The Pessimists Archive Podcast Is Now Called “Build For Tomorrow”

Pessimists Archive
3 min readJan 28, 2021

Pessimists Archive has always been a brand about change. We look at why people fear change, how they resisted change, and what causes those fears to keep repeating across time.

Today, we’re doing a little change of our own: The podcast we’ve created, which since 2016 has been called Pessimists Archive, is being renamed Build For Tomorrow. It will no longer be officially connected to Pessimists Archive… but the projects (and its two creators) will remain friends.

Meanwhile, everything else about Pessimists Archive stays the same — including the @PessimistsArc Twitter and Instagram feeds, this Medium channel, and more.

What’s going on? We’d like to explain.

The History of This History-Obsessed Brand

Pessimists Archive was created by Louis Anslow in 2014. Irked by contemporary technophobia, he’d been digging through newspaper archives finding hilarious, familiar reactions to technologies of yore. He began collecting them, sharing them on Twitter (and writing about them), it was quickly embraced by the tech and media communities. One of those eager followers was magazine editor Jason Feifer. Jason had an equal fascination with recurring fears across time, and DM’d to see if Louis wanted to collaborate. They talked and came up with a new project: A podcast!

The first episode launched in September of 2016, and it was about the early 1980s freak-outs over the Walkman. People claimed — just as they do now about smartphones! — that the Walkman was pulling people apart. (“Are they distracting and unhealthy?” one newspaper asked.) A town in New Jersey banned the Walkman, then ticketed a guy for wearing one.

For the next five years, the Twitter and podcast followings kept growing. We felt lucky to have found an audience, and split the projects up: Louis oversaw social media, and Jason oversaw the podcast.

It was fun! But in late 2020, we decided that it no longer made sense.

Pessimists and Optimists

The issue began with the name. What exactly is Pessimists Archive? Some people think it’s an archive for pessimists — but no! It’s an archive of pessimists. It’s a collection of pessimism from the past.

This name made obvious sense on social media, where all of Louis’s tweets very clearly related to the name. But Jason had started to take the podcast in a different direction. Episodes explored the good that can come from pandemics, for example, or how to change people’s behavior without forcing them to. Listeners began telling Jason that the name confused them, and he started to want a more optimistic title.

This started a bigger conversation between us. We came to realize something: The partnership was great, but we had developed different visions of where we wanted to go with our projects.

That meant it was time to do the thing we kept preaching about: We needed to change.

Today, the podcast debuts its new name: It is now Build For Tomorrow. Jason is officially leaving Pessimists Archive — and now, like at the start, the brand is all Louis.

What Comes Next

We’re now officially separate entities, each with exciting plans to build upon the work we’ve done. And we hope you’ll continue to enjoy both!

Pessimists Archive remains as active as ever on Twitter, has a fun weekly newsletter that rounds up the best new archival finds, and will be expanding into more platforms soon.

Build For Tomorrow continues making its highly produced podcasts, has a newsletter about how to find opportunity in change, and more media projects will be announced soon.

We want to thank everyone for following, listening, and sharing our work. And of course, we want to apologize for destroying your brain. Because as everyone knows…

That’s what they said in the St. Petersburg Times in 1938, anyway. Perhaps we’ll never recover.