Wedding March to One's Own Offbeat Drummer with Ariel Meadow Stallings (Episode 77)

Ariel Meadow Stallings is the proprietor of several "offbeat" sites about weddings, home and life, and families under the rubric Offbeat Empire. She started the wedding site in 2007 to promote a book on creative alternatives for brides, which built an audience hungry for much more of the same. She obliged and has been building her empire full-time since 2009.

Sponsors & patrons

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

We've started offering a new kind of ad: "indie ads" for independent projects and people. If you're a solo creator or small firm, we now offer discounted short ads with the kind underwriting of Cards Against Humanity. Find out more about indie ads.

Thanks to CAH! They just launched direct sales via their site, where you can purchase their Bigger Blacker Box. You can also buy their 2012 and 2013 holiday card packs, the profits from which are donated to charity.

Our indie advertisers this week are:

Heat, a new card game by Dave Chalker that's quick to learn and takes about 15 to 30 minutes to play. Players plan heists and try to keep the "heat" off themselves. It features snazzy art and is being funded on Kickstarter. Visit the campaign for more details.

The surreal and sublime Andrew Ferguson. He has no product to sell you and he has no URL for you to visit.

Thanks also to patrons Bryan Clark, Rönne Ogland, 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!

A new podcast!

I've launched a podcast on the future of publishing: The Periodicalist. I am co-hosts and guests will discuss and dissect all aspects of publishing: digital and analog, offset and print on demand, periodicals and blogs, and much more. Listen to our first episode, "The Netflix of Ebooks," and subscribe via our RSS feed or through iTunes.

Show notes

Teresa Valdez Klein and Noah Iliinsky met through Ignite Seattle and got married during an event in May. My wife, Lynn, and I were married in a chapel at Fort Worden and had our reception in a former dirigible hangar (now a theater).

Ariel's book is Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides. My Economist article explains why people leave the 3,000th review on a popular book or item. Facebook's director of product ranted about the trivialization of news.

Marisa McClellan runs the Food in Jars blog, and found her following of nearly 150,000 "likers" on Facebook resulted in 80 people seeing a recent post. Huh. She and I spoke last summer for the podcast. The Oatmeal is a popular webcomic; its creator is based in Seattle.

Offbeat Bride covered a wedding at reBar in Brooklyn, which shut down shortly afterwards. The article went up after its owner had been charged with tax evasion, and the site dealt with criticism rather superbly in the comments.

We ran an article in The Magazine about BuzzFeed's use of images that they often don't license, and discovered that their methods likely fall within fair use.

Co-working has become hot again. In Seattle, Office Nomads is the veteran shop and is expanding. Ariel and I met at We Work, a new high-end space for startups that's quite affordable given the amenities. I'm looking into co-working at Ada's Technical Books and Café, the owner of which I interviewed in a podcast not long ago.

(Photo of Ariel by Jenny Jimenez for Tugboat Yards.)

Indie Ads on The New Disruptors

Hi, folks! This podcast is a labor of love, but it has hard and soft costs to keep episodes flowing: hosting, an audio engineer, my time, equipment, travel, and other expenses. So far, we've relied on a combination of advertising and patronage (collected via Patreon).

We have had an array of wonderful sponsors this year whose products align with things listeners are interested in. But because I vary the podcasts' guests so much across areas of art, music, industrial design, production, commerce, and so forth, we're not a perfect fit for sponsors who want to define and reach the same sort of person consistently, such as graphic designers or small-batch whiskey producers. This has led to fertile times full of ads alternating with fallow ones.

So we're going to try something new by offering indie ads. If you're an independent maker, creator, programmer, or what-have-you, you can get a 30-second ad on New Disruptors for $50 and a 60-second ad for $100 read during the main body of the podcast. I'm treating companies of 1 to 10 people as "independent," and the goal by limiting the length is to provide enough detail to listeners and have the space for a few ads without filling up the show too much. (Our full-price ads run around two to three minutes for the "midroll" spots during a podcast.)

We have 5,000 to 15,000 listeners per episode within the first eight weeks after a show airs, and some episodes continue to rack up hundreds of listens months later.

I read all the ads and will work with you to craft copy that works and fits. These "live reads" provide the intimacy of old-time radio that listeners like, and give me a chance to explain in a natural voice why a given product or service is worthwhile.

To help make this work, Cards Against Humanity is buying a sponsorship slot on every episode that we devote to indie ads, which gives us the financial underpinning to make it affordable. CAH in general and Max Temkin in particular have worked hard to provide opportunities for other independent creators even as they've grown in scale, and I thank him and them for helping out.

Who would this be good for? Anyone selling games, mobile apps, mobile services, or interesting designer-led products. I know from talking to hundreds of listeners that they're passionate about things made by one or a few people that are guided by strong design and engineering principles.

You can contact me directly if you have questions, or sign up and pay by credit card (via Stripe) for a 30-second or 60-second ad via this form, in which you can provide all the details and I can follow up on timing and the content of the ad. (I can also accept alternate payment.)

Freelance To Be You and Me with Katie Lane (Episode 76)

Katie Lane is an attorney who writes a blog called Work Made for Hire. She advises creative freelancers and artists on how to protect their rights and get paid fairly for their work. She recently took the plunge herself, going full-time as a self-employed person. We'll talk about what led her into this specialized career and the kinds of things that people who want to or are pursuing work on their own should consider. We take a brief, deep dive into copyright, too.

Sponsors & patrons

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

We're sponsored this week by 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.

