In terms of men’s product-based destinations online, there’s no denying Uncrate.com’s is one of the leaders, if not the leader in the space. The fact of the matter is, Uncrate is a beast; prolific and wielding an ocean of traffic. I think of it as Slashdot meets Amazon.com. The site has tapped into an audience in a remarkable way, because (generally), the majority of men aren’t interested in buying stuff the way they are into sports. While I have always respected Uncrate for its attention to detail and for the site’s simplicity, we didn’t start out as best friends. Our first exchange over twitter back in 2009 pretty much set the tone for each of us to hate each other (if I could find the tweets I would link them), but eventually I think we both had too much for respect to remain rivals. In the years since, we spoken frequently and the Twitter beef has been squashed.
Yesterday, the guys at Uncrate gave me a first look at their great new site called Gallivant. The format looks familiar — simple and to the point — but with a focus on interesting experiences (dining, drinking, hotels, travel etc) rather than product. It’s a good complement (and logical extension) of the gear-centricness of Uncrate. If it is anything like the Devour, the previous launch from Uncrate’s parent company Zombie Corp., I’m expecting big things. The launch of Gallivant also offered me rare opportunity to talk to Zombie Corp’s low-profile founder on the record. Our conversation and more about the new site after the jump.
Michael Williams: First things first, who are you and where are you based?
L.C. Angell. Founder of Uncrate.com and Devour.com (and now Gallivant.com). Ohio.
MW: I only ask those first questions because not many people have any idea that there is a real live person running Uncrate. Not that we think it is powered by robots, it seems like you seem pretty shy. Would you say that is true?
LCA: That’s fair to say. It’s easy to keep a low profile since I’m not in New York or LA. I very rarely attend press events or anything like that. If I do go to something, you’d probably never know I was there. It’s just not my thing.
MW: I should also ask. Get in any twitter fights recently?
LCA: No, but lordy, this one time I got into a Twitter fight with this complete asshole…
MW: Gallivant seems like a natural extension of Uncrate, but what was the impetus behind launching the site?
LCA: Yeah, it is. I even based the design off Uncrate intentionally so that my regular readers would immediately be able to digest it without any learning curve. The impetus? It’ll sound dramatic, but it was probably realizing earlier this year that products can only buy you so much joy, and that real memories are formed from experiences, not upgrades.
Uncrate is basically my personal wish list, and Gallivant is going to be my personal must-visit list. Now that we’re live with the site, we’ll be finding some guys in the major cities we’ll be covering to check out these local places in person, but there will also be some crazy places that we haven’t visited, just as there are million-dollar cars and weird liquors on Uncrate that we’ll never get our hands on. But the real benefit of having over a million Uncrate readers is that they’re so good at finding stuff my writers and I might not ever see. They’ll really shine when it comes to scouting out Gallivant locations.
MW: Coverage, especially in the “scarf” section seems to be much more diverse in terms of geography than most other food /lifestyle websites, is this by design?
LCA: Yeah, we’re not really trying to be a city guide or anything similar. We’ll be finding amazing and obscure places and experiences all over the world. We’re adding five new places or things to do every weekday. We’re aiming for places that you’ll talk about forever if you visit them. (Instead of, say, places where bros talk about “crushing it” at their job while enjoying a Corona.)
MW: It seems like this new site covers pretty much everything that Uncrate was missing in terms of lifestyle. What’s next?
LCA: I probably have one more site I’m launching before things settle down. All of my sites are simply hand-picked filters of good stuff, so you can expect something in a similar vein. It’s what we’re good at. I don’t want to bombard my readers with tons of articles, and I want to save them time by doing the hard work for them, showing them all the stuff they care about before they even know what they’re looking for. I try to build the publications that I wish were already built so I could read them myself.