Episode 22: David Clark, EVP and GM, Joost -- Big Brother, Buddha Collector and TV "Re-Inventor."
Dealmaker extraordinare takes time off from reinventing television advertising to speak with Susan about his life, his loves and his career. Joost is a press-darling start-up founded by the Skype dudes that uses a P2P platform to deliver over 15,000 TV shows in 250 channels through broadband to your computer. The beta is available now and you must check it out - it's free and amazing.
David's job is to monetize that plumbing with next-gen interactive television ads. And he's on a mission to do that -- he's signed over 40 of the biggest brands in marketing. From Sony to Sprite to BMW, David discusses the unique and integrated experiences his service can offer at the intersection of the web and TV. You hear about "telescoping" and other ways marketers are experimenting with this new medium.
Before Joost, David was SVP for MTV Networks' global marketing partnerships. He implemented worldwide TV campaigns for HP, Motorola and McDonald's and tells us about some of those $75 million dollar deals. But David was not always the boy wonder he seems - he shares his failures or "train-wrecks" as he likes to call them, including a real-estate asp for managing properties that bombed in the late '90s.
We take a tour of Southeast Asia where David has spent considerable time, first teaching English in Japan then back-packing around in his early twenties. That time in his life sparked the beginning of his collection of antique Buddha's. And he's spent significant time in Vietnam, launching a TV show in concert with the government. This small town boy (Roxbury, CT) still loves the pleasures of home, especially strawberry rhubarb pie, which he considers the perfect food.
David lives on Central Park in NYC with his wife and son and has been a "Big Brother" to a now 21 year old college boy who he help helped raise from the tough world of the South Bronx. Those 9 years of weekly get-togethers gave David not just an understanding of that community -- both good and bad -- but an invaluable and humbling perspective on life. Get to know "Scooby" in all his glory on this episode of DishyMix.
Susan Bratton: Welcome to Dishy Mix. I’m your host Susan Bratton. Hey, thanks for tuning into the show today. As always I have a fantastic guest for you today. You’re going to get to meet David Clark. David is the general manager in North America for Joost, j-o-o-s-t, I bet you knew how to spell that. He’s also the EVP of advertising and he’s done some fabulous deals and he’s reinventing advertising, one of his career and life works. So, you’re going to get to meet David. We’re going to talk about everything from the Venice Project to Black Swans to Vietnam, Strawberry Rhubarb Pie and collecting antique Buddha’s. We’re going to talk about big brothers and big sisters and Scooby. We’ll talk about shayna.com, p2p video and, like I said, reinventing advertising.
David Clark: So what we did was we combined, you know, MTV’s kind of production savvy and storytelling savvy with Motorola’s mobile distribution and started doing some really interesting things and backed that with a lot of cash from Motorola, thank you very much Motorola, and that was probably the biggest example of success.
David Clark: You know, me and a friend, way too young and way too naïve raising way too much money, going out and starting a company. We built an ASP model for managing real estate properties. It wasn’t very sexy but, but it actually got a lot of traction and we, you know, we were venture funded and had a lot of ? and all that kind of stuff and then the bubble burst.
David Clark: You know, how does that work in a more kind of long term environment? Well if you, people can kind of build, you know, co-viewing experiences around the video, and I think what you’ll see from us moving forward is the ability to synch, for viewers to synch their streams together, so the videos will play on multiple PC’s at the exact same time and the dialogue can be live.
David Clark: I grew up in a little town called Roxbury Connecticut, which is kind of in the Northwestern part of Connecticut, near Massachusetts and the town had a thousand people growing up, I think it still has a thousand people, so my block in New York has a thousand people today.
Susan Bratton: Welcome David.
David Clark: Hi Susan.
Susan Bratton: How are you?
David Clark: I’m great. How are you?
Susan Bratton: Good. Well just before you came on the show this is, we’re recording this on a Friday afternoon and David says he’s going out for a beer right after this, so I hope it’s not going to be a very short episode of Dishy Mix ‘cause you’re jonesing for your beer.
David Clark: You’re, you’re the one thing keeping me between me and my beer.
Susan Bratton: Well maybe we should go on a break right now and you can run down the hall to the refrigerator and get a beer out and drink it while we do the show. What do you think?
David Clark: Not a bad idea.
Susan Bratton: I’m sure there’s beer in your refrigerator, is there not?
David Clark: There is, but we’re a typical start-up so we have a cooler of beer at all times.
