Open Notes

Entropy reduction today so far at 504.

Greetings! In this week’s newsletter I talk about how Danielle Desir Corbett manages two podcasts and a newsletter about grants for artists. I also get into video workflow for audio podcasts that are that are including more video than ever before.

Issue 53 Managing Multiple Creative Projects with Danielle Desir Corbett


Danielle Desir Corbett is an author, podcaster & podcast marketing coach. She hosts two podcasts, Women of Color Podcasters and the Thought Card Podcast. She publishes Grants for Creators on Substack. And she’s the mother of a one-year-old child. And I’ve probably left something out!

On the podcast this week, Danielle and I talk about managing multiple creative projects. When you hear her discuss her work, you may wonder “How does she do it all?”

She tells you exactly how in the episode.

Listen Anywhere

Grants for Creators

Danielle’s project to help artists get grants really caught my attention. She has worked as a grant administrator, so she had a background in grant search and writing. She’s received three grants for her podcasts.The details about how you might open some of those doors for yourself are in the interview or you can visit and subscribe to her newsletter, Grants for Creators.

The Return of TV

I usually refer to myself as a “television escapee.” As most of you know, I wrote for Good Morning America, was a producer for Dateline NBC, and produced and executive produced many shows, documentaries and a few series for Travel Channel, A&E, Bravo, TLC, CourtTV, History, Discovery Health, and the Food Network. My last documentary for History was called “Breaking Point.” (Good title for the last one, right?)

My podcast clients have been asking about using video in our podcasts. So I’ve started thinking about it. The key for me is not to think like I did with NBC, when we could order a helicopter or a Steadicam operator, or turn on the lights on a set with two cameras and a sound person. This time around, my take must be minimalist.

For one thing, I don’t have one or two hours of program time to work with. The program time is all of thirty seconds, all the way to five minutes. Most people are viewing video on their phones. This is a different world. It’s more than just a change from landscape mode to portrait. And some of this new work will involve AR/VR and mixed reality.

To streamline the workflow, I’ve been experimenting with a platform called Descript. Today’s podcast is the first one that I sent all the way through that workflow. (So let me know if you hear any glitches!)

Descript is a mashup of audio editing, video, and transcripts. It’s a bit hard to describe, but the image may give you an idea. You can make audio podcasts, videos, and promos.

One good (and frightening) thing about creating media for digital platforms is that distribution is instant and viewers are looking for the next bit of media as soon as they finish watching or listening to the last one. So you have to make a lot of it. Gone are the days of putting in weeks or months of work to get the perfect piece of media, not for these distribution channels. Short form, episodic media needs a different pace.

Thanks for reading and listening, and I’ll see you here next week.


Where to Find the Show

Listen to The FutureX Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, or wherever the finest podcasts are distributed. I post a closed-captioned version of the podcast on YouTube.

Worked to reduce entropy today by 717.

Contribution to entropy reduction this day was 1452.

It's an amazing feeling to receive a review that totally *gets* the book, and I’m proud to have this one for my novel Surrender.

My contribution to entropy reduction was 622 today.

Hello smart camera people. Looking at the Sony Alpha line. Considering a camera that will work for street photography, has a decent viewfinder, and can be used for video. Impossible? Any ideas? @jack 📷

Issue 52 - Building with Piet Terheyden


In the newest episode of The FutureX Podcast you’ll meet Piet Terheyden, Co-Founder & CEO of Literal. is a platform I’ve been enjoying to share book recommendations and reviews. Piet and I talk about his strategies for building the platform which includes using influencers in a way different from what you may have considered. We also talk about he and his team have shaped the platform to meet the needs of readers.

Listen Anywhere

Many smart people, like Mike Masnick of Techdirt, have written about content moderation and how difficult it can be. Getting your online audience to feel safe to express themselves while kicking out the bad people can be a full-time job for a platform creator or manager. When websites go bad (like Twitter or Facebook), their design usually starts them down the road to evil. Twitter, for example, rewards arguments. Facebook can amplify untruths.

If you examine the design of something like, Mastodon, or, you will see a design intent that subtly steers users away from arguing with each other or engaging in popularity contests. Bluesky,the new-ish platform from Jack Dorsey, echoes many bad Twitter design choices, and as a result people are trash-posting, dunking on each other, and creating what are called hell threads. For example, Jimmy Fallon recently signed on to Bluesky with a new account, and a comment thread demanding that he pay his writers ran to more than 200 (negative) comments. People don’t want Jimmy Fallon to be a union buster and they had strong opinions about it. I agree with them, but the format of Bluesky made it easy (and fun?) to pile on.

