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.
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.
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.
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.”