Let’s say that you’re a successful businessman in your mid-30s that works around the clock. What do you do in your sacred free time? Maybe you want to finally score a slick bespoke suit—but where? Maybe you want to organize a golf trip with your boys—but how? Maybe you want to read a good book—but which one? Maybe you want to take your extremely patient significant other that deals with your impossible schedule on a unique romantic getaway—but where to? Enter InsideHook.
Dubbed as a Daily Candy for dudes, InsideHook is a free daily e-mail targeted to on-the-go executives that are too busy to research the best of the best in food and drinks, action, travel, style, culture, tech, and health. Recommendations are curated by CEO and co-founder Jonathan Keidan and his team, and was recently backed by actor Ed Burns, their celebrity curator. I chatted with Keidan to hear more about the concept.
What inspired you to create InsideHook?
"We came up with the idea for InsideHook when my co-founder, Andy Russell, and I were having a conversation about how our lives have changed over time. We both used to participate in more fun and interesting experiences that we don’t get to do anymore, whether it be traveling all over the world (trekking in New Guinea, climbing mount Kilimanjaro), finding a cool dish at a unique restaurant like the fiery hot Chong Qing chicken at The Grand Sichuan in Chelsea, or finding the best underground bar to catch an authentic reggae band on a Wednesday night. We used to have time to research all of those experiences, but don’t anymore. We’ve gotten older, and our responsibilities, whether they be work, friends, or family, have taken over.
We felt that our lives would be so much more fulfilling and rewarding if we could have a service that did all the research and curation for us and delivered us just the best that is out there. Nobody was doing this, so Andy and I created InsideHook. We want to help guys to optimize their free time and really get the most out of their city and their lives, as well as create meaningful memories in the process."
Who is your target consumer?
"Our target consumers are essentially successful, busy men who love to be active and plugged in. However, due to work and other obligations, they don’t have time to research and find the most interesting, unique experiences. They’re not doing the things they used to do before responsibility tied them down. These are generally guys in their 30s and up. Whether single or married, they care about getting the most out of their free time. It’s a time and fulfillment issue that InsideHook strives to solve."
What sets InsideHook apart from other male-driven digital platforms?
"InsideHook is different from other platforms because its written for an older, more discerning, established guy. Instead of writing to aspirational or younger consumers, our guy is comfortable in his own skin and is looking for authentic products and experiences which we offer through our recommendations.
Also, InsideHook is purely editorial. We’re not selling our consumer anything. There are no deals or promotions–just our picks of the best of the best. Our editors scour the internet and utilize their relationships to find the most unique experiences, activities, and products out there–always with an eye on whats important to this successful, busy guy. This could be anything from a zero-gravity flight, an early morning deep-sea fishing trip that has him at his desk by nine, a scotch-serving tailor that makes house calls, or an app to make an aspect of his life more convenient. We really strive to find the most unique opportunities for our guys to take advantage of."
How do you source or curate your content?
"We source content primarily through our relationships. We have to stay incredibly attuned and plugged into what’s going on culturally, fashionably, and socially, whether its knowing a top mixologist who tells us about a new underground sake bar, a banker who is also a nationally ranked Ironman competitor and an authority on health, fitness, and extreme travel, or a CFDA award-winning designer who gives us a sneak peek at his fashion picks and favorite designers for the Fall."
What characteristics do you look for in a brand/product?
"We focus on quality, authenticity, and relevance to our guy’s lifestyle. So, what’s important to us is that everything we recommend really fits into our target guy’s life. Our guys want to be on the cutting edge, but its not just about being trendy–it’s about quality and utility. So, we look for things that are appealing and relevant. For example, this is illustrated in our coverage of apps. Whether we cover an app like Newzle, which is an easy way to keep track of people in your life, (it alerts you when they’re in the news) or Cardmunch, which is a convenient way to digitize business cards (so you’re not flooding your Rolodex or losing contacts), we are finding specific products and experiences for our reader. But this also applies in terms of brand and products. For example, we recently recommended Everlane, a high-quality designer clothing company based out of San Francisco, that creates top-line goods for fire sale prices and delivers them right to your door. We like to curate things that are special, unique, high-quality, but also add value to our guy."
What can we expect from InsideHook in the future?
"While InsideHook continues researching and finding interesting stuff for our audience, we’re simultaneously making plans to expand city to city. Right now, we’re in New York locally and we recently launched our National edition. We’ll be doing a local L.A. edition, San Francisco edition, and a Chicago edition by the end of 2012, and we’re going to expand to ten more cities in the next two years. We’ll also be thinking about other categories to cover–trying to find what other areas that our readers are interested in that we should be researching, curating, and discovering."