Building a kitchen for a bigger team

Introducing the Creative Kitchen, our new publication bundle

Great products take time to make. They take a lot of experimentation, iterations, dead-ends. It takes creation and destruction. The Product Kitchen is an experiment, too, that Joey and I started back in 2020. We were both interested in the craft of creating products, writing, and working together. 

Both of us have worked in product teams for a very long time, and that framed our project from the start: we want this Kitchen to be a team effort. It made total sense to us, great products take time and a great team to build. After we launched it, and talked to more people about our collaboration, it became obvious that this type of creative collaboration resonates with a lot of folks. Especially for writing online, there are a lot of challenges and not a lot of support systems out there. 

This experience has led us to new insights and to see an opportunity to make the Kitchen much better. In the last few months, we got to work and have been incredibly busy making it ready for you to see. And today we are incredibly happy to finally reveal it to you.

Creative Kitchen And The Future Of Creative Work

Going forward, Joey and I are joining a team of writers and publications called Creative Kitchen. It's a collective of writers and editors, exploring with a really broad lens the future of creative work. 

We're kicking things off with a team of 5 amazing people in this new Kitchen. Each one brings to the table a lot of experience and, more importantly, a different perspective to the theme of creative work:

  • Joey DeBruin: Joey is your favorite ex-neuroscientist, now leading product at ResearchGate. He's also an OnDeck alum and Reforge mentor. 

  • Rapha Menezes: Rapha spent his whole life making and designing products. Working during the day for Ecosia, writing words and code at night. 

  • Harris Brown: Harris worked in product at Airbnb, is an OnDeck alum, writing on Substack with a lot of soul. 

  • Inga Chen: Inga is an experienced Product Manager, now at Spotify. She's also an OnDeck alum and Substack writer.

  • Kushaan Shah: Kushaan's specialty is Growth. He's now at Teladoc, but he's also a prolific writer on Substack. 

With new people comes lots of new ideas and... new publications. We're launching the Creative Kitchen as a bundle with 6 newsletters, each with their own special flavor and angle exploring creative work. Here are the first four, and we will talk a little more about the other two in the next section.

  • Backdrop: a publication exploring what it means to navigate life as a creator. Led by Harris, it has essays and interviews with creators, always focused on the human side of creating; 

  • Interdisciplinary: Inga leads the way here with truly interdisciplinary work, at the intersection of technology, product, personalization, design of physical things, cultural identity and human behavior;

  • The Mind Meld: Kushaan is an endlessly curious human, and this newsletter has all of his musings on creative marketing and human behavior, and everything in between; 

  • Stratospheric: a weekly-ish newsletter where Rapha shares curated analyses, news, tools, and inspiration for those who are busy creating and need a healthy information diet.

One Becomes Two

As we have grown in scope, people, and publications, it felt right to also use this opportunity to re-align our writing focus going forward. A lot of what Joey has published lately in The Product Kitchen deals with knowledge creation online and incentives, having shaped up into something entirely new and awesome. This is why we have spun that off into a new publication, led by Joey, called Penguins & Rabbit Holes. It draws deeply from his science background, exploring insights and ideas on knowledge creation online. If you're curious about the name, go read his first piece. It's awesome.

On the other hand, we're doing some rebranding on the "original" Product Kitchen focus: the craft of designing and building great products. Now we will have that focus reflected also in its name: Crafted. Apart from that, expect more breaking down and analyses of new products, services, and transformative technology with a lens on the craft of creating products. This publication will still be co-led by me and Joey.

So Long, Substack

This one comes as no surprise, really. We are tinkerers, we love to build. As our idea of a team of writers became more concrete, and with it more people and publications, we saw pretty quickly that Substack would not be able to give us what we need. Going from solo writing to a bigger team with multiple publications makes all the difference here. We want to make this new home as cozy as we can.

We took inspiration from Every blazing trail for writer collectives, and let our creativity and building chops loose. We're building the future we want to see. 

Whenever you receive emails or visit the Creative Kitchen next, you will be interacting with an entirely new product, fully built by us. It was purpose built to support writer collectives, expanding on the typical solo-writer newsletter publishing tools like Substack, Ghost and others. This includes a lot more focus team collaboration, governance, sharing ownership. There is a lot in motion, and still a lot to be built, but if you're interested in a solution like that for your own writer collective, drop us a message. We're here to help!

What's next?

Go check out the Creative Kitchen! It took a lot of love and work to get that done, and we really hope you like it. In a lot of ways, this is a natural evolution for us, and it's incredibly exciting to have this bigger, awesome project in front of us.

For those subscribed to The Product Kitchen on Substack, you will be automatically subscribed to Crafted and Penguins and Rabbit Holes, so you will continue to get access to everything we publish here on out. 

We also recommend that you check and start following all other publications in the bundle―it's totally worth it! If you'd like to stop receiving emails from either Crafted, Penguins & Rabbit Holes, or both of them, just login with your email (same as used here on Substack) to manage your subscription and notifications.

If you're not subscribed yet, head down to the Creative Kitchen now and smash that subscribe button (am I a YouTuber now...?)! We really hope it's a great option for those passionate about creative work and building the future. Get onboard to see where we take this project!

Until next time,

Rapha