Newsletter

Despite my best intentions, I've failed to write an article for this site since I "restarted" in late-July. In the time since, I could've written about exciting topics like the total collapse of modern American politics. Or the next iPhone. But, clearly, I've failed to do so.

Upon closer inspection, I realize there's a simple reason for my inactivity. Having just run the numbers, it's become abundantly clear that I've been writing Way Too Much for the Newsletter. Since July 21, I've sent six issues, comprised of just over 15,500 words (i.e., roughly 2,500 words per issue).

From rants about the Eclipse to the perennially controversial (and worthless) 'Drinking' portion of the Newsletter, I must say, it's been a joy to produce. Although, now that I realize it's about 2,500 words per week, I do feel a bit guilty for the audience.

For all of this, I suppose I'm simply here to say: it's working. The core idea to charge for the Newsletter was to provide a sense of crushing guilt to write each week. If it were just a free newsletter or blog, it'd quickly slip into inconsistency. Rather, having a paid audience, I feel an obligation to provide "value" (if it can be described as such), inasmuch as I can.

And, so far, the Newsletter has garnered a surprisingly large paying audience. (Still relatively small, but much larger than I would've anticipated.) 

I do intend to write here more frequently, but, for now, don't mistake sporadic post dates as a sign of inactivity. It's just all happening in the Newsletter for the time being.

Feel free to sign-up. There's a 14 day free trial (i.e., two issues) and, after that, it's only $1.37 per month.

Otherwise, keep your eyes peeled for more to happen right here. I'm enjoying writing more frequently and it's only a matter of time before it becomes more rhythmic and natural, as it was in the early days.

Restart

OneThirtySeven was first published in November 2011, running consistently well into 2013. During that time, I wrote and published over 1,000 articles of all different sizes.

After successfully securing initial funding for Need in February 2013, my time began to dwindle. This website was — and will likely remain — a single person operation. And, as my obligations began to multiply and expand, I ran short of the opportunity to continue writing about design, technology, and all the various existential and opinionated crises I was enduring across those formative years.

It was a genuine shame to watch it come to a halt, although I was scarcely calm or collected enough to truly take stock of the decline. Rather, I'd just joke, "remember when I used to write?"

It was almost as though I was treating this blog as a punchline. And, yet, when I originally pitched Need to a small group of investors, I only had a handful of slides in a slapdash Keynote presentation. On the second slide — the first with any material beyond a name and tagline — it showed only OneThirtySeven and Bionic. (Remember when Bionic was serious?)

Those avenues — the ones I joke about the most on Twitter and the like — were the most important items I stressed when attempting to show that I was deserving of investment and support.

Although I never made a living from the site, it absolutely laid the groundwork for what my life has become. I frequently talk about it with students, investors, and prospective entrepreneurs as the mechanism through which I found my identity and embraced my entrepreneurial side. (Indeed, it was originally conceived as a long-term plan to help me write my way into a viable career, rather than being held back by the stigma of being an English major.)

As time went on, Need was joined by Foremost and the two, eventually, merged into Edition Collective. Between November 2013 (launch) and October 2016 (acquisition), we sought to change the way people shopped for clothing on the web — mostly by emphasizing the importance of storytelling and embracing your own tone. It was something I continued post-acquisition with Rye 51 (as part of Q Fifty One), too. And, in retrospect, it's clear that these concepts were very much an extension of what I'd begun to develop with this humble website in 2011 and 2012 — an intensely personal outlet for stories, business, and so on. I've always held a fascination about publishing and personal storytelling and, lo and behold, much of my professional career has swirled around those ideas.

Recently, I've (amicably!) wound down my time with Q Fifty One (our acquirer) as I've begun to feel an entrepreneurial itch to build something from scratch again. In the aftermath of my (amicable!) departure, I found myself thinking a lot about OneThirtySeven. I recognized its impact and importance for the first time, but, with a new project on the way, almost dismissed it as a pointless hope to resume writing and contributing through this outlet.

I stopped short of dismissal, though. If 2017 (so far) were to be summarized by one thing for me, it'd simply be a process of recognizing quite how dysfunctionally I was operating as an adult human while developing the last company. I ate irregularly, I set little time aside for myself, work time bled into all elements of personal time, and so on. As such, beginning on January 1, 2017, I set about rectifying that situation.

I began to exercise several times per week. I crafted a morning routine to ensure I had sufficient sleep, but also had something rhythmic in my scheduling and eating. And, most importantly, I began writing for myself once again.

