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September 11, 2009

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Present at the Creation, Part Two

There’s always been a funny connection between Snarkmarket and Current.

After all, introduction aside, my very first Snarkmarket post inaugurated the “Gore TV” category. More followed. November 2003. March 2004. (“Man, I thought I had put this behind me. But now I’m all excited about it again.”) May.

But then what? How did I end up, not too many months later, here in San Francisco, working for what was then called INdTV?

off to work
Me in San Francisco, spring 2005. Current HQ in background.

On August 1, 2004, I sent an email to Joel Hyatt, INdTV’s CEO. (I found his address on the web. After searching for days.) In the email, I introduced myself—a reporter/producer/blogger in St. Petersburg, Florida, with two years of experience at a non-profit journalism institute—and lobbed in an idea for how this new TV channel could use the web in an interesting way. And, more importantly, I promised (threatened?) to follow up with another idea, and another, and another. Thirty-one total. An August of ideas.

To his everlasting credit, and to my everlasting gratitude, Joel’s reply did not say “never email me again, you weird kid.” Rather: “OK, let’s see what you’ve got.”

Keep in mind that I had about four ideas cooked up when I sent that first message. And then my part of St. Petersburg got evacuated because of a hurricane. And then I drove cross-country, from Florida up to Michigan, then over to California, stopping at the wifi-enabled rest stops along I-80, dispatching ideas, racing to come up with more. It was a pretty crazy month.

The final idea, sent on August 31, was, perhaps, predictable: You should hire me!

And again, this is a point at which Joel could very reasonably have said “you weird kid.” Instead, he invited me into the city for lunch.

At Current, I’ve been, successively, an interactive producer, a blogger, a channel manager, a futurist (note: bad title choice), ad sales adjunct faculty, and the vice president of strategy. I’ve been here for just a hair under five years.

But finally, there’s just too much other cool stuff to do. Today is my last day.

Current is the company, the idea, that brought me to San Francisco, and I have a lot of people to thank for the depth and breadth of my Current experience. But none so centrally as Joel, who took a chance on a 24-year-old who sent a bunch of emails. I mean, guys: This is big. This is what makes lives happen, or not.

Anyway, I’m sure I’ll have more reflections to share, but I’ll leave it at that for now. Mostly, I wanted to tell the tale of that fall five years ago because it makes the step I’m about to take, in the fall of 2009, seem relatively conservative by comparison. Ha!

Here’s the agenda:

First: Spend the next fifty days absolutely jamming on this book. On one level, this is just simple necessity. I sort of set a trap for myself here, didn’t I? On another level, I had an epiphany the other day: There is nothing in the entire world I would rather do for the next two months than work my ass off to create something wonderful for the people on this list. Not sure I’ve ever had quite that level of clarity before. Gotta say: I like it.

Then: Consulting—for Current, for starters. Freelancing, in a few different domains. There’s more writing in the works. And some bigger ideas, which I won’t try to squeeze into this post. But I won’t keep you waiting for too long, I promise. I’m going to need your help!

Update: Ha hahaha. I got a web-monitoring text message this morning saying that was getting slammed with visitors, and I’m thinking to myself, “Wow, jeez, big news… I guess?” Nope, different reason. Shoulda known!

Posted September 11, 2009 at 1:13 | Comments (8) | Permasnark
File under: Gore TV, Media Galaxy, Self-Disclosure


Whoa. Congratulations, because I think it's a sign for a new and even more exciting era of Sloantasticness.

I am severely regretting not hitting you up for more lunch tours, though, or somehow persuading you to get me Gore's autograph.

congratulations! just started reading the short story and LOVING it so far! I am so excited that you're going to be doing more writing!

Posted by: gelfovision on September 11, 2009 at 02:02 PM

This is just one in a series of steps that will lead Robin (rather than Al Gore) to be crowned First Emperor of the Moon.

This is, um, epic. I think of a Robin untethered from workaday pursuits, and for some reason, the phrase "Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world" keeps coming to mind. Also, it thrills me that your short story just got BoingBoing'd. I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.

I remember very well being simultaneously excited and concerned about your decision to move to CA w/o a job to become a blogger, or something (hmm, maybe vaguely envious of the courage too). I thought it was pretty crazy to move across the country on faith. I wondered how you'd make out.

I won't make that mistake again. I'm not even going to wish you luck, Sloan. I'll save that wish for someone who needs it.

congratulations, sloan! we all stand rapt for what's next.

Whoa! Don't get me wrong; I loved the story in the first place. But there's something about having an mp3 of someone reading your story aloud that just takes the cool factor to the next level!

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