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

Community Supported Appliculture with Henry Smith (Episode 72)

Henry Smith is a games app developer, and the evil genius behind the addictive multi-player app Spaceteam. Spaceteam won oodles of awards, and it has the added benefit (or problem) of being free. Henry has an active Kickstarter to fund future development of free work over the next year.

Sponsors & Patrons

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.

MailRoute filters your mail, quarantines any suspicious mail offsite, and delivers only clean mail to your mailboxes. With one simple click, your domain, mail server and other precious resources are protected. For 10% off the lifetime of your account, and a free 15-day trial, visit mailroute.net/disrupt!

 

Thanks to patrons Andy Baio, Jonathan Mann, 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

Watch for an upcoming interview with Greg Wohlwend, the developer of the app Threes.

Henry shares details openly about Spaceteam's downloads and revenue. He wrote a post summing up all the money that's come in, including commissions and prize winnings. Henry's Spaceteam Manifesto is a more formal expression than this podcast of a lot of the principles driving him.

Greg Knauss talked about exiting a long-time job, some of the paralysis that followed, the fear and reality of failure, and finding a path forward in "Falling Upward" (Episode 63).

Attention to Convention with Matt Conn (Episode 61)

mattconn-square-250.jpg

Matt Conn wanted to organize a safe event for gaymers — that's people who game and are part of the LGBTQ continuum. The GaymerX event is meant to be inclusive of all people, but especially those harassed, marginalized, or ridiculed in mainstream gaming. The first GaymerX took place August 2013; the next happens in July. We talk about what it's like to help a community be part of birthing a new convention.

Sponsors & Patrons

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

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.

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.

Audible: Choose from over 150,000 audiobook titles across all genres. Listeners get a free audiobook and free 30-day trial by visiting audiblepodcast.com/disruptors and signing up.

BackersHub.com: BackersHub is a daily deals Web site that rewards people who have backed previously successfully Kickstarter campaigns with exclusive discounts.

 

And thanks to our patrons, supporting us by making a monthly pledge via Patreon. You can pledge as little as $1 a month; at higher levels, get our on-air and Web site thanks, T-shirts, and more! Thanks this time to Abraham Finberg and Bob Owen! You help make it all happen.

Show notes

Matt is America's worst driver.

Brianna Wu has written a few pieces from the perspective of a female gamer and game developer for The Magazine. "Choose Your Character" was about the group dynamic challenges of her firm, Giant Spacekat, as its team sorted out life choices and personalities while pushing forward at a breakneck pace to ship the game. Revolution 60. (Which is about 50 days away now!)

In "GOTY 2013: Badass Girls Need Not Apply," she explains that the relative lack of women in games journalism (and the negative attention women-identified people receive in writing reviews) contributes to disregarding the interests of a large segment of game players. (She also wrote a follow-up to that piece to address positive and negative critiques.) Carolyn Petit wrote the review of Grand Theft Auto V that received over 20,000 comments, mostly negative and many horrible.

The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media (what an awesome thing to exist in our universe) commissions research studies "on gender prevalence in family entertainment." Davis cites a study (though doesn't provide its name) in an NPR interview that found, "If there's 17 percent women, the men in the group think it's 50-50. And if there's 33 percent women, the men perceive that as there being more women in the room than men."

The initial GaymerX Kickstarter raised over $90,000 towards its $25,000 goal. GirlGeekCon in Seattle is another show that is designed to provide a safe and fun experience free of harassment. While it is oriented towards the interests of women across geek culture, science, and technology, it is inclusive of all people.

Chi-Fi (not ChiCon, as I erroneously called it) said a few weeks ago that it was canceling its 2014 convention because of its concerns that the hotel would be able to work with its anti-harassment policies. However, just a few days ago, the convention said it was able to book a new hotel! Chi-Fi is on for one day: March 29, 2014.

Matt and the Gaymer team funded an Ouya gaming system game just a few weeks ago, and will launch a Kickstarter soon for the 2014 convention, GaymerX2, July 11 to 13! Be there!

Shell Game with Dan Shapiro (Episode 59)

Dan Shapiro with a premium sheet of game pieces.

Dan Shapiro with a premium sheet of game pieces.

Dan Shapiro created the game Robot Turtles out of scissors, clip art, and a printer to offer asymmetric play: kids and adults can play together and both can enjoy the experience. He brought it to Kickstarter to sell a few hundred copies, and wound up selling over 25,000. In his workshop, Dan explains how the game developed, the Kickstarter proceeded, and he's fulfilling it.

Sponsors & Patrons

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

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

We're also sponsored by Audible. Audible is the leading provider of downloadable audio books, and listeners of the New Disruptors can get a free audiobook and a 30-day trial by visiting audiblepodcast.com/disruptors.

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

Visit Audible for a free book and a 30-day trial. Choose from over 150,000 audiobooks.

 

And thanks to our patrons, supporting us by making a monthly pledge via Patreon. You can pledge as little as $1 a month; at higher levels, get our on-air and Web site thanks, T-shirts, and more! Thanks this time to Bryan Clark, Elliott Payne, and GravityFish! You help make it all happen.

