Wing it (or not)

Our group video interview next week, the unofficial start to summer, and a packing hack I'm inordinately proud of. Also, 7 other things worth your time.

Quick programming note: Monday is Memorial Day, so I think we will take the day off. Longtime readers will know I have a history of saying I’ll take days off, then not doing it. But I think this time I will.

Next week, I’ll be interviewing Turney Duff, author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, The Buy Side: A Wall Street Trader’s Tale of Spectacular Excess. He’s also a consultant on the Showtime series, Billions.

It’s the latest edition of the Understandably Crowd-Sourced Video Interview Series. (Time/Date: Wednesday, June 2 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time.)

You're invited

I’ve known Turney for a while, and I’m glad he agreed to be the first guest on the relaunch of this series. He has the kind of very human, up-and-down story — with an unexpected but happy ending — that always resonates. Here’s his official bio:

"Turney Duff is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Buy Side, named one of Amazon’s best business books of the year. Currently, he’s a consultant on Showtime’s series Billions, a journalist for CNBC, a public speaker, and hard at work on his next book.

In 1984, Turney took 4th place at the Kennebunk Junior High Science Fair."

Oh, we have some free copies of The Buy Side to give away, too.

How this all works:

  1. I interview cool people over Zoom.

  2. You, the amazing, valued readers of Understandably, sign up, sit in, watch, listen, suggest questions, and even ask them of the interviewees directly.

  3. I write about it all, either for Understandably, Business Insider, or

Want to be a part of it? Sign up here. If you’re a paid member, you’re in. If you’re a free subscriber, it’s first-come, first-serve. This link gets you on the list, and I’ll send out the link to join shortly before the video event. (Again, this will be via Zoom, on Wednesday June 2, at 1 p.m. Eastern.)

Sign me up for the video interview

A poll of 2,000 Americans finds that 40% of us say we’re looking forward to summer, but we’re "totally winging it" when it comes to vacation plans.

I’m not quite “winging it;” in fact, it’s getting harder to find free weeks or weekends between now and Labor Day. Finding a place for a week on Cape Cod this summer was a labor on it’s own; everything’s taken.

But I certainly understand the feeling of being (a) out of practice at travel, and (b) waiting, a bit tentatively, to see if things are really improving to the extent we hope.

For the record, the CDC now says if you’re vaccinated, go about your business, enjoy your travels, have a good time. And just over half of Americans (50.3%) are, in fact, fully vaccinated. At 23,407 daily cases, we’re at the lowest infection numbers in the U.S. since June 2020. Good numbers.

Anyway, it’s a long weekend, so I’m going to leave you with this: my favorite, so-obvious-I-can’t-believe-I-didn’t-always-do-it travel hack.

It’s born of my uncle’s habit of shooting a picture of his boat’s engine switch in the “off” position at the end of the day, and then taking a second picture of the knot he used to tie the boat to the buoy.

As he explained: "This is so when you wake up at 2 a.m. wondering, 'Did I tie up the boat correctly?' you don't have to drive an hour back to the dock to find out."

Consider this little hack the progeny of that one. Basically, while you’re packing for a trip, take photo after photo of your bags as you fill them.

Imagine the photos below, but repeated over and over (and over) for each of about 25 bags and packages loaded up in the back of my Honda CR-V. 

You save so much time and drama later on, when you're trying to recall if you packed enough sunscreen—or else to remember which bag to look in to find the baby's must-have nighttime stuffed animal.

Sometimes I feel a bit old because I admit: I still marvel at smartphones. I mean, we’re all walking around with 3-ounce devices that access all of the world’s information, and which take far better photos than people with professional photography gear could just 20 or 30 years ago.

But it’s a simple little hack. And it lets you free up part of your brain for things that are much more important. 

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7 other things worth your time

  • Bill Cosby was denied parole. It was sort of a foregone conclusion, since he has refused to participate in “a therapy program for sexually violent predators.” (Reuters)

  • What I wrote about for Memorial Day last year. (RIP, Todd Bryant, Tim Moshier, Jacob Andrews, and all others). (Understandably)

  • Boy finds tooth of megalodon, biggest shark to ever live, on his 5th birthday (Newsweek)

  • The 10 best beaches in the USA, ranked … well, by some guy, but it’s still fun to check out. (Forbes)

  • Meet the Ohio vaccine lottery’s $1 million winner: A 22-year-old who “thought it was a prank.” Related: 14-year-old gets college tuition paid as part of a vaccine lottery. Plus, California now has its own lottery, with $115 million in prizes. (NYT, GMA, Forbes)

  • Starbucks workers complain that customers are treating them like “coffee-making robots,” with increasingly complicated orders inspired by viral TikTok trends. (Business Insider)

  • Amazing photos: The travel photography blog Capture the Atlas recently highlighted 25 images of the Milky Way. They insist they’re not photoshopped, etc. Pretty wild. (Capture the Atlas)

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