Where do I personally even begin when it comes to Threadless? Before I started NoPattern as my full-time thing in 2004 I was packing t-shirts at their Chicago office and trying to learn as much as I could from a small group of dudes who I thought were doing some awesome things. Did I imagine they’d be as explosively successful as they are now in such a short amount of time? Not really, not this fast…but it certainly does not surprise me and I feel they completely deserve every bit of press, success, and praise they get. I’ll keep this short and to the point but I just really want to commend Threadless, specifically Jake Nickell and Jeffrey Kalmikoff, on what I think is their coolest piece of press to date. The cover of Inc. Magazine for June 2008. Super happy for these guys having watched them grow from a small office with shirts wedged onto a few shelves in a corner to a giant playground of an office with a warehouse staffed with people packing thousands of shirts a day. Nice headline on the cover too, sheesh! “The Most Innovative Small Company in America.” Again, congrats guys…Truly one of the most deserving and forward-thinking companies around. See the cover in the link below.
Still trucking around city to city. I missed NYC and this past week was exactly what I needed. One thing you can count on in NYC is the coolest restaurant concepts. The host Gabriel Stulman of The Little Owl/Market Table fame keeps his ear to the street and took us out to his favorite Mexican joint. It’s common knowledge that Mexican food in NYC is pretty weak but the people at Barrio Chino has figured it out in a major way. ‘Barrio Chino’ basically translates to Chinatown. This hole in the wall spot is a block south of Delancy in Chinatown is on the surface a Chinese restaurant complete with paper lanterns and those dime a dozen Chinese bowls and plate. But the food is Mexican and the best I have had…soups, tacos, enchiladas, the guacamole… perfection. The margaritas are on a whole other level. Be careful, “One jalapeño margaritas turns to six” said Gabe, and he was right.
I grew up loving video games. Most kids do. Obviously all the Mario games were a staple, I loved Street Fighter, NBA Jam, etc…then I slowly phased out of being that interested in them for quite a while. Played some MarioKart 64 at friend’s houses and whatnot, but they just weren’t that interesting to me. Skip ahead to more recent years…Halo, Guitar Hero, Smash Bros., and of course Grand Theft Auto. It’s actually pretty impossible not to get sucked into at least one of these games (or any of the hundreds of others out there) at some point and easily get hooked. Now, I really have to give a huge thanks to Adam from Cornerstone in NY for something…a few weeks back he got in touch with me asking if I’d be interested in getting a Grand Theft Auto IV Limited Edition XBOX360 Elite…whoa… Why I was lucky enough to be chosen for one of these is still beyond me but I’m not complaining. See pictures here on our Flickr. I have to admit, I got the Xbox and it came at the busiest time I’ve had all year with work. So there it sat for a week and a half before I unboxed it. Shameful, I know, but worth the wait. So onto Grand Theft Auto IV. While I absolutely cannot endorse running over/shooting/killing/punching citizens, strangers, enemies, friends, and officers in real life, I absolutely can for this game. Ha…seriously, it’s hard not to get lost in this game by ditching the missions and seeing how pissed off you can make the cops. Anyways, I was emailing Ben about this last week to basically say I could not believe the amount of detail and thought that went into creating this game. It’s amazing the level of artistry and detail in it. If you’ve played it or watched someone play it you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s obvious why almost every review site and magazine has given this game a perfect 10… The online multiplayer is super fun too. Anyways, that’s my video game post. Catch me on XBOX Live - chhhuuuck.
So a quick follow-up on the post I made a few back, the Muxtape Party idea I had and then threw with my friend Rob. First off, I don’t throw a whole lot of parties…I attend quite a few, but don’t throw many. So this was my kind of my first stab at it. And…while it wasn’t huge, it was super fun. Actually, it was big enough to get ‘busted’ by security, ha. People came thru, they thew out hipster vibes, they had good Muxtape mixes, they danced, they had some drinks (I had more then some, ehhh), and they had fun…and they ‘got’ the concept of everyone being a somewhat in control of the music for the evening. Good stuff. We threw it my friend Kevin’s loft so playing music super loud and late wasn’t going to last forever…next one will be in one of the many loft warehouse spaces that are around here in downtown Grand Rapids. So yeah, it was a good time. I recommend it. Check the Flickr set at the link below, and don’t forget to check our Flickr page in general…our life style documented.
Ha. Wow. Crazy isn’t it? I had this whole post idea in my mind about this…about how I was going to rant a bit about the lack of proactive innovation, etc. How I’m so amazed we are STILL using technology from 100+ years ago to go simply get places - but 15 years ago no one used email on a daily basis!! How amazing it is that owning a car wasn’t an even an option for 95% (maybe more?) of people less than 80-90 years ago…and now vehicles/cars have, in a lot of ways, completely reshaped America and its way of thinking. So, ha…maybe that was the rant right there. Sorry. Here’s my thing though…plain and simple: The market always wins. $4.11 a gallon is actually cheap compared to some places in the US, and its certainly cheaper than it is in Europe. People are not going to be able to afford it soon, for real this time. This whole ‘pain at the pump’ is THE best driver of innovation. I think the new industries, companies, thought processes, and products we’re going to see from innovative minds in the next 10 years will make all the dot-com stuff that has happened over the past 10-15 years look tiny. If we think some young kid like Zuckerburg creating a website now valued at $10-15B is a big deal…I think we’re going to be stunned at the new wealth created for the people that figure out this whole car/transportation situation. It won’t the big auto companies that change how we travel. It’ll be someone tinkering in their garage/dorm room, like it always has been. ***In the mean time, check out Tesla Motors.
