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May 10, 2016 | Issue 26
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the morning shakeout by mario fraioli
the morning shakeout
The Steam Donkey Trail, a silly steep stretch of dirt in the Santa Cruz Mountains, averages a 30-35 percent grade in some sections. Here, The Denuch displays his impeccable power-hiking form to pull away from me on Sunday. instagram.com/mariofraioli

Good morning! To celebrate 6 months of the morning shakeout making inboxes around the world a better place to be, here are a few things for you to read, ponder and discuss amongst your friends this week. Enjoy!

They don’t want your cheap shit. 

“So what will matter in the next age of media? Compelling voices and stories, real and raw talent, new ideas that actually serve or delight an audience, brands that have meaning and ballast; these are things that matter in the next age of media,” Joshua Topolsky, co-founder of The Verge and Vox Media and former head of digital at Bloomberg, wrote recently on Medium. Not exactly a novel idea for an industry that’s been around forever, right? As publishers far and wide try to figure out where in the hell media is going in 2016 and beyond—and, more importantly, how to monetize it—Topolsky reminds us, quite correctly, that media titles need not chase popular trends and fads, a.k.a. “the New Thing,” if they want to survive and thrive over the long term. Media brands, whether they put out a print publication, set up shop in the digital space or operate in both spheres, need to stand for something and focus on producing quality, smart and innovative content that serves an interested audience. Why? “They don’t want your cheap shit,” Topolsky writes. “They want the good shit. And they will go to find it somewhere. Hell, they’ll even pay for it.”

+ Related reading: They don’t want your automated shit, either. One of my favorite bloggers is John Gruber of Daring Fireball and that’s because he provides a unique point of view I respect and admire (not to mention try to emulate in my own way here at the morning shakeout). He recently wrote about Facebook’s trending news team and why the automation of news curation doesn’t faze him—in fact, Gruber views it as a challenge to do a better job providing a unique point of view on the topics he covers (Apple and tech). “I do two things here at DF most days: find interesting things to link to, and comment on them. An algorithm may well beat me at finding interesting links,” Gruber writes. “My job then, is to be a better writer — smarter, funnier, keener, more surprising — than an algorithm could be. When I can’t do that, it’ll be time to hang up the keyboard.”

The professional passion problem. 

If you love what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. How often has this romantic piece of advice been flung in your general direction? While there’s nothing wrong about loving the work you do for a living—heck, I count myself as fortunate to have carved out a multi-pronged career in the running industry—earning a paycheck “doing what you love” isn’t always easy, advisable, feasible, wise or even fun. In fact, it can be incredibly risky and sometimes it’s better to keep your passion(s) separate from your profession in order to maintain a healthy amount of meaning and fulfillment in both aspects of your life. I touched on this topic a bit in Issue 11 and I’m revisiting it here after reading this post on The Manual’s blog. “The myth of the calling leads people to believe that if they answer the call, they’ll reach some sort of creative enlightenment that transcends work and transforms their life,” writes Kate Kiefer Lee, communications director at Mailchimp. “That scenario is possible, but so rare.”

+ Related reading: Screw finding your passion. “Who says you need to make money doing what you love?” writes Mark Manson in one of his candidly excellent f-bomb laced posts. “Since when does everyone feel entitled to love every fucking second of their job? Really, what is so wrong with working an OK normal job with some cool people you like, and then pursuing your passion in your free time on the side? Has the world turned upside-down or is this not suddenly a novel idea to people?”

I can’t get no…satisfaction.

I like Pete Carroll and not just because he spent three years coaching my beloved New England Patriots. Beyond his impressive career win-loss record I’ve always admired Carroll’s incessant sense of optimism and I have an immense respect for his relentless pursuit of improvement and enjoyment in both sports and life. This recent interview with him on Michael Gervais’ excellent Finding Mastery podcast is worth 45 minutes of your time. “When you’re a competitor, you don’t rest. You’re either competing or you’re not,” Carroll says on the podcast. “All those phrases come to mind. We’re in relentless pursuit of finding the competitive edge in everything we’re doing. That’s a mentality. You’re either competing or you’re not. You’re either working at doing better or you’re going in the wrong direction. That means you've got to be on and you can’t be satisfied. You’re not easily satisfied. There’s nothing that’s going to make you get to where you’re feeling too comfortable because you've got to keep pushing.”

+ Related listening/viewing: Eric Thomas, aka ET, is a motivational speaker who has a weekly YouTube segment that gets published every Monday. This episode I Tweeted a link to last October is one of my favorites and I’ve watched it probably a dozen times since it first came out. “You play that last 10 seconds” is a powerful message Thomas preaches that applies to many different aspects of life. Just go watch it

That’s it for Issue 26. If you liked what you read here, it would make my day if you forwarded this along to a friend or shared the web link on your preferred social media platform. Otherwise, you can send your high praise, general disdain, deep thoughts or snarky comments directly to me by replying to this email or shouting in my direction on Twitter.

Thanks for reading, 

Mario

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