Susan Bratton: Exactly. Well it’s funny too because I, I have this thing called sibilance. Have you ever heard of it?
David Clark: No.
Susan Bratton: So sibilance is when you’re s’y, when you’re a hissy s’er, which I’m, I’m a terrible hissy s’er. But the one thing that I found, well actually so I went to this professional recording studio a while ago and they said, “Oh, the thing that gets rid of sibilance is apple juice. If you drink that it actually kind of tones that down.” And I thought well if apple juice works beer’s going to work. So when I do some of the commercial recordings and things for the show, I drink beer, so…
David Clark: Now why, what’s the correlation between apple juice and beer, just the same color?
Susan Bratton: That’s what I think.
David Clark: Yeah. Makes total sense.
Susan Bratton: Makes total sense to me too, exactly. So you’re currently running the, running the North American office and running all of the advertising side of the business for Joost, I’m sure it’s you and a lot of engineers. You came recently, and we’re going to go, get into Joost in a big way ‘cause it’s fascinating, but you came from MTV, you were running global marketing partnerships as the senior vice president at MTV most recently. What did you do there that was your crowning achievement?
David Clark: Well, I came into MTV from a train wreck start-up in the 1990’s to start a group that would, you know, MTV has incredible global scope, most people don’t realize this but it’s actually the biggest television channel in terms of world wide distribution, it’s about twice as big as CNN. And the executives at the time felt well we should be combining those assets into a larger story for our advertisers and our marketers, but they had no mechanism to do that, so I came in and started a group that did that and we were quite successful at it for a number of years. Terrific experience, and then I left to join Nicholas Enyanis, so we’re the founders of Joost.
Susan Bratton: When you were doing MTV who were your, who were the biggest advertisers you did global deals with?
David Clark: The biggest deal we did was a deal with Motorola.
Susan Bratton: Hmm.
David Clark: It was a $75 million dollar 2 year deal that, you know, we tried to do really innovative stuff, so we weren’t, you know, we weren’t sitting back and saying, “Well how do we sell advertising?”, it was, you know, Motorola was run, the marketing department was run by Jeffery Frost, the late Jeffery Frost and he was thinking about how can Motorola help distribute content, how can they get in the content creation end of marketing and kind of start to build a relationship with their consumers then, and, you know, he really was the guy who started to rethink the whole Motorola brand and, you know, help shepherd the Razor and all that kind of stuff. So what we did was we combined, you know, MTV’s kind of production savvy and storytelling savvy with Motorola’s mobile distribution and started doing some really interesting things and backed that with a lot of cash from Motorola, thank you very much Motorola, and that was probably the biggest example of success. We did a lot of interesting things though. We did some worldwide stuff with Hewlitt Packard. We did, we actually had McDonald’s under wrote a show about music from around the world that came together every week on MTV and kind of linked into the stores. So stuff we tried to do was, you know, not your standard kind of media vibe, it was built around, you know a marketing, a complete kind of end to end marketing solution that leveraged, you know MTV’s connection to young people.
Susan Bratton: You, I’m surprised I didn’t hear you say Coke or Pepsi or Nike or some of those global brands, global youth brands. You were more on the consumer electronics and tech side with the exception of Mickey D’s.
David Clark: Well, see it depends, I mean we did do lots of stuff with those brands, and those are obviously big advertisers for MTV, but, you know, it was kind of, you had to look at, you know, the advertisers that tended to want to go really big with MTV were those that were trying to break through to young people as opposed to kind of maintaining a position right.
Susan Bratton: Okay.
David Clark: So you’re taking McDonald’s is a great example. At the time, they’re doing a much better job of it now, but at the time they were really strong with kind of moms and kids and were looking to build a position with teens and they weren’t really there, you know, not in the way that say Taco Bell was.
Susan Bratton: When you did that deal with McDonald’s who did you work with?
David Clark: Well we worked with Larry Light at the time…
Susan Bratton: Yup.
David Clark: and his team.
Susan Bratton: I loved Larry Light. He retired.
David Clark: Yes he did, yes he did.
Susan Bratton: He had the nicest personality.
David Clark: He did, a terrific guy.
Susan Bratton: Yeah, he really was, he was awesome. Now I don’t know the new woman who runs McDonald’s, I think her names Anne something maybe?
David Clark: Yeah, I don’t either, I think Larry and I left our respective posts about the same time.
