Between the actual weather, and the peak hot air emerging from the American political system this past week, I hope we’ve actually reached Peak Humidity.

Fall can’t come soon enough.

Welcome to this edition of the Working Paper, my place to work out what’s happening at the intersection of business, media, technology… with a little bit of travel tidbits thrown in.

This update feels a little bit like the “it’s obvious” edition: Publishers can only depend on themselves; technology can be good for consumers, but it’s hard to get it working that way; travelers have to react fast and go where the crowds aren’t. But in saying all that’s obvious… Obviously it’s not.

Take the latest Facebook scandal, for example. Five sources at an Australian news organization are claiming that Facebook’s head of news told them that Zuckerberg doesn’t care about publishers. Whether or not it was said in the meeting is irrelevant: on the whole, publishers don’t matter to Facebook. They won’t have the dollars to spend buying ads that consumer products companies do, and news content is not as engaging as other forms of clickbait. The sooner publishers treat all platforms as frenemies, the better.

Very keen to chat with you all about the recent Facebook revelations, and additional implications of the Pi Hole.

Yours Aye,


P.S. Next week, there’ll be a short update on Underlay, a project some Berkfolk and I are thinking through.


A few clever bits this week:

  • WhatsApp creates a new ad format that connects directly to their business chat functionality. Seems ideal for subscription-based news organizations that want to engage with their readers. Who will be the first to use these new WhatsApp Ads to engage an audience? Let me know if you see anyone.
  • This piece on being a “newsroom bridge” between reporters and engineers at the Washington Post is useful to any organization. Engineers like solving problems, and the better they understand what their colleagues are doing every day, they more they can devise useful solutions.
  • Another day, another Facebook scandal. Should it be surprising (or even news) that the company doesn’t think much of publishers? (Maybe suggesting that they’d be in hospice without Facebook is a little much…) Really, the question for publishers remains how to use platforms for their own benefit. All too often, they spend money promoting content, without any access to users. Never understood this. Seems like the ideal way to engage with Facebook is to syphon off users into your own ecosystem. (Email newsletters, anyone?)


I’ve gone down the Pi Hole, and it’s pretty great.

  • A $5 device that blocks ads and trackers across your entire network including in apps
  • No software needed client side
  • Generates stats for network insight… Do you know how often your smart speaker phones home to report stats? Much more than you think.
  • Tech savvy using this now — but there’s no reason why this couldn’t be integrated into consumer routers and sold as a feature. It’s really nice using the Internet without ads and trackers.
  • As if there were not enough reasons to think through multiple revenue streams for media companies.


Planned a quick weekend get-away to Philadelphia last week, but the FAA (and, ok, the weather) had other plans.

  • Hundreds queued up at the airport in BOS
  • Two hour hold times even for high-status frequent flyers
  • What to do?  I called London. No wait.  On the next flight out.
  • Most airlines have a service center elsewhere that speaks English, is open 24 hours… and likely isn’t besieged.

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