Issue 18

Craig Mod Screen and paper, restlessness and quietude, innovation and tradition: dichotomies in the life of a storyteller.

Jessica Jackley Loans that change lives: the co- founder of Kiva reflects on her success as a social entrepreneur.

Aral Balkan Resisting surveillance capitalism: the cyborg rights activist fights for social justice in the digital age.

Erika Hall Design, research, ethics: it all interconnects for the co-founder of Mule, a digital agency with strong opinions.

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  • Craig Mod
  • Jessica Jackley
  • Aral Balkan
  • Erika Hall

“Everything is constantly being optimised to pull you back in for one more minute, one more click. All those chemical reactions in your brain that tell you to keep going – I feel that very strongly when I am online.”

Craig Mod
Writer & Designer

Craig is a digital savant in love with the analogue. In code, design, and photography, but mostly through his writing, he explores our collective struggle to find focus in a world of perpetual distraction. Rather than seeking purely commercial success, he prefers living a quiet life in a seaside town south of Tokyo – sometimes escaping to remote writing retreats around the US – where he revels in his various creative outlets while hidden from the public eye. When he’s ready, he emerges from hibernation with thought-provoking, introspective essays, books, and talks that examine the meaning of a connected life.

“Money may be an obvious way to get what you need, but it is rarely the only way. I think it’s healthy and useful to have a bit of scepticism, to pause and ask if there is another way that helps you move forward.”

Jessica Jackley
Social Entrepreneur

When Kiva launched in 2005, online crowd- funding was in its infancy. Since then, this not-for-profit microfinance platform has provided over a billion dollars in tiny loans to entrepreneurs in underdeveloped regions of the world. After exiting Kiva several years ago, co-founder Jessica Jackley looks back at the turbulent early days of a social enter- prise with a truly global impact. Humble, content, and energised to do still more, she reflects on her career in philanthropy, inspired by the stories of entrepreneurial farmers, seamstresses, and goatherds.

“In Silicon Valley, addiction is not a bad word: it’s the means by which you ensure that your livestock keep using your machines while you farm them for maximum value.”

Aral Balkan
Cyborg Rights Activist

Aral Balkan is not shy about voicing his opinions on Silicon Valley. He believes America’s tech giants run a digital panopticon that enslaves and farms the world’s population. The designer, entrepreneur, and self-proclaimed ‘cyborg rights activist’ travels the world to spread a powerful and alarming message: in order to defend our human rights and democratic principles, we need to rise up against the algorithms that are filling the pockets of venture capitalists. Under his small Malmö, Sweden-based organisation, Ind.ie, Aral shares critical thoughts and develops alternative products that o er a more egalitarian, sustainable vision for the future of technology.

“Anytime you’re making choices, you’re in an ethical position, and even more so when you’re making choices on behalf of thousands or potentially millions of people.”

Erika Hall
Design Researcher

Erika Hall believes that design is in a crisis. Independent voices with a genuine, long-term interest in solving problems are being driven away from the industry by the pervasive influence of venture capital. The co-founder of San Francisco-based digital agency Mule Design believes we need to change the way we talk about and practice design if we’re to overcome the challenges now and ahead. For Erika, it all starts with research: only by asking critical, objective questions and having principled but loosely-held opinions can design – and technology – help deliver the promise of a brighter future.

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Table of contents

Windows
Food for thought by Coleen Baik.

Inside Out
Food for thought by Georgia Frances King.

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

Interview
Craig Mod on the state of books, a career that’s respectful of being alive, and his reasons for living a quiet life in a seaside town south of Tokyo.

A Day With
Spend a day with Khaled Islam Bouya.

A Day With
Spend a day with Berglind Ósk Bergsdóttir.

The Ethical Agency
Running an agency with a focus on social good, with Adam Morris and Nicola Mayer.

Interview
Jessica Jackley on the early days of Kiva, a more humble definition of entrepreneurship, and reinventing herself after a 'non-profit exit'.

Rules of Business
Guiding principles for doing business, by Aarron Walter.

Stats
Putting numbers into perspective.

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

Interview
Aral Balkan on his reasons for becoming an activist, Silicon Valley's billion-dollar lies, and why Big Data is the new Big Tobacco.

Profile
Sean McGeady speaks to Christian Kroll, Berlin-based founder of Ecosia, a search engine and social enterprise with a green heart.

One Question
We asked our readers: What career advice would you give your younger self?

Workspace
A tour around the offices of TwentyThree, Stereo D, Droids on Roids, Quartz, and emetriq.

Visit: Impact Hub
Teresa Marenzi stopped by co-working space Impact Hub in Vienna and asked eight random people what they’re currently working on.

Interview
Erika Hall on ethical decision-making by designers, running a digital agency with strong opinions, and why venture capitalists are currently controlling the voice of design.

Ten Things I’ve Learned
Cameron Koczon and Unn Swanström share ten life lessons from working on the web.

Issue 18 is kindly supported by

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