Susan Bratton: Yeah, yeah. And I haven’t gotten a good connection into McDonald’s since then, but I sure loved him. He was a great guy. And so, you said that you worked at a train wreck dot com, that was shayna.com. Tell us the story of that, we love train wreck stories. Tell us all the awful things.
David Clark: Oh yeah, train wreck is, it’s the greatest, it’s the best experience you can have right?
Susan Bratton: Absolutely.
David Clark: See, and the first problem was our name because it was actually shanae.com and people, people don’t realize it, but…
Susan Bratton: Like Rash-sha-shana shana?
David Clark: Right it was, I can’t remember the origin, I think it was like an Apache Indian word or something that we found. You know, it was an available dot com, which is half the battle right, in finding a name. But we, it was, it was a very kind of typical dot com story of, you know, sort of bubble 1 dot o story, you know. Me and a friend, way too young and way too naïve raising way too much money, going out and starting a company. We built an ASP model for managing real estate properties. So it wasn’t very sexy but, but it actually got a lot of traction and we, you know, we were venture funded and had a lot of employees and all that kind of stuff and then the bubble burst and we returned the money to investors and that was that, right, like 80% of the start-ups at that time.
Susan Bratton: So you had some money left you could return?
David Clark: We did actually, and I had some of my investors were senior executives at MTV.
Susan Bratton: Ah ha.
David Clark: And when I went to tell them that I had lost their money they offered me a job and that’s how I transitioned over, so there’s always, you know…
Susan Bratton: Silver lining.
David Clark: There’s always a silver lining in these things and I think, you know, for anybody thinking of starting a company, you know, the best thing you can do is take a risk because it’s really actually not all that much risk.
Susan Bratton: It comes up on every episode of Dishy Mix, you know, I’m interviewing people who have charisma and a great track record and every single, I mean I don’t know, I’m thinking about my listeners right now, people listening to the show and they’re probably counting back in their heads too. Probably the last five shows we talked about taking risks as being like the number one thing that people who are on the show say you have to do, you just, just do it, do it, you’ll live, you know, and everybody who’s on the show is successful and fabulous so there’s something to it.
David Clark: Well yeah, yeah, I mean the irony is it’s actually, I think, less risk in taking risk if that makes any sense.
Susan Bratton: Mm hmm.
David Clark: You just accelerate your career much faster by failing early and failing hard and, you know, and as I say, I mean, you know, if you talk to, I’ll bet you everybody that you’ve talked to, there is always that silver lining at the end, there’s always a door that was opened that you didn’t expect if it doesn’t go well.
Susan Bratton: Absolutely. Well now I want, I want to talk about something that I think is going to be wildly successful for you, and that’s the world of Joost, it’s a p2p video application, it’s full screen TV, it’s interactive television on your computer, it has a lot of community elements which I really want to talk to you about, and it’s delivered via broadband so it’s essentially TV to your computer, but with that layer that we’ve been waiting for the MSO’s to deliver to us for fricking ever and they are clearly not, and you did just come and make that happen. So tell us about Joost.
David Clark: Well Joost, well you said it probably better than I can say it.
Susan Bratton: Ah no.
David Clark: But Joost is a, yeah Joost is a, it’s a, you know, what we’re trying to do is blend the power of television with the power of the internet and kind of strip out stuff that people don’t like, right, so in a TV environment there’s very little kind of choice and control and in the internet environment there’s obviously a lot of choice and control. But in the internet environment it’s very hard to deliver, you know, high quality video, particularly for large numbers of people at the same time, you know, the internet really wasn’t built for that, the internet was built for, you know, a synchronous download of text, not synchronous distribution of large video files, so what we’re trying to do is blend those two things together and in doing, you know, offering consumers, you know, first of all a lot more choice in control, a lot more video from sources where they wouldn’t otherwise be able to get it, so if you see what’s happened in news and in music, you know, as the barriers have come down and distributions been, you know, open to more people, then you have a lot more entrance into the market and, you know, both of those areas for the consumer become much, much more interesting, a lot more diversity of choice and ability to explore new choices, you know, new avenues for getting content. Hasn’t happened as much, it’s starting to happen in video, it hasn’t happened as much simply because the platform hasn’t been there, so we’re trying to do that and we think, you know, at the end of the day consumers will benefit. At the same time though, I think what’s a little bit unique about what we’re doing is we’re also, we’re not doing this at the expense of the content owner and the advertiser. We believe that, you know, their interests need to be protected, the formula of which they play may change, but their interests need to be protected so the content owner needs to be able to make money and track their rights and so on and so forth, and the advertiser needs to be able to, you know reach consumers and, you know, build their branch, market their products. So we’re trying to look at each one, each one of those constituencies, figure out, you know, what’s good about, what they like about television, what they don’t like about television and replace what they don’t like with what’s great, what they do like about the internet and pull it together in one elegant package and I think pulling it together in one elegant package what’s going to be, you know, that’s the tough, that’s the tough part and whoever wins in this arena, and I think its very early in the game, will do just that, they’ll pull it together in one elegant package.
