Desk Notes · Ideas of Curiosity · Innovation & Creativity

4 things I’ve learned in 20 years in media (newspapers, and what used to be called ‘new media’)

Twenty yers of writing and publishing; that’s a while, isn’t it?

So yeah. There is no shortage of items one might be able to report on this very topic, but I will adjust things so that they are relevant for the 2023 outlook for media. I mean, a business trade journal isn’t exactly something that people where I am (Cambodia) would want to read. I think it’s more about quick lookbooks, and pictures, and snippets, these days. Scanning. Short. And readable.

So here’s my first four thoughts on what constitutes ‘what I learned’ if you wanted to hear it in this way. Wow. This is my first listicle. Coolio.


4. Know when to exit

I went to a bloggers conference in 2006. I went back to my newsroom. I said we needed a blog. They said no, we didn’t. Honestly I cannot believe that but it was really real. That same year, I started my design studio, this very site.

The conference was mind-boggling then but totally and completely normal, today. It was before smartphones took off, so people had their laptops out and were typing away. While the lectures were going. While. I mean, that. Was. Different.

It was GnomedexBR, an editor acquaintance, had tipped me off to the event, and how to get a media pass. Nothing I’m doing today would have happened, without that. It’s a good thing I follow up on everything nine hundred times, else I never would have reconnected with B on a different continent, and caught up, and heard about the thing.


3. Remember to be real

I think one of the hardest part for a lot of people who wanted to start their businesses was that they kept trying to pander to what they thought people wanted to buy. I mean, there’s a ton of fakeness out there. But if you are not genuine it will catch up to you. Really.

Either you’ll burn away from the inside because you are in conflict with yourself, or you will get called out somewhere when the actions and the words do not align. Because that kind of moment can and will happen. You see it a lot. Fakeness. Liars are easier and easier to see now, what with the way the world is online all the time. And by the way, did you read The Catcher in the Rye? I wonder what HC would have thought about instagram, lol.


2. SEO is weird and curious.

And fascinating. I have watched what Google does with my domain for 20 years. It’s neat and fun to see too that I am still there, in Seattle, with ‘branding’ and ‘design’ attached after the city’s name, in the search bar. How does that work? Nifty.


1. Focus, focus, focus

Not possible to stress this enough. All the business management consulting types say it. Do not get lost in ‘brand extension’ or do a fail like New Coke. Just do what you do and do well. One day, like that Rilke poem said, Letters to a Young Poet, you might just walk into the answers. You’ll know what that is, by the time you’re ready. To (re)launch. Or not. It’s 2022. Everything came undone at the seams, so who knows what will work, next. Except: being who you really are.


I’ll put the other four, which are much more personal, into S P A C E. Membership info is at: