Good Night Mr. Lewis: Chip Off the ‘Ol Bloc, Part 2

Here’s Part 2 of our interview with Matthew Isaacs and Jordan Harris of the Bloc Group. Read Part 1.

Yeah, I always felt like it would tie me down, but maybe it would’ve been better if I actually owned a piece of the clubs I made so successful. But I made enough, I was happy. M: Yeah everyone was happy at that point, that’s a golden age that we definitely missed. I think the business is a whole lot more saturated now.

You’re saying it’s not the golden age because there are so many people? M: No no, it’s the money. J: I think if you were on top of your nightlife game in those years it was much easier, because you didn’t have email and text messaging and Facebook. I wasn’t around in those days but there were maybe just a couple of great parties that everyone knew about every week and they would just show up there and go to these parties.

I don’t think anything’s changed, everybody says this and I hear people like you say it but you don’t really have the perspective I have. I don’t think anything’s changed. Whether you’re calling them, or sending them a flyer — which required a little more effort, people were reached. In those days we were still able to reach the right people. J: It must’ve been easier to compile a big mass promotion and get all different kinds of people in the same place.

We had 160,000 names on our mailing list but it was slower process. What’s better now is when you have a successful party that’s doing okay, great crowd, you can text message and get people to leave one place for another. J: With the mailing list that you had before, I assume that somebody would only get a mailing about once a week.

We were mailing everyday. M: You know, some of the things we do now that I guess most people don’t see at the parties, is we spend a lot of time in our office with database management.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that modern techniques and databases and computers haven’t changed everything, it was just harder to do it then. J: You guys had to plan ahead much further. We could book an amazing party for tomorrow night, and by then everyone could know about it.

We had a thing called “The Big Mouth’s List,” which was 180 names, and they were people like me and you, and if you could call those 180 people and tell them, “Don’t tell anybody about this party,” the next night, it would be packed. But yes, there are a lot of differences. What I’m saying is that the fundamentals are important. If you have something that’s good, people will find out about it, it’s hard to keep a secret. It’s hard to keep a place under wraps. J: Was it much easier back then for you guys to be able to keep a place under wraps than it is now? M: I think in today’s nightlife, under wraps is a marketing gimmick

We had real undergrounds clubs like Lotto. The way Lotto worked was we took the first 200 people who came in and then we shut the door. That was it. It opened at 4am, it ended at 5:30am and everybody wanted to go. But only 200 people came in, paid $5, we made $1,000, paid the staff, broke even and that was it. M: I don’t think you can do that anymore.

Oh no, you can’t do that anymore, I was referring to the attitude that people won’t find the hotspot. Take a place like 1Oak, that does very little marketing and everybody knows to go there in a short period of time. J: I think people know where they’ll find what they’re looking for.

So you think you’ll be an owner at one point? M: I think it’s going to compliment whatever we do and I can’t see why we wouldn’t.

Would you invest your own money? M: Yeahh, I think we would invest some of our own money to be really involved in it and probably have some people help us.

So who are your role models? M: I would say Mark Baker, Noah Tepperberg, Danny A., and I think you are too Steve.

What else are you guys up to? M: We have some companies that we’ve started in the past year. None of them are really soluble companies yet, but we’ve found a couple different avenues that we think we could also make some money, so we’re working on a media company, one is an luxury energy drink which is already available, and a T-shirt brand. Those are some of the things we have going on during the day. J: They tie into the demographic that we have.

Is your education important to your business? J: Well yes, for organizing a company. A lot of people might argue that people can become a promoter without having a high school education.

You think that’s true? J: Yes, can’t a 14 year old bring ten of their friends to a nightclub? It’s not the most complex job but in terms of being good and being successful and getting to the next level, you have to have some sort of organizational skills and at least some intellectual ability. I don’t think it’s easy, and I don’t think it’s tied in directly to higher education, but at some points it helps. To get to the next level and really shape your company, I think you definitely need that foundation.

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