Indie Publishing
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Just released: Issue 19

Posted on Apr 18 2018 in News

In time for the lovely spring weather here in Germany, issue 19 launches today and will start shipping early next week. To be part of the first big batch leaving our warehouse, make sure you order your copy today.

As a subscriber you will automatically receive the new issue, but it’s worth checking your account occasionally anyway to make sure that your shipping details are up-to-date. The access link to your account can be found in the confirmation email you received after your initial order. Can’t find the email? Request a new link on my.offscreenmag.com.

In issue 19 we’ve interviewed these inspiring folks:

  • Jocelyn K. Glei – An author, podcaster, and newsletter-publisher on a quest to find out what it really means to be productive (and creative) in the age of distraction.
  • Angus Hervey – The co-founder of Future Crunch advocates for an 'intelligent optimism' to fight the current doom and gloom of the news and the dystopian predictions of a tech-driven future.
  • Ashleigh Axios – As former creative director and digital strategist at the Obama White House, Ashleigh now speaks out about design's ability for social change and urges designers to step up to the plate.
  • Bryce Roberts – A venture capitalist like no other: with Indie.vc Bryce takes a fairer and more humble approach to investing in startups, many of which are founded by people of underrepresented groups.

View the details of issue 19 here.

This issue would not have been possible without the support of our generous sponsors: Adobe Typekit, Harvest, Hover, SiteGround, SuperHi, Twist, Ueno, and WooCommerce. And of course, a big 'thank you' to all Patrons of this issue.

A special shout-out to Amirah Jiwa and Kieran O'Hare who conducted some of the interviews and helped with editing the issue.

Don't forget to share your feedback and photos via Twitter and Instagram once you’ve received your copy in the mail. Any questions, just contact us. Enjoy your Offscreen time!

Acknowledging Privilege

Posted on Apr 05 2018 in Essays

This essay by Bryce Roberts first appeared in Offscreen Issue 14 (now sold out).

Last Sunday night, my daughter was moaning and rocking back and forth in her chair, wrestling with a question staring back at her from the computer screen. ‘What is the greatest challenge you’ve faced in your life?’, the college application pointedly inquired. As her Dad, I had some ideas. But her? She was stumped.

Looking at that question, I was torn between being terrified that I’d sheltered her from character-defining trials and grateful that I’d been able to provide her with a fairly carefree childhood. We ultimately uncovered something real and meaningful for her to write about, but in a world of possible obstacles and adversity it was clear that she has been living a very privileged life. That acknowledgement has provoked some real reflection for me too.

For years I’ve told myself a story. It starts with ‘no one ever handing me anything’ and ends with me in the position I am today. I didn’t come from a notable family, I never asked my parents for anything after I got married at the age of twenty-two. The opportunities that I’ve experienced and taken advantage of to bring me to today were a result of hustle, or something like that. When I graduated from college I started a company. As a young married family with one kid, and another on the way, we scraped by on $1,000 a month while we tried to get this new business off the ground. Taking that risk and coming out better on the other side laid the groundwork for all the other professional risks I’ve taken since. And look at where I am now.

I’ve revisited that narrative a lot over recent years and months, and the more I do so the more I realise that there are holes in that story that deserve acknowledgement.

I was raised in an upper middle class family. I never wanted for food or much of anything. My family owned a boat. The only jobs I worked as a kid were given to me by family or friends of family. And they paid me much better than my friends working summer jobs in fast food or at the Motel 6. I worked full time through undergrad and was able – with my parents’ help with tuition – to graduate with a degree from a well-regarded university with no student debt. When I married, we got a couple of old hand-me-down cars from our parents. And when I left a cushy job to go start a new company right out of school, my income was reduced to just $1,000 a month, so my parents offered to cover my rent for that first year. I could not have taken those risks or reaped the subsequent rewards had it not been for my family’s financial support.

So, the story that I’ve been telling myself all these years has big gaping holes that need filling. It has safety nets that require recognition, and privilege that deserves acknowledgement.

For those of us who are firmly convinced that anyone can do anything by working hard and pulling themselves up by the bootstraps, we need to recognise that most of us had additional hands helping us do the pulling, while many others had to fight hands that actively pushed them back down. We had resources avail- able to us that may not be available to those upon whom we heap our pearls of wisdom. We may, in fact, just happen to have been born into more favourable circumstances than those who we hope can learn from the path we’ve trodden.

This imbalance deserves to be countered. But before we start with the grandstanding, it’s a worthwhile experience to embark on some soul-searching. In acknowledging the privilege many of us have had, we can fill the holes in our own stories and move forward with a more honest, insightful, and impactful understanding than the conventional wisdom that anyone anywhere can achieve anything by just 'following their dreams'.

Enjoyed this essay? Support indie publishing and buy available issues of Offscreen for more thought-provoking reading material in beautiful print.

Issue 18 Editor’s Note

Posted on Feb 08 2018 in Thoughts

After Mills’ encouraging email, I decided to publish the editor’s note of the latest issue here. I believe it’s one of the most important Offscreen issues yet. Make sure you purchase your copy before we sell out.

As the people who create technology, we love to think of ourselves as the architects of a better tomorrow, an exciting future full of positive possibilities. We often believe that the fix for major problems is a technological one: where humans fail, let the machines figure it out. Technology is, by definition, progress. Or so we thought.

In the wake of global upheaval against the status quo, the tech community is coming to terms with having over-promised and under-delivered. Almost weekly, headlines about security breaches remind us that we’re now in the post-privacy age, where private data is just another commodity. Meanwhile, a cultural shift is bringing deeply entrenched gender and racial inequalities into the open. And in Silicon Valley, unicorn defectors publicly apologise for having created addictive UI patterns and shady algorithms that exacerbate social division.

