I write about technology, design, business, marketing, the arts, work, and other subjects. (For more about me please go here.)
From 2013 to 2018 I wrote the Workologist column for The New York Times. From 2012 to 2016, I contributed regularly to Design Observer. From 2013 to early 2015, I was a columnist for Yahoo News and Yahoo Tech. From 2004 – 2012, I was a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine, most notably writing the weekly Consumed column. Before that, I was a columnist for Slate.
All along, I have also done other work here and there for a variety of outlets. Selected examples below, in reverse chronological order. (I also post newer stuff all the time on Facebook and Twitter.)
[NOTE: Since July, 2017 I have been focused on a book project, so there hasn’t been much updating here.]
- “Liquor Pang,” 64 Parishes, Fall 2018. Essay for Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ quarterly magazine’s special section on 300 years of New Orleans music.
- Selling Sticks and a Slap in the Face: Artists Intervene in eBay, Hyperallergic, July 11, 2017. Essay for the excellent #exstrange exhibition catalog.
- Symbolic Value: The Logo in the 21st Century, Fortune, June 16, 2017
- The Musical Architecture Of New Orleans’ Music Box Village, The Organist (podcast), April 27, 2017
- How Walmart Is Tricking People Into Saving Money, The Atlantic, May 2017
- The Go-To Tech-Industrial Designer You’re Just Now Hearing About, Bloomberg Businessweek, April 12, 2017
- Celebrating Design Without Contending With It, NewYorker.com, February 14, 2017
- The End of Manly Labor, Boston Globe, January 29, 2017
- The D.I.Y Revolutionaries of the Pussyhat Project, NewYorker.com, January 25, 2017
- 2016, the Year in Nine Objects, NewYorker.com, December 30, 2016
- Twitter users expose “programmatic” web advertising, so Breitbart manufactures a “war” with Kellogg, NewYorker.com, December 9, 2016
- Lemonade Uses Behavioral Economics To Try to Reinvent Our Attitude Toward Insurance, Bloomberg Businessweek, December 8, 2016
- Forget Ad Breaks; Marketers Make Their Own Podcasts, advertising column for The New York Times, November 20, 2016
- An Update Is Available: On the Redesign of Pretty Much Everything, feature for The New York Times Magazine, November 13, 2016
- Open Call: Should Designers Trust the Crowd?, endpaper for The New York Times Magazine, November 13, 2016
- Only Correct: How Snopes.com Handles the Truth, Webby Awards, October 2016
- What Does the Gadsden Flag (Or Any Symbol) Really “Mean”?, NewYorker.Com, October 2, 2016
- Apple Cuts The Cord, NewYorker.Com, September 7, 2016
- How A Small Printing Company In New Jersey Became The Go-To Source for Kickstarter Game Designers, Bloomberg Businessweek, September 1, 2016
- Pokémon Go In The Lower Ninth Ward, Medium (Letters from Here), August 20, 2016
- A Crypto-Anarchist Will Help You Build a DIY AR-15. Feature for Bloomberg Businessweek, June 22, 2016
- New Orleans Vs. Airbnb. Feature for The New York Times Sunday Business section. March 6, 2016
- Visiting Mmuseumm. Podcast interview with Alex Kalman for The Organist. January 22, 2016
- The ankle monitor: A wearable-tech history. Feature for Good, January 5, 2016.
- Digital Culture, Meet Analog Fever. Essay on the luxification of atoms for The New York Times Sunday Review. November 29
- Only Collide. Essay on The Propeller Group and the poetics of automatic weapons. Grand Arts. August
- Human-Scale Interventions. Interview with anonymous street designer behind Rotten Apple. Design Observer. August 19
- My Digital Cemetery. Essay on digital address books and mortality for The New York Times Sunday Review. July 17
- SoundCloud’s Stealthy Role In the Grand Streaming Wars. Feature article for Bloomberg Businessweek. July 10
- Walk [Your City]. Column on a “tactical urbanism” project that crossed over. Land Lines. July
- Adventures with Objects. Multimedia essay for “Object Project” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. June
- The Seductively Dystopian Design Fictions of Black Mirror. Article for re:form. May 11
- Self-Immolation in the Global Village. Essay for Primer. May
- The Story of the THX “Deep Note” Audio Logo. Article for Yahoo Tech. April 2
- No More Road Trips. Podcast interview with Rick Prelinger about his film constructed entirely from old home movies. The Organist. February 17
- YAHOO TECH: The Year of the Sad Internet. December 31 | Meet the people who create fake Apple product designs. November 5 | What I Learned from the Internet’s Mourning of Robin Williams, August 13 | My Adventure In Twitterbot-Making. August 6 | 9 Anti-Technology Videos That Went Viral, July 3 | Does Anyone Still Have Gravitas?, March 19 | E-Cigarette Hackers. February 18 | The New Vogue For Privacy, February 5 | A History of Computers on Law & Order, January 21.
