The "Because Actual Work" Edition
"'Sir?' I work for a living, soldier!"
Scrolling through Twitter and LinkedIn, I’m always left wondering whether the marketing/PR royalty I’m expected to look up to possess many more skills than improving their own presence online.
(Yes, jerk. During my agency years I know I was quite active in similar such activities. However, it never came at the expense of a client. In my present job, personal branding is even more subordinate to the organization’s mission and the profile of its founders. “But you are writing a Substack newsletter!!” Yes. Because it entertains me to do so and it is my sincere hope that many others are informed, educated, and entertained along the way. It was ever thus.)
Anyway, one of our most high-profile brands has a lot to say in the next week, which has kept things hopping. Keep an eye out if crypto is your thing. (I figure that people employed in crypto are about 15% of you. Bump it up to “crypto-employed plus the crypto-curious” and we get to maybe 25%.)
So, with hopefully enough time left in your weekends, here are the reads.
Stay awesome, pennyheads.
“A Penny Ahead” is for marketing, communications, and media professionals are are serious about their careers and are also so much MORE than their careers. We feature tech and crypto, but also culture and art. Ask “The Mad Attic Mailbag” at phil[dot]gomes[at][alphabet subsidiary email service]. Subscribe!
HISTORY: “Queens of Infamy: Boudicca,” LongReads.Com (2021) — Easily the best installment in a series about badass women throughout history. It’s one thing to say that someone “left their mark” and would thus be remembered forever. It’s quite another to accomplish this so devastatingly that evidence of the sheer destruction they wrought leaves a characteristic hue in sediment samples centuries later.
SCI-FI: “Weyland-Yutani May Not Be Evil,” Alternate Wars (2018) — Anyone who knows me and my coffee mug collection knows that I am fascinated by how evil companies are portrayed in science fiction. Here’s the charitable case for the trans-planetary firm from the Alien franchise.
SCIENCE: “MIT Predicted in 1972 That Society Will Collapse This Century. New Research Shows We’re on Schedule,” Vice (2021) — Following up from the dire (and imminent?) prophecies recently unearthed from that older Wired article (and covered in APA last week), here’s some more nightmare fuel about the end of the world. “The controversial MIT analysis generated heated debate, and was widely derided at the time by pundits who misrepresented its findings and methods. But the analysis has now received stunning vindication from a study written by a senior director at professional services giant KPMG, one of the 'Big Four' accounting firms as measured by global revenue.”
FILM: “Here's Why Movie Dialogue Has Gotten More Difficult To Understand (And Three Ways To Fix It),” Slashfilm (2021) — My sophomore year of college, I was convinced I wanted to be a sound designer after hearing Walter Murch speak. Lately, I’ve felt that sound mixing — and particularly dialogue — has gotten muddied and chaotic. Was glad to read that I wasn’t alone in this. “One [sound designer] refused to talk to me, saying it would be ‘professional suicide’ to address this topic on the record. Another agreed to talk, but only under the condition that they remain anonymous. But several others spoke openly about the topic, and it quickly became apparent that this is a familiar subject among the folks in the sound community, since they're the ones who often bear the brunt of complaints about dialogue intelligibility.”
CRYPTO: “How Much Energy Does Bitcoin Actually Consume?,” Harvard Business Review (2021) — Coming out of the recent Congressional summonings of crypto-industry figureheads, I was reminded that people still make very glib assumptions about the energy requirements of Bitcoin. I’m often left wondering whether the loudest critics are attempting to impress me with their lack of knowledge of Bitcoin mining’s relationship to energy, their lack of knowledge about energy-generation, or both. This piece gives a well-argued position from the standpoint of the Bitcoin industry. “If you believe that Bitcoin offers no utility beyond serving as a ponzi scheme or a device for money laundering, then it would only be logical to conclude that consuming any amount of energy is wasteful. If you are one of the tens of millions of individuals worldwide using it as a tool to escape monetary repression, inflation, or capital controls, you most likely think that the energy is extremely well spent. Whether you feel Bitcoin has a valid claim on society’s resources boils down to how much value you think Bitcoin creates for society.” Also be sure the check out This Machine Greens, from the inaugural edition of this newsletter.
Before an audience of reporters, doctors, and even some dignitaries, the man casually sat back in a chair with his unwavering gaze fixed upon the sun for a staggering sixty minutes. Verma was subsequently examined by a medical professional who determined that his vision was perfectly fine despite the man having stared down the sun with his naked eyes for an hour.