You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

– Buckminster Fuller


Artwork by Seb Agresti

Dense Discovery
Dense Discovery

Welcome to Issue 31!

View/share online

One of the best things I’ve read over the weekend was Craig Mod’s answer to the questions: “What were you doing at 23? What should I be doing at 23?”. He shared his thoughts in the latest issue of his newsletter. (Skip to ‘Advice to a young me’.)

Craig developed “a habit of simplified living optimised around experiences or the ephemeral [as opposed to material]”. By keeping recurring living expenses low, he managed to work on projects that mattered to him, opening unexpected doors later in his career. Craig also makes travelling a big part of his life as a way to seek new experiences and connections with people he admires.

What I like most about his approach is that this frugal lifestyle is not a temporary gateway to a life of opulence later on, which is usually the assumption when we hear about self-imposed financial prudence. Living simply is the point: if you get used to frugality early in life, you’re comfortable with having less later too. And this affords you the true luxuries in life: the freedom to change jobs, to experiment with creative ideas, to make more time for new experiences and connections. – Kai

Dense Discovery is currently read by over 43,000 subscribers. Support us by (1) Sponsoring an issue, (2) Booking a classified ad, or (3) Sharing this issue with friends and colleagues.


Spreadsheet Nerds Unite


Tiller Money →

Personal finance spreadsheets without data entry

Manage your money in a spreadsheet 10x faster with Tiller, the only service that automatically updates Google Sheets with your daily spending, transactions, and balances. Start with a template or build your own. Financial simplicity and control, made for designers and developers.


Apps & Sites

Tripetto →

Conversational survey forms

I’m impressed with how Tripetto managed to visually present the flow of their survey form. It’s a very different approach to the many other survey apps out there.

Simplecast →

Podcast hosting & analytics

Simplecast has finally opened their doors to the public and boast some really interesting features for podcast makers: easily shareable audio clips, a customisable web player, loads of audience analytics and more. I love the bold design too!

One Switch →

On/off switch for useful Mac features

Living in your Mac menu bar, One Switch gives easy access to a handful of handy features, such as ‘Hide Desktop Icons’, ‘Stay Awake’, and ‘Disable Screen Saver’.

Broadly →

Stock photos beyond the binary

“The Gender Spectrum Collection is a stock photo library featuring images of trans and non-binary models that go beyond the clichés. This collection aims to help media better represent members of these communities as people not necessarily defined by their gender identities – people with careers, relationships, talents, passions, and home lives.”


Idle Knowledge


Icon by Petai Jantrapoon

The deep sea tubes that connect the Cloud

About 380 fibre-optic submarine cables make up the internet’s backbone, carrying about 95% of intercontinental voice and data traffic. There is a great map of them here. Long-distance, under-water cables go back a long way: 1858 saw the first transcontinental cable, from Ireland to Newfoundland, transmitting several words an hour. By 1871 even Australia was connected, giving every continent a telegraph connection but Antarctica. Today’s undersea cables have a combined length of around 750,000 miles (1.2 million km) with the Marea cable going the deepest at 17,000 feet (5,181 m). (Source)


Goods & Accessories


Adafruit →

Reversible USB A to micro USB cable

Adafruit fixed it for us: “This cable is not only super-fashionable, with a woven pink and purple Blinka-like pattern, it’s also fully reversible! That’s right, you will save seconds a day by not having to flip the cable around.”


This Could Be Our Future →

A manifesto for a more generous world

Back when I interviewed Yancey Strickler, the co-founder and then-CEO of Kickstarter, his foresight and thoughtfulness as a business leader really impressed me. At the time, Kickstarter was one of those few tech companies that received public benefit corporation status, meaning it is ‘obligated to consider the impact of their decisions on society, not only shareholders’. Yancey’s views on work and life are a breath of fresh air in an industry obsessed with mega-scale success.


Overheard on Twitter

I don’t want self driving cars.
I want boring things like public transit that comes so regularly I don’t need to check a schedule.
I want fast passenger rail so accessible and easy it’s preferable to suffering airports.
I want cities that aren’t built around cars-as-default.



Food For Thought

Privacy’s not an abstraction →


An experiment in privacy – and the discussion that ensued – offer unexpected lessons in who gets watched, and how. It ends with a thought-provoking conclusion: “As one group [the rich] pays to be watched, other groups [the marginalised] continue to pay the price for being watched.”

Why We Struggle to Make Time for Solitude →


This little essay on why we do almost anything to avoid being alone with our thoughts reminds me of a quote by Blaise Pascal: “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

The Machine Stops →


Before he died in 2015, neurologist Oliver Sacks shared his fears of the future by drawing parallels from fiction and philosophy. (Possible paywall)


Aesthetically Pleasing

❏ ❏

Illustrator Oriol Massaguer imitates thick strokes of oil paint for his unique illustration style.

❏ ❏

Ping, a brand new typeface by Typotheque, is a fluid sans serif font with a geometric structure.

❏ ❏

Let Dutch photographer Dirk Bakker inject inspiring urban architectural patterns and shapes into your Instagram stream.

❏ ❏

A brand for a fictional film studio called Magnet: “The black and white palette was inspired by early cinema. The waves and lines within the patterns represent magnetic waves and cinematic light.”



Design Tomorrow is a podcast about the making of the future. Each episode is a rich sonic experience that will entertain, inspire, and challenge you to create a better tomorrow.

Get a bag of specialty coffee from some of the world’s best roasters delivered to your door. Ready to be ground, brewed, and enjoyed with the latest issue of Standart.

Buildkite is a single place for testing and shipping all of your software projects – whether they be websites, mobile apps, backend applications, or custom hardware.

Looking to enhance what you’re already great at? Learn code + design skills on go-at-your-own-pace online courses. Visual Design + Branding course launching soooon at

Classifieds are paid ads that support DD and are seen by over 43,000 readers each week.

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]