Love Letter to the Web: The Sartorialist

This is one of those "things I love about the web" posts. Scott Schuman is a guy who grew up in Indiana and moved to New York to work in the fashion industry. He ran a showroom for a while, but when he and his wife had kids, he decided to stay home in order to raise them. That's when his fashion career took off.

A self-taught photographer who'd never really taken pictures until his daughters were born, he started taking snapshots around NYC of people whose style caught his eye. About a year and a half ago, he created a blog on Blogger and began putting up these photographs along with quick commentaries on what he liked about each one. Well, the site caught on and recently reached a million monthly page views, with certain entries easily garnering more than a hundred comments.

This certainly hasn't gone unnoticed and so, a few months ago, Scott received his own Sartorialist column in GQ, was sent to Europe by Conde Nast's Style.com to supplement their fashion week coverage, and the editor of French Vogue is calling him to discuss projects :-)

I love this story. Here's a guy who pursued a passion to do something that he wasn't being paid for, and thanks to the web, has built a devoted audience of millions. Which, in turn, has turned into a paying job, doing what he loves. His blog, in essence, turned out to be a living, breathing, year-long job resume. I love it!

Here's a recent article about Mr. Schuman from the New York Post.


Writing about what a cool idea Pandora is, is nothing new, but it's certainly worth writing if it gets more people to check it out. Especially given their current struggles with Washington, they could certainly use the support.

For those who don't know about it, Pandora's a site put together by the Music Genome Project which is a group working to analyze music down to its basic DNA. Sounds a little out there, but if done properly, one of the things this allows you to do is take music you already like and follow its structure to similar music that you might not yet know about, but will probably like as well.

That was the idea behind Pandora.com, a simple, well-built little Flash interface that lets you start with either a song or an artist in order to create a custom "station". Based on the DNA of your selection, Pandora then begins to stream similar music. As new songs are served up, you can either give them the thumbs-up or down so that they can keep crafting the station to suit you even more. You can create your own account and then keep adding songs/artists to your existing station or create entirely new stations around different genres. I started a jazz station about a year ago and I rarely give a song the thumbs-down these days.

The nice thing about these folks is that they keep improving on something already great. Each song that comes up has a menu that allows you to bookmark it or even link directly to iTunes or Amazon to buy it. One recent addition that I like is Pandora's stab at building an online community. I haven't completely explored it, but one cool thing I found so far is that you can take the song that's currently playing and find out who else is listening to it and what other types of music they're into.

Marketing in Second Life

A couple of recent articles about brands doing their avatar thing in Second Life. The first one's from BRANDWEEK and the other from Wagner James Au, a freelance journalist who's written for Salon and Wired and until recently has been an embedded reporter for Linden Lab. Also, an interesting post from Au on his blog, comparing the popularity of some of these branded ventures to those of their less corporate "citizens".


NBC Sees the Future

I went to nbc.com today and given the amount of content that I'm sure is always fighting for space on the homepage, it's actually pretty well done. However, there was something there today that I thought was pretty funny. Right above their usual "what's on tonight" ticker,

is a little teaser of their upcoming online plans:

which then links through to this wicked-awesome bundle of things that you and your friends from the future will be able to do with the the help of the NBC Corporation:

"Hey all my buddies, come and check out my personalized profile ... and don't forget the widgets!!"

It's like someone went to a social networking seminar and when they got the handout at the end, went straight for the Glossary page at the back :-)

Now, I know that more and more marketers are looking for ways to benefit from social media, and kudos to NBC for giving it their own kick at the can. I just found this thing kind of cute, and a little sad. You can almost see the boardroom meeting at the head office:

"So, does anybody know what the kids are into these days?"
"Social networking, sir."
"Great, let's get some of it ... and tell them it's coming soon!"


Mentos Pop Art

Mentos recently launched a campaign for their new gum. The gum is quite good and so is the campaign. It's built around the idea of people creating art with the patterns that are made by popping the gum out of the grid of its packaging.

The TV spot shows an artist creating a mural out of hundreds of Mentos packs. The campaign microsite allows people to make their own art within a Flash interface and submit it for voting by other visitors to the site.

YouChoose 2008

Here's something you didn't see before Al Gore invented the internet. A YouTube channel dedicated to campaign ads and videos related to the 2008 US elections. Could LonelyKucinich15 be far behind?

700 Hoboes ... and Counting

This is one of my favourite web stories. A few years back, John Hodgman published a book titled The Areas of My Expertise, a collection of random things, one of which was a list of the 700 all-time greatest hobo names. Soon after, people started posting illustrations of their interpretations of these names on Flickr and tagging them with "700hoboes".

At this point, all 700 have been illustrated at least once, with over a hundred people submitting a picture. The whole thing even has it's own site at e-hobo.com. Here's an interview with Adam Koford who initially set up the Flickr group.

Le Duel

An amazing Flash animation from club internet where the duel starts out in a small video panel and then spills out to the rest of the page. It must have taken a good dose of imagination and planning ahead of time to get it made.