With $1.67M in 2016 income, here’s what I learned with Technically Media

Harvard University’s Nieman Lab journalism trade publication profiled last week Technically Media, the digital media company I cofounded, for the first time since 2012 (that year we got both a profile and an expansion look).

This new profile, which you should read, seemed like a grand opportunity to revisit the check I made in 2015 when we surpassed $1 million in revenue for the first time. So to supplement my professional accomplishments of last year, I wanted to share a few notes included in the Nieman Lab report I find important.

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Subscribe to my new weekly Story Shuffle podcast project

After six years of regularly hosting an every-other-month, themed storytelling event among friends called Story Shuffle, I’ll be sharing my favorite stories over the next six months in a weekly podcast format.

From more than 200 recorded stories told at one of 36 live events held in houses and apartments, I am launching this as a project to learn more about podcasting and to give this storytelling event of mine a final goodbye. I’m billing this podcast as a ‘first draft’ storytelling series, as people regularly told their stories for the first time. It was authentic and fun and earnest. It’s something I want to see more of online.

So subscribe on iTunes or on your podcatcher of choice (or on the Story Shuffle website). Let me know if you can’t find it somewhere you want it.

Below I shared a few notes of what I already learned, though I know I’ll have plenty more lessons after the project is over.

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I use these 8 web tools more than any others at work

One good way to better understand your own process is to evaluate what tools you most often use.

In my function as something like a small publisher, my roles span business development and account, program and project management to strategy development and, still, limited tactical efforts on editorial, events and product creation and maintenance. That means my workflow roughly resembles what our digital media company looks like across the board.

Take a peek into my workflow below.

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Technically Media moved into new headquarters: here are some lessons

We at Technically Media moved into our new headquarters in May.

It was a triumphant moment — after months of construction and negotiation and planning. Depending on how you count it, this was either the third or fourth office our company ever had in Philadelphia. More importantly it’s our first proper private offices, a true headquarters for a growing digital media company.

Here are some lessons I learned about getting here.

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This will be my first year of saying no

For as long as I remember, I was proud of being someone whose default response was YES. It was the right mind frame for my teens and 20s. But I turned 30 last year. And I now I want to get better at the other side of that spectrum: saying no.

So I made it one of my 2017 resolutions: to say NO more often. Though I hope to do lots with that perspective, it will come down to focusing my attention.

This is my pledge to myself that I will say no, that I will limit what I do and agree to so that I only focus on what I can do well. That means I will have to say no to things I care about.

One of the clearest ways I’m doing that is by dropping and limiting my existing extra curricular activities, while being far choosier about any I add. Understand: this does not mean I don’t have interest in these or other issues. This means I’m focusing on what I can provide unique value to and fits me now.

I’m aiming to take this more into my day job (so I don’t let my office get as cluttered and messy as it was in the header photo from early 2015) but for the first clearest way to show my progress, I wanted to share what I’ve already set in motion.

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I turned 30 and fell out of shape. Here’s what I did about it

Not long after my 30th birthday early this year, I had what might be called a commonly American experience. I noticed I had suddenly gained a bunch weight —  going from weighing something like 190 lbs, where I had been for years, to 220 in what felt like just a couple months. I also just felt worse.

That puzzled me — my diet hadn’t changed much, I was still (somewhat?) active, with basketball and bicycle commuting and frequent walks. What went wrong? I had been a skinny kid my entire life: why would I gain weight? …This wasn’t entirely because I turned 30, right? (Oh my were my friends amused by this).

It took me more than two months to figure out the pretty straightforward answer and the rest of this year to do something about it.

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Here are some things I’ve learned about being a better writer

For its age and influence and subjectivity, writing is one of those crafts that require great study and practice, though they don’t guarantee success alone.

The ordering of words has always been a great love of mine. I’ve been writing at length for as long as I can remember in whatever medium I could find. I’ve spent the last 10 years developing my news writing form, a tradition I have great pride in. However I’ve tried to keep developing my creative storytelling instincts too — fiction being a complimentary but wholly distinct offering from the non-fiction I know best.

Here’s some of what I’ve learned.

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3 trends I learned this year that totally shook my understanding of the American economy

I learn new big foundational truths every year. Yet for some reason, three trends in particular that I learned this year meaningfully shifted how I understood my country, in particular the work I do in reporting and organizing around economic development.

They’re so important and telling that I admit I’m a little embarrassed I only really understood them this year.

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