Good to the Last Flop

Will new e-zine celebrating Failure succeed in spite of itself?

"When I think of something like this, I go back to the initial MTV campaign, 'Your Parents Hate It,'" Klein says. "That was the whole reason that generation started watching it. This will do the same thing; it will attract way-left advertisers, real edgy stuff."

The risk lies more in being a Web magazine than in the message it carries, Klein says. There are so many, and whether they can succeed financially is still a big question.

Patrick Scofield, president of Concept Designworx Inc. in Tempe, says failure is probably a fair match for a college demographic.

"The anti-hero now rules," says Scofield, who is also president of the Arizona chapter of the Industrial Designers Association of America. "I sense a gentle rancor in kids this age. . . . I don't even think they have to have an upside -- just misery, death and destruction."

Some of that rancor isn't so gentle. Scofield kindly refers us to fuckedcompany.com, a cynical, angry site that chronicles the layoffs and rip-offs and rumored recent or soon-to-be failed Internet companies. "You can now search the news archives for all the bad news your little heart desires," the site proclaims.

That's not Zasky's style. He repeats several times that this is not about being personal, giving people grief for their failures. It's just interesting. And if there are some lessons there, fine.

One of Zasky's back-of-the-mind fears is that he'll succeed so well and so fast that he won't be able to handle it. Hollingsworth has contemplated that possibility, too.

Hollingsworth is a year outside the target demographic at 41 years old, and his company is ancient in Internet years -- he formed it in 1991 and has intentionally kept it a home-based company with a core of just five employees.

He's had big business; his Counting Crows original Web site won numerous awards. He's done sites for Bruce Hornsby, ZZ Top and Willie Nelson, among others.

"I think this is going to launch big. I think it's going to be a strong starter right out of the gate," Hollingsworth says. "It's kind of scary in a sense. . . . I think we would ride the wave and stay with Jason."

But Zasky prefers small because he can maintain the artistic flow among the people involved. "We don't have the big corporate problems that big firms have. We're just a few guys sitting around throwing ideas around and being creative."

Get too big, and it saps your creative life.

And that, of course, would mean failure.

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