Susan Bratton: Right now on your website it says you have 15,000 TV shows and 250 channels. How up to date is that ‘cause it is a website. It’s a corporate website, they’re never up to date, unless, unless you have some kind of a feed or something, you know, tied to your spreadsheet.
David Clark: Yeah it’s tied, it’s, we do need to make that a feed, but, you know, it changes on the hour actually. We add content to the platform, actually right now it’s adding content about 12 times a day.
Susan Bratton: Okay.
David Clark: And we’re moving as fast as we can towards, you know, constant, a constant flow of new content on the platform and trying to open it up so that more and more content creators can just publish directly with, you know, very little interference from us, so…
Susan Bratton: Yeah, you can’t touch every, you can’t touch every piece of content that goes in your platform or you’ll be forever doing that.
David Clark: Righ.
Susan Bratton: Forget it.
David Clark: And we spiced it up so people can help us, you know, there’s a guy in Upstate New York who we actually ended up hiring who built a website called On The Tube, that just helps people set up RSS feeds and navigate through the video on Joost, so…
Susan Bratton: Wow.
David Clark: Yeah.
Susan Bratton: So is that still about the same or you have no idea what your numbers are as far as number of shows and channels?
David Clark: Yeah, no that’s about right. That…
Susan Bratton: Okay.
David Clark: I think we put that number up last week, so, you know, it might be 16,000 now or 17,000, but that’s probably about right.
Susan Bratton: And what about subscribers? You’re still in beta…
David Clark: Yes.
Susan Bratton: So what, how many subscribers are you currently reporting?
David Clark: About a million and a half, about a million and a half subscribers. We took a, we were invite only for most of the summer.
Susan Bratton: Right, I remember.
David Clark: And last week, on October 1st, we took that requirement off…
Susan Bratton: Okay.
David Clark: And we’ve probably added four or five hundred thousand users in just that first week, so we’re very excited about that.
Susan Bratton: You had a million and a half?
David Clark: Yes, we…
Susan Bratton: And now you have?
David Clark: Now we have a couple hundred thousand more than that.
Susan Bratton: Okay.
David Clark: Yeah.
Susan Bratton: Got it.
David Clark: So we’re, we’re working our way towards two. Hopefully, you know, by, you know, as we get to the end of the year we’ll have about two million, maybe two million plus subscribers.
Susan Bratton: Got it. And it’ll be fun to see, you know, how the actives, obviously in the beta, downloads that turn into actives are going to be really high, it’ll be interesting to see what the stickiness of the application is and how much time people are spending with your media.
David Clark: Well it’s a great question and, you know, it’s something we’re fascinated in too. You know the challenge for us and for anybody here is that, you know, how do you, there so much of this video, how do you create an experience that people can navigate through all that…
Susan Bratton: Mm hmm.
David Clark: you know? That’s what we, we’re challenged with and we spend a lot of time thinking about it and we find that, you know, the better we, we’re making constant improvements to the user experience and it’s a new kind of a user experience, it’s something that people aren’t used to, so every time we change it, it gets, you know, the stickiness gets a little bit better and better, so we’re trying to, you know, and again I think it’s something that we’re all challenged with is, you know, essentially it’s a large video on demand database. You know, how do you make that feel dynamic and fluid and alive, you know? So those are kinds of, some of the things we’re working on to make it more sticky.
Susan Bratton: Well, we have to go to a break, but I want to ask you one question before we go. I want to understand, there are two parts of the user interface that I find the most fascinating. The first one is a little widget that allows you to blog while you watch. You can actually just blog right to word press, right to type pad. And the other one is a chat. Now I haven’t played with the chat yet, so can you describe from a consumers perspective ‘cause everybody listening right now is listening from the perspective of being just who they are as people, not with their business hat on so much, so describe what it would be like when they would use Joost, and blog use Joost then chat.
