Tag Archives: the awesome file

The March Edition Of The Awesome File.

Every month, I put together a list of 10 things to inspire you to do more awesome work. (Work results may vary.)

Let’s get into it:

1. That Awesome Photo (at top)

DC in the morning after a full moon. Amazing shot.

2. This Awesome Letter

This is the letter Tim Burton sent to Disney when he was 18, trying to get advice about a cartoon he’d done. It’s an awesome moment from an artist who was about to do big things.

3. This Awesome Desk

This is the desk everyone is going to be asking for in 2013.

4. This Amazing Old Subway Poster

It was part of a series of awesome posters for the London Underground.

5. This Awesome Rap Song

Never change, Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman.

6. This Awesome Reddit Thread.

A worthy, awesome question: If someone gave you the entirety of Wikipedia from 100 years in the future for only 10 minutes, what would you read?

7. This Awesome Taylor Swift Remix

The Internet is awesome, sometimes.

8. This Awesome Moment

These Atlantic City firemen got sworn in on an iPad. It’s the future.

9. This Awesome Lessons

Here’s 14 lessons from a Wall Street guy’s 80 years on this planet. Really good stuff.

10. This Awesome James Bond Remix

50 years of Bond in 4 minutes. AWESOME.

The February Edition of The Awesome File.

Every month — except last month, when I forgot (sorry) — I put together a list of 10 things to inspire you to do more awesome work. (Results may vary.)

Inside this month’s Awesome File: Jerry Seinfeld appears on a rap album! Parody songs about sex with ducks! Strategies for getting on “The Price is Right”!

Let’s get into it:

1. This Awesome Tumblr

I’m kicking myself for not thinking of this myself: The Kanye West Wing, a Tumblr that mashes up Kanye lyrics with “West Wing” screencaps. It’s excellent.

2. This Awesome (And Unlikely) Rap Mashup

Jerry Seinfeld is going to appear on a mixtape for DC rapper Wale. (Wale is the man responsible for a previous mixtape called “The Mixtape About Nothing.”) If these two men can work together, anything is possible.

3. This Awesome Pop Mashup

It’s what happens when Third Eye Blind meets Carly Rae Jepsen. Don’t hate.

4. This Awesome Listicle

From my new workplace: 14 Things That Look Like Jack Lew’s Signature. It is, by far, the best thing you will read about the Treasury Department all year.

5. This Awesome Parody

It’s called “Sex With Ducks.” It’s better seen than explained. Just watch:

6. This Awesome Website

It’s called First World Problems. It’s a website devoted to solving all of your favorite First World Problems. It also falls into the ‘Things I Wish I’d Thought Of’ category.

7. This Awesome High Five

It’s an early contender for Best High Five of 2013.

8. This Surprisingly Awesome News Graphic

Turns out you can see the changing face of the American economy from space. Really! This was unexpectedly cool.

9. This Awesome, Foolproof System For Getting On ‘The Price Is Right’

This only confirms my undying desire to appear on the show. And play Plinko. Isn’t that what all of us really want out of life?

10. This Awesome Story

One of the best stories you’ll hear all year. Just take five minutes and watch. It’s truly awesome:

That’s all for this month. Go make something awesome in February!

The December Edition of The Awesome File.

Every month, I put together a list of 10 things to inspire you to do better work. This is The Awesome File.

Inside this month’s Awesome File: “Gilligan’s Island” meets Led Zeppelin! Teleportation! Making Your Bed! Solitude!

1. UNDERSTAND: How ‘New York’ Got That Amazing Cover Photo.

It was only a few weeks ago that Hurricane Sandy came and knocked out power to half of New York. That led to an amazing magazine cover (see top). The photographer who took the photo explains how he pulled off the shot. It’s an excellent story.

2. QUESTION: The Rhetorical Question Gets a Workout.

Speaking of New York: Here’s the Guy Fieri food review everyone was talking about last month. It was written entirely with rhetorical questions. And it reminded me a lot of “The Interrogative Mood,” by Padgett Powell. That’s a novel written entirely in rhetorical questions, too. It’s definitely an interesting — or maybe “unusual” is the better word — kind of read. And it’s proof that a novel doesn’t have to be what you always thought it could/should be.

3. SMILE: The Oatmeal’s Thoughts For People Who Make Stuff.

And here’s something for Guy Fieri — and the rest of us who make stuff — to keep in mind. The Internet is a wonderful place. It is also terrifying place. Navigating it isn’t easy. So The Oatmeal has some truly wise words for those of us who make things on the web.

