Zeldman on Publishing

Zeldman photo and article in Austin Chronicle SXSW coverage.

P Is for Publishing. And publishing, as you’ve heard, is dying. … But “the printed word will be around long after many of our digital creations are gone,” Zeldman says, “either because books don’t require monthly hosting and blogs and websites do … or because the languages and platforms for which a particular digital creation was published will become obsolete.”

…[Jason,] Mandy and I are about to launch a printed book series, called A Book Apart, which derives much of its thinking and some of its formatting from what we’ve learned about PDFs in the past 10 years,” says Zeldman. The Mandy he mentions is Mandy Brown, creative director of Etsy and former creative director at W.W. Norton & Co.; she’s also one of the people speaking on the New Publishing and Web Content panel that Zeldman’s organizing for this year’s Interactive Fest, along with Happy Cog’s Erin Kissane, Harper’s Magazine editor (and Harper’s website creator) Paul Ford, and Lisa Holton, founder of new-media company Fourth Story Media.

…Everyone on the panel is committed to the digital future,” Zeldman says. “But we are also all committed to the book.” And how will their—how will our—relationships to books change, and how will those relationships remain the same, as the digitization of printed matter proceeds faster than most chain saws can spin? “How,” asks Zeldman, “can we be truthful and wise as editors, publishers, writers, journalists, and marketers straddling this scary yet exhilarating new divide?

Print & Paper Über Alles: A more perfect publishing today, Wayne Alan Brenner, Austin Chronicle (SXSW cover story), March 5, 2010

Related


Photo courtesy John Morrison.

Books Not Dead

Headed to SXSW Interactive? Concerned about the future of books, magazines, and websites? Attend “New Publishing and Web Content,” a panel I’m hosting on the creative, strategic, and marketing challenges of traditional and new (internet hybrid) book publishing and online magazine publishing, and how these fields intersect with content strategy and client services.

Joining me in a thoughtful exploration of new and old business models and creative challenges will be people who’ve spent a decade or two butting up against and reinventing these boundaries:

As moderator, my job will be to let these geniuses speak, to occasionally lob the right question to the right genius, and to help field your questions from the audience.

If you work in web or print publishing, or just care about the written word, please join us at 5:00 PM Central Time in Ballroom A.

(What else am I doing at SXSW Interactive? Here’s my schedule so far. I also hope to see some of you at OK Cog’aoke II, SXSW Interactive’s premiere karaoke event and best party, hosted by your friends at Happy Cog.)

Cogs at South-by

With over 2,000 proposed panels from which a mere 300 will be culled, there’s no shortage of content for next year’s SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin, TX. Panels featuring Happy Cog personnel include the juicy candidates listed below. Follow the links to vote for your favorites. (Voting for a panel increases the likelihood that it may actually get presented.)

Web Fonts: The Time Has Come
After fifteen years of contenting ourselves with system fonts, or image type, the planets are now in line for getting real fonts on the web. Some solutions are already working, and a cross-platform standard is emerging. Here web designer and type designers mix it up on how the font hurdles is finally being leapt. Moderator: Roger Black. Panelists: Font Bureau’s David Berlow, Stephen Coles (new.typographica.org), Bert Bos (CSS), Happy Cog’s Jeffrey Zeldman.
We F*cked Up. Now what? Exploring Failure, Together.
Projects fall apart. We often blame the client, the politics and the personalities. But when it happens, there is a tremendous opportunity to grow as a professional and as a person. Candidly recounting past catastrophes, the panelists explore the emotional experience of project implosion and the silver lining that emerges. Moderator: Happy Cog’s Kevin Hoffman. With Greg Hoy, President of Happy Cog East, Greg Storey, President of Happy Cog West, and Tracey Halvorsen, Principal & Creative Director of FastSpot.
New Publishing and Web Content
What is content strategy? How can publishers harness the energy and talent of the online community? Explore the creative, strategic, and marketing challenges of traditional and new publishing. Moderator: Happy Cog’s Jeffrey Zeldman. Panel: book and new media publisher and entrepreneur Lisa Holton; designer, writer, and W.W. Norton creative director Mandy Brown; novelist, web geek, and Harper’s editor Paul Ford; and writer, editor, and Happy Cog content strategist Erin Kissane.
ExpressionEngine 2.0: Total Domination!
ExpressionEngine is growing in popularity and with the release of 2.0, it’s power has expanded to the stratosphere. Powering great websites such as Change.gov, A List Apart, and Campaign Monitor, it represents an amazing way to build websites and publish content. Join us as 5 experts give best practices from a beginner front-end level up to extension developer supreme. Moderator: Kenny Meyers, Happy Magic Fun Time. Panelists: Happy Cog’s Brian Warren, Happy Cog’s Ryan Irelan, Happy Cog’s Mark Huot and Happy Cog’s Jenn Lukas.
Client Whisperers: Understanding Clients and Selling Web Design
Is there a formula for success? Is there such a thing as a good client? How can you avoid problem clients? Gain insight from the people on the front lines of some of the best known web shops. Learn from their stories the best way to find, manage and love great clients. Moderator: Happy Cog’s Robert Jolly. Carl Smith, President of nGen Works (co-presenter)
Turn Off, Tune Out, Drop Weight
As we become increasingly connected and our lifestyles trend toward the sedentary, our waistlines are growing. Fitness is elusive. Hear from your colleagues about their trials and tribulations around maintaining health while balancing creative work, family, and career development. Moderator: Happy Cog’s Robert Jolly.

