Alex Barrera is the Chief Editor at The Aleph Report.
WHAT LED YOU TO START WORKING IN DIGITAL/MEDIA PUBLISHING?
I’ve always loved the space. My family had a local media business, my mom and dad wrote books and published articles. You could say I’ve grown up surrounded by the publishing industry.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
Wake up, go out for a run, take my twins to school, then start working. I plan my day in my notebook, work out some emails and then writing for half of the morning. Afterwards, I take a small break, read the news, back to writing, and then lunch. Afternoons depend, normally I work a little more but most times I just spend sometime with my children when they come back from school. Then some writing in the evening and off I go to train Aikido. I consider it a pretty complete day.
WHAT DOES YOUR WORK SETUP LOOK LIKE? (YOUR APPS, PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS ETC.)
I keep moving between my email (Spark), Twitter apps, and Evernote. For writing, I use several tools like Hemingway, Grammarly or Scrivener. I don’t use much more, to be honest. When I do presentations I deal with Keynote and Illustrator. Recently, I’ve also been playing with Airtable to track some things I write about.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO GET INSPIRED?
Oh many things. Mostly I get inspiration from reading. May it be news or the books I read. I’ve walked away from reading business books, so now I get my inspiration from stories from all over the world. Also I get many of my ideas from conversations with friends during lunch or coffee breaks.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE OR WRITTEN PIECE?
That’s such a hard question. There are many quotes I love. It depends on the day and my mood. One that is pretty consistent though is one that comes from old Japanese:
“Masakatsu Agatsu,” which roughly translates to “The only victory that matters is the victory over oneself.” It was uttered by Morihei Ueshiba (Ueshiba, Morihei in Japan, aka O Sensei), the founder of Aikido.
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM THAT YOU’RE PASSIONATELY TACKLING AT THE MOMENT?
I’m currently working on pushing my new site, TheAleph.com. On a broader sense, I want to help people think beyond the obvious. I think that, with so much technology, we’re losing track of what matters most in this world, which is life. So I try to help others see life in the broader sense, not just as a subsegment of the trending technology of the moment.
IS THERE A PRODUCT, SOLUTION OR TOOL THAT YOU THINK IS A GOOD MATCH FOR YOUR DIGITAL PUBLISHING EFFORTS?
Oh yes, I’m a big fan of Medium. I’m now testing the new WordPress Editor called Gutenberg, which is a big improvement. I’m also a huge fan of Revue, the newsletter service I use. On the analytics side, I use Google analytics, but I’ve wanted to deploy Content Insights (ContentInsights.com) for a while now.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR AMBITIOUS DIGITAL PUBLISHING AND MEDIA PROFESSIONALS WHO ARE JUST STARTING OUT?
Hah! I’m just starting myself again! So I can give this advice to myself. The key is to be constant and have a crystal clear idea of what your business model is. If you’re going to charge for content, then your content needs to acquire certain properties. If you’re going to try to use advertising, then you need to have a very different content funnel and approach. Determine your business model and build the business backwards. Jumping into doing content without any thought about it and just trying to “figure it out” as you go is a very bad idea.