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The Edge.Email #27 – Pop-up Newsletters: HBR and Game of Thrones editions

Welcome to the weekly newsletter from The Edge Group. The goal of each edition is to help you think differently about B2B content. If you know anyone who might enjoy this email, please have them sign up here.

Editor’s note: Last week we included a piece on the “inventor” of email. A few readers wrote in to educate us that our citation was a questionable one, and the guy we were crediting, is, well, a bit troll-y, for lack of a better word. Good newsletters acknowledge mistakes, and we wish we hadn’t credited him. Here’s a bit of background from Fortune on the odd controversy around who invented email (where Fran Drescher somehow makes an appearance).


1. DATA

“DATA SONFICATION”

This is Edge heaven. The Financial Times tackles the problematic nature of trying to visualize changes in the Yield Curve.

Even if you’re not into economic prognostication, the incredible content and data element relevant to this newsletter is how they use “data sonification, the aural equivalent of data visualisation.”. You can get a quick glimpse of the what the data “sounds like” below, and we highly recommend this longer explanation of how the FT team approached the project.

Seriously, you can hear the recessions approaching.


2. EMAIL

Faux Video: A Fallback for Video in Email

So that video directly above — it doesn’t actually live in this email. Mailchimp launched a feature a while back where, simply by pasting a Youtube or Vimeo link, the system will grab the preview image and overlay a play button.

To the email client, it’s just an image with a hyperlink, but the video almost feels native. Litmus covered this technique of “Faux Video”, and we can affirm that videos perform very well in newsletters.


3. TRENDS

John Herrman at the NY Times recently told us TikTok is rewriting the world. We’re here to help you navigate the wild world of noveau platform media, and have begun the heavy lifting of trying to figure out what TikTok is so you don’t have to download it. You can find an example video at the end of this week’s newsletter.

In related short-form, snackable video news, we also learned this week that the Jeffrey Katzenberg + Meg Whitman startup, Quibi, that has raised a report $1 billion(?!?) is pronounced “Kwee-bee” and the name stands for ‘quick bites’.


4. POPUP NEWSLETTERS

Short-run newsletters are having a moment. One example is the pop-up newsletter which caters to specific events, like the ones Quartz sends outaround Davos, Cannes Lions and SXSW. Another implementation we’re seeing more of is short-term ‘courses’.

The Harvard Business Review recently launched a “Managing Data Science” newsletter that’s an eight-part series covering a number of organizational topics within data science. The genius of the approach is that it mostly re-organizes or repackages archival content. The first issue features commentary from Hilary Mason that is an October 2018 feature article along with a number of additional archival articles relevant to the issue’s specific topic.

Note: A startup that’s quietly been built around the idea of email courses you may want to check out is Highbrow.


5. MUSIC

Moby announced this week he’ll be exclusively releasing his new album on the meditation app Calm. That follows the recent news that Weezer would bereleasing 4 songs within the video game Fortnite.

We are big believers in creative and unexpected partnerships in media, and are very excited to see what’s next in the world of non-traditional content distribution.

Unless….


6. A NEWSLETTER

We spend hundreds of collective hours reading, studying and creating newsletters. To see a gallery of our favorites, and what makes them so good, go to TheEdge.Email. Each week we’ll recommend one of our favorites.

In the spirit of celebrating popup newsletters, the NY Times launched a brilliant effort around the upcoming season premiere of Game of Thrones.

For those obsessives who are prepping for the final season by re-watching the entire series, they are publishing a weekly recap newsletter, where you binge through one season per week (timed so you’ll be caught up for the April 16th premiere) and the newsletter writers guide you along the way.

There is also a full website dedicated to the watching guides you can access here.


7. A VIDEO

Normally we are loathe to share anything that includes the word “challenge” in relation to social media. But, in an earnest effort to try to figure out what is TikTok, this #BabySharkRemixDanceChallenge appears to be considered gold-standard content.