Russian Doll on Netflix

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Right now we swap through Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon equally. I “cut the cord” 6+ years ago. Some time in college. I could always find sports if I needed and everything else I pirated. Until now, thanks to the streaming services. The $15 is well worth the convenience, and so like burning CD’s disspeared because Spotify legitimized music, now we see the same for TV.

Well, it used to be that TV played to the masses, and therefore made garbage which we willingly consumed. I’m not saying it’s not fun to occasionally watch the Voice or the Kardashians, but if you’re looking for plot and writing this is not where you turn.

But on the big screen, movies, we also turned toward mass, which is why there are rarely original movies anymore. Instead, we get sequels, remakes and brand extensions. We get Super Heroes, redone westerns and Star Wars spin-offs.

These serve a purpose, but Netflix’s investment in media was about giving us something new.

Not that the way we purchase TV will be. Everything will be bundled and it will be just like it was before, except now the bundles are online and the cable companies stream to your phone.

But I’m not complaining because we’re getting a choice.

And we’re getting quality.

Netflix is spending on data, using algorithms to help not only drive creative but drive suggestions. Then again genre creating creative is never formulaic.

So Netflix can identify the zeitgeist, but likely can’t spur it, at least not in the early days.

What they will do efficiently is capture it. They’re positively having a moment right now. They’re putting out hit.

“Bird Box” Marie Kondo’s show, and now the “Fyre” doc which I thought was less informative and made me more uneasy as compared to the Hulu version.

Either way, they’re driving eyeballs, investing in creative, and are unafraid to deliver in niches like comedy and cooking.

Like we saw with the recent Gimlet acquisition, original creative is selling at a high multiple.

Maybe more than software! The economics of owning a license in your backlog is phenomenal, that is if they have staying power. And it’s almost impossible to know if that’s true upon release. In fact, many shows look like duds before they become cult classics. The “Cult” makes them into something that is so big they continue to stream for a decade. Like Seinfeld. Like Star Trek. Like the Office. Like Stranger Things…well that may not be the case.

Not that we’ll see many more buyouts like that. Gimlet was perfectly positioned in a growing market, and now Spotify is looking to grow the pie that they’re helping bake (and then eat).

But original content satiates the appetite of current subscribers and it draws in new ones. So not only do hits drive views, but they drive attraction of creators to the platform.

Netflix has the advantage of the head start.

Amazon has the bundle.

Hulu is partnered up with the big players like Disney.

The Data is key, but Netflix suggested is not always on the money.

For that, we still go to recommendations from other humans, either individually or en masse a la Rotten Tomatoes.

Which is where I saw a note about Russian Doll in Kevin Kelley’s Reccomendo (http://recomendo.com/) newsletter.

The premise is about facing your demons; but the plot is about Nadia, a frizzy red haired, gruff 30’s NYC dweller is stuck repeating her birthday in a “Groundhogs Day” like fashion.

Each time she dies she ends up back at her own birthday. And at the party are characters from her past (and her future) which help her reconcile some hidden burdens that she’s kept below the surface.

And the characters are simple at first, but as the loops progress, we see more texture and stories and eventually…

Everything that was kept inside and buried comes to the surface.

This show is like therapy, except the stakes are more dramatic and it’s messy, the way it is in real life. Loops happen more than they should before we learn. And try as we might to avoid our demons, someday there is a reckoning.

Like how Nadia falls down the stairs and ends up back in the bathroom again because she misstepped her loop.

But how do you know when you’re in a loop? And what is the misstep that’s keeping you there

What is it that will release you?

That’s hard to see, but its’ easy when it involves other people. These are the rough spots, the overlaps of emotion, self-interest, unrequited love or unmet needs that other people bring out in us.

So the person that you thought you were… is that who you truly are?

And can you escape the person that you grew up as?

Nadia avoids her past, it’s a non-starter.

On the other hand, Alan can’t face the future.

He can’t be alone but everywhere he goes he feels that he is. It’s a hole that is impossible to fill.

And this bent in his mindset harms his relationships and makes them unbearable.

On the other hand, Nadia is a natural repellant. Can’t commit to a long term relationship and pushes others away as soon as they get close.

But the two of them are linked in a new dimension.

