Shh, church is in session…

Image: Kanye West Presents Donda/Apple Music

On Thursday, July 22, 2021, Kanye West set up his sanctuary at Mercedes Benz stadium, a listening party for his upcoming album Donda. The event sold out a few days prior, with a capacity of 42,000. Trapital’s Dan Runcie does some napkin math and sums it up well, “Very few artists can pull that off.”

Dissect’s Cole Cuchna writes, “Man I love album rollouts from the heavyweights. Nothing like seeing so many people excited about MUSIC. I can’t really explain it but witnessing that really makes me happy. Like just knowing you’re in the middle of a MOMENT.” …


Our one-sided connections with celebrities and social media influencers can have surprising benefits

Image: visuals/Unsplash

I forget the year, but Facebook was only starting to catch up to Myspace, YouTube was shiny new, and I had just started blogging. Sometime around here, my friends and I watched one of Ryan Leslie’s videos — probably this one, with him playing all the instruments he needed to make a song. He had produced the classic, and incredibly catchy, “Me & You” single with Cassie. He had a presence in the mainstream and social media. …


Don’t just do it yourself; do it FOR yourself.

Image: Self-Portrait in the Studio by Gillis van Tilborgh/Artvee

One of the traps and tragedies of creativity is the narrative of making money doing the thing you love. The quickest way to suck the fun out of something is to ask some version of:

Most of the time, the best answers emerge organically; otherwise the process becomes contrived. If you knew the answers all from the beginning, there’d be no point in doing the damn thing.

There is no magic question…


The best career path might not be the ideal one you imagine

Image: Stephen Leonardi/Unsplash

Earlier into my career, it was easy for me to buy into the labels. I was either an “entrepreneur,” or I was an “employee.” The reality of the situation was more amorphous. For example, while I ran my own business and had a team staffed with self-employed and part-time colleagues, I actually worked with clients in all sorts of different ways.

For one, I would go into their office two days a week and work as a fractional marketing lead. For others, I would work remotely as a consultant, or an editorial director with my own writing team or as…


Read this if you need people to notice your work but hate self promotion

Image: Harry Kellar’s Show Posters/The Public Domain Review

Art critic Jerry Saltz publicly turned down a $250,000 deal Substack offered him. The self promotion was a dealbreaker. In his words, with some typos I couldn’t make sense of, here’s why:

I think it’s fishy to always be barking to your readers to subscribe. I think it is not my real work to write [for] “subscribers.” My only work is to write for the reader.

I do NOT want a ore-screens paying audience who already reads it likes me. I want to reach strangers; be loved and hated by strangers; talk about art to anyone any where any how…


Kanye West is proving how lucrative his quasi-religious appeal can be

Image: Gap/Reddit

On June 8, 2021, Kanye West turned 44. Yeezy Gap made the first product from its collection available for a pre-order: the Yeezy Gap round jacket. It was widely available, for a limited time; another time will come in autumn of 2021. All official traces of it at the Gap website and social media have since been scrubbed from the internet, to keep the excitement (hype!), but its footprints still exist. Many people follow Yeezy Gap’s collection and products closely, but I’m much more interested in the organization and the business. …


Best of Books

A look at why you may be feeling overwhelmed at work each day

Image: The climax of Hubert Airy’s image of his scintillating scotomata, reproduced in P. W. Latham’s On Nervous or Sick-Headache (1873)/Via Archive.org

In the early days of my career, I worked in communications at Xtreme Labs. A significant part of my job involved interviewing people at ghostwriting blog posts for them. I learned a ton of stuff like this, and it also informed the collaborative writing process at my editorial studio Wonder Shuttle. In one of these conversations, I sat down with our VP of Engineering Farhan Thawar, and we ended up writing this blog post, which we polished up and sent to VentureBeat. The point that resonated most with me was the one on context switching:

“In multitasking, the time it…


Best of Books

Why facts ≠ truth, and why we need to find them anyway

On June 5, 2018, Bill Gates announced that he’d give away Hans Rosling’s book Factfulness as a gift to every person graduating college in 2018 — making it available to 4 million associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctor’s degrees cumulatively.

In an age where manifesting, motivated reasoning, and self-deception are in vogue, Rosling makes the case that when we see the world based on facts, we can also make better plans to create the futures we would want to live in. The challenge is, as humans, we’re not wired to process facts by default.

Why Our Instincts Get the Best Of Us

Rosling introduces the book with the news…


A 5-minute guide to getting your brain back and living deliberately

Image: Luis Villasmil/Unsplash

Our brains are overloaded. Roger E. Bohn and James E. Short at the Global Information Industry Center at UC San Diego suggest the average American took in around 34 gigabytes of data per day in 2009 (here’s the original estimate, via NYT). That was a year before Instagram was released. Nobody was searching “side hustle” on Google yet. Cryptocurrency wasn’t mainstream yet. Whatever the amount was in 2009, I’m almost certain that we’re processing more today. No wonder why we’re constantly feeling brain overload.

Trying harder or grinding simply won’t be enough. Information speed is expanding way beyond our brain’s…


If you’re considering expanding your career beyond one track, but have no idea where to start, feel free to borrow from mine

Image: Leonardo da Vinci by Raffaello Morghen/The Cleveland Museum of Art

When I did the Career Cruising tests in tenth grade, I always got the impression I had to pick one career and stick with it. Of course, I don’t remember much about the results I got — those tests sucked anyway! — and I definitely don’t remember them telling me that I could add a hyphen, or a slash, and Frankenstein the careers up.

As it turns out, I could! My parents always told me I was a generalist, explaining I’d have to work hard to specialize, which was exceptionally true for their generation. But these days, being a generalist…

Herbert Lui

I write about personal and collective growth. Author ‘There Is No Right Way to Do This’ herbertlui.net/reps/

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