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Somewhat Frank

Dec 20, 2019

Frank Gruber and co-host John Guidos talk about whether they could live without email and how society is changing with the elimination of the landline and a “home phone.” The discussion was loosely based on the latest newsletter which is shared below.

I saw a story recently about Away Luggage and how they recently ousted their co-founder and CEO Steph Korey over her use of the communication tool Slack to intimidate employees. Away Luggage employees don’t use email, limiting communications to Slack’s public channels. While Slack does offer direct message functionality, the company, like others, utilizes mostly public channels to offer a more transparent work environment – which unfortunately made public intimidation possible (or… fortunately exposed bad behavior that might otherwise have been hidden?). This is not the first company to eliminate email. For example, Automattic, the company behind web blogging platform WordPress, was one of the earliest to embrace Slack as a primary communication tool. Could you run a business, or your life, without email? 

This question made me think about how communication has evolved over the years. The day of the central “home phone” is something of the past. But the home landline taught me how to answer a phone (not knowing who was on the other end), speak to people of all ages, and communicate on others’ behalf. So, I’m curious if those skills are no longer being acquired by younger people. This brings a whole new reason for having a landline to light. The Atlantic recently dug a little deeper into this topic of the home landline which also forms a spontaneous connection to a household. 

Celebrating People in My Network
—Laurie Segall on the launch of Dot Dot Dot Media.
—Lo Toney raised $42M fund to invest in startups at Plexo Capital. 
—Michael Chasen, the CEO of PrecisionHawk, a Raleigh, N.C.-based provider of drone technology for the enterprise, on raising $32M in funding.
—Jason Fudin, co-founder and CEO of WhyHotel, which operates 100 to 250 room pop-up hotels with 24/7 on-site staff in newly built, luxury apartment buildings, on raising a $20M Series B of funding
—Justyn Howard and the team of Chicago-based SproutSocial on their recent IPO
—Cody Bardo and the rest of the Trust & Will team for raising a $6M Series A round of funding with the goal of bringing estate planning To every family in America.
—Mike Levins on jumping off the entrepreneurial diving board after a few decades in the corporate insurance world. I’m excited about his startup journey!

Upcoming Events
I am going to CES 2020 in early January so let me know if you’ll be in Las Vegas and would like to connect. Additionally, we’re in the process of planning our annual SXSW 2020 events taking place in early March in Austin, Texas. If you’re looking to do something at SXSW and need assistance, or if you’d like to get involved in supporting our efforts let me know

The eight-hour workday was set over 100 years ago, does it still stand up?
The Eight-Hour Workday Is a Counterproductive Lie

The force?
A ‘no-brainer Nobel Prize’: Hungarian scientists may have found a fifth force of nature

Could physics change forever?
Researchers at CERN break “The Speed of Light”

This could have saved Steve Jobs.
Israeli scientists find a way to treat pancreatic cancer in 14 days

Largest IPO ever for the company that supplies 10% of the world’s oil
Saudi Aramco prices shares at top of the range in the world’s biggest IPO

Not good.
Oceans are running out of Oxygen

If plants could talk… well it appears they can and we just don’t understand their language.
Recordings reveal that plants make ultrasonic squeals when stressed

Blue Bottle going a bold green!
Bring your mug: Some Blue Bottles will no longer use plastic or paper cups

This is extremely disturbing.
I’m a 37-Year-Old Mom & I Spent Seven Days Online as an 11-Year-Old Girl. Here’s What I Learned.

What do you think? It seems to be missing a company or two, especially one that rhymes with Gruber.
The 12 Most Influential Startups of the Decade

For increasing use as a singular pronoun for those who identify outside the gender binary…
‘They’ is the 2019 Word of the Year

Aside from getting into the holiday spirit with my favorite holiday playlist, I had a chance to listen to Elnaz Sarraf talk about her startup ROYBI which was just named one of TIME Magazine’s best inventions of 2019.

Last week, I got a chance to watch the annual lighting of the Christmas Prelude tree in Kennebunkport, Maine. It was snowing and chilly but nothing a little hot cocoa couldn’t help. If you’re stuck inside and looking for a new holiday movie to watch that fun for the whole family, you might want to give the new Disney+ original Noelle a try. 

‘Tis the season for holiday gifts – here are a handful of gift ideas for all ages this holiday season. I hope it helps you finish out your holiday shopping if you need ideas. If you’re looking for more holiday gift ideas, you might find our 2019 holiday gift guide interesting. 
1.) Star Wars Instant Pot – It’s the classic instant pot pressure cooker, now dressed up like a Star Wars character.
2.) Baby Yoda – If you’ve been watching The Mandalorian on DisneyPlus then you know what I’m talking about.
3.) Baby Shark – Have a little one in your life? This might be a fun gift — if it doesn’t drive you bonkers from that catchy song.
4.) Weighted Blanket – They are all the rage this year. Sleep better with a weighted blanket.
5.) Roku Streaming Stick – Turn your TV into a smart TV even while traveling. 
6.) KeySmart Pro – Organize those keys, add Tile so you don’t lose them and more.
7.) Kindle Whitepaper – Everyone reads, and this makes it easy even while in the pool as it’s waterproof.
8.) Travel Packing Cubes – Stay organized while traveling.
9.) Smartwool Socks – Who doesn’t like warm and dry feet?
10.) Yeti gear – Mugs, tumblers, or ramblers could be great gifts – since just about everyone drinks liquids.

I hope you have a happy holiday season!

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