And I won’t give away the ending but it does what shows rarely do, it leaves you feeling satisfied.

And the art of the show was how right as things get repetitive, something happens to hold your attention.

This is the power of TV. To reflect life not because it’s so similar to life, but instead because it puts together a narrative that reflects how we feel.

In Russian Doll we see two people hiding their demons who are forced into putting down their armor less they stay stuck in a loop for eternity.

And who knew that taking the armor would lead to better relationships with the world…

And with each other?

https://www.netflix.com/title/80211627
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Mimicry

When we don’t know what to do.

When we don’t know what to say.

When we don’t know how to start.

We mimic another.

We copy a method.

And we do so, out of fear.

We believe that if we are simply to try something on our own it will surely fail.

And because we’re scared to fail, we feel we need guidance.

So we pick up a template and try to copy it.

But in the process of copying it… we fail. And we fail many times again before we succeed.

Now, if you were to go out on your own, and develop yourself without any copying of what should be done…

You would also fail.

And you would continue to fail, possibly more times than someone who is “learning” from someone else.

But…

When you find success on your own, you find incredible, lasting success.

You have learned to understand for yourself, rather than by copying another. You would miss the nuance.

and you would miss out on finding something truly unique to the world.

Take for example, a competition to build a fire:

You’re scared that yours won’t start or it will be done “wrong.”

So after you are handed matches, you and the others you are competing against look around.

You see the teepee shape.

You see the log cabin.

And you copy.

And suddenly everyone in the competition is creating the teepee shape and trying to out-teepee one another.

Someone is crowned a winner, and you compete again.

Now, say that you have never built a fire.

And you don’t look around at all.

In the first competition, you’d try a teepee. (And you’d lose).

In the second you’d try a log cabin. (And you’d lose).

In the third, you’d try all of the logs flat. (And you’d lose).

But in the fourth competition… You’d try the pyramid.

The pyramid is different in that you don’t give the wood space, in fact, you pack it as tightly together as you can.

The pyramid is lit from the top, rather than lit from the bottom.

The pyramid burns down, instead of burns up.

But because of this shape, it is the most efficient, longest lasting, and strongest fire that you can build.

In the fourth competition, you win.

And your ingenuity produces a result that is 5 times more effective than anyone else.

If you had only copied, you’d grow up perfecting the teepee. And you’d find success someday, with the teepee.

And you’d constantly compete against others perfecting something that is an imperfect solution.

If you go out on your own, you’d discover the pyramid. And you’d win so greatly, that others would say you have cheated.

If you strike out on your own,

Copy others at your own peril.

You will fail, and then find success.

And then you will be trapped by competition.

Strike out on your own and you will fail.

But when you succeed you will succeed under a sturdy foundation that will last.

At first, your success will be dismissed.

And then others will start to mimic YOU…

Unsuccessfully.

xx David

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Sync – Sunday Coffee

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Sync / 8:22 PM

This is the time as of writing this where Domi is reading, in Bratislava Slovakia, on the 10th of February 2019.

For Benny, in Wichita, KS the time is 1:42 PM Sunday the 10th of February.

For Jo, in Bucharest, reading at 9:22 PM.

For Alph, the time is 4:22 PM in Santiago, Chile.

Leesa, in Melbourne, 6:32 AM February 11th 2019.
14ºC, 87% humidity.

Naved, Pakistan, possibly still up late, 12:32 AM.

Annie, asleep in Tokyo, 4:32 AM Feb. 11.

And for our imaginary reader, Mir, she is in Raqqah…It’s just after 9PM.

After going to the grocery store, and organizing her cabinet, she makes a light dinner and then her face is lit up by the glow of her laptop.

An email arrives. Tea is on the kettle.

The window is left open.
Brand Sync / 12:22 PM

Although this readership is asynchronous, the message that arrives across the globe does so immediately for everyone upon hitting send.

Synchronization goes beyond space and time, as we see illustrated above.

Other factors for synchronization include interests, habits, study, memes, books, mission, religion, and common language.

I wanted to explain how I’ve been thinking about the different projects/expressions of my work so that you can understand what might look a bit disorganized.

The idea for communities is to create a shared set of values rooted in stories, common language and recurring moments to “sync” on.

