“What tech CEOs can learn from pop bloggers T Lo”

Cute piece from the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch, applying the “Be Me or Do Me” way of life to the last people we would have thought of:

“Tech CEOs could stand out by listening to their inner selves instead of adopting what they see around them, the bloggers say.

“You are the image you project,” T Lo write. “People decide who you are based on what you tell them, so make sure you tell them you’re someone who can get a couture gown, a clutch, a pair of Louboutins, and jewelry worth four years of Ivy League education with one phone call, for free. Figuratively speaking.”

Fitzgerald does the bulk of the duo’s writing, while Marquez gathers photos, guides their coverage, and deals with advertisers and tech issues. The site started to make money four years ago, and that’s when they decided to quit their day jobs. Now the highlight of their year is attending Fashion Week in New York. “We work like drudges for 50 weeks out of the year, and for two weeks a year we live like Carrie Bradshaw,” Fitzgerald said, referring to the protagonist in the TV show “Sex and the City.”

Their advice to anyone thinking of leaving their day job to pursue a dream could also apply to anyone looking at doing their own start-up, especially in Silicon Valley, where copycat companies are becoming rife again, as they were during the dot-com boom over a decade ago.

“Find your own voice,” Marquez said. “Find something unique, find something that’s different, find a niche.” 

Gosh, those guys sure sound smart.

 

  • Will T Lo Ever Shut Up?

    No, probably not. You know us, darlings. Once you get us started, we just keep yakking away. This time, the fine folks at FLARE magazine were kind enough to listen to our ramblings.

    A huge part of your blog is red-carpet fashion commentary. Who’s your favourite celebrity to write about?
    T: Chloë Sevigny. We treat it like a creative writing challenge every time. Chloë is very much one of those celebrities who plays a character every time she steps out onto a red carpet, which is exactly what actresses should do when it comes to their public style. Every time we write about her, we give her a new character to play. We give her a name, we give her a background. It’s always a lot of fun. She gives us so much material to work with.

    Your first book, Everyone Wants to Be Me or Do Me, has just hit shelves. What do you hope readers will take from it?
    T: The most important sentence in the book is found in the introduction: “Life is all about resisting the impulse to believe the world when it tries to tell you who you are.” You should never look to celebrities for advice on financial management or child rearing or nutrition or fitness, because their results in those areas are always appalling. But those are always the areas that they try and give you advice on! If you must look to celebrities, look to them for how they promote themselves; how they create a story and an image of themselves and then push that image out into the world and force the world to accept it.

    What has it been like to interact with your fans on your book tour?
    T: That has been freaking amazing. What we do for a living is very solitary; just the two of us churning out content 14 hours a day, every day. People think it’s very glamorous; I always say, No no no! We work like drudges 50 weeks out of the year, and two weeks out of the year we get to be Carrie Bradshaw, and that’s fashion week. We had never encountered our readers as a group before, and I can’t even tell you what a gift it was: the outpouring of love, and just being able to put faces on our readers. And I remember faces! Sometimes when we’re writing, I will haul up an image of a reader I’ve met and try to write the post to him or her… We’ve been surprised by how incredibly grateful people can be when you’ve provided them some entertainment to help them get through their day. People say stuff like, Thank you, you got me through a breakup. You got me through my mother’s cancer. You got me through my cancer! You got me through my husband’s deployment. It’s awesome and humbling. You’re just banging out your little bitchy lines about hemlines and shoes, and you don’t stop to think, I’m helping someone get through their day.

  • T Lo STILL Won’t Shut Up

    Two fun “Be Me or Do Me”-based interviews this week, darlings. First up, a fun little sit-down with the Chicago Sun-Times’ Splash magazine, with possibly our favorite thing ever written about us:

    “If there’s one thing that can be said with certainty about Tom Fitzgerald and Lorenzo Marquez — or TLo, as they’ve been affectionately dubbed by fans — it’s that they’re unabashedly themselves.”

    We take that as high damn praise. You should go read the whole thing just to show some love, but here’s a tease:

    “The two, who’ve been a couple for 17 years and tied the knot in July, were pleasantly surprised by the fan base that followed. “I don’t think we’re writing about things that are innovative or that other people aren’t writing about,” Tom says. “Whatever success we’ve had is because we stay true to our own voices.” And while the medium has changed, the new tome is still shot through with the couple’s uncensored opinion. “It’s purely through our eyes and out of our mouths,” Tom says. “People find that entertaining, and it’s why we don’t have ghost writers and why we don’t have editors. It’s just the two of us.”

    Damn straight. Except not.

