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Book Marketing Boss

Book Marketing Boss is an in-depth Notion dashboard to help you launch, market, and sell your book. 

Why did I create this? 

I launched my book in July 2019 and had no idea how to market it. I spent all of this time writing, now I needed to get some eyeballs on it. There seemed like so many things to do and no direction of where to go. 

My goal is to help independent authors stay organized and build cohesive marketing strategies to turn you from a novice marketer into a Book 👏 Marketing 👏 Boss 👏.

You’ll benefit from this if: 

• You’re planning to write a book & want to know how to launch it once you do

• You’re already writing a book and gearing up for launch

• You already wrote a book and want to improve your marketing strategy and get more organized

• You want to land more press, podcast interviews, and speaking gigs

• You want to set up a website, newsletter, or blog related to your book

• You want to sell more books

What to expect: 

• Actionable tools and resources to launch and promote your book 

• Guide to Building a Press Kit

• Cold email templates for press, podcast, and speaking outreach

Tips & Tricks on landing press, speaking gigs, and other interviews

• Outreach trackers to manage all communication with journalists, podcast hosts, event managers and more. 

• Email Newsletter Starter Kit

• Content calendars, goal trackers, and creative mood boards

• Sales & Expense trackers and pointers 

a whole lot more…

Disclaimer

I cannot promise that by using this tool you will sell more books, but I can guarantee that this will improve your organization and enhance your existing marketing strategy. 

Marketing is a strategic numbers game. This will not work like overnight magic, you need to put in the effort. 

FAQs

Why should I listen to you? 

I am the author of Adversity to Advantage: How to Overcome Bullying & Find Entrepreneurial Success. I launched in July 2019 and since then have received press in national publications like Forbes, Inc, Entrepreneur and Newsweek. I’ve also appeared on dozens of podcasts, some of which have millions of cumulative downloads. I have spoken to a wide range of audiences from students to retired corporate folk and have sold my book across numerous countries and continents. 

The best part? I spent a total of $0 on any interview or press engagement. 

In my spare time, I’ve provided numerous authors with marketing tips & tricks. They’ve all seen amazing results. 

What is Notion? 

Notion is an all-in-one workspace for you to organize notes, databases, wikis, documents and more. Think of it like Google Drive on some serious steroids. While there are paid versions, this entire dashboard is accessible through Notion’s FREE plan. 

To make that clearer…you do not need to pay any additional charges to use this dashboard to its full capability. 

Will the content be updated? 

Yes! I will be relying heavily on your feedback to make Book Marketing Boss (BMB) the best product possible. I will be constantly updating the content and adding new resources. Want to see something added? Send me an email at randy@randymginsburg.com

Is there a refund policy? 

Yes! Within 30 days, if you truthfully feel as if you haven’t gotten any value out of BMB, shoot me an email at randy@randymginsburg.com and I’ll process a refund immediately. My main priority is your satisfaction. 

Can I duplicate BMB and share it with my friends and fellow authors?

This is a personal license, so please keep this to yourself. If you are interested in purchasing a bulk set of licenses for your team or business, you can send me an email and we’ll figure out a price. 

What if I have other questions?

Shoot me an email at randy@randymginsburg.com or DM me on Twitter (@GinsburgRandy). Happy to answer any questions or concerns you have.

Get Access to the Dashboard

Crashing Up – Kirkland Edge, Whispering Cities, and ImportYeti

Greetings from snowy New York! It’s already snowed more in two hours than the entirety of last winter. I spent this weekend making a couple of adjustments to the new format of the newsletter and tinkering on some side projects. A few exciting updates:

  • As you can see, the emails will now be coming from me (Randy Ginsburg) instead of Crashing Up.
  • The Crashing Up podcast is now live wherever you listen to podcasts. Head over to your favorite podcast provider to check it out. It would mean the world if you left an Apple review to get me started. I’ve got new episodes coming for you soon! Apple | Spotify | Anchor | Breaker
  • On Tuesday, I’ll be speaking at New Degree Press’ Author Summit to discuss landing press for your book. Leading up to the event, I put together the Book Marketing Boss, an in-depth Notion dashboard to help you launch, market, and sell your book. If you’ve already written a book (or e-book!) or have plans to in the future, I promise this will drastically improve your workflow and save you countless hours of time. If you want to pre-order a copy before its launch on Wednesday use code “CRASH” for 25% off.

Let’s get into it. Here’s a weekly collection of things that I’ve been learning from or enjoying recently…

📕What I’ve Been Reading: 

In the age of dying retailers, there’s one last chance for survival: Private brands. Private brands are growing four times faster than national brands and have become a cornerstone of comeback retail of the year candidates like Kohl’s and Target.

