Wheels on Fire with Elly Blue (Episode 71)

Elly Blue is a bike activist, writer, and publisher, and has run more Kickstarter campaigns than nearly any other person or group. She is fiercely in favor of using bikes as a necessary mode of transportation — though it is not necessarily the ideal — and describes herself as a feminist bicycle activist. We talk funding, publishing, and persistence. (Square photo by Caroline Paquette. Expo photo courtesy of San Francisco Zine Fest.)

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Show Notes

Elly has launched 19 Kickstarter campaigns; the 18 completed campaigns have all funded successfully. Her 19th is underway. A children's book, Zoom! The story of a boy and his balance bike, was her biggest project with over $10,000 raised. (Sign up for her mailing list.)

Jean MacDonald spoke to us about App Camp for Girls; she recently left her for-profit job to become executive director of the program she helped found. Amelia Greenhall explained the purpose of and process to create Double Union, a women-oriented makerspace in San Francisco. (Amelia and colleagues recently launched the publication Model View Culture, and just shipped their first quarterly issue.) Elly's boyfriend, Joe Biel, founded Microcosm Publishing. I talked to Matt Bors about his book crowdfunding campaign.

I wrote an Economist item recently about the perils of taking a book aimed for print production and creating an ereader edition. Elly mentioned George Packer's lengthy article about Amazon.com in the New Yorker. Elly wrote about Dutch-style cargo bikes, bakfietsen, for The Magazine.

Puzzling Evidence with Chris Yates (Episode 70)

Chris Yates is a polymath. A sculptor, artist, woodworker, cartoonist, entrepreneur, dog-kennel assembler, musician, and more. He's best known now for his handmade jigsaw puzzles. He's on the show to talk about his zigzag path to making a niche for himself.

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This podcast is made possible through the support of sponsors and patrons.

New Relic helps everyone's software work better, and if you’re in any business today, you’re in the software business. New Relic monitors every move your application makes, across the entire stack, and shows you what's happening right now. Visit newrelic.com/disruptors to find out more.

What do Lil Wayne, Black Girls CODE, and Humans of New York have in common? They've all raised funds on Indiegogo! Indiegogo has hosted over 100,000 campaigns since 2008 and distributes millions of dollars every week around the globe. Listeners visit tnd.indiegogo.com to receive a 25% discount on fees.

 

Abraham Finberg, CPA: From dealing with those pesky 1099Ks to complex accounting needs, go to finbergcpa.com for all your financial support. Services can be as simple as a 15-minute phone consultation session all the way up to outsourcing your whole internal accounting office. Use promotion code DISRUPT to get a free phone consultation today!

 

Thanks to patrons GravityFish, Garry Pugh, and Abraham Finberg for supporting us directly through Patreon! You can back this podcast for as little as $1 per month. At higher levels, we'll thank you on the air and send you mugs and T-shirts.

Show notes

Chris displayed with Topatoco at Emerald City Comicon recently; he works a lot of conventions. He created 50 Comic-Con Questions as a tongue-in-response to what people ask. Chris is almost sui generis.

The "Quilt of No Return" has a difficult rating of 9.3 out of 10. Chris's cartoon, Reprographics, ran from about 2004 to 2013.

Ryan North of Dinosaur Comics is possibly the nicest guy in the world, based on his reputation. David Lynch did Angriest Dog in the World for quite a while. xkcd by Randall Munroe turned not being able to draw into an asset. Chris worked early on with David Malki, interviewed on New Disruptors in September 2013. Ceaco sells mass-produced versions of Chris's invention.

What the Outfoxed Says with Dylan Meconis (Episode 69)

Dylan Meconis is a prolific cartoonist who lives in Portland, Oregon. She constantly labors away at a mix between her solo work and projects in collaboration with others, including writing the script for Scott Kurtz's popular PvP webcomic. She is part of Periscope Studio, which we've talked about in previous podcasts. We talk about building a career and learning from mistakes while keeping all the plates spinning.

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This podcast is made possible through the support of sponsors and patrons.

New Relic helps everyone's software work better, and if you’re in any business today, you’re in the software business. New Relic monitors every move your application makes, across the entire stack, and shows you what's happening right now. Visit newrelic.com/disruptors to find out more.

Creative VIP is the exclusive membership club for creative professionals, writers, and designers. Membership includes discounts on world-class online services and apps, and access to a growing library of graphics, vectors, icons and themes. Save 25% on your membership, forever, by visiting http://creativevip.net/disrupt

 

What do Lil Wayne, Black Girls CODE, and Humans of New York have in common? They've all raised funds on Indiegogo! Indiegogo has hosted over 100,000 campaigns since 2008 and distributes millions of dollars every week around the globe. Listeners visit tnd.indiegogo.com to receive a 25% discount on fees.

 

Thanks to patrons Andy McMillan, Andrei Matetic, and Abraham Finberg for supporting us directly through Patreon! You can back this podcast for as little as $1 per month. At higher levels, we'll thank you on the air and send you mugs and T-shirts.

Show notes

Dylan's books include Outfoxed, Bite Me! (a vampire farce); Family Man, a graphic novel being told pages at a time, and then collected into volumes; and Danse Macabre 2.0. My friend Alison Hallett recommended Dylan's work and the Bone series by Jeff Smith. Dylan mentioned the artist Ivan Bilibin as an inspiration for Outfoxed.

Portland has a ton of creative people of all sorts, and cartoonists and comic-book artists rank high among them. Both Dark Horse Comics and Oni Press are based there. Erika Moen, a Periscope Studio participant, was on this show in August 2013. Bill Amend (Foxtrot) became internet famous.

Dylan's Kickstarter campaign was successful, but she hit a bunch of snags we discuss. Her wife, Katie Lane, is a lawyer who advises freelancers at Work Made for Hire on making good decisions about their work and rights! Katie performs legal work for cartoonist Matt Bors, a previous guest on this podcast.

I and Dylan listed off an oodle of conferences, which include Gallifrey One, Rose City Comic Con, Emerald City Comicon, PAX, the XOXO conference, MaxFunCon, and JoCo Cruise Crazy.

Erika Moen is using Patreon to fund each cartoon she creates.

See You in the Funny Webpages with Dave Kellett and Fred Schroeder (Episode 68)

Dave Kellett and Fred Schroeder created the movie Stripped about the past, present, and future of comic strips and their creators. Dave is the creator and cartoonist of two webcomics titles, Sheldon and Drive, and the co-author of How To Make Webcomics. He is one of a small but growing group of webcomics artists who are self-sufficient. Fred is a veteran cinemographer, nominated for Best Cinematography at Sundance for his work on Four Sheets to the Wind. He has been shooting commercials for much of his career.

Together, they matched Fred's filmmaking skills with Dave's personal knowledge of the field and his contacts to create the first feature-length documentary on the topic, funded in part through two Kickstarter campaigns. They don't pull punches about the difficulties of being a comic-strip artist, but they show all the joy and love that goes into the work along with many potential bright lights already illuminating parts of the field and shining on the horizon.

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Media Temple: Web hosting for artists, designers, and Web developers since 1998. World-class support available 24x7 through phone and chat—and even Twitter. Sign up with coupon code "tnd" to get 25% off your first month of hosting.

Creative VIP is the exclusive membership club for creative professionals, writers, and designers. Membership includes discounts on world-class online services and apps, and access to a growing library of graphics, vectors, icons and themes. You can also get a regular goodie bag on your doorstep. Save 25% on your membership, forever, by visiting http://creativevip.net/disrupt

 

Abraham Finberg, CPA: From dealing with those pesky 1099Ks to complex accounting needs, go to finbergcpa.com for all your financial support. Services can be as simple as a 15-minute phone consultation session all the way up to outsourcing your whole internal accounting office. Use promotion code DISRUPT to get a free phone consultation today!

