came when news broke that the Facebook app was going to start quietly recording background sound while you worked on a post. WTF?! Ostensibly to identify music or TV and include it in the post, but really? Facebook, do you think we don't know you're not going to sell that marketing info and let the NSA listen in? How dumb do you think we are?
That was it. I posted an announcement with a link to a video explaining why everyone should be leaving Facebook and I deleted the apps from my devices. No more social media posts via Facebook.
You know what? It did absolutely no damage to my brand. It didn't affect my sales. It didn't reduce my reader interaction as an author/publisher.
Turns out, Facebook needs us waaaaay more than we need Facebook. And we don't need it at all.
Over the past year I've been duplicating all the content from my Facebook accounts onto my own sites and today I finally made time to copy over the last of it. Time to permanently delete my account. Ahhhhh, how nice!
For posterity, and an illustration of just how much a professional account contains attempts from Facebook to get you to spend money to reach your own followers, here are screenshots of the page as it now appears. Amusingly, because the last thing I posted was the 'Delete Facebook' video, all the automatically mocked-up ads they want me to buy use that graphic.
Facebook's constant clawing for additional personal information is very visible in my old personal account:
[A post I put up on Medium archived here in October 2015]
Ana Swanson’s Washington Post Wonk Blog piece, “The growing wealth gap that nobody is talking about: Young people have always been poor, but today’s young people are poorer than most”, ends in puzzlement. A few potential sources for the comparative poverty of Gen-X and Millennials in the United States are offered, but the concluding paragraphs seem out of place with the confident, data-driven statements cited before them.
Why should the lack of wealth among Gen-X and Millennials be such a surprise given their (or I could say ‘our’, in the case of Gen-X) role as the generations who were most encouraged to run up and continuously carry substantial credit card debt? (See, for example, trends charted here.)
These generations also walk away from college graduation with substantially more student loan debt (“Soaring College Tuitions.” The New York Times, Dec. 4, 2008, corrected chart 1; see also Friday’s piece “We’re Making Life Too Hard for Millennials” with its chart captioned ‘Tuition Races Upward, Debt Mounts’).
Beyond credit debt, though, our extending lifespans in the U.S. have to be important too. Based on my initial exploration of changing life expectancy (as described by the Social Security Administration in these sources 2, 3) it appears that as you move forward from 1900 there is a later and later age of potential inheritance of wealth from older relations. (That potential is not evenly distributed, as, for example, an examination of African-American experiences* in home ownership and debt over the past century painfully reveals. When there is no family wealth accumulated, there is even less opportunity for any upward climb.)
The sources cited above support that, showing the increasing percentage of those who reached age 21 who then reached age 65. If you get old enough to likely become a parent, you also have an increasing likelihood of reaching retirement age. Those who are able to collect wealth are holding it longer.
Thus, to give specific examples based on the charts in these sources, someone born in 1895 (the parents of the Greatest Generation), who reached age 21 only had 60–71% odds of living until 1960. That 65 year old would then, on average, be unlikely to live past 1975. They would therefore be releasing their wealth into the next generation when their kids are 55–60 years old (assuming they had had their kids when around age 20–25). Put another way, 29–40% of the Greatest Generation would likely have inherited their parents’ remaining wealth by age 60.
Our boomer, born in 1955 (the parent of our Gen Xer), who reached age 21 has 79–88% odds of living until 2020, and then on average of not living past 2035–2040, releasing their wealth into the next generation when, if they had their kids generally around age 20–25, their kids are 55–65 years old. Put that another way and only 12–21% of Gen Xers will likely have inherited their parents’ wealth before age 55–65.
The parent of our Millennial, let’s say, is born in 1975, and having reached 21 has 82–90% odds of living until 2040, and then on average of not living past around 2060, when, if they had their kids generally around age 20–25, their kids are 65–70 years old. Thus, only 10–18% of Millennials will likely have inherited their parents’ wealth before age 65–70.
There is a cascading effect of extended lifespan which may be more important than inheritance, given that many will not inherit a meaningful amount of money even in the best scenario for their age and generation.
There may be an offsetting influence of later parenthood (e.g., children more often had at 25–30 or even 30–35 years old) but I suspect that, at least until very recently, lifespan has been extending faster than parenthood has been trending later. The CDC data I found in a cursory search, (4, 5), suggests that only within the last 10 years are we seeing average age of the mother pushing up to the 25–30 year old age range. That trend may be picking up speed, but so far I don’t have the impression it has overtaken the influence of extending lifespans in terms of average age of child at time of death of last surviving parent.
