I’d like to introduce you to Pilcrow House.

Based in Philadelphia, Pilcrow House is a place for interesting ideas.

For now, that means events that welcome thinkers and authors in politics, business, culture, sports, and media to have long-form conversations with attendees and interviewers.

Pilcrow House has two goals:

  • Provide a space for the discussion of interesting ideas that increase our understanding of the modern world.
  • Introduce thoughtful and curious people to one another in real life.

Its name comes from the paragraph symbol, also known as the “pilcrow” which marks the start of a new idea or thought in…


(You can also read this on my personal blog here: How to take a sabbatical)

This won’t be like every other blog post about travel.

Your narrator won’t be casually doing something awesome when suddenly there is a life-changing revelation. That’s not how life actually works.

This, instead, is an essay about something harder than sitting on a beach and Instagramming about it. This is about blowing your life up, analyzing each piece, and then putting it back together again.

It’s about leaving your life behind, yes, but intending to come back to it after some time away. This is…


In January, Medium founder Ev Williams announced that despite his company’s efforts to better the news industry, it would refocus. The reason?

We believe there are millions of thinking people who want to deepen their understanding of the world and are dissatisfied with what they get from traditional news and their social feeds. We believe that a better system — one that serves people — is possible. In fact, it’s imperative.

We are shifting our resources and attention to defining a new model for writers and creators to be rewarded, based on the value they’re creating for people. And toward…


Most philosophical and political disagreements don’t take place in courtrooms, they take place using a series of text boxes levied against an often-anonymous opponent. Or, if in person, in a setting where you don’t exactly have a notebook full of facts you’ve vetted and researched for your conversation with your college roommate about the flat tax .

Yet, too often in our political discourse we act as if we are one hand-picked fact from totally convincing the Other Side. Your political opposites should be convinced when they hear a study or poll or story. …


2016 marked the seventh anniversary of 99U: a website, magazine, conference and book series dedicated to helping people make their ideas happen—and the publication I’ve worked on in various roles since September 2012. In that time, the website has amounted an impressive resume: About 650k uniques a month, more than 260k in book sales from three books, a few Webby awards, and a yearly sold out 1,000-person conference in Lincoln Center.

But in the past year, a lot changed. Of the five people that worked regularly on 99U, all took the year to move on to other projects save one…


One of the great parts about being a millennial is that everyone else likes to tell you what you are and aren’t like and what does and doesn’t represent you. It’s the best.

It’s American tradition to anoint pop culture figures as being totally representative of a generation. Typically (though not always) this person is an actor. Gen X? Here’s Kurt Cobain. Greatest Generation? Have yourself some James Dean. Digital Natives? Here’s some YouTube star I’ve never heard of.

But while every one else seems to delight in telling we millennials what makes us tick, we’ve yet to agree on…


Humans 101

Is it possible we’re not right about everything?

Photo: beastfromeast/Getty Images

This story is part of the Internet Time Machine, a collection about life online in the 2010s.

There’s a fun game I like to play in a group of trusted friends called “Controversial Opinion.” The rules are simple: Don’t talk about what was shared during Controversial Opinion afterward and you aren’t allowed to “argue” — only to ask questions about why that person feels that way. Opinions can range from, “I think James Bond movies are overrated,” to, “I think Donald Trump would make an excellent president.”

Usually, someone responds to an opinion with, “Oh my god! I had no…


Tyler, The Creator changed the way I look at my job

It was then, by all accounts, his group Odd Future spent the day running around the Buzzfeed offices “terrorizing” the group of writers and editors plugging away on everyone’s favorite content machine. He ran around in a Batman mask and fired a nerf gun goading the workers to have some fun. He elaborated later on Huffington Post Live:

“I guess some of the people who work in the office [were like], ‘I’m above this, oh my god, we’re working, we have strong opinions,’”

Tyler said. “We just came in there trying to bring in so much yellow freaking filling to…


Earlier this month at the 99U Conference, ThinkUp co-founder Anil Dash spoke on the trajectory of careers:

“Someone opened the door for you, they replied to your email, had coffee with you, interviewed you…that’s something that changed the direction of your career,” he said.

He challenged the audience to share with the world the people that gave us the opportunities to advance our career. The effect, he reasoned, is that it will inspire those who may wish to walk some part of our path while providing transparency for how people actually find success. …


Last month, venture capitalist Marc Andreessen posted what, in his view, was the future of the news business. Reactions were varied, but everyone had one. I joked that my entire Twitter stream was people replying to Andreessen as he has very publicly thrown himself into the future of news conversation.

We need new voices in this discussion like Andreessen, but his post was too… nice. I’d bet he left his more candid insights out. After the post, I found myself wishing someone would share more actionable observations from the industry.

So, here’s my take. Each one of these could be…

Sean Blanda

Founder, Pilcrow House. Editorial at @Invisionapp Before: @99u / Co-founder of @TechnicallyM.

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