4. RE-READ: Dustin Curtis’ ‘Do.’

Once you’re done with that, consider these words to live by. It’s as good a manifesto as you’ll see all month.

5. FREAK OUT: We Achieved Teleportation.

So work’s getting hard this week? Consider this: We just achieved teleportation. Yeah, that’s right: TELEPORTATION. When you start complaining about your work, just remember: You didn’t have to solve the problem of freaking teleportation.

6. READ: Alone Together, Again.

I loved this, too. It’s an essay about why we make stuff on the web — and how much we rely on the web when life gets strange.

7. WATCH: A Veteran’s Day Sacrifice.

And here’s something inspiring: It’s a Veteran’s Day story from Nashville. Just watch.

8. CONSIDER: Making Your Bed Matters.

This one changed my habits last month: It’s a post arguing that those who make their beds are more responsible. Read and consider. (And then go make your bed. It’s okay. I can wait.)

9. LEARN: Why The Price of Coke Didn’t Change for 70 Years.

Here’s something a bit lighter: An explanation of why Coke cost a nickel for decades, even as all other prices rose. I can’t quite explain why this was so fascinating — but it was.

10. LISTEN: Steve Poltz’s ‘Stairway’/’Gilligan’ Mash-Up.

And then here’s something really weird: It’s a mash-up of Zeppelin and the “Gilligan’s Island” theme. Some of the best stuff doesn’t always seem like it goes together — but then you see/hear it together, and sure enough, it does. And here, Poltz pulls it off.

Now go out there and do some great work this month.

The November Edition of The Awesome File.

Every month, I put together a list of 10 things to inspire you to do better work. This is The Awesome File.

Inside this month’s Awesome File: Advice! Struggle! Hurricane photo porn! That dude from ‘Inception’ covering Lady Gaga!

1. LEARN: From Jack Donaghy.

If you’re a ’30 Rock’ fan, you already know that Jack Donaghy’s one of the best characters on TV. But it turns out that he’s also offered up some pretty good business advice over the years. These lessons in business management are pretty excellent.

2. REMEMBER: ‘Note to My 25-Year-Old Self.’

And here’s some advice from the real world. It’s from Evonne Benedict, a journalist out in Seattle. She’s got 15 pieces of advice for herself at age 25. I think no. 14 — “Listen. Ordinary people have extraordinary stories if you take the time to listen to them.” — is especially fantastic.

3. READ: ‘The Struggle.

But even if you’ve got that advice in mind, you’ll need to remember something else: It won’t be easy to do great work. Ben Horowitz, an entrepreneur and VC, explains why in this really excellent post, “The Struggle.”

4. WATCH: Derrick Rose Returns.

If you do fight through the struggle, remember that you’re going to get something in return: Your very own comeback story. Here’s Derrick Rose’s, for his return to the Chicago Bulls. It’s pretty epic.

5. CONSIDER: The Sabbatical.

People who do the work — you, included — work damn hard. You hustle. You push. You create.

But oftentimes, you don’t spend enough time stepping back from the work to consider the present — and the future.

Here’s a post that got me thinking: “The Career Value Of A ‘Pointless’ Sabbatical.” It’s a really good example of how time off can be the restart button you need.

6. USE: This Awesome New Conference Call System.

And speaking of bad segues: Once you start working on that awesome new thing, you might have some other team members to work with. Consider using Speek for your conference calls. It’s awesome, it’s free and it’s ridiculously easy to use. It’s changed the way I think about conference calls.

7. STARE: These ‘Star Wars’ Posters.

I’m blown away by how gorgeous these “Star Wars” posters are. They’re by Olly Moss, and they’re just amazing. Why can’t the movies companies themselves make posters this amazing?

8. SCROLL: Through These Hurricane Sandy Photos.

I love a good Internet hack, and this one was really good: Instacane, a website for Instagram photos of Hurricane Sandy. Definitely worth a few minutes to scroll back through the storm that was.

9. WAIT, WHAT?: Dan Rather Brought Us The First Radar Image of a Hurricane.

This is pretty cool: Turns out that it’s Dan Rather who brought the first ever radar image of a hurricane to TV viewers, way back in 1961. It was one of his big breaks as a TV reporter.

