🎉 Birch Bark Issue 47

Welcome to the new year!

Welcome to the new year! Congratulations, if you’re reading this then you survived 2020, which is a little more of a sad statement this time than most years. I am lucky to have not lost anyone directly in my life this year, but I know a handful of people who have lost loved ones to COVID-19, and the thing that brings me the most hope right now is thinking about the massive achievement that is creating several vaccines for this virus in less than a year, which is unbelievable.

So let’s ring in the new year with optimism, joy, and most of all this time, hope. Let’s get into it.

P.S. No music picks this week, but just yesterday I listed my 10 favorite albums of 2020, so check those out if you’re looking for something new to ring in 2021.


Here’s hoping

Spider-Man by Chun Lo

How to let go, by misko

u all i ever wanted, by Kyle Shaull

Is it me?, by Dec-art



Deconstructing Among Us’ Twitter Strategy

This is NOT a post about how I grew the Twitter account; a lot of the hard work was done from the game being a hit before I came to work at Innersloth, and their work managing a community before me! HOWEVER, I think this post will be helpful if:

  • You’re interested in the strategies, problems, and thoughts behind handling a enormous community — while still being a tiny indie team

  • Hearing all the weird things I’ve learned from suddenly inheriting a community of half a billion players lol

Cool? Cool! Let’s start.

American Protests in 2020 - This is a wonderful visualization of what got Americans in the streets this past year.

The Life in The Simpsons is No Longer Attainable

The most famous dysfunctional family of 1990s television enjoyed, by today’s standards, an almost dreamily secure existence that now seems out of reach for all too many Americans. I refer, of course, to the Simpsons. Homer, a high-school graduate whose union job at the nuclear-power plant required little technical skill, supported a family of five. A home, a car, food, regular doctor’s appointments, and enough left over for plenty of beer at the local bar were all attainable on a single working-class salary. Bart might have had to find $1,000 for the family to go to England, but he didn’t have to worry that his parents would lose their home.

What if GUI elements were not limited to boxes?

Buttons, panels, menus, lists — it is tempting to think that most GUI elements occupy rectangular screen regions only. Here we investigate why and how this limits users, UI designers, and developers — and how we can do better. To whet your appetite: The discussed concepts enable widgets that adapt to users in small but helpful ways, such as this slider. It clearly doesn’t believe in staying confined to a fixed box and bends to the thumb‘s movement to increase comfort and reach.

Why we gave ourselves 6 months to make our company work

So the idea was: if in 6 months we're still barely paying ourselves a minimum salary to live in Milan, we should go back to a normal day job.

Even the idea of going back to a day job for me felt like seppuku, but he was right: if we want to accelerate our growth, we shouldn't look for hacks and shortcuts. We need skin in the game, we need to keep ourselves accountable. We need to make it this year, not next year, not in 10 years.

How to Be Great? Just Be Good, Repeatably

I’ve come to learn that it’s not about overnight successes or flashes of excellence, but periods of repeatable habits.

Dieline’s Top 50 Package Designs of 2020 - Nothing wrong with a good old list of great design to get you inspired. Take this, Dieline’s winner, 4 Life water: