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A conversation with Baratunde Thurston

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You can thank Baratunde Thurston for @TheOnion. Not the website, that is — that's over two decades old — but the five million follower-strong (and growing) Twitter account. For five years, the author / satirist / comedian / public speaker (it's a lot of titles) served as Director of Digital for the publication and gave it a savvy and relevant online presence.

Last year, Thurston left The Onion along with two other colleagues and founded Cultivated Wit. The startup looks to merge humor and technology in various ways, such as sponsoring Comedy Hack Days to bring together comedians, designers, and developers (one recent example includes Citation Needed, which quickly helps you create mock Wikipedia pages and win arguments even when you're wrong). The next one starts September 21st at the MIT Media Lab.

Thurston describes comedy as "an important special power," and he's been using that power to inform and enlighten audiences around the globe. We sat down with him to discuss the projects he's worked on, our favorite Onion stories, and his continued belief in the importance of Twitter.