[Note: I send this only ~4 times per year]
I started these updates in 2015 in an attempt to solve a problem of our days for myself:
How can you stay in touch with hundreds of friends and thousands of acquaintances around the world in a meaningful way?
Hand-written notes don’t scale. Prolonged silence dissolves relationships. You could argue scale and bonding are opposed.
I decided to attempt a “XIXth century letter correspondence” meets “XXIst century e-newsletter” approach.
Here are my findings:
- Over 50% of you open it (very high reach)
- A few dozen follow up (manageable correspondence)
- Around 2% unsubscribe every send (having this option is crucial, avoids annoying those who prefer silence)
- Abundant high quality 1×1 interactions resulted from those that hit reply, many from acquaintances opening up (huge win otherwise lost)
- Most people I met again in person during travel seemed genuinely positive, some even said were inspired (improved those relationships)
- Some were disappointed to find it was not only addressed to them, so I added a first line explaining this is an update sent periodically.
Overall the experiment was positive. As long as it doesn’t feel like work I will continue sharing my creations and learnings with those who want to walk together. Maybe it can work for you too?
With gratitude for your attention I wish you a very Happy New Year!
PS: I’m writing in the air from Malaga (Spain) to Dublin (Ireland) on my way to another 10 day silent retreat. If you are curious about this mental training you can learn more here. I will get back to your message in January with a calm mind 🙂
I wanted to blend the devotion seen in past European religious painting with the current-day tech devotion. Hat tip to my friend Marta:
“Unconscious Adoration“, oil on canvas, ~16 x 16 inches.
When I spotted this symbolic contrast by the entrance of the TelAviv Art Museum I pulled out my Moleskine notebook:
“Fruitful Foundations”, comte on paper, 5 x 6 inches.
Self-portrait, work in progress, oil on canvas, 18 x 14 inches.
“Narrative is the skill of tying facts into one elaborate fiction”
“Any thinking or behavior considered “normal” should be carefully examined. Normal is often what makes this a mad world.”
It’s a small world:
Sunny Christmas by Alhambra Palace in Granada, southern Spain. Photo by Tomoko Yokota.