Hi, I'm Dan
I love building new things that resonate with communities. I started my first company when I was a 19-year-old punk and have never stopped in the more than 20 years since. Over that time, I've founded companies and organizations, run events for thousands of people, written books, given keynotes, hosted podcasts, crafted essays and articles, made art, and so much more. I love pushing boundaries and redefining what's possible.
I'm constantly creating new things at home in Chicago or traveling around with my wife, two kids, and our dog in our Airstream travel trailer, Evangeline.
Things I’ve done
While the path I've taken has never been a straight one, the throughlines have always been communities, communication, and amplifying voices at the edges.
From 2011 until summer 2018 I was the Director of OpenNews, which helps make journalism-technologists in some of the best newsrooms in the world more awesome by facillitating community and collaboration among them. My work at OpenNews included founding the Knight-Mozilla Fellowships, which placed creative technologists into newsrooms around the world, and SRCCON, a yearly conference built around highly-participatory problem solving and skill sharing among the best technologists in journalism.
At just 19, I founded Punk Planet magazine, an independent music, politics and culture magazine that helped to document the independent music and art scenes of the 1990s and 2000s. Punk Planet is widely credited as the definitive voice of independent culture at the time as well as helping to bridge the gap between cuture and activism. Constantly blazing new paths for 13 years, we also published books in collaboration with stalwart indie publisher Akashic Books.
I continued my commitment to independent media production as the co-host of Says Who Podcast, a weekly podcast dedicated to helping people survive the current presidential administration through comedy and coping, and of The Hitch podcast, a podcast about road tripping and adventure, often recorded from the road in my trailer.
One of the things I'm most notorious for is the @MayorEmanuel Twitter account, back in 2010/11. The account, written anonymously at the time, told a fantastical story of an alternate-universe Chicago during the 2011 Mayoral Election. By the time the account wrapped up, The Economist said it "may be the first truly great piece of digital literary work."
In addition to making all this (and more), I have taught journalism as a member of the full-time faculty at Columbia College Chicago from 2008-2011 and was a JSK Fellow at Stanford University from 2007-2008 where I studied the impact of mobile technology on storytelling.
I've done so much more than this. A (mostly) defininitive list is at the end of this page.
I want to come speak at your event. I can talk about technology and people, the current state of journalism (and its future), independent production, making things that matter, or whatever else you'd like me to come talk about (I mean, within reason). I'm represented by the Chartwell Speakers Bureau so click through and get in touch.
Drop a line
If you're looking for me, here are the best places to find me:
I do a lot, so here's the most recent things I've put out in the world.
- Save Your Brainmeat with Swing Left's Aaron Huertas | Published by Says Who? on Oct 24, 2018
- The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway | Published by The Hitch on Oct 22, 2018
- We're in the WWE's Robot Car with Dan Sinker | Published by Tights & Fights on Oct 18, 2018
- A Whole New Who with Chuck Wendig | Published by Says Who? on Oct 17, 2018
- Getting Your Rig (part 2) | Published by The Hitch on Oct 15, 2018
- How I Resist (contributor) | Published by Wednesday Books, 2018
- The F***ing Epic Twitter Quest of @MayorEmanuel | Published by Scribner, 2011
- We Owe You Nothing: Punk Planet, the collected interviews (Expanded Edition) | Published by Punk Planet Books, 2007
- We Owe You Nothing: Punk Planet, the collected interviews | Published by Akashic Books, 2001
I write about culture, politics, and technology. Occasionally I freelance so get in touch. Here's a few pieces I like.
- The most shocking thing about James Comey's book is how much it sucks | AV Club, Apr 20, 2018
- Fire and Fury Doesn't Tell Us Anything We Don't Already Know--and That's Why It's Important | AV Club, Jan 12, 2018
- I played Rahm Emanuel on Twitter. Here's what I learned about politics and the internet. | Vox, Mar 1, 2016
- Thanks Doug Your legacy will live on long after the last hot dog is served | Crain's Chicago Business, Oct 3, 2014
- Eulogy for a Horse | Self-published, Sep 24, 2013
- Tapped out Phone monitoring, young love, and me. | Self-published, Jun 7, 2013
A look at all the stuff I've made
Well, probably not "all," but it's close.
- Says Who Patreon: The community support mechanism for Says Who podcast, launched to help support our move to a weekly broadcast. 2018-present
- The Hitch: A new podcast that follows me and my wife Janice as we pick up from a year of fighting cancer, buy a trailer, and hit the road. 2018-present
- OMFG.church: Your one-stop shop (and one-page shop) for Pee Tape and Robert Mueller Prayer Candles. 2018-present
- Pee Tape and Robert Mueller Prayer Candle Kickstarter: A Kickstarter to pray for an end to the Trump administration with Pee Tape and Robert Mueller III Prayer Candles. 25-day Kickstarter ended up being the most funded candle in Kickstarter history. 2018
- Trump Poop Watch: A website to track Trump's visits to his own properties. 2017-present
- SRCCON:Work: A conference from OpenNews dedicated to fixing newsroom culture. December 2017
- Says Who Podcast: A biweekly podcast that's not a podcast, it's a coping strategy for living in Trump's America. Hosted with Maureen Johnson. 2016-present
- Someone With Tiny Hands: A Chome extension I wrote that accidently caused Wired magazine to refer to Trump as "Someone with Tiny Hands." 2016
- SRCCON: A yearly conference from OpenNews that brings together journalism-technologists for deep collaboration. 2014-present
- Tacofancy: A github repository for object-oriented, collaborative taco creation. 2013-present
- Mobile Judges: A site that formatted recommendations for Illinois judicial retention elections into a mobile site. 2012-2016
- Source: A site from OpenNews that looks behind-the-scenes at the work happening in newsroom tech. 2012-present
- CellStories: A site that published short fiction five days a week formatted exclusively for mobile phones before that was actually a thing. 2008-2009
- Bail magazine: A quarterly magazine dedicated to the art and culture that grew out of skateboarding in the 1980s and 90s. 2004
- Punk Planet Books: The book publishing arm of Punk Planet magazine, a partnership with Akashic Books. 2003-2007
- Punk Planet Magazine: A music, politics, and culture magazine chronicling the fiercely independent culture of punk rock. 1994-2007
Oh yeah, also there's this
I was on the Colbert Report.