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Maps

I gave directions to two different people today. They both asked me how to get to restaurants on the same block as them, despite the fact that they had smart devices in their hands. I guess Google Maps couldn’t compare to the merits of Random College Student wearing Headphones (that’s me). This is especially notable for me, since I’ve given wrong directions at least three times to strangers and imagine that those poor souls still wander aimlessly, trying to take a left that doesn’t exist. 

For my 18th birthday, my family traveled to New York City. The Large Apple! It was a fun trip. I don’t remember a whole lot of specifics of our vacation, other than the fact that it was hot and that I wore some questionable outfits. However, my main memory of the trip was the ongoing process in which my brother would lead us several blocks in one direction before realizing that we had been going the wrong way for 5 minutes. It turned out that the GPS signal on our phones was completely unreliable because of many tall buildings. It was the most incredible thing — we had become so accustomed to being able to follow Google Maps’s GPS data that we didn’t really pay that much attention to the streets or directions. We were like a group of Kevin McCallisters: Lost in New York, except with the entirety of humanity’s knowledge at our fingertips.

When I moved to New York 3 years later for the summer, I had learned my lesson. I had discovered that I could look at a map, see what cross streets my destination was on, and walk there by looking at the street numbers! I felt like Sacagawea every time I plotted my course from my basement apartment to the local pizza joint for my 14th $3 slice that week. Even now, when I think about my time in New York, a lot of my memories are tied to what my apartment looked like on the map, relative to the other landmarks I was used to. I see both the green rectangle on the map, as well as Madison Square Park and the tiny details, like the Shake Shack and the weirdos who looked just like their ugly dogs.

We get to hear a lot about technology changing our lives, but I haven’t heard much about how now is the first time in history that every single person is regularly looking at maps and has a top-down view of what the world around them looks like. In the past, people would know how to get places, but not necessarily have this clear understanding about where things were relative to each other. I wonder how this development in map usage changes how we think about movement and locations and how they could affect our perceptions about transportation. Personally, I question if my memories of different places would vary based on the maps that I looked at. Would I think about New York City differently if I was using a paper map, or worse, Apple Maps? 
Drops of the Week
where I *drop* recommendations of cool things this week
Article
“Changing your perspective on productivity” by Minda Honey - cool perspective about how the current view of productivity could be improved.
Film
The Witch - terrifying and incredible film about the supernatural in Puritan New England. It’s attention to detail is incredible.
Playlist
Folk Punjabi - compilation of Folk Punjabi songs that are a whole lot of fun!
Thanks so much for reading! If you have any comments/concerns or fan/hate mail for me, you know how to reach me (links below). 

Love,
Nikhil

How to Start a Newsletter

One of my beloved readers, Lulu, asked me if I had any advice about starting a newsletter, so I decided to write about it.

I started Splash in the July of 2017 after finishing a 100 day project. I wanted to find a new project that would make me consistently write and was inspired by my friend’s desire to start a newsletter. For projects like a newsletter, the best way to start is to just start. I avoided doing research about the best platforms or processes to make a newsletter. Knowing me, I would spend weeks researching endlessly before ultimately losing steam on the project and giving up.

I went ahead and signed up for Mailchimp (support local business!) because it was the only platform I knew about. I chose the first name that came to mind (Splash), made a terrible logo in illustrator by warping some text, and decided on a color scheme by stealing Pantone’s 2016 Color of the Year. My structure was simple: I wanted to write and I wanted to share music. This led to my familiar structure of an essay followed by a few links that interested me. From week to week, I slowly started to find a voice for myself, telling stories about my life, coloring them with humor and jokes.

Of course, staying consistent isn’t easy. I forced myself to be consistent for a fairly long time before I realized that giving myself leeway could result in better writing. Even if creativity is a muscle, editing is not. If I found myself so busy that I started writing my newsletter at 10AM on a Thursday - just an hour before my newsletter was supposed to go out - it was unlikely that I would have the time and energy to edit my raw material into something worth sharing. I decided to start cutting myself some slack.

