Here’s the one in which we figure out what Paul Carr’s startup will actually do; Okay so it is a publication! Okay it’s a whole company focused on publishing only for tablets and e-readers! (Actually doesn’t a tablet count as an e-reader? Wasted thirty minutes having this discussion this morning …)
Carr’s post-TechCrunch company, NSFW Corp, will shun the Internet in favor of a publishing direct-to-the-tablet model because Carr thinks that high-quality content and the web are two mutually exclusive things. NSFW Corp’s first publication will be The New Gambit, which Carr describes as The Economist as written by The Daily Show writers — something like The Onion, but for real news.
The New Gambit will launch in public beta at the end of next month Carr hopes, and will be available cross-platform — on the Kindle, iPad, Nook, etc. Carr wants to hit a regular publishing schedule by the early part of 2012, with the weekly subscription costing 99 cents a ~50 page issue.
“We 100% won’t be on the web,” Carr says, a novel approach which means that his team of ten or so writers won’t have to worry about Internet writing annoyances like caring about SEO or breaking news.
“If we accidentally break news that’s great, but breaking news lives on the web, and it’s going to be free. [The New Gambit] will be more like ‘Here’s what we think and here’s what we know.’ We want to be breaking jokes. I mean we might just break news every so often just to fuck with people, and hide it at the back. Or maybe we’ll create the first range of news breaking merchandise? I like the idea of a plush toy breaking news … These are all just ideas,” he says.
Carr says he chose the name The New Gambit because he wanted something that sounded sufficiently pompous, and was inspired by the Simpson’s episode where Homer reads an issue of the The Economist with a “Indonesia’s New Gambit” headline on the cover, asking Marge, “Did you know that Indonesia is in a state of turmoil?” Carr explains,”I’m a strong believer that jokes are even funnier in a grown-up setting … I mean, come on — the Economist and the Simpsons!”
When asked about the challenges of launching a new kind of journalistic magazine in a tumultuous time for the industry, especially when considering the challenges faced by The Daily, Carr said, “I think there is something so satisfying about laughing out loud that it’s worth 99 cents of people’s money. I am not below hiring a team of researchers to follow people around ensuring that they laugh, or giving a money back guarantee.”
Funded by Crunchfund and Zappos’ Tony Hsieh, Carr is currently hiring for positions based out of Las Vegas, “I don’t want a consistently funny man woman or child that isn’t on my payroll. In the same way that Rupert Murdoch owns every single scumbag, I want to own every single funny person. I want the funny Glenn Bleck. Wait Glenn Beck is the funny Glenn Bleck.” At this point in the interview I started laughing really hard, telling Carr that he was, in fact, being really funny. “Imagine how funny this is going to be when you read it on your iPad and there’s 49 pages left to go,” he said.
Update: Carr just posted about it on his own blog. Also, here’s that Simpson’s clip he’s referring to, en Español.
Paul Carr is, by process of elimination, a writer – although he recently announced plans to launch a start-up backed by Tony Hsieh (Zappos) and Michael Arrington’s CrunchFund. For the first part of what he laughingly calls his “career”, he edited various publications and founded numerous businesses with varying degrees of abysmal failure. After getting fired from every job he’d ever had – including at least two where he was his own boss – he realised it was easier...