To Costco, this is old news. Its Kirkland private brand has been a staple for decades and a key driver of Costco’s $150 billion in annual revenue. This article from Adam Keesling’s Napkin Math, breaks down the economics and rigorous quality standards behind the family favorite brand famous for its apocalypse-sized portions. If you’ve been on the fence about getting a Costco card, this might just do it for you.

📺What I’ve Been Watching: 

In August 2014, Twitch (initially named Justin.TV) was acquired by Amazon for $970 million in cash. In this video, co-founder Justin Kan shares the story of how Justin.TV’s proof of concept validation came from a wild drunken arrest with the CEO of Reddit. What a story.

🏙️Whispering Cities:

Paul Graham’s essay, Cities has become an instant classic for me.

“Great cities attract ambitious people. You can sense it when you walk around one. In a hundred subtle ways, the city sends you a message: you could do more; you should try harder.”

He argues that Boston challenges your intellect, LA pressures you to be more famous, New York pushes you to be richer and Silicon Valley breeds you to be powerful.

Having only lived in New York, I’m unable to confirm the other three but his version of New York checks out.

For those of you live in Boston, LA, or SV: What do you think?

For those who don’t: What message does your city say?

⏱️Technology Over Time:

This chart shows the trend of major technological advances over the last 160 years. It wasn’t until 1960 that Americans had the first iterations of many of modern-day technological essentials listed below. They were thrilled by these new ways of life because they didn’t know what they didn’t have yet.

Nowadays, we take rumors of emerging technology like gospel, only to be disappointed when the ten to twenty year innovation processes don’t meet our instant gratification-fueled timelines. The internet has groomed us to want more, faster which has resulted in an epidemic of perpetual dissatisfaction.

Which of the emerging technologies on the horizon do you think will make this chart and which don’t we know yet?

🧰Tool of the Week:

In 1966, the Freedom of Information Act was passed which allowed all citizens to request access to a wide range of government information. However, the experience of actually obtaining this data is as enjoyable as jumping into a ball pit filled with Legos. Like many government processes, it’s antiquated AF. The data is delivered on 40 GB worth of CDs. So, a few guys decided to take one for the team and democratize this information in an easy to view manner.

ImportYeti uses recent U.S. Customs Bill of Lading Sea Shipment information to find any company’s suppliers. You see exactly what suppliers your favorite companies use, their locations, and the timestamps of the orders. This is a gold mine for anyone who works in manufacturing or is looking to create their own product.

That’s it for this week. Let me know what you thought of this edition by clicking one of the links below. All feedback will be used to make this the best it can be.

If you learned something new today, I’d love if you passed along the knowledge to your most curious friends and family. I can’t wait to share some new content with you next Monday.

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Thanks for reading,

Randy

How a Game of Dungeons and Dragons Kept a Group of Friends Together for 38 Years and Counting

This blog was originally written by Jay McGinley on Satellite’s Blog.

The Connection Series highlights stories about people going to great lengths to keep their relationships intact.

Staying in touch is hard. We’ve all had friendships that slowly dissolved through no fault of either person. An avalanche of competing priorities and responsibilities comes tumbling down and because of that, checking in with our friends sadly gets put on the back burner. Put simply, life gets in the way. 

That’s why it’s always inspiring to hear a story about someone who found a unique way of cutting through the noise of everyday life to keep their friend group together. We first heard about this one from the podcast “Great Big Story” from CNN.

Robert Wardhaugh is a Professor of History at the University of Western Ontario. He is also the dungeon master of one of the longest-running games of Dungeons and Dragons the world has ever seen – 38 years and counting.

Call to Adventure

Our story starts in 1982. At the time, Wardhaugh was a teenager living in the small town of Borden which is in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. A friend of his had just learned about a relatively new game called Dungeons and Dragons and came over to tell him about it. To Wardhaugh, the game sounded incredible. As he writes on his website for the ongoing game, “I had always loved imagination, fantasy, history, and board games, and had a particular love for toy soldiers. D&D seemed to combine all of these.”

Soon after learning about it, he decided to start a campaign. Within a couple of months, he had recruited 6 friends to play. They pooled together their money to buy modules and odds and ends to get the game rolling. And like the fantastical in-game characters setting off on their quest, off they went in search of adventure.

Building the World

In high school, the friend group developed the campaign further. The players established their characters, developed family lines and the world began to grow. Pretty soon, the first set of characters began to meet their demise whether through some witch’s fatal spell or valiantly in a battle for the kingdom. Whenever a character would die or even retire, the player would take on the mantle of one of their children. At the end of high school, the campaign had already burned through two generations of characters.

History Meets Fantasy

The game began to grow exponentially once Wardhaugh moved on to college. New friends from college joined the game and lands were quickly added to the world to compensate for the influx of characters. Wardhaugh began to weave in many real-world historical events. Alternate versions of ancient civilizations like the Romans and the Celts started to pop up in the story. Wardhaugh’s love of history was starting to influence his storytelling.

