Retooling Cool with Kevin Kelly (Episode 62)

Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools re-imagines the Whole Earth Catalog, of which he was an editor and publisher, for the Internet era: crowdsourced, crowdmade, crowdmanaged. He's been on the Internet for as long as there's been an Internet for all us to get on. He was part of the founding team of Wired magazine, and the author of many inspiring books and essays about technological change and self-empowerment, including "1,000 True Fans." We talk about collaboration, old and new technology, and making books.

We had a full transcript of this interview made, which also has sources linked in for further reading.

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Gaze Deeply into My Crowdfunding Navel with Guest Glenn Fleishman (Episode 58)

Guest host Jason Snell talks to regular host Glenn Fleishman about Glenn's recent Kickstarter campaign to fund a book of non-fiction articles from The Magazine. Jason, host of The Incomparable and an editorial director at a major magazine firm, quizzes Glenn about failure, success, fulfillment (product and otherwise), and the reason we solicit funds from our fans, friends, family, and strangers.

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 this time by Smile Software's TextExpander! TextExpander avoids the tedium of retyping common text, shortening URLs, and much more. Get a copy today and let the computer do the hard work!

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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

Glenn likes the word Bildungsroman, which is just German for a coming-of-age story, in which the central character has to grow up. Joseph Campbell wrote quite a bit about archetypal myths, including the Hero's Journey (monomyth).

We discussed Greg Knauss's terrific essay about failure and my unsuccessful crowdfunding effort for a book. (Which was named, and I had forgotten this, Crowdfunding: A Guide to What Works and Why. Catchy title?)

Appsblogger penned a wonderfully detailed post that resulted from scraping Kickstarter projects that succeeded and failed as of mid-2012. The post has useful insight into how failed projects fail big, and successful projects largely succeed modestly, along with charts from the scraped data.

Jason notes that every baseball player (except one, it turns out) who received 50 percent of votes to be inducted into the Hall of Fame ultimately receives 75 percent, the threshold for getting in. Joe Posnanski has a great blog entry explaining this. (Gil Hodges is the only one who didn't pass 50 percent — 10 times! — and never hit the 75 percent mark.)

I archived the 26 podcasts I did in 2006 for Wi-Fi Networking News as an early experiment to see whether that could be part of the revenue mix for that site. Even with good traffic on the site and an industry focus, the answer was no.

Adam and Tonya Engst appeared on this podcast on January 30, 2013, to discuss electronic publishing and how TidBITS turned to a quasi-crowdfunding approach for membership. Dean Putney, who makes things you like on the Internet, appeared here on November 2, 2013; his book has just shipped to backers. It was printed weeks ago, but shipping took a long time from Asia. Glenn was a guest on The Talk Show with John Gruber on December 6, 2013.

I promised a chart of the Kickstarter campaign growth, but I'm not ready to post that in isolation! I'll have an extensive blog post in the near future with that data.

The Zine Machine Lives: Boing Boing at XOXO (Episode 55)

In September 2013, I interviewed at the XOXO conference and festival the four lead editors of Boing Boing, an online, thriving descendent of zine culture that is one of the most popular blogs on the Internet. For the day after Christmas, it seems appropriate to celebrate generosity and gift culture with Mark Frauenfelder, David Pescovitz, Cory Doctorow, and Xeni Jardin.

As with all the sessions at XOXO, the presentation is Creative Commons licensed, and I separately obtained permission from Andy Baio and Andy McMillan. Thanks, too, to Mike Gebhardt and Betty Farrier of, the folks who videotaped throughout XOXO 2012 and 2013, for providing the high-quality audio file.

You can watch the entire session as video, too, on YouTube.

To follow along with some of the early part of the interview, as I introduce the editors, you can view this PDF.

Photo by Andy Baio.

A Year of Living Disruptively with Guests from Early Episodes (53)

The New Disruptors launched on December 5, 2012. I wanted to talk to people making stuff, creating art, or helping others get their work out there. The show is now at episode 53, and it's been a delightful year. I wanted to look back at early guests, and was able to get the folks who appeared on the first four episodes to chat briefly about what happened next. I talk in this show with Lisanne Pajot and James Swirksy, Indie Game: The Movie; Chris Anderson, then Wired and now 3DRobotics; Tony Konecny, Tonx (coffee); and Evan Ratliff, of The Atavist and Creativist.

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This podcast is made possible through the support of sponsors and patrons. Thanks to Smile Software's TextExpander for sponsoring this week's episode! TextExpander avoids the tedium of retyping common text, shortening URLs, and much more.

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And thanks to our patrons, supporting us by pledging an amount via Patreon for each episode we produce. Thanks this time to GravityFish and Elliott Payne! You help make it all happen.

