On Packaging Digest // 8

On Sleep, Kanye, Zoom, and Newsletter Design.

Hey y’all,

Hope everybody is safe, healthy, and finding ways to pass the time until the quarantine is lifted!

Personally, I can’t wait for the next installment of The Last Dance tonight. I low-key love that we can’t stream it, and have been diving deep on post-episode podcasts to get the full experience.

In the meantime, this week’s digest is a bit of a mixed bag - hope you find something that interests you!

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Sleep Twitter Thread: I recently read the book Sleep: The Myth of 8 Hours, the Power of Naps, and the New Plan to Recharge Your Body and Mind by Nick Littlehales. Littlehales is a sleep coach for elite athletes, rising to prominence after The Guardian profiled his work with Christiano Ronaldo and Manchester United. If you’re a sound sleeper, keep doing your thing, but if you’re anything like me, and struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep, I highly encourage you to check it out.

The book is short, and it's a treasure-trove of actionable takeaways. For a primer, I posted a Twitter Thread Book Report chronicling his playbook as succinctly as possible. If there’s one key takeaway, it’s to pick a wake-up time and stick to it. 

GQ’s Kanye Cover: The latest issue of GQ profiles Kanye West, with editor Will Welch trailing him around his property in Wyoming to dig into his new projects. It’s really great. Kanye is extremely polarizing and was polarizing way before he started wearing the red hat, but it’s hard to argue with his creative output. Reading his own description of his creative process is fascinating, and I’m excited to see where his current projects end up.

If you want to make it a multi-medium experience, I recommend listening to the accompanying episode of Corporate Lunch, GQ’s podcast. In it, Welch discusses the insane story of the interview, spanning Wyoming, LA, Cabo, and Paris. Welch is a unique interviewer in that he and Kanye have history. They met in 2003 when Welch did a feature on him at The Fader. In the podcast, he says Kanye is the exact same person he met in 2003.

If you want to go even deeper, my personal favorite Kanye profile is still this interview with Bret Easton Ellis (author of American Psycho, Less than Zero, Rules of Attraction) back in November of 2013. Their chat spawned one of my favorite quotes of all time. When asked how he would describe what he does for a living, Kanye says:

If I were to write my title, like going through customs and you have to put down what you do, I would literally write 'creative genius' except for two reasons: Sometimes it takes too long to write that and sometimes I spell the word 'genius' wrong.

The Verticalization of Zoom: In the quarantine era, Zoom has become an essential of daily life. Beyond work meetings, it’s become the go-to platform to interact with friends and family. Added users and use-cases have exposed weaknesses of Zoom that I never would have thought about in the office. JJ Oslund, an investor at TechNexus, wrote up a 5-minute read on the companies that are carving out their own verticals within video conferencing. He also summarized his findings in the infographic below:

Newsletter Design: I believe design is going to become one of the most important differentiators in this current newsletter explosion. There’s so much content out there, and the creators that can find a unique visual aesthetic will stand out. Over the past few weeks, I’ve come across three newsletters that capture this sentiment. All three provide valuable content in a short, digestible format, and have a unique, minimalist design.

  • Trends.vc: Dru Riley’s Trend Reports synthesize 15-30 hours of market research into 5-minutes of reading. Shipped weekly, each issue is jam-packed with actionable ideas and takeaways. Recent examples include No Code, Startup Studios, and Remote Fitness. It’s an absolute must-subscribe.

  • The Proof: Adrian Alfieri’s The Proof interviews founders and leaders, digging into their daily routines and self-care, including diet, fitness, and overall wellness. The interviews are amazing (and addicting), but I think Adrian’s sitting on gold with Stacks, where he digs into a subjects’ top 5 must-have products across Fitness, Nutrition, Books, News, Sleep, and Essentials. 

  • Exploding Topics: Exploding Topics is a newsletter that arrives every Tuesday highlighting 5 new ideas that are taking off. It’s basically like Google Trends before something surfaces on Google Trends, and some of the topics are INSANE. Every week I end up doing a deep dive into something. A couple weeks ago it was Face Yoga...

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