During this time, the campaign zoomed through 230 years of in-game events, and some players adopted characters that represented the 10th generation of their family lines. The campaign had come a long way.

The First Test

But then, like an orc blocking the path forward,  the first test for this long-running game appeared. Wardhaugh moved to Winnipeg to start his Ph.D. in history leaving everyone else behind in Saskatoon. In a time before email, smartphones, and video chat, this represented a potentially fatal blow to the campaign as the players were now over an 8-hour drive away. Would anyone be willing to make that drive to keep the game going? 

Yes, it turns out. The distance couldn’t stop them as the players and Wardhaugh made the trek back and forth between the two cities several times a year. This was a testament to the quality of the campaign Wardhaugh had created as the dungeon master. And it was exactly what Wardhaugh strived to do. As he told CNN, “I knew early on that if I was able to create a game that was good enough, that they would keep coming. And that they would play with me, no matter where I was.”

Technology to the Rescue

Soon thereafter, technology began to make the game more convenient for everyone. Email gave them the ability to write player reports about each session told from the first-person perspective of one of the characters so that any players who missed the session would stay in the loop of world events. As Wardhaugh writes, “it provided a forum for people to remain in communication despite the distance and time between sessions.”

It’s About Staying In Touch

Nowadays, the campaign regularly has close to 60 players at a time from places as far-flung as Northern England. Wardhaugh lives in London, Ontario now and players still travel long distances to participate in in-person sessions. Meanwhile, technology in the form of video chat software has made the game even more accessible for those who are unable to travel.

Here we are – 38 years later – and the game continues. Looking back, Wardhaugh marvels at what he was able to accomplish. As he told CNN, “One of the greatest successes of my game has been the fact that it has fulfilled its ultimate objective, which is keeping my friend group together.” 

And that, my friends, is the power of a well-told story.

Check Out the Instagram Page

Check out pictures of the nearly 20,000 miniatures and terrains that have been built for the campaign over the years at the official Instagram page for the game, @the_gamend.

Alone Together

This blog was originally published by Randy Ginsburg’s newsletter. Click here to subscribe.

🤖The Loneliness Cure

It’s been a rough year. Among all of the crises 2020 had to offer, many of us have spent the bulk of our time cooped up inside. Anxiety and depression have run rampant, resulting in a significant uptick in demand for virtual mental health services.

Employers have taken notice, providing their teams with free access to health and wellness apps like Calm and Headspace. Headspace alone has seen over a 500% increase in corporate inbound leads since March.

Consumer demand is spiking as well. Ginger, a popular on-demand mental health provider offering various text and video therapy services, has reported alarming increases in usage. Compared to pre-Covid averages, the app’s text-based mental health coaching was up 159%, and virtual therapy and psychiatry sessions were up 302%. Ginger’s psychiatrists have written 163% more prescriptions for psychotropic drugs, mainly for antidepressants.

Mental health conditions, whether newfound or pre-existing, are often triggered by loneliness. While Covid-19 has further spread the feeling, we were already headed down this path. Despite all that technology has done to bring us together, people are feeling less connected, and more lonely, than ever.

There’s a difference between connections and friendships. Connections are transactional. They are surface level, fairly effortless, and can be maintained with little to no interaction (a follow, a like, an occasional DM, etc.) A friendship is built around trust, sincerity, and emotion and can take years to cultivate. Many young people focus their efforts on chasing the vanity metrics of connections, while neglecting the time and work it takes to develop real friendships.

For the last two years, Cigna polled more than 10,000 U.S. adults over the summer, measuring loneliness through the U.S. Loneliness Index. The results were shocking:

  • 79 percent of Gen Z and 71 percent of Millenials said they felt alone
  • There was a 7 percent rise in reported loneliness from 2018 (54 percent) to 2019 (61 percent).

While it’s rather clear that we need more people and less screens in our lives, this might not be realistic. All trends show that technology usage will continue to increase, especially among Gen Z who’ve grown up knowing nothing else.

Assuming that this expectation holds true, there is a massive gap in the market for software products that actually make us more connected and in touch with our emotions. Today, I’ll break this idea down further and introduce you to two companies who are aiming to solve the same problem in drastically different ways.

QBuddy – QBuddy was created by a team of Cornell students at the start of the pandemic. Fill out a quick survey sharing your interests and an algorithm will pair you with a compatible buddy from around the world. Through chat or virtual events you can build a friendship all from the comfort of your couch. Think of it like a virtual pen pal. While simple, the idea is strikingly effective. The platform has matched over 100,000 people across 80 countries.

