The Greater Ribbonfarm Cultural Region 2015

A special treat for you today: the 2015 Greater Ribbonfarm Cultural Region map.  Vastly improved since the 2012 version, much better illustrated (by Grace Witherell) and representative of an older, if not necessarily wiser blogger. Click for a bigger image. This map will now be available on the You-Are-Here page via the sidebar link.


Rather serendipitously, Sarah just posted a thoughtful piece on the nature of maps like this, so I won’t bore you with meta-commentary. Since she is now a contributing editor, I figured I’d put her on the map. You can have some fun figuring out where she is on the map and why.

I won’t attempt much commentary other than to say that some things have stayed the same, some things have changed, some things have been dropped, and many more things have been added. If you’ve been reading ribbonfarm long enough, comparing the 2012 and 2015 maps side by side on two monitors might be fun. I think the evolution says quite a bit about me, but probably more about the changes in the cultural environment in which bloggers like me exist.

I plan to do a screencast narration/virtual walking tour of the map soon, so I’ll leave my detailed riffing for that. In the meantime, you can Ask Me Anything about the map in the comments.

I’m pleased enough with this thing that I might reverse my position on never doing schwag, and put this up for sale in the form of a printed poster.

Addendum: Thanks to Carlos Bueno and Anthony DiFranco for suggestions that made it into the map.

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About Venkatesh Rao

Venkat is the founder and editor-in-chief of ribbonfarm. Follow him on Twitter


  1. Looking forward to the screencast narration/virtual walking tour! (Some parts of the map are non-obvious to me…)

  2. Where is my super-set RSS feed of RSS feeds to keep track of all of that? Or at least a list links to all the references in the map. If I was cruel I’d ask that you make that into a html image map, but I know that’s hard ( ).

  3. Hamilton/Jefferson gate – Distinction being alignment with the American school? (

    • To the left of the gate is the old economy organized along the lines of the Jefferson/Hamilton dichotomy (the American school angle is just one part of a bigger dynamic in US political history and similar patterns elsewhere).

      To the right, the dichotomy is being transcended in the new economy.

  4. for a moment I was outraged: “where are the digital nomads, the streamers?”

    and then: duh.

  5. I’m pretty sure the West-East divide is pastoralists and prometheans. Is the North-South Axis infinite and finite?

  6. Thank you for the map – I look forward to the walking tour. Just wondering why only Musk Highway to the Spaceport and not Musk Hyperloop?

    • The highway symbolizes Musk’s ability (shared by others) to connect the entrepreneurial world to the old economy/regulated crony capital world. That ability already exists, unlike the hyperloop.

  7. I was trying to figure out Portland’s placement. Maybe in David Byrne’s words, it “is a place where nothing ever happens.”

    • Portland is a motif for a particular kind of clueless culture that is deeply complicit in the industrial crony-capitalist world but believes itself to be in a state of ideological rebellion against it.

  8. What are the quadrants of this map?

    Is it Guardian (bottom), Commerce (top), Past (left), Future (right)?

  9. PUA gate?! How could that possibly fit into the Ribbonfarm cosmos?
    That really must be an intriguing post… where do I find it?

    • A significant part of the audience is into exploring that sort of thing. Go figure. This is a map of conversations I have on an ongoing basis and themes that come up in them. Only a subset of them make it into my own writing or that of other writers here.