As the former Ideas Editor of Quartz, I led our network of experts, who included heads of state, tech ethicists, microbiologists, software developers, NBA players, and Fortune 500 leaders. I headed up Quartz Ideas, our space for op-eds and evergreen commentary; was the editorial director for our events, where I ran programming and curated speakers; and managed our Quartz Pros program, which connects world leaders with our audience of 20 million readers a month.
Some stories I’ve edited
To report this piece, Leah Fessler and I created the first definitive database of voice assistants’ reactions to sexual harassment. This database is now used in academic institutions, and the findings of the article forced Amazon and Apple to change their products
This feature article by Alden Wicker was the first exposé of the company, and resulted in the exploitative operation being placed under so much media scrutiny that the company changed its policies. This piece has been read by more than 5 million people and remains one of Quartz’s most successful articles
For the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, I asked sci-fi author Bruce Sterling to pen a fictional piece imagining the same event for the Mars landing, written from the perspective of a future Martian
In this highly visual data-based piece, academic Tim Squirrell scraped a couple billion Reddit comments and applied lingual analysis to determine far-right “in groups”—and then proved that they are merging
the blitzscaling debate
Tim O’Reilly penned an opus tearing down LinkedIn and Salesforce founder Reid Hoffman’s concept of “blitzscaling,” Silicon Valley’s favorite hyper-powered growth strategy. Reid reached out to defend his stance, and a public debate ensued
After watching his presentation at an invisibility conference (yes, really), I had Duke University professor David Smith rank the likelihood of our favorite pop-culture methods of invisibility, complete with gifs
Some other faves
People I’ve worked with
Three NASA astronauts:
Three Nobel Prize winners
Melinda Gates, on the future of STEM education
Barack Obama’s sister Maya Soetoro-Ng on the modern-day peace movement
IDEO CEO Tim Brown, on the circular economy
Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan on economic inequality
North Face president Arne Arens on national monuments
Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani of Qatar on women’s rights
President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid on running a country like a company
The only person to replicate Ernest Shackleton’s mission, environmental scientist Tim Jarvis
Institute For The Future director Marina Gorbis on “Universal Basic Assets” instead of UBI
Mozilla Foundation director Mitchell Baker on internet freedom
Bertrand Piccard, the first person to circumnavigate the world in a solar-powered plane and in a hot-air balloon
Oceanographer Fabien Cousteau, Jacques Cousteau’s grandson
Legendary music publicist Howard Bloom, who was Michael Jackson, Prince, Bob Marley, and Run DMC’s manager
Western Union CEO Hikmet Ersek
Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern
Before going full nerd, the first decade of my career was in design and lifestyle journalism. That culminated in my three years as the Editor of Kinfolk magazine from 2013 to 2016. During this time I helped lead its editorial expansion in China, Japan, Korea, and Russia, increased readership by more than 200%, and built the publication’s reputation as the design bible that it is today. (I apologize for accidentally making flower crowns and mason jars a “thing.”)
Kinfolk is a slow lifestyle magazine that explores ways for readers to simplify their lives, live essentially, and cultivate community.
Since its debut in 2011, Kinfolk has grown to become the leading independent lifestyle magazine for young creative professionals with over 85,000 copies of each issue sold into over 100 countries. Kinfolk is one of the most influential indie lifestyle titles in print, with over 170,000 readers and over 1.5 million social media followers. Published quarterly, Kinfolk maintains a vibrant contributor base from Kyoto to Cape Town.
Each issue of Kinfolk uses conceptual photography, fashion editorial, essays, and interviews to investigate a specific theme. Kinfolk’s international contributors and editorial staff in both Copenhagen and Portland collaborate to provide smart and entertaining angles on universal topics in a substantial printed package that is highly collectible. Themes Kinfolk has covered include essentialism, family, design, entrepreneurship, weekends, imperfection, and home.
I was the Editor of Kinfolk for three years during the height of its expansion. Along with the incredible team of creatives I had around me, I built out its masthead, formed its strategic vision, and helped develop the magazine into the cult-adored, award-winning publication it now is.
In addition to my journalistic work, I have worked on several books, two of which have gone on to be New York Times and Wall Street Journal best sellers. Here are some examples of recent projects.
THE KINFOLK HOME
New York Times best seller
The Kinfolk Home is interior-design exploration into slow living spaces.
Through a mix of portrait and interior photography, profiles, and essays, readers are welcomed into the homes of designers, entrepreneurs, architects, photographers, and stylists across five continents. Delving deeper than decor, Kinfolk invites each resident to share how their ideals have shaped their homes and how their homes have in turn shaped them.
As the Editor of The Kinfolk Home, I was responsible for the entire production of the book from start to finish, including choosing the 35 homes that were eventually featured (after sourcing an original 400 options), organizing the 30 contributors who worked on the book, editing all of the copy, overseeing press production cycles, and then promoting the book.
It was released in October 2015 and remained on the New York Times’ best seller list into 2016.
The Objects that Power the New Global Economy was Quartz’s first print project, published in 2016.
Equal parts art and journalism, Objects is itself a beautiful object filled with immersive and interactive stories. It features dozens of original works from acclaimed photographers, illustrators, and designers—and even a mathematical workbook that teaches you how to hash a blockchain nonce. The stories are told through international journalism, original photography, and illustrations by award-winning artists, reporters, and business visionaries.
Each chapter examines an object that is driving radical change in the global economy. These objects were:
- active pixel sensors
- reefer refrigerators
- seabed-mining machines
- iris scanners
- gene-sequencing machines
- the drug modafinil
- Satoshi’s paper
- server farms
- and lithium-ion batteries
THE MESSY MIDDLE
Wall Street Journal best seller
The Messy Middle is an indispensable guide to navigating the volatility of new ventures and leading innovative creative projects. Written by Scott Belsky, the bestselling author, entrepreneur, Adobe EVP, and product advisor to many of today’s top start-ups, the tome has helped many leaders at all stages in their careers grit it through the confusing median-strip years of starting a successful business.
With insightful interviews from today’s leading entrepreneurs and executives—as well as Scott’s own experience working with companies like Airbnb, Pinterest, and Uber, and building Behance, which he sold to Adobe for more than $150 million—The Messy Middle serves as a guide to helping entreps find way through the hardest parts of any bold business or new venture.
For this project, I was Scott’s “book doula,” per se: I helped him concept, structure, research, and write the first draft, and then refined and edited his copy into the 2018 Wall Street Journal best seller it became.
What Happens Next is one of Quartz’s largest special projects to date. Comprising of more than 60 stories that were published over a four-month period in 2018, it tells the stories of the communities who will be most affected by the changes the future will bring, and the visionaries building our reality. I concepted and lead the editorial, and our video team, with the investigative journalism film studio Retro Report, created 10 short documentaries.
There is not a singular vision of the future, but many versions of it. I asked some of the most forward-thinking leaders—scientists and entrepreneurs, academics and farmers, roboticists and teachers—to share their predictions for what tomorrow will look like, and how to prepare for it.
Each chapter had between essays written by world-leading experts, such as Ethereum co-founder Joe Lubin, former president of Google China Kai-Fu Lee, Minecraft head Helen Chiang, and NBA star Jeremy “Linsanity” Linn.