Replika – Unlike QBuddy, Replika doesn’t match people together. Instead, it lets you create a digital AI companion who will stand by you through thick and thin. The highly advanced chatbot uses a neural network to engage in one-on-one conversations with its user. Over time, it learns how you speak, the important people in your life, your values, and most importantly how you feel.

While these AI powered friends are unable to feel emotions themselves, Replika does a fantastic job of detecting ours and making itself available to talk, listen, and probe when needed. It serves as a friend to say, “Hey, are you feeling okay? You seem down.” This is particularly helpful for people who suffer from conditions such as social anxiety or agoraphobia, by not only providing them with a companion, but also a training ground to practice for their interactions with real people.

Over 2 million people have already created their own Replikas, but its impact is sure to reach even further. Founder Eugenia Kudya recently open sourced the AI engine, so that developers all over the world can build upon it and create even better solutions. Like all new tech products, Replika is still a little clunky at times, but I’m incredibly bullish on its future.

Within both of these apps lies the future of digital therapy. Stigma and price are the two biggest barriers responsible for the lack of universal mental healthcare. QBuddy and Replika remove both of these.

Without humans involved there’s no stigma and significantly reduced overhead, allowing services to be offered at affordable prices, even for those without insurance. Over time, you can train these bots to speak, think, and react like psychologists, effectively providing low cost, high quality care to the masses.

Using algorithms like QBuddy’s can take group therapy to the next level by matching people based on conditions, socioeconomic backgrounds and specific interests and allowing them to build friendships virtually from all over the world.

Within the next ten years, technology will revolutionize the mental health space. Once normal life resumes and as the stigma around mental health continues to weaken, I expect the demand for virtual mental healthcare to hold strong. While these companies might not be the ones to solve the issue of accessibility outright, they are surely laying the foundation for what’s to come.

*To learn more about Replika and other cutting edge chatbots check out this article from Wired.

If you enjoyed this topic and want to enter yourself in the running for a new drawer of Bombas socks, then share this post on social media or email and let me know by tagging me or sending a screenshot.

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🎙️Crashing Up Podcast

Meet Taylor Hurst.

Taylor is a Senior Associate at Konvoy Ventures where he focuses on investing in video gaming technology.

By years end, the 2020 gaming market is expected to bring in over $159 billion dollars from a community of 2.7 billion global gamers. Initially thought of as a lazy hobby, gaming has now transformed into a wildly lucrative career. In addition to the gamers and streamers, there are millions of others who work to build the tools and infrastructure necessary to develop, deploy, and market all of the games we know and love.

🎧 To learn more about the increasingly blurred line between real life and virtual games, how marketers can tap into the world of esports advertising, and other emerging trends, click the play button on the audio player at the top of this email.

📚To read a rough transcript of our conversation, click here.


🧰Tool of Week

Applying to jobs is a pain in the ass, especially now. Competition is high and open roles are scarce.

With many job seekers applying for 20 to 40 jobs per week, this process can get draining and messy. While there are plenty of corporate facing tools to manage the hiring pipeline, there are very few that organize and optimize the applicant’s search process. I heard a friend complain about this issue, so I decided to investigate.

That’s how I came across the Teal Job Tracker.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the rise of personal CRMs. This is essentially a CRM (on steroids) specifically for the job application process. The Teal Chrome Extension takes the hassle out of the search by:

  • Saving all of your applications in one place
  • Scanning for important keywords and buzzwords to beat ATS screening systems
  • Organizing all of your notes, contact information, and activity linked to each specific role.

While the idea is simple, the design is thoughtful and intentional. I’d highly recommend watching the video for a deeper dive into all of the features. If you want to use this for your own job hunt, you can sign up here.

Enjoyed this newsletter? Let me know by clicking one of the links below:

That’s it for this week. If you’re new here and want to catch up on some old editions, here are a couple of my favorites: The Owls and the Larks and Friday Features – OthersideAI Interview. You can also follow me on Twitter or check out randymginsburg.com for more writing.

Thanks for reading,

Randy

Friday Fuel – December 4th, 2020

This blog was originally published by Randy Ginsburg’s newsletter. Click here to subscribe.

Hi friends,

It seemed like Monday’s email didn’t make it to many of your inboxes. This was one of my favorites to date, so if you missed it I’d suggest giving it a look-see here.

Here’s your weekly shot of Friday Fuel, a collection of things I’ve been learning from or enjoying recently.

📕What I’ve Been Reading: Investing in creators is a hot topic. Some are looking to bet on early talent in the form of ISA’s (more to come on this), while others would like to invest in the companies behind the talent. While the former is still in the works, the latter is now possible. Thanks to a reverse merger between a Chinese healthcare company and West of the Hudson, a multimillion-dollar real estate firm, you can now invest in content houses on the public markets. This NYT article breaks down the details of the deal allowing the public to invest in Clubhouse Media Group, a holding company for well-known TikTok content houses like Clubhouse Beverly Hills and Not a Content House.

