Digital Terroir Exploring the intersection of software, culture, and place.
Jordan Koschei — February 02, 2024

Welcome to Digital Terroir

Is it possible to build software that respects and reinforces a “sense of place,” rather than regressing to some placeless, generic style?

Digital Terroir began as a conference talk. In 2018, I was working at an AgTech company and reading plenty of Michael Pollan, and the agriculture concepts I was exposed to began swirling with my deep love of the Hudson Valley (my lifelong home) and my interest in media ecology (which I dove into, quite pretentiously, in college).

By day, I’m a product designer and engineer at a San Francisco tech company, working remotely from my home base near the Hudson River. By night, I’m a chronic tinkerer who’s always working on side projects.

I’ve been considering the thread that unifies all my side projects:

  1. There was “Hudson Valley Talentbase,” a Dribbble-like network for people in the region to upload the interesting projects they were working on, in the hopes of driving creative collaboration.
  2. There was Creative Hudson Valley, an online publication where I interviewed creatives doing interesting work here.
  3. Now there’s ConnectHV, an online directly of creatives and professionals in the Hudson Valley.

The theme is obvious when I write it out, but — beyond “stuff for the Hudson Valley” — my real interest is in software that reinforces a sense of place.

In other words, digital terroir.

The grain of the internet is to drive everything towards growth: bigger, faster, flatter, more global. I’m interested in ways we can use the internet to go the other way: more local, more flavorful, more specific, more niche.

This newsletter/website will be where I explore these ideas in public. Sometimes I’ll write broadly, about the concepts themselves; other times I’ll write about something specific I’m working on, such as behind-the-scenes of my Hudson Valley side projects. Occasionally, I intend to review or respond to some book or article that seems relevant.

If you’re interested in following along, you can subscribe via email or your RSS reader. I always appreciate feedback and discussion, so don’t hesitate to reach out with any thoughts you have.

I look forward to exploring and learning, together, out loud.