Wind Beneath Our Wings

Support our next phase, plus updates on recent stories

Wind Beneath Our Wings
Illustration by Paul Twa

Hi everyone,

There comes a time in the lives of many young Substacks when, having demonstrated a certain maturity, they ask for extra responsibility. They change and grow and, well, turn on paid subscriptions. The short version of this post: after four months of weekly essays and interviews, our initial thesis about Frontier Magazine has been validated by your interest. So we are asking for support to continue and expand our efforts. Nothing is moving behind a paywall, though, because we believe in a patronage model recently described as “unlocking the commons.” Supporting us, at $6/mo or $60/year CAD, helps everyone enjoy the fruits of this labor.

Read on for a longer version that discusses what we’re up to, what you can expect in the months to come, and a fistful of Good Links updating and expanding upon the stories in recent issues.

Love all ways,

Curiosity and the Commons

This newsletter grows out of initiatives that stretch back to 2015, with the first printed issue of Frontier Magazine. Building on years of print and digital publishing experience, we launched this weekly newsletter in January 2023 with the tagline “designing for joy makes everything better.” The Frontier studio thesis is that good design accelerates positive change—by making the right choice the better choice, we will more easily make progress toward equity, health, and fulfillment.

The company’s thesis holds, but this newsletter is also an intensely personal effort. I’m obsessively curious about new ideas in the arts, technology, and the built environment. I love reading, then thinking with, new books and essays, or responding in writing to artworks, films, and albums. Here and elsewhere, I habitually gather, sort, and recombine information, find ways to make that knowledge accessible, and then share its insights—whether with readers of this newsletter or with friends and loved ones. It’s how I work. Scratch that—it’s how I live. Where I work is Frontier, but I’m privileged to follow my own interests in choosing what to write about each week.

The studio is doubling down on its bet that you’re just as curious as I am—as all of us here are. We all believe there’s an audience eager to pause, consider new projects and perspectives, and discover how creativity underpins broader efforts to make the world a better place. So, with the support of newsletter subscribers, we’re not only continuing the weekly newsletter, but also re-launching our podcast with insightful new interviews and sharing even more Good Links.

To start, paying subscribers will have priority access to an expanded, standalone Good Links digest, with more context and commentary, every few Fridays. It’s the perfect setup for weekend reading, listening, and watching—and will be unlocked for all subscribers the following week. Other perks and benefits may follow, but always be time-boxed rather than paywalled.

The key is that everyone gets access. Tim Carmody, writing in 2019, crystallized something about media that I also believe: “The most powerful and interesting media model will remain raising money from members who don’t just permit but insist that the product be given away for free. The value comes from not just what they’re buying, but who they’re buying it from and who gets to enjoy it. The bigger those two pools get—the bigger the membership, and the bigger the audience—the better it gets for everyone.”

I’m putting my money where my mouth is, too, and have just subscribed or re-subscribed to other publications I admire and learn from, including, Sentiers Media, The Point, and, here on Substack, the , by , and ’s . I’ve likely shared in past issues ideas or stories originally found in these publications, and I encourage you to check them out, too.

This is the Frontier Magazine proposition: that you want to read about subjects like Chinese architects repurposing abandoned mines as cultural centers; that you agree the natural world and our cultural affinities show us the value of recognizing everything is interconnected; that you believe in open protocols, well-designed software, and technologies that emphasize rather than reduce our humanity; that advancing our understanding of new realms like biotechnology can come from artists and companies alike; and that there are tons more stories like these worth finding, learning about, and amplifying.

I hope you’ll consider supporting us, whether through a subscription or by sharing links, in bringing these stories to as many people as we can.

Here are updates related to some recent Frontier Magazine stories: