Episode 17: Everything in Moderation with Craig Mod (part 1)

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Craig Mod writes essays that have the power to change the way you look at everything around you. At regular but somewhat distant intervals, he posts a long bit of writing that retrains your mind to see the world as he does. But he doesn’t just talk: He creates projects that demonstrate his points as a designer and publisher of print and electronic work.

Craig and I had such a great but long conversation that we decided to split it into two parts. This is part 1, about publishing and crowdfunding; part 2, on publishing to different platforms, will air in a few weeks.

On Twitter, he is @craigmod.

Show Notes

I read from Craig’s “Books in the Age of the iPad.” The iPad was revealed in January 2010. Craig documented his trip to Nepal as part of a review of the Lumix GF1 camera. Blurb lets you create beautiful books full of color photos. The former Microsoft executive he mentions founded Room to Read.

Aldus created PageMaker, which sparked the desktop publishing (DTP) revolution. QuarkXPress was a not-much-later close competitor. Adobe bought Aldus, and later released InDesign, which eventually replaced PageMaker and mostly sunk QuarkXPress.

Medium is a new kind of publishing platform, created by Obvious Corporation, from which Twitter came. Medium lets people (by invitation, currently) publish essays that can be commented on, briefly, by others. Where it’s going no one knows yet.

Craig mentioned a current Web-publishing system, WordPress, and an early one, Movable Type. Perl and PHP are scripting languages that fed early Web interaction (and still do). (As in seemingly every episode, content management systems have to be discussed as they prevent or enable publishing!)

David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepción run PePcon, the Print + ePublishing Conference, focused on using InDesign to push to print and many platforms. They also are behind InDesignSecrets, which publishes a magazine and just purchased CreativePro.com. Serenity Caldwell gave this detailed talk in October 2012 at Çingleton Deux on Macworld magazine’s e-publishing workflow evolution. Ron Bilodeau’s notes in the middle of Craig’s “Platforming Books” essay on his epub workflow is longer than the essay. I called Clayton Christensen, author of The Innovator’s Dilemma and many other books, “Christian Claytensen” early in the show.

Kickstartup,” Craig’s 2010 essay, was extremely influential in how I thought about Kickstarter then (and now). It describes his research, planning, and execution of producing a new edition of Art Space Tokyo with Ashley Rawlings, illustrated by Nobumasa Takahashi.

I mention Lumi, the solar-sensitive ink dye; I talked to its founders for Episode 11 in February. Craig mentioned Y Combinator, a very early-stage angel funding program run by Paul Graham. Order of the Stick’s reprint campaign raised nearly $1.3 million in February 2012.

Ramen is served by a million places in Tokyo, and can be quite expensive. I enjoyed a meal of yōshoku not long before I spoke with Craig.