There are a million reasons why I love writing my newsletter. There’s the validation from my family that I’m a good writer and the ease of staying in contact with people who live far away. However, at the end of the day, I write these newsletters for myself as a way to keep myself from staying stagnant. Each newsletter is both a record of my life and an opportunity to improve as a writer. After high school, I realized that the only person I could trust to improve my writing skills was myself. I no longer had teachers who would criticize my weak rhetoric and identify my comma splices. 

That’s what keeps me going. Each person has their own reason for starting and running a newsletter. I aim to continuously grow as a writer. So if you want to start a newsletter, I have to ask you a single thing — why?
Drops of the Week
where I *drop* recommendations of cool things this week
Article
"Film Dialogue from 2,000 screenplays, Broken Down by Gender and Age" by Hannah Anderson and Matt Daniels - great data visualization showing off the disparity in dialogue between men and women on screen.
Book
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson - once you get past the excessive profanity and bothersome tone, this book provides a lot of valuable ideas about the importance of developing good values to guide your life. Manson went through a strange life, but we can learn from his mistakes in an interesting way.
Album
Creamy - fun playlist combining a variety of genres that result in some easy listening.
Thanks so much for reading! If you have any comments/concerns or fan/hate mail for me, you know how to reach me (links below). 

Love,
Nikhil

How to Start a Newsletter

One of my beloved readers, Lulu, asked me if I had any advice about starting a newsletter, so I decided to write about it.

I started Splash in the July of 2017 after finishing a 100 day project. I wanted to find a new project that would make me consistently write and was inspired by my friend’s desire to start a newsletter. For projects like a newsletter, the best way to start is to just start. I avoided doing research about the best platforms or processes to make a newsletter. Knowing me, I would spend weeks researching endlessly before ultimately losing steam on the project and giving up.

I went ahead and signed up for Mailchimp (support local business!) because it was the only platform I knew about. I chose the first name that came to mind (Splash), made a terrible logo in illustrator by warping some text, and decided on a color scheme by stealing Pantone’s 2016 Color of the Year. My structure was simple: I wanted to write and I wanted to share music. This led to my familiar structure of an essay followed by a few links that interested me. From week to week, I slowly started to find a voice for myself, telling stories about my life, coloring them with humor and jokes.

Of course, staying consistent isn’t easy. I forced myself to be consistent for a fairly long time before I realized that giving myself leeway could result in better writing. Even if creativity is a muscle, editing is not. If I found myself so busy that I started writing my newsletter at 10AM on a Thursday - just an hour before my newsletter was supposed to go out - it was unlikely that I would have the time and energy to edit my raw material into something worth sharing. I decided to start cutting myself some slack.

There are a million reasons why I love writing my newsletter. There’s the validation from my family that I’m a good writer and the ease of staying in contact with people who live far away. However, at the end of the day, I write these newsletters for myself as a way to keep myself from staying stagnant. Each newsletter is both a record of my life and an opportunity to improve as a writer. After high school, I realized that the only person I could trust to improve my writing skills was myself. I no longer had teachers who would criticize my weak rhetoric and identify my comma splices. 

That’s what keeps me going. Each person has their own reason for starting and running a newsletter. I aim to continuously grow as a writer. So if you want to start a newsletter, I have to ask you a single thing — why?
Drops of the Week
where I *drop* recommendations of cool things this week
Article
"Film Dialogue from 2,000 screenplays, Broken Down by Gender and Age" by Hannah Anderson and Matt Daniels - great data visualization showing off the disparity in dialogue between men and women on screen.
Book
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson - once you get past the excessive profanity and bothersome tone, this book provides a lot of valuable ideas about the importance of developing good values to guide your life. Manson went through a strange life, but we can learn from his mistakes in an interesting way.
Album
Creamy - fun playlist combining a variety of genres that result in some easy listening.
Thanks so much for reading! If you have any comments/concerns or fan/hate mail for me, you know how to reach me (links below). 

Love,
Nikhil
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Nikhil · 325327 Georgia Tech Station · Atlanta, GA 30332 · USA

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