I’m a pessimist about probabilities, I’m an optimist about possibilities.

– Lewis Mumford


Featured illustrator: Karolis Strautniekas

Dense Discovery
Dense Discovery

Welcome to Issue 61!

View/share online

Today, this part of Australia is celebrating a cruel, antiquated ‘sport’ with a public holiday called Melbourne Cup. I will forever connect this day with a strange experience of learning about Australian culture.

On this day seventeen years ago, I had just arrived in the northern city of Darwin, after driving my dilapidated backpacker van across the Australian desert. Having seen more roadkill than human beings for almost a month, this town made a somewhat odd impression on me when I arrived: people in suits and funny hats were spilling out of pubs onto the streets on a Tuesday afternoon. I eventually dared to approach a clearly intoxicated guy drinking beer out of a plastic cup to enquire what on earth is going on in this town. He said, “It’s cup day, mate!” and raised his cup.

It took me months to figure out that people in Darwin were in fact celebrating a horse race that was happening in Melbourne and not a plastic beverage container that contained alcohol. (Although seeing so many drunk people stumbling around town on Melbourne Cup day every year, I’m now not too sure anymore.)

Straya! – 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.


Pro Daily Planner SPONSOR

Sunsama →

Daily Planner for Elite Professionals

Sunsama is a daily planner for elite professionals that brings together all your SaaS tools and calendar into one calm and beautifully organised place. Integrates with Google Calendar, Github, Asana, Trello, JIRA, etc.


Apps & Sites

GitBook →

Better documentation

GitBook enables teams to collaboratively build beautiful documentation for their products. Or you can use it to create a company internal or a public knowledge base. Check GitBook’s own docs for a preview.

Loomio →

Collaborative decision making

I’m intrigued by Loomio, in part because it is open source and built by a worker-owned cooperative social enterprise. It doesn’t really try to sell itself, so figuring out what Loomio does requires some digging: “Loomio makes it easy for groups of all shapes and sizes to collaborate and make decisions across time and space.”

Cally →

‘Date finder’

Trying to organise an event or meeting with a lot of people? Cally is a no-frills tool to allow people to quickly and easily find a suitable date and location.

Ghost 3.0 →

Publishing platform

The publisher-focused CMS Ghost has just announced that their newest version now supports a paid premium membership model. I’ve never used Ghost myself but I think their business model – a sustainable non-profit with a free self-hosted version and a paid hosted version – is offering an exciting alternative to the robber-baron approach in tech.


Indie Mag of the Week


Romance Journal →

Romance Journal is devoted to exploring truth and raising our collective consciousness. In the midst of personal trials and global challenges, each issue, based on a theme, explores human experiences through the eyes of powerful, thoughtful, and creative humans awakening to their life’s purpose.

– Latest Issue: 3
– Frequency: 1 issue/year
– Formats: print only
– Origin: USA

We’re giving away five copies to randomly selected DD readers. Keep an eye on your inbox to find out if you’re among them!




A Kids Book About →

Kids books about grown-up topics

What an interesting publishing idea: “We make kids books that matter. There are no dragons, silly bears, or cute tales about princesses. Only the challenging, empowering, and important topics that kids experience every day. Kids’ lives are complicated, and our mission is to help kids and their grownups have honest conversations about things that matter.”


Clear Habit Journal →

A habit-shaping notebook

I’ve yet to read James Clear’s book on forming better habits. (Heard a lot of great things about it). This notebook by Baron Fig was designed as an actionable companion to the book: “The Clear Habit Journal is a combination daily journal, dot grid notebook, and habit tracker.”


Overheard on Twitter

Tattoos should actually make you more employable because it shows you can sit in place for hours while tiny needles are jammed into your skin and that’s what every corporate meeting I’ve ever been in has felt like.



Food For Thought

Privacy is a collective concern →


Even if you opt out, companies learn about you through close connections. That’s why privacy is not just about you but those around you, too. “When you expose information about yourself, you are almost always exposing information about others. (...) A culture of privacy is necessary to enjoy intimate conversations with others, have frank debates within a closed setting, and establish the bonds upon which liberal societies are based. Constant surveillance and public exposure breed conformity and silence.”

The Psychology Behind Unethical Behavior →


Some great practical advice on maintaining ethical leadership: “[Undercover police] officers need to get to know and infiltrate a new culture. They need to fit in by speaking the language, acting according to code, and dressing to fit in. But, in doing that, they risk going too far – mimicking the culture of the gang members they are out to stop and getting caught up in a group’s values system. The same kind of ‘moral capture’ takes place in companies, not overnight, but gradually. Psychologically, you’re making a trade-off between fitting into the culture and staying true to what you value.”

There Is Too Much Stuff →


The vastness of stuff we can buy online has left us confused and anxious: “Those infinite, meaningless options can result in something like a consumer fugue state. After shopping online, I often don’t remember days later whether I actually made a decision, and I regularly pause at the mountain of Amazon boxes next to my apartment building’s elevators to glance at the names on the labels, just to see if I forgot to expect something.”


Aesthetically Pleasing

❏ ❏

A growing collection of phone backgrounds made by a bot.

❏ ❏

I want to escape to the world of Aaron Martinez’ 3D characters.

❏ ❏

The typeface Cako is characterised by big contrasts between thicks and thins, fine details and spiky terminals.

❏ ❏

A beautiful identity to promote Tasmania’s West Coast.



Knowsi manages consent for user research. Participant management, custom documents, and consent form templates let you focus on research but get the admin right. Try it free today!

Your kids birthday is coming up and your friends and family want to know what to buy as gift? Wishlephant makes it easy to create a wishlist with all gifts and share it in seconds.

Give your customers recommendations based on actual expert human knowledge, not algorithms – it’s possible. Faculty built it for Simply Framed.

Check your Pulse is an email newsletter that curates thought-provoking reads. It is read by 2,500+ founders and purposeful readers and has been dubbed ‘a yoga class for the mind’.

Classifieds are paid ads that support DD and are seen by 43,000 subscribers 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]