Introducing InsideHook: A Digital Playground for Well-Off Men

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."

Why That Recent NYT Nightlife Article Makes No Sense

I’ll be at BOW, 199 Bowery at Spring, tonight and maybe even tomorrow to check out the latest and sure-to-be greatest offering from bon vivant Travis Bass. The 199 Bowery space is an EMM Group foray to the wonderful world of downtown. There is an attitude out there that nightlife needs to deliver uniformity or even predictability for success. EMM group seems to be taking a different approach and should be commended for their effort. A recent NY Times article " A Night Life Veteran Bets On Social Media," is not worth the paper that I didn’t read it on.

Mr. Andy Russell, a former owner at the defunct Moomba – the most overrated club in history – is gathering groups of people to joints around town early in the evening. The creatures of the night will be just stirring or putting on their outfits while Mr. Russell’s crowd gathers at places bound to be chic after they leave. It rants about the acceptance of the same ol’ same ol’ attitude of bringing like-minded people together.

Clubs are wonderful when like-minded individuals mix with people who dress, behave, and generally think differently are thrown in. The "novel" idea of having parties early so that people can be in bed by midnight is not only nothing new, but reeks of old and tired. Jerry and Mimi Rubin did this networking thing decades ago before social media made networking so easy. They drew 5,000 suit-and-tie types that didn’t want to mingle with the hipsters and those "other" types. The OMG complaint about being in a real club which will even have a door policy later in the evening is sooooo lame. This is a way for clubs to get early revenue; it’s been around and forever and there is nothing wrong with it. Andy’s crowd has a right to gather, but why the Times Inc.?. It is a tried and true way for the older set to go out and meet and agree, and it sounds as boring as anything I’ve heard about in a while. Charity events serve this purpose and exist for a good cause. 

This Sunday, a good cause requires the presence of some of these suit-and-tie types and others who want to mingle. The children and supporters of New York Foundling are having a reception at the Palace Theatre, 1564 Broadway at 47th Street, where attendees will enjoy a matinee performance of the Broadway show Annie the Musical. Attendees will include:

"Staten Island-based Foundling families, many of whom have never seen a Broadway show, and who have been trying to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. The Foundling purchased tickets for the children and their families with money donated from a campaign to support “real-life Annies” across New York City . The Foundling is hosting a pre-performance reception at the Palace Theatre featuring a special performance by students from The Foundling’s charter school in the South Bronxwho will serenade Annie composer Charles Strouse with their own rendition of “Tomorrow.” CNN “Starting Point” Anchor and Foundling volunteer Soledad O’Brien will emcee. (This short performance is scheduled to begin at 1:00pm.) Other guests include the original “Annie,” Andrea McArdle, Annie producer Arielle Tepper Madover, director James Lapine,  and Annie the Musical cast members.

Bill Rudin, vice chairman & CEO of Rudin Management Company, Inc. and Anthony Watson, chairman and CEO of EmblemHealth, Inc. will be honored for their strong and continuous support for The Foundling."

There are hundreds of events where good hearted people can meet and mingle with like-minded types.

A dinner for non-like-minded people will celebrate artist Kevin McHugh as he heads to Art Basel 2012 with all those Art-y Basel types. The dinner hosted by Patricia Fields, Wendy Williams and DJ Danny Tenaglia will be at THE OUT NYC, 510 W. 30th street, where thinking outside the box is encouraged. Kevin’s art is Pucci-inspired and will be previewed at the soiree. DJ Alex Perez’s sounds will dance around the conversation. 

Last on today’s list of things to do and, of course, not do will be Saturday’s “Wildchild” party at 107 Suffolk St., 11pm. Pal Ian El Dorado will DJ. My friend, Facebook and otherwise, Joy Rider will host and I can’t miss it. There, I will bask in rock and roll and hang with like-minded people that I like.