Good Morning from a very flooded Los Angeles!
It’s been a busy couple weeks since I last wrote, but I’m so thrilled to share what’s been going on at Ankord, including progress on my next book manuscript and an inside look at what’s brewing at Nota. Thanks for joining me for this update!
From Milan the Author:
Currently immersed in the early stages of research and initial writing for my second book, I find the blank page to be both daunting and invigorating. The challenge of crafting a coherent narrative is met with inspiration drawn from the profound insights of the philosophers, physicists, and psychoanalysts whose work I’ve been exploring. Their diverse perspectives not only provide intellectual depth but also fuel my creative process. The next few months will be crucial as I put to page all the exciting ideas about AI and our future that I’ve been working on over the past few months.
From Milan the Content Creator:
I had the opportunity to interview someone who left an incredible memory and feeling that has stayed with me even months after having met. You may have seen my Eddie the Fiddler videos on social media, where I interviewed a self taught violinist in Central Park who plays under a bridge daily. There’s something so magical about how the right people fall into your world at the right time. Eddie described himself as having “Peter Pan Syndrome”, meaning that he’s an adult who never wanted to grow up and become serious. He’s jovial, light hearted, kind, and high energy. I say he came into my life at the right time because whenever I think of him, I remind myself that I have a choice of how I want to show up in the world daily, and that life is better when we show up curious and inspired like a young child. Peter Pan syndrome is an extreme of an otherwise important mental framework centered around the idea of maintaining childlike wonder, curiosity, and neuroplasticity. Eddie, and the others like him who I try to find to interview, remind me that not all heroes wear capes.
Ankord Labs Weekly Spotlight:
Fundraising Success: Any founder will tell you that the first round of fundraising is the hardest, and Nota has faced the particular challenge of fundraising in “tech winter” for the venture capital market. Yet, amidst this winter, Nota’s team has shown that for teams building real products, for real customers, who have real pain points, it’s never been a better time to build a startup. We hope to close our VC-led Seed round by the end of this month, bringing in over $3M of strategic institutional money to ensure Nota’s sustainability and growth.
I want to again applaud Josh Brandau, the co-founding team, and all the great talent at Nota for getting us through fundraising in such a competitive market. It is an exciting time to be in the startup ecosystem! And don’t worry - once Nota is ready to make the big announcement, you’ll get more detail here!
AI Tools for Publishers: Our users, from big media producers to smaller publications, have been heaping praise on us for the quality of our product. But we’ve also gotten a lot of positive - even grateful - feedback from publishers for helping them “do more with less.” With so much of the media industry suffering layoffs, many publications are being forced to ask more and more from fewer and fewer employees, and at Nota, we’ve been hearing how often our product is filling those gaps by making content generation more affordable and more user-friendly. We didn’t build for a recession, but we have always believed that publications should be focused on producing great journalism, so if we are helping outlets afford their best writers by doing away with unnecessary editors and videographers, then we know we’re doing our part to protect quality journalism and bolster the fourth estate.
New Landing Page and Promo Video: The last couple weeks I had a hand in creating a motion graphics video to show the world what the Nota team has been building. The new videos will be featured on the new website that will be launched soon - keep your eyes on this newsletter for an update when it goes live!
Going Forward: With the success of Nota’s fundraising efforts and consistent revenue growth, the team is excited to bring on a couple more team members, meaning an opportunity to enhance our customer experience and expand the capabilities of the tools we offer! I want to give you a very early sneak peek into two that have me excited:
- Nota’s upcoming Tone Builder will help users - especially media holding groups with diverse publication portfolios - train our AI to match the tone of a given publication.
- Also in the works is a Proof tool which will allow our AI to assess and ‘grade’ users’ content for SEO quality, likelihood of virality, and more.
Things I’m Reading:
- The Perennial Philosophy, by Aldous Huxley. -Right now, I'm diving into Perennial Philosophy for its straightforward exploration of common threads running through various religious and philosophical traditions. I like how Huxley extracts universal insights that cut across cultural and historical boundaries, providing a practical lens to understand shared human values and wisdom. In a world with diverse beliefs, this book offers a down-to-earth perspective, helping me glean practical insights applicable to contemporary life while fostering a broader understanding of the common threads that bind us all.
Things I’m Listening To:
- Milan's Guided Meditations Playlist- Lately, I’ve been in a creative mode and inspired by many of the authors I’ve been examining while working on my manuscript. This playlist includes guided meditations by some of my favorite philosophers, like Alan Watts and Ram Dass, whose insights are directing my writing and keeping me calm during the process.
- Phonics - I’ve been listening to one of our very own Guin artist’s newest releases on repeat since I last wrote. This song, by Asha Imuno, feat. Westside Boogie and Tempest (a new Guin signee), sets the tone for a great night relaxing with friends or driving through LA on a sunny day.
Thank you for joining me in celebrating the high-energy activities of Ankord Labs' startups, and in supporting my creative process. As we wrap up this edition, I invite you to check back in next week for more updates from the leaders we’re supporting. Their excitement is palpable, and we can't wait to share more about the innovative strides these ventures are making. Stay tuned for a deeper dive into the entrepreneurial pulse that fuels Ankord Labs, and thank you for being part of our engaged and vibrant community!
Thank you for tuning in, stay warm,