When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.

– Viktor Frankl


Artwork by Christoph Niemann

Dense Discovery
Dense Discovery

Welcome to Issue 12!

View/share online

I regularly get questions about the technical setup of Dense Discovery, such as what email provider I use, how I built the archive, and so on. To make answering these questions easier, I wrote a post on the behind the scenes of DD.

Subscriber numbers have increased nicely over the last 12 issues (now at ~16,500) without the open rate taking a hit: it still sits at an impressive 65%. I noticed, however, that quite a lot of new subscribers enter their email address and then never click the opt-in link in the confirmation email. I delete those ‘subscribers’ from the list after about a month of inactivity. Any ideas on how to improve the opt-in rate?

The sponsor slots for the rest of the year are all gone, but I’m now taking bookings for sponsors starting early January. There are still some classified ad slots left for this year. – Kai


Your Apple Device Manager


Jamf Now →

Easy device management for small businesses

Let us manage your Apple devices, so you can focus on managing your business. Jamf Now is a cloud-based device management solution for all iOS and macOS devices in your workplace: check real-time inventory, configure Wi-Fi and email settings, deploy applications, protect sensitive company data, and even wipe a device – from anywhere. Get started now!


Apps & Sites

Whimsical →

Visual collaboration tool

Create beautiful flowcharts and responsive wireframes, or brainstorm on a digital sticky notes wall – Whimsical is a fast, versatile visual aid for teams working on complex projects.

Deseat.me →

Find & delete inactive accounts

Once Deseat.me has scanned your inbox (via OAuth 2.0, so it should be reasonably safe) it presents you with a list of all the web services it finds evidence of. From here you can fire off account removal requests with just a click.

Drag →

Shared Gmail inbox

With Drag you turn Gmail into Kanban-like boards that you can share with your team members to work collaboratively on your email pipeline.

Descript →

Edit audio & video files by transcription

Descripts not only transcribes audio or video files, but it also presents them in an editing interface so that you can edit your files by editing the transcription. It’s pretty a smart idea. I’m eager to give this a spin for a future interview recording.


Off-Screen Inspiration


Five coffee table books to keep at the office for your off-screen inspiration.

A Smile in the Mind

Forty years of ‘witty thinking’ from over 500 designers, including hundreds of visual examples and interviews with the world’s top practitioners.

Atlas of Improbable Places

Inspiring urban explorers and armchair travellers alike to consider a new way of understanding the world we live in.

Atlas Obscura

Inspiring equal parts wonder and wanderlust, the Atlas Obscura book celebrates more than 600 of the strangest and most curious places in the world.

Typeset in the Future

Inviting all sci-fi movie fans on a journey through seven genre-defining classics, discover how they create compelling visions of the future through typography and design.


Powerful imagery at the intersection of photography, infographics, and data visualisation.


Goods & Accessories


iPad Pro Hub →

Extend your iPad’s connectivity

If you‘re using your tablet as a full computer replacement, you may like this Satchi hub for the 2018 iPad Pro: turn the one USB-C port and into a HDMI, a USB-3, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. And then you still have a USB-C port left to charge the iPad.


Blink →

Wall/desk photo calendar

Blink is a not-for-profit tear-off calendar showcasing the works of 55 different photographers or 1 photo for every day of 2019. It’s a limited edition of 400, locally made in Germany (and in German), shipped straight from Berlin.


Offscreen →

15% off before Xmas

A reminder and a bit of self-promo: if you’d like to gift Offscreen this Christmas (the Starter Pack makes a wonderful gift!), this week is the last week to order so that it reaches you before the holidays. Need a little extra incentive? Take 15% off with the code OFFXMAS.


Overheard on Twitter

Part of the design process is letting a thing get more complicated before it gets simpler again. Unnecessary complexity is often the result of lack of follow-through. You can’t take shortcuts to good design.



Food For Thought

Why Do We Work So Hard? →


Ryan Avent reckons that our jobs have become prisons from which we don’t want to escape: ‘Working effectively at a good job builds up our identity and esteem in the eyes of others. We cheer each other on, we share in (and quietly regret) the successes of our friends, we lose touch with people beyond our network. Spending our leisure time with other professional strivers buttresses the notion that hard work is part of the good life and that the sacrifices it entails are those that a decent person makes.’

How To Stop Wasting Time On The Internet →


Cal Newport has a new book coming out soon called Digital Minimalism. Blogger and author Eric Barker has read it already and gives us a nice summary with some practical tips on how to be a more mindful around technology.

The Thriving World, The Wilting World, & You →


The talk that inspired his best-selling book: Anand Giridharadas steps in front of the Aspen Action Forum – a room full of elite business people – to tell them that their philanthropic efforts are nothing more than a charade to secure their own standing in society.


Aesthetically Pleasing


Explore the weird and wonderful world of 3D animation by Arben Vllasaliu.


Marc Edwards creates mini tutorials on how to build icons in Illustrator.


Faktum is an exploration into the geometric sans genre. (Currently 80% off)


Kurppa Hosk with a case study on Pinterest’s branding update.



The Charmed Life of Alex Moore is the acclaimed debut novel from tech writer Molly Flatt. Described as Bridget Jones meets The Matrix, SFX thinks it’s “deeply delicious.” Buy now

Join The–Dots, a community of creators & freelancers. Post work, credit the team, be discovered & land a dream job.

Ever wanted to keep a journal but didn't know where to start? No matter what you're looking to achieve in life, MindJournal will help you get there. Start your journey today!

Barack Obama, Beauty Banks, & Mr Bingo; Ethos magazine issue 08 is out now, telling stories of the world’s most ethical, sustainable and value-driven businesses – get yours today.

Classifieds are paid ads that support DD. Use them to promote your project, advertise a job opening, find beta testers, etc.

Book yours →


The Week in a GIF


Email us the URL to your favourite GIF and we might feature it here in a future issue.

[email protected]