Jason Kottke is a blogger and former web designer. Educated at Coe College, Kottke began his career as a web designer in 1986. He worked on design projects for companies as diverse as Charles Schwab, Target, and the University of Minnesota. He designed the now-ubiquitous typeface Silkscreen in 1999, which has since been adopted by Adobe, MTV and Volvo. He has served on the Advisory Board for SXSW Interactive since 2000. In 2005, he announced he had left his web design job to work on his blog full-time. The site is now supported by paid advertisements. Kottke lives in New York City.
Jason Kottke: My name is Jason Kottke. I’m a blogger.
I grew up in rural Wisconsin. I lived on a farm. I moved there when I was about two. I was born in the Twin Cities, in Minnesota. And I lived there from about two until I was about 18 and went off to college and things like that. It wasn’t a working farm. It was a place in the country, and my dad rented out the farmland to other people and they farmed it. But I basically grew up on a farm without the cows. And I don’t know.
I currently live in New York, and I think New York is sort of full of people who’ve come from the Midwest to sort of seek their fortune – whether that’s financial or cultural or whatever – seek their fortune in New York City. And you know I think I feel a little out of kinship with those people in that growing up I was sort of curious and interested in a lot of things. And you sort of . . . I don’t know. I had a city sort of temperament even though I lived in a rural area. I went to . . . I went to college in Cedar Rapids, Iowa – ___________ College which is one of those small liberal arts schools that sort of litter Iowa. And I had this friend and he was from the Twin Cities, and he said, “You, you seem to be sort of a city guy to me. It doesn’t seem like you belong in the country.”
I think my dad was a big influence. He’s had a billion different jobs, you know. I think when he got out of college he was . . . Or he actually didn’t finish college. Sometime around that time he was in the Navy and he wanted to fly airplanes, so he eventually became a pilot and ran his own company – his own airline, like, cargo, commuter, freight business.
And he was an engineer, and he just did a lot of different things. He had a lot of different interests, and a lot of different things that he could do. And he always . . . I don’t know. He made sure that my sister and I took an interest in sort of the world around us, and you know explained to us why the sky was blue.
And he bought us a World Book Encyclopedia when we were young. And I used to just sit for hours, and hours, and hours and read the encyclopedia – like just pick out a volume at random and just start reading – and like reading through. It just always kept me interesting, particularly in science and things like that. I was a physics major in college, and you know I think that interest comes right from him.
October 9, 2007