Before the web, I worked for alternative weekly newspapers. There was conventional wisdom even then that the business of running a weekly paper sucked. But we weren’t in it for the money, we were in it because it was important to the community the weekly served. We made enough from advertising to print the paper and deliver it to the readers. It was very rarely profitable. In the alt newsweekly world of the early 90s, breaking even was considered the success case. We did it anyway.Powazek asks, What If Social Networks Just Aren’t Profitable? I broadly agree, and he links at the end to other interesting articles about the problems with advertising and the reasons you should charge users to use your website or web service. Gaming websites are profitable, but for all kinds of reasons, there needs to be a reader-supported editorial games site. (0)
Imagine that the only sport America cares about is basketball. Football and baseball don't matter; the whole country is completely invested in the NBA. Now imagine that there's a World Cup for basketball that is 10 million times more important than the Olympics or the world championships. Now imagine that Durant, LeBron, Melo, Dwight, and Kobe went to this World Cup, turned out not to be as good as we all thought, played mediocre college-level ball, and finished eighth while releasing a flurry of sex tapes with reality-TV stars. Now imagine that this happened for 16 straight years. You're getting warm; you're still not hot.Grantland's Brian Phillips explains the England national football team for non-English football viewers. (0)
Music journalism is the new boring challenges the notion that music was boring in 2011 by pinning the blame on journalists for not finding and sharing better music. Good things to keep in mind for all culture journalists. (0)
The Luckiest Dessert in History, about how a surprisingly high number of people won a particular American lottery draw in 2005. This related TEDx talk, linked within, is also worth watching. One article from dozens that I could link from Now I Know, an email newsletter of daily, incredible trivia and stories that Tom recommended. (0)
Wonderful, life-affirming New Yorker article about Don Colcord, a local druggist who holds the small community of Nucla, Colorado together. It paints a romantic picture of small, important work.
Don’s collection of certifications is impressively esoteric. He has taken CPR courses, and he’s qualified to use an electric defibrillator. He has a pyrotechnics-display license, so that Nucla can have fireworks on the Fourth of July. When he heard about a new type of hormone therapy, he flew to California to attend two days of classes, and now he compounds medicine for four transgendered patients who live in various parts of the West. Every three months, Don talks with them on the phone and prepares their drugs; he finds this interesting. On Friday nights, he announces Nucla High football games. They play eight-man ball, although if a bigger school comes to town they switch numbers with every possession, so that each side can practice its plays. When Nucla is on offense, it’s eight-on-eight, but it becomes eleven-on-eleven when the other team has the ball. Occasionally, somebody gets confused, and Don’s voice rings out over the loudspeakers: “There’s eleven white guys and eight blue guys, and that won’t work.” The football might not be first-rate, but the players’ names are a novelist’s dream. Nucla has Seth Knob, Chad Stoner, and Seldon Riddle. Dove Creek has a player named Tommy Fury. Blanding has Talon Jack and Sterling Black, Tecohda Tom and Herschel Todachinnie. Shilo Stanley, Terrance Tate, Dillon Daves: if alliteration ever needs an offensive line, recruiting should begin around the Colorado-Utah border.(0)