Dear reader,

Readup is lots of things.

For starters, it’s a community of readers - real, living, breathing humans, who read things together.

You could also say, “Readup is a website,” and you wouldn’t be wrong. It’s a piece of technology. An app. A platform. A software product. A pile of data in a database. Readup is thousands upon thousands of lines of code.

And, of course, Readup is a business, a C-corporation that’s legally based in the state of Delaware.

But if I had to describe Readup to an alien from outer space, I’d probably start with this: “Readup is the work of two people: me and my friend Jeff.”

We're eager to add to the team in the coming months, but for now it's just the two of us. That’s why during these crazy times, when people ask me, “How’s Readup?” I hear a different question. I hear: “How are you and Jeff?”

And the answer is: Okay. Mostly. Kinda. Like civilization itself, we’ll get through it. But the worst isn’t over and we need to stay strong.

Jeff’s a whole lot more solid than I am right now because he’s got WFH down pat; he’s been doing it for ages. I, on the other hand, spent most of the last year living out of an RV, working from public libraries, and promoting Readup face-to-face, human-to-human, all over the country.

At the beginning of March, I journeyed to San Francisco with only my backpack and plans to pitch a few key prospective investors. Things were going very well. In fact, mere hours before the Shelter in Place order went into effect, I finally got our first verbal investment offer, contingent upon being able to get a few other investors on board - people I was planning to meet in the following days and weeks.

Then — boom — the world stopped.

Now I'm in quarantine, thousands of miles away, re-tooling the pitch in the context of the new world we now live in. It's a slight setback, but not permanent, and it’s counterbalanced by a fierce new energy to solve one of the biggest problems on the planet, one that might even be bigger than the virus itself: Our information systems are failing. Big time. And people are dying because of it. It might be true that most of the world’s information is available to most people, but what’s the point if we can’t make any sense of it?

At this point, it seems crystal clear why the world needs Readup: We need technology that helps us to slow down enough to digest complex information. We need formats that aren’t designed to distract us. We need stronger signals and less noise. And we need to believe that we can use the web to get reliable, accurate information.

Per usual, there’s so much more that I want to say. But I’m too exhausted (and confused) to rant, and I’d rather spend the time unwinding with some good (non Coronavirus-related!) longreads.

Instead, I’ll close with this note that I received from a member of our community:

I have so appreciated being a part of Readup! Yes, great reliable information, much of which I have passed around. But the real value for me is being a part of the readup community- receiving and sharing thoughtful, insightful and sometimes consoling comments. Although we seem diverse I have not noticed any hostile comments. Why is that? Choice of material? Reading the entire article which slows the emotions and increases thought? The secrets of the love and support offered by the Readup community is really what we need in this country at this time.

Onward. Fearlessly.


P.S. Huge cheers to jank for excellent scouting and for achieving a triple-digit read streak in the midst of all this chaos. You're an inspiration!!