Thursday, July 16, 2009

Interview - Tim Yu of Cool Hunting

Top - Tim Yu looking very mysterious and distinguished(!), bottom - The Cool Hunting team - Josh Rubin, Evan Orensten, and Ami Kealoha.

Tim Yu is one of 4 fulltime editors at super-site Cool Hunting. He comes from an unlikely background in biology-psychology, strategic marketing and medical research... but somewhere along the line he swapped his labcoat for a laptop ...and these days 400,000 regular readers check in to read his latest finds.

Cool Hunting covers the intersection of art, design, culture and technology, with multiple daily updates and weekly videos. Tim and his fellow editors wield a lot of power in the design industry - a single posting on Cool Hunting can quickly propel a new designer or prototype into the international spotlight!

Tim's posts seem to focus on men's fashion, street and skatewear (specifically runners!), gadgets and gizmos, and cars. All those things that clued-in, cashed-up boys want to know about (content which is still largely untapped by The Design Files!).

I am very excited to see Tim lead a discussion about future trends in art, design, culture and technology tonight at the Design Dinner at Comme in the city! Super posh. You can also catch him at Design Capital tomorrow (details at the bottom of this post).

Jeeves and Wooster Lampshades - Cool Hunting post by Tim Yu

Heidiskis Handmade Wood Core Skis - Cool Hunting post by Tim Yu

You have a background in biology-psychology, strategic marketing and medical research – what led you down the Cool Hunting path?

While living in S. Korea I would visit Cool Hunting often. When I got back to NYC I contacted them about contributing in some way and luckily we grew to a point where they could hire me full time. I know what I like and I think that helps. You don’t need to know why you like something; some of that is intangible, but that’s something we’ve tried to dissect a bit, what we like and why.

Did you ever expect Cool Hunting to gain the incredible reputation and readership that it now has? At what point did you realise you were onto a winner!?

I’ll take that as a compliment, thank you. We are blessed with an interested, engaged and loyal readership. We’re always working to improve the site and find new content to make sure people enjoy coming back. In fact, we’re working on a redesign of the site now, which will be out soon.

Can you give us a bit of an insight into the inner workings of Cool Hunting? How are the editorial staff organised to ensure up-to-the-minute coverage and super-quick turnaround?

We are only online so there is an inherent immediacy but we’re not so concerned with up to the minute coverage. Instead, we treat the site like an archive or curatorial. We’re interested in unveiling the creative process, good executions, new ideas and finding inspiration.

We have 4 full time editors; Josh Rubin is the Editor in Chief, Evan Orensten is the Executive Editor, Ami Kealoha is the Managing Editor and produces our Cool Hunting Video Series, and me. The titles are actually misleading because we are such a small team and we all do a bit of everything. In fact, I don’t have a title. We have a couple contributing editors that help maintain the site and about 25 freelance contributors stationed around the world, from Melbourne to Sao Paulo.

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

Lately I’ve been trying to create a more structured day because there is so much going on. For example, in the mornings I block out time to go through my RSS, read the paper/magazine, just stay up to date. The other thing I try to do daily is check in with the team. It’s rarely more than just talking around the kitchen counter while making some coffee but because we’re small and pulled in all directions it’s important to make sure we’re all on the same page. I split my time between the editorial and publishing sides about half and half. That said, everyday is different, and I know it sounds so cliché, but that’s the best part. One day we’ll visit an artist studio and another I’ll be on a video shoot. Maybe even a video shoot at the artist studio.

Sophie Blackalls Missed Connections - posted by Cool Hunting contributor Karen Day

What would be a dream project or collaboration for the Cool Hunting team?

I want to play in the upcoming World Cup in South Africa. Or at least attend.

What are you looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to spending some time in Australia with my girlfriend. It will be our first time down unda.

Which 5 websites are daily reads for you?

It’s always changing. Only the NYtimes is consistent. But at the moment?

Paper Tastebuds
Selectism, especially Tony Gervino’s column
And of course, Craplinks

Steve Powers Philadelphia Love Letter - posted by Cool Hunting contributor Ariston Anderson

Poketo pop-up shop - posted by Cool Hunting contributor by Phuong-Cac Nguyen

Design Dinner Featuring editor of Cool Hunting, Tim Yu

Thursday 16th July, 6.30pm for 7.00pm.

$85 per head (includes 3 course meal and wine)

Comme, 7 Alfred Place, Melbourne

Design Capital

Design Day - Friday 17th July
Prices / sessions vary - see the website for details

BMW Edge, Federation Square, CBD

1 comment: