Friday, November 30th, 2012

Please Meet Michael Macher, Our Associate Publisher

Choire: Who are you, and what are you doing in my office????

Michael: I'm your new Associate Publisher! I come from HuffPost where I was most recently leading their content marketing efforts.

Choire: Oh good, then you are not a burglar. Michael Macher, can you explain to me what content marketing is? That's something I should probably know but just don't.

Michael: Content Marketing emerged from the insight that brands are now becoming content creators. Rather than injecting advertising into banner ads, they are creating things that users actually want to engage with. It also comes from the insight that social media is becoming a more viable way to distribute those creations. So now we get to use flashy new words like "native advertising" to talk about how brands are partnering with publishers to create integrated experiences.

Choire: This is great, you are like our own personal Siri, I can just ask you crazy made-up questions and you will tell me. So, when you were a younger man, having grown up in Dallas and then attending Vermont's terrific Marlboro College, what did you dream of being when you grew up? Was it that you were watching "Sex and the City" and therefore decided you must move to New York City?

Michael: Like most young men living in Dallas, "Sex and the City" was a huge influence in my formative years. But actually my first professional aspiration—when I was six years old—was to be a priest.

Choire: !!!

Michael: Mainly because I had this weird notion that priests travelled the world and lived and ate for free. Anyway THAT was weird. Later on, as a philosophy student in college, I was convinced I was going to go to grad school and try for a career in academia. But by the time I had finished my undergraduate thesis I was pretty disenchanted with that scene. So I moved to New York! I got a job as an intern on the editorial side of HuffPost and the rest is history.

Choire: That is an amazing story.

Michael: It is my life story.

Choire: Lightning round! Žižek or Spivak?

Michael: Spivak! Her idea of "strategic essentialism" makes a lot of sense to me! Or it did in college?

Choire: Judith Butler or Eve Sedgwick?

Michael: Eve Sedgwick, because Judith Butler's prose style is impenetrable.

Choire: Oh, #roasted. Cats or dogs?

Michael: Dogs. Sorry! I used to work at a doggy daycare in Richardson, TX and it was the best job I've ever had. They helped me get over my humanist phase.


Michael: Ice cream.

Choire: Finally, and most importantly: what is your signature recipe?

Michael: My signature recipe is actually a dish my mom completely made up and it is called "Cowboy Food." It's ground beef, spanish rice, and black beans all mixed together. Cook a bunch and then add one bottle of whatever hot sauce you like. Then top with frito chips and chipotle cheddar cheese. Classy and delicious.

Choire: My God. Welcome to the team, Michael Macher!

45 Comments / Post A Comment

Dave Bry (#422)

Wow. Excellent. Hooray! But no one should get over their humanist phase. Humanism in the single correct philosophy.

barnhouse (#1,326)

@Dave Bry I agree, except I don't (yet) understand what it gave way to as the result of doggy daycare?? Looking forward to hearing more about that.

@Dave Bry Have you read Heidegger's "The Letter on Humanism"? Despite his deeply unfortunate political choices, it's a pretty thrilling takedown of Sartre's humanism!

barnhouse (#1,326)

@Michael Macher@twitter Him and Hannah Arendt!! The weirdest. I haven't read this but sometimes, I agree, he can be so great.

Dave Bry (#422)

Heidegger I found to be the absolutely most-difficult-to-read, least understandable philosopher of any of the philosophers I tried (so often in vain) to read in college. Nothing but nothing made me feel more like, "Nope, just not smart enough!" But maybe I should try again, now that I'm older and much "wiser." Thanks for the rec!

Pandemic Endemic (#3,825)

@Dave Bry Seems like having a solid understanding of German language helps with having a better understanding of Heidegger.

That, and acid.

Welcome to The Awl, Michael!

Astigmatism (#1,950)

So we're calling those "Sponsored Story" links to Buzzfeed "things that users actually want to engage with" now? Weren't they originally actually editorial content that just had a sponsor's name at the top? Can that come back and the Buzzfeed links go away, never to return?

Sorry, got to go and look at that Stunning Photo Of Emma Watson From The VMAs.

@Astigmatism Ha, well, that's not a product that's native to us here. There's a different array of these things. You probably are much happier with editorial things, not advertorial–as am I–when a sponsor actually backs an editorial project. Here's to more of that! :)

brad (#1,678)

'native adverstising' and 'brands are partnering with publishers for integrated experiences'…this fellow seems so nice! and to be so nice while delivering things i feel are evil! good luck to you young man, also…not.

@brad Haha! Ask a real question, get a real answer.

The truth is, there are ways to do this where it's win-win. Advertising underwriting–in the form of "presenting sponsorship"–in the 1940s and 1950s often worked spectacularly well; it can be done on the web as well.

deepomega (#1,720)

@brad More or less evil than not paying authors?

@Choire Sicha@facebook Agreed! And digital publishers in general need to get better at making that argument to advertisers.

@Choire Sicha@facebook Like Texaco presents Bob Hope?

brad (#1,678)

@Choire Sicha@facebook light of my life, fire of my loins, my sin, my pepsi. my protestations are a smokey gate to these chargings. i really do hope it goes well for everyone involved.

Leon (#6,596)

I don't know why you people insist on trying to find a way to make money. How about I just make my wifi open, and you can live under the BQE across the street from my house and use that to write your webblogs?

(Good luck though new person! I am curious to see if someone can figure out a good way to consistently make money with technology & advertising, because I also work in that field and it seems like we have not actually made a really good / scalable / sustainable model, and I'd like to have a jojb in 10 weeks/months/years so am scared & have staked out my hobo spot already.)

hman (#53)

Is he gay/single?

Brian (#115)

But is he single?

hman (#53)

@Brian Dude.

melis (#1,854)

But is he good for the Jews?

Kevin (#2,559)

He seems to have quite the long neck.

@Kevin That's true! Giraffe-like even.

Kevin (#2,559)

@Michael Macher@twitter Welcome to The Awl from one yankified Texan to another.

riggssm (#760)

Still not exactly sure what he's doing (is it like "now with more fart jokes?") but congrats to him and The Awl. Sponsor/underwriters > ad .gifs and animated banners, in my opinion.

Also: Choire got an office?! Fancy!

SkinnyNerd (#224,784)

@riggssm He used a lot of them fancy words up there. Back in the olden days before we could afford them, we had simpler names for job titles. From what I got out of this, it seems like he will be calling up people in the marketing industry and telling them, "Hey we are doing a story on bears, know anyone willing to sponsor that?" Which is basically a salesman to salesmen. And somewhere along the line Death of a Salesman.

Michael Macher is going to be missed at AOL. You guys got one of the best!

Rod T (#33)

Once upon a time the vogue was to disparage those brought to the city by Carrie Sadshaw. Now the vogue is to employ them?

Generation X, it never happened.

@Rod T Actually Felicity was a much bigger influence on me.

SkinnyNerd (#224,784)

Good luck with this, although I must confess I am a bit wary when I am given a sales spiel like the one above. I would just like to say that I really love the site and hope that the forces of Mammon do not destroy it. Please, please tread very carefully along this path. You can obviously afford to hire someone to "native advertise" and "content market" so I guess, as someone who did not grow up with much, do you really need more? Although I understand that cash is the ultimate cachet in our society, so yeah.

@SkinnyNerd Cash allows publishers to accomplish a variety of different goals. Among other things, it helps us pay writers, develop and commission even more longform journalism, and build out more great sites (most recently The Billfold). The Awl has always refused to compromise its editorial voice for the sake of sheer revenue growth, and that ethos is a huge part of why it's so exciting to work here.

melis (#1,854)

"Pick it up," Balk sneered from the corner. Michael bent and, fingers trembling, plucked the shimmering remnants of the bottle from the lake of bourbon. After a few minutes his fingers were bleeding, but he prayed Balk would have passed out before noticing – somehow the sight of blood, that visible liquid sign of weakness made things worse.

"Isn't it exciting to work here," Balk said. "Isn't this fun. Isn't this what you always dreamed it would be like. Now get another one, out of the pantry, and do it right this time."

WOW happy NaNoWriMo guys can't believe it's over!!!

@melis This is easily the best comment and most representative of what my life has become here. Please help me. Please.

melis (#1,854)

@Michael Macher@twitter QUIET YOU'LL WAKE THE BEARS

Rod T (#33)

@melis Actually, it was Mister Sicha inching the pencil cup forward on the desk for Mister Macher to lean over and pick up, a la Dabney Coleman and Dolly Parton in 9-to-5.

melis (#1,854)

does anyone know where i can submit my screenplay about workplace harrassment "Awl Just Another Day At The Offices" for immediate publication (Michael you just might be my muse)

cherrispryte (#444)

@melis needs more big bowl of change.

melis (#1,854)

I believe that in one of the earlier seasons Samantha Jones had an almost-affair with a Catholic priest and that this is not a coincidence. Synergy???

Lee Fine@facebook (#239,774)

Michael Macher is a man of great integrity, insight, and is a decent bowler. Okay, halfway decent bowler.

@Lee Fine@facebook I'll accept that!

mallika (#239,775)

michael macher is great, god is good, and people are crazy

libmas (#231)

Brands are becoming content creators. The Adventures of Red Bull and his sidekick Angel Wing as they fight the forces of drunken drowsiness in clubs across America: coming soon to
I liked when Lucky Strike sponsored Jack Benny. LSMFT, kids.

libmas (#231)

@libmas Also, you want content-created brand that builds synergy with your site? Get the folks at Austin Nichols to see how many shots of Wild Turkey it takes to get Balk drunk enough to let a team of Norelco-sponsored supermodels manscape him on camera.

Mackenzie Kelly (#8,235)

@libmas Was that before or after "Lucky Strike Green has gone to War"? Added this to your LSMFT and here it is.

Adam Gross@facebook (#239,782)

You go Macher… VERY PROUD! Hope you and Shank Kill it!

mishaps (#5,779)

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick forever. That is all.

shostakobitch (#1,692)

Way ahead of you on the injecting brand content into users; my cock has a tattoo that says "Sponsored Post".
-This comment brought to you by Archer Daniels Midland

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