David Clark: Well what we’re trying to do is give users the ability to do what they’re already doing, but right in the application. So, you know, people are already talking about TV shows, I mean, you know, it’s the water cooler effect, right? People, people want to talk about the TV shows that they like and they care about, and they, we want to allow them, we want to give them the ability to do that in a number of different ways, and then we want, you know, people to be able to form communities around either shows that they like or actors that they like or genres or issues, you know, if it’s news kind of programming, especially sports. So, you know, I think those two things you mentioned, blog this and the chat, are early attempts at that. So one is we wanted people to be able to write about what they were watching directly from the application, so that’s pretty straight forward. And the other one is chat. Chat is really interesting because, you know, the opportunity to build, you know, to have kind of a, you know, to have co-viewing and create more of an event kind of feel around programming, which is kind of what’s, what we’ve lost in TV, you know, a little bit, is that kind of sense that TV provides us with events, you know, kind of special moments when society kind of rally, I mean if you’re as old as me you remember, you know, when the Mash episode, the final episode of Mash or, or Cheers or Seinfeld and that kind of thing.
Susan Bratton: Or the walk on the moon.
David Clark: Probably the best example, right? Walk on the moon. So, you know, how does that work in a more kind of long tail environment? Well if you, you know, if people can kind of build, you know, co-viewing experiences around the video, and I think what you’ll see from us moving forward is the ability to synch, for viewers to synch their streams together so the videos will play on multiple PC’s at the exact same time and the dialogue can be live.
Susan Bratton: That’s exactly what I was hoping you’d say.
David Clark: And I said it. It took a long time to get there.
Susan Bratton: No, no, no. That’s where, that’s where I think it gets really interesting and, you know, the idea of being able to, you know, I think there are a lot of people, I’ve seen research actually I think from McCann about the number of people who are watching prime time live television who are using their standard, you know, AOL chats or whatever on their laptops while they watch TV and chatting about a show. You’re just bringing that application into the environment.
David Clark: Yeah, that’s right, so we’re, we’re just, we’re not doing anything new per se or nothing that anybody hasn’t already though of, we’re just trying to bring it all together.
Susan Bratton: Right. Well a lot of times that’s how you win.
David Clark: Yeah.
Susan Bratton: So lets go to a break and thank our sponsors, and you know I was thinking, as I was thinking, “Oh, yeah, I need to go to a break”, I was thinking too that the, I did briefly meet you in person when you spoke, when you did the key note at Ad Tech San Francisco.
David Clark: Right.
Susan Bratton: You did a really good job, that was a very interesting conversation and I was really impressed with you then.
David Clark: Well thank you.
Susan Bratton: And then Brad Barrens, you know, connected us again about having you come on the show. We’ll go to a break now and when we come back I want to talk to you about a lot of other things, so stay tuned. You’re talking with David Clark, EVP at Joost. We’ll be right back.
Susan Bratton: We’re back and I’m your host Susan Bratton. We’re with David Clark of Joost, learning all about that. So David before we get into some of the more personal side of the David Clark world, I did want to talk to you a little bit about the announcement I saw earlier this Spring, you’d signed up 31 big brands to participate in the early programming, advertising support of the early programming on Joost. How’s that going? That was in April. I’m sure you’ve signed quite a few people. I think you got the MLB, I noticed them on your site, you’ve got a lot, a lot of, well no they wouldn’t be an advertiser, they would be a content partner.
David Clark: Right.
Susan Bratton: You signed up those 31 brands, have you continued to sign up brands or was that kind of the first traunch that you’re going to be doing the experimentation with?
David Clark: Yeah, we expanded that list a little bit, we’re at about forty now, but…
Susan Bratton: Okay.
David Clark: But that really was the first traunch. Our aim was, you know, our challenge here is, again, is to figure out what’s the right ad environment and we enrolled, we’re up to about forty major brands now in helping us figure that out. So we’re still in a very much in an experimental phase, and, you know, working with these brands has been terrific ‘cause they bring their expertise and their research and their, you know, their agency partners to the table in really helping us figure out, you know, what is an interactive TV environment, what is the right balance between, you know, time spent with advertising from the consumer and time spent with content, you know, how should telescoping work, you know, what really matters in targeting, all these kinds of questions and we’ve got a million of them. So we’re still going through that, and we’re probably, will run that program with those forty advertisers until about the end of the year and then kind of start awake fresh.
