The Great Discontent

a young woman with her back to us wearing a green hooded jacket standing on a bridge with mountains spread out in front of her

Year One

2011/2012 Retrospective
Photo by Chris Ozer

We were both born and raised in Michigan, where summers meant doing things like traipsing around outdoors, building forts, swimming in the lake, and embracing whatever kinds of mischief were at hand. For us, childhood was a time when we played with gusto, bravely asked questions about the world, and created without inhibition—a time when anything was possible.

As we grew into adults, the desire to create remained, but the world changed around us; it required more from us. By the time we met each other and started dating, we were full of ideas for the future, but our lives were also becoming full of responsibilities. We talked often about projects we wanted to work on together, namely, publishing a magazine revolving around the theme of creativity. But as we started our professional careers, married, and settled into a new routine, the busyness of life crept in and our ideas were shelved. We revisited them every now and again—usually around the New Year—but life moved forward at breakneck speed and we routinely defaulted to the notion that we’d wait until we had more time.

After five years of putting our dreams on the back burner, we realized that if we were ever going to make something together, we would have to carve out the time for it. At the beginning of 2011, we resolved to focus on making the thing we had talked about the most throughout the years—our magazine. The months that followed evoked a sense of nostalgia; we felt like kids again—playing, asking questions, and creating freely. We sacrificed our evenings and weekends through the summer months to build what would become The Great Discontent and it was the most satisfying work we had ever done.

When we released our first interview into the wild in August 2011, we didn’t know how people would respond. We only knew that TGD was something we deeply cared about and believed in—and we hoped that others would, too. The Great Discontent is a reflection of us—more so than anything we’ve ever made—and because of that, your warm reception of it has overwhelmed us with gratitude. All we can say is, what an incredible adventure this has been!

TGD: Year One

50 interviews

48 individuals + 2 couples / 31 guys + 21 gals
46 conducted via video/audio chat + 1 conducted via phone + 3 conducted in person

1 tribute

with a little help from 7 friends

Recorded Audio
53 hours & 48 minutes

for an average interview time of 1 hour and 5 minutes

Time Spent
800+ hours

transcribing, editing, designing, and laying out content (not including time spent on research and correspondence)

260,000+ people

in 193 countries (based on site analytics)

677 miles

from our home state of Michigan to our new home in New York City

Numbers aside, the resounding words of the year are: Thank you.

Thank you to those we interviewed—the list is too long to name all of you. You were brave enough to say yes and we’re so glad you did. Your stories have travelled far and impacted the lives of more people than you may ever know.

Thank you to those who sponsored interviews: MailChimp, TinyLetter, Adobe (Typekit), Virb, The Manual, Treehouse, WeTransfer, Harvest, Campaign Monitor, and Squarespace. Your generosity has helped lighten our load. We appreciate your support and wish you an immeasurable return on your investment.

Thank you to our readers. You have grown into a community that we deeply care about and we have received just as much inspiration from you as you have from us. Your support means the world and we love hearing your stories and learning how TGD has impacted you—.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

If we’ve learned anything over the course of our first year publishing TGD, it’s that excuses will always be readily available. Don’t let them keep you from doing what you love—do it anyway. Decide to set out on your own adventure; take time to play, ask questions, and create—inhibitions aside.

That’s what we’re doing as we kick off the second year of The Great Discontent because, after all, anything is possible—and this is only the beginning.

Always discontent,
Ryan & Tinainterview close

P.S. To celebrate our one year, we made you something—TGD desktop wallpapers!

screenshot wallpaper

Image courtesy of Chris Ozer.

Jeffrey Zeldman Darren Booth