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The Thursday Newsletter - Issue #8

Dan Hugo
Dan Hugo
Leaving Las Vegas… for my birthday

Against the flow
As is made clear in daily local media and via local YouTubers and whatnot, everybody is headed to Las Vegas to get rid of some of that spare energy and cash. Strangely, I look forward to departing Las Vegas to enjoy birthday time and a little change of scenery, but then I always return. Eventually.
A fun little tidbit, when I was traveling all over the place for Intel a few years ago, checking in at the airport (if checking a bag and, always, at the TSA boarding pass check at the security check entrances) would get me a “Ooo, Vegas!” response from the person looking over my travel docs, and I would also assure them that I was merely headed back home for a few days. Their shoulders would always drop a bit with a disappointed, “oh.”
Eventually, as more and more regions (especially outside of the US) stabilize and open borders and life to people, I will look forward to getting back in the air, on the road, on some rails… maybe on a boat? I haven’t been to the SF Bay Area in far too long to visit friends and food trucks there, hit The Donut Man in Glendora, and then head to other places far away.
Are you headed anywhere now that the pandemic is (sort of) over?
Speaking of food trucks
As part of the lockdown and stay inside plan for the last year, I have not visited a mobile food vendor since about April 2020. You may or may not know this, but I have visited one or two food trucks in my travels, and I was so interested in this business sector that, well among other things, I started writing this software tool to help the food truck owners build business.
Here’s the thing: you probably know that food truck owners are using Instagram now, to reach out to their fans and followers. Used to be Twitter, then Facebook (and still is, to some degree), but Instagram foodie pics are the thing. This is unfortunate, given The Algo and the lack of guarantee that fans will see a post before the event (even if it’s just one vendor at a lunch location). Most of the “apps” out there (even RoamingHunger and FoodTrucksIn, both of these are og tools that are or were pretty good) are really tools to draw in catering clients, so that the platform brings in commission dollars to the platform owner. No better example of that than WTF Where’s The Food Truck, the founder of which I’ve known since before he launched and, well, same business model different domain name.
I’m at a bit of a crossroads now. My software platform still needs to get polished up and launched, and it is all about Mobile Vendors (so, not only food trucks, but any retail mobile vending business, and there’s a bit more to it than that… think farmers’ markets, lunch in your office parking lot, first Friday, charity fund raisers, etc etc etc), but the world is a bit chaotic now, and the mobile vending marketplace really has been sullied, I think, but the likes of the WTF thinking (awful tool that is built to make money, despite the marketing message).
The key difference, which is difficult to describe given the momentum behind the same application done ten different ways now, is the design as a business development platform, rather than a broker platform. In other words, mobile vendors are the customer, NOT their customers, so everything is oriented toward the mobile vendors using the platform to do for themselves what these other tools do today (getting between mobile vendor and customer to take a cut).
There’s a podcast possibility here, if this does get moved back to a front burner to engage and discuss some of the interesting aspects of the mobile vending business and marketplace. There’s more to it than stealing customers from brick and mortar restaurants… a point which I’ll tease with my two favorite go-to bullet items:
  • Portable Variety
  • Social Activation
Oh Keto
The return to the gym and the return to a proper ketogenic diet, where “diet” is not “a temporary change in eating habits, followed immediately by cake and pizza.” I was able to very easily adapt to the drastic reduction in typical carbohydrate intake when I first tested out this whole Keto Thing a couple of years ago, so I already know it is not difficult to couple a change in eating habits (to foods I very much enjoy, just without bread and other carbs) with reduced body weight and more energy and health.
Now that we’re all back to normal and everything is as it was, getting the comfort food out of the cupboards and freezer and returning to real ketosis has been slightly challenging, and I think I’ve discovered why. A keto-friendly menu is pretty easy, it’s getting the blood glucose level down low enough for long enough to really reach ketosis and re-establish fat adaptation that has been a challenge.
