Don’t do things that you know are morally wrong. Not because someone is watching, but because you are. Self-esteem is just the reputation that you have with yourself. You’ll always know.

– Naval Ravikant


Dense Discovery
Dense Discovery

Welcome to Issue 26!

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I used to keep some non-fiction books on my bedside table to encourage me to read before bed, but I would hardly ever finish a book. It felt like more work just before bed. Eventually, they would simply sit there reminding me of my reading debt. And as the stack of unread books grew, so did my guilt about not making enough of an effort to read regularly.

There is constant pressure to stay informed and relevant – to be a life-long learner, as they say. Not a week goes by without the release of yet another life-changing, career-defining, must-read non-fiction book. The self-improvement cult is booming and it destroyed my joy of reading.

So mid last year I made the decision to give non-fiction the boot and started reading fiction almost exclusively. (I did listen to a few non-fiction audio books during my hike.) I also asked friends to recommend books to me that I otherwise may not pick out myself. The result? I’ve read a book a month in the last six months, and more importantly, I’m really enjoying it. Not only has it become a welcome escape from my screen before bed, the benefits of reading fiction are so much more visceral, evoking all sorts of feelings I stopped associating with reading books – something Molly Flat wrote about beautifully in her essay Stranger Things in the latest Offscreen issue.

Of course, non-fiction books can have amazing educational value and they’ll continue to be a part of my reading diet. But if, like me, you’re struggling with getting through them, try injecting more fiction. It’ll take away the guilt and bring back the joy. – Kai

(Very relevant: this week’s recommended read in the Food for Thought section below.)

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Design Confidently


UsabilityHub →

Settle design debates with data

UsabilityHub is a remote user research platform that takes the guesswork out of design decisions by helping you validate them with real users. Sign up now and run a free two-minute test!


Apps & Sites

Actiondesk →

Zapier for spreadsheets

With Actiondesk you can build automated pipelines with your spreadsheets: automatically import data, apply changes, and trigger actions in other apps.

Webflow Ecommerce →

Shopify alternative

Advanced website builder Webflow has recently launched their new ecommerce product and it looks promising. I particularly like the focus on providing a completely customisable shopping experience.

YouTube Time Tracker →

Track your time on the Tube

Does what it says on the tin: a simple Chrome plugin that will put a timer right next to the YouTube logo so you know how much time you’ve spent watching videos today, this week, this month, and the whole year.

Sheety →

Turns G Sheets into an API

More tools for spreadsheet geeks: use Sheety to build a basic CMS and display data from your Google Sheets on your website.


Idle Knowledge


Icon by Julien Deveaux

The (wasted) value of e-waste

If all the metals were recovered from 100,000 phones, they’d yield an estimated 5.3 pounds (2.4 kg) of gold, more than 1,984 pounds (900 kg) of copper, 55 pounds (25 kg) of silver, and more. That’s about $250,000 worth of metals, depending on current prices. In 2016, the world e-waste average was 13.5 pounds (6.1 kg) per person. That amount would fill 1.23 million 18-wheel trucks – put them nose to tail and they form a line from New York to Bangkok and back. 80% of the world’s e-waste is not recycled. (Source)


Goods & Accessories


Nimble Fast Charger →

10-day, multi-device charger

This charger by Nimble charges your iPhone up to 80% in just 30 minutes. It has enough juice to charge multiple devices at once and will keep them powered for days. And as with all Nimble chargers, it comes with some innovative, eco-friendly design features.


Gomi →

Speaker made from plastic bags

The Gomi speaker is made from flexible/soft plastics that would otherwise end up in landfill, incinerated or in the ocean. Due to the moulding process, every product will have its own unique look. A great idea, I just wish there was more info on the performance, connectivity, and general specs of the speaker itself – the focus seems to be purely on the casing.


Overheard on Twitter

It’s telling how many designers are content to ‘change the world’, with no moral or political specificity, no regard for unintended consequences, wrapped in a warm blanket of privileged optimism.



Food For Thought

Reading in the Age of Constant Distraction →


This week’s recommended read. “What I do when I look at Twitter is less akin to reading a book than to the encounter I have with a recipe’s instructions or the fine print of a receipt: I’m taking in information, not enlightenment. It’s a way to pass the time, not to live in it.”

Uber and the Ongoing Erasure of Public Life →


“Cities struggling to keep subways and buses running are being drained of revenue by tech companies and a reserve army of cars.” There is growing evidence that ride-sharing services add to urban traffic congestion and exacerbate the financial struggles of our public transport system.

I Cut The 'Big Five' Tech Giants From My Life. It Was Hell →


This story was widely shared online and for a good reason: it illustrates how it’s virtually impossible to use the internet today without relying on at least one of five giant US companies: ”Background noise in general disappears this week because YouTube, Apple Music, and our Echo are all banned – as are Netflix, Spotify, and Hulu, because they rely on AWS and the Google Cloud to get their content to users.”


Aesthetically Pleasing

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Nomnomnom: Lauren Ko makes incredible art with pies.


This icon pack features 160 cities (SVG), represented by landmark buildings.

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The typeface Coign offers 28 styles – comprising of seven weights in four different widths – all of them super condensed.

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Gorgeous branding for the Blanc Festival, a design conference in Spain.



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