10. !!!: Joseph Gordon-Levitt Sings ‘Bad Romance’

Nothing more to say about this. Rock out, and make some awesome happen this month.

That photo at top comes via here.

The October Edition of The Awesome File.

Every month, I put together a list of 10 things to inspire you to do better work. This is The Awesome File.

Inside this month’s Awesome File: Lessons from NYC! Adorable puppies! Rock and Roll! And Richard Freaking Branson!

1. READ: ‘Fifty Important Lessons New York City Taught Me’

This was a fantastic read on things the amazing things in life. It features lessons like:

-If You Don’t Care, No One Will
-You Can Only Control What You Do
-There Are All Kinds Of Thanksgivings
-Small Is Magnificent

Read it, and then read it again.

2. SMILE: Puppstream.me

This feels like a website that should have happened a long time ahead: Puppystream, an endless display of adorable photos of puppies. If you’re in a bad mood, go to this site and spend 20 seconds there. You’ll feel better.

3. LOVE: Richard Brason, Flight Attendant.

Here’s Richard Branson serving drinks on a Virgin American flight. As a reminder: Virgin America is the airline owned by Richard Branson.

And as a corollary: This interview from the same flight with Branson, in which the guy who owns several bazillion dollars worth of airlines can’t remember the word “conveyor belt.”

4. READ: ‘Boys Will Be Boys’

Speaking of ridiculousness: This behind-the-scenes look at the 1990s Dallas Cowboys reveals that life in the NFL is absolutely insane. Fighting, drugs, hookers, limos — and that’s just Super Bowl XXX.

5. ENJOY THE AWESOME: Snoop Dogg on ‘Price is Right’

Also on the note of absurdity: Snoop Dogg was a guest host on “The Price is Right” a few weeks back, and him hugging this Showcase Showdown winner was absolutely epic.

6. LOVE: Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segel sing ‘Les Mis’

Let’s keep the awesome rolling: The “How I Met Your Mother” team goes Broadway.

7. READ: ‘Did Blowing into Nintendo Cartridges Really Help?’

And speaking of bad segues: This was a fantastic piece of reporting.

(Actually, on a sad note: it’s more thorough than a lot of the real news reports you’ll see in many publications.)

8. LEARN: Why Politicians Talk The Way They Do

I also really enjoyed this look at the origins of our political speech.Who knew that that’s why Bubba was such a good speaker?

9. SEE: This NYT Magazine Cover

This photo from Cuba was absolutely mesmerizing. (The article attached to it wasn’t bad either.)

10. ROCK ON: Led Zeppelin + Foo Fighters

Let’s close this out the right way: With Foo Fighters and Led Zeppelin playing “Rock and Roll” for 80,000 screaming fans in London.

Turn it up, and let the awesome happen this month:

That fake eCard at top comes via.

The September Edition of The Awesome File.


Every month, I put together a list of 10 things to inspire you to do better work. This is The Awesome File.

Inside this month’s Awesome File: Reality checks! Great stories! Serendipity! And a guide to getting $15,000 in free travel!

Read on:

1. READ: ‘Do Not Ask What Good We Do.’

I’ll start this month’s Awesome File with a fantastic, topical — but slightly depressing read. It’s called Do Not Ask What Good We Do, and it’s an inside look at the House of Representatives from 2010 to 2012. The reporting takes readers inside the screwed up world of Congress, where our elected officials are too busy fighting to actually get anything done. Read it and you’ll realize: Our political system really needs a kick in the pants.

2. CONSIDER: ‘Why You Can’t Be Anything You Want To Be’

Maybe a blog post like this could wake Congress up. “Why You Can’t Be Anything You Want To Be” is a call to action. Simply, it says:

We started to emphasize passion over discipline. Dreaming over doing. Positivity over pragmatism. And the end result was we became people convinced we get to do whatever we want, even if nobody wants it and even if we’re not particularly qualified to do it.

And then it goes on to explain what our priorities really should be. (A hint: Building and doing come first.) Read it and get inspired.

3. LEARN: ‘The Writing Class You Never Had’

This also might help. It’s a fantastic primer on how to write — the right way. When you’re doing it right, you’re starting too soon, you’re getting in over you’re head, and you’re figuring it out as you go. Great writing, you’ll learn, starts with screwing things up.

