a web thing


Author: Rob Brogan

UX Designer. Nerd generalist. Cat lover.

A letter from the founder of Audible

The following is an email that he asked us to share. I quite like it, so I’m posting it here to make sharing easier:

We support trans rights. 

Our People Principles that define our collective purpose call on us to “celebrate the glories of the human spectrum,” “protect inherent civil rights” and pursue equality as a core purpose. These values underlie our commitment to our colleagues as we build a shared sense of safety and belonging in our workplace, and they inspire our mission to elevate marginalized voices — because we have the ability to foster compassion, inclusiveness and understanding in our listeners through our content.

Trans women are women, trans men are men, and all forms of gender expression and identities including nonbinary and genderqueer are valid. Trans people are more likely to be un- or under-employed and live under the poverty line. They are more at risk to die of suicide or be victims of violence: in 2020, 15 transgender or gender non-comforming people have been violently killed, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Even as we celebrate the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling last week protecting transgender workers, we recognize the trans community continues to face a hostile culture and is highly subject to discrimination in employment, housing, education, healthcare and other aspects of public life. We also implore any political or cultural figure possessed of a public platform to join us in not only avoiding transphobic rhetoric but also to stand with us to protect one of the most vulnerable groups of people in the world.

Because the stories of trans and nonbinary voices deserve to be heard more widely, we will amplify the titles that can be found at Audible in collections like “The Best Trans and Nonbinary Listens by Queer Authors” and “Trans Stories” and spotlight our interviews with creators like Jazz JenningsAnnalee Newitz and Nico Tortorella. Our commitment to trans representation extends internationally, with trans-positive content such as Azaad Awaaz, a series created for our free Audible Suno service in India featuring stories like that of India’s first transman pilot and an activist empowering transmen in rural India, and The Trauma Cleaner, an Audible Studios-produced biography of an Australian trans woman that was a leading title in the UK and that we offered our AU members for free in November in support of transgender awareness week. And Jordan Raskopoulos, an Australian comedian, musician and trans woman, has been a key talent in three of our major AU brand campaigns: “Listen to Your Book” (2017), “Said I Read You but I Lied” (2018), and “Make Words Great Again” (2019).

We proudly sponsored the “Black Queer Town Hall,” starring Bob the Drag Queen, Peppermint and other entertainers, and we will financially support RAIN, which provides shelter and housing to LGBTQ people ages 18-26 in the Greater Newark area, and the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, a civil rights organization committed to ending discrimination based upon gender identity and expression and to achieving equality for transgender people through public education, test-case litigation, direct legal services and public policy.

Now is a time to draw together to celebrate the glories of the human spectrum and to protect inherent civil rights for all.

Onward to a better world.

Don Katz

Founder & Executive Chairman

Afternoon Walk

A few pictures I took during a walk this afternoon. What isn’t captured here is the silence of the city. You’d think you’re in a quiet suburban neighborhood, not Brooklyn, New York.

Something relaxing

As I’ve learned with this very old blog, embedding stuff from other web pages will probably get stale or even break in a few years. Oh well! The above is a beautiful playlist on IDAGIO, a “classical” music streaming service.

I just put classical in quotes because it has all kinds of things from medieval chants to super modern pieces. When people say Classical, you know what to expect though. Acoustic instruments for the most part ;) Okay there’s my rant on “classical.”

Spotify isn’t the best place to get topic quality performances, but the biggest hits are available. Here’s a particularly nice album by John Cage. It’s mostly calm, minimal piano. Skip to #15 – In A Landscape – for my personal favorite. Stretch out and close your eyes:

That’s all.

Be well :)

Steadfastly imperfect

“Last week I came across a quote that really resonated with me, attributed to Zero Waste blogger Anne-Marie Bonneau: “We don’t need a handful of people doing Zero Waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” 

(In case you don’t know, Zero Waste is a growing movement that encourages people to rethink the way we consume products and thereby minimise waste, especially plastics. Here’s a good beginner’s guide.)

I think do-gooders generally suffer from perfectionism: we’re so sincere about our efforts, we want to get it right all of the time. This ‘all or nothing’ approach is not only unrealistic, it also takes away the joy that comes from doing the right thing.

What I like about Anne-Marie’s quote is that we can replace the words ‘Zero Waste’ with veganism, clean energy, ethical tech, or any other philosophy we subscribe to and be reminded that, instead of obsessing about our own shortcomings, we can make a big difference by simply motivating the people around us to change their behaviour just a little.”

Kai, Dense Discovery newsletter

I really like this “tech” or maybe it’s a “design” newsletter from the publisher of Offscreen Magazine, Kai Brach.

I always liked the magazine for its human look into the lives and motivations of people making some of the digital products we love. It felt like a magazine for people my industry of Design, but not focusing on the business as so many industry news sources might.

The magazine is on pause after a few years (maybe done for good?) and while Kai has a day job now, he sends out a great email newsletter, Dense Discovery, with little gems of websites, references, desk accoutrement, and interesting downloads.

Anyhow, that’s what Dense Discovery is, and what Offscreen Magazine was/is. They’re worth checking out if you’re interested in that kind of thing.

Today I wanted to rip what he wrote in the latest newsletter verbatim because he made such a great point. It’s not about tech. Really it’s about any kind of difficult change: just do it, and quit getting hung up on perfection or fitting your identity into a specific label (e.g. a pescatarian still consumes a lot less meat, even if you feel like you’re a vegetarian that breaks the rules, remember the purpose).

Inwardly: social media

I just listened to a podcast episode about quitting social media. That’s a big topic lately so it’s probably not a shocker, but it’s interesting to hear about it from people much more addicted than I could imagine!

Quitting Social Media

Like with the quote above, I would like to hear about people reducing or shifting what they spend time on instead of quitting stuff cold turkey. Maybe quitting provides some excitement and motivation to make change, but try not to beat yourself up as soon as you break a streak.