Show Notes

View a set of photos and videos I took while visiting Dan, including shots of his 2D laser cutter at work.

Candy Land "is a crippled Markov chain coupled to a push-pop stack." Dean Putney, who I have now referenced a million times, was a guest on the show in November 2013. I just received my copy of his book and it is fantastic! Huge and wonderfully printed. Fulfillment by Amazon lets companies store their stuff in Amazon's warehouses and have them manage shipping stuff to your customers.

Dan's friend Joe Heitzeberg (with his friend Ethan Lowry) created Poppy, which is an apparatus that turns an iPhone into a 3D camera and viewer. It went into commercial release a few weeks ago and can be purchased at Poppy's site. Joe is working on Kickmailer, a back-end processing system to help Kickstarter projects manage fulfillment.


Episode 28: Hugs and Kisses from Portland: Andy Baio and Andy McMillan on XOXO

Click above to listen in your browser or download the podcast directly (MP3, 38.4 MB, 80 minutes). Subscribe to the show's podcast feed to get every episode automatically

Andy Baio and Andy McMillan had the simultaneous idea for an arts-and-technology conference, and the synchronistic good fortune to wind up in the same city at the same bar with the same friend who connected them to talk. The result was XOXO, an event that tore the top of my head right off and led directly to creating this podcast. Hundreds of attendees and tens of thousands of video watchers describe a similar enlightenment about realizing what's currently possible — without cynicism, snark, irony, nor greed. Andy and Andy talk about the first XOXO in 2012, and preview the second outing that's coming in September 2013. (For more, see my photos from 2012 and read an article I wrote for BoingBoing about the event.)

Tickets for 2013 will be on sale soon; go to the Web site and sign up for the mailing list to get notified as soon as they are available.

On Twitter: Andy Baio, Andy McMillan, and XOXO, as well as the hashtag #xoxofest, still in use.

Show notes

Kind of Bloop was an 8-bit chiptune music tribute to Miles Davis's Kind of Blue. A transformative bit of cover art based on a picture by Jay Maisel raised the photographer's ire (or that of his agents). Andy settled rather than pursue a lawsuit that most thought he could win, but would cost him a pile.

Neven Mrgan is one the founders of Panic Software, a company so modest it doesn't have an about page. (Neven's wife, Christa, wrote a terrific essay for us at The Magazine on her time working at Yosemite, and illustrated a review of Dog 1.0.)

Valleywag thinks the world is a terrible place. TechCrunch says "meh" to Kickstarter in to 2009. XOXO sold its tickets through a Kickstarter campaign.

Williamsburg hipster stereotype should have played out by now. Portlandia is a TV show, not a mirror of Portland, but it does convey some truths.

Portland has about 700 food trucks which gather together like whales in pods. Seattle, much larger, has about 50 now due to a lack of desire to rock the boat. Sadly, Andy's remark about multiple zine stores in Portland is out of date — the stores have closed, says Yelp!

The Yale Union was a Portland laundry (no connection to the university), and is now a contemproary art center. It's a magnificent building. Andy's Build 2013 conference will be the last. Sam Adams, former mayor of Portland, opened the XOXO event, was very funny, and plays the mayor's aide in a recurring role in Portlandia. He's now the head of the City Club of Portland, a non-profit policy wonk group.

The portable bathrooms were wonderful. They looked like this. Air-conditioned, cleaned, better than most indoor bathrooms at heavy-use facilities. The Oregon Convention Center is soulless and convenient. The historic Morrison Bridge was near the Yale Union.

Other conferences that seem to have a similar vibe to XOXO include Çingleton in Montréal, Webstock in New Zealand, Paul and Storm's JoCo Cruise Crazy with Jonathan Coulton on the sea, and MaxFunCon in California.

Kickstarter founder Perry Chen explains how the company was funded as a result of his desire to sell tickets for an event without fronting the money or charging people until a goal had been met.

Stripe (not a sponsor! unprovoked recommendation!) has a magnificent system designed for charging credits that optimized for how developers work. Everything is easy in their system. Dumb pipes and smart pipes are about networks that carry all traffic equally and ones designed to promote the business of the network operator. It applies in all electronic commerce in which "flooding" the pipe is a better strategy for a dumb pipe and enables more innovation at the ends.

Musicians have re-recorded their own work under compulsory license when they don't have access to their recordings. Compulsory license allows them to make record already-recorded songs using the same lyrics and music and pay a small fee per recording. Suzanne Vega did it to have her own back catalog that she could sell. Def Leppard did it, and so did Everclear.

What is Marco Arment working on?!?!

The electron bumping problem. My baker friend in Seattle with the problem of too much success.

Episode 27: The Glass Bead Game with Max Temkin

Click above to listen in your browser or download the podcast directly (MP3, 34.2 MB, 71 minutes). Subscribe to the show's podcast feed to get every episode automatically

Max Temkin and seven of his friends created the wildly popular and terribly inappropriate party game Cards Against Humanity (CAH), a pastime that Anne Hathaway referred to as "Crimes Against Humanity" at the last Oscars. Before and after the CAH crowdfunding campaign, Max managed four other Kickstarter projects, all successful. We talk about creativity, games, success, and handling boxcars full of printed material in this episode.

