2022: A Year in Review
My media highlights, and a little TNF navel-gazing
Back when I worked in a record shop—before I started losing my edge, to better-looking people, with better ideas and more talent—compiling the end-of-year chart was a labour of love and an annual obsession. We’d painfully assemble personal top 20 lists, which would be collated by the shop-owners in the back room, until they’d fire up the white smoke and inform us of the recipient of the coveted album of the year. The final results would be eagerly anticipated by staff and clientele alike, but it was more than simply who sat atop the pile—the end-of-year booklet would fly out of the store and provide a second bite of the cherry for all. Because even after spending 40 hours a week listening to, talking about, and selling music, there’d still be a plethora of hidden highlights; mind-blowing records that somehow managed to slip by the first time around.
The end-of-year list has become a crutch I’ve continued to lean on, my time living the High Fidelity life fast becoming a hazy memory. Compiling this list gave me the opportunity to reflect on how things have gone through the year—both on the progress of this newsletter, and to take stock of all the great things I’ve watched, read, listened to and played: cultural artefacts I’ve managed to squeeze in whilst the kids were in bed; snatched moments whilst they were located in an adjacent room, haphazardly extracting every item they own before moving to the next zone of destruction.
So without further ado, here are my highlights of 2022.
The New Fatherhood Highlights
This newsletter has provided an opportunity to connect with all sorts of folks, and it was a delight this year to talk to two of my favourite authors about their books, and compare notes with fellow parents trying to figure it all out: conversations with Oliver Burkeman on productivity, and with Daniel Pink on regret. I’m excited to make these more regular in 2023, and to get them into a recurring audio format. Writing about my history and experience with spirituality and psychedelics has been on the cards since I started TNF, and it was a delight—and, to be honest, quite a relief—to see these subjects land so well with an open-minded audience. It was fun to experiment with how these essays could work as audio (and it led to an opportunity to expand on these thoughts in a talk next year) but it was significantly more work than expected and somewhat unsustainable. Will need to find more time, or some external help, if I want to carry these on next year. Atop of all these moments, the apex was seeing this community come together to start our therapy fund, raising $3,350, which will cover ten dads to begin working with a therapist.
Email Subscribers: 6,117 total subscribers / 3,327 new subscribers. There are more than twice as many of you here today as there were last Christmas. I will continue to say this until I’m blue in the face—as a parent, I know your time is your most precious resource, and I’m thankful you choose to spend it here.
Paid members: 160 total / 67 net new. This number has also grown, and the newsletter broke the $10,000 annual revenue rate this year. This income has have enabled me to pay for guest subscribers, illustrators, and will fund new work as I move TNF into the audio space in 2023.
Most viewed essay: The Art of Noticing (March, 13,901 views) Thanks to a push by the aforementioned Mr Pink (the author, not Steve Buscemi’s character in Reservoir Dogs) this essay became the year’s most read, and drove a significant number of new signups.
Most opened email: Time to Recharge (July, 61% open rate) This reflection on sabbaticals, vacations, and the fallacy of unlimited time-off, broke the coveted 60%+ open rate, falling at the perfect window after we all started thinking about holidays, but before we all went on them.
Most Liked Thread: How do you deal with stress? (February, 158 likes) The New Fatherhood at its very best—a group of men talking openly about self-care and how they’re navigating the stress of parenthood.
Most Commented Threads: How’s Work Going? (April, 62 comments) and Let’s Talk Hobbies (April, 56 comments) Clear proof, if it was ever needed, that we’re about more to simply fatherhood. The intersections of parenting and life’s other mysteries continue to be fruitful places for discussion, both in the open threads and the Geneva community.
Enough navel-gazing. Onto the good stuff.