Let’s be honest about how we got here

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Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Tonight, on the eve of the election, someone I love dearly sent me this opinion piece from Mitch Albom, titled “Election will be meaningless if we don’t change our ways.” Below is my response to this well-intentioned message.

Thanks for sharing, friend. I appreciate the sentiment and have always been reluctant to voice my opinion on political matters 1) because I don’t think it’s constructive (people generally are ingrained in their political beliefs and aren’t open to change their minds); 2) because I value my relationships more than politics; and 3) I know I’m the political outsider having had very different life experiences which have shaped my opinions and beliefs. …


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Photo by Rebrand Cities from Pexels

A few weeks ago, I began my MBA education at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, which also happens to be my current employer (it’s complicated…)

This week, I had my first “lightbulb” moment in one of my classes, “Leadership in Organizations” taught by Professor Loran Nordgren. The subject of the class was which characteristics people implicitly judge us by (and to be fair, we judge others by) to determine leadership potential. …


The last major streaming service is competing on its own terms

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Today, media conglomerate Comcast NBCUniversal officially launched Peacock, the last major streaming service expected to enter “the streaming wars.” Following recent launches of HBOMax, Disney+, and Apple TV+, many are questioning whether there’s room for yet another streaming service. Peacock, however, is competing on its own terms — leaning into Comcast NBCUniversal’s strengths, instead of following the philosophy and strategies of streamers before it.

When it comes to content strategy in the streaming era, there are conventionally two different types of content used to acquire and retain customers. For customer acquisition, streamers have relied on flashy, big-budget, original serialized drama series like House of Cards (Netflix), The Mandalorian (Disney+), or The Morning Show (Apple TV+), the two latter which each reportedly cost $15 million per episode. …


A political division that explains the state of USA

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Note: This is my perspective, and I fully appreciate that my views are formed by my media and social media diet. This is not intended to be a statement of fact, rather my individual perspective.

It occurred to me recently that one of the many major political divisions in the U.S. is what is valued and held sacred by each political party, either Icons or Ideas. Once you use this framework to look at political disagreements, it’s hard to ignore and is in fact visible in almost every disagreement.

This thought emerged as statues around the country were torn down by protestors for a variety of reasons, including the history of the men who they portrayed being slave owners or otherwise contributing to or participating in racial injustice. …


And then I started again.

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After 46 days of quarantine, I decided to stop drinking for the month of May. Five days after quarantine began, I quickly realized that I needed to make some sort of effort to create some healthy habits while locked alone in my 2-room apartment, so I started a tally on a whiteboard to do three things every day: meditate for 20 minutes, write for 1 hour, and… floss. …


Passive distribution, useful information, and a little bit of personality

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Photo by Mathyas Kurmann on Unsplash

Chances are that you’re subscribed to more email newsletters today than you were five years ago. Newsletters aren’t “new” technology, and they are in fact utilizing a relatively old internet distribution channel in your email inbox. Despite this, newsletters are more popular than ever before, and are being utilized by long-standing publications and individual writers, some of whom are able to make a very comfortable living with their newsletters at a time when journalists are being laid-off on a daily basis.

What’s behind the rise in volume and popularity of newsletters, and why is using your email inbox for distribution an advantage? …


Prioritizing process over inspiration

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Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

On day number eight of sheltering-in-place, I was in a dark place. Over the previous week, I had lost all motivation to do just about anything but read articles about COVID-19. It didn’t seem like there was a reason to do anything. What’s the point? When the world can stop on a dime and change so drastically, so quickly, what hope do we have of making our plans come to fruition?

Everything felt meaningless. After a week of existential crisis, I decided it was time to make meaning out of the circumstances. Hey — wouldn’t it be a great story if I took this opportunity as the impetus to start something that changed my life? …


How the new streaming subscription service can survive a disappointing launch

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Quibi CEO Meg Whitman speaks about the short-form video streaming service at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo: Robyn Beck/Getty Images

When Quibi finally launched a few weeks ago, I wrote a piece about the finer details of the platform that skeptics seemed to ignore altogether. The catalyst for writing that piece was a frustration that journalists, venture capitalists, and many others seemed to be dismissing Quibi both offhandedly and with a seemingly personal joy in what they knew would be the company’s eventual failure.

Six weeks after launch, Quibi has a reported 3.5 million downloads and 1.3 million active users. But it quickly fell in rankings in the app store, none of the launch content has reached the cultural zeitgeist, and in a feisty interview with the New York Times last week, founder Jeffrey Katzenberg complained that the number of users did not meet expectations, saying, “It’s not up to what we wanted. It’s not close to what we wanted.” So, were the skeptics right? …


A short fiction story

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Photo by Viktor Forgacs on Unsplash

Note: This story is fiction and the result of a writing exercise I’m practicing while sheltering-in-place. It is not meant to be political or conspiratorial, simply fiction from my imagination written under one hour.

The members convened the annual conference with a long agenda ahead of them. It wasn’t until the third day on the remote island that they reached item number 21, labeled “Kryptonite,” which had been put on the agenda by two of the lesser-known 100 attendees.

“Gentlemen, most of what we discuss at this conference remains the same from year to year: the unconstrained growth of our populations; the stress that this population is putting on our healthcare, education, and welfare systems; and the growing influence of the lower-classes due to the disappearance of our gatekeepers in the media. We know this is unsustainable, and yet we’ve yet to hear any proposals of the relative scale and impact to course-correct before revolutions are set off around the world, challenging our power.” …


A short story

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Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

Note: This is the result of a short-story exercise I’m undertaking while in quarantine. It is complete fiction, and not based on anyone I know. The point for me was to practice writing from a perspective and experience that I don’t have. Hope you enjoy.

Carter’s driver picked him up at 8am sharp. He hopped in the black SUV with his backpack and said, “Good morning, Geoffrey.”

His driver Geoffrey responded, “How are you on this fine morning, Mister Bronson?” to which the eight year-old responded, “complacent.”

It was a thirty-minute ride to Carter’s private school, which cost his parents a measly $50,000 per annum. Carter’s family had been in New York for generations, part of Manhattan’s elite class. …

About

Mike Raab

Writing about entrepreneurship, media, tech, life. Currently associate director @ The Garage, former VC in SF and media strategy in LA. TheRaabitHole.com

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