- DESIGN OBSERVER: Spawn of Gerrymander, a series: Follows up this earlier piece; series intro here; see the whole project here. | Object in the News: The Face Privatizer. May 2 | Boris, Subverted — what do defaced Neighborhood Watch signs tell us?, March 12.
- RE:FORM: How To Pay Attention: 20 Ways To Win The War Against Seeing. December 19. Taking Aim At Shooting-Range Targets: An essay + object collaboration with Tim Belonax. November 5.
- HILOBROW: On Savannah signage lettering, part of the Kern Your Enthusiasm series. August 13.
- T: THE NEW YORK TIMES STYLE MAGAZINE: The Design Moment, 5.0. September 28.
- FAST COMPANY: The Heart of Hale County, a feature on social design in a rural Alabama town. January 13.
Finally, here is a more selective list of earlier feature stories and essays:
- The Liberator. Essay on the 3D-printed gun. MoMA Design & Violence. November 2013
- Go Go GoPro. Feature for Yahoo News. October 4
- The “I” In IPO: How One Man Turned Himself Into a Publicly Traded Company. Feature for The Atlantic Magazine. April 2013
- The Cult of Evernote. Feature for Bloomberg Businessweek. February 28
- The Pencil Factory: An Oral History. Feature for Print Magazine. January 15
- The Secret Digital-Music Brain. Article (on The Echo Nest) for Fortune. October 18
- Can Etsy Go Pro Without Losing Its Soul? Feature for Wired. September 26
- Design Is How It Feels: Tumblr Is Brilliant, But Can It Make Money? Feature for The New York Times Magazine. July 12
- What It Takes To Be a YouTuber. Feature for The New York Times Magazine. June 28
- MakerBot and the 3D-Printed Future. Feature for Fast Company. February
- In Praise of Electoral Entertainments. Essay for The New York Times Magazine. January 4
- Bang & Olufsen Vs. The Future. Feature story for Wired. September 27
- The Trivialities And Transcendence of Kickstarter. Feature for The New York Times Magazine. August 5
- The App That Makes You Musical. Feature for The New York Times Magazine. November 23
- “The Biggest Song in the U.S.A.!” Essay on the shifting meaning of Number One-ness, for The New York Times Magazine. July 15
- How Radiolab is Transforming the Airwaves. Feature for The New York Times Magazine. April 7
- Ghosts In The Machine: Our Digital Afterlives. Cover story for The New York Times Magazine. January 9
2010 and earlier:
- Inside The Wild, Wacky, Profitable World of BoingBoing. Feature for Fast Company. November 2010
- Site and Sound. Essay for exhibition Rewind Remix Replay: Design, Music & Everyday Experience, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. January 2010
- The Song Decoders. Feature (on Pandora) for The New York Times Magazine. October 14, 2009
- What’s A Dead Brand Worth? Feature for The New York Times Magazine. May 18, 2008
- Handmade 2.0. Feature for The New York Times Magazine. December 16, 2007
- TV Land. Essay on real estate-themed reality TV. Key (New York Times Magazine spinoff). March 18, 2007
- The Brand Underground. Cover story for The New York Times Magazine. July 30, 2006
- Cul-de-Sac Cred. Profile of Marc Ecko for The New York Times Magazine. July 10, 2005
- The Hidden (In Plain Sight) Persuaders. Cover story for The New York Times Magazine. December 5, 2004
- The Double Agent. Profile of Shepard Fairey for Inc. March 2004
- The Marketing of No Marketing. Feature (on PBR) for The New York Times Magazine. June 22, 2003
- The Guts of a New Machine. Feature (on the iPod) for The New York Times Magazine. November 30, 2003