 

Thanks to patrons Bryan Clark, GravityFish, and Brain Rutledge 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 US Copyright Office has a circular that defines work-for-hire rules (PDF). Katie notes that regardless of what contract you sign, you can reclaim rights after 35 years. It's a very specific process. This has been an ongoing issue with the rights related to early creators of well-known comics characters, like Superman.

The phonogram right is a set of audio rights separate from copyright. I explain it at length at the Economist. For extensive and interesting details about the duration of copyright in America, depending on what kind of thing is under discussion, when it was created or registered, and other factors, consult this chart by copyright guru Peter Hirtle at Cornell University's site.

I wrote a pile of words on the tax and licensing issues (in America) around crowdfunding. You can apply for and receive an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS through a simple online process -- no, I'm not kidding! It's great!

The @for_exposure Twitter account is a riot, posting messages about people asking for work from others for free.

Katie recommends taking a look at these sites:

  • Zencash: Helpful best practices (and a service) for getting paid and on time.

  • Docracy: An open-source contract site, where you can examine others' contracts and upload your own.

  • Shake: It's a way to create, sign, and send legally binding agreements via an iPad or iPhone.

  • Contract Creator: A tool from the Freelancers Union that guides you through creating a model for most or all of what you need.

Live in Portland: Book Reading and The Doubleclicks (Episode 75)

Listen in as The Doubleclicks, a geeky two-sister band, perform four songs, and four authors read parts of their reported features from The Magazine: The Book at our last live book event in Portland, Oregon. The event was held at Reading Frenzy, and features John Patrick Pullen, Alison Hallett, Chris Higgins, and Elly Blue.

Sponsors & patrons

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

We're sponsored this week by 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.

 

Thanks to patrons George O'Toole, Jonathan Mann, and Sean Wickett 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

Chloe Eudaly owns the bookstore Reading Frenzy. It raised over $50,000 via Kickstarter to move its store after losing its downtown lease and then having a space fall though. If you visit Portland, you have to stop by.

Andy Baio is one of the fellows behind the XOXO festival, and is in the middle of fundraising the return of Upcoming, a site he co-developed, sold to Yahoo, and recently bought back.

John Patrick Pullen read from "Beacon of Hope." Alison Hallett read from "What Lies Beneath." Elly Blue read from "Hub and Spoke." And Chris Higgins read (the footnotes) from "Playing to Lose."

The Doubleclicks performed four songs for us: "Worst Superpower Ever," "Oh, Mr. Darcy," "Impostor," and "Velociraptor." They were guests on this podcast in February 2014.

Threes A Magic Number with Greg Wohlwend (Episode 74)

Greg Wohlwend developed the popular game Threes with his colleague Asher Vollmer. Greg is a games illustrator and designer who was part of teams that made Hundreds, Gasketball, Solipskier, and Ridiculous Fishing. Threes is his breakout game — and has inspired lots of admiration, frustration, and imitation. He and I talk in this episode about the joy of success, the burden of being independent, and the problems with parasites.

Sponsors & Patrons

This podcast is made possible through the support of sponsors and patrons. Thanks to patrons George O'Toole, Jonathan Mann, and Sean Wickett 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!

If you'd like to sponsor this podcast and reach our fine listeners, please contact The Midroll for details.

Show Notes

The Oatmeal's Matthew Inman was nominated for two 2014 Eisner Awards. Greg wrote this post to the hobbyist on the ledge. Greg designed the logo for Indie Game: The Movie; the creators of that film are two-time guests on the show, first in December 2012, and then a year later for a check in.

The money in Minecraft is in YouTube videos of people playing through levels. We ran a story about this in The Magazine. The Scratch programming language leads to the Pencil programming language which led to JavaScript for my older son. CoderDojo uses Scratch to mentor kids in programming.

Max Temkin baited a Los Angeles Times reporter who wrote an uninformed piece about the Threes ripoff 2048. The extended account of Threes development reveals the exhaustive and useful process of iteration, testing, and killing one's darlings.

The Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast had a very nice discussion at the end of an episode where one panelist recommend 2048, and another explained kindly that Threes was the original and the thing to which one graduates as it's tougher. (Listen around minute 37.)

Greg recommends the Indomie brand of ramen.

Sailing in Brackish Waters with Maggie Vail and Jesse von Doom (Episode 73)

Maggie Vail and Jesse von Doom are the co-executive directors of CASH Music (Coalition of Artists and Stakeholders) a non-profit organization that brings an open-source approach to music distribution and production. CASH focuses on educating around those ideas through online resources, stakeholder events, and face-to-face workshops, as well as offering a software platform.

Sponsors & Patrons

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

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 George O'Toole, Jonathan Mann, and Sean Wickett 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

Maggie mentioned two early groups that helped independent artists and labels handle digital distribution: the for-profit Merlin and the trade group A2im. Maggie worked with bands at Kill Rock Stars for 17 years before becoming the co-head of CASH.

Jonathan Coulton is on CASH's board, and I spoke to him about his career in "Baby Got Back Catalog," March 2013. Back in 2000, Courtney Love explained how the sausage of music-industry accounting in big labels is designed to rip off artists.

I visited the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Conservation in 2012, and wrote "The Sound of Silence" for The Magazine about the issues of preservation and rights. Pandora has a good explanation of how music rights have to be licensed in America.

Jesse received a fellowship from the Shuttleworth Foundation, which has freed them a bit from the endlessly cycle of fundraising to move forward and grow the staff. Dan Sinker is in charge of the Knight-Mozilla OpenNews project for the Mozilla Foundation, and the founder of Punk Planet, an underground culture magazine.

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).

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.)

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.

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 Brian Rutledge, Sean Wickett, 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

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.