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Exposing Readers to New Discoveries

Kurt Kohlstedt, WebUrbanist and Gajitz
Meghan Young
March 4th, 2015
WebUrbanist and Gajitz are just a couple notches on Kurt Kohlstedt's blog belt. With a passion for online reporting, it comes as no surprise that he has created multiple avenues for his various interests. Through these two particular blogs, Kurt reaches different demographics while providing carefully curated content that resonates deeply with his readers.

8 Questions with Kurt Kohlstedt

1. How do you reset to be creative?
Stepping into a coffee shop or coworking venue helps me slip into my role as editor or writer -- that, or some external piece of inspiration or conversation that demands a story.

2. What motivates you?
Learning new things. I am sure a lot of people would say the same, but that is really the only way to stay interested and engaged after writing thousands of articles.

3. What is the biggest challenge you face?
There is just too much to cover. We have to be extremely selective in what we choose to feature, often having to pass amazing story opportunities that we just cannot make fit into our broader set of core topics. Thankfully, the sites cast a wide net -- anything in the built environment can be fair game for WebUrbanist, and anything touching on science or technology can fit on Gajitz.

4. How do you stay on top of the cutting edge?
We follow a combination of what our readers want, what social media loves and what we ourselves are passionate about -- every piece is a balance between those targets. External feedback is critical, be it direct (complaints and critiques) or indirect (data and trends). We also regularly address design issues on the site itself, moving to a responsive layout last year, for instance, to address the rise in mobile visitors.

5. What is your favorite way to interact with viewers of your site?
'In person' beats all other modes and mediums of contact with readers -- at the end of the day there is nothing like someone coming up to you and saying how much they appreciate the work you are doing, or suggesting some new idea, topic or approach. Getting feedback on Facebook or via email is fine as well, but it just rarely leads to the same kinds of organic conversations that happen face to face.

6. Are there any adjacent industries outside your own that you actively source for inspiration?
Built environments, interactive artworks and spatial technologies are at the core of what we write about, but interaction design, installation art and any other spatially-oriented field stays on our radar and keep me thinking outside of our normal categories.

7. What is the mission of your blog?
We have a layered set of missions, but fundamentally our goal is to expose people to built environments and new discoveries. We are at our best when we draw in readers who might not even realize how much there is to see and learn just beneath the surface of everyday urban reality or how new advances in science or technology will impact them.

8. What makes your blog different? How can viewers leverage the content on your blog?
We strive for quality over quantity, publishing just a few (at most) articles per day, versus the scattershot approach found on most blogs and online publications in general. Aside from educational and entertainment value on a day-to-day basis, we also provide a highly-segmented set of categories and subcategories to allow readers to delve into areas of specific interest or find designs that address individual needs in their everyday lives, from small-space living to experimental wearable technologies.
References: weburbanist