Video | A Continuous Lean. - Page 3

Mickey Drexler Documentary on CNBC

May 24th, 2012 | Categories: Video | by Michael Williams

In the spring of 2008 I posted the video of J.Crew CEO Mickey Drexler’s captivating appearance on Charlie Rose. It was after watching that program back then that I first started to get an idea about what makes Mickey tick. Over the past several years I have seen first hand that Mickey is a truly fascinating person. Tonight, CNBC takes things a step further with a one hour documentary about Mr. Drexler and J.Crew. Judging from the clip below — which CNBC surprisingly sent over as an ACL exclusive— we’re all in for an interesting evening tonight.

While filming in the Albini Group mill in Bergamo Italy, where Thomas Mason fabrics are made, Silvio Albini, fifth generation to run the mill was showing Mickey Drexler (and CNBC’s David Faber) how it all works.  During the tour, Drexler noticed a sign on the factory wall that reminds him of a customer email and he springs into action.

One last personal tidbit about Mr. Drexler. When The New York Times profiled me as part of the “New Breed of Bloggers,” one of the first emails I got was from Mickey —a person whom I’ve had a few meetings with over the years but is really someone I don’t know— wishing me congratulations. It was surprising to say the least. But just like in the clip above, the man is connected to the business in a remarkable way.

CNBC: J.Crew and the Man Who Dressed America airs tonight (5/24) at 10p.m. EDT.

24 Hours of Le Mans | The Greatest Race of All

May 14th, 2012 | Categories: Autos, Video | by Michael Williams

After watching motorsports of just about every species, I’ve ultimately evolved to appreciate one race more than the others: Le Mans. The 24 hours requires incredible endurance, driver skill and unparalleled reliability. It is unlike any other event in the world and is, in my opinion, the best racing in the world. One other wonderful aspect of the race is the fact that Le Mans has been followed very closely over the years and a lot great footage exists, much of which is on YouTube. I thought posting some of this footage is especially timely with the recent passing of American motorsports legend Carroll Shelby (more on that shortly) and with the race coming up in a little more than a month from now.

And if you haven’t seen Audi’s stunning 2009 documentary Truth in 24, you need to get on that. Audi also just announced Truth in 24 II which centers on the German automaker’s 2011 victory. With subject matter like Le Mans, there’s no way that this new doc will be anything but great.

1954 Part I

1954 Part II


Aaron Draplin | The Inspiration Behind Field Notes

May 14th, 2012 | Categories: Americana, Video | by Michael Williams

badass |ˈbadˌas| informal |ORIGIN 1950s: from the adjective bad + ass. 

adjective: formidable; excellent: this is one badass memo pad.

Aaron Draplin.

Not only is Draplin an ACL Hero and American Icon, he’s also half of the wildly popular “pocket material” empire Field Notes. In a follow-up to Draplin’s other famous videos (what’s the status of that documentary?), the native Michigander spends some time “talkin corn” and showing off some of the farmers promotional memo books that served to spur the creation of Field Notes. The more video of Draplin I see, the more he continues to inspire and entertain. Respect must be paid to him for sticking to what he loves and for making great stuff.

Weekend Video | Blueprints of War

Apr 21st, 2012 | Categories: Video, WWII | by Michael Williams

If you are interested in WWII and industrial design, then this will definitely be the best hour of your week. The program takes a close look at the design and engineering of the instruments of the Second World War like the Sten gun, the famous German Tiger tank (a “luxury item”) with its massive 88mm armament and the game changing Liberty Ships. The examination of the differences in design philosophy of the German armor and the Russian and American tanks is especially interesting. It can be summed up in one statement: ”Quantity has a quality all its own.”

There’s also the interesting story of how Stalin, in the 1920s feeling the need to industrialize the Soviet Union, sent a team to Detroit to learn from the American automakers and then apply that mass production manufacturing knowledge back into Russia.

It’s a fascinating film — especially the Eames bit. Thanks to M. Coleman Horn for the tip.

Made in Brooklyn | The Violin Maker

Mar 6th, 2012 | Categories: Craft, Made in New York, Video | by Michael Williams

Amazing to see such a succinct convergence of art and craft in one little four minute video. Filmmaker Dustin Cohen pays a visit to violin maker Sam Zygmuntowicz’s studio in Brooklyn to explore the precise art of making fine musical instruments. The film is the first part of the promising Made in Brooklyn series. I find it remarkable the commitment that Mr. Zygmuntowicz has to his clients and to the ongoing service to all of the violins that he has created, specifically staying in New York to support them.

Violin making is a fairly obscure talent, but one that is definitely worthy of awe by musicians and non-musicians alike.  I look forward to seeing and learning more from Made in Brooklyn.

The Layover

Dec 28th, 2011 | Categories: Food, Travel, Video | by Michael Williams


I spent a lot of time flying around this year — my frequent flyer account tells me 127,000 miles flown ytd — and the one thing that makes me not regret all those hours spent on planes next to a bunch of C.O.S. is all of the time I was lucky enough to spend experiencing a bunch of different cultures and cuisines. It’s easy to say that no time was more enjoyable than my exploration of Italy with my good friend Courtney, who has been the most amazing guide to all things good in not only Italy, but in life.

With it being the end of the year, I’m guessing that everyone is either on a beach, a ski slope or killing time (at home or work) on the internets. So I figured it would be a good time to think about the places and adventures that will shape 2012. This idea came to me recently while watching every episode of Anthony Bourdain’s food / travel show The Layover. I missed all of these shows when they originally aired (because I don’t really have any time to watch teevee), but thankfully all of the shows are available online and for me to share with you here.

Tools for the Working People of Maine

Nov 8th, 2011 | Categories: Video | by Michael Williams

The people at Brooklyn-based craft juggernaut Etsy just released a pretty cool video on the Liberty Tool store and its proprietor H.G. “Skip” Brack. Located in Maine, the shop sources used tools (not vintage, used) to offer back (or recycle) to local tradesmen and hobbyists at a decent prices. The whole idea is to help support the working people of New England and to allow them access to the tools that they need to provide for their families. To me Liberty Tool looks like a pretty incredible place. I have to say, the more and more I learn about and visit Maine, the more I want to live there.