Hugs and Kisses Goodbye: Live from XOXO 2014 (Episode 93)

Jen Bekman, Zoë Salditch, and Mike Merrill were our guests live on stage at the XOXO 2014 festival in Portland, Oregon, as part of the Story evening that also featured Hrishikesh Hirway's Song Exploder, featuring a song by The Thermals; John Roderick (The Long Winters) interviewing Chelsea Cain; and Harmontown with Dino Stamatopoulos.

Jen Bekman founded 20x200 in 2007 to provide art at accessible prices. She spoke about her in work in 2012 at XOXO. Then she had a terrible, no good, very bad year. For a lot of reasons, she can't discuss the particulars of what happened, but she had to reboot 20x200: its site, its technology, its art, and its trust with existing customers.

If you have beautiful digital art, you need a place to display it. That's the idea behind Electronic Objects, a massively funded Kickstarter project from a month ago. But Zoë Salditch's interest is less in the technology than the uses to which people will put it. In the midst of producing their EO1 model, they have artists in residence working on concpetual ideas and are considering one future for their hardware as a platform for art — maybe 20x200 and EO have a lot in common?

With most people, saying "I can buy and sell you" is a boast about one's own ostensible net worth. With Mike Merrill, it's the literal truth. Mike is a publicly traded company, and shareholders can vote on the course his life takes, including how he pursues romantic interests. Shares in KMIKEYM have traded as high as $25 and typically change hands in a band of $5 to $10. Volume is low.

This is our last regularly scheduled episode as we go on hiatus and consider a path forward. Keep watching this site and @newdisruptors for news about future projects.

Sponsors and patrons

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

gifpop, the makers of physical renditions of your animated GIFs through the scientific magic of lenticular printing! Take a GIF with up to 10 frames and receive a version that you can tilt for animation, or buy a design from featured artists who receive 80% of the purchase price — or even submit your own work for consideration for sale. Listeners get 10% off a gifpop order by using coupon code DISRUPT during checkout.

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Thanks to our Patreon backers for all their support! Bryan J. Clark, Pasha Alpeyev, Andy Baio, Matthew Blai, Alex Bond, Henry Brown, Anirvan Chatterjee, Ready Chi, Jordan Cooper, Craig, Tarun Gangwani, GravityFish , Accounting Guy, Gregory Hayes, Brian J. Geiger, Jonathan Mann, Mike Mansor, Kris Markel, Roman Mars, Andrei Matetic, Gordon McDowell, Andy McMillan, Rönne Ogland, George OToole, Elliott Payne, Garry Pugh, "r," Neil Richler, James Robilliard, Kay Schumann, Jonathan Stark, Kyle Studstill, Ted Timmons, CJ Tully, and Ben Werdmuller.

(Photo by Brad Dowdy.)

Fit to Print with Andy McMillan (Episode 92)

Andy McMillan makes things that bring people together: the Build conference, the XOXO festival, and The Manual, a series of books with thoughtful essays about design. After producing three print volumes of The Manual, he's trying to take it to the next level, and produce something openly, broadly available across many media, that's a collaboration with those who want to make it happen — and is funding it on Kickstarter. We'll talk books, ebooks, community, and hugs and kisses.

Sponsors and patrons

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

99designs: Have dozens of designers from the over 310,000 that are part of 99designs's network submit ideas for your logo, Web site, T-shirt, car wrap, or other design project, then pick the best and have a finished, professional result in a week or less for a flat price. Our listeners can visit this special destination page to get a $99 Power Pack of services for free!

Thanks also to our Patreon backers Gordon McDowell, Ready Chi, and Bryan C. Clark for supporting us directly.

(Photo by Ian Linkletter.)

