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I have three requests. You can respond to some of them, all of them, or none at all. Your choice.
Context: People often ask me if it's hard to write this newsletter every day. The truth is that it was VERY hard in the beginning, but it's easier now. Practice makes proficient.
That said, while the actual writing isn't all that difficult, coming up with five good ideas a week is a never-ending task. (Does anyone really have five good ideas per week?)
Thus, I’m grateful when other people suggest good ideas. In fact, I have at least two reader idea-inspired newsletters on my calendar right now (one on the recent happiness study, and another—very different—about a recent event involving the Doolittle Raiders from World War II).
But, while I've included a "Submit a Good Idea" link in many editions of the newsletter, I have to admit that’s kind of a broken system, and I think there might be a better way—a more collaborative way. Hence the first two of my three requests today:
First, since I do these "Friday Comment Threads" a lot, I'd like to use this one to ask you for ideas. What would you like to see more of in the newsletter? Are there things you’d like me to consider exploring? Are there things you've seen elsewhere that I should consider as guest posts? KEY: Instead of emailing them to me, post them in the comments.
Second, given the above, take a look at the comments. Have other readers suggested things that you'd like to see, too? Does an idea there inspire you to suggest something else? Does a conversation develop? Do you just want to "like" someone's comment on the site to say: Yes, I agree, do this!
Easy as pie. I’ll plan to spend some time in the comments on Friday and then again Sunday evening, to participate and see what develops. Here’s a handy button to take you there.
So that’s one and two. The third request is related, but more specific. I’ve been working on an idea for some time called The Entrepreneur’s Ultimate Road Trip. I originally started this as a book proposal, but I think it maybe makes more sense as a premium interactive feature.
In short, it’s a history of specific places that played an important role in the history of entrepreneurship, or of specific ventures—with all of them plotted as a compendium on a map.
I’ve got dozens and dozens of these—both famous and obscure. For example:
The Shirley Plantation in Virginia, which dates to 1613 (more than 150 years before the United States was even a country), and is apparently considered the oldest company in the USA. (Google Maps)
The bar at the St. Anthony Hotel in San Antonio, where Southwest Airlines co-founder Herb Kelleher came up with the idea for the airline in 1967, sketching out its first proposed route on a cocktail napkin. (Google Maps)
The Seattle house that Jeff Bezos rented in Seattle in 1995, which contained the first "office" for Amazon. (Google Maps)
Lots of others, too—some from long ago in history, some that have real-life memorials now, some much more obscure that I pulled from interviews with various founders.
The condo in Georgia where Sara Blakely came up with and launched Spanx…
The Maryland craft store where Kevin Plank bought a bunch of fabrics to test the idea that became Under Armour…
The Hollywood garage Walt Disney rented for $1 a month 99 years ago, and where he supposedly came up with Mickey Mouse…
Of course, the places matter mostly as vehicles to tell these stories, and to inspire people to create things of their own.
Also, I have this fantasy that my wife and daughter and I will rent an RV or something one summer and make a road trip out of some of this. Maybe. (Once again, this is how I find out if my wife reads the newsletter.)
Anyway, it occurred to me: I’ll bet some of you have insights and ideas into places you’d like to see included.
Maybe there’s an historical location you happen to live near or know about that should be on the map. Maybe there’s something you spotted in an article or an interview and has stuck with you.
Heck, maybe there’s a place you can talk about because of something you were present for yourself.
Originally I’d planned to publish the whole thing and then ask for suggestions for Version 2.0. But, why not just ask now?
Hence, Request #3: If you have ideas for locations that I should include on something like this, I’d love to hear them. You can include them as comments—or perhaps even easier, submit them via this form.
With that, on to the comments! And the form! And what I hope will be a wonderful weekend for everyone reading this.
7 other things worth knowing today
Guy I sort of know, who ran an acclaimed restaurant in California, went viral for saying on Twitter that he Googles new reservations and cancels them if they turn out to be serial bad reviewers. I have no idea why this would be controversial. (NY Post)
A new lawsuit argues veterans with substance-use disorders should be eligible for upgrades from their "other-than-honorable" discharges. Veterans with PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and military sexual trauma have succeeded with similar arguments in the past. (Stars & Stripes)
G/O Media, the owner of websites that once belonged to the blog empire Gawker Media, has acquired the business news site Quartz, the latest deal in a wave of consolidation among digital publishers. (NYT)
I don't know if I agree with this, but since I'm going to report on negative economic news, I like the idea of citing a positive take: "Has the U.S. economy really shrunk in early 2022? Is a recession near? No. Here’s why." (MarketWatch)
Airbnb is going all in on the “live anywhere, work anywhere” philosophy that much of the business world has been forced to adopt, committing to full-time remote work for most employees and a handful of perks like 90 days of international work/travel. (TechCrunch)
Denmark has become the first country to halt its COVID vaccination program, saying it is doing so because the virus is now under control. “Spring has arrived, vaccine coverage in the Danish population is high, and the epidemic has reversed,” the Danish Health Authority said in a statement Wednesday. (CNBC)
The U.S. F.D.A. proposed banning menthol cigarettes, a significant step praised by leading health and civil rights groups that say the tobacco industry has a history of aggressively marketing to Black communities and causing severe harm, including higher rates of smoking-related illness and death. (WashPost)
Thanks for reading. Photo credit: Me! Via Google Maps, anyway. Want to see all my mistakes? Click here.