Starting as a Five Minute Journal each morning and, steadily, growing into a daily morning entry in Day One, I suddenly found myself writing about my life and all of the positives and negatives therein. In doing so, I could not shake the thought of returning to OneThirtySeven in earnest, regardless of my other commitments.

So, I am.

As I mentioned, I never made a living from this site. It wasn't that I didn't want to, but I merely feared I would not have a sufficient audience. I feared few people would care or pay any mind to my idle musings about technology, design, and so forth. 

This time around, I've vowed to myself to just allow myself to keep publishing — to remain consistent, regardless of hypothetical judgment from others — and also to experiment. One of the constant refrains of building startups and raising capital and running large-scale businesses is that it becomes frustratingly difficult (or frowned upon) to experiment. But we often did just that and found a great deal of joy and success in doing so.

So, I'm launching a paid newsletter.

It'll arrive once per week — every Friday or thereabouts — and will share links, personal insights, interviews with prominent and inspiring friends, inside information and details about my upcoming project(s), and, notably, curated clothing and products from some fantastic brands. I hear frequently from people who miss the curation we offered at Need, so it ought to be simple for me to share some of these brands, products, and finds without the overhead in this format. It's just going to be me, basically.

It's $1.37 per month with a fourteen day free trial (i.e., enough for two at no cost).

As for the blog, I simply plan to write and share as I did in 2011, 2012, and 2013. My interests have drastically expanded beyond the Apple ecosystem since 2013 and, accordingly, I'll endeavor to share more cultural, fashion, media, and other such insight along the way. I may even touch upon some lessons learned and some productivity tips from running these companies in recent years. (Gross, I know.)

The goal is not to make a living here. As I've shared, I'm working on something rather exciting and new. My hope is simply that the newsletter will provide rhythm and accountability — that I'll keep going for the many who've already (bafflingly) signed-up without hesitation — and find some catharsis and utility out of writing on this blog.

This website, however small it has always been, is a formative and important element of my identity and my life. And, as I have the opportunity, I'm excited to pay it the respect and attention it deserves, regardless of audience, for as long as I can.

Maybe I'll be unsuccessful, but that's the whole point. I'm just excited to try.

Unbranded

Today, after very little preparation, Bryan DeLuca and I are announcing an experimental pop-up and event-space concept, Unbranded.

After the success of Need's pop-up at New York Fashion Week in early September, I became infatuated with the idea of hosting one for Need during the holiday months. I began exploring real estate options, whilst also considering what we could sell, the experience we could offer, and so forth.

I quickly realized that offering fantastic coffee and pop-up co-working from the space (i.e., some items from my nice-to-have list) would be rather difficult to afford as one company for two months. Those expenses would quickly outweigh the potential gain from sales.

So, I began thinking about who else I could involve. Bryan DeLuca and his fantastic company, Foot Cardigan, immediately came to mind. We'd been looking to work together for quite some time, but the opportunity had yet to present itself.

When we sat down, though, the idea quickly evolved from a sales-centric model into a means to evangelize and promote all the fantastic creative work that's currently happening in Dallas.

We've witnessed co-working, startups, and creativity begin to truly kick-off, but the support infrastructure for people to actually work with consumers has been missing.

You can work from a number of beautiful co-working spaces with remarkable people on the back-end of your business, but where can you experiment with the front-end? Where can you sell your physical goods to actual customers — particularly at a constrained scale — during the holidays? How can you host a professional event to drum up exposure?

We couldn't find an answer. So, we hatched the idea for Unbranded.

Launching on November 1 (or thereabouts), Unbranded is going to be a community-inspired pop-up retail and event-space that we'll be providing freely to people with great concepts from all manner of fields. Any money they earn is their own, the space will be free for the entirety of their stay, and we'll promote them in the press and other events.

We'll have coffee, magazines, artwork, music, co-working, and more within the space, whilst also hosting fantastic events for some of Dallas' best and brightest talent.

Applications are now open and we'd love to hear from you.

We'll announce the participants over the coming weeks. And we'll also be announcing our sponsors and partners.

If you'd like to get involved and help support the concept, send us a note. We'd welcome the help.

Unbranded is little more than an experiment. It's one, however, that we hope to see blossom in November and December. And, if it does, we may try it elsewhere in the US.

For now, though, keep an eye on weareunbranded.com and we'll see you in Dallas in November.