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intrepid media turns 11
one louder
by joe procopio (@jproco)
pop culture

We're so old, we have babies.

No, seriously.

Intrepid Media has been around since the Internet steam engine era of 1999. Back then, we were a scrappy little zine that basically existed to poke fun at pop-culture.

You know, mission accomplished and all that.

But as Intrepid Media grew, we began to take on more and more people who were serious about putting stuff up on the web that didn't suck. The engine, the works, the technology that makes Intrepid Media go, is still essentially the same as it was 11 years ago, only there's more of it, held together by duct tape and powered by hamsters in wheels. I mean, it's only been two years that we're no longer running from a Pentium III PC out of a closet.

The point is, it isn't the technology that makes Intrepid Media tick, or last. It isn't the trends or the cutting edge ideas or the notoriety.

We've eschewed the social media and social marketing vibe since the early days. We watched blogging come and go and then come back. We flirted with calling ourselves a social network for writers, and maybe we are, but we're not here to break new ground on the way America socializes or networks. We're not that interested in gaining mindshare or selling ads.

I'm very sure that a movie about me and the gang would be awful. Not as awful as The Social Network, but awful.

Except the parts about Walker.

I'll hit it again. We're here to make sure the web doesn't totally suck. We don't need a 140 character limit, we don't need to sell your data or push your likes onto others or establish grass roots campaigns for politicians. We're not doing it with video or analytics or celebrities. We don't need, and certainly don't want to have, millions of members.

For the last 11 years we've been pumping out new, amazing, fun columns every other day from our pack of established writers as well as a slew of newcomers and regular visitors. We've made a career or two (without dropping names), we've been to NYC and Vegas for blowout parties, and we regularly get to do cool things like meet Vint Cerf or Christian Kane, or get invited to go out to dinner with the Top Chef DC crew.

We're not journalists. Column inches in Intrepid Media won't make you the next Justin Bieber. In fact, a mention in Intrepid is probably a bad thing, as it's likely to have the words "douchebag" or "media-whore" somewhere in the paragraph.

We get to try out ideas that don't work (again, we'll refrain from name dropping). And when they don't work, we get to scrap them and laugh and start on something new. Writers used to quit when they hit a wall, but now we've all realized that quitting this would be like quitting a monthly BBQ with all your friends. All you have to do is bring a dish that doesn't suck.

It isn't that we're purposely thumbing our nose at any of this, it's just that, well, that's what happened. Who knows, you could wake up tomorrow and Intrepid Media could be the next Facebook that isn't horrible. Until it is horrible, but that's not to say we wouldn't try.

It's about priorities. It's about the content. It's about the ideas and the humor and the provocation and getting it all down coherently and sharing it with our friends and a few thousand acquaintances.

And for some reason, it's also about the babies. At least 2010 is. And Michelle and Joe, Jason and Trenekia, and Mike and Heather, I hope Intrepid is still around for Joey, Amina, and Luke to put awesome content into.

Thanks to everyone for an incredible 11 years. Here's to another. And maybe this year we'll try location-based streaming check-in for group discounts on apps.


Joe Procopio trades in pop culture and tech culture, allowing him to poke fun at so many things. He's written for a number of online and offline publications from the late, lamented Smug to the fancy-pants Chicago Tribune and also for television. He's a novelist, a shredder, a joker, and a family man. Scoff at joeprocopio.com or follow on Twitter @jproco.

more about joe procopio


one eighty
looking for inspiration? try changing direction
by joe procopio
topic: pop culture
published: 6.1.07

yeah, you do it too
by joe procopio
topic: pop culture
published: 6.1.11


tracey kelley
9.17.10 @ 7:44a

Right back atcha, babe.

erik myers
9.17.10 @ 8:13a

This might be best Intrepid Media mission statement I've ever read. Awesome.

jeff miller
9.17.10 @ 9:26a

I have a vivid memory of submitting my first column 'Queen Britney Ushers in the New Metal Age,' in July 2000. I was working as a web designer in a South Boston loft space, and I'd been reading Joe's columns in Smug, thinking ,wow, Joe can really write. I was nervous and excited when he invited me to write something for Intrepid.
That first experience – and the real-time critiques and encouragement I received – gave me the confidence to continue writing, which has become something that I love to do. It may never pay the bills, but it's a meaningful thing. Intrepid fueled a kind of creative awakening that's become an essential part of who I am.
I know, I'm wickid sentimental.
I may be an inconsistent contributor, but I've always been proud to be part of this innovative, inspirational creative community. Thanks to Joe, and all of you who keep this thing running and relevant. Here's to the continued evolution of all things Intrepid!

joe procopio
9.17.10 @ 9:38a

Wow. Humbled. Thanks, buddy.

adam kraemer
9.17.10 @ 9:42a

In fact, a mention in Intrepid is probably a bad thing, as it's likely to have the words "douchebag" or "media-whore" somewhere in the paragraph.