4. WATCH: A Great Product Pitch

When you learn how to write well, you’ll start to tell great stories. And anyone can tell great stories. Here’s proof: This is the product video for Do, a new productivity app. It’s as good — and as funny — a story as you’ll see all day.

5. REINVENT: Reworking Your Resume

Great writing and storytelling can come in so many forms, I believe. It can come in the form of books or blogs or product videos — or even in the form of a great resume. 99U shows off a few highly original and unusual resumes that tell a great story. How do you get hired in this economy? Tell a great story and present it in a way that no employer can forget.

6. GET OUT THERE: ‘Manufacturing Serendipity’

It won’t hurt, either, to get out and do some networking. The great Rand Fishkin explains how networking really works in this blog post. I can vouch for his methods myself. Get out, meet a lot of people, listen well and connect often. Repeat over and over. Eventually, if you’re doing awesome work, you’ll start to meet the people who can help get you over the top.

7. LISTEN: To Yourself, Especially

And this advice is also crucial: Listen to yourself.

“‘What should I be doing now?’ is a question I get a lot from people in their 20s. The answer is that you should be respecting yourself as you learn about yourself. You should give yourself the space to do anything and then look closely to see what you enjoy. You do not need to get paid for what you enjoy, but you need to find a way to commit to what you enjoy, and then use that as a foundation to grow your adult life.”

Amen to that.

8. HUSTLE: The Burger Delivery Website

Your 20s are also a fantastic time to hustle. Here’s my favorite recent example of hustle: It’s a website that will deliver a burger to anyone in San Francisco for only $10. It uses existing tools and a cheap website to deliver a really cool and simple product idea. I love this, and I think more people should steal an idea like this.

9. TRAVEL: The Credit Card Challenge

Speaking of hustle: Chris Guillebeau is a notorious for refusing to conform to traditional ideas. This month, he’s posted his Frequent Flyer Challenge, in which he’s applying to dozens of credit cards to earn $15,000 in free travel. And once you’ve gotten those miles, consider flying into these airports. Just make sure you get the perfect seat for landing.

10. STAND UP: Soledad O’Brien’s Awesome Interview

I close The Awesome File with this: a CNN interview from Soledad O’Brien in which she commits a seriously awesome act of journalism on air. Just watch.

That’s it for this month’s The Awesome File. Got something you’d like to share for next month’s edition? Tweet at me with your suggestions.

That awesome photo at top comes via Javier Delgado.

The August Edition of The Awesome File.

Last month, I published the first edition of The Awesome File, a list of 10 awesome things that you should make time for each month.(1) It’s August, and that means The Awesome File is back, with 10 new awesome things for your month ahead.

Inside this month’s installment of The Awesome File: Stories of Olympic awesomeness! Feats of tremendous hustle! And sexual decadence!

Read on — and be awesome this month:

1. READ: Joe Posnanski on Rulon Gardner

Like everyone else, I’ve been watching a lot of the Olympics lately. To keep you in the spirit of the Games, here’s the craziest Olympics story you’ll ever read. (If you’ve never seen the event that inspired that story, you can watch it here.)

2. PAUSE: Nike’s Find Your Greatness Ads

My personal favorite part of the Olympics? The ads. Per usual, Nike’s produced a whopper. This one’s about all the Londons and all the greatness in the world:

3. HUSTLE: Here’s How Hard You Have To Work To Make Things Happen

And now that you’re inspired, here are three amazing tales of hustle. The first is a basement-to-breakthrough kind of story. The second is a tale of full on hustle. And the third is about an awesome portfolio site that got big — and rightfully so. Inspiring stories, all.

4. APPLY: The New York Public Library’s Wikipedian-in-Chief opening

And while you’re thinking about work, here’s something you don’t see every day: A job opening involving Wikipedia. It’s unpaid, yes, but doesn’t the thought of putting the words “Wikipedian-In-Chief” on your resume make you want to apply just a little?

5. WATCH: Charlie LeDuff Golf Across Detroit

Great things start with baby steps, not big leaps. And here’s Charlie LeDuff proving that by golfing across Detroit. One man, 18 miles, 2,575 strokes — and one great story.

6. CONSIDER: Robin Sloan’s Javascript-Based Book Review

Here’s something I’ve been asking a lot lately: Why do we do things the way we’ve always done them? Mostly, this has involved me digging into a more specific question: Why do we tell stories the way we’ve always told stories?

