Earning a living at America’s most famous men’s media company
Our latest Medium Premium series includes a compilation of life and work lessons learned by Hugh Garvey while he worked at America’s most famous men’s media company. Harvey’s experience as the top editor at Playboy wasn’t just a job as one would imagine it, unless your work requires you to attend sex parties, write sex columns or enjoy a drink at work.
Harvey’s life lessons, although out of the ordinary, can help understand the importance of mentally showing up, being pushed beyond your comfort zone, improvising within the challenges, and being able to comeback intact the next day. These experiences apply to pretty much every job out there, whether that is thinking on your feet, your relationship with your boss, or how to deal with the unexpected. This series is not just fun read, but an essay about life and work.
NewCo and I are very invested in Medium — we very much want it to thrive. Here are a few suggestions that might make it better.
Over the years I’ve had an increasingly deep relationship with Medium. In the past 18 months, the relationship has become more of a marriage. The publication I started, NewCo Shift, lives there. I even consulted with Medium, briefly, earlier this year, so yes, I do own shares. I’m invested. I’ve pretty much migrated any of my “new” writing to Shift on Medium, leaving my careworn site Searchblog to slowly rot into the fecund soil of the independent web.
I trust the 5,600 or so posts I poured into Searchblog will persist, as long as I pay my hosting fees (and they’re steep, damn it). Can I say the same of the 250 or so pieces I’ve recently written on Medium (I think this one is #251, in fact)? Or of the thousand+ or so we’ve run on Shift? I don’t know, but I’m now invested in the platform’s continuance. With that in mind, here are a few, randomly organized ideas that I think would make the place better.
We’ve been writing with word processors for 40 years. What if we’ve been doing it wrong all this time?
In another Medium Premium series created in conjunction with noted authors and journalists, Workflow, by Author Steven Johnson, interviews famous authors and creators about the tools, techniques, and habits behind the creative mind. This series features conversations with Liz Phair, Rebecca Skloot, Kevin Kelly, and more.
The series intro explores tinkering with workflow, experimenting with new tools and approaches. Johnson enjoys talking to other creative people (sometimes other writers, but not always) about their habits and the technology they use to aid their creative process.
What is it truly like to be homeless? Arjanna van der Plas finds the humanity behind our shared misconceptions
Arjanna van der Plas is a writer and designer who focuses her work on the stories of homelessness in the San Francisco bay area. In this talk, one of five Shift Ignite sessions held earlier this year at the Shift Forum, van der Plas brings us into the world occupied by the human beings forced into life without a true sense of belonging.
Arjanna van der Plas: Hi, my name is Arjanna. My talk is about the invisible wisdom that I found in the city. Imagine going through a day where nobody looks you in the eyes. You wake up, nobody wishes you good morning. You walk through the city and everybody ignores you, or even avoids you.
I’m speaking at a tech conference in New York City tomorrow. Yesterday, I had a tantalizingly odd conversation about a bio that someone assumed I had written. So I went to the conference website to look up my profile, and — Oh. My. God:
“He is one of the most successful authors of all times and his books can mesmerize. He is also an entrepreneur and after being so successful he still carries a decent behavior and very down to earth attitude. He is none other than the very talented Robert Reid.”
Self-confidence has a place in a bio. But certain lines should not even be approached. This one, for instance:
“He went to the very popular university called Harvard University for his MBA degree. He has been a superstar with his work. One of his books was named as Architects of the Web created stir in the market and it was outstanding. The book was solely focused on the Silicon Valley and was very well crafted and written by this genius.”
But only if you turn on your email notifications….
I edit a publication on Medium, which means I spend an inordinate amount of time reading Medium. Which is pretty cool. What’s even cooler is finding an amazing story that fits NewCo Shift’s editorial voice and POV, then reaching out through Medium’s elegant platform to ask the author if we can run it in our publication. The author gets to reach a growing audience, Shift gets great writing, the audience gets a great read — Win Win Win!
But roughly 15–20% of the time I reach out to a new author, I get this:
And that’s why I should have done this column in Prezi
The process of writing is an unnatural act for most of us. Sitting alone, contemplating a blank white page, then conjuring lines of coded symbols in such a way as to paint a picture inside someone else’s head? When you really think about it, it feels a bit…over-engineered.
But writing is the best — or perhaps the most universal — thing we’ve got to move ideas from one mind to another, right? After all, isn’t that why Ev started Medium?
If you’re interested in how we’re going to shift from our current, unsustainable economic culture to a new, more thoughtful approach to business, well, we already like you. We’reNewCo Shift, and we’re making a new kind of publication. We’ve got an overview of it here. It’s a bit earnest, but honestly, we like to laugh as well. (For the juicy bits, read down to the middle).
At our core we’re product people — in that we think there’s value in thinking through the architecture of a publication, the intention of each thing we’re going to create together. We’re just getting started, and if you can imagine a really cool way to tell this story — using visualized data, or long-form features, or short-form video, or heck, even a lis-tickle now and then, well then we’d like to meet you. If you know what “front of the book” means, well, that’s a bonus. Because in a way, we’re looking for items in the front of the book — I sometimes call them “nuggets”. (And yes, for the feature well too, but we’re well on our way there).