Click My Lit Panel

In “New Publishing and Web Content,” a proposed panel for SXSW Interactive, I will lead book and new media publisher and entrepreneur Lisa Holton, designer, writer, and W.W. Norton creative director Mandy Brown, novelist, web geek, and Harper’s editor Paul Ford, and writer, editor, and content strategist Erin Kissane in an honest and freewheeling exploration of the creative, strategic, and marketing challenges of traditional and online publishing—and how content strategy and design can help.

Topics covered will include:

  1. What is content strategy?
  2. For magazines that are born digital, what opportunities and challenges does the internet offer editors and publishers?
  3. For traditional magazines, what opportunities and challenges does the internet offer editors and publishers?
  4. How can traditional book publishers harness the energy and talent of the online community?
  5. What new forms are made possible by the intersection of traditional publishing and social networking?
  6. How can design facilitate reading?
  7. How can design encourage readers to become writers and publishers?
  8. What is the future of magazines and newspapers?
  9. What is the future of books?
  10. How can editors and publishers survive and thrive in this new climate?

If this sounds like a panel you’d enjoy seeing, vote for New Publishing and Web Content via the SXSW Interactive Panel picker.

ShortURL: zeldman.com/x/55

Flying North

I was in the Austin airport, looking for my gate, when a raspy voice rang out:

“If he wants more than I’m giving him, fuck him. No, seriously, fuck him.”

And I said:

“This must be the flight to New York.”

[tags]NYC, Austin, SXSW, SXSWi, people, glamorous, airports, airtravel, jetblue, flying, jetting[/tags]

Pick a Panel

The SXSW panel picker launched today. SXSW Interactive is probably the world’s biggest web shebang, and the panel picker is how the festival begins winnowing out which panels, out of the many submitted, will actually be presented to the public.

A few potential panels feature Happy Cog personnel:

From Freelance to Agency: Start Small, Stay Small

Jeffrey Zeldman

The web has always attracted mavericks and entrepreneurs, and a rocky economy makes the freelance life more desirable (or at least more inevitable) than ever. So what happens when your freelance business starts to grow? How big can you get without getting bad? How can freelancers and small teams compete with traditional agencies? Hip freelancers and cool agency heads will answer questions, compare experiences, and tell their stories.

Not the Same Old Story

Jason Santa Maria

If the web provides so many ways to connect with audiences, why are we all stuck telling the same story with our designs? Hear from a panel of storytelling experts on the importance of narrative and art direction online to break away from static and boring experiences.

Web Triage: Methodical Madness

Shaun Inman (featuring Ethan Marcotte & Dan Mall)

The web is always evolving—but not quite fast enough for dream-big designers and developers. Join our chief residents as they share their methods for developing groundbreaking techniques. They’ll also demonstrate how to identify your own unique strengths and apply them to technical- and design-related problems.

[tags]sxsw, panels, happycog, zeldman[/tags]

SXSW Parents Cooperatives

If I learned one thing at this year’s SXSW Interactive Festival, it was this: you can’t bring your three-year-old to SXSW Interactive and expect to actually participate in SXSW Interactive.

Don’t get me wrong: Trading parenting duties with your spouse enables you to see or contribute to at least some of the show’s panels and parties.

Don’t get me wronger: SXSW Interactive is foremost about the stuff that happens in halls, the chance meetings with your web heroes on Congress, the small gatherings and compressed conversations at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. These mini-gatherings are the best thing at SXSW, and, with the exception of an occasional meal cancelled on account of meltdown, you don’t have to miss out.

Don’t get me wrongest: Traveling with your young child is a privilege, and the memories you make are more precious than the panels you miss.

Still, there is the problem. SXSW Interactive is the annual gathering of the tribes. Many of the tribes now have younguns. Attending a two-day educational conference without your kids is not a huge deal, but SXSW lasts a week. The choices are not good: See the whole show but miss your kids for a week? Bring your kids and miss practically the whole show? Attend for only a couple of days, missing your kids and most of the show?

