Craig Mod in black and white craig mod and the monks

Contact / Follow

Who am I? What am I doing?

I just finished an essay collection.

(Winter '14/'15.)

I'm writing another book.

(Help me.)

I write regularly for The Message.

And contribute to a number of other publications.

I've lived mostly in Japan.

But also in San Francisco.

But now split my time with New York City.

(← That's me with some monks near Lhasa.)

I co-authored a Tokyo guidebook a while back.

My mailing list is called the Roden Explorers Club.

My essay archive is called the Sputnik Journal.

I am bad at email.

But you're more than welcome to try


My writing has appeared in New Scientist, The New Yorker, Virgina Quarterly Review, The New York Times,, Codex: A Journal of Typography, A List Apart, and other publications.

Honors & Fellowships



Matt Buchannan, Frank Chimero, Liz Danzico, Jane Friedmad, Rob Giampietro, Andrew Womack

Public Speaking

I speak frequently about digital books, publishing, and startups. My speaking schedule is updated regularly (in theory). I'm largely taking a speaking break for 2015.

Favorite Cities (unordered)

  • New York (US)
  • Hanoi (Vietnam)
  • Kyoto (Japan)
  • Asheville (North Carolina)
  • Barcelona (Spain)
  • Lhasa (Tibet)
  • Tokyo (of course!)
  • London
  • Pokara (Nepal)
  • New Orleans (US)
  • Kamakura (Japan)

Details details

Currently, I'm a regular contributor to The Message, a publication on Medium, a company for whom I also happen to be a formal advisor.

My collected essays on books and publishing were published in Japanese by Voyager (best known for creating the Criterion Collection) in December 2014. The finished object is pretty special. And has inspired some thinking about how an English analog might feel. (Think of the Japanese edition as a beta run.)

JULY 2015 – DECEMBER NOTE: I'm currently mid-work on another book which is consuming all of my time. Apologies for not being able to meet / respond to all requests for mentorship or interviews. Thanks for understanding. I hope to have more time soon!

You can follow me on Twitter, of course.
But for something more intimate, consider subscribing to my mailing list.


I'm adopted. Fascinated by provenance. Provenance and mythologies. Especially the myths we create around ourselves and the boundaries which define 'family.'


I love the culture of startups: the optimism, the naiveté, the confusion, the chaos, the compression. I regularly mentor and consult with publishing, design, and non-profit startups and try to nurture connections where connections should be.

In 2011-2012 I worked at Flipboard as a product designer. My main focus was Flipboard for iPhone. You can read about that here.


Tokyo has been my base — in one way or another, physical or spiritual — for over a decade. My experiences there are so deeply layered that I consider the city a hometown. Much of my appreciation for simplicity and minimalism in design is inspired by my time there.


PRE/POST is a publishing umbrella I founded in 2010. It's largely dormant, now, but served its purpose well for the four or so years it was active. PRE/POST was there to help get made books that should be made, and made well. No excuses. We averaged a book a year, which felt just about right. It kicked off when we republished Art Space Tokyo via Kickstarter. In 2012, we published Japanese poet Bin Sugawara. We also helped jumpstart the Designer Founders book from The Designer Fund. And it served as the place from which I published a number of my essays as Kindle and iBooks books.

Mobile Stories

I co-founded (a spinoff from a digital magazine I cofounded in 2007, Hitotoki) to explore how storytelling feels when it begins on the phone and out in the world.


I bounce between Tokyo, New York, and San Francisco. Sometimes, people have a hard time understanding why. They tilt their heads. To me, it's simple: stay sharp. Each time the plane lands I can hear the crisp scrape of my senses pushed across a whetstone.

Silicon Valley gets foolish dreaming and technology.
New York gets content and process.
Tokyo gets objects and procession.

Simple, right? (Also, food. The burrito, pizza, sushi trifecta.)


I strive to be a skeptical technology optimist. Skepticism for objectivity. Optimism because, well, it's a far more fun to stew in a world of optimism.

I believe technological change is like a freight train of a certain unstoppable momentum, and we have two broad choices:

  • Stubbornly stand in front of the train and try to push it back
  • Accept the train and be a force laying railroad ties which place it on a better course

I choose the second option, and that choice informs the way I look at how digital infrastructure is affecting books, publishing, and education. I like that we're irrationally emotional about the loss of physicality in books. We're explorers, and the first rule of the Explorer's Club is: always choose a so-called disrupted space swaddled in emotion.

Sea Change

I believe there is an emerging confluence of simple technologies around books, publishing, networks, and education that can be leveraged to change the way we think about learning and information accessibility. If you're working in this space, I'd love to chat.

I think of the liminal space publishing now occupies as the pre/post era of publishing. We're post- the formality, complexity, and physicality that so defined publishing following Gutenberg (and Aldus Manutius and Walter Benjamin and …). But yet we're still pre- substantive alternatives.

The old guard is crumbling. A new guard is awkwardly emerging. Together, we can affect the shape of the new guard. Isn't that exciting?

Follow me on Twitter or say hello.

Join the Roden Explorers Club

What is this so-called explorers club for Roden?
It's a mailing list.
(From which you can easily unsubscribe.)