I write about technology, design, business, marketing, the arts, work, and other subjects. (More here.)
My Workologist column appears in The New York Times Sunday Business section every other week.
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: As of July, 2017 I’m focused on a book project, probably through the end of the year at least, so it’s unlikely much new will appear below before 2019. The Workologist column, however, will continue, and I will update that page of this site at regular intervals.]
- “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