Kurt Kohlstedt

Kurt Ko | Urbanist, Digital Nomad & De Facto CEO

Global Dialogues: Postcard Identities & Esoteric Landmarks [AIA NYC]

postcard identities esoteric landscapes

The American Institute of Architects, New York chapter, has brought together a diverse group of bloggers and designers, a photographer and a professor, all to talk about the changing role of architectural icons and city images in the information age. A summary of my own presentation at this event (hosted by the Center for Architecture in Manhattan on June 19th) is included below, accompanied by source links with additional information. Read the rest of this entry »

MacroCity 2014: An Introduction to Infrastructural Cosmology


In closing remarks at MarcoCity, a two-day conference in San Francisco, Geoff Manaugh compared our puzzling fascination with infrastructure to a cosmological search for hidden meaning and order in the universe. If that sounds like a stretch, perhaps you would not have enjoyed the conference as much as I did. Regardless, this note-style summary will not do it justice, but if it piques your interest you should really consider attending next year.

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Content Strategy Follow-Up: Summary, Tools, References & Resources

coco google

Thanks to everyone who attended Content Strategy for Non-Marketers, hosted by Google for Entrepreneurs and CoCo Minneapolis. This summary is designed as an event supplement for those wishing to follow up on specifics that were discussed. Please feel free to get in touch with me as well if you have any questions, critiques or suggestions! Note: none of the following links are sponsored and all of the tools mentioned are ones I use.

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Seattle Interactive Conference 2013: Super Apps vs the Open Web

seattle interactive conference 2013

The 2013 Seattle Interactive Conference featured independent viral sensations to seasoned Fortune 50 representatives and much in between. The messages were diverse, but at least one thread emerged to tie many of them together:  more people are spending more time outside the web-as-such and inside so-called ‘Super Apps’ – hub spaces like Google, Facebook and so forth.

The urbanist in me is reminded of suburban shopping malls: they may look and even feel like public space, but they are not the same thing as the open web and users may wish to remain wary of conflating the two. This goes well beyond the shift away from desktops to mobile devices in its implications, but could also easily be overstated: there will always be ways to stay on the more independent frontiers of the media and technology, too.

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Seattle Technology Week: TechStars Demo Day 2013 Wrap Report

BusinessInsider suggests we may be in another tech bubble, and while the eleven Demo Day presenters from Seattle TechStars were impressive, the valuations (and the level of fundraising already accomplished pre-demonstration) were also surprising. Each presentation was well-executed and all of the presenters show promise, but, at the same time, it was not clear which, if any, are poised to break uniquely new ground in their respective spaces. Read the rest of this entry »

Scale Shift: Interface Redesign to Accommodate All Shapes & Sizes

A long time ago I decided on a fixed-width approach for our publications. For a while, it worked, but the game is changing again, thanks in no small part to a sharp increase in mobile users and touch interfaces, on the one hand, and ever-larger desktop screen sizes with higher resolutions, on the other. So how does a digital publisher move past analysis paralysis, begin to redesign around a widening spectrum of present possibilities as well as future unknowns? Read the rest of this entry »

Efficient Frontiers: Will the Sharing Economy be Cooperative or Co-Opted?

What do 3D printing technologies, social lending platforms and co-working spaces have in common? It is tempting to answer that they are all part of the new sharing economy – a playground of possibilities including open source and peer-to-peer endeavors in a new creative commons. Yet if history repeats (or at least rhymes), the democratizing effects of these developments may be overrated. What they do share for certain, though, is a impressive and praise-worthy shift toward increased efficiency and (consequently) resource sustainability. Read the rest of this entry »

Mapping the Missing Middle: Subjective Geography & Variable Scale

So you are visiting San Diego, but where should you stay? No, not: which hotel … but which neighborhood? And which other neighborhoods do you want to visit on your trip? At one extreme, we have global, national, regional and city maps that show us a static picture of bland geographical basics. At the other end of the spectrum, we have local neighborhood, street and block maps featuring confusing pointillist specifics. What do these have in common?

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Coworking in SoCal: Reviewing San Diego Coffeeshops for Freelancers

Yelp!, FourSquare and TripAdvisor are great for regular consumers and travelers, but what about those of us looking for coffee shops based on other criteria, like: the loudness of music, the availability of seating and plugins and the general vibe for sitting and working? Eschewing coworking spaces on this trip, Mike and I spent most of our productive time in coffee shops both close to and far from our home base in downtown San Diego. Here are some thoughts for anyone interested in following suit, covering 12 locations across 7 popular neighborhoods: Read the rest of this entry »

Misplaced Mail: 5 Most Common Emails Sent to me as Editor in Chief

My editorial inbox would drive me insane were I not able to derive some humor from its contents. If you are looking to pitch your [insert concept, product, project, video or cat pictures here] to someone managing an online magazine, newspaper or blog, please consider these the best ways to be ignored and/or summarily deleted. Read the rest of this entry »