On the third day I found myself in a costly hotel room across from the conference center, skipping a keynote to play with Barbie dolls, it occurred to me that groups of parents could band together to create a more optimal experience.

Here’s how SXSW Parents Cooperatives could work: You and six other families bring your kids. An Austin nanny provides knowledge of local activities and primary child care. Parents pool their money to pay the nanny. Each day a different parent accompanies the nanny and kids to the playroom or museum or park. (That way there is always one parent present.) Everyone has each other’s mobile phone numbers; there are strict rules about drop-off and pick-up. Each participating parent misses one day of the conference, but gets to attend all the other days without worry or guilt.

It beats missing the conference—or your family.

Variations are possible. Maybe two parents hang with the nanny each day. Maybe one parent does the morning and another does the afternoon.

You start your co-op and I’ll start mine. For reasons of child safety and privacy, we can’t organize our co-ops on public-facing websites. But we can pool our experiences after next year’s show. Maybe several co-ops can start a wiki. Or a bowling tournament. Or a kid-friendly party or two.

Catch you ’round the jungle gym.

SXSW Interactive Video

  • Respect! Panel Excerpt featuring Douglas Bowman of Stopdesign and Google, and Happy Cogs Erin Kissane, Liz Danzico, and Jason Santa Maria. Moderated by Jeffrey Zeldman. The panel’s title gets mangled, and the name “Santa Monica” is shown when I talk, but interesting things are said about getting buy-in on design.
  • Michael Lopp and Jeffrey Zeldman on user interface design and managing design and development teams.

[tags]sxsw, parents, co-ops[/tags]

Podcast news

Crisply produced Voices That Matter Podcast video interviews with your humble narrator and a host of design and web luminaries—people like Nathan Shedroff, Dori Smith and Tom Negrino, Stephanie Sullivan, Robert Hoekman, Jr., Aarron Walter, DL Byron and many more—are now available for your listening and viewing pleasure in the iTunes Music Store and at Peachpit.

Additional Happy-Cog-related SXSW video, coming soon, includes:

  • A discussion on user interface design between Michael Lopp and me
  • Video of the Everyone’s a Design Critic presentation featuring Jason Santa Maria and Rob Weychert
  • Video of the Respect! panel featuring Google’s Douglas Bowman and Happy Cog’s Erin Kissane, Liz Danzico, and Jason Santa Maria (and moderated by your humble)

Watch for announcements!

[tags]podcast, video, interview, zeldman, sxsw, voicesthatmatter, peachpit, authors[/tags]

The SXSW Diet

Last year, a month or two before SXSW, I went on a movie star diet, all tiny portions of unseasoned unsucculent nothingness. I lost five pounds and wanted to murder the world.

This year I decided to skip desserts instead of dieting.

It’s amazing how many sweets you’re exposed to as the parent of a young child. Even if you don’t stuff your own larders with sugary treats, every weekend it’s some kid’s birthday party, where the cakes and ice cream flow like apple juice. In an environment where all that sugar and flour is normal, you partake without thinking.

So I started thinking.

Rejecting dessert soon became second nature. No birthday cake at little Johnny’s birthday bash. No fabulous pear thing when Grandma visited. No red velvet cake at the place in our neighborhood where it’s to die for. No exquisite little French pastries at the business lunch bistro. No little tin bowl of mango raisin coconut whatever at the best little vegetarian Indian place in Curry Hill. None for me, thanks. Not having any. It looks delicious, but no.

Man is a fallen creature and the devil weaves endless snares. I stuck to my no-dessert program through an onslaught of spectacular temptations. And then, like a fool, I succumbed.

Yesterday, the mother of the tot celebrating his third birthday came around with cupcakes baked into ice cream cones. Sugary vanilla frosting, M&M crumble topping, ordinary packaged cake batter, stock stubby cone—not even a sugar cone.

“No thanks,” I said, waving her away, but smiling to show that I appreciated the offer and did not judge anyone.

A minute later she came back, revolving them a few inches from my lips. “I made extras,” she said perkily.

“No thanks—well, okay,” I said, grabbing one of the things.

I wolfed it down. It was entirely as expected: an initial burst of pleasure followed by disappointment and regret. An absolutely ordinary child’s treat. Nothing special. No depth. Dutifully, no longer enjoying, I finished it all, even the dry, frostingless part deep in the little cone’s bottom.

It was like throwing away a marriage over a one-night stand with someone you met at a bus station.

[tags]sxsw, sxswi, parenting, dieting, food, treats[/tags]