Conversations (256)

Hi Pieter, thanks for joining us today.

Before we look ahead at the current landscape, may I attempt to put a bow on the events that transpired leading up to the March 15 elections.

There was a lot of concern mounting as Geert Wilders held a lead in polls for most of the year leading up to the elections. As we learned observing the US elections, the polls don't always tell the full story, but is there a reason we can assess where the sampling went wrong in this instance?
And is there a specific point in the campaign where we can identify when the margins narrowed?

It's because they've tackled people so many times. And each time you tackle someone your nose takes a beating. But, fear not, after getting beaten up, your nose actually gets harder, you see. It forms a hard outer layer, a shell if you will, hence "hard nosed."

Yesterday during the Seahawks game they put up a graphic of how Seattle has all of its elite defensive players locked up for the next 2-4 years. Guys like Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, et cetera et cetera.


My first thought was "Wow, that's a hard-nosed defense"


My second was "Exactly how much harder are those noses than your league-avg. defense? And why are their noses hard?"

Zach, you had some ideas on how to increase the number of followers signing up to follow conversations.


I think the longest-running idea we've had is to freeze the Follow button, so at any point while reading the conversation it was visible.


Another great one is to have the Follow button right at the top of the conversation. Even before someone starts to skim they might click to follow. That's pretty common behavior, and something I do in places like Facebook a lot. I'll save a link to read later, or share it before reading it myself.

I agree with Zach. While women are pregnant, they're changing physiologically and psychologically. Their pregnancy is preparing their body and mind so that, when the child is born, they'll be primed for nurturing. She's not just getting a bigger belly and producing milk, a lot more changes than those are happening (ehm, oxytocin, anyone?). A father, no matter how good his intentions may be, will always be an inferior replacement. He's more primed to provide and protect, as he is bigger and stronger. I didn't define it that way, mother nature did, so take it up with her.

I hear what you're saying, and in many ways I agree with you on a personal level. But, I'm not convinced it's a nature thing.


First of all, there's probably a spectrum. I certainly know stay at home dads who are made for it. And no, that's not really me - The fact that I can barely make a peanut butter sandwich puts me in a bind every night when dinner time approaches and I anxiously await my wife's return home - but it does exist.


And reading your thoughts actually makes me lean more towards a "nurture" approach, that it's only a matter of time before the roles at home/work become more balanced. These things are mimetic and just like women can adapt and be join the workforce and be every bit as effective as men, the same will be true the other way.

The process can vary a lot. What I never liked doing was what gets referred to as a “bake-off,” where they solicit 4 or 5 pitches from writers and pick the best one. I can understand why they do it — it speeds up the process — but if you’ve, say, worked out a story for a DOC SAMSON mini-series, and it gets rejected not because it’s bad, but because they got multiple good pitches and they can only buy one, then you’re likely left with a pitch that you can’t exactly use anywhere else. Sometimes they pay for them, to ameliorate that, but I’d rather have the freedom to do my story than to have a few bucks but the ideas are then owned by a company that doesn’t want to use them.

[And as it happens, I do have a pitch for a DOC SAMSON mini that didn’t get bought, and it’s not a story for the ages or anything, but there was a secondary character in it that I may retool and use in ASTRO CITY, because I like that guy’s story and think it’d be fun to tell, even if it doesn’t involve Doc Samson any more. That’s the benefit of retaining ownership if they don’t buy it.]

When I did UNTOLD TALES OF SPIDER-MAN, in fact, that was nearly a bake-off. They’d asked a couple of other writers, who turned them down, and they asked me to take part in a bake-off. I didn’t want to, so I said I’d come up with a pitch quickly if they’d let me pitch solo, but if it was a bake-off, I didn’t want to play. That worked out pretty well. I’d hate to have come up with a dozen stories for teen Spider-Man and have nowhere to use them.

Anyway, I don’t think there are rejected pitches that eat at me, particularly. They probably annoyed me back in the 1980s, when I needed the money, but still it’s part of the process. What really annoyed me was when an editor asked me for a pitch, I sent it in, and he never responded. Wouldn’t return phone calls or e-mails, just complete silence. I’d rather be told “no” than that.

But these days, I don’t really pitch stuff that can’t be used elsewhere — I have a project I’m working on now that I pitched to a couple of different editors and they dismissed it out of hand. When I ran it by Eric Stephenson at Image, though, his reaction was “Why didn’t you tell me about this earlier?! Let’s do this!” 

So better it find a home somewhere someone’s enthusiastic about it rather than one where they don’t much care for it.
My pleasure, Ari. It was fun.