Susan Bratton: What’s telescoping.
David Clark: Telescoping, well it’s, it’s very simple, so it’s, just a clicking through to a larger experience, so to speak, so we run some ads on Joost that are not video and they’re interactive and they are designed to just invite the user into a larger experience, which is the advertisers experience.
Susan Bratton: So click through to a website from an ad on your computer?
David Clark: Yeah, that would be, that’s one simple version of it, right.
Susan Bratton: You tried to make it sound fancy by using a different word, but I tricked you back.
David Clark: I like tele, you don’t like telescoping?
Susan Bratton: Oh, no, I like it, I just didn’t know what it was and it’s like, “Okay dude…”
David Clark: Click through, yeah actually.
Susan Bratton: “that is a click through.”
David Clark: Yeah I guess the, you know, the word, we use the word to describe more, you know, actually building like custom experiences for advertisers I guess would be the, the differentiator. But yeah, click through is, is basically the concept, right.
Susan Bratton: Okay. A couple of things more. If we wanted to see an example of a couple of really good campaigns that you currently have fielded, where, what channels would we find them on, which brands are we looking for, how can we get in there and get right to it?
David Clark: Well, we only have forty advertisers on there so they pop up all the time, and there’s a lot of really innovative stuff going on there, and I’ll give you some examples off the top of my head. I mean the, so we work with Sony Pictures for example and they’ve been running different movies throughout the Summer on the platform, but what’s great about what they’re doing is they’re using their kind of traditional thirty second spots that you see on TV, but marrying that with some custom interactive elements and then, you know, putting their entire library of assets that they use to promote the film trailers, long form programming, you know, kind of behind the scenes type stuff, on the platform and then also making it linkable to their own website and other things that they’re doing off our platform.
Susan Bratton: Okay.
David Clark: So that’s one example. Sprite is doing, has done some fairly creative stuff on our platform. BMW is doing a whole kind of learn, relearn to drive experience on our website that’s worth checking out, so you can go and get driving tips from BMW that is both content and advertising, so some of the more innovative stuff that we’ve seen is, you know, advertisers running advertising that drives to content that they’ve created that can be more long form and more immersive, but can also live, you know, on the platform.
Susan Bratton: Nice. Alright, good. Those are really good examples. I’m going to go dig those up and check them out. So I want to get into a couple more questions just about you specifically. One of the things that you have done in your history is, there’s a lot of, kind of, Southeast Asia that keeps popping up when I research you and talk to you. One thing is that you’ve, you’ve done some work at MTV and you’ve been to Vietnam a number of times. Another is that you collect Buddah’s from Southeast Asia, antique Buddah’s. A third is that you actually taught English in Japan in the early part of your life. So, tell me about that, string all that stuff together for us.
David Clark: Well it all happened pretty accidentally actually. You know, when I graduated from college in 1992 that was kind of Bush, Bush number one recession, remember those days, right? So there weren’t a lot of jobs and I went of to Japan because, you know, Japan was the next big thing back then and it was very sexy to go there and learn Japanese and all that kind of stuff, so, and I could get a job that paid, you know, relatively a decent salary, so I moved to Japan and like a lot of people and taught English back then, which was, you know, really just being an entertainer for Japanese high school kids after their hard day at work. So that was fun, and then I made a little bit of money and then I spent about, I don’t know, 18 months or 2 years in Japan and then went down to Southeast Asia kind of on a whim and ended up spending about 9 months down there just kind of backpacking around, and that was kind of my introduction to Southeast Asia. You know, it’s a beautiful part of the world and…
Susan Bratton: How old were you when you were backpacking?
David Clark: Oh, 23, 24.
Susan Bratton: And it wasn’t a whim, there was something. What was it? You heard there was like fabulously good dope there or, I mean what made you go? You’re 23 and you’re backpacking, it was probably either the chicks…
David Clark: I don’t want to ruin my political career but…
Susan Bratton: or the dope.
