The Shift Newsletter

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An independent publication about remote work, creativity, and crafting a meaningful life – created by Nicci Talbot.

Remember Y2K? A year of international alarm and predications of widespread chaos as soon as the clock turned to 2000. Computers would malfunction, banking would go down. Families were holed up in bunkers with 12 cans of spam. NBC made a movie about it

I was in Sydney for New Year’s Eve 1999. I went out to watch the fireworks on the harbour, one eye on the clock, wondering if I’d make it home. 

Thanks to the collective effort of programmers and analysts, nothing major happened. The fireworks went off. Sydney celebrated. I got the night bus home and went back to work at Foxtel the next day. The day’s most historic moment was actually the resignation of Russian President Boris Yeltsin. 

There was no Y2K explosion that night, but since then we’ve gone down a digital rabbit hole. 

The internet has revolutionised how we work, rest and play. 

It’s democratised many things. Social media has given us all a voice and callout culture. Free education – why spend a fortune on courses when we have YouTube and podcasts? The net has launched careers and businesses. Meet the influencer economy – the DIY generation who don’t ask for validation, they just do it. Learning on the job and sharing their lessons in public. And they have as much clout, if not more, than mainstream media. 

Journalism runs on a dated, broken business model that relies on advertising, volume, & PPC. That model may be broken, but journalism isn’t. We will always need quality content and storytelling. Digital innovation has forced the industry to be more creative with quality entrepreneurship, long-form writing, and investigative pieces.

Happily, we’re seeing a few alternatives with new media models. Platforms like Ghost, Substack, Patreon, and Kickstarter are empowering creators to write for niche audiences who are willing to pay for curated content that serves them. The last 10 years have seen a flood of content and we can’t keep up. The next step is relying on people we trust to filter good information for us. We’re seeing a newsletter renaissance – reporters setting up their own ‘mini media empire’ and writers have become influencers.

When political leadership is weak, we look to brands to step up – it’s been happening across the world with #BlackLivesMatter. Brands have also become influencers. Netflix, Amazon and Spotify are producing more original content and building niche communities, which makes them less reliant on digital giants. 

I find these new publishing models exciting. There are enormous possibilities for creators to build something progressive that can grow and change, and to collaborate with others.  

This is my next ‘book’.

I’ll be exploring the future of work, creativity, indie business, and the knowledge economy—different ways of living and working, and how to craft a meaningful life. 

If you’re interested in what I’m doing, sign up to be an early adopter of The Shift and help support indie publishing.

I’d love to share your ideas and input.

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By Nicci Talbot

Director, freelance journalist & copywriter

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