What's going on? Tell me in 400 characters. Also, 7 other things worth knowing today.
It’s Friday, and I’d like to share a new feature. Like almost everything else I do with this newsletter, we’ll try it it transparently and in real time.
It might fall completely flat! Or else, maybe it will be a hit! We shall see!
I’m calling it Signal Boost. It’s a new way for some readers to share things that are important to them personally, and that other readers might benefit from knowing about, too.
You’ll see the first example below (right below the “7 other things"), and it will be pretty self explanatory. But, here’s how it works:
Got an idea? Go to this form. Fill it out.
I’ll review what people submit. If it “fits” the newsletter (meaning both, “if there’s room” and “if it fits with what we’re trying to do here”) I’ll edit it and consider scheduling it to run like the example you see below.
As you’ll see: The model is basically a short announcement, about the length of a classified ad (we all remember those, right?). About 400 characters, max. You can also include a url you’d like to link to.
Priority will go to paid/premium members. I was thinking of limiting this 100% to paid/premium, but let’s just see how it goes. A few more important points:
No politics, nothing controversial for controversy’s sake, nothing that’s going to embarrass me since both my mom and my mother-in-law read this newsletter. I envision this as a way to increase the community feel here, and to be more responsive to some of the great ideas people email me from time to time (and that too often get lost in the shuffle).
Anything that I share this way will be labeled “Signal Boost.” The intent is really to include either (a) milestones that people would like to share, and/or (b) legitimate news and information that I might have included if I’d thought of it first (but I didn’t!).
The format/placement of these might change, I’m not promising to run anything or everything, and as noted above—if the whole thing falls flat on its face, we’ll move onto something else. Or else, if I suddenly get hundreds of these, I might have to rework the idea. That said, it’s a pretty good way to put a link or an idea in front of 50,000 fellow readers on any given day.
I have a feeling that readers might come up with some pretty creative ideas. Judging by some of the things people have asked me to mention in the past (before I had a process to decide what to share, or why) I suspect we might see things like:
A cause you’re raising money or awareness for. (But again, no politics or controversy.)
A milestone you passed, or an award that you, or your company, or a family member, or an employee received.
A quick introduction to someone’s work, or writing, etc. that you’ve found helpful.
A legitimate offer you’ve come across that you’d like to let people share in.
A book you read, or a movie you’ve seen that you think is really good, and that you want to recommend to readers.
Again, you’ll find the first one of these below. Also today, since it’s a Friday open comment thread, I hope people will feel free to post things in the comments (milestones, recommendations, etc.) that they’d like a little version of the signal boost on. And we’ll see how it goes.
7 other things worth knowing today
Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Wednesday teased a pair of smart glasses capable of translating languages in real time. Pichai showed a video demo of the glasses during Google’s I/O developer summit. While they’re still just a prototype, Google suggested the glasses can show live language translations to the person wearing them. (CNBC)
Finland's president and prime minister have called in the last few days for their country to apply to join NATO "without delay;" now Russia says it will take "retaliatory steps" if Finland does so. (BBC)
The Senate on Wednesday approved Adm. Linda Fagan to take over as the next Commandant of the Coast Guard, officially making her the first uniformed woman to lead a military branch. (Military Times)
Southwest Airlines is rolling out faster WiFi, bigger overhead bins, and USB plugs in an apparent bid to lure more business travelers. My colleague Minda Zetlin wrote for Inc.com about this; I'll likely have a longer piece on how decades of accumulated goodwill have benefited the airline during the pandemic. (Inc.com)
North Korea has confirmed its first-ever case of Covid-19 and declared a "severe national emergency", with leader Kim Jong Un vowing to "eliminate" the virus, state media said Thursday. (Yahoo News)
James Cromwell, "Succession" actor and honorary director of PETA, superglued himself to a Starbucks counter in New York City on Tuesday. Cromwell glued his hand to the counter at a Midtown, Manhattan location to call on Starbucks to stop charging extra for vegan milk. (CBS News)
Astronomers have captured the first image of the black hole at the center of our galaxy, using the powerful Event Horizon Telescope. (Twitter)
Finally … Signal Boost: Want to help Ukrainian refugees who've recently landed in the U.S.? Premium subscriber Nick Sortal flagged this for me; he’s been raising money for the South Florida Ukrainian Resettlement Project. There's a benefit concert this weekend (in Plantation, Florida; who knows, maybe you're nearby?). Or else, you can donate directly to the Ukrainian Refugee Resettlement Project, at this link. (Thanks for helping me kick this off Nick!)
Thanks for reading. Feel free to submit your own Signal Boost (especially paid/premium subscribers), or to add ideas in the comments.
Thanks for reading. Photo credit: Pixabay. Want to see all my mistakes? Click here.