What do Project for Awesome, the world’s most compact e­vehicle, and a baby have in common? They've all been crowdfunded on Indiegogo! Indiegogo has hosted over 100,000 campaigns since 2008 and distributes millions of dollars every week around the globe. Individuals can start raising funds immediately. Listeners visit tnd.indiegogo.com to receive a 25% discount on fees.

 

Thanks this week to patrons Greg Hayes, Neil Richler, and Abraham Finberg for supporting us directly through Patreon! You can back this podcast for as little as $1 per month. At higher levels, we'll thank you on the air and send you mugs and T-shirts.

Show Notes

You can watch a short preview of Stripped on YouTube.

Bill Watterson created the poster for the movie! He's interviewed by audio (as we discuss).

We mentioned Topataco, a company that helps fulfill webcomics' artists books and other material. I spoke to Topatoco's Holly Rowland a year ago.

Fair use is an incredibly fraught topic because there's no simple and inexpensive way to determine in advance whether a creator's use of copyrighted stuff would be covered by the legal principles! I wrote about Stripped and its second Kickstarter for clearance-rights funds for the Economist.

We also talked about errors and omission (E&O) insurance that movie theatres require in order to let your film be shown in their venues. The Documentary Film Program at Stanford University provides advice about fair use to filmmakers as well as helping them obtain insurance plus find pro bono or reduced-rate legal assistance.

David Malki and his chums took Machine of Death to the top rank among books sold at Amazon.com as part of a concerted effort among their fans. They beat out Glenn Beck, who was not happy about it at all. I talked to David about this, his comic strip, and the second book in the Machine series last August.

VHX is the DRM-free streaming/download service that helped Indie Game: The Movie deliver to its backers and later buyers, and did and is doing the same for Stripped. The makers of Indie Game were among my first guests, and I checked in with them last December to talk about the aftermath of the film's release and the production of their deluxe edition.

However, if you're a regular iTunes user, you can help boost Stripped to No. 1 in the iTunes movie or documentary rankings by pre-ordering a copy by April 1!

Agile Was I Ere I Saw Ada's with Danielle Hulton (Episode 67)

Danielle Hulton of Ada's Technical Books not only opened a bookstore in Seattle in 2010, but recently dramatically expanded the size of the shop by moving to a new space. What led her to leap where others feared to tread, and how do you keep a bookstore current when ebooks seem to sucking readers away? Expertise, instant availability, and many lines of business are all part of the process.

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Mailchimp helps more than five million people and businesses around the world send email newsletters. They sent 70 billion messages on their behalf in 2013! They also have hats for cats and small dogs.

What do the Nikola Tesla Museum, the film that won this year's Sundance Film Festival, and a baby have in common? They've all been crowdfunded on Indiegogo! Listeners visit tnd.indiegogo.com to receive a 25% discount on fees.

 

Media Temple: Web hosting for artists, designers, and Web developers since 1998. World-class support available 24x7 through phone and chat—and even Twitter. Sign up with coupon code "tnd" to get 25% off your first month of hosting.

 

Thanks to new patrons Andy McMillan and Andy Baio for supporting us directly through Patreon! You can back this podcast for as little as $1 per month. At higher levels, we'll thank you on the air and send you mugs and T-shirts.

Show Notes

The Kobo line of readers tie into a DRM-free store, but also read standard EPUB and Adobe Digital locked files used in library loans and by some independent ebooks store.

I spoke with Kevin Kelly about his career and new Cool Tools book a few weeks ago. You can listen to our interview and read a full transcript.

Ada's resells Sparkfun and Adafruit kits and parts, which can be used to create interesting electronics. Ada's used to be adjacent to Seattle maker lab Metrix Createspace.

Starbucks launched an unbranded concept store in 2009 on 15th Avenue, near Ada's current location. Designed expensively using elements borrowed from nearby stores, it was soon outed as a Starbucks property, and put a mermaid on it in 2011.