Literal, as Piet explains, benefits from a positive personality trait of readers. As he puts it, people can have strong opinions about movies and music and disagree sharply. Book lovers may have strong opinions, but they tend to like other book lovers no matter what their preferences.

Reading Pixels and Paper

I have a Kindle, Kobo, and a Kindle-loaded iPad. Guess which one I like reading on the most? Answer: None. I like books. I got a load of digital devices to read on to see how books formatted on them. When I’m preparing for a podcast interview and need to do a quick read, I will pick up a glowing device and do it there. When I read for fun, I reach for a paperback or hardcover. If I own the book, I make notes on those few blank pages in the front; it’s something like an index that I can revisit later. If the book is from the library, I use notebooks.

I also notate books digitally. Literal has a way you can photograph a section of a book and it turns it into a section you can post to the site. I often use an app called Readwise that does something similar. You take a picture of the text you want to remember and it makes a note that it will play back to you in your email or on the Readwise website. A big part of reading for me is about note taking.

Thanks for reading and listening, and I’ll see you here next week.


Where to Find the Show

Listen to The FutureX Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, or wherever the finest podcasts are distributed. I post a closed-captioned version of the podcast on YouTube.

Today my contribution to entropy reduction is 642, plus outlining for tomorrow.

Finished reading: The Lathe Of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin. Brilliant, strange, still thinking about it like a song I can’t get out of my head. 📚

Today, my contrib to entropy reduction was 480.

Reloaded Lightroom Classic and it is showing me all the photos I have scattered over various drives. This one is San Gimigiano. Italy.

Starting a photo series of cities. This one is Mumbai. Look on my Photos page to see them all collected there.

Mumbai Motorcyclist

My contribution to entropy reduction today was 1414. I do enjoy mind maps to track timelines.

Workplace equity, Black liberation, and how to talk to the boss in this episode of FutureX with Lexi B.

Issue 51 Sista Circle - Black Women in Tech, with Lexi B.


In the newest episode of The FutureX Podcast you’ll meet Lexi B. Lexi B is one of Silicon Valley’s most candid and prominent voices. She is the founder of Sista Circle: Black Women in Tech, a community that supports Black women in tech companies and tech related professions.

Lexi B. and I talk about why she started Sista Circle and what it accomplishes now. We discuss why a group of Black women meeting to talk about work is fundamentally different from a group of white men meeting to talk about the same thing.

She believes that when you enter a room, you can be the most privileged person in that room and also the least privileged person in that room at the same time. Privilege can refer to race, background, and institutional knowledge.

Listen Anywhere

Lexi B. has delivered a talk called Everyone is a Freedom Fighter: How to Build Equity in the Workplace. During the podcast, we build on what she explores in that talk. We also talk about why social change requires inner work.

What’s Ahead on FutureX

Next week on the podcast, I’ll post my interview with Piet Terheyden, one of the founders of Literal is a platform used to review and share about books. It’s designed to be a “better Goodreads.” Piet shares about how Literal came to be and the challenges he and his co-founders face in sustaining it and keeping it open, safe, and diverse.

Where to Find the Show

Listen to The FutureX Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, or wherever the finest podcasts are distributed. I post a closed-captioned version of the podcast on YouTube.

Thanks for listening,


Entropy reduction today at 315, plus outlining and planning.

My contribution to entropy reduction this day is 910.

Today my contribution to entropy reduction is 1328.

My contrib to entropy reduction today was 664.

Note to self. When on BlueSky, I get depressed in the same way that I used to get depressed while on Twitter. Design factors? Or just the sh*tposting?

Lots of folks here post flash fiction or microfiction. It's an amazing form. Novelist Matt Gemmell was on the FutureX Podcast recently, and we spoke about it.

213 is my contribution to entropy reduction today.

The Internet I Admired is Dead

Just a few weeks ago, the Internet I admired passed away. This happened on April 20th, when Twitter took away the blue “verified” checkmark that signified that you were really who you said.