And then I see something new and awesome, and I get all excited. Per evidence, I would like to submit this book review by Robin Sloan. You have never seen a book review quite like this before.

7. READ: “Dear American Airlines,” by Jonathan Miles

On that note: You also probably haven’t seen a novel quite like this before. It’s called “Dear American Airlines: A Novel.” It’s the story of one man’s miserable trip through O’Hare International, and anyone who’s flown to Chicago knows what this guy’s talking about.

8. LOOK: National Geographic’s Traveler Photo Contest 2012

Of course, once you get outside of the airport, you might find some amazing things, too. Like these fantastic, reader-submitted photos from trips abroad.

9. LAUGH: “One Bed, Two Girls, Three Bottles of Wine,” by Hayes Carll

Apropos of nothing: One day, I want to write a story as good as this. The song title alone is worth the price of admission.

10. LOVE: “How to Manage Your Time”

Simple things can be powerful things. A simple story, a finite focus — that’s often what’s at the root of great work.

Here’s proof, from the awesome Amber Rae:

If that’s not the kick in the pants you need to start focusing on great work, I’m not sure what’ll do the job.

That’s it for this month’s The Awesome File. Got something you’d like to share for next month’s edition. Tweet at me with your suggestions.

  1. And that I hope will inspire you to do great work.

The July Edition of The Awesome File.

The Awesome File, a collection of awesome stuff. Collected by Dan Oshinsky.

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know already: I’m a big fan of awesome work. But doing the work isn’t easy. It requires persistence, patience, luck, hustle — and a whole lot of inspiration.

I’d like to help connect you to some of the things on the web that inspire me. Maybe they’ll spark something in you, too.

Every month, I’m going to add to something I’m calling “The Awesome File.” Today’s your first filing.

So: Here are 10 completely awesome things that you should really make time for this month:

1. READ: Derek Sivers’ “Anything You Want

It’s only 90 pages, which means that you could finish the entire thing over a long lunch. But savor “Anything You Want.” It’s not as much a business book as a manifesto for creating things that matter. If you’re looking for the courage to take a small step, start here.

2. READ: “Waking Up Full of Awesome”

If you’re just looking for a swift kick in the pants, read “Waking Up Full of Awesome.” In 216 words, it’s a reminder to wake up tomorrow ready for everything the world has.

3. WATCH: “Her Morning Elegance” by Oren Lavie

As cool a stop-motion video as you’ll ever see. It’s all kinds of whimsy. What I love most is the story that gets told in the video. A friend once told me that we all love stories when we’re 6, and we all love stories when we’re 60. But sometimes as you get older, you need a reminder.

Let this serve as your reminder:

4. LISTEN: Daytrotter

I’ve been a huge fan of this site for years, and their recent transition to a subscription site has been superb. For $2 per month, you get (nearly) infinite live recordings from all sorts of bands, from the established (Counting Crows) to the up-and-coming (The Lumineers.) Five or six bands record new sessions for the site every single day. Make your earbuds happy and get yourself a subscription.

5. LOOK: Once Magazine

If you’ve got an iPad, get a copy of this into your hands. If Ansel Adams, Annie Leibovitz and National Geographic had a baby, it’d probably look a lot like this. It’s a magazine full of awesome stories presented beautifully.

6. PAUSE: “Ram,” from CBS Sunday Morning

Every Sunday, at the end of his newsmagazine, Charles Osgood brings viewers 60 seconds of silence from somewhere spectacular. Here’s 60 seconds of sky, sound — and one giant ram:

7. SMILE: “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Ben Rector

Ben Rector does a one-man cover of Whitney Houston’s classic. It is supremely catchy. You will enjoy it. You will almost certainly start dancing.

Stop reading and go click play:

8. CONSIDER: Alarm Clocks Are Evil

“The snooze button is a weapon in the battle between the selves we’d like to be and the selves we actually are.” This is an excellent read on alarm clocks — the enemy of hustle. This month, try to heed its warning.

9. LAUGH: Nick Thune.

Possibly the only comedy bit ever that includes jokes about both pregnancy and acute angles. Insanely clever and very funny:

10. LOVE: A manifesto.

I don’t know how to get my hands on a larger version of this, but if it’s possible, I want it. These are words to live by.

That’s all for this month’s edition of the Awesome File. Got something to submit for August’s edition? Tweet me at @danoshinsky with your suggestions.

Photo of that crazy lightbulb at top via @jdp124.