2020-06-15 3 min read


Thanks to everyone who took us up on our donation matching offer from last week; together we donated $20k in short order. We’ll be announcing more on the topic of structural inequality soon.



Notes, 2020-06-15.

The line between work and life is blurring, with the largest effects being felt by those working on problems in the physical world. I keep hearing claims that we have now proven remote work is possible - or even inevitable - but I have yet to hear it from someone building something tangible.

I’ve personally shipped and received many prototypes in the past few months, and with each transaction I feel an inefficiency and worry that some sliver of technical understanding is being lost. Even the best documentation can’t beat working with someone side by side, and the problems compound as you approach a product launch. As one reader described it, “for hardware, the system integration work is where the magic happens.” I work on a product the size of a phone booth; shipping it around once it’s all put together just isn’t practical.

There’s something else missing as well. As much as we pride ourselves on what we make, who we make it with is equally as important. Even for things we make on our own, the feedback we get from others is empowering. While hard to measure, I think this will be the greatest detriment of remote work: The lack of spontaneous interaction and camaraderie within a company as a whole.

So this week, I encourage you to put some time on your calendar with someone to share what you’re working on and what you’re going through. I think you’ll both appreciate it.

-Sean Kelley

The most clicked link from last week's issue (~14% of opens) was The Day Coffee Stopped Working.

Planning & Strategy.

Making & Manufacturing.

Maintenance, Repair & Operations.

Distribution & Logistics.

  • A good piece on how COVID-19 is affecting & may continue to affect last-mile logistics. I recently went to a DHL center in-person to retrieve a package because they insisted that my office was closed, and it would appear that centralized pickup may be ascendant.
  • I was at an airport a month ago and saw a plane take off with no one but the crew. Airlines are still tuning their schedules, causing some flights to be empty while some are packed. On the bright side, I don’t think we’ll see standing airplane seats anytime soon.

Inspection, Testing & Analysis.


1987: 300,000 People Flatten the Golden Gate Bridge.

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