About me

I grew up near Detroit and went to school at Michigan State, where I studied economics and co-founded a literary magazine called Oats. Between 2002 and 2012, I worked at Poynter, Current TV, and Twitter, and at all those places, my job had something to do with figuring out the future of media.

I’m the author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, which started as a short story right here and is now a full-length novel published by FSG and Picador in the United States and many others around the world.


You can reach me via email: robinsloan@robinsloan.com


I often talk about the notion of a “media inventor”… so what do I mean by that?

I think a media inventor is someone primarily interested in content (words, pictures, ideas) who also experiments with new formats, new tools, and new technology. The paperback pioneer Allen Lane was a media inventor. Early bloggers were media inventors. The indie video game scene is full of media inventors.

Basically, media inventors aren’t satisfied with the suite of formats available to them by default. Novel, novella, or short story; album, EP, or single; RPG, RTS, or FPS — media inventors don’t like those options.

Media inventors feel compelled to make the content and the container.

An example might — might? — be Fish, an essay wrapped up in an app.

Anyway, if any of this sounds familiar, I invite you to use the label, too. And more generally, I’m on a mission to bring back the word inventor with all its connotations: protean lightning-crackle and occasional crackpotitude alike.

January 2014, Berkeley


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