How’d You Get So Smart? Expert Advice from E-Newsletters.

I once had a professor who said something to the effect “If you stay one step ahead of everyone else in the room, then you are the Queen!”  which pairs well with another favorite of mine “Always be prepared”.

There is a lot going on  in the online world.  Too much, in fact, to possibly say on top of it all.  One needs help.  Its not conducive to surf all day, but I need to be “in the know” about advancements in web design and technology (to remain Queen of my realm).  I have two primary methods to accomplish this email newsletters and ‘following’ on social media.

Email Newsletters

I’m not sure how it started, wait, actually it started when I had to create online newsletters for work about 10 years ago and I wanted it to be good so I started subscribing to EVERYTHING.  This was before everyone and their dog had a newsletter.  I saw a lot of bad e-newsletters and a few good ones on all kinds of subjects.  I eventually left that job and all the emails that went with it.  Now I get my goodies from the following top-notch sources:

  • Communication Arts Magazine – They have a daily email with some good design tidbits, usually a featured artist and some eye candy.  Sometimes its illustrations, photography, package design, or advertising   But my favorite part is the website of the day; lots of artful and innovative links that I find often are helpful when scoping projects and looking for examples and inspiration.
  • WordPress Beginner – The title is a bit of a misnomer since the articles are often not beginner-level.  They have great short tips on how to add-to or extend WordPress.  Sometimes its things I didn’t know existed, occasionally its an issue I was having right then on a site, and sometimes its stuff I already knew or am not interested in.  I actually replied to one and got a personal reply from the founder/editor so that was pretty cool.
  • PFSK – I think this was a referral from Communication Arts and I got hooked on it.  I really like future forecasting tech and design ideas and this newsletter seems to specialize in that.  Its got a lot of information but the topics repeat for about a week so you don’t need to scan it that carefully each day.
  • Linked In Today – I think that I accidentally subscribed to this one but its had a few interesting leads about thriving in today’s confusing workplace.  I’ve found some good things on time management, telecommuting, inspiring workers and management techniques.
  • Behance 99% – This is a monthly one with good info on productivity, design business tips, the psychology of work and other such goodies.
  • Change Order –  All kinds of good stuff about running a design business.  These don’t come out all that often but its nice when they show up.  The most recent one Design Business by the Numbers: The 80/20 Rule of New Business Development was a recent topic of discussion at work which I got to share.
  • Frog Design’s Design Mind – Inspiring and sometimes overwhelming but always brilliant information on all aspects of advertising, design, education, technology, and the future.
  • Public Domain Review – Yeah, this one is pretty random but they have amazing old photos that are, erm, in the public domain… so its good fodder for websites.
  • – I’m a bit of a home improvement addict and I recently stumbled onto this site in searching for inspiration shots of decomposed granite and boccie ball courts for my back yard.  It ties to facebook so sharing is easy and you can create multiple “ideabooks” for each project and comment on each photo.
  • – Another DIY/Home site that I frequent.  I especially like their office remodels and DIY projects.
  • Various other random eNewsletters: Ted Sacramento, Sac Food Coop, Noisetrade, Sacramento WordPress Meetup, Soil Born Farms, Baby Center, SacPress, Sacramento 365, Craft Beer, Numerous Beer Week eNews, and others that I’m sure I cant remember right now.
  • As for the social media I follow and like about 250 pages so far.  I like to intersperse my friends ramblings with going-on about the world.  I also follow some folks on twitter and get a weekly breakdown delivered to my inbox.