Zach's PEN #33: Houseguests!

2021 Week 10: Our first visitors in our guest room, a Markee update, and pictures I've probably already sent to PENpals (sorry)

Dear PENpals,

For the first time in our new home, we have houseguests! Allison's parents have come to stay (everyone's vaccinated now) and it feels so normal in the best way. We walked across town to go to lunch yesterday and it was 72 degrees and sunny and perfect.

Also, my office is "finally" "all set up" (mostly). I've grown tired of fiddling with it and I realize that I've been using its not-doneness as an excuse to delay starting some things. Let this PEN serve as me drawing a line in the sand.

I have everything I need to start recording videos and podcasts. I have more than enough. I can make stuff with these tools and have fun doing it.

Business Update

I probably shouldn't do this, but I'm going to give you a quick sneak preview of the new brand and website for Markee. Some of the content is still placeholder but it's 90% there and I'm wicked excited about it (not really looking for feedback at this point unless it's positive 😃 It's been a long process getting here).

Brand was done by the amazing Joni Trythall at YupGup and the website by the also-amazing Euge Nohara who heads up design with me at Markee.

The imminent Markee version release is really, actually, good. My tendency is to qualify it by saying "with the time we had to make it and the size of the team, etc., etc." but it's just plain good.

With the core of the product almost finished, it's a really big moment. As the person on the Markee team who has put in the fewest working hours of everyone, I need to say that this team has knocked it out of the park. It is unbelievable to me what they've accomplished.

On the Short Order side, I can now confirm with confidence that "the phone is ringing" again, finally. We can breathe (a little), and if the vaccination effort goes as smoothly as the president says it will, I think this little production house in Wilmington (Bidentown) is going to be just fine.

Personal Update

Don't tell anyone, but I've continued to write and publish every day and ride the Peloton every day for 82 days in a row. Since before Christmas... Shhhhh! It's not real yet.

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This Week's Posts

I wrote about an alternative to our cultural celebration of “Relentlessness.”

I wrote about how car thermostats have ruined so many people's understanding of home thermostats.

I wrote a request for horse movie recommendations outside of _The Man From Snowy River_.

I wrote about how "they don't build them like they used to" and why.

I wrote about what companies really have to do to profit from charging their customers $0.

I wrote about my experience writing creative proposals over the years and what has worked.

I wrote about the simplest way all walled garden platforms can monetize and improve the world at the same time.


This one's from a few months ago and I may have even already shared it in the PEN, but I'm enjoying putting these sunsets in here. I haven't established a system or habit for it yet, but I will soon and my home film processing capabilities arrive in a couple of weeks.

Baby Update

More oldies... again... but there will be new ones soon.

This first image kind of perfectly captures the period of our lives when we were living in a small apartment with a newborn and this little girl right before an unprecedented pandemic nearly destroyed the world. The Baby Brezza, Louisa's lunchbox, the iPad, Wendell's crib in the background, the compression of everything...

And here are a few more from that same roll of film (these are half-frame shots from the 1950s Olympus PEN if you care about that kinda thing):

Much love, PENpals,