Issue 13

In Issue No13 we speak with Kickstarter's co-founder and CEO, Yancey Strickler, about a business approach that's guided by purpose and idealism; Lifehacker founder Gina Trapani looks back on her motivation for starting one of the web's most successful blogs; digital strategist Sarah Bray presents a more human-centred approach for how to conduct business (and life) online; and Kill Screen founder and videogame aficionado Jamin Warren explores the relationship between computer games, the arts, psychology, and society.


Yancey Strickler

Co-founder and CEO of Kickstarter — on the importance of being deterministic, his defiance to become the ‘Walmart of crowdfunding’, and his all-time favourite Kickstarter project.

Gina Trapani

Founder Lifehacker/Co-founder ThinkUp — on what it’s like to build one of the web’s most successful blogs, how 9/11 influenced her career, and her attempt to make social media more meaningful.

Sarah Bray

Digital Strategist, Author — on what it means to treat people like people on the internet, the power of tiny communities, and why we need more honesty in our marketing tactics.

Jamin Warren

Founder of Kill Screen — on why videogames deserve more cultural recognition, the strange power of ‘magic circles’, and what jazz, comics, hip-hop, and games have in common.


Thoughts — Food for thought by Anne Sage and Sharon Steed

A Day In The Life Of — Spend a day with Alex Humphry-Baker and Vaibhav Kanwal.

May I AskBruce Schneier answers our questions about security, online identity and privacy.

Reality-Driven Design — UI designer Francesco Kirchhoff travels to Ebola-stricken Liberia and discovers a different (design) reality.

Ten CommandmentsStephen Wyatt Bush reminisces about the things his dad taught him about programming.

Designer Mantras — Scottish product designer Robbie Manson shares his guiding principles.

One Question — We asked Jessica Rose, Gayle Allen, John V Willshire and William Albright what a connected future looks like to them.

Becoming Cut Out For It — The ups and downs of startup life as told by Other Machine Co. founder Danielle Applestone.

Rules of Business — Guiding principles for doing business, by Ciarán O’Leary.

Gear Guide — Accessories for the modern web worker, by Jessica Tong.

WorkspaceYelp, TripAdvisor, Pixelmator, Heroku

Toolbox — Designer, developer, and founder of Cushion, Jonnie Hallman shows us his set of tools to get stuff done.

Losing Sight — Accessibility standards advocate Léonie Watson recounts the experience of losing her sight.

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There’s a cool/tool spectrum and we always want to be more tool than cool. Being a tool means you’re useful. Being cool means you’re ephemeral.

Few startups succeed, and even fewer manage to redefine a space. Kickstarter did just that as it pioneered what we now call ‘online crowdfunding’. What started almost fifteen years ago as a simple idea about how to foot the bill for a music gig has become the new model for financing and launching creative projects online. As a former writer and cultural critic, co-founder and CEO Yancey Strickler feels strongly about preserving Kickstarter’s early commitment to the arts and the creative community. It’s this rare sense of idealism – of putting purpose and social impact above all else – that places Kickstarter in a class of its own.

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A web community or any sort of publishing project online is a hungry monster-baby that you have to constantly feed new content, design, moderation, marketing, and editing, hourly and daily, lest it appear abandoned and unloved.

Sometimes figuring out the motives for our own actions requires connecting the dots retrospectively. It took New York-based developer Gina Trapani more than a decade to fully understand that her motivation for creating Lifehacker – arguably among the most successful blogs of all times – came from one of the darkest moments in her life. After she handed over the reins of Lifehacker several years ago, her innate curiosity and entrepreneurial prowess have led to several new ventures. With her current projects, ThinkUp and Makerbase, Gina remains steadfast in her focus on making the web a more hospitable and empathetic place for everyone.

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As people become brands and brands co-opt the things that make us human, we become even more wary of the intentions of others.

Sarah Bray describes her first book, Gather The People, as ‘a human-centred approach to making and marketing’. It’s an amalgamation of her experience as a digital strategist, designer, and developer – first running her own agency, then working for another. Through her writing and her online education program, Sarah proposes a framework for a more balanced and sustainable way of creating, promoting, and making a living through the web. She’s walking the walk too, putting her own principles to the test and producing her body of work ‘out in the open’, candidly and convincingly.

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Games provide a vision of how things will be. Games should be your R & D department.

Jamin Warren likes to think deeply about videogames. Few people are as diligent in their efforts to dissect and examine the inner workings of the gaming world. Frustrated by the lack of thoughtful journalism on games and game making, the former Wall Street Journal culture reporter went on to found Kill Screen, a digital and print publication at the intersection of games, play, art, and design. As a smart-witted voice for a rising genre, Jamin strives for the full recognition of video- games as a cultural good that’s on a par with more established cultural disciplines — or as he puts it: “Kill Screen wants to do for games what Rolling Stone has done for rock ‘n’ roll.”

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