David Clark: yeah, but I mean what’s not to love about Southeast Asia, right? I mean it’s a, you know, beautiful scenery, you know, exotic, you know, it was just about, you know, I grew up in a small town in America as about as off the beaten path as you could possibly get, so there was a kind of sense of adventure and I mean, you know, back in those days, I can’t believe I’m saying that, but back in those days, you know, there weren’t cell phones and, you know, the only way you could communicate back home was, you know, once in a while you would send a letter, you know. So you really disappeared off the, off the map for weeks on end, you know, backpacking through Southeast Asia and, you know, you would, at the time there were no Americans doing it, but there were a lot of Scandinavians and Australians kind of sleeping on beaches and hanging out and, you know, so it was, it was a great time. So that was kind of my introduction to the region and it was a ball, and then, you know, throughout my career I’ve just kind of found myself back there. I’ve never lived in Southeast Asia, but, you know, I worked for Simon and Schuster for a couple years doing, running this kind of little group that had an educational broadcast series and I used to distribute it to television networks around the region, around Latin America and around Europe and I went, wound up, the reason I went to Vietnam so many times was just I did a deal with the government of Vietnam prior to our relations being reestablished with them actually and they broadcast the series and we kind of edited with Ho Chi Min University, and, you know, it was an, it was a show about learning English, but it was a sitcom about an American family and we got a sponsor for it, it was Exxon or Esso as they’re known in that region, so that was, you know I was sort of 25 when I did that. But it brought me to the region a lot and, you know, I’ve just sort of been back and forth, I went back a lot in my time at MTV ‘cause our regional quarters are in Singapore. And, you know, I started collecting, you asked about the Buddha’s, I just started collecting Buddha’s from one dealer in Singapore who is very good and started, one day just bough a little one and then, you know, a couple years later I noticed in my apartment that I’ve got a whole bunch of them, all different sizes from around the region and, you know, Tai and Camere and Burmese and all that kind of stuff, so now I’ve got a little kind of museum in my apartment in New York.
Susan Bratton: I like that. And, you know, I noticed also that you said that you grew up in a small town and that Southeast Asia just seemed so exotic to you. What small town?
David Clark: I grew up in a little town called Roxbury Connecticut, which is kind of in the Northwestern part of Connecticut, near Massachusetts and the town had a thousand people growing up, I think it still has a thousand people. So my block in New York has more people today, but, you know, it was sort of, no traffic lights, one general store, type of Norman Rockwell town.
Susan Bratton: Well I’m not surprised to hear that you grew up in a small town because one of the things that you told me, one of the silly things you told me was that you believe that Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is the perfect food. Now, no one, but a person who grew up in a small town would’ve said that. That is a small town thing.
David Clark: Isn’t that a shame though?
Susan Bratton: No, I mean…
David Clark: ‘Cause it is the perfect food.
Susan Bratton: Well, but…
David Clark: It is, it is tart and sweet together.
Susan Bratton: Tart and sweet is a nice combination. I like salt and fat together too though.
David Clark: It is, you know, if you do it, if you do the Strawberry Rhubarb Pie there’ll be plenty of fat.
Susan Bratton: That’s right in the crust…
David Clark: Not a lot of salt.
Susan Bratton: in the crust. Well it’s funny too because apparently you’ve been able to sophisticate your approach to Strawberry Rhubarb Pie because you said in addition to having it with a glass of milk, you certainly love it paired with an ’81 Chateau L’fete Raushield Bourdeau, so…
David Clark: I was being (illegible). I don’t know, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten my hands on an ’81.
Susan Bratton: It’d be pretty good, wouldn’t it?
David Clark: But I think a glass of milk does just fine.
Susan Bratton: Yeah, I think I would save the L’Fete and drink it separately.
David Clark: Yeah, exactly.
Susan Bratton: That’s funny. And so, I wanted to kind of bring this home as well, why does your wife call you Scooby?
David Clark: I have no idea. She just started calling me Scooby once years, I think it might be because I’m a little goofy.
Susan Bratton: Oh yeah?
David Clark: Yeah, and a little sloppy so, but I have a four year old son now who thinks it’s hilarious when she calls me, she’s been calling me Scooby for, I don’t know, ten years, but our son has kind of picked up on this lately and thinks, doesn’t understand why either, but…
Susan Bratton: He’s four?
David Clark: He’s four, yeah.
Susan Bratton: Does He watch Scooby Doo?
David Bratton: He does.
Susan Bratton: That’s a pretty scary thing for a four year old. Scooby’s got ghosts in it.
David Clark: It does, yeah, he’s a tough four year old though you know…
Susan Bratton: Is he?
David Clark: He’s a city kid now.
Susan Bratton: City kid!
David Clark: Yeah.
