Issue 9

In Offscreen Issue No9 designer Cameron Moll shows us how to be a successful home-office entrepreneur and dad of five; engineer Ruchi Sanghvi takes us back to her early, career-defining days at Facebook; Drew Downs tells us how he built a sustainable printing business powered by independent artists from around the world; open-source heavyweight Adrian Holovaty demonstrates his multi-talent as journalist, developer, and musician; doctor in physics, Roan Lavery makes a case for a more enjoyable way to manage our finances; and Stripe co-founder Patrick Collison explains why he has decided to build the payments infrastructure of the future.


Cameron Moll

Designer/Founder of Authentic Jobs — on his failed attempt at a music career, the online business that grew out of a sidebar, and his love for letterpressed typography.

Ruchi Sanghvi

Developer/Investor — on growing up in India, experimental engineering for hundreds of millions of users, and her changing definition of success.

Drew Downs

Co-Founder of Nuvango — on a career-defining road trip, hitching his wagon to Apple, and rebranding his ‘baby’ after eight successful years in business.

Adrian Holovaty

Developer/Co-Founder of Soundslice — on the rise of database journalism, gypsy-jazz jamming, and his bullshit-free approach to life and business.

Roan Lavery

Designer/Co-Founder of FreeAgent — on subconscious culture building, the commonalities of physics and design, and overcoming ‘taxing’ challenges.

Patrick Collison

Developer/Co-Founder of Stripe — on moving from rural seclusion to startup central, and dropping out of college to build the payment infrastructure of the future.


Thoughts — Food for thought by Cole Peters and Kati Krause

A Day In The Life OfAlex Breuer, Jared Erondu, Julie Ng, Karen Hollywood

Feature — The making of the award-winning mobile game Monument Valley, by Neil McFarland.

Founder Story — How Borahm Cho co-founded Kitchensurfing, a marketplace around his love for home-cooked meals.

Profile — A photo essay and profile series about the people behind Pinterest.

Founder Story — With Twinkind Timo Schaedel replaces selfies with photo-realistic, 3D-printed figurines.

Rules of Business — Guiding principles for doing business by Tina Roth Eisenberg.

Founder Story — How Jay Fanelli and his team gave up client work and took their t-shirt factory Cottonbureau full time.

What's Your Story — Four individuals and their aspirations for joining the tech community: Shaan Singh, Dr Jessica Barker, James Banks, Lena Reinhard

Founder Story — Tom Taylor and his mates prefer to consume their online reading list in print form, with PaperLater.

Gear Guide — by Katie Chen

Recruiting — Lessons learned from building successful teams: Matt Allen, Mike Brittain, Emma Boulton, John Barton

Workspace99designs, Zazzle, Facebook Sydney, Cisco

Founder Story — Saul Minkoff and his co-workers are working on Pulse, a rainy day fund for the rural poor.

Feature — Wayne Fan reminisces about a startup success that wasn’t: Everpix.

Side Project — Dan Rowden runs Magpile, a community for magazine lovers.

ReflectionsScott Berkun reminds us of the benefits of the ‘off’ switch.

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There’s a constant barrage of social pressure and PR babble implying that the most important things in tech happen only at technorati ground zero.

Cameron Moll’s unique approach to entrepreneurship starts with putting his family of seven first. From his home in Florida, he successfully runs Authentic Jobs, the go-to site for job openings in the tech world. The designer, author, podcaster, and public speaker constantly dabbles in new creative fields, and his typographic letterpress prints are just one beautiful example for his relentless curiosity. Cameron puts a strong emphasis on ethical conduct in everything he does. His latest philanthropic efforts led him to Africa to install water wells for the rural poor.

Nothing is harder than having to grow personally in order to keep up with the growth of the company.

As Facebook’s first female engineer, Ruchi Sanghvi joined the company when it was still a small startup based above a Chinese restaurant in Palo Alto. The Indian-born developer was part of the initial core team that laid the groundwork for Facebook’s explosive growth to more than a billion users. After leaving the social network, she played a major role in Dropbox’s expansion and became an influential investor in San Francisco’s thriving startup scene. In her spare time, Ruchi is a passionate advocate for reforming America’s antiquated immigration and education system.

You have to look at your personal situation, and decide what level of risk you’re comfortable with, and then shit or get off the pot.

Occasionally great ideas emerge from the most unexpected places. Torontonians Drew Downs and his high school friend were driving home from a wedding when the concept for GelaSkins was conceived: an adhesive ‘skin’ to protect valuable gadgets from scratches, imprinted with beautiful, unique artwork. Their idea snowballed into a thriving business and online community that produces quality covers and art prints while supporting inde- pendent artists around the globe. After eight successful years Drew and his ambitious team of 35 are just getting started.

I want to build things that are sustainable, so I’m not bound by the whims of parent companies or investors.

As the co-creator of the popular web framework Django, Adrian Holovaty made a name for himself as a talented developer and open-source advocate. But the humble Chicagoan doesn’t like to rest on his laurels. With a background in journalism and a deep affection for music, his career keeps criss-crossing various industries. By combining his pragmatic programmer skills with a playful curiosity about life, several of Adrian’s explorations have turned a side project into a career, with the latest one emerging from his ‘accidental’ YouTube celebrity status.

I think most of us spend much of our time living in cages of our own making.

Many of us consider managing invoices and preparing tax statements a tedious, but inescapable aspect of running a business. Roan Lavery sees it as a huge opportunity. His Edinburgh-based company FreeAgent takes a radical approach to accounting software, aiming to fix an overly complicated, tiresome process through thoughtful design and enjoyable user experience. As a doctor in physics and an Ironman contestant, Roan is certainly not intimidated by his ambitious goal to redefine the relationship people have with their finances.

We’ve been very lucky in having exceptionally good people join us, and that quickly becomes a self-reinforcing dynamic.

In the isolation of a rural Irish town, Patrick Collison and his brother John spent most of their teenage years honing their programming skills. The goal of formalising their expertise at a prestigious American college was interrupted by an idea that would quickly turn into a business recently valued at a staggering 1.75 billion dollars. As the CEO of Stripe, a developer-friendly platform that enables websites to easily accept online payments, Patrick is determined to build an exceptional company with the aim to bring more people into the internet economy.

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