While past generations were motivated to build their wealth in order to create a better future for their children, now those parents are more likely to still be around enjoying that future, with the children needing to shift for themselves far longer. It becomes somewhat less clear what the younger generations’ motives would be to take on years of debt and hard work to build wealth for anyone but themselves. With less reliable relationships between debt and long-term wealth — as college degrees no longer are as sure a path to high income and as the mortgage crisis demonstrated the vulnerability of investing in a home — recent generations are finding it hard to determine their best method of avoiding destitution in old age.
Freedom to define your own path is a touchstone of Generation X, but that freedom is also for many simply a hard fact: there is, starting with that generation, decreasingly going to be a transfer of the prior generation’s progress.
Approaching that future, clear-eyed, amidst financial crisis and Great Recession, little wonder that Gen-X and Millennials aren’t looking particularly lucky. And little wonder that they’re exploring other ways of defining the good life.
NOTE: THE BLOG POST BELOW IS FROM 2014. THE INFO IT CONTAINS MAY NO LONGER BE CURRENT. CHECK THE POLICIES OF WHATEVER MAILBOX (OR OTHER) SERVICE YOU’RE SIGNING UP FOR TO SEE HOW LEAVING THAT SERVICE WORKS. DON’T TRUST COMPANIES THAT MAKE IT NEEDLESSLY HARD FOR YOU TO FIND THE RIGHT FIT FOR YOUR NEEDS.
–Dinah, January 30, 2019
As this old post continues to get far more internet traffic than it should, I have changed its title. The old title was ‘Beware the UPS Store (or Mailboxes Etc or similar) mailbox’.
–Dinah, May 25, 2019
Warning: If you sign up for a mailbox at a non-USPS location, you will not ever be able to file a change of address for it with the postal service.
Also, it’s probably a franchise, meaning UPS (with their potentially-consumer-benefiting concerns about maintaining their brand) has no control over pricing, meaning the store might decide to double the fee for that mailbox at some point and leave you with a tough choice.
CRMAs are required to offer mail forwarding services for six months, but they can (and do) charge for them. So far as I am aware UPS Stores do not offer forwarding for a closed box for longer than that six month minimum.
Yes, it’s nice to have a non-home-address to use for business or other purposes, but be aware that there are serious flexibility issues with signing up for CRMA (Commercial Mail Receiving Agency) services.
Update July 25, 2014: Just spent 51 minutes on the phone with USPS. The person I spoke with said her supervisor told her that you can put in a change of address from a CRMA address to a street address or USPS P.O. box. I’m going to try that and hope it works.
My particular UPS Store, while not bending on their pricing which is now 4x the cost a USPS box, did say that it is their policy to hold mail from terminated boxes for a little while and to turn it over to the former box owner if they check in, after which they return it to the postal service. It is unclear what would happen to that mail then. It’s already been delivered, but maybe a change of address could kick in.
But no. After trying to submit the change of address, I got this on the USPS website:
“Mail addressed to an addressee at commercial mail receiving agency (CMRA) is not forwarded through the USPS. The CMRA customer may make special arrangements for the CMRA operator to re-mail the mail with payment of new postage. A CMRA must accept and re-mail mail to former customers for at least 6 months after termination of the agency relationship. After the 6-month period, the CMRA may refuse mail addressed to a former customer. The Application for Delivery of Mail through Agent (PS Form 1583) requires an addressee and agent to comply with all applicable postal rules and regulations relative to delivery of mail through an agent. For more information on mail forwarding regulations, contact your local Postmaster.”
I have not been offered any mail forwarding service from the UPS Store and it sounds as though they would immediately put in a termination notice with USPS for accepting my mail. Not sure what that means would happen to any of my mail, but seems as if it would be destroyed or returned to sender.
Some lessons drawn from the how-not-to-do-it example in Tony Horwitz's New York Times op-ed, "I Was a Digital Best Seller!"
Writing is a tough job to make pay; don't enter into the profession with just a dream and crossed fingers.
