Magazine Writing—When I was 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.
When I was paid to Blog
When I was looking for work in 2020, my friend Lee paid me to write blog posts for Midas, an advertising agency that’s part of the WPP network. My favorite piece over there is The Best Social Media Isn’t Just About Social Platforms.
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.