In typical social media fashion, nothing is as perfect as it seems. West of Hudson has been bleeding money, losing $983,000 on nearly $96,000 of revenue in the first six months of the year.

🎧What I’ve Been Listening To: The OnlyFans business model is simple. Provide a platform for creators to post paywalled content and take 20% of the subscription revenue. Thanks to the site’s lack of content restrictions, it’s become a home for sex workers, adult performers, and models. It’s singe handedly revolutionized the adult industry giving birth to an entire ecosystem of self-employed creators, some of whom are raking in over $1 million per year.

In this Means of Creation interview, Aella, one of the top earning creators on the platform, breaks down the strategy and discipline required to find success in this industry. Like any business, especially one with a low barrier to entry, you need to be savvy and innovative in order to survive. Aella proves to be both of these and more as she shares strategic and futuristic insights that can be applied across multiple industries.

This conversation opened my eyes to the world of sex work and honestly changed my entire perspective around the industry. It also served as a great reminder to never judge a book by its cover.

🤯What’s Blown My Mind: With iPhone sales on the decline, Apple has turned to its accessories and services businesses to pick up the slack. As of Q3 2020, its Wearables, Home, and Accessories (WH&A) business alone had ballooned to the size of a Fortune 140 company, reporting $6.5 billion of revenue (a 17% increase YoY). In 2019, Apple sold $12 billion worth of Airpods alone…

🤯What’s Blown My Mind Part Two:

Nowadays, unique digital marketing campaigns are hard to come by. Very few catch my attention and even fewer really wow me.

World of Warcraft (WoW, no pun intended) managed to do both. Telling a story while tapping into the diverse audiences of numerous celebrities? Brilliant. To watch the full video, click into the Instagram link in the thread and follow the tags.

🧵A Quote I’ve Enjoyed: “A million seconds is like 11 days. A billion seconds is 31 years…When I see 20-year-olds – the thought I had was they probably have two billion seconds left. But they aren’t relating to themselves as time billionaires.” – Graham Duncan

If you want to upgrade your sock drawer, share this with your smartest friends, family and co-workers. Post on socials and tag me or send me a picture of your outreach to friends and I’ll enter you in the drawing.

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Enjoyed today’s newsletter? Let me know by clicking one of the links below.

If you want to catch up on old editions, check out some of my favorites: Dunbar’s Magic Number and The WATZ Stack or follow me on Twitter.

Thanks for reading,

Randy

Creating a Good Relationship With Your Landlord

two people fist bumping

This blog was originally published by Nicole Kohut on Smarta’s Blog.

When you were living on your college campus, you may have found the presence of your university looming over your living space. Campus security may have made it difficult for you to invite friends over, and the janitors’ schedule could have clashed with your beauty sleep. Moving off-campus can alleviate a lot of these overbearing issues, but in order to make sure things go smoothly it’s important to create a positive relationship with your new landlord.

We did research and spoke with tenants and landlords who have had their share of good and bad relationships in order to understand the biggest issues that occur and the best solutions for them. Here are five tips for cultivating a more productive relationship with your landlord. 

1. Set expectations 

Before you sign that lease, get to know your landlord a bit. Oftentimes, the person helping you get your new apartment is not your landlord; in fact, you may never speak with them again. Figure out if your landlord lives in the building, which form of communication they prefer, and what they are actually meant to provide for you. That way, you won’t be surprised when they don’t answer your call, or aren’t legally required to handle a specific situation. 

2. Stick to one line of communication 

A frequent complaint from property managers and tenants alike is that there is a large gap in communication. According to a landlord we spoke to in NYC, a major cause for this problem is that tenants won’t establish their relationship via one form of communication, using email, text, and call to get the attention of landlords. This makes it extremely difficult for landlords to keep a thorough account of who’s who since, in general, landlords handle multiple buildings and multiple tenants. 

3. Maintenance (on your own)

Both the landlord and tenant are responsible for ensuring the quality and safety of the space at all times. That means tenants don’t abuse facilities just to call their landlords to fix it, and landlords keep up the state of the entire building so tenants aren’t negatively affected. When a tenant moves in, it’s important for a landlord to go over the basics of maintenance in order to avoid grandiose emergencies and clarify the limitations of their role. 

4. Develop a community 

This tip is geared more towards the landlords. Cultivating a sense of community through resident events and gatherings is a great way to develop a stronger relationship with your tenants. It will not only help you familiarize yourself with your tenants, but it creates a deeper level of respect and trust between you and them. 

