EP 451: An Inbox Full of Lies
What Works
by Tara McMullin
6M ago
Over the next few weeks, I've got something a wee bit different for you! This is the very first edition of Cold Pitch, an experimental media project from YellowHouse.Media. Cold Pitch explores media, curiosity, and identity through a variety of forms and methods. In this first edition, Sean McMullin (my husband & partner at YellowHouse.Media) and I talk about, well, cold pitches. A cold pitch, simply put, is a request to a stranger to do something for you. Podcasters deal with cold pitches every single day. Most are terrible. Not only are they irrelevant and poorly executed—they most often ..read more
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EP 450: The Will to Share Power with Tania Luna
What Works
by Tara McMullin
7M ago
This is the final installment in Strange New Work, a series that uses speculative fiction to explore radical work futures. Power. Some fear it. Others hoard it. Some with power speak softly. Others carry a big stick. Power is charisma, or coercion, or violence. Power is name recognition, or money, or computer code. Regardless of your definition or perceptions of it, power plays a critical role in how we work. Today, we explore power—what we can do with it, how we can grow it, and, critically, how we can share it—because power in the future of work will look very different than it does today. F ..read more
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EP 449: The Most Undervalued Skill of the 21st-Century Economy
What Works
by Tara McMullin
8M ago
This is the penultimate episode of Strange New Work, a special series from What Works that explores the future of work through the lens of speculative fiction. What's the most undervalued skill of the 21st-century economy? Moderation. I very well might be forgetting something. But with more of our lives and work showing up online every day, the way our feeds, data, and connections are moderated is critical to our daily lives. Moderation can be many things—it's how platforms are designed, how content is incentivized or de-incentivized, and how communication between people is mediated. Some mod ..read more
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BONUS: A Quick Pep Talk
What Works
by Tara McMullin
8M ago
I've got something short, sweet, and really special for you today. Sean, my husband, my go-to extrovert shield, and the co-founder of YellowHouse.Media has a new project that is pretty cool, if I do say so myself. It's a hotline! Or rather, it's a weekly call-in prerecorded pep talk. It's sort of like a podcast, but you have to call a phone number to hear it. Trust me, this is a very Sean thing to do. Each week, he shares a fresh pep talk along with a poem, some tunes, and other audio goodies. You just select from the phone tree which you'd like to hear. Plus, you can even leave him a message ..read more
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EP 448: Made for Work
What Works
by Tara McMullin
8M ago
This is the 6th installment of Strange New Work, a special series that uses speculative fiction to explore radically different work futures. Find the work you were born to do. Do what you were meant to do. Discover the work that makes you feel alive. We've all heard these messages. Crack open any career, self-help, or personal development book on your shelf, and you're sure to find a similar message. It seems pretty convenient that our "purpose" in life is work, doesn't it? In this episode, I unpack the "made for work" message, take it to its logical sci-fi ends, and draw on a key idea in the ..read more
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EP 447: Disrupting Housework (Without Robots or Replicators)
What Works
by Tara McMullin
8M ago
This is the 5th installment of Strange New Work, a special series that explores how speculative fiction can help us imagine radically different work futures. Think the future of housework looks like Rosey the Robot from The Jetsons? Or maybe just a fleet of Roombas keeping every inch of a house free of dust or dirt? Think again. Housework is ready for a much, much bigger disruption. Of course, housework is rarely portrayed in pop culture space cowboy science fiction. And when it is, it's all about the high-tech solutions to trivial issues like making dinner or scrubbing dishes. But many quiete ..read more
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EP 446: You Will Be Assimilated with Charlie Gilkey
What Works
by Tara McMullin
8M ago
This is the 4th installment in Strange New Work, a special series from What Works that explores how speculative fiction can help us imagine new ways of working. Social and professional norms aren't natural or innate. They're political. Those in power exert their preferences on those who aren't, and throughout history, have exerted social, cultural, and physical violence to either force subjugated people to assimilate or drive them out of society altogether. Speculative fiction is rife with tales of imperial conquest and colonization. And it's helpful for identifying the kinds of control and do ..read more
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EP 445: The Time to Change with Jordan Maney & Joanna Cea
What Works
by Tara McMullin
9M ago
This is the third installment in Strange New Work, a series that explores how speculative fiction can help us imagine the future of work.  Today's work happens in tiny slivers of time. And we try to optimize each minute or hour for all its worth. But remarkable work? Well, that takes time. And lots of it. The kinds of work that are central to our evolving economy—care work, maintenance work, creative work—require more time rather than more optimization. In this episode, I consider how viewing work through the long-term lens can help us reimagine projects and systems in a way that's more j ..read more
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This Is Not Advice: Quid Pro No Thank You
What Works
by Tara McMullin
9M ago
This is the 11th edition of This is Not Advice, a "not advice" column for premium subscribers of What Works. In this episode and essay, I tackle the assumed quid pro quo that's at the heart of content marketing. It's that quid pro quo that causes us to see the ideas, information, and stories we share online as a favor that demands something in return—follows, subscriptions, and sales. When we say, "I'm tired of sharing all this stuff for free and not seeing sales in return," we're hinting at the quid pro quo beneath the surface. Enjoy this excerpt from the larger piece or, to hear the whole t ..read more
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EP 444: World-Building a More Sustainable Work Environment with Morgan Harper Nichols
What Works
by Tara McMullin
9M ago
This is the second episode in my new series, "Strange New Work." Artist and writer Morgan Harper Nichols is a world-builder. She says, "Worldbuilding, for me, [is] a form of expansive hope—a necessary imagination for being alive." What is world-building? It's the process of creating secondary, fictional worlds. There's world-building in all sorts of fiction—but especially science fiction, speculative fiction, and fantasy. And world-building as a practice—a necessary imagination—can be a tool for mapping a better work environment, too. Footnotes: Find out more about Morgan Harper Nichols on Su ..read more
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