World Wide Wednesday

by Ryan Glasspiegel – Follow SportsRapport on Twitter

Deep Routes

– Drew Magary profiles Justin Bieber for GQ (never thought I’d see the day where Drew was connected with either of them…). Here’s Bieber’s brand new pimped out ride:

A bit later, someone alerts Bieber that West Coast Customs has arrived with his new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van. So now he’s running out to the parking lot to give it a once-over. It took West Coast six weeks to trick out the van, and WCC founder Ryan Friedlinghaus is here to hand-deliver the keys.

The Sprinter is exactly the car that an 18-year-old with too much money would drive. The interior is lined with Alcantara. There are two reclining seats way in back, with bucket seats lining the driver’s side of the main cabin, as in a stretch limo. There are three hi-def TVs, a computer dock, and a fully operational recording studio along the passenger side. All that’s missing is a button that spews out an oil slick, Spy Hunter–style, to foil paparazzi. Bieber’s pals try to guess how much it costs. “Definitely not a million,” says someone. One of Bieber’s business advisers, a woman named Allison Kaye, isn’t wild about the new toy. “Oh, this just screams inconspicuous,” she says to Bieber. No response.

Everyone gathers around as Bieber tours the van. He is euphoric. So much so that he has decided to pledge his loyalty to West Coast Customs forever and to decry its rival, Platinum Motorsport. “Fuck Platinum,” he says. “Platinum can suck a dick, man. West Coast all day.” This is a different Bieber from the one who was imprisoned with me just five minutes ago. This must be the Bieber that Bieber would like to be all the time. His R-rated rant, though, draws a reprimand from Friedlinghaus. “I respect everyone’s business—it’s all love, dog,” he tells Bieber. “Dudes came from my neighborhood, you know what I mean?” Bieber is chastened. “I respect that,” he says. To atone, he invites Friedlinghaus and the entire West Coast Crew into his recording bungalow to listen to the new songs. “I’m 18 years old and I’m a swaggy adult!” he yells. “Come on, swaggy bros!”

– Also from GQ, Eric Puncher finds his doppleganger, i.e. someone who had the same philosophies in his early 20’s. Where Puncher married, had children, and became a college professor, Kyle is his 39-year old non-conforming counterpart:

I listened to one of his songs—a gorgeous number called “Look at What the Light Did Now”—that reminded me of an angelic-voiced Will Oldham. Then, as fate would have it, I found an Internet video of him singing a cozy duet with Feist. In the video, they’re staring into each other’s eyes, lounging in a rocky canyon somewhere with matching peacock feathers tucked behind their ears. They’re singing that same song about the light, and though it’s possible I’m reading into it, it seems pretty clear to me they want to fuck each other. This was the moment when he had me. It just so happens that Feist had become something of a deity in our house: Clem’s all-time favorite video clip was her guest appearance on Sesame Street, when she sings “1234” while counting monsters and animals. I must have seen the thing over fifty times. Now, I like Feist; I think she’s plenty talented. But the act of watching her bounce around with chickens in sunglasses so many times had rendered her grotesque. Basically she’d become a Muppet. So this clip of her soul-singing with Kyle Field—both of them, judging from how long they keep their eyes closed after the song is done, in no state to do much counting—seemed the perfect inverse of my life.

– Tom Howard, co-founder of Y-Combinator incubated start-up Adioso, writes about the struggles his company has been facing in growing and therefore finding the funding needed to continue. This passage details the difference in opinion that he and his partner have over a potential acquisition (via LongReads):

To Fenn, an acquisition now had plenty of appeal. We could wipe away our debts, make our investors whole, relax for a few years in the cosy employ of another company, then go off and do something else. Also, having a successful exit on your CV would put you on better footing to raise funding for our next thing. “Like Dennis Crowley selling Dodgeball to Google,” he said. No, I thought, we are not Dodgeball, our suitor is not Google, and neither of us is Dennis Crowley.

To me it seemed like a mirage. Going to join a company would not be relaxing. The whole reason I started my own company was because I couldn’t stand working for or with other people, apart from the ones I chose myself. There was a lot that sucked about startup life, but it was never as bad as employee life.

– From there, I found Paul Graham’s Y Combinator dinner speech about “How Not to Die”:

When startups die, the official cause of death is always either running out of money or a critical founder bailing. Often the two occur simultaneously. But I think the underlying cause is usually that they’ve become demoralized. You rarely hear of a startup that’s working around the clock doing deals and pumping out new features, and dies because they can’t pay their bills and their ISP unplugs their server.

Startups rarely die in mid keystroke. So keep typing!

If so many startups get demoralized and fail when merely by hanging on they could get rich, you have to assume that running a startup can be demoralizing. That is certainly true. I’ve been there, and that’s why I’ve never done another startup. The low points in a startup are just unbelievably low. I bet even Google had moments where things seemed hopeless.

– In the New Yorker, Evan Osnos writes extensively about Macau, using a brilliant story-within-the-story to illustrate his broader points about corruption and the difficulties American businesses face in reconciling legality, ethics, and profits (via Longform):

Macau, whose population is half a million, feels like China amplified and miniaturized. It is animated by the same formula of ambition and speed and risk, but the sheer volume of money and people passing through has distilled the mixture into an extract so potent that it can seem to be either the city’s greatest strength or its greatest liability. A generation ago, Macau made fireworks, toys, and plastic flowers. Today, the factories are gone, the average citizen earns more than the average European, and the gap between the rich and the poor is vast and widening. Construction is ceaseless, and at night welders’ torches flare from scaffolding overhead. Underfoot, the sidewalks are littered with faces on discarded handbills that promise the companionship of “girls from every continent.”

Quick Reads

An employee-owned strip club in San Francisco isn’t going to make it unless it gets bailed out.

Alabama cracks down on illegal immigration, state’s farmers have to cut back on crop production. (via PourMeCoffee)

Study: Being ‘Born-Again’ Linked to More Brain Atrophy. (via BobbyBigWheel)

Virginia legislature blocks judge because he is openly gay. (via PourMeCoffee)

– “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable,” Manny Paquaio says. “They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” (via Bomani Jones)

Update: perhaps Paq, while still very intolerant, was misquoted?

Food Porn

– Went to San Soo Gab San on Saturday night. Korean BBQ with GRILLS ON THE TABLE, you guys. Here’s some BBQ Beef and Pork Belly Bacon–interestingly, while the PB Bacon looks better, it lacked flavor. The beef, though, was outstanding.

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