Magazine Writing—When I Used to Get Paid to Write
After college, I did some magazine writing. I was a Contributing Editor on the Abercrombie & Fitch Quarterly from 1998 (when I was a senior in college) until the magazine closed in 2004. In 1999 I went on an Abercrombie & Fitch photo shoot I got to take some pictures of some models before a shoot and on a boat. I also got a pic of me and a model and I look absurdly goofy by comparison.
Here are some of the pieces I wrote and some of the stories of how and why I wrote them.
- An imaginary history of Christmas. This is the first thing I got paid for. I had published a piece in The Yale Record when I was in college. I was the publisher of the magazine at the time. My friend Patrick was writing at Abercrombie and they wanted to publish a “Point/Counterpoint” that we’d written. I’ll add more to this story later.
- A visit to Geoge Lucas’s ILM and Skywalker Ranch right before the release of Star Wars: Episode 1. After I handed in the piece, I had this weird experience, where I handed in a rough draft of 3000 words and thought they’d cut it to the assigned 1000. Instead, they printed the whole thing at $1.25 a word. I felt like Tom Wolfe when he submitted his notes as a memo to Bryon Dobell and they were published in Esquire as magazine article The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby sans the salutation “Dear Byron.” My favorite part of the story is the intro (slightly edited).
- The world’s most entertaining calculus professor. Colin Adams is a Math professor at Williams College with a fabulously bad suit. He explained why Engish professors dress better than Math professors. He also told a wonderful story about how he pranked an entire introductory math class.
- A guide to the Great American Movie Theaters. This was a very cool piece. I found a book on movie theaters (maybe this one but I don’t remember) that talked about the glory of old theaters. I thought it was awesome to be able to show people how they could experience these great old movie houses for the price of a movie ticket.
- An interview with the Editor of The Onion.
My Mobile Payments Writing at Citi
Ashwin Shivaikar from Citi’s Equity Research group and I joined forces to write two reports Upwardly Mobile I (pdf) and Upwardly Mobile II (pdf). The pieces were very well received and we had the honor of giving out 2000 of these at first Money 2020 Conference. I also gave a 10-minute presentation at a payments conference. Kate Fitzgerald wrote it up in surprising detail in American Banker in an article called Simplicity, Usefulness Should Guide Mobile Wallet Development.
Some Older Stuff
Here’s a fun older bit from college. I wrote up this article on how difficult it is to make rules against encryption (pdf). I also wrote a blog post about this time in encryption policy and how it inspired my favorite tee shirt. I was thinking it wasn’t worth posting but then I remembered that someone thought it was the most interesting article in the magazine Crossroads in 1998.