For the last year, one of my ongoing gigs has been serving as the Editorial Director for Flavorpill Media’s culture site, Flavorwire.com. I’d launched Flavorwire for the company a few years ago and it very quickly became a core part of the company’s business, complementing their original offering email-based local event listings. During that time, the company also developed a social platform for discovering and sharing cultural events, which is what you see when you go to Flavorpill.com.
It’s been a pleasure to watch a company I first became acquainted with in 2001 (a year after co-founders Mark Mangan and Sascha Lewis started it) evolve into something more sophisticated and interesting. This year’s growth has been particularly impressive. Some highlights:
* When I came back into Flavorpill in December to work on Flavorwire, the site was getting 1.7 million uniques a month and 13 million pageviews. This fall we reached a record high of 3.9 million uniques (up 129%) and 36 million pageviews (up 180%).
* We expanded a bit editorially, bringing our freelance vertical editors on board full-time and adding two more people to the team for a total of six writers and editors, helmed by Editor-in-Chief Judy Berman. We also got a lot more newsy, with more commentary and reportage, giving the site more depth and timeliness.
* In May, we held Flavorwire’s first ever Short Fiction Contest. There were over 900 entries and you can read the winning stories here: Flavorwire Short Fiction Contest Winners.
* Sales revenues are also at an all-time high at just under $6 million for the year—and up from 3.7 million last year (up 62%).
* Also on the sales side, we’ve done some great new programming with partner brands including Absolut Lunch Break, a series of mid-day parties DJed by the likes of Questlove, Cash Money and Mark Farina. (You may have read about it in The New York Times). We’ve also been busy on the festival circuit with events at South by Southwest, Coachella and the Winter Music Festival in partnership with Microsoft, and with Pepsi, Airbnb and Instagram to send readers on trips around the country.
* Flavorpill.com, which was in the experimental stages in 2013, saw its subscriber base increase by over 500% in the last year, and had a series of successful partnerships with festivals (i.e., AfroPunk) and venues that used the system to manage RSVPs. In 2014, it’ll move out of beta and expand to new cities.
SO… we’re building on this year’s momentum to expand even further in 2014. Here’s what we’ve got planned:
* We’re expanding Flavorwire’s editorial team in order to bring you more comprehensive cultural coverage. I’m hiring for five new positions: non-fiction editor, visual editor, web culture editor, television/entertainment editor, and we’re bumping music editor Tom Hawking up to senior editor, so I’m also looking to fill that spot. You can see the job descriptions here: Flavorpill Jobs.
* Sales is also hiring in New York and Los Angeles. We have more inventory to sell and big ambitions for 2014 programming, so we’re looking to build a bigger team to help grow sales even more. Job descriptions are also on the job board.
OUR OFFICE IS GETTING BIGGER. LITERALLY.
* We need more space for more staffers so we’re expanding into an adjacent office and completely remodeling our Soho digs.
WE’RE LAUNCHING A NEW LIFESTYLE SITE.
Building on the success of Flavorwire, we’re planning on launching a new companion site that will cover lifestyle topics—travel, food, style and wellness. It’ll go live in late Spring and I’ll probably start recruiting editorial staffers for it next month. (That said, I’m happy to look at resumes now and would like to hire the editor in chief first. So if you think you might be a candidate, email me at email@example.com.)
So 2014 is going to be an exciting year and I’m looking forward to getting started. We have some ambitious plans and are looking for talented people to be part of it.
I read Marie Calloway’s new book last week and wrote something about it:
In many ways, what purpose did I serve in your life reads like a dirty YA novel. It’s largely about first times — Marie’s first sex work, Marie’s first threesome — and Calloway exhibits a willful naïveté about all of it. The narrator is emotionally detached, but claims insecurities that sound more academic than genuine in the retelling. In between various seductions and trysts, she occasionally observes that she’s not happy with her looks. (“I caught a glimpse of my face in his vanity mirror and thought I looked trashy and hideous.”) And in between, she does a lot of wondering to herself: “I wondered if I was buzzed or if it was just my fever.” “I wondered why I was so anxious.” “I wondered if he would ask me to stop and fuck him.” “I wondered if I would be forced to give him head for an entire hour.” “I wondered what the hell he was doing.” For my part, I wondered if there was another way to convey one’s interior monologue.
I’m sending out SpiersList for June this evening, so if you have job postings you want me to include, please email them to me by 5pm. espiers AT gmail.
Here’s a thing I wrote for Medium on the dreaded question “What do you do?”:
Among the niceties and travails of meeting people for the first time, there’s no more loaded question than “What do you do?” I would almost prefer to respond to “What is your favorite sexual position?” or “How do you feel about your mother?” because people would be less likely to read into my answer.
I have European friends who loathe the question because they think it’s coded language that only means one thing: How much money do you make? But that’s only part of it. It means that, and several other things.