Without a common pulse or cadence of syncing, groups can’t thrive.

Picture: Church every Sunday, the Sabbath, Adhan and so on.

This newsletter is one such pulse, ditto for my other projects.

More importantly, each pulse is focused on a specific shared goal. You can choose to participate if/when you have the need. There is no mandate, and it is more useful to opt-in to the sync when problems arise or when you are trying to grow a certain way.

In each area, support and feedback are shared, giving you a feedback loop and a cadence that is more useful than trying to create one for yourself. Investing in these cadences accelerates your progress.

Investments can be attention, emotion, and a financial investment.

Not all of these projects will live on, and some (like this) will change and morph over time.

Below is where my head is at related to areas I’m developing that you can opt-in for, of course depending on your goals and needs.

I believe I’ve done so imperfectly, but concisely, with the Tweet thread below.

You can click through the header image on the cards to view directly on Twitter.

I’m shifting my online presence towards “David.” Brands.

And each sub-brand from that is really just my own internal-dialogue, references, and memes.

http://davidthebrand.com (http://davidthebrand.com)

I use the term “No Agenda” for docs, discussions, and feeds that present ideas with no immediate use.

https://www.twitch.tv/noagendatv (https://t.co/H00DdkS5Ti)

“The Gold List” is my list/subscription for only the best tools and ideas you can use right now.

https://thegoldlist.substack.com/p/the-gold-list-an-introduction … (https://t.co/8szt2jxwrw)

☕ CC – Creative Caffeine is what gives you a jolt when you’re stuck/blocked.​

It’s possible that only my audience/people that tune in understand and propagate these references.

That is totally ok.

The point is the branding, focused on a common language that communicates shared goals.

As always, hit reply if you have thoughts/questions comments or anything else…

xx David.
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CC – How Do I Find New Clients?

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Member Question: Hi everyone, I’m feeling stuck in a bit of a dip. I’m two years full-time into my business, a drone video company – shooting tv and car commercials, having worked for other companies previously and have hit a point where I have used-up all of my industry contacts and clients, I have a few good new clients but now don’t know where to get new leads from.

Background: We don’t have any issue getting repeat business from our clients once they use us but coming up with ideas of where to market and network to get our foot in the door is doing my head in!

–– Cinematic Motion, Based on Sydney Australia 🇦🇺

Reply to Cinematic Motion with your ideas! (https://deathtostock.typeform.com/to/QyeVnh)

Thanks for your question, I think this is a problem that many people are also working through, so thanks for bringing it to our attention. There is no one answer, but there are some things you should consider and think about (not necessarily just “go do.”)

What is the indicator?

The idea is to understand, “At what point in time is it that someone has a need arise for your service?”

And then map this out.

This allows you to have a considerate sales process.

No one wants to be sold to about something they don’t want.

But people are happy to purchase something that they know on some level they need help on, right now.

So the question is, at which stage does a business who hires you start to feel an immediate need to hire someone like yourself? When does the problem arise?

These moments or these “indicators” are a threshold that you can observe a potential client cross over.

This is the moment that they start to have a problem, and are most happy to have someone like you show up.

Let’s say you’re a logo and branding agency. Your specialty is helping classic brands transform and update to become more modern.

Might it be that on the anniversary of the brand (10 years, 20 years, 30 years?) is a time where you can help them, with consideration of their heritage and identity, to update their brand to become more modern?

The indicator in this example is around the anniversary or milestone of a brand, and your specialty is helping them evolve while staying true to themselves. You know a client is a fit because you know when and what their problem is.

Or, say you’re a PR and Photography firm that helps new restaurants that open spread the word.

Can you obtain a listing of new builds so that you’re always on top of who’s putting up a new restaurant? The indicator is the moment someone puts a payment down on a location.

Even better, could you make a website that reviews and shares only the newest restaurants in the city?

For ex… “At NewRestaurantsInAustin.com (http://link) we give you the inside scoop of which restaurant will pop up in Austin next. Sign up for exclusive invites to pre-opening meals, and be the first to taste what’s fresh in Austin.”

Now suddenly businesses who are new reach out to you. And then you can tell them about your PR, Photography and event planning opportunities with you.

List what clients you don’t want.

I would, say, list out maybe 5 things that I’m not looking for in a client, based on past experiences.