Show notes

I know regular listeners will be disappointed, but the show notes this time around are exceedingly short, as it's a reflective episode. These are the original episodes (in order that they appear in this anniversary check-in) for each guest or guests:

I Am the Camera with Dean Putney (Episode 48)

Photo by  heysanford .    

Photo by heysanford.


Dean Putney has made some of your favorite things on the Internet. He's Boing Boing's software developer, as well as filling your mind with the best animated GIFs on the Internet.

But what he's working on at the moment takes us over 100 years into the past: a book of photographs his great-grandfather took before World War I, and in the trenches as a German soldier. He recently funded the book project on Kickstarter, and shares lessons in publishing and crowdfunding. (You can still pre-order the book even though the Kickstarter is over.)

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And thanks to our patrons, supporting us by pledging an amount via Patreon for each episode we produce. Thanks this time to Ready Chi and GravityFish! You help make it all happen. 

Show notes

David Karp was about 17 when Marco Arment went to work for him, not knowing quite how young he was. Nitrate film stock is highly flammable and degrades horribly unless stored in perfect conditions. It wasn't until the 1950s that all movie film stock was replaced with cellulose triacetate. (Which also isn't stable, but is less dangerous. Now they use polyester.)

Just for clarity about which armed force that Dean's great-grandfather belonged to: The German Army in World War I was the culmination of Prussian consolidation of the country in 1879, and was dissolved after Germany lost the war in 1919. The WWII army was the Heer, the land component of the Wehrmacht, which lasted from 1935 until 1945, when Germany lost WWII. The Wehrmacht was separate from the Waffen-SS, which was a more directly controlled arm of the Nazi party.

The Daily Mail ran a wonderful, lengthy article about Dean's project. They're a little right-wingy, and supported Hitler and the Nazis in the 1930s. So did a fair number of English, though, especially in the ruling class.

Pocket Pal is the very, very best source for understanding the technical production details of pre-press (the stuff you do in making layouts and images that work and turning them into something that can be printed) and press production. It will help you understanding the difference between continuous-tone images (actually different shades of gray, such as on an screen or using a dye-sublimation printer) and halftone images (in which tiny clusters of dots fool the eye into seeing different shades). (I co-wrote three editions of a book on pre-press and images: Real World Scanning and Halftones.)

Dean and his friend Dan Shapiro spent many hundreds of hours discussing their Kickstarter campaigns before launch. Dan's Robot Turtles raised $630,000 towards a $25,000 goal! He has about 15,000 copies of the game to make and ship. Kicktraq is a useful and free way to track information about any Kickstarter campaign, although its early extrapolations of the total amount to be raised aren't very accurate — it doesn't factor in early acceleration slowing down.

Code Monkey Comixology Crazy

Screenshot 2013-10-14 16.25.32.png

The first installment in the Code Monkey Saves World  comic-book series based on Jonathan Coulton's songs and written by Greg Pak is available to the public today via ComiXology.

I talked to Jonathan and Greg in May about their blockbuster Kickstarter, and as a backer, I had the first issue in my hot little hands already several days ago. Very enjoyable and sets the stage for the next three issues!

Yes, We Can! with Marisa McClellan (Episode 38)

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.

Marisa McClellan puts stuff in jars and it's delicious. Her Food in Jars blog on canning and preserving went from a side venture alongside a full-time job to her main hub as a food writer. She writes for Food Network and Table Matters (part of Saveur). She conducts dozens of workshops and demonstrations every year. Her first book is Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round, and she is in the middle of writing her second book, Preserving by the Pint. You want to pickle something? She's your woman. She talks about how she built a career one jar of jam at a time.


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Show Notes

Canning Across America (launched as Canvolution and still on Twitter under that handle) is a loosely organized group that encourages spreading the word about all methods of preserving food. Kim O'Donnel is a key mover, as was my late friend and officemate Kim Ricketts. The Seattle Times ran an article in July about the spread of the movement.

The Cooperative Extensive System, run by state agricultural colleges, and often funded solely or largely by the state, spreads information about farming, ranching, and kitchen skills for canning and other tasks. Through extension, one can become a Master Food Preserver. Extension programs' funding has been radically cut in the last few years just as widespread interest in this basic knowledge has exploded.

Michael Pollan's Botany of Desire explains that Johnny Appleseed ran orchards out in advance of settlers, who planted trees to make hard cider (low alcohol) and applejack liquor — both were safe to drink where local water supplies might not have been. People also tested their apple trees to see if they grew spitters or tasty versions, as apples are heterozygous (that's the right word, not precisely what I said on the podcast). An apple-tree owner with a tree that produced great-tasting apples would send cuttings off, get them licensed, and potentially make a lot of money. That's how the few varieties of apple that are grown in massive quantities were found and commercialized.