Programming Note

What this newsletter has in store for 2021 & beyond

I recently had the opportunity to virtually meet with a talented young designer who just graduated from Pratt, and was interested in launching her own clothing line.

(Side note—if you work in marketing, PR or branding and would be willing to do a quick coffee chat with Taliah, please reply to this email! She is incredibly talented and appreciative of advice.)

One of the themes we touched on was finding a balance between the things that energize you and the things that others value, that you are uniquely positioned to provide.

A lot of frustration and dissatisfaction can be traced back to this: not knowing yourself well enough to understand what energizes you, or invalidating it because it doesn’t align with what “success” looks like.

All of that is to say that I have felt incredibly burned out over the past month or so. It has been difficult for me to feel enthusiastic about much of anything.

Maybe I finally allowed myself to feel the true unprecedented insanity of what 2020 has wrought on society in general and me specifically. Maybe I have been worn down by the frustration of finding myself foiled again by the same ol’ shit.

I have been working to be honest with myself about what energizes me so I can…get energized again. And also be real.

What that means for this newsletter:

  • I’m not sticking to a strict 2x/month publishing schedule anymore. I’m going to write when I have something to say and the energy to say it.

  • It will probably go out on weekend mornings, because that’s when most of y’all read it.

  • I’m going to focus on case studies/real companies.

  • I’m going to provide actionable advice.

  • The focus will be the intersection of merchandising, marketing and technology, a space I am uniquely qualified to speak on as a former fashion designer, ~coder~ and MBA.

  • I will probably change the name from “Just Throwing It Out There” to reflect these changes—if you have any ideas, send them my way.

The new format will be similar to the most recent newsletter on Princess Di’s Black Sheep Sweater.

The next edition will focus on homepages and how they’re used by different types of brands. It will not go out until 2021, but here is a preview:

I want to thank all of you for signing up and reading what I write. I also urge everyone to take some real time off before the end of the year, even if you can’t go anywhere. Turn off your laptop and throw it into the ocean!

Here are some links to get you through the holiday season. No affiliate links! Just some things I think/hope you may enjoy.

Book Recommendations

  • Sea People: how did the most remote islands in the Pacific Ocean become populated? Believe it or not, the answer is not “aliens”. This is a captivating deep dive into one of Earth’s (formerly) unsolved mysteries.

  • The Business of Aspiration: winning without knowing why is almost as dangerous as losing. What the modern consumer aspires to is changing rapidly, and this book is an excellent guide on how to navigate that.

  • Rethinking Luxury Fashion: a great compliment to The Business of Aspiration, written by one of my favorite professors from NYU. Lots of insight + a robust bibliography for each chapter to inspire further exploration.

  • Evicted: this kind of embedded, narrative research is one of my favorite genres of writing. This book is frustrating and heartbreaking. I read it in a single weekend.

  • Aesthetic Intelligence: when I need a reminder that my fashion design/ merchandising education and brief career making mom jeans were not a complete waste of time, I read this book.

  • Market Mover: Entertaining stories and good advice, especially if you’re interested in the picks and shovels business.

Good Internet Articles

Intriguing Newsletters

  • Normcore: Vicki does the best job of covering “we shape our tools and our tools shape us back” in a fun, relatable way. She is a machine learning engineer, so she knows what she’s talking about.

  • Non-GAAP: learn about various ways to violate your fiduciary duty as the board member of a publicly traded company, for fun and profit. Truly something to aspire to (just kidding). In all seriousness, this newsletter will teach you how to identify and trade on board shenanigans.

  • Beautyshambles: I love creative, glamorous women who unabashedly bring their full self to the table—mess included. This is a 2x/week newsletter from beauty writer and memoirist Cat Marnell, which will bring much-needed escapism into your life. It costs $6/month, but is so, so worth it.

  • 2PM: Web produces some of the most consistently insightful, mind-expanding writing on retail, eCom, and modern society in general. Sign up for the free newsletter, and you’ll be compelled to upgrade to the paid subscription soon enough.

  • Leanluxe: the OG newsletter that got me hooked on newsletters. A curated roundup of the most interesting modern luxury brand news with an aesthetic bent.

  • CRO Weekly: one thoughtful, tactical piece of conversion rate optimization advice per week. Great for both experienced CRO hackers and newbies like me.

Consumerist Pleasures

In the spirit of Diana Vreeland, why don’t you…

See you on the other side!

-Alex