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The Birth of NSFWCORP, Part V: Pilot

Paul Bradley Carr
2 min read
The Birth of NSFWCORP, Part V: Pilot

The final writer for the pilot was Nathan Pensky – Pando’s managing editor – who pitched an amazing idea about Walt Disney’s frozen head. I also commissioned an illustration from Pando’s art director Hallie Bateman. We’d settled on the final name – NSFWCORP – and reverted back to Molly’s absolutely perfect logo…

Publication date of the pilot was set for the second week of May 2012.

The only thing missing was… readers. We already had a few thousand email addresses submitted through our holding page but no real way to convert them to paid subscribers. Given we didn’t know if we’d ever actually publish an issue one, let alone any more issues after that, I wasn’t willing to actually take money from the pilot readers but nor did I want to give the issue away for free and set that the precedent that NSFWCORP was free. So instead I hatched an (ahem) brilliant idea to get companies to pay $2k each to sponsor free subscriptions for several hundred people each.

By pilot day we had enough paid sponsors – Launch Rocket, Cloud Flare and some others I can’t  remember – to allow 2,000 readers through the door.

There were just one thing left to do before hitting publish on the pilot: Make sure we could actually publish this thing. And so the last few days of April / first days of May 2012 was designated our dress rehearsal week. For that entire week we published the pilot issue as if it were a live issue: Every day, behind a password wall, we published a single written piece and the accompanying audio episode. By this point we’d decided that’s how NSFWCORP would work: One piece a day, building up to an entire themed issue by the end of the week. Via our Yammer/Basecamp discussion platform I also commissioned new last minute topic pieces just to ensure the thing was as up to date as possible.

Sarah, Eli and I talked about the process on WITN which also included the world’s first public preview of a tiny corner of NSFWCORP…

[Video no longer available]

During that same week, we finally fired up our recording studio and produced the first five episodes of NSFWLIVE, which Josh providing the voiceover and also serving as co-host. The very first episode featured special guest Patrick Sauer.

Here’s the other four episodes…

[Videos no longer available]

(Note, for the pilot, the episodes weren’t actually broadcast live. In fact we wouldn’t figure out that technology until months into NSFWCORP’s regular publishing schedule.)

A week later, on the night before pilot publication, I recorded this Skype video with Sarah to give the world a sneak preview…

[Video no longer available]

Finally, on May 7th 2012, the pilot issue of NSFWCORP went live, with the caveat that “it should not be considered representative of the actual Not Safe For Work Corporation which, at the time of writing, is preparing to launch its regular publishing schedule. It is what it is.”

And so it was what it was.



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