43 Folders

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Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

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”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Off Topic

NYT Magazine on Coulton, Hold Steady, and "Artist 2.0"

Sex, Drugs and Updating Your Blog

Fun story by Clive Thompson in today's New York Times Magazine about what some people are coming to call "Artist 2.0" (or "Music 2.0") -- the post-plastic-disc world of musicians like Jonathan Coulton and The Hold Steady, who are actively engaging with their fans and not relying on the old school "spray and pray" approach to music marketing that's still in practice by the majors and their foundering artistic properties.

Selected quotes from Clive's article (plus clickable video of my interviews with Jonathan Coulton):

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Wikipedia on "ratholes"

Ratholing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ratholing is a used to describe a conversation or process that has deviated from its original productive purpose into a generally unproductive but long and winding detour that eventually comes to a dead end. The original discussion purpose may be to agree on a course of action. However, if one or more people rathole into a specific point of the discussion then the discussion stalls with no actionable outcome. This term is frequently used on the Macbreak Weekly podcast, resulting in the eventual creation of the "Rathole!" jingle[1] and subsequent full-length song.[2]

I first heard "rathole" used in the developer meetings run by my old boss and current friend, Richard Ramsay. Any topic that could be better handled offline or that took the group off the meeting's stated agenda would be declared a rathole, and we'd immediately move back into the subject at hand. (Richard was great at this, by the way -- one of many things I learned from him.)

Of course, as anyone who listens to MBW has figured out by now, our ratholes are usually the most interesting part of the show. I think of it like "You Bet Your Life," where the "news" is an icebreaker for letting us talk about more compelling stuff than who sold the most chips the preceding week or whether the rumors of Apple's iLawnmower carry any weight.

In any case, I salute Richard for teaching me this fine term, and -- owing to my own fragmented attention and general lack of interest (or ability) in typical Mac punditry -- I'm proud to have a role in bringing ratholes to a broader audience.

(Here's The Official Rathole Jingle)

[via scottgladstone's bookmarks on del.icio.us]

Blogs: Watching passionate thoughts evolve (in public)

cover of 'The Blogging Church' by Brian Bailey

The Blogging Church
by Brian Bailey

A few months back, Brian Bailey asked me to contribute a short essay for his new book, The Blogging Church: Sharing the Story of Your Church Through Blogs (neat idea for a book).

As I'm sure Brian realized at some point, a lot of the advice in the book (creating an online image, deciding who the blog's for, and improving your blog over time) will also be of interest to small business and garden-variety bloggers. I enjoy Brian's writing and think he has a sound grasp on what makes blogs work (or not). Good stuff, and red meat for anyone thinking of taking their church (or their business or their kittens) to the web.

Here's an excerpt from what I sent him.

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Kati Kim's life-saving ingenuity

I swear, if my family and I are ever in a situation like the Kims went through, I hope to God that one person in our group has the clear thinking, make-do ingenuity, and life-saving cleverness of Kati Kim:

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HOWTO network without becoming a disingenuous weasel

Business Networking Advice: Merlin Mann from 43Folders.com - Interview

Josh asked me two interview questions about business networking, and I answered them. [Spoiler: historically, I've not been such a big fan of business networking]:

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Open Thread: The '43 Folders' of money management sites?

You tell me. What are your favorite sites about managing your money? Any places out there you think might especially appeal to 43 Folders readers? Feel free to toss in your favorite books on the matter, too.

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"Inside the Net" Meetup; Say hi to Merlin in YYZ

Upcoming.org: "Inside the Net" Taping & Meetup at No Regrets (Tuesday, October 3, 2006)

I'm heading up to Toronto next week for a whirlwind three-day visit -- including a podcast session with Amber and Leo for Inside the Net; shooting some segments for Call for Help with Leo; squeezing in a couple other little podcast-y, broadcast-y treats; plus sidling into a serendipitous Long Winters show on Wednesday night. And, yes, I'm leaving before Friday, so, no, I won't get to see Sloan in their adoptive hometown. C'est la vie, as they presumably say in Quebec.

Anyhow -- and I am actually going somewhere with this -- the Inside the Net crew invites interested geek Torontonians to come to a live taping and then stick around to hang and meet and talk and whatnot. I'll be the one with the frequently replenished CANADIAN (mmm...) and the weird hair.

From our Upcoming page:

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Sloan get organized for new record

One of my favorite bands, Sloan, has a new record called Never Hear the End of It that just came out last week in Canada (currently only purchasable via import in the US; in Canada, you can buy it on MapleMusic).

While recording the CD, Sloan also shot a bunch of short in-studio videos, including a couple that reveal their innately organizational side.

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"My Dream App" voting open til Midnight EDT

The My Dream App competition (for which I'm a judge) has reached the first elimination round, so you have just a few hours to place your vote and help whittle the contestants down to the next round of 18.

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Weird Al: "White and Nerdy" video

Solid gold and closer to home than any of us probably like. Steven G has the full lyrics.

[ via: Waxy links ]


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An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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Merlin used to crank. He’s not cranking any more.

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