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People First

Where To Keep The Family Jewels

Would You Keep Your Most Valuable Possessions In The Vault Of A Company That Might One Day Just Close Their Doors And Block You From Getting All Your Stuff Back?

A few years ago … let’s call at it the ‘advent of social’, common wisdom suggested

‘Email is dead … long live Social’.
If you know me, you will not be surprised to learn that I disagreed with ‘common wisdom’.
I even wrote how the people at the vanguard of the movement were not just wrong … they were really wrong.

Fast forward to 2022 and it is clear that email has not disappeared… in fact for the past few years it has really caught hold … with everyone.

I publish my newsletter over on Substack, a company that when it launched just 5 years ago was greeted with a general shrug of shoulders and comments that could be rolled up into the umbrella term of ‘What Are They Thinking’.

I decided that what they were thinking was really interesting and when they announced their public beta in 2018, signed up to explore more, launching my first ever Substack newsletter on February 8th, 2018.

At the time my WordPress Blog was at … before moving to people and then on to people But I also had a mail chimp account which I used to send occasional missives … so needed to move my subscribers from there over to Substack, but life was busy and more importantly, IMHO Substack wasn’t quite ready for what I needed.

It was a year later when I threw my entire lot in with the company, closed down my Mailchimp account and moved my subscribers and committed to a weekly missive. Since then Substack functionality has gone from strength to strength. There are still oddities in some of their design decisions … like why can’t I center text if I really want to center text .. but on the whole … all good.

Of course lots of companies have woken up to the phenomena … both on the newsletter creation side and software to generate said newsletters. The ‘arms race’ is in full swing.

It was at the end of 2021 that the Microsoft company ‘LinkedIN’ launched its own newsletter functionality. If you are on LinkedIN, you know this because you are receiving messages from many people … too many actually, to sign up for their newsletter. But it is clear that people are signing up for them - the question is - are they reading them?

(Let's Find out)

Here’s the Challenge.

Willy Sutton was a bank robber in the United States, dying at the age of 79 in November 1980. There is an apocryphal story where a reporter asked him why he robbed banks. Willy replied;

“ Because That’s where the money is.”

~ Willy Sutton

People often ask me why I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter et al

Willy knows - BUT - being there doesn’t mean these platforms are there only places where my thinking, IP, articles, ideas et al reside. All of that starts here - or over on that newsletter. In documents on my hard drive. In my Obsidian vault. Oh so many places - joined together by one common denominator.

I have control over where and how that content is managed and how it is found. No algorithms. Not 'at the will' of a faceless corporate bureaucrat.

Just my stuff. Where I want it. So when I want it, I can find it.

People First

People Are Visiting The Archives


Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash


After my unscheduled hiatus, I have been thinking about the podcast. It is going to be different. I mean everything is going to be different. Isn’t it? Why would the podcast not be different?

I recorded the first one earlier this week (don’t worry - you didn’t miss it - I haven’t dropped it yet). If you know me, you’ll know that I definitely err on the side of ten words where one will do … I’m working on it!

Brevity. That’s one of the changes.

It’s only 5 minutes - so far so good!

That’s also the thinking behind the newly launched ‘Short Sharp Shock’ - an ‘image lead’ sister publication that will come out weekly questioning what I am calling ‘The Status Futurus’. (Think Status Quo - except in the future.)

Meanwhile, the Blog has been redesigned to allow for easier navigation, titleless less short asides (why should everything have a title - including a Powerpoint slide) .. The book is still for sale, I am toying with a second book - similar principle - totally different topic,

And then there are the archives.

… and talking of archives and the use thereof?

Q: How do I know that people are coming given that I don’t overly bother with analytics?

A: Because people keep on writing to me telling me that a link is broken.

Sadly, yes, I know and as they are raised I either fix them or remove them.

The problem stems from using a series of People First domain changes over the past few years. Older posts pointing to, the experimental wiki and glossary just will not work.

My sincere apologies.

We're getting there.

People First
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If You Don’t Add Value – Why Are You There?

