Medley 211: Air, Spotify, CGMs, Humanity, Genes, Babies, Platforms, Search, Booths...

This is the Monday Medley, a newsletter that goes out, you guessed it, every Monday. I republish it here for sharing and referencing, but if you'd like to sign up you can do so right here:

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Happy Monday!

This week I added my notes on "Civilized to Death" to The Brain. It's a good intro to many of the ways that modern society doesn't align with how our bodies are designed to live, though it doesn't give a ton of implementation advice. Still a good read though if you want to learn more about why you might be unhealthy or unhappy.

And in case you missed it last week we're hiring for two roles at Growth Machine: A Head of Content, and an SEO Project Manager!

Alright, on to the Medley.

The World of The Spotify Joe Rogan Deal

πŸŽ™ You might have heard this week that Joe Rogan, easily the most popular podcaster and interviewer in the world right now, signed an exclusive deal with Spotify for distributing his podcast.

πŸ€‘ The big question when this news broke was: how much was the deal for, and was it a great or terrible deal for Rogan. I shared some thoughts in a twitter thread here. I think that if he got less than $200-$300M, he definitely got ripped off, and there's a case to be made for it being worth $500M+

πŸ€” Andrew Wilkinson wrote up a good post on why he thinks Joe Rogan got ripped off. It's a good case, but I have two issues with it. First, Andrew suggests that:

"If he goes back to being independent and ditches Spotify in 3 years, he has lost all of his new subscribers during that time, and some of his original subscribers as well."

❓ But that would suggest people are subscribing more to Spotify than Rogan which definitely isn't true. If he left Spotify in 5 years and had a bunch of new fans, there's no reason they wouldn't listen to him on YouTube, Overcast, etc.

πŸ” The other topic that I see come up a lot is this idea that creators like Rogan should monetize through Premium subscriptions:

"Rogan could have kept selling ads in addition to offering an ad-free stream as well as bonus episodes/extended content/video stream for paying subscribers only. At just a 5% conversion rate, this is worth over $33mm in annual recurring revenue."

πŸ™…β€β™‚οΈ But the issue with that is it requires creating more content, and not necessarily content you want to make. Neil and I ran into this problem when we wanted to make a premium subscription for Made You Think. We loved making podcast episodes, not making bonus material for paying subscribers. It's way more attractive to make more money for what you're already doing, vs. having to do more to monetize your work. That's why I added ads to this newsletter instead of splitting it into a Free & Premium subscription.

πŸ•΅οΈβ€β™‚οΈ The last thing that's not clear to me is what the number actually was. The WSJ article says it was more than $100M, but everyone seems to be saying $100M. At $100M it's definitely a bad deal for Joe. But 300? 500? Then it gets more interesting.

The World of Health

πŸ₯© My friend Justin is running round 2 of his "Wearable Challenge" to help people lose weight. The concept is great: you wear a continuous blood glucose monitor for a month, and try to keep your blood sugar in a stable range. At the beginning of the challenge you pay $850, and you get back $25 for every day you keep your blood sugar stable. He saw a lot of success with participants last time, and while I'm not doing the challenge, I am buying a CGM to track my blood sugar for a month along with his participants.

☁️ This week I learned how dramatically the air quality in your house can fluctuate after I bought a Dyson air purifier. The little spike on the graph below was when I lit a couple candles. The big spike is when I seared a steak for about 6 minutes. Air quality can have a really dramatic impact on health, sleep, longevity, and there are a bunch of things we do that wreck it in our houses. I'm keeping it in my bedroom but I think I'll move it to the kitchen anytime I cook now, just to help clear that air out as fast as possible.

The World of COVID-19

πŸ₯΅ I can't imagine how Andrew Yang must feel through everything going on the last few months. His campaign was focused primarily on giving Americans a Universal Basic Income and he was teased about it at times throughout the campaign for it being a far-flung, unrealistic idea. And now, it's becoming more and more of a demand as people are stuck without work during quarantine. His book on The War on Normal People seems extra prescient now.

🏦 It looks like he's getting some serious support, too. His new Humanity Forward fund is helping get checks to people impacted by quarantine, and Jack Dorsey has committed $5m to funding it.

🧬 If you want a break from the Johns Hopkins dashboard and want to dig into another cool COVID visualization, here's an interactive track of the evolution of the virus, based on how its changed and mutated in different regions and how those mutations allow us to track its progression.

πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ͺ It's been hard to find good data on how the virus management is going in Sweden, but I really enjoyed this visualization from the NYT on how Sweden compares to other European countries. A few things that stand out are how low Sweden's obesity rate is, and how many people live in single family households.

The World of Platforms

πŸ— I enjoyed this read on Google's biggest weakness from a career Googler / Amazoner. I hadn't really thought about it before, but he's right. Google's platform is much weaker than Amazon or Facebooks and really limits the ability to build products on it.

πŸ‘Ό And for a really crazy platform idea, how about your baby? I love the idea of the Lydian Accelerator, a project started to help figure out cures for N=1 cases like Lydia who had a rare genetic mutation. It would have been impossible to do medicine like this 30 years ago, but now with the Internet and research on genetics we can create personal "Antisense Oligonucleotides" or ASOs.

The World of Productivity

☎️ I love this idea of having home phone booths for the new work from home crowd. I don't have kids, but even Pepper and Tahoe can be kind of annoying during important calls or podcast interviews. For houses that don't have a dedicated home office, this could be a good solution.

πŸ” If you have a million places you store things like me, I've been playing around with Command E and am pretty impressed with it. It indexes your files and emails everywhere (Drive, Asana, Trello, Notion, Gmail, etc.) and makes them searchable anywhere on your Mac with a simple hotkey. Now it just needs to integrate with Roam...

🧠 And this is an oldie but a goodie: if you haven't read Tiago Forte's article on "Mood as an Extrapolation Engine" it's a fantastic piece on how to leverage your moods and excitement to do more creative work.

"For all the talk about the importance of sleep, exercise, a good diet, and rest, I believe that all these pale in comparison to the energy made available by our emotions. Some of my most productive days ever lacked sleep, healthy food, or exercise, but kept me going with the excitement of a new idea or approaching milestone."

End Note

As always, if you're enjoying the Medley, I'd love it if you shared it with a friend or two. You can send them here to sign up. I try to make it one of the best emails you get each week, and I hope you're enjoying it.

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And should you come across anything interesting this week, send it my way! I love finding new things to read through members of this newsletter.

Have a great week,
Nat

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