My confused recollection of Powell's corrected by this history. Michael Powell started a bookstore in Chicago in 1970 as a graduate student. His father, Walter, came out to run the store in summer 1971 so Michael could take a vacation. Walter then returned home to Portland, where he opened his own bookstore, which he asked Michael, in 1979, to come back and run. The Chicago store was sold, and still exists (in multiple branches).

We wound up booking Ada's (at its normal price, no favors!) for our book event for The Magazine. We'll be there April 2nd and in San Francisco April 3rd. We have a Portland event April 30th. See our book events page for directions, times, and details.

Crowded House with Joshua Lifton (Episode 66)

Joshua Lifton is one of the founders of Crowd Supply, a company that crowdfunds around products. They take a very different approach to preparation, funding, and follow-up than Kickstarter. Kickstarter just announced that it had crossed $1bn in pledges in its five-year lifetime. Of that, it's disbursed nearly $850m. It's on track to facilitate perhaps half a billion in 2014 alone.

Kickstarter may be used interchangeably with the term crowdfunding and it is the 800 lb. gorilla in the space. (Watch out for the shipping charges on that gorilla, especially internationally.) But in its wake, hundreds of millions of dollars are being raised from all sorts of other sites which fill in important aspects of ecosystem, and Crowd Supply is one of them.

Sponsors & Patrons

This podcast is made possible through the support of sponsors and patrons.

Mailchimp helps more than five million people and businesses around the world use MailChimp to send email newsletters. They sent 70 billion messages on their behalf in 2013! They also have hats for cats and small dogs.

What do the Nikola Tesla Museum, the film that won this year's Sundance Film Festival, and a baby have in common? They've all been crowdfunded on Indiegogo! Listeners visit tnd.indiegogo.com to receive a 25% discount on fees.

 

Media Temple: Web hosting for artists, designers, and Web developers since 1998. World-class support available 24x7 through phone and chat—and even Twitter. Sign up with coupon code "tnd" to get 25% off your first month of hosting.

 

Thanks to new patrons Andy McMillan and Andy Baio for supporting us directly through Patreon! You can back this podcast for as little as $1 per month. At higher levels, we'll thank you on the air and send you mugs and T-shirts.

Show Notes

Dan Shapiro and I spoke about his Robot Turtles game and its fulfillment issues in Episode 59.

Andrew "bunnie" Hwang and Jie Qi used Crowd Supply to fund Circuit Stickers. I spoke with bunnie in Episode 33 about how he creates projects and the production of products in China, especially electronics. He'll be launching his open-laptop project, Novena, as a campaign on Crowd Supply.

Helium is a funded supercapacitor-powered portable speaker that's also hackable — a category that Crowd Supply tags so that potential backers can more easily find user-modifiable and -buildable products.

Made from Scratch with Jane Friedman and Manjula Martin (Episode 65)

manjula_jane_square_250.jpg

Jane Friedman and Manjula Martin founded Scratch Magazine, a born-digital publication that tells writers what they're worth and how the publishing industry sausage-making factory actually works. Jane has an extensive background as an editor, and may be best known for her decade at Writer's Digest. Manjula is a freelance writer, whose work has appeared widely in places like Modern Farmer, San Francisco Weekly, and our own The Magazine, in which she wrote about musician and producer John Vanderslice.

Sponsors & Patrons

This podcast is made possible through the support of sponsors and patrons.

TypeEngine: From the passionate indie publisher to the multi-publication agency, TypeEngine is the beautifully simple publishing platform to deliver your works digitally. Publish long-form content, photos, and rich media.

Media Temple: Web hosting for artists, designers, and Web developers since 1998. Media Temple hosts beautiful websites and great ideas. Use code "tnd" to get 25% off your first month.

 

Thanks to new patrons George O'Toole, Sean Wickett, and Andy Baio for supporting us directly through Patreon! You can back this podcast for as little as $1 per month. At higher levels, we'll thank you on the air and send you mugs and T-shirts. Help us toward our goal of $1,000 per month of Patreon sponsorship and we'll make transcripts available for every new episode!