It is telling that someone like Doug Rushkoff can write these words;

Only individuals who create value for the company are awarded new stock proportionate to their contributions.

Douglas Rushkoff

... without questioning the principle.

The corollary is of course that there are people that work inside a company that don't add value, which for yours truly is of course like a 'red rag to a bull' - because as the title of this post suggests, if you are employed by a company and not adding value to that company - then why are you there?

Stakeholder capitalism (apparently) 'solves' the problem.

‘Stakeholder capitalism’ is the buzzword du jour for business practices that strive to achieve more than profits and a high stock price. 


If you want to read more - you can:

Putting stakeholder capitalism into practice.

To be fair, the idea of 'Stakeholder Capitalism' has been around for several decades, although who actually coined the term is up for debate, with names including Klaus Schwab (Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum), Peter Drucker and Tom Peters.

Still wondering? This is not a bad primer.

So yes - it is not a new idea - it's just that as the world's conversation is moving into fairness and equality, as we see a (kind of) resurgence of Unions and as 'capitalists' are pushed into the corner of 'defending their position' ... the term is emerging and arguably being positioned as the logical next step for a 'sustainable economy'.

I wrote about this over three years ago when I shared a Ted Talk from Nick Hanauer. Today, that video has had over 5 million views. At the point of 'first discovery', I had not heard of Nick - but as I pointed out, the principles of what he was talking about are engrained in People First thinking.

Today, you can hear the same language when people talk about DAOs in the world of 'Web3' and quite a few other places.

But then many steps before 'Stakeholder Capitalism', there was something called 'The Cooperative Movement' which got its start in 1844 in Rochdale a small town in Lancashire, England.

So far, I have not read anything that clearly articulates the distinction between Stakeholder Capitalism and Cooperatives and which and why each might be better or worse than the other. Sometimes I wonder if 'cooperative' is too 'radical' in this world - so we keep inventing new words to describe the same thing.

I have always liked the New Values/Old Values - New Power/Old Power model originally developed by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms nearly ten years ago.

So, picking on a random target company like Uber, which despite hanging its hat on 'the sharing economy' is actually 💯 an 'old thinking' capitalist company.

Now consider a company called ATX Coop Taxi - a cooperative taxi service based in Austin that has been around for over 5 years. NO - they aren't as well known - but their service is a 'cooperative'.

The question is why hasn’t it taken off?

That is for another time.

People First


Really happy to report that the redesign here at People First is done. More to come, but first spending a little time cleaning up some a lot of the older posts.

People First
People First

We Are Open – Again!

It’s a new year, and a spectacular new one at that. More of that to come - but good reasons for my extended absence.

As we reopen the doors, I have decided to offer up some shorter thought posts and links beyond the longer articles that I have put here in the past. So along with a new workflow that utilizes Drafts I am hoping that you will find more to read, more regularly - but not necessarily taking more time.

Might also be a good time to remind you that there is a newsletter available, that can get delivered to your inbox. Just like this blog and the podcast, it too has been in hiatus. It’s coming back - but not yet reached it’s weekly cadence.

Onwards - and my thanks for your attention and support.

People First
People First
People First
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The Future of Remote Work

Over on the podcast and in the newsletter - oh and in the People First network, I have been ruminating about remote work.

Photo by Christine Roy on Unsplash

Specifically about work visas and wondering where work is done and once you know where it is done - then - do you need a work visa?

Quick example. You LIVE in P0rtugal. You connect to servers in the US. You are paid in London. Your value is delivered (eg where the code (for example) is rendered and turned into something that can be charged for in Canada.

Where do you work?

Seems like I am not the only one, Adam Ozimek from Upwork shares his ideas about nomadic workforces with Matt Yglesias. He is really only talking about the US - but still raising valid and related questions about the other side of the where do you work equation - where do you go if you cant work. Which state?

They discuss the implications for migration, local governance, and the elusive concept of work/life balance. (Where have I heard that one before?)

Adam argues strongly for the whole work thing in America to be Federalized.

Listen to the podcast here. If you don’t have a full 60 minutes to listen - scoot through to minute 4o for the pertinent stuff.