5. Document everything 

It would be naive to assume that, even in the best landlord-tenant relationships, there are no bumps in the road. For a quick turn around, both the landlord and tenant should keep a file of every correspondence. That means every paper signed, text sent, and complaint issued. That way, it won’t be a game of ‘he said, she said,’ making it easier to reach a resolution. 

These are just a few but very easy ways to establish a healthier landlord-tenant relationship. Clearly, most of the work has to be done in the beginning. For the landlord, it’s important to get to know the people moving into your building; for the tenant, it’s essential to ensure that your landlord meets your communication needs. Essentially, it’s like finding the perfect match. And, once you do, maintaining that relationship is key. 


Nicole.jpg

Meet the Author

Nicole Kohut is a junior at Columbia University studying English Literature. She is passionate about the intersections that lie within gender, art, and education. She has spent her undergraduate career working with startups and multimedia production companies and hopes to pursue a career in law and entertainment.

7 Hacks for Healthier Social Media Use

This blog was originally written by Jay McGinley on Satellite’s Blog.

For better or worse, social media is here to stay. 3.8 billion people around the world use social media. On average, we spend 2 hours and 24 minutes liking, tweeting, and sharing across devices. In the US, 70% of the population (and growing) have social media accounts. 

Social media has many benefits. It has given us the ability to connect with countless people across the globe. It has allowed us to meet like-minded individuals and build communities. It has also supplied a megaphone to global causes like ending poverty and stopping genocide in far flung locales that might have gone unnoticed before. 

While social media has benefits, it also certainly has done damage to society. Some studies have shown links between social media usage and an increase in perceived stress levels. Misinformation has run rampant across newsfeeds and social media addiction has become a real problem for many people. Although it may not be a full-blown addiction for others, it has become an ever-present and unconscious habit slowly manipulating the way we think and feel. 

Needless to say, we should take steps to protect ourselves from the unhealthy aspects of social media.

So what can we do to improve our relationship with social media to make us healthier and happier? Here are 7 hacks that can help.

Follow Accounts That Bring You Joy

This has Marie Kondo’s fingerprints all over it. She’s a “tidying expert” who pioneered an organizing method that ruthlessly prioritizes keeping only the things that bring you joy and getting rid of the rest. Her goal is to help you create physical spaces that are uncluttered, inspirational, and serene. Likewise, following social media accounts that bring you joy helps you create mental spaces that are uncluttered, inspirational, and serene.

On the flip side of the coin, that also means you should remove the accounts that don’t bring you joy–especially anyone whose posts consistently stress you out or depress you. And if you think unfriending will lead to some very awkward conversations in your future, there’s always the mute or unfollow buttons.

Remember, you are in control of the content you consume. So curate it in a way that will most benefit your health and well-being.

Don’t Compare, Make Genuine Connections

We’ve all been there: scrolling through the impeccably curated feeds of some of our friends while cursing our luck that our life isn’t as unbelievably perfect. 

But it’s all smoke and mirrors. The truth is the moments you see posted on social media are not representative of their whole life. Social media bewitches us into putting the most idealized version of ourselves out into the digital world. The consequence is that everyone ends up feeling inferior to these unrealistic depictions. 

So, there needs to be a fundamental shift in your mindset. When you engage with posts on social media, don’t look to compare your life to what you are seeing. Instead, view those posts as inspiration–as the rocket fuel that will spur you to action to achieve your own goals.

Also, make the mental switch to use social media for the reason it was originally intended: to genuinely connect with others. Reach out to a friend or relative and send them something to brighten their day. Listen and engage with someone. It’s tempting to just click the like button and scroll on, but the path towards deepening relationships is paved with words, not clicks.

Contribute to a Healthier, Non-Toxic Social Media Environment

For many, social media feeds have become a toxic place full of abusive trolls, conspiracy theories, and misinformation. There’s an epidemic of outright negativity. The only way we’ll be able to transform social media for the better is if we each make the conscious choice to be more considerate about what we post.

The folks over at MindHandHeart, an organization within MIT that focuses on building a stronger community, have a three-question process they recommend going through before posting. 

First, ask yourself, “is it true?” All of us have a responsibility to make sure we aren’t adding to the crush of misinformation. Do your part and double-check that what you’re about to post is true.

Second, ask yourself, “is it necessary?” Are you just adding more noise into the void? Why are you posting? Are you just trying to get that dopamine hit from a collection of likes or is it a meaningful contribution to the communal conversation?

Finally, ask yourself, “is it kind?” Be someone who exercises kindness and empathy online. To steal a term from the late Mr. Rogers, be a helper.

Change Your Notifications Settings

Notifications are like the sirens of the social media sea. When we hear that chime or feel that vibration, we are defenseless against their pull. Of course, that’s the point of them. They are built to grab our attention and drive a desire to investigate. So pull the plug on notifications so that your use of social media is on your terms.