If you’re tracking a particular type of bird in the woods, it’s best to silence out all the other noises and calls to hear just that one.

That way you can focus your attention and tune out the noise to only the calls that matter to you.

I know this sounds like I’m talking about old business instead of new business, but I’m hoping to help you tune your awareness only towards new business.

You build a sense about who is a fit, where, and when.

And then you see opportunities because they are clear to you, now that you’re not paying attention to everything else.

This is a huge topic so this is just a start, but maybe other CC members have ideas to hit reply and share!

xx David

P.S. You can submit your own question here (https://deathtostock.typeform.com/to/so85Zd) for the community to help you get unstuck.

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The Spark

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I was building new landing page for my 3rd iteration on an idea that I had been thinking about and working on for months. I hadn’t really gotten any traction.

Publishing it, I got a sign-up, then another, then another!

At this point, I said to myself… well this is interesting.

I kept going.

(6 years later this list grew to over 500,000)

…..

I was emailing out the first version of my new product, and I was nervous.

I’d drawn a line in the sand, I needed 500 people to purchase, or I wouldn’t be able to turn this into a business.

I sent out the offer, and 430 people purchased.

Close enough.

(This business has gone on to do over $1.5M in sales)

…..

I wanted to scrap the old way of building and teaching and do something that looked the exact opposite.

I said to myself, if at least a few hundred people join me, I’ll turn this into its own thing and dedicate time to it.

I was scared, but ultimately I decided to hit “send.”

(12,000 people raised their hand, and I’ve worked in this for 1.5 years since).

…..

I decided to sign up for coaching, I wanted someone to help save me time, reduce my stress and help me make more powerful decisions.

We met every week for 12 weeks. I was transformed and…

We worked together for about 2 years.

(I found out later, I was one of his first clients).

…..

Most businesses, projects, bands, creations…

They only need a spark.

And that’s what we should spend our time looking for.

Placing small bets. Setting up small fire pits, with kindling (and our heart and soul).

I could tell you about countless other projects that didn’t have this same trajectory. I had built the kindling. But no spark.

Maybe there was too much wind that day, or the wood I was using was damp, or no one was cold.

But if you find a spark, suddenly there’s momentum and you fan the flames and things can happen way faster than you think.

All you need is one person to take a chance on you (to develop something great).

I’m grateful for the people who were that for me.

And I hope to be that person, as often as I can…

For someone else.

xx David
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Compliments, and Criticisms

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When is there value in criticism?

When it helps us see areas we have ourselves, overlooked.

Why is it that most people criticize?

To make themselves feel superior.

Who is it that is truly superior?

The one who gives compliments freely, and helps those who have cloudy vision to see what they may have overlooked.

Is there value in compliments?

When they give permission.

Does giving a compliment also carry a risk?

When the compliment attempts to set in stone something that is dynamic.

Or when the compliment binds oneself to a persona not fully within their control.

Why compliment, or criticize? Why not just listen? Why not repeat back what you hear and what you see, without attempting to criticize or compliment?

That would be wise.

xx David
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The Future of Marketing is Community Building

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Attention online has seemed to get more and more difficult over time.

The typical channels; Instagram, FB ads etc. have saturated to a point that makes it feel like you’re shouting into a fire hose.

And, we’re already seeing (and hearing) more chatter about how the content that used to generate sales on Instagram, is being seen and interacted with less and less.

Take for example; the average Facebook or Twitter user has an engagement rate of only 0.5–1.0%.

Instagram is currently at 3%, but this will decline, as well.

At the same time, channels like Youtube, Blogs, Forums, and even email lists unexpectedly held much higher rates of engagement and “Fandom,” with channels hitting consistent numbers of views and searches over time.

We’ve been living in the “Attention Economy.”

But to thrive in the future, we’ll need to make the shift into the “Community Economy,” or the “Community Marketing Economy”

This shift, from customer attention to communal relationships, changes everything for how we approach marketing, sales and customer retention.

What we’re going to witness play out over the next 1–5 years is a whole host of companies drying up and dying, thanks to this subtle change.

So what’s behind the subtle shift away from social channels, to more dedicated (and seemingly less interactive channels) like email and blogs?