Advertising and Selling
– Morgan Spurlock: The greatest TED Talk ever sold (TEDtalks)
– Full Price Beats Penny Saved for Selling Some Items (60-second Science)
– Candidates Affect Viewer Reactions to Ads in Debates (60-second Science)
– Jacqueline Novogratz: Inspiring a life of immersion (TEDtalks)
– 100,000-Year-Old Art Studio Discovered (60-second Science)
– Patricia Kuhl: The linguistic genius of babies (TEDtalks)
– Science Grad Students Who Teach Write Better Proposals (60-second Science)
– Doodles and Drawings Help Cement Concepts (60-second Science)
Food and Drink
– Student Researchers Find Secret Tea Ingredients (60-second Science)
– Molars Say Cooking Is Almost 2 Million Years Old (60-second Science)
– High-Pressure Food Treatment Can Kill Microbes And Up Nutrients (60-second Science)
Health and Growth
– Molly Stevens: A new way to grow bone (TEDtalks)
– Gamekeeper's Thumb Condition Outlives the Occupation (60-second Science)
– Test Tells Viral and Bacterial Infections Apart (60-second Science)
– Poultry Farms That Stop Antibiotics See Resistance Fall (60-second Science)
– Endurance Exercise Has Stem Cells Make Bone Over Fat (60-second Science)
– Carbon Nanotubes Impale Compulsive Cells (60-second Science)
– Online Gamers Help Solve Protein Structure (60-second Science)
– Health Data Could Spot Genocide Risk (60-second Science)
– City Cyclists Suck In Soot (60-second Science)
– Rapid PCR Could Bring Quick Diagnoses (60-second Science)
– Pathogen Genomics Has Become Dirt Cheap (60-second Science)
– Kid Scientists Show Medicines Can Be Mistaken For Candy (60-second Science)
– Fever Increases Numbers of Immune Cells (60-second Science)
Nature and Sexuality
– Mole's Extra Finger Is Wrist Bone-us (60-second Science)
– Full Moon May Signal Rise in Lion Attacks (60-second Science)
– Send Ants to College (60-second Science)
– Sea Lampreys Flee Death Smells (60-second Science)
– Toxoplasma Infected Rats Love Their Enemies (60-second Science)
– Modern Rivers Shaped By Trees (60-second Science)
– Upright and Hairless Make Better Long-Distance Hunters (60-second Science)
– Electrolyte Balancers Set Stage for Multicellularity (60-second Science)
– Flesh-Tearing Piranhas Communicate with Sound (60-second Science)
Politics and Philosophy
– Jody Williams: A realistic vision for world peace (TEDtalks)
– Martin Jacques: Understanding the rise of China (TEDtalks)
– El Nino Ups Conflict Odds (TEDtalks)
– Steven Pinker: Violence Is Lower Than Ever (60-second Science)
Technology and Physics
– Johanna Blakley: Social media and the end of gender (TEDtalks)
– Medieval Armor: Was It Worth the Weight? (60-second Science)
– Traffic Cameras Save Millions in Canceled Crashes (60-second Science)
– Juno Mission Gets Goes for Launch (60-second Science)
– Channeled Chips Can Spot Substances (60-second Science)
– Smartphone System Saves Gas (60-second Science)
– Sound Sends Electron to Specific Location (60-second Science)
– Moon Not Made of Cheese, Physicist Explains (60-second Science)
If you are, like I was, getting the error message "TOC entry has incorrect nesting level" when you try to export from InDesign to EPUB, try this.
This seems to be an error in the hierarchy of TOC style levels and probably means you've got a lower level item listed before the higher level of which it is a sub-part. For example, I seemed to have a style I called "section headline" coming up before any of my "Part"s or "Chapter"s. So how to find it?
First, you need to know which style is causing the issue. I created a new TOC style called "EPUB TOC troubleshoot" and one-by-one added in the TOC styles I wanted to include from the highest level down, exporting to EPUB after each one until I got the error message.
Once you know which style is nested incorrectly, now you need to hunt down where it's out of the hierarchy. In InDesign CS6, go to Edit > Find/Change (or hit command or control F). Use the little icon beside the 'Find What' box to set it to look for Wildcards > Any Character. Us the little icon beside the 'Find Format' box to set it to look for Style Options > Paragraph Styles > [whatever your offending style seems to be].
You know what mine was? The section headline on the print version's table of contents page. Ha! I created a new style from that named "section headline TOC" so that it would be separated from the rest of the section headlines in the book which I wanted to use for my EPUB TOC and then, hooray! I exported without an error. Phew.