Mi Casa Es Su Benincasa with Sara Benincasa (Episode 90)

Sara Benincasa is an author, comedian, writer, and outspoken advocate of LGBTQ youth, among many other hats she's worn. She is an expert impressionist and parodist of Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. Sara is the author of the novel Great and the memoir/confessional, Agorafabulous!: Dispatches From My Bedroom, and her third book, the novel Believers, is due out in early 2016, while a fourth book is already underway. She's interviewed Reggie Watts and Amanda Palmer in her bathtub, and posed as a nun with adult performer Stoya. We spoke in person in Seattle when she was visiting during This Tour Is So Gay, recently funded on Kickstarter.

Sponsors and patrons

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

99designs: Have dozens of designers from the over 310,000 that are part of 99designs's network submit ideas for your logo, Web site, T-shirt, car wrap, or other design project, then pick the best and have a finished, professional result in a week or less for a flat price. Our listeners can visit this special destination page to get $99 Power Pack of services for free!

Thanks also to our Patreon backers Ben Werdmuller, Bryan Clark, and GravityFish for supporting us directly.

Show notes

This interview was conducted at The Office, a co-working space above Ada's Technical Books and Café; the owner, Danielle Hulton, was a previous guest of the show.

Nice and Neat with Dan Provost and Tom Gerhardt (Episode 89)

Dan Provost and Tom Gerhardt are Studio Neat, a small design and software group that produces nifty products. They began with the Glif, and when I talked to them last over a year ago, they had launched their second software product and were deep in planning on a new, more complicated item: the Neat Ice Kit. They funded the kit on Kickstarter in September 2013, raising $156,000 against a $50,000 goal. We talk through the challenges of fulfilling that campaign, more lessons learned, and their recently launched follow-up, the Simple Syrup Kit.

Sponsors and patrons

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

99designs: Have dozens of designers from the over 310,000 that are part of 99designs's network submit ideas for your logo, Web site, T-shirt, car wrap, or other design project, then pick the best and have a finished, professional result in a week or less for a flat price. Our listeners can visit this special destination page to get $99 Power Pack of services for free!

Thanks also to our Patreon backers Ben Werdmuller, Ready Chi, and GravityFish for supporting us directly through Patreon! You can help keep this podcast going 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

Depth Takes a Holiday with Amanda Warner and Brianna Wu (Episode 84)

Giant Spacekat, founded by Brianna Wu and Amanda Warner, released their first game today: Revolution 60. It's a cinematic-style, live-rendered game with rich dialog and interaction that employs strong female characters. Brianna is also a co-host of the Isometric podcast. We talk about illustration, independence, and meeting (and exceeding) expectations.

Sponsors and patrons

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

Swiftly.com, a new service of 99designs.com, gets small design jobs done fast. For just $19, they match your small design job with a professional graphic designer and complete it in less than one hour. All designers handpicked from the talented community at 99designs.

Thanks to Cards Against Humanity, which is helping underwrite our indie ads. CAH just launched a site where you can buy directly from them, including their Bigger Blacker Box and their 2012 and 2013 holiday packs, the profits from which are donated to charity.

Our indie advertisers this week are:

  • Casterly, a podcast app released today that combines discovery of episodes through your Twitter feed alongside support for regular subscriptions.

  • How To Create an Ebook, a video course that teaches you the simplest way to create and publish an ebook using iBooks Author.

Thanks also to patrons Kay Schumann, Ted Timmons, and Mike Mansor 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

Into the Bellwoods with Lucy Bellwood (Episode 82)

Lucy Bellwood is a Portland cartoonist who started her working life with a crowdfunding campaign. She's a member of Periscope Studio, a loosely affiliated working space and collective of which I've interviewed other members. True Believer was the outcome of her Kickstarter project, and she's built a career from there.

Sponsors and patrons

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

Swiftly.com, a new service of 99designs.com, gets small design jobs done fast. For just $19, they match your small design job with a professional graphic designer and complete it in less than one hour. All designers handpicked from the talented community at 99designs.

Thanks to Cards Against Humanity, which is helping underwrite our indie ads. CAH just launched a site where you can buy directly from them, including their Bigger Blacker Box and their 2012 and 2013 holiday packs, the profits from which are donated to charity.