There are also some useful hacks for eliminating the other black hole of social media, the never-ending newsfeed. With Facebook, for example, you can pop over to the settings page, navigate to newsfeed preferences, and manually unfollow everyone. 

Another far more elegant and efficient way to do it is to download the News Feed Eradicator Chrome extension. This handy tool will remove your newsfeed and replace it with an inspirational quote so you don’t get sucked into the attention hole. 

Be Intentional About When You Use Social Media

And since we’re talking about that attention hole, being clear about why you are about to log in to a platform and sticking to that task is another important way to avoid getting sucked in. Attention is one of the most important resources you have. Make sure you are spending it on things you actually care about rather than the things an algorithm thinks you should be looking at. 

It might be helpful to schedule specific times for using social media as well. It’s easy to lose time mindlessly scrolling. But if you can reduce the amount of time you spend on social media by breaking those habits that have you mindlessly clicking your Instagram or Tik Tok icon whenever you open your phone, you’re on the path to gaining back control over your time and your day. 

Plus, a study from the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology showed that people who limit their time spent on social media to under 30 minutes a day report a decrease in loneliness, depression, anxiety, and fear. Limiting your time on social media may lead to a significant improvement in your well-being.

And there are specifically two times in the day when it would be most beneficial for you to avoid social media altogether: right before you go to bed and right after waking up. It’s been shown that scrolling social media right before bed can negatively affect how long and how well you sleep. So, it’s best to give your screens a rest about an hour before bedtime. In fact, some people even go so far as to have a strict no-phone policy in their bedroom.

And when it comes to surfing social media upon waking up, you run the risk of letting the posts of others set the tone of your day. You have absolutely no control over what pops up in your newsfeed. So, instead, spend your morning doing something that will improve your outlook.

Prioritize Spending Time On Genuine Conversations

Social media has given us an effective way of maintaining contact with others, but according to Sannyu McDonald Harris, a licensed counselor at Cone Health, “social media likes and comments don’t always provide the same interpersonal connection as a conversation over the phone, video chat or even text messages.” So, when you have the impulse to simply click the like button, ponder if there’s a more meaningful way you could use to connect and catch up.

The best way to do that, of course, is to go out and meet your friends in person (something that might not be a possibility for you during a pandemic). You could also reach out and set up video chats or phone calls. Harris recommends using social media as a secondary method of nurturing your relationships, not the primary. And definitely, do not spend all your in-person time with others on the phone scrolling social media. That kind of defeats the purpose.

When It Gets Too Overwhelming, Take A Break

There’s nothing wrong with taking some time off from social media. In fact, some people recommend you delete social media altogether. While we recognize that social media has become ingrained in our lives making it nearly impossible to completely eliminate it, we do think it’s possible to take a hiatus every now and then. This is especially true if you are feeling severely overwhelmed and depressed by what you are seeing in your feeds.

At the very least, you could probably eliminate some of the apps from your phone. Just because social media platforms are available on all of your devices does not mean you should install them on all of your devices. Pick a few, the healthiest being desktop because you will only see notifications when you log in manually.

At Satellite, we’re developing a new social media platform that focuses on the quality of your social media engagement rather than the quantity of it. We want to build a network that has all the advantages of traditional social media while eliminating all the damaging aspects. We’d love for you to come along on the journey so that together we can invent a healthier way of engaging.

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OthersideAI Raises $2.6 Million to Transform the Email Experience

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OthersideAI Co-Founders: Matt Shumer, Miles Feldstein, and Jason Kuperberg

This article was originally published on Medium.com by OthersideAI.

At OthersideAI, we are driven by a single vision: empower the world to spend less time on email, and more time on the things that matter most.

Today, we are excited to announce our $2.6 million seed round led by Madrona Venture Group, with participation from Active CapitalHustle FundChapter One, and others.

This funding not only establishes OthersideAI as a leader in building the future of AI-driven communication, but also enables us to support thousands of users and continue expanding our team.

Our users have consistently used one word to describe Otherside: magic. The product is exceedingly simple. We take bulleted shorthand from our users and turn it into thoughtful, comprehensive email responses that reflect their individual style. The response we have had from early adopters has been overwhelming and we are looking forward to rolling out OthersideAI more broadly in the coming months. (Note: if you haven’t yet signed up on our waitlist for early access, you can do so here.)

The amount of time and money our society squanders on communication platforms like email is enormous. The average professional spends 28 percent of the workweek managing email, and companies lose thousands of dollars per employee each year as a direct result of ineffective communication. We are on a mission to change this. We aim to enable people to express their thoughts and ideas more effectively, and if we can even cut these numbers in half, we will see drastic increases in productivity.

