9 episodes

Meaningful conversations with interesting people with an emphasis on men's style and well-made things.

www.acl.news

A Continuous Lean‪.‬ Michael Williams

    • Arts
    • 5.0 • 8 Ratings

Meaningful conversations with interesting people with an emphasis on men's style and well-made things.

www.acl.news

    The ACL Podcast 008: Jeff Raider

    The ACL Podcast 008: Jeff Raider

    Sometimes I meet successful people and I want to talk to them about what they consider the keys to their success. Maybe it’s for me to try to figure out just where I went wrong. Is my lack of success tied to my inability to better respond to emails? Ha!

    Jeff Raider is hugely successful but also just a regular guy. He’s a co-founder of both Warby Parker and Harry’s, two massive brands. The growth of those two businesses don’t seem to have changed him. Jeff is one of the most most normal, kind and helpful people you will ever meet. He’s always willing to talk about opportunities or problems and there with advice if you ever need it. He is proof that being successful and nice aren’t mutually exclusive. I also don’t want to miss an opportunity to praise Jeff’s Harry’s co-founder Andy Katz-Mayfield — who is also an amazing person. It’s no wonder that they have built not only a solid brand, but a successful company filled with good people.

    At this point Harry’s has a suite of different brands out in the world. There’s of course Flamingo, plus the cat food brand Cat Person and now a haircare line called Headquarters. Like Harry’s, all of these offshoot brands are lighthearted and irreverent. All of it is created around good design and quality.

    So many companies talk about having a good culture but it is rarely true. At Harry’s it’s actually real and the reality does match the expectations. People love working there. Everyone I’ve encountered at Harry’s is smart and good to deal with. It’s refreshing to experience and it makes supporting Harry’s even more worthwhile. Listen to Jeff and you’ll know it’s not bullsh/t.

    I like to hate on all things DTC, but the Harry’s universe is just different. Part of that is related to Jeff and Andy, and part of it goes back to the culture. I wanted to hear more about how Jeff sees the world so for the podcast we spoke about life, business, DTC and yes, inbox zero. Hope you like it.

    The ACL Podcast is more of an add-on to the newsletter than a full fledged podcast. You can listen in Apple Podcasts or via Spotify directly if you prefer that to Substack. If you enjoy this edition, please consider subscribing and sending to a friend who you think would like this. I appreciate your support.

    Thanks to Al James for lending me his music. The song is: Hard Working Dogs by Dolorean.

    This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at www.acl.news/subscribe

    • 45 min
    The ACL Podcast 007: Michael Hainey

    The ACL Podcast 007: Michael Hainey

    Listen now | Midwesterners like to celebrate commonality, be it actual similarities or those that are imagined. Michael Hainey and I never had to fabricate the connection. It was always apparent that we had much in common beyond the geography of where we grew up. His childhood in Chicago and midwestern roots are well documented in his brilliant book

    This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at www.acl.news/subscribe

    • 1 hr 17 min
    The ACL Podcast 006: Foreign Rider

    The ACL Podcast 006: Foreign Rider

    Listen now | The ACL Podcast 006

    This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at www.acl.news/subscribe

    • 55 min
    The ACL Podcast 005: Lisa Birnbach

    The ACL Podcast 005: Lisa Birnbach

    As someone fascinated with the origins of prep and American style, a conversation with Lisa Birnbach is always going to be something I find compelling. Like a lot of people who are intrigued by prep, I view it as an interested outsider who wants to understand how it became what it is today. Lisa helped to define the preppy lifestyle and also played a big part into pushing it into the mainstream culture with The Official Preppy Handbook. Preppy style really took hold after The Official Preppy Handbook was released. It’s interesting to think about prep in those early days, where it went and where it’s at today. Especially considering what has happened at J.Crew, Brooks Brothers and other big American brands recently.

    In our chat Lisa talks about the origin story of the book, her interactions with the prep devotees and how Hamburg is the preppiest city in Europe. Hope you like it.

    The ACL Podcast is more of an add-on to the newsletter than a full fledged podcast. You can listen in Spotify or on Apple Podcasts directly if you prefer that to Substack. If you enjoy this edition, please consider subscribing and sending to a friend who you think would like this. I appreciate your support.

    Thanks to Al James for lending me his music: Hard Working Dogs by Dolorean.

    This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at www.acl.news/subscribe

    The ACL Podcast 004: Noah Kalina

    The ACL Podcast 004: Noah Kalina

    The River by Noah Kalina

    Noah Kalina takes beautiful photos of beds, rivers, old factories, Zuckerbergs, motel rooms, this tree, chickens, bagels and many other interesting things. His wonderful eye and talent shine through in whatever big or small project he is doing. I love his photography, but it’s his newsletter that I find the most fun. Every edition delights me with his quirky adventures and wit.

