Sports fans and HWLBSers (hipsters who love Bethlehem Shoals), The Classical raised the $50 K they needed to launch their new online destination. Actually, they raised $55 K. We all knew it would be successful Kickstarter campaign.
One donor distinguished himself in the process, a Jeffory Marker. A man from San Antonio. A gemini who loves basketball and airplanes. A life-long Spurs fan. And a guy willing to shell out $5 K from his six-year old son’s college fund to help make The Classical happen.
I had the privilege of exchanging emails with Jeff, who when I first approached him asking for a little background/bio responded: “Do you want the Match.com version or the Bill Simmons version?” Before I could respond, he sent me 1,400 words - so I got the Simmons version.
The two most important things you need to know about Marker is he’s a hell of business man who has no doubt he’ll easily earn back that cash from his son’s college fund and that he was a Production Assistant on the set of Patrick Swayze’s 1989 film Road House.
Here’s the rest of our conversation…
Could you summarize your business for me? I’m a little confused by your job.
Boilerplate: “We are a full service audiovisual company that provides technology rental and services for the national association and tradeshow market.” Reality: We provide everything from a LCD projector and screen for your powerpoint at a meeting for 30 to large scale lighting, audio and video production for audiences upwards of 5,000. Kind of like a concert, but corporations pay better.
Is this the first time you’ve invested in a website? Or a Kickstarter project for that matter.
Yes. I had run across Kickstarter before but most of it was frat boys trying to get financing for their microbrew setup. When I first saw the tweet about The Classical I was intrigued to see if it would get fully financed. Then I forgot about it until reading my twitter feed while watching the RedZone channel in a rare moment in my man cave. Made a split second decision then and went for it. Again, it goes back to someone believing in me and giving my company a chance. Why not give back to something (or in this case, some people) that have given me some entertainment over the year.
What are some of the other sports destination you frequent online?
The usual. ESPN, Deadspin, Pounding The Rock, Grantland are all in my regular rotation.
How much money did you give exactly?
$5,000 from my son’s college fund. He’s only six. Plenty of time to recover. I wouldn’t touch my personal slush fund for these crazies.
How did you hear about the Kickstarter event?
It was an event? I missed the party? Damnit!
You also get a day of Bethlehem Shoals and Co.’s time. What are you guys going to do?
I have no clue but I am starting to have performance anxiety.
The grand prize for your pledge is you get to edit The Classical for a week. What are your plans? Any specific articles you plan on writing or assigning?
Again, no clue yet. I can’t write worth a flip and if the NBA strike is not over I will be curled up in a ball in a dark corner somewhere sucking my thumb.
Do you plan to contribute to The Classical yourself?
As you can tell from the above responses, I am not witty all of the time and certainly not in the mornings! I will probably just lay back and enjoy it (old Texas political reference.)
The fact that you were a PA on the set of Road House is clearly the most impressive thing about you. How do you deal with the jealousy of your peers that must come with this?
It is soooo difficult. Especially now that Swayze has passed on to that next great plain. The scary thing is I don’t even remember it. Too many brain cells killed since then.