Although we are just getting started, our progress thus far has only been possible due to our incredible support system. From our families and friends to our global network of supporters and our investors, you are the communities that continue powering us forward. We are humbled by your overwhelming interest and unfaltering belief in our vision. We are so very grateful to everyone who has helped to make our dream a reality.

Today we take a moment to reflect on all we have accomplished in just a few short months, and tomorrow we’re back to building. We have big plans to transform communication in the coming years, and we hope you will join us for the exciting journey ahead.

Here’s to the future!

With gratitude,

MattMiles, and Jason
Team OthersideAI

P.S. If any of this sounds exciting to you, please reach out — we’re hiring and always looking to meet individuals who share our excitement for productivity, artificial intelligence, and communication!

Collateral Success

This article was originally published by Daniel Zimmermann on LinkedIn.

Collateral damage is a familiar term to most.

It doesn’t make too many practical appearances in every day conversation, but it’s common enough that you know what it means.

I’ve thought a lot about the opposite of this infrequently-used term… and I couldn’t quite pinpoint a word for it. Positive Externalities sounds too technical.. So I thought about just calling it, simply, ‘Collateral success.’

Now, for a reminder, collateral damage refers to the ‘any damage incidental to an activity’. So, in my dictionary, Collateral Success would refer to ‘any benefits incidental to an activity.’ But I want to expand on that definition a bit. I define it as the incidental lessons, relationships, projects, failures, and respect that you earn through working on anything short of your ultimate goal…

People write and talk a lot about how experience helps you in your career, always making progress to unlock the next level.

I didn’t find this advice to be necessarily helpful or accurate as a student. Rarely is success linear, and rarely is success the same as your initial plan would have defined it as. In fact, I worked a lot of odd jobs, internships, and extra curricular hours on a lot of activities that I never end up drawing from on a day to day basis in what I do today.

Instead, I have developed my own perspective of how experience comes into play when you really need it to. Rarely will the name brand of an internship or job be enough to put you in the driver seat for a position, but being able to draw from what you learned from those experiences will be eternally vital.

With this frame of reference, I applied it to a lot of the activities I put my time and energy into while in school outside of classes. Starting the Basketball Analytics Club as a first week Freshman, trying to rally a bunch of mostly older classmates to come meet in a room once a week to talk about something I was only an armchair expert in. But the riggers of starting and running that club for two years was well worth it in the collateral success that comes from it. Now, the club is on its third president and running smoothly despite a Pandemic, a task I never could have conquered. I commend the leadership that took the club under their responsibility after me.

I also spent time working recruiting for Syracuse Football 3 days a week my freshman year. Bussing to Manley Field House, saying hi to the few assistant coaches and Grad assistants that remembered my name, and combing through mail and recruiting data. Not the fun data, though, the “where does this recruit live, and how many letters have we sent him in the last 3 months” type of data. I’ll be honest. I don’t remember many days I enjoyed doing that job. And I ended up getting politely fired from it for being one of the guys behind BarstoolCuse, which seemed like a fitting breakup. But the collateral success of that job remains present today. Connections from the team and its media department, fellow interns, and the understanding that there are very few shortcuts to get where you want to go were all great examples. That is just a few of many, though.

Of course, I also draw on my time as President of BarstoolCuse and the amazing impact running that team and brand has had on me and my skillsets. I learned how to be a Swiss Army Knife and fill in gaps that we needed when our team, who worked for free, couldn’t. I learned that if I want to be the captain of the ship, I also sometimes had to create Wind to power it.

Even my active role in my social fraternity, which I assure you I did not see as a learning experience in the same lens as these other experience, taught me vital collateral skills and comfort when it came to speaking to, organising, motivating, and recruiting people. Some may cast off roles in Greek Life as extraneous on a resume, and for the most part they are. But that brings me back to the point of Collateral Success.

Oftentimes, the most valuable takeaway from a experience, internship, or challenge comes much later on, well after you completed or failed. The collateral success that comes from your full, culmination of life experience, your life resume, brings you to where you are today.

I was able to absorb and apply these lessons quickly to my start up, and I also am not so ignorant to think that I have learned even close to enough to speak on life experience so holistically. I am coming at this more for motivation for others my age, who see another internship, or even a weekly zoom for a club, as a chore right now…

You have to trust the process of working the hard hours and bad jobs if you want to, to use a sports reference, control your own destiny. But don’t discount every angle in which you work through. You have to do it anyway, so you might as well trust that it will one day end up being worth it.

As I turn 23 at the end of this month, I am using all that I have learned to control my own destiny from here and for my company. With exciting news coming on Verse’s investment front, I look forward to a whole new dimension of work and challenges that I have faith will all be worth in the long run as we begin to expand our vision. I encourage everyone to appreciate and acknowledge the collateral success they wake up everyday and earn on their way to the top.

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