Our indie advertisers this week are:

Thanks also to patrons Ben Werdmuller, Alex Bond, and Garry Pugh 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

Jony Ive in an interview with the New York Times: "We all see the same physical object. Something happens between what we objectively see and what we perceive it to be. That’s the definition of a designer – trying to somehow articulate what contributes to the way we see the object."

In Tom the Dancing Bug, Pablo Picasso is told to stick to his popular clown paintings. Lucy's mentor during her formative pre-college years was Eben Matthews. Erika Moen's mentor was Lin Lucas. Erika appeared on Strip Search, a reality web TV show created by the folks behind Penny Arcade.

The monthly comics newspaper Funny Times was an awesome window for decades for me into all the cartoons published independently, in alt weeklies, and beyond. It's where I first read Alison Bechdel's Dykes To Watch Out For, long before her Bechdel Test had become a popular trope.

Savannah College of Art and Design offers a sequential art program that Lucy considered attending. She went to Reed College instead. We also talk about the Independent Publishing Resource Center’s Certificate Program in Comics and Independent Publishing and her attendance at the Center for Cartoon Studies summer session.

Here is my obligatory link to Kevin Kelly's "1,000 True Fans" essay. He and I had a great talk for this podcast in February 2014, of which there is a complete transcript.

You can find Lucy's talks on cartooning in audio form on SoundCloud.

Be Kind, Fast Forward with Jamie Wilkinson (Episode 81)

Jamie Wilkinson is the co-founder and CEO of VHX, a service that delivers movies online to the customers of filmmakers. They exist in sharp contrast to many video sites — operated by the likes of Amazon, Apple, and others — in that they only deliver films free of digital rights management, take a sliver of the purchase price, and truly facilitate filmmakers reaching their audiences.

Sponsors and patrons

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

Thanks to Cards Against Humanity, which is helping underwrite our new indie ads: inexpensive, short advertisements designed for independent artists, makers, programmers, and others. Thanks to Cards Against Humanity, which just launched a site where you can buy directly from them, including their Bigger Blacker Box and their 2012 and 2013 holiday packs, the profits from which are donated to charity.

Our indie advertisers this week are:

  • GaymerX, the inclusive gaming conference for everyone, celebrates the diverse culture and history of gaming. Get $20 off registration with the code "newdisruptors."

  • Pixelwits: hand-crafted pixel portraits. Listen in the show for a chance to win a custom portrait by following @jesselane.

  • DrinkControl helps you to keep track of moderate drinking and your drink expenses.

  • And an ebook novella, Scolding the Winds, is currently being funded, and you can help make it happen.

Thanks also to patrons Ben Werdmuller, Alex Bond, and Garry Pugh 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

Alex's co-founder is Casey Pugh. He directed Stars Wars Uncut with which Jamie was deeply involved. Jamie also built the Know your Meme system. Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail mentions how many screens on which movies are shown when they are in wide release. The number of movie screens in America has increased in recent years! Andy Baio is one of the guys behind XOXO, which just announced its 2014 line-up and registration. Dave Sifry coined the phrase, "the Magic Middle."

Shane Carruth shoots sometimes on inexpensive gear. I and Jamie mentioned the Red camera and Black Magic Camera.

Julian Velard used PledgeMusic to fundraise for a recent album. Jack Conte of Pomplamoose explained how poorly YouTube pays even with massive traffic in his talk at XOXO 2013. Louis CK solid a concert for $5 and changed the economics of that forever.

I spoke to Adam Cornelius and Chris Higgins about their movies The Tetris Masters (2011) and Coined (upcoming) in last week's episode. Lisanne Pajot is the co-creator of Indie Game: The Movie. Aziz Ansari handled his comedy concert with VHX.

Kickstarter has started to produce reported features on creators, starting with this terrific one about Max Tempkin, friend of the show and one of the creators of Cards Against Humanity.

