Check your Pulse #44

Hi, I’m Sari Azout and this is the the 44th edition of Check your Pulse, a tech and startups newsletter designed to make you feel human. I try to make this one of the best emails you get each week. If you’re enjoying it and know someone who’d like this sort of thing in their inbox, they can sign up here.

Happy Wednesday, friends.

And a warm welcome to the new subscribers since last week.

I try to begin each newsletter with an extended thought or observation. Unfortunately I don’t have one for you this week. My personal bandwidth has narrowed significantly, largely because I have two little children at home, but also because I am spending a lot of my time working on an exciting personal project (I’ll have more to share soon). So instead of adding filler, I’ll just leave you with some great links this week.



Saddening, shocking, and uplifting/confusing stats 👇🏾

Creative Covid Launches on my radar this week 🚀

  • Distance disco is a digital matchmaking dance party: find the person dancing to your song! 🕺🏽

  • Eschaton is a virtual club and interactive performance that airs Saturday nights at 10pm EST. Think of it as a digital version of Sleep No More, where the audience navigates through dozens of rooms at their own pace, witnessing diverse performances from burlesque to magic. Too soon to call this Digitally Native Vertical Theatre (DNVT)? 🎭

  • WFH Jammies combine the formal look of a shirt up top with loose comfort everywhere else. The perfect pandemic uniform. 💤

  • Ikea released instructions on how to build forts using things in every home (blankets, chairs, stools) to help entertain kids. 🛏️

  • SML is a beautifully designed site launched with the goal of helping small businesses build an online presence. They are starting with step by step instructions on building a Shopify store as well as a moodboard for inspo. 💻

  • A party in a shared google doc and the thinking behind it. 🥳

  • Dropbox launched Until We Meet Again, a collection of Dropbox folders from artists and makers that you can send as a digital care package to someone you love. 📁🧠

The commencement speech David Brooks would not have been able to deliver in person. No, my worry is that, especially now that you’re out of college, you won’t put enough really excellent stuff into your brain. I’m talking about what you might call the “theory of maximum taste.” This theory is based on the idea that exposure to genius has the power to expand your consciousness. If you spend a lot of time with genius, your mind will end up bigger and broader than if you spend your time only with run-of-the-mill stuff. The theory of maximum taste says that each person’s mind is defined by its upper limit—the best that it habitually consumes and is capable of consuming. 🎓

A collection of 40 beautifully designed e-commerce sites. 🛍️

I love this 👇🏾

Speaking of words, this is the most valuable copywriting advice I’ve seen. A must read for founders and anyone really. 💯

Andrew Chen on Why Writing is The World’s Best Networking Activity. Writing is the most scalable professional networking activity – stay home, don’t go to events/conferences, and just put ideas down. 🙌🏽

Burger King’s brilliant guerilla marketing example proves it is possible to get the world’s attention using no money and a lot of creativity. 🍔

Alright, he’s hired 👇🏾

A fantastic compilation of insightful coronavirus memos from the best investors and operators. A great resource to bookmark and come back to. 📝

So many takes on Clubhouse. To me, it just goes to show how much people misunderstand the Venture Capital business model, for better or worse. Also, an important take 💬👇🏾

The Wunderman Thompson consumer trends report came out last week, and it didn’t disappoint. 👀

Cool startups on my radar this week: Monument, Fluent, Taika, Vital. 🚀

So much content with sweeping generalizations no one disagrees with is being shared (i.e. telehealth and remote work will rise) online. Here’s some more nuanced takes I found interesting:💭

Facebook launched Shops yesterday (a big deal for the D2C community) in partnership with Shopify. This comes a day after Julian published this piece with thoughts on e-commerce, why Instagram is a threat to Shopify, and why demand aggregation is always more powerful than supply aggregation. Too much reliance on a powerful gatekeeper like Instagram is a risk for Shopify and its merchants. This illustrative breakdown of the Facebook + Shopify integrated platform shows that it's very likely selling through Shops is more expensive for DTC brands than traditional wholesale. I’ll be watching this space. 👀👇🏾

I'm donating all classified ad revenue to families hurt by the pandemic. Click here to book a classified ad - you’re supporting a worthy cause while being seen by an audience of over 5,000 high-quality subscribers.

🎁 Elevate your gifting game with Give Wink’s curated selection of personalized gifts for anyone on your list incl. corporate gifts. Need help? Our gift gurus help you get it done.

🖊️ Get a magical notebook for your iPad and Apple Pencil. Penbook, the new note-taking app, comes with hundreds of beautiful, dynamic stationeries to soak up your creativity.

👙MIGA Swimwear collaborates with women that have different health conditions to create bold swimsuits made to be worn by all. Perfect for sunbathing in your roof or garden.

💬Dream Ventures connects founders to capital & strategic partnerships - $200 for 1 hr Zoom call (fundraise strategy). Email to learn more.

If you’re wondering who’s behind this newsletter:

My name is Sari Azout. I am a design-thinker, strategist, and early stage startup investor at Level Ventures and Rokk3r. My mission is to bring more humanity and creativity to technology and business.

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Thanks for being here!