Susan Bratton: There you go. And you live right on the, right on Central Park?
David Clark: Right on Central Park, which is fantastic, you know…
Susan Bratton: I love it.
David Clark: best park in the world.
Susan Bratton: Yeah.
David Clark: Well that’s debatable but certainly one of the great parks.
Susan Bratton: Do you get out into the park?
David Clark: Every day.
Susan Bratton: Oh really. Do you go for a run or what?
David Clark: Go out for a run in the park.
Susan Bratton: Yeah?
David Clark: You know, there are tennis courts in the park that we use. Central Park really is, you know, for those, those of you out there who are not New Yorkers it really is a goldmine and…
Susan Bratton: Mm hmm.
David Clark: There’s a ton of stuff to do in Central Park.
Susan Bratton: Absolutely. And one of the things also that you’ve told me is that you’ve been involved in the, the Big Brother and Big Sister Program. Have you had a, have you been a big brother for many years?
David Clark: I’ve been a big brother for about 12 years with the same kid, so I met him when he was 9 and, you know, he’s…
Susan Bratton: 20.
David Clark: 21 now, yeah.
Susan Bratton: Mm hmm.
David Clark: So, so yeah, you know, it’s just, you know, living in New York, you know, you really feel like you need to contribute back and it’s been a great experience for me as well, and anybody out there who’s thinking about it, it’s, it’s a life changing thing, you should do it.
Susan Bratton: Tell me about your, your little brother.
David Clark: He lives in the South Bronx. You know, he has, he’s a great kid, works really hard, he’s in college now. He had a lot of challenges, I mean a lot of the challenges that you would expect from a kid growing up in the South Bronx and, you know, his father hasn’t been around and he’s had a lot of challenges with, you know, just the community that he’s in and, you know, kind of lack of access to quality education and those kinds of things, right? But he’s a great kid and he’s got a lot of character and, you know, we’ve become pretty good friends.
Susan Bratton: So, one of the things that I always like to do is end on an aspirational note with this show, and I think what I would like to hear from you is what you got out of, obviously you gave a lot in this relationship, but I’d like to hear what you really believe net-net you got out of participating in that kind of a relationship.
David Clark: Well I think, you know, I think there’re a lot of things that I got out of it and I think, you know, I think I got just as much out of it than he did and, you know, he’s, I just talked to him earlier today, so we’re still, you know, we’re still very close. But, you know, I think, you know, in life you need to have perspective and particularly living in New York and being in the media community and, you know, being on the treadmill of, you know, your career treadmill, you know, you tend to get into a bubble, and it’s good to kind of diversify your experiences and kind of give yourself some perspective so that you don’t let your, yourself get out, get out of control…
Susan Bratton: Mm hmm.
David Clark: so to speak and, you know, I think that that, you know, you know, we get together every week and we have for 12 years and it’s, you know, it’s, it’s helped, it’s helped, you know, just create some perspective and it’s also created a lot of experiences that I wouldn’t otherwise have, you know, and have, get an, helped me get an understanding of his community and, you know, the challenges that that community faces, some of the good stuff, and there’s a lot of good in this community and understanding that as well. So, you know, no regrets.
Susan Bratton: Well that sounds great. So what I kind of netted out of that is that in a way having that relationship, that consistent relationship has grounded you as, as a person.
David Clark: I would like to think so Susan. I can’t tell you that I’m grounded though.
Susan Bratton: Maybe more grounded than you would have been.
David Clark: I can say that, definitely more grounded than I would have been.
Susan Bratton: Well great. Well it’s been really fun to talk to you David. Thanks for giving us lots of little tidbits of your life, we really appreciate it…
David Clark: Well thank you.
Susan Bratton: and now that Joost is an open application, no more beta, anyone can got to joost.com and sign up, right?
David Clark: That’s right.
Susan Bratton: Good, so people should definitely, anyone listening to Dishy Mix is going to want to know exactly what that new platform is all about ‘cause these are the pioneers in the industry, so I expect a big, a big group of new users.
David Clark: We owe you one.
Susan Bratton: Oh gosh, no. It’s our pleasure, so go get that beer, have a great weekend and I’ll look forward to seeing you soon.
David Clark: Thanks Susan, appreciate it. Bye.
Susan Bratton: Thanks. Thank you so much. Alright, well everyone thank you for tuning into Dishy Mix, I really appreciate it. I hope you have a great day and I will talk to you next week. Take care.