The Monday Media Diet with Alex Daly

On standards manuals, unsubscribing, and Jenny Offill

Alex Daly (AD) is a friend of WITI (from the LeanLuxe Slack) that first made her name with innovative crowdsourcing campaigns. Here, she shares what she’s paying attention to (including one of my recent favorites, Slow Burn). Have a great week. -Colin (CJN)

Tell us about yourself.

I’m the founder of Daly, a comms and marketing consultancy. 

Before that, I ran an agency that launched crowdfunding campaigns for all different types of creative projects, including the Neil Young Ponoplayer, NYCTA graphics manual, Joan Didion documentary, and more. Along the way, I also wrote a book about crowdfunding, The Crowdsourceress.

I am originally from Miami and currently live in Fort Greene with my partner, Hamish Smyth, who is the co-founder of Order, Standards, and Standards Manual. We joke that we are silent partners in each other’s businesses––we both built our companies from scratch at the beginning of our relationship, and have supported one another through thick and thin. 

Describe your media diet. 

In 2020, I unsubscribed from like a thousand newsletters and turned off Twitter. Now, mornings begin with Cheddar’s Need2Know, which feels a little off-brand, but is really digestible. Then I listen to NPR’s Up First. Hamish is a huge audio nerd, and we have a 1970s Bang & Olufsen amplifier in our living room, which I turn on for the BBC around mid-morning, following my coffee. Throughout the rest of the day, I get tidbits of news from our Daly team Slack, my family text thread, and New York Times media alerts. 

I also really like Anti-Racism Daily, my brilliant business consultant’s newsletter, Lean Luxe, The Daily (does anyone else ever find Michael Barbaro’s voice popping in and out of their head?), and another Daly––The Daly News, a publication we launched last year highlighting some of our favorite storytellers. 

From an industry perspective, my colleague Hailey sends out a monthly “~Internet Things~” roundup to our team, which captures everything from social listening trends to new media phenomena. 

What’s the last great book you read?

I really need to start reading books again––instead, I find myself constantly consuming music, podcasts, articles, TV shows, and films. Ask me for a music recco, I’ve got you!

But one book that’s not new but stuck with me was Small Fry, by Lisa Brennan-Jobs. It was honest and vulnerable—a nuanced exploration of a complex father-daughter relationship. 

What are you reading now?

Note to self: read more books! I’m going to pivot here, because I have been slacking in the books department, and highlight a podcast I just finished: Slow Burn’s The Road to Iraq. You probably remember Slow Burn from the juicy Clinton Impeachment series (a must listen, too!). This one isn’t as juicy, but it’s thorough and reinforces the mess we got ourselves into by invading Iraq. I was particularly fascinated by the storyline focused on the media’s embroilment in the war. Remember Judith Miller? 

What’s your reading strategy when you pick up a print copy of your favorite publication?

Well, it used to be taking my favorite magazine with me on the Subway, but since we are all still working from home, I enjoy cozying up on the couch, listening to music, and reading some fun-looking articles. 

Who should everyone be reading that they’re not?

I have to thank our wonderful Partner & Director Ally Bruschi, who is very in the know about who to read right now

She said: “In the summer, I tend to gravitate towards short, snappy, engrossing fiction, and there are two authors I keep coming back to Jenny Offill—whose Dept. of Speculation once sent me into a spiral about the kind of writer I wish I could be—and Samanta Schweblin—whose fantastic novels and short stories like Fever Dream, Mouthful of Birds, and Little Eyes strike the perfect balance between surreal and relatable; eerie and fantastic.

I’ve devoured each of these books many times, and I promise they only get better with each read.”

What is the best non-famous app you love on your phone? 

Citymapper! Or is it famous?

Plane or train?

Plane, because I find myself in Miami twice a month, and after driving there during Covid, I prefer the more convenient mode of transport, now that it is safe. But I love trains, and we used to project these videos of trains traveling through Norway on our living room wall at parties. 

What is one place everyone should visit?

Tokyo. And when you go there, you have to try the world’s best pizza. Just trust.

Tell us the story of a rabbit hole you fell deep into. 

I usually fall down a rabbit hole when I am particularly obsessed with a song or movie. Here is a recent one: This weekend, I found myself listening over and over again to Minnie Ripperton’s beautiful Les Fleurs, and then I proceeded to Google Town. I found out that Ripperton passed away too young, and left a lovely anthology of music behind her (we listened to a bunch of it, and purchased “Come to My Garden” on vinyl). 

I then discovered that Ripperton was Maya Rudolph’s mom, which probably has something to do with Maya’s impeccable singing skills––in addition to being an incredible entertainer. But did you know that Maya Rudolph is also Paul Thomas Anderson’s partner? This was a super fun part of the internet search––most specifically The Cut’s hilarious fantasy sequence about the couple’s relationship: 

“Seeing Phantom Thread, one of the wildest relationship movies of all time, only enhanced my curiosity about the pair. PTA claims that he got the idea for the movie when he was sick and Maya was caring for him, and he began to muse about what it would be like to remain in such a state. As he told Rolling Stone: ‘She is looking at me with such care and tenderness … wouldn’t it suit her to keep me sick in this state?’ So, like: What kind of weird BDSM stuff are these two into? We know that PTA is clearly a real Reynolds Woodcock (with a dash of Daniel Plainview), but to what extent is Maya an Alma? (Or is she more of a Cyril, as in, Don’t pick a fight with me because you will lose, I’ll go right through you and you’ll end up on the floor?!) What is Maya’s tactic for reining Paul in when he gets too deep into the film-boy nerd zone? Does she know her way around a patch of fungi?”

You’re welcome.

Thanks for reading,

Noah (NRB) & Colin (CJN) & Alex

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