Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Friday, April 21, 2017
I really miss his best-ever regular takes on politics and the media. To me, his former correspondent Samantha Bee is the best of what remains in his aftermath. But she's only on TV once a week.
Of course, now President Donald Trump sets the news every day with his early-morning tweets. With his endlessly fascinating and constantly out-of-left-field opinions, one could argue there's an amazing new comedian taking Stewart's place. But really, the next-best thing to Stewart is this new book, The Daily Show (The Book).
I have only just begun reading it, but here are four interesting nuggets to whet your whistle:
- Bob Mould's composition "Dog on Fire" was the theme song, and it was performed by They Might Be Giants. I always wondered what that song was, and I love the former Husker Du frontman, so I love Stewart just a little bit more now knowing that fact.
- His first guest, on January 11, 1999, was Michael J. Fox, who was then starring in Spin City.
- One of the reasons Stewart was so much better than his predecessor Craig Kilborn at taking on the news was that one of his writer hires was Ben Karlin of The Onion.
- Stephen Colbert filed reports for Good Morning America before he started working for Stewart. Well, actually, he got one report on the air after about 20 ideas he pitched that didn't make GMA's cut. Oh, those silly networks.
- A year before Stewart began his majestic run, he has a cameo in Dave Chappelle's Half Baked as an overzealous stoner who thinks everything is so much better on pot, including staring at the stars. (I just happened to watch this recently for the first time, and give it a very fun-loving 3.5 out of 5 stars.)
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Maybe that's why I thought that an article in the April issue of Men's Journal, King of the Hill: How Vail Resorts Conquered the Ski Industry, is so intriguing. Rob Katz has built Aspen Resorts into a ski-resort behemoth, buying up resorts throughout North America and watching the company's stock become a darling of Wall Street.
Katz gives all new employees a similar personality test, and his personal traits are a lot like mine: red for "drive," while not being so strong at the analytical. That has smartly led him to focus on building incredible reams of data about his customers so he can channel that drive and emotion into the correct directions, directions he may not instinctively understand without that data.
Men's Journal notes that "the data is Vail's secret weapon, and not just because it helps people avoid lift lines." The company has an Epic Pass that allows Vail to know which runs skiers are taking, with whom, and can then market to them accordingly with, for example, pictures of aggressive skiers or moms and kids on the slope.
Despite the very uncertain future of the sport, even melting snows and increasingly unpredictable weather patterns are not keeping Katz and Vail from doing everything as right and enjoyable, from a business standpoint, as they possibly can. Even if it's a potentially short-term future.
That's the kind of venture I've always liked being a part of - having passionate leadership to do one small industry or corner of the world as absolutely as well as possible. It's a pretty inspiring magazine read.