It’s a nuance so small that one would likely miss it, for not looking deeper.

And, ironically, it’s an idea that’s old, not new.

People aren’t on social media so that we can “soak up their attention.”

People are on social media because they want to come together in communities, to interact with other people with shared passions in a way that helps them grow.

It’s as old as the Church. It’s about participating and engaging in our favorite topics and dreams, together.

Companies that thrive with their communities have the following:

1. Your media promotes discussion between customers and members.

2. Your members connect with each other, online and offline.

3. Your products make each individual feel special, leading to an increase in word of mouth.

4. Your product promotes positive values, with social reinforcement of the tribe.

5. Your customers feel as if they are part of the direction and influence of the product.

People have less and less of their time than ever to spare, thus they do not want to commit themselves to a vague organization or product that does not align and bond them with like-minded people who share similar objectives.

In the new world, we must ask different questions in our Marketing efforts.

Instead of asking questions like…
* How many subscribers do we have?
* Do we have a content calendar?
* How many likes did we get?

We’ll need to ask new questions. Questions like…
* Are my customers connecting with each other?
* Does my media promote discussion?
* Are my members/customers recruiting for me?
* Are member investments, rewarded?
* Do our customers feel a shared ownership of the product?

In the new world, Brand Marketing is about Leading, Growing, and Managing Communities. It’s bottom up, instead of top down.

My new course, Generously Human (https://gumroad.com/l/generouslyhuman/human) is 25 Days of lessons about the foundation of community building. It’s made to help you or your brand shift into a mindset towards community. It’s discounted for the first week for CC subscribers, and the road map takes you through storytelling, the “science” of community building and what creates an attractive brand.

We don’t want to be told what to do, and talked down to.

We want to be supported moving forward in our own unique way, with the trust and support of like-minded peers who help us get there.

xx David

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Trusting Yourself

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There is so much noise.

Who do you trust?

There are so many voices sharing their opinion…

Who do you trust?

There are news channels, fake news channels, friends who share online like they’re news channels…

Who do you trust?

….

Yourself.

In today’s world with information so abundant, we need a strong sense of ourselves which serves as a protective layer.

This thin layer shields us from the outside world and gives us time to ponder what gets in or what gets out.

And maybe more important, this protective layer mutes the sounds surrounding us so that we can hear our own voice from within.

This voice is precious and needs to be cared for.

Inputs from outside need to be let in ever so cautiously, not with abandon.

How do you cultivate this layer?

Time alone…but this is hard to come by.

How do you cultivate this layer?

Focus…but this takes understanding, that this voice is more helpful to you in your life than the voices outside.

Because if you trade your voice for another, if you focus on the voice of others instead of your own…

You will be like a leaf in the wind.

And the media around us is a cyclone.

This isn’t to say keep yourself distant from information…

Rather that it should be filtered.

And it’s this combination which makes us powerful in the world today.

Curious, but discerning.

Interested, but guarded.

Protected by the voice inside you that keeps you pointed in the right direction (for you).
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CC: How Do I Grow Without Getting Burnt Out?

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Question: how do you balance wanting to push your creative practice forward – taking on projects, offering new packages – without overloading your time to become burnt out, again?

Background: In my case this is photography. I have suspect it’s about getting back to the core of why you’re doing it, and then doing only that, in the most scaled down version possible. Yes? No? Slowing down seems to be one of the hardest things to do when you have stuff you want to express.

– Alina,

Scotland Island, NSW, Australia

Reply to Alina with Your Thoughts (https://deathtostock.typeform.com/to/IGe7N9)

Build a fire.

You need a spark, something that excites you and helps give you momentum. Space helps because any time you feel like you “should” be doing something you’re doing it out of obligation. If you’re doing it out of obligation, it will be forced and ends up slowly dying out. Give yourself space/boredom and let it be natural.

Once you have a spark, it needs to catch fire. This means connecting that idea with something that will propel it forward. It could be a buyer, a place to share it and get feedback, or something that ratchets up reward as you continue.

You might have to try a few things before it catches. Kill the ideas that don’t catch once you’ve given them a fair shot.

