Blake Snow

content advisor, recognized journalist, bodacious writer-for-hire

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The Muslim who made his living selling Mexican food in the Wild West

1435861004com_post_90795056330_a_m_e_r_i_c_aThis writing by Kathryn Schulz on what it means to be American is beautiful:

Over and over, we forget what being American means. The radical premise of our nation is that one people can be made from many, yet in each new generation we find reasons to limit who those “many” can be—to wall off access to America, literally or figuratively. That impulse usually finds its roots in claims about who we used to be, but nativist nostalgia is a fantasy. We have always been a pluralist nation, with a past far richer and stranger than we choose to recall. Back when the streets of Sheridan were still dirt and Zarif Khan was still young, the Muslim who made his living selling Mexican food in the Wild West would put up a tamale for stakes and race local cowboys barefoot down Main Street. History does not record who won.

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Published columns: Kid travels, universal sensations, foreign foods, paddle boarding

Credit Lindsey Snow

Credit Lindsey Snow

Here’s where my travel column went last month:

New name, same thing: Work-life blending is all about balance

Photo: Lindsey Snow

Photo: Lindsey Snow

I tried work-life blending for six years. It sucks. Nothing more than a new term coined by self-absorbed workaholics to justify their personal regrets, negligence, and imbalances in life. Now let me tell you how I really feel.

The phrase “work-life balance” entered our lexicon when faxes reigned supreme, the 1980s. Knowledge workers, globalization, and computer networking went mainstream that decade, and with it, the temptation to work ‘round the clock on the Hedonic Treadmill (i.e. the misguided belief that the more money one makes, the happier they’ll be).

In response, first-world countries had a real first-world problem on their hands. The more connected their workers felt to the office, the more pressure they felt to “get ahead” by staying on the clock for extended periods of time. With only 24 hours in a day, something had to give.  Continue reading…

This moving short story is something fierce

Credit CC/Fred Mancosu

Credit CC/Fred Mancosu

The below short story entitled “Birthday Cake” was written by my friend Josh Ray (under pseudonym) and published with his permission. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. 

I got a birthday. I suppose everybody does, and it comes around every year at the same time. That’s the way they do. Mine’s in November, but I don’t suppose that matters much one way or the other for this story. Anyway, I’m gonna tell you about two birthdays I had in particular.  Continue reading…

Future of oil: The most apolitical, objective, and realistic forecast I’ve ever read

Courtesy Focus Features

Courtesy Focus Features

Oil will not run out for a very long time. If or when it eventually does, we will just manufacture it from coal. That’s according to respected UC Berkley physicist Richard Muller.

Granted, Muller is neither an energy expert or clairvoyant. But as a top Quora writer, he’s one of the most educated and smartest persons I’ve read on a range of subjects.

So what might the future of energy look like? Because it runs circles around the power and convenience of other energy sources—seriously, oil’s potency is remarkable—the black gooey substance will remain the go-to-source for mobile transportation with nuclear powering an increasing amount of the grid.  Continue reading…

With regards to offline balance, money is everything

Courtesy MGM

Courtesy MGM

If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you like money. What does money have to do with offline balance, though?

In my research, everything. Next to fame and sex—which by no coincidence are often facilitated by money—the latter is arguably the most sought after thing in life, particularly (but not exclusively) for male species.

For purposes of this newsletter, however, I won’t preach to you on the ill-guided focus of money or bottomless cup that is greed. Instead, I’ll let smarter people do it for me:  Continue reading…

Published columns: Traveling guidebooks, nature worship, industrial views, music city

credit Lindsey Snow

credit Lindsey Snow

For those who care, here’s where my travel column went last month:

5 things I’m excited about at this point in life

Me surfing Lake Powell recently

Yours truly surfing Lake Powell

Someone recently asked me what I’m excited about. “Oh, I don’t know,” I lied. Not because I didn’t have an answer. I just hadn’t articulated it yet.

After further deliberation, here is my answer:  Continue reading…

How to get free publicity: 10 tips from insiders (+ movie recommendations)

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As someone who’s written hundreds of articles for fancy publications, I’m often asked the best way to land free publicity.

