The Future is Digital is here to stay

I have been on a hiatus for the last few months for several reasons. Most notably, I caught the dreaded writer’s block and wasn’t able to write anything that wasn’t regurgitated and ill-thought-out junk. In my defense, I’ve been doing a few projects that have taken up a lot of my time and pulled my focus away from this endeavor. More on that in the future, perhaps.

I know as a writer on the internet, that shouldn’t matter. I should churn out post after post because that’s how the online world works if you want the algorithm to work. Sadly, that’s not how I work or align my priorities. I’ve always strived to provide value in my writing and analysis, and I have largely succeeded in doing that. But these past few months have been complicated for myriad reasons (global pandemic, anyone?).

I think I’m getting back on track, and I hope to kick-start the writing again as it is something that I profoundly enjoy in that masochistic way only writers will understand. It drives me crazy, and it is such a cognitive effort for someone with a condition like mine, but I am compelled to do it for better or for worse.

When I started this newsletter, I had ambitions of producing something that organisations across the Caribbean could rely on for timely, nuanced, and practical analysis of the burgeoning field of Digital Transformation. That didn’t quite work out, and my writing struggled to find its target and nail it head-on. That has more to do with my mental state rather than the quality of my writing, or at least that’s what I tell myself.

I tried to diversify the offering by narrating the writing via podcast that I started in February 2020. Initially, it went well, but eventually became a burden, requiring a lot of time to put something together that was both ‘listenable’ and digestible —I don’t have the most Radio DJ friendly voice in the world—, for what was, on average, around two thousand words each time. That translates to around 10-15 minutes when I speak at my usual pace.

But as I learned, most people don’t realise that 10-15 minutes of recording is around 3,4, or even 5 hours of editing, structuring, chaptering, imaging, and uploading. It is not something you can do if you have many other priorities in life. I also learned that despite assurances to the contrary, the download/listen rate was low compared to the open/read rate of the raw text in email form.

I’m not sure what to make of that because the idea of the podcast was to make it more available and easier to consume, but it didn’t add anything to what I’d built with the text-only newsletter. So I decided to drop it and see if that affected anything. It didn’t. Perhaps I should do it as YouTube… I’m kidding.

So what does all this mean going forward?

One thing, I refuse to let this newsletter die. I think it has the seeds of something good and has an opportunity to provide value for its readers. Additionally, I hope to change things up a little and make it both easier on you and easier on me to produce. As I hinted above, writing is something I have to do, but I struggle with it for many reasons, some cognitive and some motivational. I want to find a better formula for research, writing, and delivery.

I’m not entirely sure what that is for the moment, but I have a few ideas, and I’m actively discussing things with people I trust.

If all goes well, I’ll re-launch in the new year. I plan to provide even more detailed analysis and more value down the line. However, I thought I’d take this opportunity to solicit a little feedback to gauge how you’d like the newsletter to be organised.

There’s a (very) short questionnaire here:


The first question helps me get a sense of length and frequency preferences?. More frequent? Less so? More text? Less text?

The second question is open for general feedback, and I’m cool with all suggestions. I’m leaving it open until the 16th of January 2022.

Please, if you can, spare a minute to click the button, even if it’s only to answer the first question.

Regardless, thanks for reading. It means a lot to me.

I’ll be back sooner rather than later. In the meantime, may I wish you a Happy New Year 2022.


Matthew Cowen @matthewcowen