5L Issue #028

Climbing Emails; Photos of Rocket-Sized Interruptions


To infinity, and beyond..

I quite liked the idea of ‘anti-goals’ linked to in last week’s 5L #027. Another similarly clever example of inversion thinking is this piece by Taylor Lorenz on ‘inbox infinity’ (cf. ‘inbox zero’). Worth a read if you’re let through the paywall.

Despite all these developments, we receive more email than ever. Email marketing systems and sales-generation software have made it easier to blast consumers with repeated messages at all hours of the day, and nearly every social-media app or service seems bent on barraging users with endless email notifications. According to a recent study by the Radicati Group, a market-research firm, people across the globe sent and received 269 billion emails a day in 2017. By 2021, that number is projected to reach more than 333 billion.

In 2019, I suggest you let it all go. There is simply no way for anyone with a full-time job and multiple inboxes to keep up with the current email climate. Even after deleting and sorting my 2,700 unread messages, I awoke the next day to more than 400 more. The writer Emily Dreyfuss told me she has more than 300,000 unread messages in her inbox. After complaining about my email problem publicly on Facebook, friends in fashion, tech, corporate finance, law, advertising, and retail all bemoaned their multiple inboxes swelling with messages.

(and yes there is some irony or hypocrisy in me linking to this via an email newsletter)

Don’t Reply to Your Emails | The Atlantic


That Sucks..

I haven’t been getting into the Olympics much this year. I think the whole ‘global deadly pandemic’ thing has taken some of the buzz from it. But I believe this year’s, like every other, is filled with stories of triumph and heartbreak.

This link is a gut-wrenching example of the latter.

Climbing Fall | gfycat

(via r/WatchPeopleDieInside)


Classic Ballistic Missile Interruption..

You know how sometimes you might just be taking some time to chill out in nature. Sitting in a park or a field with a rug or something. Not me - I’m too pasty pale-skinned to go outside - but I understand it’s what other people do.

And then some bastard rocks up and wants to drag their interplanetary combustion rocket across your field of view and totally ruin your zen! Ugh. Some people.

We are truly taking our first steps towards interplanetary travel and its only the beginning | Twitter

(via someone on Reddit - sorry)


Talented People Do Amazing Things With iPhones..

Winners of the 14th Annual iPhone Photography Awards were announced. And, separately, I’m reminded that people are amazingly talented and I can’t stick to a hobby long enough to create anything of substance.

I can’t reproduce the photos within the newsletter so you should absolutely click through the link and enjoy them for yourself!

2021 Winning Photographers | iPhone Photography Awards

(via Daring Fireball)


Measuring head-to-head..

I loved this article by Scott Young, exploring two books that argue different sides on the utility of metrics (also: our business world’s current obsession with quantitave-data-fed-KPIs).

The first by John Doerr and the second by Jerry Muller.

Doerr’s case is perhaps easier to spell out. Organizations frequently waste effort by pursuing too many conflicting goals. OKRs focus efforts and get everyone on the same page.

By tying goals to measurable results—to metrics—evaluating progress becomes easy. Some companies even use “red” and “green” status lights next to their goals to immediately indicate whether they’re on track or not. As former Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer puts it, “it’s not a key result unless it has a number.”


Muller isn’t against all measurement. Instead, he’s against what he calls “metric fixation,” the obsession with numbers that leaves no room for qualitative assessment. While this doesn’t leave us with a clear rule separating when metrics work and when they don’t, that’s part of his point. Human judgement, not just data, is needed to make good decisions.

This Scott Young bloke is plain clever and if you have the time you should flick through his other work.

Metrics: Useful or Evil? | Scott Young


Sponsored (not really) Post

Back in Five Links #006 I toyed with the idea of ‘sponsored links’. It wasn’t so much about making money, I just thought people might occasionally like to get the message out about something they were working on and I could plug it in my newsletter.

In the 12 months since FL006 went out a total of zero people have taken me up on that offer - but it still stands. If you have a lost cat, cool side project, or charitable collection you’d like to tell the world about then I’m happy to pop it in here as a bonus link.

The bonus link for this issue is about a local cafe, Our Ruby Girl. ORG is a quaint little cafe that goes out of its way to help employ those with disability. They also run the coffee-van-trailer-thing you might have seen around Perth, Ruby on Wheels. RoW has been specially customised to facilitate operations by staff with disability.

During the pandemic last year, Sarah, the owner, literally drove to customers’ houses to deliver food and coffee to keep the cafe open and keep her staff employed. She’s a good egg.

Unfortunately, a few weeks ago thieves with an angle grinder broke in and stole the RoW coffee van. Which means the staff member that operated it now cannot work. And the cafe loses a much needed income stream. And what are the thieves even going to do with it anyways - it’s fairly recognisable. The whole thing sucks.

So, if you can spare $5, please chuck it towards Our Ruby Girl. They are running a campaign to raise funds for a new specialised coffee van to get the young girl that runs it back to work. And if all Five Links subscribers could toss a few dollars their way they might be able to afford a handrail or a hubcap or something. There’s literally dozens of us now.

Operation FitOut - Get Bob & Lizzie in the Van | GoFundMe


If you enjoyed any of these links, the best way you can help me is by forwarding this email on to a friend. They can browse past issues and subscribe at this link

- Bennett


Cover Photo by Aleyna Rentz on Unsplash