Every now and then I come across a Medium piece that sounds like it could become a Netflix special. Marlon Weems’ tale of starting an investment firm in a southern U.S. state, making a ton of money for government pensions but then being framed for fraud is a 21-minute digital page-turner.
“A few decades ago, I came dangerously close to being indicted, not because I’d broken a law, but due to a bizarre confluence of circumstances,” Weems writes of his experience founding Arkansas’ first black-owned financial services firm in a region known for its U.S. presidents, its history of chattel slavery, and its subsequent — and pivotal — civil rights moments. “After years of being in business, Arkansas’s business media began to notice what I was doing. I even made one of those 40 under 40 lists…. And that’s when the trouble started.”
Weems often writes of his personal experiences. A lot of his stories talk about his Wall Street days or offer analysis of trends connected to his work as a trader. Writers like Weems who lean into their calling are a delight to read because their stories are always surprising.
Some other stories that surprised me this week:
- Not Your China Doll: A conversation about Anna May Wong and the history of Asians in Hollywood by Aimee Liu
- Compounding Improvements: How tiny changes in product can lead to substantial conversion by Nir Zicherman
- Ask vs Guess Culture: When unreasonable requests are followed up with “but you could have just said no!” by Jean Hsu
I suggest sipping an iced tea and keeping your virtual highlighter handy when you read these pieces. Also, if you learned something new via these stories, let me know. I’d love to hear about it.
See you on Medium.
Director of Creator Growth @ Medium
Your Weekend Reads
“What Nobody Tells You About Taking a Career Break (and How to Emotionally Prepare for One)” by Claire Gong, tech product manager on a career break
Things might not always unfold as I wish, and some of my goals may take longer than I intended. However, I no longer operate from a place of fear, constantly striving to prove my worth. Knowing that I have the power to be the protagonist of my own story, I now try my best to stay present and care for my holistic health — physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual. If that means taking a slower day from time to time to ensure alignment, so be it.
“Cycling Through the Heart of Rural American Fascism” by Walter Rhein, author and educator, in Ellemeno
The town where I grew up is virtually unchanged from what it was thirty years ago. It’s perpetually trapped in the false glory of high school excess. Varsity sports represent the pinnacle of human achievement. If somebody from our town won a Nobel prize, the notification wouldn’t even make the local paper.
“So What If They Did? Thoughts On Affirmative Action” by Savala Nolan, University of California at Berkeley law professor, essayist, and author, in ZORA
I recount the conversation with my white friend because I can’t be the only Black or brown person, or woman, who has wondered whether they were “getting through” because of affirmative action. This is what Justice Clarence Thomas laments, and I get it. I concede that I have felt the very insecurity that some blame on affirmative action. But the analysis cannot end there. Because casting blame on the remedy is itself a symptom of the disease. The racial insecurities and racial entitlement we feel in this country stem from living under an unnatural, immoral, and ongoing system of racial hierarchy and racial dominance — not from our efforts to correct that system and its wrongs.
“Why Do We Have To Be So Efficient?” by Jacqueline Dooley, essayist, in Human Parts
I like a slow burn. I like a meandering trail. I like to let the hours and days and weeks trickle by without worrying too much about what I have or haven’t accomplished. I like to get things done, but I’m okay with doing them slowly. After all, faster isn’t always better.
“Sit, Siri! Designing Our Tech to Have Good Etiquette” by Amber Case, design advocate, speaker, and author of Calm Technology
Technology has exploded into our lives like a needy pet, demanding our constant attention from the moment we wake. The beeps and pings of notifications resonate like ceaseless barking, while flashing messages nip at our heels, yanking us out of our sleep.