Show Notes

The Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference "celebrates the authors, teachers, students, writing programs, literary centers, and publishers," and shifts from place to place to focus on a specific region.

Jane first worked for F&W Publications, now F+W Media, including a long stint at Writer's Digest. (Writer's Market lists publications that pay for work they publish.)

Bowker, which compiles Books in Print, says that 391,000 distinct titles were self-published in 2012. Writer's Digest has an award for self-published books.

Manjula worked on POZ magazine for people living with and affected by AIDS/HIV. Who Pays Writers? started on Tumblr and is now at Scratch.

We talked about a bunch of ways in which people can get paid as journalists by patrons and supporters, including Patreon, Beacon, and Tugboat Yards. The Toast is full of awesome and hilarious writing. You can watch Ira Glass's short series on storytelling.

The slush pile to which Manjula refers are unsolicited manuscripts.

There are a ton of electronic publishing platforms, which include 29th Street Publishing, TypeEngine, Glide, and Creatavist. Medium is a blogging platform, an independent producer of journalism, and a partner to existing publications, like The Magazine. It also purchased MATTER, which now publishes its articles for free reading. Richard Nash has his finger on the future of publishing, and is now working with Byliner.

Nicole Cliffe of The Toast; Dan Kois, a senior editor at Slate; and Alexis Madrigal, senior editor at the Atlantic spoke to Scratch about what they pay writers.

Harlan Ellison says, "Pay the writer!"

Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves with The Doubleclicks (Episode 64)

Photo by Jesse Kirk

Photo by Jesse Kirk

Angela and Aubrey Webber are the musical group The Doubleclicks, bringing geeky music to nerdy folk. The sisters never intended to form a band, but when Aubrey joined her sister Angela in Portland a few years ago, her cello coupled with Angela's singing caused enough of a stir for them to join forces and write songs about Dungeons & Dungeons, the Curiosity rover, and not dissing the geek girl. We talk about all this and their absurdly successful Kickstarter campaign that just closed.

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lynda.com: Over 2,000 high-quality and engaging video courses taught by industry experts — with new courses added daily. Listeners get a free 7-day trial with full access to all content by visiting lynda.com/tnd and signing up.

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Media Temple: Web hosting for artists, designers, and Web developers since 1998. Media Temple hosts beautiful websites and great ideas. Use code "tnd" to get 25% off your first month.

 

Thanks to new patrons George O'Toole, Sean Wickett, and Andy Baio for supporting us directly through Patreon! You can back this podcast for as little as $1 per month. At higher levels, we'll thank you on the air and send you mugs and T-shirts. Help us toward our goal of $1,000 per month of Patreon sponsorship and we'll make transcripts available for every new episode!

Show Notes

As with so many Internet-friendly musicians, Jonathan Coulton was a big influence. Musician Marian Call is a buddy of theirs. Aubrey attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where their father teaches. Angela has an inordinate number of cat keyboards. Ben Folds Five recorded Whatever and Ever Amen in a house, not a studio, which mildly discomfited the Klezmatics, according to Folds. Steve Martin's autobiography of his stand-up career, Born Standing Up, explains his long journey to be an overnight success. Portland has a unicyclist who plays "The Imperial March" on a set of flaming bagpipes while wearing a Darth Vader mask.

Here's the Dungeons & Dragons song that started this whole chain of events off. Paton Oswalt declared the end of geek culture in 2010 because it had been co-opted: "The problem with the Internet, however, is that it lets anyone become otaku about anything instantly." MetaFilter are the most "delightful and most pedantic" commenters on the Internet; it's run by the Webbers' fellow Portlandian Matt Haughey.

Principal Skinner says, "We need a name that's witty at first, but that seems less funny each time you hear it." That name was the Be Sharps.

The Doubleclicks performed their Curiosity song, "Imposter," at XOXO. The sweetest thing is that Angela forgets the words at some point, and the audience buoys her along. Song Fu is a kind of writing prompt for songwriters. Ken Plume ran the contest.