When I did this the first time, I had spent months prior experimenting with a vegan diet, a protein-heavy diet, a normal vegetarian diet… basically, I had reduced my carbohydrate intake beforehand, and then on trying out keto it was a smaller delta, I think, to burn off the glycogen and see the serum ketones go up over 1.0 mmol/mL for extended periods. So now, after a year of walking in my neighborhood and still sticking to OMAD (One Meal A Day), my cheato behaviors (so what if that meal included ice cream or a pair of mini pizzas or maybe some corn bread… you get the idea) are the lingering vestiges of the deviation, which I am presently overcoming.
For what it’s worth (this is not advice), a 40-hour fast for me will bring my glucose levels down enough to enter light ketosis. Going to the gym fasted (so somewhere in the 20-25 hour range) usually makes that a certainty, getting rid of any glycogen hanging around. It’s staying there that has been difficult lately, which tells me a hard core MCT menu with some avocado and Brussels sprouts might be in order to get over that 1.0 value.
It is the way.
Newsletter platforms
I’m on the fence here. As you may know, I’m publishing two newsletters each week, one via Substack, and this newsletter published via Revue. They are both minimally viable, but…
First things first, if you’re reading this, what do you think about newsletters in general? You can comment on my newsletters, but I’m really asking for a conceptual review, whether more direct, opt-in engagement like newsletters and blogs are a better experience than what we could now call Traditional Social Media (where an algorithm built to make money for the platform selects what you are presented with and in which order).
Honestly, a return to self-publishing and opting-in to what we want to consume (so, I control what I publish and how, and you control what you consume and when, and how) is where I would like to see the internet move, or return to, but I think it’s an uphill battle. The challenge of discovery (finding new things to consume, whether video or tweet or whatever) is the thing that I believe brings people back to platforms that will attempt to scratch the itch, since giving people what they want in large quantities is how revenue can be generated.
This is not necessarily the goal of any and all content published, but if we are using platforms based on that premise, then we get what we get. Ultimately I will distill from Substack and Revue, the things that I think work, and integrate them into my own publishing scheme and workflow(s), and at that point you’ll be invited to come along.
I think assembling a newsletter should be something we can automate and have complete control over, and while Substack and Revue offer some minimal style options, there is a lot left on the table. And as for automation, this is not about spitting out computer-generated words, and whatnot, but more about assembling some blog entries, article links, photos, and basically making the newsletter a way to share content, not a way to author content. It sounds so dry with that description, but it is what it is. We should all be able to publish a photo or a video or an article or whatever, and then share it with friends, family, colleagues, customers, the world… whether via email, an activity stream, a bunch of tweets, an rss or atom feed… anything, any way we want, using workflows that actually do flow.
This is something I’ll probably touch on in Quoggling Sand in the next week or two, check it out by clicking in the next section!
Thanks and More!
First, thanks for reading and if you’re subscribed, thanks for that also. Thanks for letting me know your thoughts on newsletters as one of many ways to engage with people, business, and whatever else.
I keep a Buy Me a Coffee page updated with links to podcasts (like Quoggling Sand) and newsletters, and more is about to be added any day now…
It’s important to be clear, there is no obligation to spend money there, but from the “you don’t ask, you don’t get” school of thinking, if you would like to contribute to the caffeine fund, this is the fuel that powers all of the efforts listed (and soon-to-be listed) there. I consider myself an engineer more than a writer or podcaster, so ideally that part of my set of endeavors will be the money-making part of the adventure.
I look forward to inviting on people like yourself to the podcasts and to participate in other projects, so be sure and stay tuned as more things enter the picture, especially if you’re like to be in a few pixels.
Stay healthy!
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Dan Hugo
Dan Hugo @DanHugo

Various topics of the day, whichever day, from home or abroad, about this and that and the other thing.
Engineer in Las Vegas, working on a variety of cool projects; Maker of Friends, Friend of Makers. Answers to most pronouns, you can call me Al.

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Las Vegas, NV 89101