From a piece in Salon.com called "So You Wanna Be a Dot-Com Star" comes this piece of wisdom: "the titillation celebrities provide to fans has rarely transcended the entertainment industry to help anchor an otherwise traditional business."
Fortunately for frustrated entrepreneurs and nervous CEOs everywhere, titillation is finding all kinds of new outlets. Businesspeople today have found that by providing customers and clients with the kind of titillation that celebrities routinely provide to fans, they can transcend traditional business and give their boring, mundane jobs the glamour and sex appeal of — yes — the entertainment industry!
This is something that we've all known for a while — or at least since last April, when the dotcom world was formally introduced to the bottom of the toilet bowl. The Net is not enough. (And no, that's not the title of a James Bond movie.)
A few other things that are not enough: Waiting until the successful completion of a manned mission to Jupiter before reaching profitability. Hiring a "seasoned" management team (read: "a bunch of geezers"). "Expanding" your dotcom to some funky storefront so that you can throw around the catchphrase "clicks and mortar." (Mortar is really not enough.) So what's the next new new thing?
Spud and Darth — cofounders along with me of e-conjob.com — recently decided that our company needed a mentor. Someone who knows how to have a career rooted in, but not dependent on, the Internet. Someone who's made the crossover to other sectors of the economy without burning through millions of her investors' dough. Someone who has parlayed nothing more than cleavage, along with an astounding ability to chat for hours with slobbering frat boys and retired prison guards, into a lucrative career that shows no sign of slowing down. I'm talking about none other than Candace Stockman-Loud — second cousin, twice removed, of the Guinness World Records 2000 "Most Downloaded Woman in the World." (Cindy Margolis herself wouldn't talk to us unless we each ponied up $10 for a Cindy Margolis Tiger Image MousePad?, and, well, we're a little strapped at the moment.)
Candi Stockman-Loud knew exactly what we needed to make e-conjob the crossover hit that even Web giants like Yahoo! have failed to become. (Quick: What is Tim Koogle's favorite dessert? Don't know? Well, it so happens that Brad Pitt's favorite is a banana milk shake. That's the kind of star power we're talking about here.)
"Shawn Fanning, of Napster, has the right idea by getting his 20-year-old keister sued by the Recording Industry Association of America and, better yet, by Metallica," opined Ms. Stockman-Loud, when we availed ourselves of her image-consulting service, which she runs out of the break room at the Grin 'n' Bare It, where she bartends and occasionally dances. "And Meg Whitman: Why can't I download a screen saver of you, babe? And guys, where are all of the messy breakups? And pics of you skinny-dipping in Italy with 'someone not your wife'? The Web has got to get sexier or give it up."
Ms. Stockman-Loud's recommendation to us: Make e-conjob cofounder Darth (former hacker, skateboarder, and Homecoming King) the poster boy for the new economy.
"And I ain't speaking metaphorically, guys. Look at what posing in a good pair of underpants did for Marky Mark."
So check it out. At dotcomdarth.com, you can see Darth in several tasteful poses, wearing nothing but his casual-Friday chinos, all free for the downloading. (We note that there is no record yet for "Most Downloaded Dude in the World.") Soon Darth's skin-care product line, his favorite dessert recipes ("Darth luvs s'mores!!"), and, of course, autographed posters will be available at Darthmall?.
Says Ms. Stockman-Loud: "When in doubt, take off all of your clothes. Which, by the way, I do mean metaphorically. Never show the world everything you've got."
This is the latest episode in The Spy's continuing saga, "Working Behind Enemy Lines." You can find the entire Spy chronicles on the Web (www.askthespy.com).
A version of this article appeared in the November 2000 issue of Fast Company magazine.