Hear, Hear is an online publication for small businesses, from a small business' point of view. We interview interesting people and pontificate about everything small business owners go through each day. We talk common sense, and we believe creativity is important to running a good business. Find out more!
Who we are:
Publisher - Uncle Iridesco
Editor - Shawn Liu
Editor - Danny Wen
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This interview starts with "Destroyer" by The Kinks and ends with "The Monkey" by Dave Bartholomew. Our interviewee is R. Walker, writer of the weekly column, Consumed, of The New York Times Magazine, keen observer, fantastic writer, and a man of great music taste and a sense of humor. We chat with Rob about working as a writer, how he comes up with ideas (he offers one trick), the Wall Street Journal sale, Piggly Wiggly, and about blogging vs writing vs typing.
Say hello to Gary, proud member of Draplin Design Co. We interview Gary's owner, Aaron Draplin, founder of DDC, a design studio based in Portland Oregon. He let us in on his story of starting and running a design studio, and creating their own line of merchandise. We're inspired by this man's energy, humor, integrity, smarts, and genuine love for all that's good about life. We think you will be inspired as well, and you'll probably want to get a dachshund at the end of the interview.
Running a retail store is much tougher than it appears. In this interview we chat with husband and wife team, Jae Kim and Amy Shaw, of Greenjeans - a retail store of beautiful, handmade objects in Brooklyn, New York. We chat about how they started a store, what they do when the foot traffic is low, and what it's like to run a business together as a married couple.
Vital stats of The Artist's Guide to Making Money: 112 pages, 6x9 inch; $16; 2 color (green + black); edition of 1000; 0 actual advice for making money; estimated 0.3% will become rich after reading it; a ton of inspiration. Hear, Hear chats with the two masterminds behind this amazing little journal: Matt Cassity and Sam Spratlin, two very cool dudes who claim to look like John Cusack.
Lexie Barnes (wife of Cory, whom we interviewed for his Spire laptop backpacks) makes bags for "women who don't buy Kate Spade bags, and who don't buy Vera Bradley, and who don't want to buy bags from Old Navy". Hear, Hear talks to her about her stylish pattern, about the so-big-that-it's-no-longer-big knitting trend, and how she is selling and marketing her bags very differently from her husband's Spire bags.
Spire makes the most comfortable, durable and bad-ass laptop backpacks. In this interview we chat with Cory Barnes, founder of Spire USA, who tells us about how he - one person, not a corporation! - started and grew a product company. His one piece of advice for all who are planning to start a new business: it's going to cost a lot more than you think it's gonna cost.
Over at the Harvest Gazette, we conduct brief interviews with new businesses in the service industry as a part of the New Founders Program. If you are looking for an interview fix, take a look at these:
An Interview with Blue Flavor Founder, Brian Fling – Blue Flavor captures the essence of entrepreneurship and small business, electing to impose a work-life balance that’s eluded them at previous jobs. We talk with founder Brian Fling about the Blue Flavor’s adventures as a small business in its first year of operation.
An Interview with Hyperprism – Hyperprism is a small, bi-coastal creative agency founded on solid experience in the interactive business. Their portfolio shows off an awe-inspiring body of interactive work.
We’ll be back shortly with some meaty interviews for Hear, Hear!
At one point in a conversation between Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips and Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie (published in the June/July issue of Believer), they talk how they deal with fans, and Gibbard says,
...I just find that whatever mood I’m in, whether I got enough sleep the night before or whether or not we had a bad show, or let’s say I had a fight with Joan on the phone, or whatever else I tend to let that affect the way I deal with people…
To which Wayne responds,
In the end I kind of look at it like, what did you want when you met Santa Claus for the first time? You didn’t really want to know that he was just some guy who was lucky to have a job being Santa Claus for two months around Christmas time. You wanted it to be the real Santa Claus. And at some point, you and I, we put on a little bit of the Santa Claus costume and go out there and do the show. So I can look at it like, if I met Santa Claus, would I want him to be tired and grumpy and say, “Hey little kid, leave me alone, goddamnit”? I would want him to handle it and let me walk away with that image and that belief still in my mind. And so, I don’t know, I think in that sense I always feel like I owe the audience. Someone comes up to me, you know, I owe it to them not to have bad breath and be grumpy… I’ve met people like John Waters, where I walked away from meeting him and he’s perfect, just the way I wanted him to be… And then there’s other people that you meet and just, frankly, don’t even like, and I would never want that to happen to this great thing that’s become the Flaming Lips, I would just ruin twenty-five years of all these great accidents and all these wonderful things that have happened to us in two seconds, when someone says, “ah, fuck, he was a dick. I don’t like them.” I value every fan – they’ve given me this life, and if they want to talk to me for a couple of seconds, no big deal, right?
Sometimes it’s not even about putting on that Santa Claus suit, but just a matter of showing some little sign of respect. I don’t think it’s an easy matter, especially after we’ve had a bad day, and it will become increasingly hard to maintain our humility and manners as our business grow and gain a reputation and success. Like Wayne Coyne has said, it is the people who have given us our success, and our reputation takes so long for us to build up, and it would be a shame to throw it all away in two seconds.
Part two of our conversation with verteran art director, Paul Buckley.
Note: this interview contains language that some might regard as indecent. (Blame D.H. Lawrence and Chester Brown.)
Presentation is everything for your business - no matter if you're selling an idea, a skill or a product. Nothing illustrates this better than the business of selling books. In this interview, Hear, Hear chats with veteran art director, Paul Buckley, about book designs, his childhood fascination with reptiles (he still loves them), and everything in between.
The Stanford Technology Ventures Program’s podcasts is one of the best online resources for business inspiration. Hear, Hear favorites include Tina Seelig’s talk on What I wish I knew when I was 20 and the tenacity of Joe Liemandt’s adventure starting Trilogy.
“So I started going door to door to office buildings, and I sold so many Christmas trees and made a ton of money that year. It dawned on me then that you just have to think… you gotta think about where people are, how to get to them, and how do you sell to them… That was my first experience and it was powerful in shaping my understanding that if you think a little more clear and try to target your audience, you can sell pretty well…”