On Twitter, @MaxTemkin and CAH.

Show notes

Max's other thoughts can be found at Maxistentialism. His other game projects include Humans vs. Zombies and Werewolf.

Anne Hathaway likes Crimes Against Humanity. The 1969 Noel Perrin book, Dr. Bowdler’s Legacy is a terrific reminder that prudishness does in fact go out of style, and then comes back in again. I wrote about crowdfunding for the Economist back in September 2010 when Kickstarter had raised its first tens of millions for projects.

Double Fine Productions raised $3.3m as the second project to pass $1m in funding and the first and one of the few to top $2m. The Prisoner's Dilemma is classic game theory that regularly comes up in actual police procedure, in reality TV, and many other scenarios. Anarcho-syndicalism is a federation of workers that band together freely for their self-interest. It's like a union only moreso.

My older son, Ben, described Sandman to me, a game that emerged at his school spread as a meme possibly from Canada, where it is more commonly known as grounders. Max talks about the linguist George Lakoff and the existential philosopher Martin Heidegger. PhilosophyPoster.com uses the lovely typeface Verlag from Hoefler & Frere-Jones. (Verlag is German for "publisher.")

The Internet's Wil Wheaton hosts Tabletop, a show in which he and guests play tabletop games, on Felicia Day's Geek & Sundry network on YouTube. Scott McNulty shared his experience playing Dungeons & Dragons and overcoming social anxiety in "Roll for Initiative" in The Magazine.

The Spelunky Dance was specially created by Max for exactly one backer: former Kickstarter CTO Andy Baio. Sad to say, contributions are no longer being accepted. Max points out the astute argument and conclusion of the Fast Company article "True To Its Roots: Why Kickstarter Won't Sell."

The scantily clad fairy or elf on a motorcycle sculpture is the ultimate something.

Episode 15: Serial Artistry with Zach Weinersmith

Click above to listen in your browser or download the podcast directly (MP3, 34 MB, 71 minutes). Subscribe to the show's podcast feed to get every episode automatically.

Zach Weinersmith, the artist behind Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, takes nerdy Web comics to their logical extreme, and has developed a huge following among science geeks. We talk about his career, the popularity of Web comics, and fulfilling big Kickstarter campaigns in this podcast.

Find him on Twitter as @zachweiner; his SMBC comics feed is @smbccomics.

Show notes

Remember that peak Superman will one day occur. Randall Munroe creates xkcd. Harvey Pekar wrote and storyboarded pieces of his life that comic-book artists illustrated.

My love for Futurama knows few bounds. David Cohen solved a pancake-sorting problem. Zach loved discovering Polish hand magic. The Harlem Globetrotters in Futurama show a real formula in the Prisoner of Benda.

Bob Thaves created Frank & Earnest, and I interviewed him in the late 1990s. Matthew Inman creates The Oatmeal, and his mother’s town’s postmistress hates her. Rich Stevens is the evil robot behind Diesel Sweeties. Tom Tomorrow (aka Dan Perkins) won the Herblock Prize this year for excellence in editorial cartooning. Breadpig publishes books and handles merchandise for folks like xkcd and SMBC.

I spoke with Adam and Tonya Engst about 20-plus years of electronic publishing in Episode #8 (January 30, 2013). Zach’s Kickstarter for “Science: Ruining Everything Since 1543” was a rousing success. SMBC Theater is a cool side project. Newsradio featured an episode about Dilbert; Scott Adams is the guy in line behind Joe Rogan.

Kelly Wienersmith, Zach’s wife, is a parasitologist. Ewwwwww. Well, it’s cool stuff. But, ewwwwww. She’s been involved with SciFund, crowdfunding dollars for science. Zach mentioned his friends’ work on Gaymer X, an all-inclusive gaming/lifestyle event focused on LGBTQ culture.

Andrew Sullivan left the Daily Beast to pursue a “leaky paywall” model of funding himself and his writers and editors. At last count, they’ve grossed nearly $650,000 in a matter of weeks towards a goal for the entire year of $900,000. The Magazine went porous (one article per month for free) in February.

Amanda Palmer told a TED audience and the world that asking for things isn’t the same as begging or coercing people (1.5 million views so far).

Zach’s latest project is the Festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses (BAH) at MIT on April 20, 2013. It’s somewhere between the Darwin Awards and the Ig Nobel Prizes.

 

Episode 1: Pac-Man Fever with Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky

Click above to listen in your browser or download the podcast directly (MP3, 24 MB, 50 minutes). Subscribe to the show's podcast feed to get every episode automatically.

Filmmakers Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky discovered the rich stories behind independently produced videogames, and turned some preliminary interviews into first one Kickstarter campaign, and then another. The resulting film, Indie Game: The Movie, won an award at the Sundance Film Festival in early 2012. But then, rather than accept deals for conventional film distribution, the two organized their own tour, renting theatres and meeting Kickstarter backers around North America. They ultimately controlled their own digital distribution as well. We discuss their journey of the last two years, which remains underway as they ready special features.

               

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