Outside of knowing when you have truly have something that’s noteworthy and knowing which audiences are most likely to find your something relevant, my colleague Josh Steimle recently wrote about the subject for Entrepreneur; specifically how to get great PR in 15 minutes per day.

Josh was kind enough to interview and quote me in the article. This is what I said: “Indirect PR pitches are the best way to increase your chances of a media placement. Rather than talking about yourself, explain a larger trend that might interest the journalist or publication you’re pitching, complete with stats, anecdotes and data.

“Your contribution should be only part of the story. Doing so not only makes the press’s job easier but demonstrates greater objectivity, further increasing your chances of a placement.”

In my experience as someone being pitched, that approach leads to a lot more placements.

Since we’re on the subject, now go watch Ace in the Hole, All The Presidents Men, State of Play, and Spotlight—all good if not remarkable movies on journalism.

In the absence of extraordinary, ordinary is more than enough

Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy Cinemagraphs

For most of my 20s, I largely existed to leave my mark upon the world and strike it rich. In order to achieve those goals, I labored through the day and voluntarily burned the midnight oil. In other words, I lived to work—how cliche of me!

As I approached 30, something happened. I experienced what I call my Montana Moment—cheesy, but catchy! I realized that my double life as a work-a-holic and present husband and father could no longer be sustained.

So I changed. I set strict boundaries on my time and never looked back. If I was going to be remarkable, I was going to have to do so in a set number of hours and no longer at the expense of my health, family, sleep, friendships, and self-improvement. (That change, by the way, was the catalyst behind my still unfinished book.)  Continue reading…

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Published works: Latest version—the problem with online user reviews

TA_550x370My latest, reporting for Paste Magazine:

“Obviously, user review repositories such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google are a net gain for people in need of lodging, a delicious meal, or a new tool, gadget, or surprise to solve their current problem. But as we increasingly turn to big, crowd-funded data to help us stay informed and avoid buyer’s remorse, we need to be thinking of better ways to get the most up-to-date and accurate information available while also rewarding the efforts of those who aim to please us.”

Continue reading…

No news is good news, right? What I learned from my recent DNA test

Columbia Pictures

Columbia Pictures

I recently completed a $150 DNA test for a story I’m working on. Without going into too much detail, this is what I learned:

  1. I’m healthy. Of 36 diseases tested, I’m not a carrier of any problematic genes. Phew!
  2. I’m 99.9% European. That’s code for “white privilege.”
  3. I’m ordinary. For example, I’m a normal sleeper. And although we were all Born to Run, my muscles are more “sprinter” than “endurance” type.
  4. I got confirmation of what I’ve already observed. For instance, I don’t posses the bald gene, I’m not hairy, my ring finger is longer than my index, my second toe is longer than my big toe, I have wet earwax, and my skin is fair. Go figure!
  5. Genes are overrated. Like my favorite sci-fi move so eloquently proves, our genes do not define who we are or how we choose to live. Yes, DNA is important and can have a big impact on our circumstance. But it does not determine our destiny or who we chose to become with the cards we’ve been dealt.

That’s it for now. Stay tuned for the full story.

Listen up, futurists: Here’s why wearing the same outfit everyday is a bad idea

evolution-look-steve-jobs

I admire Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. Both are big thinkers and deserve to be imitated by any who hope to follow their success.

But unless you’re already a celebrity (or otherwise top 10) executive, you probably shouldn’t follow their tacky example of wearing the same casual uniform everyday. Here’s why:  Continue reading…

More than just a buzzword: Top 10 superfoods backed by science

Courtesy Highbrow

Courtesy Highbrow

In the early 1900s, bananas may have been named the world’s first superfood. At the time, even The American Medical Association praised them for being “sealed by nature in practically germ-proof packages.”*

Although still one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat, bananas are no longer consider a superfood. (I eat one every morning, however, as they’re always in season). Trendy things like acai berries, green tea, quinoa, kale and other manufactured foods are. It’s gotten so out of hand, that the FDA issued a warning letter recently about falsely advertised “superfoods.” As of 2007, the European Union has prohibited food makers from using the term “superfood.”

So how can we distinguish marketing hype from science when seeking out nutrient-rich foods? Highbrow did just that recently. This is what they came up with—the top 10 superfoods backed by science.  Continue reading…