🎙️ Manuel Moreale

An interview with writer and developer Manuel Moreale about how they discover, consume, and interact with media and entertainment

We have an especially exciting interview this month. One of the big inspirations for Consumption Gumption was Manuel Moreale's People & Blogs interview series. Anyone who has read it can probably see the similarities along with what I've directly ripped off from him.

I asked Manu for some quick pointers when I was first gearing up to launch this and he graciously agreed to participate as well. I saved his to end our first season of Consumption Gumption—but we will be back with another five starting in August. I have some pretty exciting people lined up.

Huge thanks to Manu for lending his time and indulging us!

Consumption Gumption

Manuel Moreale, writer and web developer

Listens to podcasts and music, reads blogs, books, and the occasional manga

To start off, can you introduce yourself?

Sure thing. Manuel Moreale, Manu for pretty much everyone. Born and raised in Italy, still living here. I am a freelance website maker. These days I do mostly dev work and occasionally design work. Aside from work, I do a bunch of other stuff online:

- I write on my blog
- I run Minimalissimo
- I interview people for People and Blogs
- I send out a very infrequent, very weird, location-dependent newsletter

If I’m not at my screen I’m probably hiking somewhere with my insane dog.

How do podcasts fit into your life? And what are some of your favorites? Do you try to listen to everything you are subscribed to or pick and choose?

Classic answer: it depends. The podcasts in my media diet can be divided into three main categories. You have the sports podcasts which is how I keep up with basketball. I’ve been following the sport for almost 20 years at this point and podcasts are how I stay up to date on what’s going on. I listen to those very casually while I’m doing chores or if I’m eating alone. These are the junk foods of my media diet.

Then there are a few tech podcasts I listen to in order to be informed on what’s happening in the tech/digital world. This is partly because it’s useful for my work but also because I am interested in the topic. I listen to these very casually when I’m driving or when I’m doing something that doesn’t require my full attention.

These days I’m listening to the following:

- The Vergecast
- Decoder
- ShopTalk
- Hard Fork
- The WAN Show

Lastly, the more serious podcasts. These I listen to only if the episode is about something I care about and I usually listen to them on long drives. I occasionally have to drive 4+ hours so that’s perfect for this type of podcast. The two I have on my player at the moment are:

- Making Sense
- Search Engine

Other podcasts have gone in and out of my rotation at different times and are worth mentioning because they’re great:

- 99% Invisible
- Stuff You Should Know
- StarTalk
- Houston We Have a Podcast
- The Orbital Mechanics Podcast

You asked if I listen to each episode and the answer is usually no. Sometimes I listen only to part of a podcast because that’s what interests me, other times I just skip episodes entirely because I’m not interested in the guest or the topics covered.

You mentioned sports and basketball podcasts—I'm a big hoops junkie myself and am curious what that looks like for you in Italy?

I started playing basketball as a teen and started following the nba in the 2000. Always followed the league even though these days I don’t find it all that interesting. The game has evolved so much that it’s honestly not all that fun to watch for me. I still like to catch up with what’s going on mainly because there are a few players I’m curious about which is why I still listen to podcasts. I do enjoy watching international competitions though. The World Cup was fun and I look forward to watch the Olympic.

And for music, since it's a background thing, is it mostly instrumental? And does music have a place outside of working for you?

Yup, instrumental and almost exclusively electronic. I don’t have a very educated taste in music, mainly because I don’t really care all that much. I usually open Spotify and hit play on a playlist. These days it’s almost always something Lo-Fi. I do occasionally listen to music while I drive if I’m not in the mood for podcasts.

Any lofi playlists you find yourself enjoying more than others or are you mostly picking whatever is on the front page and rolling with it?

Over the holidays I was listening to a very chill lo-fi Christmas playlist and these days I enjoy themed playlists like this Lord Of The Rings Lo-Fi for example.

Where do you discover new things to listen/read/watch?

Sometimes guests on podcasts suggest things worth reading or watching. Other times I stumble on them on some random blog. I do a lot of random clicking on blogs and when you do that you end up discovering a lot of interesting things to consume. Sometimes I also get suggestions via email from people who read my blog and that’s awesome.

Can you give us some of your recent favorites?

1. Book: Things Become Other Things by Craig Mod
2. Podcast Ep: The Case of the Missing Hit
3. Blog Post: On Influencers and Parasocial Relationships

What's something older than 10 years you think is worth people revisiting?

Cowboy Bebop and Neon Genesis Evangelion.

What's your relationship with your phone like when you are reading a book or watching something?

It’s fine these days. I’m using it a lot because of my current relationship arrangement but I can honestly go days without touching it. Also, my setup is pretty extreme. I’m currently on an iPhone 11 Pro Max. I have no apps on my Home Screen and no apps in my dock. Once unlocked I have an empty screen. I use Spotlight search to search for the app I need to use so everything is very deliberate. I have no social media apps on my phone since I don’t do social media anymore and if I’m watching a movie I just toss it away from me and that’s it.

Are there any directors, writers, artists, etc. you'd consider yourself a superfan of?

I watched almost the entire Tarantino filmography and I love his movies. I also love Craig Mod’s writing and I have a bunch of his books. I don’t think I am a super fan of anyone though.

Given you run the excellent People and Blogs, who's blog do you find yourself drawn to / inspired by the most these days?

There’s no one blog, to be honest with you. I have so many interesting ones in my RSS reader and that’s why the IndieWeb is so great. You can bounce from site to site and find interesting content on a daily basis. If I must name one I particularly enjoy I’d say it’s Reversed. I love the topic and I love Jon-Kyle’s style when it comes to both writing and web design. But again, there are so many good ones out there.

Any last words about your media consumption or the state of entertainment?

I think it sucks that most of the mainstream entertainment has become risk-averse for financial reasons. But that’s what happens when you have to maximize profits at all costs. Thankfully we still have independent creators out there. You didn’t ask for it but I’m going to throw one random recommendation out there: In Pursuit of Silence.

Anyone you think has good taste we should interview next?

Thinking about the people I usually interact with I think Andrea might be interested in the topic and could be a good fit. He consumes a lot more media than me and he’s also the current head of comms gaming at Red Bull so he’s definitely more involved in this space than I am.

Anyway, this was fun, thank you for having me.


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