This letter is cross-posted at Manoush’s Medium page.
Dear, dear friends,
I recently gave the opening keynote at the Eyeo Festival in Minneapolis and told all the folks there about the crazy, wonderful, interactive projects we did together on Note to Self over the past three years. How we tackled the Attention Economy, Information Overload, and the digital Privacy Paradox. Who knew a podcast could turn into such an experimental (and loving) community?
Publicly recounting those projects made me tear up with gratitude to WNYC for the opportunity. But it also made me tear up in gratitude for YOU. I want to thank you for trusting me with your brains, ears, and time…and especially, experimenting with your lives and then reporting back with your stories of change. Together, we figured out ways to transform our digital anxiety into self-knowledge, autonomy, and action. No small feat.
Recently, however, you might have felt like I disappeared from your podcast feed, so I want to fill you in on where I’ve been. After thinking long and hard, Jen Poyant, my executive producer, and I decided to leave WNYC to do the start-up thing. We’ve named the company Stable Genius Productions. Our mission is to help people navigate personal and global change through all kinds of narrative.
But why did we decide to leave our awesome, stable jobs? The final straw was the Cambridge Analytica story, which we’d been digging into on Note To Selfway before it broke big time. That, along with a couple other reasons we’ll get into on the podcast, are why Jen and I felt like the time had come to do our own thing.
Our plan is to use podcasts as a lab to explore more deeply how we rethink society’s relationship to technology. And then grow bigger from there. First up? A new podcast: ZigZag officially launches on June 14. It’s a show about me, Jen, and lots of other people charting a new course for capitalism, journalism, and women in tech. For real.
ZigZagalso tells the story of our big decision to go independent and why, as part of this new chapter, we’ve joined two amazing collectives:
- Radiotopia from PRX. You’ve probably heard of Roman Mars and his wonderful group of incredibly talented podcasters (99% Invisible,Criminal, The Allusionist, Song Exploder). Together, we all benefit from PRX’s reach and business model. We are so honored to be part of it.
- Civil. You’ve likely NOT heard of this radical experiment that is using a new kind of technology to rethink how information gets out into the world. Civil wants to take the idea of decentralizing the web and use blockchain technology to decentralize journalism. It’s launching this month. If it sounds intriguing (or complicated), YES! But we will explain all on our new podcast. Things are gonna get meta.
Some of the people you’ll hear from on ZigZag include Joe Lubin, Mark Zuckerberg, Jessica Lessin, Roman Mars, Alex Blumberg, Matt Lieber, Cannabis Wire, Maria Bustillos, Jess Verrilli, and many, many more.
As you and I have demonstrated together, dear listeners, everyday people want to be part of the growing conversation about technology and ethics. We want to understand how the current culture in Silicon Valley trickles down into our social media feeds (and the very fabric of our society) or finding ways to promote a more civil web and, subsequently, kinder communities. Journalism, as you know, has issues. Public trust in media is at an all time low. But I think we’re at a point where people are ready to look for solutions.
There’s a new global conversation happening and you and I, natch, will be at the forefront of it together. I can’t wait to reunite with you and hear your stories. In fact, email me right now, if you like, at zigzag (at) stableg.com.
Please support us by subscribing to ZigZag now. It’s free and going to be so much fun. Jen and I have LOTS of surprises in store.