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The Edge.Email #34

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.


1. ESPs

Monkey Futures

More than ever, Mailchimp is about way more than mail (Fast Company)

The Edge Group has been brought up on Mailchimp, and this newsletter is created and sent on the platform (for now). This week, the ESP is making a major push to expand their brand to be “more than email”, an effort that started back in Sept 2018.

We’ve seen a great deal of confusion on the Mailchimp shift towards a single “Audience” and away from lists, and have consequently spent way too much time researching the topic. If any of our readers have had experiences with the new system, we’d love to swap stories.


2. QUALITY

Old Simpsons vs. New Simpsons

There’s great content, and then there’s the stuff that was created simply to check a box. In terms of how to make the former, our teammate Aleks introduced us to this video on the creative process:

The Fall of The Simpsons: How it Happened

Pre season 9, before The Simpsons morphed into the parody of itself that it is today (and before the core writers left for greener pastures), jokes went through about 30–40 rewrites. The results are self-evident: relevant, subversive, subtle, multilayered, character-driven humor you don’t get in the “New” Simpsons.

We have now created our own binary content classification system:

  • “Old Simpsons” (amazing)
  • “New Simpsons” (weak, boring, apathetic)

Hopefully you find this newsletter at least a bit Old Simpsons.


3. PARTNERSHIPS

Edge x Influencers

In last week’s edition we noted that we don’t feel cool enough to use the term “collab”. But that doesn’t mean we can’t recognize a burgeoning content collaboration trend when we see one.

In the same week, we saw two articles on sneaker collabs (we’ll keep writing the term until we’re hopefully comfortable using it). First, “How Sneaker Collabs Became the Ultimate Chef Flex” looked at how cool-kid restauranteurs are now working with established shoe brands like Nike, and under-the-radar ones like Feiyue.

Next, in what could be the most un-indie music move ever, the Violent Femmes are partnering (“collab-ing”?) with Nike to celebrate “their hit 1994 song I’m Nothing.


4. NLG

Try this now

We can’t stop using Talk To Transformer.

For those unfamiliar, OpenAI developed GPT2, a system that used neural networks to generate legible text. Back in February, we were told it was “too dangerous for public release”.

Well, it’s publicly accessible now. And hilarious. You can input any custom prompt and instantly get a one-way ticket into the Uncanny Valley. An example below (seriously, every reader of this newsletter should go try this now):


5. LANGUAGE

How to go Viral

Most of our readers will have a sense of what language resonates on social media. We came across this research paper that analyzed the social efficacy of “moral-emotional” language, i.e. what words are found in viral content.

The top 10 are both predictable and grim:

1. Attack
2. Bad
3. Blame
4. Care
5. Destroy
6. Fight
7. Hate
8. Kill
9. Murder
10. Peace

6 PRODUCT

Product Inspiration

Axios did a great roundup of all the platform attempts “inspired” by Snapchat’s Stories format — even Skype apparently tried a version in 2017 (of course LinkedIn also tried).


6. A NEWSLETTER

Sometimes there are those newsletters that show up in your inbox and you’re not quite sure how or when you subscribed. Ridgeline, “a weekly newsletter by Craig Mod on walking, Japan, literature, and photography”, is one of those.

Each edition has one beautiful photo and recounts a walk somewhere in Japan. As described by it’s author:

It’ll be a little literary, a little wacky, a little scattered. But it’ll all be bound by walking — a shared love for movement, as we search for some platonic walk, an impossible walk, together.

Subscribe Here


7. A CAMPAIGN

First of all, a belated Happy Mother’s Day. We loved the idea of this campaign where the San Diego Padres “became” the San Diego Madres for a day.

But in the type of mistake that makes our stomach churn, they accidentally lost their Twitter handle in trying to execute on the campaign! Seriously, they gave up ownership of the handle Padres and someone claimed it.

There was coverage of the mistake here, and the Twitter thread below did a great job recapping the mishap.