Twenty Rules for a Successful Publication on Medium

Gutbloom on 2016-01-13

Meaningless image placed here because images help posts “sell”.

If you haven’t looked at the masthead of Slackjaw, you should. You will see that I am listed as an editor. Editor. I spell: E - D - I - something something. Look, spelling is not my bag, man. They didn’t make me a “copy-editor.” They wanted to, but when I said, “I don’t have any cats, I don’t drink tea, and I can’t complete the Tuesday crossword in the New York Times,” even they realized making me a copy editor would be absurd.

Slackjaw This sound familiar? You wake up feeling exhausted, with barely any memory of how last night ended. Your wallet is…medium.com

My first question as an editor was, “How big is my expense account? Because I think I can land a book deal with Mick Jagger that will outsell Keith Richards’s Life, but I will need enough money to meet him in Bali and then fly him to the Rainbow Room for a cocktails in order to ink the deal.”

Greg Gueldner told me that I didn’t have an expense account.

“An editor without an expense account?” I said, “That’s like being a blacksmith without an anvil! How am I supposed to get writers without scotch and tapas?”

He said I should “improvise.”

At our first editorial meeting I assumed that they were going to use Robert’s Rules of Order, so I immediately made a motion to name myself “Shah” of Slackjaw and set aside whatever constitution or “corporate governance” system they had in place. Morgan Rock Loehr seconded my motion, but immediately amended it to make himself “Pope of Slackjaw.” Luke Esterkyn reminded us that he had e-mailed us an agenda, and the first order of business was developing the norms for our group. I apologized and said that I didn’t get the agenda e-mail, but under cross examination by Hassan S. Ali I had to admit that I had bozo filtered everything with the words “agenda”, “minutes”, or “action-items” in the subject line. He was nice enough to show me the agenda for the meeting on his phone, and when I noticed that the second item was “vision statement” I got excited.

“Are we going to eat peyote and lick the heads of lizards, or are we going to do the thing where you sit in a sweat lodge and cry? I’m definitely going to vote for the lizards, because, when it comes to visions, nothing beats the one I had of eating fried chicken with a naked Joni Mitchell that came to me after six days six days and a lizard in the Sonoran Desert.” I should have stopped talking then, but I continued, “You guys should know that the van is out of gas. I don’t think we can make it to Arizona for a vision. I think Tom Mitchell might have used all the gas on that dog rescue thing he does.” This was a dumb thing to say, first because Tom rescues sea lions, not dogs, and second because it brought up the subject of gas in the van. Tom asked me how I knew the van was out of gas if I wasn’t the last to use it, and said, “I have an app for that.” Nobody believed me.

The good news is, we got the group “norms” ironed out.

Slackjaw Group Norms

  1. Don’t swim until 20 minutes after a meal
  2. All employees must wash their hands after using the holodeck
  3. Not responsible for lost or stolen property
  4. No IOUs in the amphetamine jar
  5. Soda is not “free”
  6. No more than thirty people in the Gravitron
  7. If you are the last to leave, please remember to feed the interns (just not after midnight)
  8. Inside lines are in, outside lines are out
  9. Unplugging the dehumidifier to charge a device is grounds for suspension
  10. Remember, we wear home jerseys when the Knicks are away, and away jerseys when they are home
  11. If you have a corner office, you are responsible for half & half in the coffee nook
  12. No VR helmets on the loading doc
  13. Please don’t feed the rats
  14. Don’t drink the coffee on Wednesdays
  15. If you use the van, remember to leave it with gas
  16. Don’t tape signs to the top of the Roomba
  17. Nothing on the live server should be there “as a joke”
  18. Anything left in the refrigerator will be cleaned out on Leap Year
  19. Please don’t use the 3d printer to make keys to the executive washroom
  20. No ducks in the steam room