What’s the Three One One in Two Oh One Eight, Walt Hickey? (Episode 106)

Walt Hickey is a data journalist who launched a newsletter for numeric nerds several months ago. He’s worked for Business Insider, FiveThirtyEight, and, currently, Insider (a sister company to BI), often writing about the intersection of culture and data: How we can understand movies, books, and social trends better through a filter of numbers, or how numbers help us understand the world around us better.

Numlock News is an outgrowth of something he did at FiveThirtyEight, giving him a leg up—with that publication’s support—in creating a freemium newsletter with bite-sized nuggets delivered daily to everyone, while paid subscribers get a weekly extra. We talk about his approach and the tools he uses.


This week’s episode sponsorship was donated by Filip to support refugee relief. At a time when tens of millions of people have had to flee their homes, the greatest number since World War II, refugees need your help. To find the best-run groups offering direct aid, consult Charity Navigator. To assist Syrian refugees and others in the region, consider giving to the International Rescue Committee (rescue.org), Oxfam America (oxfamamerica.org), Doctors Without Borders(doctorswithoutborders.org), Save the Children (savethechildren.org), and Mercy Corps (mercycorps.org).

This episode is also brought to you in part by Disruptor-level patrons Philip Borenstein, Rob McNair-Huff, Bryan Clark, Ready Chi, and Patrick Weyer. You can become a patron of the show on a one-time or recurring basis, and get rewards like an exclusive enamel pin and being thanked in this fashion!

Show notes

What’s Your Latest? Drive by Dave Kellett (Episode 104)

Dave Kellett is the guest on my latest installment of the podcast-within-the-podcast, “What’s Your Latest?” I talk to experienced creators about their latest project. For Dave, that’s the second volume (“Act Two”) of his Drive webcomics series that will ultimately span 1,000 pages and four or five print volumes.

Dave is a cartoonist, podcaster, and co-director of the comics documentary Stripped. His strip Drive is almost a decade old, and Sheldon is at its 20th birthday. He also runs multiple Patreons, co-hosts ComicLab (a podcast on making comics and the business of comics), and has run lots of crowdfunding campaigns and produced piles of physical goods.

The New Disruptors is back on the air due to patrons and sponsors! You can become a patron of the show on a one-time or recurring basis, and get rewards like an exclusive enamel pin and being thanked in this fashion!

Show notes

Draw Outside the Lines with C. Spike Trotman (Episode 100)

C. Spike Trotman (photo by Matt Sheridan)

C. Spike Trotman (photo by Matt Sheridan)

In this inaugural episode #100, the return of the podcast to regular production, I’m pleased as punch to have C. Spike Trotman as my guest. Spike founded Iron Circus Comics in 2007, and it’s risen through her hard work and excellent curatorship to become the Chicago area’s leading comics publisher.

A cartoonist and writer herself with a long-running series, Spike has raised over a million dollars through Kickstarter across more than a dozen projects, and created a sustainable and repeatable funding method. (You can read her book on Kickstarting comics for advice!) For her success, she was named one of Kickstarter’s Thought Leaders.

Support the podcast! The crowdfunding campaign brought back The New Disruptors, but I could produce more episodes and keep the show running after July 2019 with your help! You can contribute monthly via Patreon or become a yearly subscriber directly on this site—and get nifty bonuses and rewards. Read more about supporting the podcast.

Show notes

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.)

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.)

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.

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.

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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.

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


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!"