The Daily Zen #7 “Your Leading Secondary Source”

Why are you still posting something called “daily” when it’s not released on a daily schedule? Good question. Maybe if someone suggests a better title I will change what I call these posts. For now, I’m using this format to post shorter things that interest me that I don’t think warrant a full blown post. Let us begin.


The issue of podcast transcripts has been bubbling up a little lately. The first I even thought about the issue was on the “One Star” episode of The Talk Show. They discussed whether transcribing podcasts would be a good idea or even possible on a large scale. The part that really stuck with me was the comment that deaf people have absolutely no access to the content of podcasts. It’s obvious, but for some reason I had never thought about that before. There’s an entire group of people completely shut out of the great content produced on podcasts. That alone makes me truly wish podcast transcripts would become a thing.

The one person right now who seems to be pushing this issue is Zac Cichy. On his new blog he has been hand transcribing certain portains of podcasts that he has found interesting. It’s great, because he’s opening up the black boxes of audio content that are podcasts. Right now, if you find something really interesting in a podcast you want to share, you have to share the entire file and tell people it’s in there somewhere, unless you noted the time stamp. However, transcribing the podcast makes that content much more accessible and sharable. The main problem is it’s really hard work to transcribe a podcast yourself, and that’s why I’m in awe of Zac for attempting this, even on a small scale. I know he is looking into software to automate the process, so we’ll see where things go.


Speaking of transcribing a podcast, Stephen Hackett did a Cichy and transcribed a section of John Roderick’s interview on CMD+Space in which he discusses creating original content instead of merely commenting on original content. Roderick’s basic point was that most things people write on the internet are merely commenting on other people’s original works, and that if you want to create things that will last, you need to be creating those original works, not merely commenting on them. This is something I’ve thought about a lot and back in July actually changed the format of this site to be only original posts and eliminated linked posts. However, even some of my original posts many times end up being comments on an issue someone else brought up or a response to someone else’s article (this post being a perfect example).

Yet, I think there is room for comments and responses. If everyone only made original content, the world would be chaos and nothing great would emerge. Some ideas are better than others and need to be discussed and contemplated and debated. Roderick cites to the fact that all the writing that commented on The Beatles is now basically lost to history, however, if no one commented on The Beatles, they would be lost to history. You need those secondary sources to boast up great primary sources, exposing their greatness to the world. Original content is the most important and lasting, but everything that revolves around that content can be important too.


Old Keynote of the Day: The Original iPhone Keynote. This occured exactly seven years ago today. The keynote shows Steve Jobs at the top of his game, introducing a revolutionary product that he knows is revolutionary, you can just see it on his face. In addition to watching this primary source, also listen to this great secondary source, The Prompt’s in depth restrospective episode discussing the introduction of the iPhone.


Don’t follow me on Twitter, instead turn off all your devices and contemplate the mysteries of the universe.

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2 thoughts on “The Daily Zen #7 “Your Leading Secondary Source”

  1. Hey Linus – Nice post. I have that same internal dialogue about original content vs. curation on my blog. The thing I try to remember is that everything is a remix, one way or the other. What we think or perceive to be original doesn’t usually come out of the ether but is often a creative manifestation of the sum of other people’s output. Even if its an opposing thought or simply a different way of doing things, it’s almost always influenced by what’s gone on before it. So I try not to get hung up on original content vs. linked-to content, for example. I do both, depending on what I think is more pertinent to my readers. Sometimes I just link to stuff without any commentary because I don’t think there’s much else to add. And to me, that’s OK, so long as it accentuates the thoughts you DO have in order to build the overall theme of your writing.

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    1. Great thoughts and I agree. Even looking at an "original" band like The Beatles, they had a tremendous amount of musical influences from the past. But they were able to take those influences and blend them into something new. So even things that seem new and groundbreaking usually are formed by past influences. It’s very rare to have an entirely original idea.

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