The Royal Nonesuch

Thomas Rigler · September 8, 2008 · Short URL:

A contender for Chris Anderson's The Long Tail?

General consensus in our industry is that the most influential book published on convergent business models was last year's The Long Tail by Chris Anderson. A loyal fan and long tail evangelist myself, I recently re-evaluated my position and am hereby nominating a new contender for that precious title.



The Royal Nonesuch, written by Glasgow Phillips, is the memoir of a true multi-hyphen cross platform creative type of the sort only the Dotcom era could have produced. Seems like Phillips did it all, and years before it became hip and fashionable: Washed up novelist, indie director, rehab, Internet entrepreneur, TV writer for South Park and the list goes on.

Reading about the author's adventures on his way to adulthood (the sub-title is...Or what will I do when I grow up) comes from the same state of mind that made Dave Eggars A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius so compelling: It's an incredibly funny, well written, tell-all style memoir that doesn't shy away from stupidity and suffering...even more so it actually finds a way to make the painful moments resonate personally. And this book isn't only about real people you'd want to know, but in the case of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, people you've at least heard of.

What does any of this have to do with the Dotcom era: Glasgow Phillips apparently participated in initiatives that still impact our industry: His tales of running a branding agency dedicated to names and tag lines sound eerily familiar when considering today's intuitive witch doctors active in product branding and viral marketing. Hustling with Hollywood producers for breadcrumb budgets is more than just a familiar notion.

Phillips' countless failed and successful attempts at crossing the bridge between VC capital, television, Internet video and Hollywood may have been chaotic and sometimes ill-advised during the 1990's heyday. In a way, though, we've all been growing up trying to become mini-moguls at our own little studios, and have all re-invented ourselves repeatedly by the time we turned 30. I this regard, The Royal Nonesuch is a scary and tremendously uncomfortable read.

Phillips' efforts appear very much in tune with today's young mavericks carving out their share of an audience on YouTube and BlipTV. His guerilla approach to both business and content creation should be a blueprint for any young filmmaker getting out of school today and should probably be taught at the appropriate departments and become required reading material.

Here's a book trailer by  the man himself with highlights from a decade of defiance.

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