There a tons of cool stuff out and about. Heres where its at. Justice ‘Stress’ video. Everybody has probably seen it once already. It’s just as cool a second time. Something tells me Paris isn’t super romantic. In my book Justice can do no wrong with painting pictures with their music. Bape.com Its new I think, it’s an amazing look at how thorough the brand is. Super clean, tons and tons of fresh product. Is there even a brand that comes in a close 2nd for graphic tees? Its almost unfair. So we are getting $600 from the gov’t style.com has some good ideas on how to spend it. While you are over there check out the latest in coolest furniture. Have you see this documentary of Diddy putting together a collection/runway show in one month. Even tho I don’t buy into Sean John there is plenty of inspiration watching this not matter what you do. Half way thru watching this I had to start working, I felt lazy.
As a Volvo owner myself, I have to say it is true you feel very safe driving one. It’s such a solid feeling ride. I bought my S40 just before the nasty winter came 2 years ago and it was honestly the first time driving on such icy roads that I didn’t feel worried I’d end up backwards in a ditch. Anyways, just caught this story from Drudge...“Volvo to produce injury-proof car by 2020”. See the video/story here. Basically, they are trying to push the limits of how the mechanies of a car and the mechanics of a human can interact to create the safest driving experience. Admittedly it will not be an easy task to accomplish this but they say they want to create the perfect vehicle that can act as a complete bumper/bubble to the passengers. Much like Ben’s post below about Carrotmob, you have to love when people truly put their minds to the test to see how much better they can make life for the people who inhabit our planet. Just think if Volvo is able to create some sort of technology over the next 12 years that truly minimizes the 1.3 million car deaths and 50 million car injuries that happen every year, other auto companies will begin to adapt and learn from their example to truly make driving safer. I love what they’re doing with the anti-drunk-driving technology already and in time I’m sure it’s safe to say that we will be able to worry less and less on the road. Unless you’re living in New Jersey. My experience there is that Volvo has very little hope.
Alright…the name, yeah, kind of weird. But whatever. This video…is about 90% really, really fantastic, and about 10% corny. Fortunately, the corny parts, namely the really terrible ‘music video’ and Lil Wayne thing aren’t really the true point of their movement…just their choice of humor. That stuff aside, I really, really love what their doing and the narrator/creator guy’s approach and delivery. Seriously, well done my man. I’d prefer you watch the video as opposed to just hearing my spin…but the basic gist of the video is an experiment where local mini-marts/convenience stores in San Fran are given the option to bid on what portion of their sales they’d donate to making their store/process/etc more environmentally friendly. Which ever store ‘wins’ the bid how much of their revenue they’ll donate will get promotion as THE store for green-minded people to buy their goods at. A very capitalistic way of encouraging environmental friendliness. The video obviously shows this whole process in practice a bit better than I’m explaining…so check it out. Good stuff, minus the really corny fake-video thing. Love the end result. ***Plus, maybe more than anything, I love how scaleable this idea is…seriously, think about it.
I love Muxtape. I love how it got on the hipster’s radar so quickly…like, “Whats your Muxtape address dude? Oh…you don’t have one? Oh…” ha. Maybe not that bad. But I love how the founder, Justin, created such a ‘niche’ little product and marketed it well enough (ie. aligned with Jakob Lodwick) to the point where it carried social must-have-one cache within a week of its launch. Enough compliments. So yeah, I’ve been preferring more thrown-together social gatherings over bars lately. It’s just hard to build community at a bar you know? I know that sounds weird, but thats what the social scene is all about…building community. Plus I love blending scenes…and how better to do that than music, you know?? So I hit up my friend Rob like “Hey man, I want to throw a Muxtape party where everyone who shows up needs to have a pre-made Muxtape with a four track maximum on it…and everyone will get to be DJ for a bit of the night.” Super simple. And its all going down this Friday at my friend Kevin Hockin’s loft here in downtown GR. We did a little Facebook event and invited our friends from all sorts of different scenes, demographics, etc. with the theme of ‘DANCE, DANCE, DANCE’ and nothing more. Make a Muxtape that’ll get people in the dance zone…and get creative with it, hit everyone with stuff they’ve never heard before…meet new people. We got a big PA for the sound and a projector to throw each Muxtape on the wall super huge so everyone doesn’t have to scream over the music ‘yo, who is this?!?!’ Like the title says…I’m disclaiming this one as ‘beta’ so we’ll see how it goes. I’ll report back…with Flickr updates as well. I’m just trying to use the internet in ‘real life’ more often…
“Get down, beep-beep, better get up out of your seat…” I think Virgil and I were talking about the idea of ‘pop’ music a while back…about how we kind of wish ‘pop’ music was truly popular again. Like, what happened to jams on the radio? I mean, they do play jams on the radio…but the majority of truly ‘good’ music isn’t really played on the radio you know? Its more just been the cookie-cutter radio single stuff. Anyway…this track “Beat Goes On” by Madonna with production from Pharrell and guest feature Kanye is literally perfect. This is music EVERYONE can enjoy…anyone can dance to this, you know? It just sets the perfect tone for a good time. But beyond that…its really, really good music from really, really great iconic artists. That like…true pop music right? No flash-in-the-pan stuff on this track. Anyway, take a listen on Kanye’s blog below. ***And yeah, for the people who’ve emailed us, it is really awesome to be linked on Kanye’s blog…ha. Check out Ibn’s and Don C’s blog as well.