I join web marketer and comedian Jordan Cooper on the latest episode of his Blenderhead podcast. Together, we explore the dark, funny underbelly of the tech economy. As I told Jordan, I had two choices to commit career suicide: go on his show or get a massive face tattoo. Clearly, I made the right decision.
As a journalism student at NYU, I remember my immigrant dad interrogating me suspiciously about a profession he couldn’t possibly understand. He asked me the kinds of questions you’d expect from an engineer who just risked everything to drag his family out of the Soviet Union. “How will you make money?” he’d ask in his thick Russian accent. “What kind of (stupid) job is writing?” He would have been more proud if I majored in mink skinning or Zamboni maintenance. Slowly, he chipped away at me until I gave up my journalistic dream. For the past 10 years, it seemed like my dad’s fresh-off-the-boat wisdom paid off. I was having a successful career in business while the field of paid journalism looked like Courtney Love circa 5 a.m. – a hot mess.
At a conference last week, I noticed something peculiar. A tall man was talking business with a woman well over a foot shorter. The sheer disparity in their size made me realize something really important – that she will never know the joys of finishing a full serving of Chipotle! No, that’s not it. It occurred to me that for all this man’s physical advantages – strength, size, comfortable shoes – he has no empirical advantage in business. In this sterile, white-collar world, where meat comes from ShopRite and homes are built by “guest workers”, men have lost their mojo. Like the Woolly Mammoth and that other guy from Wham!, masculinity is nearing extinction. If the male gender is in jeopardy, it got me thinking about how to turn this trend into an opportunity.