The best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity.

– William Butler Yeats


Artwork by Timo Kuilder

Dense Discovery
Dense Discovery

Welcome to Issue 46!

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I keep getting emails asking about what tools and services I use to create and send this newsletter. A while back I shared my setup with you in this Medium post. It’s a pretty manual process: I work in a text editor and then upload the final version to my server through an old-school FTP client before using Mailblast (affiliate link) to send it out to subscribers. Mailblast’s no-frills approach gives me all the flexibility I want, but I’m definitely starting to miss some advanced features that come standard with the more expensive email marketing apps. Then again, if you consider how costly the likes of MailChimp and Campaign Monitor become once you send to tens of thousands of readers, it makes my laborious process worthwhile.

With newsletters undergoing a kind of renaissance right now, there are tons of options available. You can even host your own email app or use Buttondown for simple, personal email lists. Happy inboxing!

– Kai

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Inspired Stock Imagery


Stocksy United →

Art-forward stock photos + footage

Stocksy United is an art-forward, royalty-free stock photography + footage agency founded on creative integrity and respect for artists. With our exceptionally high curation standards, discovering unique, beautifully authentic imagery is effortless.


Apps & Sites

Tresorit →

Secure Dropbox alternative

Dropbox seems to feel the investor pressure to keep growing because it’s trying so hard to become more than it needs to be. Several folks on my Twitter feed were recently looking for alternatives and that’s when I came across Tresorit. It looks like a fantastic, more secure alternative without the Silicon Valley growth pressures (even though they also raised money 🙄).

OverSight →

Avoid video/audio spying

“OverSight monitors a Mac’s microphone and webcam, alerting the user when the internal mic is activated or whenever a process accesses the webcam.”

Really Good Emails →

Discover beautiful emails

Really Good Emails is perhaps the web’s best source for email design inspiration and it just got an upgrade to make discovering newsletters easier and faster.

Roll Call →

Podcast quality recording

Roll Call is a free voice chat service that records every participant locally and – once the call is over – sends the audio to the person who initiated the recording.


Idle Knowledge


Icon by ST

The (Russian) origins of Tetris

Tetris, the hugely popular game many of us first discovered on a Game Boy, was conceived by Soviet Russian game designer Alexey Leonidovich Pajitnov in 1984. He derived its name from the Greek numerical prefix tetra- (all of the game’s pieces contain four segments) and his favourite sport, tennis. Unsure of how to publish his game and fearful of the response of the Soviet regime if he did so, Pajitnov gave the rights to the Soviet government for ten years. Although licensing was never fully obtained, the game spread to Hungary, the UK and eventually to the US and Japan. In 1996, the rights to the game reverted from the Russian state to Pajitnov. That year, The Tetris Company was founded, claiming to hold copyright registrations for Tetris products in the US and taking out trademark registrations for Tetris in almost every country in the world. (Source)


Goods & Accessories


Jabra Move Style Edition →

Affordable wireless headphones

I’ve heard a lot of good things about Jabra headphones. The Jabra Move Style Edition doesn’t have as many impressive features as the new noise-cancelling Jabra Elite 85h, but at just $100 you still get a lot of headphone for your dollars.


Mr Bingo Gravestone →

Hand-made concrete desk gravestone

Mr Bingo knows how to get a chuckle out of me. (If you get a chance to see him talk at an event, it’s totally worth it.) One of his latest creations is this hand-made gravestone for your desk with a timely reminder of what makes life worth living. Currently sold out, but more stock coming soon.


Overheard on Twitter

Most people are capable of building systems that are twice a complex as the systems they are capable of maintaining.



Food For Thought

I was a fast-food worker. Let me tell you about burnout. →


A sobering read about a journalist who tries out low-wage service jobs and finds that technology has made them even more gruelling: “As technology progresses, it tends to make life easier for the top of the labor market – those skilled, educated workers with decent salaries and benefits. Often overlooked is how those same technological advances have made it possible to control and monitor unskilled worker productivity down to the second.”

Inside the Pricey War to Influence Your Instagram Feed →


As if we needed more proof of how obnoxious ‘influencer’ culture (it’s an economy, really) has become, here’s a read about the lack of ethics and basic human decency that is required to be part of the get-rich-quick scheme that is ‘Instagram celebritism’. [Possible paywall]

A People Leader’s Guide to Active Listening →


An actionable, short guide on how to become a better listener – applicable to work and private situations alike.


Aesthetically Pleasing

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One of my favourite sans-serif discoveries of recent: Staff is a sturdy neo-grotesk sans family, designed to be practical and versatile in its use of space.

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Get lost in the colourful nature scenes by of Bangalore-based artist/illustrator Febin Raj.

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Canadian potter Abby Ozaltug makes you love your plants even more with these charming planters.

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Yes, what you see here is all made from paper – by French artists Zim & Zou.



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The Week in a GIF


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