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Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.

— Anne Herbert

Here’s 10 reasons we need libraries:

  • Libraries are eco-friendly partners
  • Libraries are community hubs and homes
  • Libraries promote diversity
  • They give resources to those who have none
  • They are politically neutral (and provide neutral research) in a divided world
  • Libraries offer resources for small businesses
  • Libraries encourage the arts, from writers to painters to rappers
  • Libraries are a gathering place for teens, kids, seniors together
  • Libraries taught Steve Jobs, Hillary Clinton, Seth Godin and thousands of others
  • They store knowledge that — unlike…


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Being wrong is one of the greatest opportunities you will ever be given to affect change, impact your own life and completely shift gears. Being wrong means that you have the opportunity to reach your next level. The problem is, when that opportunity comes along, we rarely take it.

Instead, we try to find a way to weasel out of it and somehow be right. Because being right is the only important thing. Being right matters more than anything else.

It’s not a constructive reaction, but it’s a pretty normal and unsurprising one. Nobody wants to get it wrong, nobody…


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Frugal innovation is about making the most out of the resources we have. Frugal innovation is about creativity that does not require much money. It taps into the brilliance of resourcefulness. Ultimately, it requires an emphasis on being able to think outside of the box.

The classic startup story is to raise millions of dollars and burn through it as fast as possible to pursue immediate, scaling growth. That approach can work. But that approach can also destroy companies, teams and founders, throwing them aside like used wrappers.

Frugal innovation is an alternative to that. It’s doing what you can…


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The smartest people in the world don’t use old paradigms to describe new ones. Maybe I’m painting with a broad brush here, but I truly believe it. That’s something I’ve come to understand, the more I meet with and talk to startup founders. I get pitch emails all the time, people who want me to write about, tweet about, or give them feedback on their startup.

So many of them try to express their ideas by mashing up old ones. It’s like “Startup for X” has become a rallying call, and a fucking annoying one at that.

But it’s just…


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Nobody enjoys it. Nobody likes it. Nobody wants to be on the receiving end, feeling like the quarry.

Nobody likes being hunted by data-loving fast talkers, endless telesales calls or anything else.

When I’m being sold to the way most people sell, I want to scream.

But there is an easy way to make me buy something.

You have to show to me that you understand the exact problem that your product or your service solves in my life and workflow. And you have to be specific about it.

As long as you can demonstrate that you know what it is that I need, why I need it, and why you can actually fill that hole in what…


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I’ve been working in advertising, branding and PR for 15 years now.

I started in this when I was 16.

And if I’ve learned one thing, it’s this.

Pitching is a waste of time.

When a company comes to you and asks for a pitch, they’re doing one of three things:

1. Justifying their choice for the agency they wanted in the first place

2. Trying to look busy

3. Hunting for a deal

In almost every circumstance, the pitch will do more for them than it will do for you. Every ounce of energy you put into coming up with ideas, brainstorming, deck building and coordinating — all of which is unpaid and unbillable — is going to hurt you. It’s going…


Everyone has a jerk inside their head.

You can’t listen to the part of you that tells you how much you suck. You know it’s there, I know it’s there — but if you let it dictate your life, you’re going to lose. That voice is what leads to people shutting startups, abandoning blogs, leaving beautifully written novels unfinished and letting themselves down.

Dealing with the jerk who lives in your mind is tough.

It’s rough, and it’s difficult to manage, but if you can learn how, you stand a chance of accomplishing almost anything.

1. Remember that the small things matter.

That asshole voice is focused on the big things. It doesn’t give…


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This is something so many people fuck up as freelancers and entrepreneurs. You ask them what’s valuable about what they do and they mutter something about stakeholders, ROI and what have you. They don’t know what it means, and neither do you.

That’s because they are not specific about the value they provide.

At the end of the day, your job as a freelancer, writer or founder is to convince people that you and your product are worth spending money on. The way to do this isn’t to pitch it in a bullshit startup way.

That’s why communicating that you’re…


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Have you ever been in a conversation, only to realize that the other person was not actually listening to you? We all have. And we’ve all been that asshole on the other side.

The reason we’re not listening is that we’re waiting for our turn to talk. We’re waiting to put in our 2 cents. We’re acting like a conversation is a competitive sport. We’re trying to think of what we’re going to say next, or we’re just not interested.

But the problem with being obsessed with talking is that we usually don’t hear anything anyone is saying. And we…


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You could make something right now. If you wanted to stop reading, grab a sheet of butcher’s paper and brainstorm ideas, you could probably come up with half a dozen ideas for apps, books or products. Ideas aren’t the hard part, after all — just ask Tom Haverford.

You could build a Wordpress site and start harassing your friends to test the concept. You could start writing op-ed pieces on Medium and put “Founder” or “Author” in your Twitter bio within 48 hours. …

Joan Westenberg

Chaotic good. Award winning creative director & writer, ft. in Wired, The AFR, SF Chronicle, Junkee. founder tinyspells.xyz / thisisstudioself.com ✨ She/Her.

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