Jamie and I compared notes about the movie Stripped, which used iTunes, VHX, and Google Play during its launch. The creators of that film were guests on this podcast a few weeks ago. The redemption process for the Veronica Mars movie was kind of a mess, but it all got worked out. They relied on Ultraviolet. VHX posted a case study called "Stripped and the Power of Bonus Content."

It's Like Money You Can't Hold with Chris Higgins and Adam Cornelius (Episode 80)

Adam Cornelius and Chris Higgins are making the film Coined, about the rise of cryptocurrency. They previously worked together on Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters. Adam is a documentary filmmaker; Chris, a journalist. They've just launched a Kickstarter to fund Coined, and have shot quite a bit of footage already. We talk about what they learned on the last film and how they plan to make the next one.

Sponsors & patrons

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

Thanks to Cards Against Humanity, which is helping underwrite our new indie ads: inexpensive, short advertisements designed for independent artists, makers, programmers, and others. Thanks to Cards Against Humanity, which just launched a site where you can buy directly from them, including their Bigger Blacker Box and their 2012 and 2013 holiday packs, the profits from which are donated to charity.

Our indie advertisers this week are:

  • In Flux, a new compilations album from Brave Wave by video-game composers. Get 10% off with coupon code DISRUPT.
  • Storming Mortal, an interview podcast with technological celebrities
  • Rainblocks, a fast-paced iOS puzzle game featuring charming pixel art
  • Bee, an issue tracker and timesheet app for the Mac
  • Chroma Videos, a professional promotional video service for Mac and iOS app developers
  • Wordundrum, an iOS game that's like Sudoku with words
  • The Novelist, a quiet introspective game, currently 50% off

Thanks also to patrons GravityFish, Mike Mansor, and George O'Toole 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

Dogecoin is a cryptocurrency that "forked" from Bitcoin, and uses the same open-source underlying code. It was meant as a bit of a joke, and now represents a somewhat illiquid equivalent of tens of millions of US dollars. The Dogecoin community, highly active on Reddit, threw a party in New York in February that Adam and Chris attended to film. Billy Marcus forked Dogecoin.

We talked about a bunch of documentaries:

The inimitable Jason Scott documents (in NSFW language) the extent to which King of Kong was problematic in its narrative and treatment of its subjects. A Harper's article about the controversy is locked in its archives. Twin Galaxies, the definitive video game achievement site, is currently up!

Adam Cornelius not only made a movie about competitive Tetris, he co-created the Classic Tetris World Championship, which returns for its fifth iteration in Portland this October. Chris wrote an article for The Magazine, "Playing to Lose," about the event.

Dogecoin has a tipbot on Reddit that makes it easy to be generous. Berkshire Hathaway is $190,347 a share at this writing (for its "A" shares; its "B" tracking shares are $127 each). When Dogecoin's "reward" — the coins received for mining — halves, it's called the Halvening.

Creativity, Inc, a great book by Pixar co-chief Ed Catmull about dealing with failure, documents how the animation studio nearly lost all of Toy Story 2 because of a failure to have good backups.

VHX works with filmmakers to distribute their work digitally. Next week's episode (81) of The New Disruptors is an interview with co-founder and CEO Jamie Wilkinson. A monopsony is a market in which there is a single buyer for goods or services that can dictate terms to sellers. This is like Amazon being the dominant seller of DVDs and Blu-Rays on line holding Warner Home Video over a barrel (as it is now) to negotiate prices.

Humble Bundle creates packages of digital media (games, books, movies, and more) and lets buyers set their price, a portion of which goes to charity. If one pays above the average price, one gets additional parts of the bundle.

Lisanne Pajot, the co-creator of Indie Game, recently was hired by VHX as its filmmaker ambassador. She and James Swirsky, her partner on the film, finally had the time to get married after years of constant work on the movie!

Sara Benincasa is nearing the end of her Kickstarter for her "This Tour Is So Gay" project, which is a live storytelling show.