I had one of those checkmarks. I sent Twitter a scan of my driver’s license to prove I was me. The checkmark’s gone now, and I felt a twinge when they took it away, because I thought I had earned it. Twitter trusted me to be me and I trusted Twitter.

It’s not just a blue checkmark that I’m missing, it’s the trust and safety that the blue checkmark represented. On the Internet, anybody can be anybody, and this was never proven more completely when Elon Musk abolished the legacy checkmarks and replaced them with a blue checkmark that you could buy. Fake accounts, with paid-for blue checkmarks, appeared for New York Governor Kathy Hochul and New York’s Mayor Eric Adams. Eventually, Twitter gave a Kathy Hochul account a gray checkmark, but there is another with her name on it without verification. Some IRS accounts on Twitter have gray verification checkmarks, while others don’t.

Accounts that you’d like to trust, like the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, and New Jersey Transit, aren’t verified. An account that says it’s the Santa Monica PD doesn’t have a verification checkmark.

Technology is the heart of everything, and when online identity breaks down, the social contract also breaks. The next time wildfires hit California, I won’t know which Twitter account to believe when I look for rapid response information. When a celebrity or government official uses Twitter to make an announcement, I’ll wonder if it’s true or an imposter having some fun. (Last November, an account impersonating Nintendo of America tweeted a picture of Mario giving the world the finger. Nice.)

This would be funny if it weren’t sad. There was a time when I valued the Internet for the people I would meet. If someone had a passion for Gibson guitars, Japanese-made pencils, handmade computer keyboards, or annotating the dreams of Vladimir Nabokov, I could find them and we could compare notes. If I wrote a blog, there would be comments (thoughtful comments!) from friends and strangers. We would have online conversations that crossed time and distance. I could chat with a client in Adelaide, or follow along with a tennis match in Paris. It all sounds innocent now, and maybe boring. But those moments are lost.

Twitter has often been nasty, and the next wave of nasty is coming. Deepfakes can simulate reality. There was a fake photo online of the Pope wearing a white Balenciaga puffer jacket. It went viral. There have been faked videos of Nancy Pelosi slurring her words and Joe Biden mangling sentences, and faked audio recordings of Steve Jobs speaking platitudes.

There is coming a time, pretty soon, when you won’t be able to trust the person on the other end of your phone call, your email, or even your video call, unless you know them well.

This might mean a renaissance to taking meetings in person, not only to get the vibe of the person facing you across your barista drinks and to capture the nuances that pixels can’t offer on a screen, but also verify that they really are who they say. Maybe this isn’t as weird, or as bad, as it sounds. Trusting our instincts about people, exercising that muscle again, will be valuable.

The Internet is Dead. Long Live the Internet.

Let’s pour one out for the Twitter we knew (dying, probably bankrupt within six months), BuzzFeed News (already dead), answering the phone when it says Unknown Caller (a robocall), newspapers (a quarter of all US newspapers have died in the past fifteen years), and Vice (close to bankruptcy) and say hello to — what?

I’ve written about Mastodon before; I like its friendly earnestness. And I got an invite to Bluesky, Jack Dorsey’s “Twitter replacement,” and I have to admit it brings the same silliness that Twitter brought, and sucks down time just as agreeably.

But say we don’t want to waste any more time online. Is there a better way? What about serialized stories that play out over Instagram and email? Question Mark, Ohio, is one such project, created by Dan Sinker and Joe Meno. There’s a website that shows off everything about the town, from local concerts to local government, and an Instagram feed that breaks out stories into smaller pieces. I tried something like this with two short form fiction series, Computational Error and The Counter Narrative.

Novelist Matt Gemmell will send you a new story every week if you subscribe to his newsletter. Matt is the guest on the FutureX Podcast this week.

Lexi B, who is the guest on the podcast next week, will invite you to a live Coffee Chat on LinkedIn to discuss how to optimize your career.

It’s not over. The Internet that I knew is dead. There is a new one being born.

Sources and References

Blue Checkmark Chaos, From The Hill

Twitter Impersonators, from Yahoo News

Pope Puffer Jacket, from Slate

Vice Media considering bankruptcy, from MSN

What is Bluesky and How Do You Join, from ABC News

Question Mark, Ohio

Novelist Matt Gemmell will send you a new story.

Lexi B, who is the guest on the podcast next week, will invite you to a live Coffee Chat on LinkedIn.

Short form fiction series, Computational Error and The Counter Narrative.