Douglas Coupland interview

Douglas Coupland, author of 'Generation A'

I got the chance to interview Douglas Coupland for Time Out when he was in London doing the promo tour for the excellent ‘Generation A’.

You can read it here.

Probably the most enjoyable interview I’ve ever done – rambled all over the place, from the theories of Marshall McLuhan to the the imminent death of the telephone directory.

Several of Time Out’s international editions picked up the interview – Dubai and Hong Kong both have their versions online (the edit is identical, but you can check out the respective websites while you’re there).

There was plenty that I couldn’t fit into the word count. While we were talking about modern information overload (and McLuhan), Coupland: ‘When you’re faced with this mass of information – too much information – all you can do is pattern recognition’. I really like that idea – it works whether you’re looking at tiny shifts in data or massive cultural upheaval.

Coupland’s website is well worth exploring.

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Stephen 'Freakonomics' Dubner interview

Freakonomics

I interviewed Stephen Dubner, co-author (with Stephen Levitt) of  ‘Freakonomics’ and ‘Superfreakonomics’. Time Out London has it here.

The second book has more of an over-arching theme than the first, and the focus on cheap and simple solutions to major problems is nicely counter-intuitive.

I also don’t think there’s much arguing with Dubner about the idea of getting society as whole to change the way it does things: ‘Behaviour change is a bitch’.

There’s more Freakonomics on their New York Times blog.

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Areas of expertise

Tablet and mobile
As iPad Projects Manager at Condé Nast I have been responsible for overseeing the iPad launch of WIRED, GQ and Vanity Fair – all of which now produce monthly digital editions. I am also working on the launch of Vogue using the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, as well as cross-platform workflow systems and staffing structures for Condé Nast. Through my work with listings at Time Out I have a keen understanding of databases as they relate to editorial content, and I previously had input – including navigation and user interface – into Time Out’s iPhone app, developed by Tiger Spike.

Editing and writing
I have worked as a commissioning editor and features editor for both Time Out and Maxim, in print and online. I have commissioned everyone from prominent novelists to specialist writers, and war photographers to infographic illustrators. I work closely with design and picture desks, and have generated ideas and visual concepts for hundreds of cover stories and major features. For the past ten years I have also been writing features, columns, interviews and service pieces for magazines, newspapers and websites. Subjects range from food & drink to nightlife, and from opinion to daft caper pieces. Publications include Time Out, Delayed Gratification, Men’s Health, Lost in London, Big Issue, Maxim, New Woman and Jack.

Online
From 2007-2010 I was responsible for overseeing all the editorial content on  Time Out London. During this time the website has grown to 2 million monthly unique users, all while maintaining the high editorial standards of Time Out across it’s many channels – including Food & Drink, Film, Music, Clubbing, Theatre and Shopping & Style. Outside of Time Out I am co-founder of Trashed, an online platform which helps put teenagers in direct contact with working professionals in the creative industries.

Management
At Time Out I was responsible for leading the integration of the editorial teams across the online and print platforms, and across the different strands of the business. This involved thorough analysis of human and technical resources, and drawing up and implementing new processes and structures. During the period I was working in online Time Out went from having a separate online team to having a far more integrated structure, with tangible efficiency savings for the  business as a result.

Commercial
At Time Out I have worked on a number of online, branded creative integrations, and on advertorials and print supplements. I also had editorial input into the Time Out iPhone app, built in conjunction with Smirnoff. Through Trashed Creative I have worked with brands including Rolex, Nike an the Underage Festival.

Games
I have a keen interest in gaming, including augmented reality, and integrated on-and-offline experiences. Through Trashed I devised three weeks of app-building workshops for teenagers, hosted at Rich Mix, which included creating Android games using Corona and Lua. I designed the two  Treasure Hunt issues of Time Out – the first in 2007, the second in 2008. In each case thousands of Londoners took part, following over forty clues to find answers spread all over the capital. The games were carefully designed so that they were impossible to complete without physically visiting the sites of the clues, encouraging players to explore the city. Both hunts were commercial successes – selling well on the newsstand and generating high online traffic.

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