Issue 17

Tom Loosemore Leveraging the power of technology to run government like a startup and create the public services we need.

Heather B. Armstrong Love letters and hate mail: the emotional journey of publishing one of the web’s most successful blogs.

Jason Santa Maria Good design is medium-agnostic: the design director finds common ground between digital and analogue.

Ashwini Asokan The AI entrepreneur and advocate fights for a future that works for everyone, not just a privileged few.

Explore this issue Buy/Subscribe now

  • Tom Loosemore
  • Heather B. Armstrong
  • Jason Santa Maria
  • Ashwini Asokan

“We owe it to our countries to help them close the technology gap. Our institutions are crucially important. Everything else is just play.”

Tom Loosemore
Digital Strategist

Reforming government takes audacity, willpower, and – perhaps most of all – a strong dissatisfaction with the status quo. Tom Loosemore doesn’t lack any of these attributes. As founding deputy director of GDS (Government Digital Services), Tom began a ground-breaking digital transformation of the UK government that later served as a model for other countries, and spawned many new initiatives for improving public services. With a multi-disciplinary team, a fully transparent approach, and many unconventional principles more typically found in tech startups, Tom showed that by embracing technological disruption, our experience of interacting with government institutions can be transformed from one that’s slow, confusing, and frustrating to one that’s fast, simple, and empathetic.

“I just couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that so many people were twisting my work into something so negative and awful, when all I did was write some funny stories about me and my family.”

Heather B. Armstrong
Blogger & Author

During the heyday of blogging, Heather Armstrong was widely recognised as one of the most successful in the field. Her irreverent, imaginative, and deeply personal writing attracted millions of monthly readers, lucrative advertising deals, and the occasional social media shitstorm. Blogging under the pseudonym ‘Dooce’ for over sixteen years, Heather became renowned for candidly sharing details about her private life: the challenges of a divorce and of life as a single parent, her struggle with depression, her feuds with advertisers, and the never-ending barrage of hate mail. After a recent break from blogging, Dooce is back at it with renewed enthusiasm and her trademark brand of undiluted sass.

“I find it increasingly difficult to keep up and actively engage in the conversations, while also having a voice myself and getting work done.”

Jason Santa Maria
Designer, Entrepreneur, Author

Despite his unassuming nature, Jason Santa Maria’s work has influenced many designers both on and off the screen, and in particular those who – thanks to his blog – discovered the fledgling discipline of web design back in the early 2000s. His impressive breadth of knowledge comes from a career that has covered almost every possible role, from working both as a design freelancer and within agencies, to acting as creative director of his own startup and later of Typekit, to leading design teams for large editorial sites like Vox and now Slate. As co-founder of independent book publisher A Book Apart and creator of typeface catalogue Typedia, Jason feels strongly about preserving and passing on his knowledge – whether as teacher, mentor, author, or simply as an evangelist for all things typographic.

“We are so obsessed with creating a more capable mirror image of ourselves – building the perfect human – that we’re losing the plot on what we can actually achieve with AI.”

Ashwini Asokan
AI Entrepreneur & Advocate

The media and entertainment industries are constantly trying to terrify us with dire predictions of a dystopian future in which humans are ruled by their robotic overlords. Recognising that such a future is not entirely inconceivable, Ashwini Asokan urges action to develop positive, inclusive, and regulated AI that works for everyone, not just for a privileged few. As a former Intel design researcher and now the co-founder of Indian AI-startup Mad Street Den, Ashwini brings fresh perspectives to a field that is dominated by affluent white men and unchecked by any ethical or legal guidelines. Her advice for a brighter future for AI? Stop assuming that we are the most intellectually advanced species on earth.

Take a break from your screen.
Be inspired by thoughtful stories in beautiful print.

  • Three per year – We publish a new issue every four months. Savour it slowly.
  • Free shipping – Ships for free from Berlin to anywhere in the world.
  • Sustainable materials – Made in Germany with 100% recycling paper and clean energy.
  • Limited edition – With a small print run, all of our issues sell out after a few months.
  • On paper only – No digital version available. We love the print experience.
  • Truly indie – Supported by readers and sponsors, we’re all about indie publishing.

Buy/Subscribe now

Table of contents

Blind Spot Detector
Food for thought by Lisa Sanchez.

Prime Directive
Food for thought by Bryan Hughes.

Projects
A collection of projects and ideas worth exploring, curated by Ivana McConnell and Kai Brach.

Interview
Tom Loosemore on how to run government like a startup, our responsibility to help transform public institutions, and the power that comes from creating magic with code.

A Day With
Spend a day with Claudine Rodriguez.

A Day With
Spend a day with Wiza Jalakasi.

Slow Growth
Defying to growth-hacking mantra with Natalie Nagele and Robert Mueller.

Interview
Heather B. Armstrong on writing sponsored content that doesn‘t suck, surviving the occasional social media shitstorm, and her public fight against hate mail and depression.

Rules of Business
Guiding principles for doing business, by Kanyi Maqubela.

Survey
We asked 712 readers about their daily work habits.

Gear
A collection of useful and beautiful office products, curated by Ivana McConnell and Kai Brach.

Interview
Jason Santa Maria on his career progression from freelancer to design director, why not everyone needs to ‘get’ typography, and his desire to catalogue all digital artefacts.

Profile
Technologist Owen Williams on what it's like working for VanMoof, an Amsterdam-based bicycle manufacturer that tries to answer the question of how much technology we‘re looking for in a pushbike.

One Question
We asked our readers: In what ways do the web and new technologies make you feel optimistic about the future?

Workspace
A tour around the offices of Etsy, PortingXS, Nanobits, Dropbox, and LinkedIn.

Visit: Betahaus
Teresa Marenzi stopped by co-working space Betahaus in Berlin and asked seven random people what they’re currently working on.

Interview
Ashwini Asokan on why Artificial Intelligence urgently needs a legal and ethical framework, how mainstream media makes us fear robots, and why that fear is not entirely unfounded.

Ten Things I’ve Learned
Nick Fisher and La Vesha Parker share ten life lessons from working on the web.

Issue 17 is kindly supported by

Buy/Subscribe now

...or shop at one of our global stockists. Explore all issues. Find out more about our story, what we believe in, and our production values.