Look at what catches and then create a process to fan the flames, continually so it doesn’t die out. Don’t go creating new fires, either. Just set up some type of process that you can build confidence in. For example “I know that if I sit down every Monday to send out proposals, I move things forward”

Or, “I know that If I journal for 30 minutes and then pick up my camera for an hour, I get good images. And once I get good images, I post them _here_.”

What we want is be engaged in work that feels like it’s growing. What we don’t want is to continue to obligate ourselves to pursue something that isn’t growing or is no longer interesting. All of that time could be spent fanning new flames, and starting new fires.

Don’t throw too many sparks or fan flames at random and burn yourself.

xx David

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Email of the Day

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Re: Stories and Symbols (https://mailchi.mp/creative-caffeine/symbols-and-stories?e=aede38d523)
Dear David,

Your email about stories and how these stories can have an influence on us triggered a need in me to share a story with you. It’s a story about what happened in the last days in Poland. I don’t know if you’ve heard about it.

The last several years have been really tough on us, Poles.

Every day we’ve heard hateful words coming from our ruling party members. They’ve changed the national TV into their propaganda tool. So we hear how good they are and how bad the opposition are. They manipulate the facts and tell us their “truth”. Some people have access only to the media controlled by this party. It’s terrifying. Their hateful speech bore fruit last week. There was a 27th final of the Great Christmas Charity Orchestra (Wielka Orkiestra Świątecznej Pomocy, see https://en.wosp.org.pl (https://en.wosp.org.pl/) ) – event, which gathers millions of people not only in Poland but also in many countries abroad.

Year after year we give what we can to help people in need – the WOŚP Foundation buys medical equipment for the hospitals which otherwise wouldn’t be bought – the state of public hospitals in Poland is poor.

And so, 27th final, lots of people gathered in many cities. Always at 8 p.m., there’s this thing called “light to the sky” – we have fireworks shows to thank all the people who gave something to the cause. And in one moment one man ruined everything.

Fed with this hateful speech, very often directed towards the Orchestra and its director Jurek Owsiak, one man came on the stage and stabbed the mayor of Gdańsk, Paweł Adamowicz, in front of thousands of people, including children. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-46867286 Paweł Adamowicz was a victim of hateful speech – he was a target for many years and on 14 January this year he “got what he deserved” – according to some, unfortunately. And this one poor man, who took the knife, influenced by these hateful stories, brought darkness to us all.

We all thought it would be over – over with the Orchestra (Jurek Owsiak resigned the very day Paweł Adamowicz died), over with joy the finals used to bring to the people, over with all the good things left in the public space. And instead, the new story came to life, the story we’ll tell our children. The story of how the society can rise up from the ashes like a phoenix.

Paweł Adamowicz was one of the volunteers – he always participated in the fundraising in person. He collected over 5000 PLN. And one girl in Gdańsk, who was so sad that she didn’t manage to give money to the mayor’s fundraising container, and she will never be able to this again, she set up her fundraiser on Facebook. She only wanted to collect a 1000 PLN, to add to what the mayor had collected on a final day. Do you know how much she collected? Almost 16 000 000 PLN. All 6 zeros are fine. See it here: https://www.facebook.com/donate/785858165083164/846949842322011/

Over 264 000 people donated. In a week we’ve donated so much! Much more than during the first 6 finals! We’ve told ourselves that we can be united, that we won’t be stopped by the stories of bad people, that we, the people, are fed up with the hate.

This fundraiser will help a lot of people, a lot of equipment will be bought for the mayor’s hometown and not only. And we can be proud of ourselves. We started the campaign against hate speech. We try to communicate in a civil way, even if we deal with internet trolls. And it’s heartwarming. And this is the story to share.

As this story will lead a lot of people to the right direction for a very long time.

xx Kasia

Creative Caffeine (http://creative-caffeine.com)

On the Mind of Independent Artists and Creators.

About (http://davidthebrand.com) • Subscribe (http://creative-caffeine.com) • Death to Stock (http://deathtostock.com) • Help (http://Submit your 300 WORDS here) I’m (http://Submit your 300 WORDS here) Feeling Stuck (http://Submit your 300 WORDS here) . (http://Submit your 300 WORDS here)

Generously Human (https://gumroad.com/l/generouslyhuman/human) : (https://gum.co/generouslyhuman) 25 Days of Remarkable Community Building

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