And just like that, the tech world finds itself on a soul-searching mission. The realisation that the ethical decisions made by its creators are baked into all technology has come as a surprise. It turns out that lifeless tools – such as a simple recommendation engine – are not as neutral or amoral as we thought. It’s become clear now that programmers, designers, and data scientists are faced with some of the most pressing ethical dilemmas of our time. This forces us to ask a vital question: are they sufficiently equipped to make decisions on behalf of millions of people?

I would dare to say that we are on the cusp of a new era in technology. For the first time, we’re seeing the broad ethical ramifications of the tools we build, sparking a discussion about what author Fabio Chiusi calls ‘the human ghost in the machines.’ From academics to journalists, and investors to politicians, we’re finally starting to engage in the difficult conversations that could lead us to exciting and much- needed alternatives to the orthodoxies of the last few decades.

In a more enlightened era of tech, we will move beyond a superficial understanding of ’well designed’, which today seems overly concerned with aesthetics. Instead, good design will focus on creating user experiences that are inclusive and empathetic, on writing code that is open and energy-efficient, and on running a business model that doesn’t rely on infinite growth to survive.

Perhaps out of necessity, ‘doing the right thing’ for people, planet, and profit will soon have a much broader, mainstream appeal. Let’s not forget that we – the industry at the forefront of change – carry a tremendous responsibility to lead the way. As the conversations and essays in this issue demonstrate, it is time that we all look inward and ask ourselves whether our work contributes to a tomorrow that will indeed be better than today.

Issue 18 is here

Posted on Dec 14 2017 in News

It’s 🚀🎉 launch day 🚀🎉 here at Offscreen: please welcome Issue 18! Shipping will start later today and continue through to Monday, so make sure you order now to be part of the very first batch leaving our warehouse in Berlin.

As a subscriber you will automatically receive every new issue, but it’s worth checking your account occasionally anyway to make sure that your shipping details are up-to-date. The access link to your account can be found in the confirmation email you received from us after your initial order. Can’t find the email? Request a new link on my.offscreenmag.com.

Issue 18 is loosely themed around ethics in technology and includes insightful interviews with...

  • Craig Mod – A curious writer, designer, developer, and photographer straddling the line between innovation and tradition, digital and analogue.
  • Jessica Jackley – The co-founder of the popular microfinance platform Kiva talks about non-profit success and how she managed to reinvent herself after leaving the organisation several years ago.
  • Aral Balkan – He describes himself as a Cyborg Rights Activist and believes Silicon Valley’s success is built on billion dollar lies.
  • Erika Hall – The design researcher and co-founder of Mule Design wants designers to pay more attention to the ethical implications of their work.

See all the details here.

This issue would not have been possible without the support of our generous sponsors: Adobe Typekit, Balsamiq, Harvest, Hover, MailChimp, SiteGround, Swarm, and Ueno. And of course, a big 'thank you' to all Patrons of this issue.

Don't forget to share your feedback and photos via Twitter and Instagram once you’ve received your copy in the mail. Any questions, just contact us. Enjoy and have a great holiday! 🎅

Help us get copies of Offscreen into the hands of students

Posted on Oct 25 2017 in News

UPDATE: This year's EDU Drive has come to an end and we'd like to express our sincere gratitude to our generous sponsors.

My call for education providers two weeks ago resulted in around 40 applications. After filtering out ineligible or too difficult to reach applicants*, you can now find our final selection of 31 organisations below. In total, they will receive 400 copies.

I now need to find a way to cover the shipping cost of around $5 per copy. To achieve this you or your company can become a sponsor. You can sponsor 20, 50 or 100 copies through the link below.

What do you receive in return for sponsoring copies?

  • A permanent mention and link on this page
  • A brief mention in the Dispatch
  • A shoutout/mention on Offscreen's Twitter account
  • The great feeling of supporting the next generation of techies 🙂

This campaign has finished. Thanks to our sponsors (further below) for their support.

Where are the copies going?

Depending on the location and shipping cost, each of the below organisations will receive between 10 and 20 copies of mixed issues of Offscreen:

Academy of Our Lady of Peace
aCAT Penang
Accademia Belle Arti Catania
ACMI X
Barnard College
California University of PA
Center Centre
CodeNow
CodeYourFuture
CWRU ACM
École Brassart Nantes
Emzingo U
Fresno State University
Fundamentals Academy
i.c.stars
Jacht — University of Nebraska
Longford college of further ed
Manchester Met University
MICA (Maryland Institute Colle
Parsons School of Design
Service Design Network
Shillington Education
Thayer Academy
The Grace Hopper Program
The New Digital School
University college Howest
University of Colorado Boulder
University of the Arts London
UOC.edu
Yoobee School of Design

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out.

*We also received requests from colleges in Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and Peru. Unfortunately, some locations are just too difficult and expensive to reach. I apologise for having to exclude these from our list for now.


Update: Thanks to our sponsors

Thanks so much to our generous EDU sponsors who have collectively covered shipping costs for 210 copies of Offscreen. We will pick up the tab for 90 more copies to round it up to 300. Some of them have already been received, the rest is going out shortly. Thanks to all involved for spreading the word and for chipping in! 🙌

10 Copies – SPOKE.
10 Copies – With Jack
10 Copies – Alex Jacque
10 Copies - Users Insights
10 Copies – INCAYA
10 Copies – Zach Grosser
10 Copies – Subsail
20 Copies – Anonymous
20 Copies – Designing Intelligence
20 Copies – Emerson Stone
30 Copies – Anonymous
50 Copies – Lucid

Reading icon by IYIKON from the Noun Project

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