I think you forgot "asshat."

Nice job, Joe. Proud to have been a part of all this for so long.

michelle von euw
9.17.10 @ 12:48p

Fantastic column -- summarizes the OMFG 11 years of this website in an unbelievable way. This is why you rock, Boss.

And Joey's first media mention: I think I need to put this in his baby book.

jeffrey walker
9.17.10 @ 12:59p

"Writers used to quit when they hit a wall, but now we've all realized that quitting this would be like quitting a monthly BBQ with all your friends."

This is a great summation of us. I did "retire", and came back for reasons I may never totally know, but it's just fun to keep pushing the envelope a little, even when it seems futile.

"Except the parts about Walker." - many thanks and mildly modest appreciation. I live to live.

katherine (aka clevertitania)
9.17.10 @ 3:13p

Thanks to this site, I now keep a book in my purse with my byline - and a picture of me in a cape- in it. So how cool is that?

I wish I could remember how I stumbled onto IM, but since everyone knows how lousy my memory is, I think I'll spare myself the brain racking. :)

Now only do I love the good feedback you get on this site (without the trolls), but I like that no one seems to mind that I tend to write in seasonal waves.

And Adam's right, how could you forget asshat? :P

lucy lediaev
9.17.10 @ 3:31p

I've been away tending to life's little details, but I was inspired by the 11 year anniversary and this column to write here once again. Cheers to all who have made Intrepid Media a success!

dan gonzalez
9.19.10 @ 12:56a

Although I was a writing major, I'd pretty much packed it in for almost 10 years until I randomly stumbled on this site (I saw it in a signature Jeff Miller attached to a post he put in a Rush forum, of all geeky things). Seemed like a cool name, so I checked it out. Instantaneously hooked. Initially I was convinced it was professional journalism, but with a refreshing, anti-establishment take on a pleasantly broad scope of topics, and I was fired up to see something like that in the otherwise banal web/print media wasteland. It inspired me, made me want to dust off my chops and see if there was anything left. I'm still stunned when I consider that the staff had day jobs, considering that you consistently put together superior commentary compared to the crew of hacks formerly known as the fourth estate, or the bunch of whackjobs known as the 'citizen media'. You guys take the 'blah' out of 'Blog'. It may be that, because it isn't most of your day jobs, that you do it better than the supposed pros, because you can afford the narrative distance required to be truly insightful. That may be one part, but the fact is you have to be talented to take advantage of that, and you all did, and for my money, you are the most creative and engaging bunch of writers I've ever come across in one single shop, and I..

Shit, upon review, I'm no longer sure where I was going with all that...

Oh yeah, THANK YOU, INTREPID, for everything. Anyone can be mediocre, but you have to dare to be great, and you guys are!

dan gonzalez
9.19.10 @ 1:38a

P.S. I'm sorry to see that Jael is not a part of the Great Intrepid Baby Wave, that would be another comforting sign that intelligent life will, indeed, continue on this planet. And, not to mention, for me it would be long sought-after evidense that she is once-and-for-all over me and sufficiently happy enough with what's-his-face that she'd finally quit lying to her parole officer and then I could finally come out of hiding and resume what was my normal life before she so selfishly and obsessively took it from me.

But alas, some of us still seem to be in serious denial.

Note to self: Re-up the restraining order soonest, Crazy McLegs is still out there.

jael mchenry
9.20.10 @ 9:02a

Great column. Also utterly great graphic. So representative that Graphic Joe is trying to hide his face and not standing up taking credit for the whole spectacular around here.

We're all here because Joe's here. THANK YOU.

tim lockwood
9.29.10 @ 4:08a

I don't write consistently - never have - but only the good stuff (or whatever I have that passes for good stuff) goes to Intrepid Media. Every so often, I wander back to read "The Encapsulator", which was the first story I ever wrote at IM in July of 2000. It still amuses the crap out of me, and I consider it my best work still extant on the Internet (there was some good stuff once upon a time at AOL, but it is long gone). I hope one day to write something like it again.

Thanks to the existence of IM, there is a venue where it could happen. IM has always been all about the possibilities. Even if I rarely take advantage of the possibilities, it is nice to know they are still here whenever I am ready. Thanks, Joe, for keeping the window of opportunity open for me and others who don't always get around to writing like they should.

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