Why Not Take Awl of Me with Choire Sicha (Episode 37)


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Choire Sicha (pronounced “Corey SEEK-a”) is one of the founders of The Awl, a site devoted to new writing and events of the day, with four sister sites under the same umbrella. Choire was an editor at Gawker — and returned as editor a second time after he first left. He’s written for or worked at the New York Observer and Radar. Choire just came out with the fictionalized but entirely true novel, Very Recent History: An Entirely Factual Account of a Year (c. AD 2009) in a Large City. He’s on Twitter: @choire.


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Show notes

Nick Denton started his network with Gizmodo, and Gawker came later. Pete Rojas founded Gizmodo, then left to join Jason Calacanis to create Engadget as the founding site of the Weblogs, Inc.,
network that Calacanis sold later to AOL. (I mistakenly said Calacanis started
with Gizmodo! How soon we forget.) Pete Rojas then founded gdgt, which was sold not long ago to AOL as well.

New Yorkers get by on five hours of sleep?

Denton built Kinja, a reputation/commenting system. Co-founder David Cho left The Awl to join Grantland, Bill Simmons’ terrific editorial operation at ESPN. The Verge evolved from what seemed to be a gadget site into a more nuanced, richer multimedia site with long-form journalism to boot. Tracy Kidder is a great old white man.

All readers (and listeners) are handsome and beautiful.

The Awl has four sister sites: Splitsider, a comedy website; The Hairpin, a site geared toward women; The Wirecutter, a consumer-electronics blog; and The Billfold, a blog with a focus on personal finances. The Wirecutter is now owned by Brian Lam, but the other sites are part of The Awl, with ownership stakes by editors.

Completism is the necessity of a reader to complete an entire magazine or newspaper or what have you. It’s why people have stacks of Economists piled up.

I wrote about pick-up artist (PUA) philosophies for Boing Boing
because of a controversy about whether a book being Kickstarter funded
about PUA technique was full of suggestions tantamount to sexual
harassment and assault. The Awl’s Maria Bustillos wrote an article seemingly supportive of the book’s author. Choire mentioned that The Awl published a poem called “Rape Joke” by Patricia Lockwood, and had a massive number of first-time commenters that he would be perfectly fine if they never returned.

I spoke to Jason Fried of 37Signals in Episode #10, “Go Home at 5 O’Clock,” about working humane hours and having a globally spread-out group of employees who only meet occasionally in person.

Valve runs as an anarchy and has an in-house economist, Yanis Varoufakis, who explains this in part here and gave a great interview on this economic podcast.

Moby-Dick is one of the funniest books of all time. We’re serious.

 Photo of Choire Sicha by Tiffany Arment. Used with permission.