    If someone asked me to describe Noah Kalina’s newsletter the words might not come to me very easily. It’s sort of about photography, his life upstate, with plenty of random other things mixed in. He has an unconventional approach and an ability to make the mundane (like upstate deli coffee or DIY quarter car washes) interesting. In a sea of newsletters it stands out for its lightheartedness and ability to amuse its readers. If it were a physical thing it would be one of those beautiful little surprise gifts wrapped in ribbon that you don’t know what’s inside until you open it.

    Noah also has a podcast with Adam Lisagor called All Consuming where they order all of the bland DTC things that are pushed on Instagram and review them. It’s a fun listen and the whole production is pretty down to the website design.

    Noah is probably best known for his project Everyday where he took a photo of himself for exactly 20 years. At one point he made it into a video and it went viral. He was doing that before selfies were a thing and the fact that he could keep it going over two decades is incredible. Especially considering I can’t keep a journal for longer that two weeks. Noah has a habit of doing habitual things and I like that about him. I hope you enjoy our conversation.

    The ACL Podcast is more of an add-on to the newsletter than a full fledged podcast. You can listen in Spotify or on Apple Podcasts directly if you prefer that to Substack. If you enjoy this edition, please consider subscribing and sending to a friend who you think would like this. I appreciate your support.

    Thanks to Al James for lending me his music. The song is: Hard Working Dogs by Dolorean.

    This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at www.acl.news/subscribe

    • 1 hr 3 min
    The ACL Podcast 003: Matt Taylor of Tracksmith

    The ACL Podcast 003: Matt Taylor of Tracksmith

    Knox Robinson —the coolest guy in running—in the New York Pioneer Club collaboration capsule.

    Tracksmith is interesting to me because of how it has managed to take inspiration from history —to embody the aesthetics of a heritage brand— while simultaneously being completely forward-looking and modern. I’ve seen a lot of brands try to do this and it almost never feels right. Tracksmith took the good parts of archival running and modernized it to create an inclusive, fun, New England-centric brand that seems to know itself (and its customer) very well.

    I would guess that everyone wrote-off the brand initially when they considered it was going up against Nike and all of the massive companies that dominate athletic apparel. What was obvious to the Matt Taylor, who founded the brand in 2014 with Luke Scheybeler, was that there was an unrepresented group of runners who didn’t seem to connect with the big brands. That’s where Tracksmith’s boutique approach fit right in.

    Matt Taylor ran track & field at Yale. He later worked on running for Puma. Scheybeler is also a Rapha co-founder and he helped both brands establish a strong initial visual and creative presence. Tracksmith pairs technical details with classic Ivy-inspired design elements in a way that’s easy to describe, but hard to actually execute. Beyond design, the focus of the product is highly functional for both the casual and elite runner.

    Matt’s collegiate running experience and the brand’s New England roots have both shaped what Tracksmith is today from a design perspective. Tracksmith fills a void for amateur runners with a technical yet classic aesthetic.

    It’s important to disclose that I do marketing consulting with Tracksmith. I want to be completely transparent about that and it’s not something I am trying to hide. Doing this story was my idea and no one at Tracksmith pushed for this even a little bit. I have been pressured by clients in the past to write stories and I have always politely declined. That’s not what I am about and if you look back at the partnerships I have done in the past I am extremely transparent about conflicts of interest. I work with Tracksmith for the same reason I did this story, because I like the brand and believe in the people there.

    Tracksmith is a DTC brand that’s going for longevity and quality first. In that regard, it’s one of the exceptions to the rule when it comes to DTC companies. So many start-up brands solve no real problems and seem to only exist because of performance marketing. Matt talks about that a little bit in this interview with Colin Nagy on LeanLuxe.

    The way Tracksmith’s product, image and core values align in such a cohesive way stands out to me. That’s why the brand has activated such a passionate community in the same way that Rapha does. That’s a massive accomplishment especially in the face of the competition that exists in running.

    We recorded this chat in the fall and our conversation was wide ranging. We did cover a lot of important stuff like how to build a brand, sustainability in fashion and who makes the best pizza in New Haven. It’s all in there, I hope you enjoy.

    The ACL Podcast is more of an add-on to the newsletter than a full fledged podcast. You can listen in Spotify or on Apple Podcasts directly if you prefer that to Substack. If you enjoy this edition, please consider subscribing and sending to a friend who you think would like this. I appreciate your support.

    Thanks to Al James for lending me his music. The song is: Hard Working Dogs by Dolorean.

    This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at www.acl.news/subscribe

    • 1 hr 4 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
8 Ratings

8 Ratings

Top Podcasts In Arts