Moment of Inertia, Issue #6 | A Newsletter's Newsletters

The content for Magnitude & Direction and Moment of Inertia doesn't come out of nowhere; I find articles from all corners of the internet, social media, and very frequently these other newsletters that I love reading every week.


A Newsletter's Newsletters

The articles and events I share in Magnitude and Direction come from a bunch of different places. Some things I find on Facebook or Twitter. Other things get sent to me from readers like you (thanks to everyone who's done that in the past, and I hope you keep doing it in the future). And a lot of the content of my newsletters comes from... other newsletters.

The point of starting M&D was to serve as an aggregator: primarily for events in the startup, healthcare, biotech, etc. scenes, but also partially as an aggregator of the various articles and news stories I was interested in that appeared across myriad platforms. I know it can be fatiguing to manage so many information inputs, so I decided to centralize many of them into my own. The premise was, and is, "if you're interested in the kinds of things I'm interested in, hop on." (I do also try to broaden the offerings a bit, since if it was only stuff I was interested in there'd be one subscriber on this mailing list.)

While I'm glad to have you all here, virtually speaking, I wanted to take an opportunity to give some shout-outs to those newsletters that have inspired me and helped me build my own. This list is sort of a power-ranking, but the rankings aren't necessarily going to be in order, nor will the list be comprehensive, but I'll do the best I can.

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The Prepared
This list literally couldn't start with any newsletter besides The Prepared. Run by my friend and fellow hardware enthusiast, Spencer Wright, this newsletter has provided the philosophical basis for how I run M&D. Click on that link, because Spencer has broken down his structure better than I would paraphrase it.

If you don't want to click that link (even though you really should), then let me summarize some of my key takeaways:

  • Strive to grow organically: Blasting your newsletter everywhere might increase your number of subscribers, but it won't increase the number of people interacting with your newsletter. Word-of-mouth recommendations are stronger than any other kind of promotion you can do. In the past, for me, that meant not even telling people that I had a newsletter (and somehow hoping they'd come across it eventually, which, to be fair, did happen occasionally). Now, though, I'm okay with letting that mouth be mine, as long as the person I'm talking to has very clearly indicated that they're interested in the kinds of things M&D offers (prior to me telling them about it).

  • Templates/categories are great: Spencer's newsletter follows the same template every week, breaking down the hardware, tech, and logistics world into specific (but not too specific) subsets. This approach, I imagine, makes reading each edition of M&D a little easier for all of you, since you know what section is coming next, but, more importantly, it makes writing it easier for me. I essentially write up each edition of M&D days (or sometimes weeks, upcoming events notwithstanding) before it gets sent out (also, this edition of MoI notwithstanding ). I can do this very easily because I'm just copy-pasting the content into a framework that I built in mailchimp a long time ago and just keep replicating.

There's other things I've learned from The Prepared, but I'll leave it at this, since I've got more newsletters to cover. I'll just say this: The Prepared is a great newsletter and if you are interested in the physical world, how it gets built, how it gets moved, and how it gets repaired, then subscribe to The Prepared.

Industrial Evolution
Run by manufacturing firm Plethora, Industrial Evolution is a newsletter I found not long after The Prepared. Focusing a little more on earlier-stage, more "futurist" science and engineering content than The Prepared, Industrial Evolution complements Spencer's newsletter nicely. Being interested in materials science and manufacturing myself, the articles I share from Industrial Evolution are most often focused on those topic areas, but the newsletter covers a lot more than that, including robotics and cutting-edge electronics development.

Web Curios
If nothing else, the sheer volume of content in Web Curios earns it a place on this list, but it's not just the amount of stuff that amazes me, a lot of this content is really interesting websites and applets that you just won't (trust me, I've checked) find in any other newsletter. Run by Matt Muir, the chief writer of web magazine Imperica, this newsletter skews towards social media news, but also includes a tremendous number of eclectic links. I honestly don't know how Matt et al. are roving the internet for these things, but I'm very glad they are. If you click on more of the non-tech links or weird apps and games in M&D, then you should subscribe to Web Curios too. Plus, they send their newsletter out on Fridays!

Laura Olin
Although the topical focuses of my newsletter and Laura's newsletter are very divergent, I'd like to think we have common ground as being two newsletters that are from individual people versus more abstract entities. (To be fair, Web Curios and The Prepared are also written in the voice of their chief architects, Matt and Spencer, but there are also more formal entities associated with each.)

There's a lot of links I don't click through in Laura's newsletter, but she also pretty consistently shares content that piques my historical and/or eclectic interests (sorry that's not a very illustrative description).

If you'd like to receive "a list of lovely and/or meaningful things in your inbox every Thursday" then I'd check out Laura's newsletter.

This one is a newer addition to my large set of weekly newsletters, but I've really been enjoying it. I think it's run by the creators of Revue "an editorial newsletter tool for writers and publishers" and it features 6 personal recommendations, one from each person. It's a lot of super-practical reviews and recommendations (we're talking vacuum cleaners and stuff, folks) and usually only one or two links is relevant to me, but I've already found some great tools - both physical and digital - thanks to this newsletter.

Gareth's Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales
I think I came across this newsletter via Recomendo, actually. It's the most recent addition to my weekly reading list and is kind of like a more hardware-focused version of Recomendo. It's pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a collection of workshop tricks, tips, and tools from a guy named Gareth. I don't know who exactly Gareth is, but I'm glad he's putting this material out here for the rest of us. If you're a hardware guy like me, I think you have to subscribe to this list.

Honorable Mentions
These newsletters are only a subset of all the newsletters I receive every week. There are a few others that I subscribe to that, I think, are more widely known than some of these so I'm going to list those below with a bit less description, but know that I diligently read all of these as well.

  • The Download by the MIT Tech Review: "Your daily dose of what's up in emerging technology" (and delivered every day! That's a lot of effort)

  • The Lattice by 3DHEALS: Run by healthcare 3D printing coalition 3DHEALS (and edited by me) this weekly newsletter is a pretty comprehensive look at all the different ways 3D printing and bioprinting is transforming healthcare.

  • Finimize: A great snippet of important financial news and topics, digestibly delivered for us finance laypeople.

  • Science Daily: Quite possibly every piece of science news is reported on this platform. I've selected the subsets that most appeal to me, but there's lots of other domains that are covered that I don't subscribe to. I also like that, following their synopsis, they almost always provide the link to the original paper (whether that paper is open access, though...)

Even with the Honorable Mentions, this list is still incomplete, but I'd like to think this is a selection of the newsletters that I've found to be most impactful to me. Since you're all M&D readers, I think at least some of them might be impactful to you, too.