Kurt Kohlstedt

Kurt Ko | Urbanist, Digital Nomad & De Facto CEO

2 Weeks in China, Without Being Shanghaied

I applied for and received a visa to travel in China for two weeks, part of the time with family and guides and some on my own as well. Major stops are highlighted below, but alas, notably absent is Shanghai, which I would still very much like to visit in the future. Though it is not a surprise, based on past travel experience: it was not the landmark destinations that make the trip memorable, but surprises found in alleys, on escalators and in other less-traditional locations. Read the rest of this entry »

21 Tools of the Trade: The Slow Accretion of Useful Services

It all started with GoDaddy, Dreamhost and WordPress – one domain reservation, one hosting company, one content management system installation, and two friends who graciously humored my desire to do something with them. Read the rest of this entry »

Double Down: Detroit then Denver in 10 Days

Two cities could hardly be more different – a historic town filled with decaying architectural wonders (overtly at an all-time low) and another booming and spreading (though eerily suburban outside of the downtown area). But what Detroit lacks in density it makes up for in potential – and Denver feels almost fake or temporary, surrounded by a sprawl of cabin-styled, wood-framed mini-resorts that serve as suburbs. Read the rest of this entry »

Reverse Marketing, or: How the Heck Did You Find This?

So how did you find this article? For that matter, how do you find anything online? In the case of this particular piece, it was probably a long and winding path – there are few roads to take folks here. But in other situations, perhaps you used a search engine, got a recommendation from a friend or followed a link on a site to which you subscribe (or which, at least, you regularly visit in some form). Now the question is: how is someone going to find your article? There are many roads you can take – the trick is not to carve a fresh path, but reverse engineer an existing one.
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Best of Both Worlds: Bonds & Stocks vs. Work & Building a Business

There is no reason to either (a) be an employee and (b) be your own employer when (c) you can do both. While this is not always possible (particularly in high-powered, tech startup jobs that require 70-hour weeks) it is an option more often than many folks think. There is also the hybrid route of becoming a contractor or part-time worker, though even at 40 hours a week, well, there is a lot of time left for other things.
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Social Lending: The Long Tail of Crowd-Sourced Funding

The Long Tail (as both a book and a concept) has defined and described so much change in recent history, but some of its most fascinating phenomena are just now bearing fruit. The original paradigmatic champions of the long tail online – eBay, Amazon and so on – are slowly losing steam, becoming less user-friendly and otherwise relatively uninteresting. Meanwhile, some of the most engaging (and still-evolving) representatives of an even smaller slice of the tail are shaping up to be amazing not only for connecting consumers to products but for providing funding to entrepreneurs.
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The Life & Death of the Great American Novel

A friend recently, and with a hint of sarcasm, suggested her goal was to write ‘The Great American Novel’ – but what, exactly, does that mean to us today? The meaning, usage and titles associated with the idea of a ‘Great American Novel’ have changed over time – from being applied to specific books to becoming revered as an unobtainable ideal. In a time when more content is produced and published in short form than ever before and the very nature of novels (not to mention books in general) is in flux, what is the role of either a real novel capturing the American Zetigeist … or even a fictional one to which authors aspire?
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Land Lines, (Cell) Phone-Free Living & Communication Saturation

It is fascinating to watch the faces of people when you try to tell them you wish to be rid of your mobile phone. I have gone so far as to procure a ‘land line’ as they are now so quaintly called – what was once a luxury item, then a household must and is now all but entirely antiquated as a communication technology. So far, I am sorry to report, the experiment is not all I had hoped for – though a few lessons have been learned.
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Follow Up: The Crux of the Confusion About Metablogging

It is fascinating how many (if not most) lists of ‘successful bloggers’ seem to focus on either (1) metablogs about blogging to make money online or (2) that discuss business or marketing, which are not too dissimilar from the first sort or (3) semi-personal blogs that, with few exceptions such as celebrities, are rarely successful in terms of traffic or earnings. This reader comment, to me, sums up how that confusion is translated by newcomers to online publishing:
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Please, People: Stop Blogging About Blogs that Blog About Blogging to Make Money Online

It is one big clusterf*ck. The problem is: writing about writing to make money is itself only profitable for a lucky few at the head of the pack or, perhaps more accurately, the top of the pyramid (scheme). And there are still more of them every day. Why do people with no real experience keep starting meta-publications about publishing in an attempt to generate revenue?
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