In starting a new media company, I began writing down my
'founder's thoughts' early. For a blog? Notes to share with my
grandkids? I didn't know why at the time, but I recorded stories
of our founding. One, about why iPondr is needed in the world,
involves girl power and the disinhibiting effects of wine. I also
have a story about naming the company. What an inorganic and
dispiriting process that was; until we landed on the perfect
name. Then I felt like I was looking into my new baby's face for
the first time: iPondr.
We are in a time when unseen algorithmic forces determine what
temptations we'll face in our social feeds late at night. I
thought these personal musings were pithy insights into 'throwing
down' against that unacceptable status quo; or me being authentic
and engaged, maybe funny? Anyways, a Pondr-er.
But now we are in a double State of Emergency in our headquarter
town of Minneapolis; TWO States of Emergency, formally declared by
the Governor. In Minnesota, as now much of the country, we are
fighting two deadly diseases; COVID and Racism, with no clear
sense of how many more will be lost before a cure is identified.
Our small-but-mighty team is seeing how quickly it gets REAL for
us at iPondr.
The first Producer/Hosts we hired joined us in February. In our
shared commitment to foster a more interconnected society by
portraying authentic America, we had about one minute to slap each
other on the back for what we were about to do.
First, COVID. We saw the reporting about expanding cases,
desperate situations in some-- but not all-- parts of the country,
and we considered what we could add. The team set out to share a
rich and textured understanding of what we, collectively, miss
during lockdown. What scares us and what matters to us. In simply
listening to 'May
Day: Covid Across America', we hear how COVID
affects people differently, depending on things like race, income
and geography. Listen, watch; hear the wisdom and the wondering
about what's next and what will follow after that. These personal
insights come from places of lived experience across the spectrum
and across the country. It was well received--over 150K views and
TWO short documentary awards.
As tens of thousands of Americans lost their jobs overnight, we
turned our attention to our programming area, "Women at Work", and the theme of Reinvention. iPondr shared the personal
experience that Jill had with furlough, in her own words. By the numbers, you
likely know someone who has had this experience. With better
understanding, we can bring the compassion and hopefulness that
people who are losing their jobs need.
In our program, "Dimensions of Health", we visited the Frontiers
of Science to understand what it is like to be a Chief Research
Scientist developing therapies, preventives and the cure(s) for
With limitations on movement due to COVID, we were finalizing
these pieces and developing some bios on the iPondr team.
May 25, Memorial Day; George Floyd's life was extinguished by
police, in an excruciating 9-minutes of depravity, filmed by
horrified onlookers. This occurred in Minneapolis, which is our
backyard. I mean really--George Floyd's death occurred in the
literal backyard; streets where members of our team grew up and
played and felt community.
This has been hard, hard, hard. Our team is diverse. Our producing
team is all-diverse, and Minneapolis is their home. They are
processing trauma in real time, along with millions of other black
Americans. Trying to feel, and not feel, the genuine
here-it-comes-again heartbreak of previously broken hearts.Hearts
many times broken, by the falsity of the American Dream, for
people whose glorious humanity is zipped up inside something as
random and mundane as skin color. Pale and read-headed? You will
endure long, curious looks. Might be uncomfortable. Black? Ah,
well. You'd better be mindful of your space and place-- all your
life, otherwise this could be deadly.
As a digital news and information media company, iPondr aims to be
a NEW essential, for you. You, our Pondr-ers are ready to get
inside the insidious, the ridiculous and the sublime. You want to
get closer to authentic American points of view, and human
experiences that cannot be debated. And not for benign reasons,
but to deepen your understanding and play your part in moving us
forward and shaping a better culture.
Sometimes this endeavor hurts. Hurts to tell, hurts to hear. Right
now, it's very heavy on our team. But when we tell our stories to
grandchildren, ours or others', whether pithy or painful, we want
to make sure they count. We will make sure they count.