Running a business has its ups and downs. The successes are heightened because they are your own, but the corollary is that the low points feel particularly personal. This week I had disappointing news on two projects within about half an hour of each other—a blow even if I concluded after some reflection that I wouldn’t have done anything differently on either.

Investor Josh Brown explains the difference between the stock market and the economy using a metaphor originated by fund manager Ralph Wagner, which came to mind as I processed the news:

There’s an excitable dog on a very long leash in New York City, darting randomly in every direction. The dog’s owner is walking from Columbus Circle, through Central Park, to the Metropolitan Museum. At any one moment, there is no predicting which way the pooch will lurch. But in the long run, you know he’s heading northeast at an average speed of three miles per hour. What is astonishing is that almost all of the dog watchers, big and small, seem to have their eye on the dog, and not the owner.

My mood at the end of the week was definitely like the dog at one extremity of the leash, and I’ve been trying to focus instead on the overall direction of travel.


I had to do some research this week on publishing market trends, and as I have had to look at the same figures for several projects, I thought it would be useful to start compiling and publishing data here. My discovery of the week was that Jekyll can compile HTML tables from CSV data. I can’t say how much I love this feature: it’s really useful to be able to use the same format and workflow for website content and to store data for spreadsheets and charts. This page is a work-in-progress, but it shows the outputs from this process. Now I just need to find a good charting solution.


Currently reading: A Memory Called Empire, The Economics and Financing of Media Companies.