I’m always fired up when Bill Simmons gets to talking about his career and goes deep on his arc from writer to now having sold The Ringer to Spotify.
I just finished listening to the episode and will give it another listen and probably write at least 1 or 2 more podcast notes posts about it.
Here are some previous posts I wrote about Simmons.
- Podcast Notes: John Skipper and the early days of ESPN.com — On the interview with Koppelman above, Simmons mentions that he pushed to have a spot on the homepage when he was renegotiating one of his early ESPN contracts. He’s always had an eye on things broader than just his writing. He knew the importance of placement. The reason I mention that when linking to this earlier podcast note is that (A) his relationship with John Skipper is mentioned in the Koppelman interview and (B) the podcast with John Skipper has a nice dive into what the state of the (world wide!) web was like back then. People weren’t reading on phones. Resizing your browser window didn’t rearrange and resize things on most sites. (“Above the fold” still kind of meant above the fold.) You probably weren’t using browser tabs back then
- How to succeed as a writer (What I’ve learned by reading Bill Simmons) — Not that I’ve succeeded as a writer, but I enjoy posting here and do it somewhat regularly. Beating resistance a few times a week is a small success. Some people get inspired by Stephen King’s desk or a DIY backyard writing shack. Personally, I get my inspiration from the image of Simmons handwriting drafts of his column in Dunkin’ Donuts then re-typing them to post in AOL’s walled garden.
Took me 10 minutes to find this but here’s a photo with the filename 20091117 BlackBerry 9700.jpg
This is from a 2009 Book of Basketball signing in Seattle. You can guess with what phone.
On the interview with Koppelman, Simmons talks about going to a book signing and telling someone that they’re his hero. Then that’s that. You step away and the next person gets their book signed and life goes on. There’s no back and forth banter. (“That’s great to hear I’m your hero because you’re my hero also!”)
Anyway, I didn’t even get that far. I got star struck and couldn’t really even cough up a “Yes, thanks” when asked “C-E-S?”
Anyway, go listen to the interview. Koppelman is a great interviewer and digs into the transition from writer to multi-hyphenate podcaster-tv-business guy. (Also check out this previous convo between them in memory of William Goldman, who’s mentioned in this post’s notecard image.)
I’ll continue going through more old photos.