On Crossing the Trend Line and Becoming Hef
“Houston, We Have Problem.” The establishment arbiters of What-Is-A-Man are underwhelming at scale. So we have a plan that's better and leaning forward. Tweet
Hugh Hefner was an adventurer in the spirit of Columbus, a visionary looking for a new market...
...he just knew was out there. To reach it, he had to cross a trend line, then keep going. We're right behind him.
PM is setting up shop because we see a humungous unmet market need. There is a trend line that just demanded that we stand up PM and a good model to follow.
And just in time, since the establishment arbiters of What-Is-A-Man are underwhelming at best. So we came up with a plan to make a man better at scale. We’ll become Hef.
The Hef plan: Make a better alternative for a growing market.
Once upon a time, Hugh Hefner, a born visionary, wanted nothing more than to work at Esquire. As a punishment, he got his wish, so shortly after his arrival at Esquire, he had dream-job remorse. He saw Esquire as out of touch with the time. So he set out to make a better alternative for the market.
Playboy was soon born and immediately became a cultural icon, the king of the newsstand. It was ahead of the trendline and had a long reign. Fortunately, for Hugh, he passed away before the magazine did. (Before I forget, most of what I know about Hefner comes from an excellent documentary on Playboy—directed by Richard Lopez and released by Amazon Prime. It’s very much worth watching. American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story is a great lens on the American mind, culture and libido. )
We’re now entering another cultural inflection point. Hefner put himself at the forefront of the free-love, free-speech and equality moment. Playboy was where a better future was to be born . At his Playboy After Dark parties, a new A-list of writers, comedians, and musicians could be found. Many of Hugh’s guests, because of their politics, race, class or religion, were being kept on the periphery of our culture. Hef was no pussy. He and Playboy celebrated those that our cultural minders wanted to keep to keep in their minority-status lane.
Playboy’s purpose was to bring the culturally marginal forward where they could contribute to mainstream expression and thought. PM will do the same. We will have the courage to “Become Hef.” And that line we just crossed? It was another trend line.