    In other news (literally), we just LOVE that we’re now go-to commentators on all things celebrity, as the New York Daily News asked us our thoughts on Gwyneth’s “conscious uncoupling” and other such silly celeb-divorce conceits:

    “With Gwyneth, I see a very masterful plan in manipulating her own image in this ‘consciously uncoupled’ period they’re going through,” Fitzgerald says. “There have been so many rumors about their marriage for years, and she’s definitely trying to minimize the stuff about them for the next couple months.”

    We were less kind about the Jenners but more kind about the Bloom-Kerr split.We have opinions on all three (of course) in the piece.

    Not that it was a life goal or anything (okay, maybe a little), but we can’t help feeling a sense of MISSION: ACCOMPLISHED when a journalist calls us up and asks for a sound bite about something other than Project Runway. It’s been a long road from fan bloggers to pop culture commentators.

    Yes, we’re preening. But if we can’t preen a little on our own book site, then when can we, darlings?

     

     

  • ICYMI: T Lo Won’t Shut Up

    In all the running around last month, we forgot to post the following interviews with us chat-chat-chatting away, to our heart’s content about our favorite subject: ourselves our book. First up, our appearance on D.C.’s Fox 5 morning show:

    DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

    And considering T Lo don’t do mornings, we think that went well – although Tom is burning that sweater as we speak. But we died of happiness the first time we saw our faces on TV with the chyron “Fabulous & Opinionated” under them. Mission: ACCOMPLISHED.

    After that, we did a really fun interview for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune for our Mall of America appearance. It’s not embeddable, so you’ll have to go there to watch it, but we think it might be our best on-camera interview yet. Then again, no one’s ever asked us about Jon Hamm’s penis before, so that kind of set the tone.

  • T Lo & EWTBMODM in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Darlings, our new best friend Debra Bass of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch just wrote a lovely summary and review of the book, along with an interview she conducted with us. It’s always gratifying when people get what we were going for. Some excerpts:

    “An unexpected pair of irreverent cultural observers are reshaping the way we look at celebrity.

    With razor-sharp wit and a keen sense of humor, Tom Fitzgerald and Lorenzo Marquez of TomandLorenzo.com preach a slightly different point of view from their popular cult blogging pulpit.”

    “‘Life is all about resisting the impulse to believe the world when it tries to tell you who you are,’ the dynamic duo explain, and they do that in this book by examining how celebrities convince themselves and everyone else that they’re special.”

    “The duo dissect the nature of celebrity in fine hilarious detail, including adultery as marketing tool, foreign babies as props and the dubious glamour of professionally begging for free clothing and accessories.”

    Fitzgerald and Marquez, a pair of 40-something partners in blogging and life, have made a comfortable life talking about celebrity fashion full time, but they do not worship at the altar of celebrity transcendence. They will gush over a red carpet gown in a golden hue with beaded detail, but they don’t think that qualifies a person to give you political, religious or relationship advice.

    Celebrities are people not deities, so respond accordingly. And though we should all aspire to have a life worth emulating, some of us, including many celebrities, will fall far short of that goal.

    In small ways, we are all celebrities (we all have a status among friends, family and the social media republic) Fitzgerald and Marquez reason, so their book is filled with clever affirmations seeking to impart this celebrity wisdom: “The stars have entire armies of people dedicated to telling them how fabulous they are every day of their lives. You have a mirror. Get in front of it and be your own publicist, darling.”

     

  • T Lo Have Le Talk with L’Etoile Magazine

    Darlings we sat down with the fabulous Todd O’Dowd of the fabulous l’etoile magazine and spewed our thoughts and opinions in every direction because he just couldn’t stop asking for them. It’s quite the intense little interview. Here’s a couple things we had to say about the book:

    “This book literally arose out of conversations the two of us have had over the last seven years every time we talk about the latest thing some celebrity did, or said, or happened to them. Because we started realizing the same things happen to them over and over again. There are all these tropes that play out over and over again in the celebrity world, and I don’t think we’re being profound by pointing these things out. The book is first and foremost meant to be funny. So, we want to have fun pointing these out, but we also hope that we have a slightly unique perspective on some of it because of who we are. Because of our success – whatever success we’ve ever had and we’ve said this about three times already in this interview – comes down to us being true to our voice, being true to Tom and Lorenzo. That’s why the site is named after us; because it’s not some generic site, it’s not some generic gay site, it is the world through our eyes. It is celebrity, fashion, and style through our eyes and our conversations.”

    “The book isn’t a novel – there’s no story in the book – but you actually can track the life of a character if you wanted to apply it. There’s a Jennifer that keeps getting mentioned in the book. You know, we picked that name because it’s a stand in for the word Generic. …And it’s one of the most generic celebrity names there is. It is not literally Jennifer’s story, but you can see it that way. You can see how it starts from a little girl and ends with an old woman, and along the way she grows up, she learns how to style herself, she gets a career, she gets a husband or a relationship, she has children, she goes through disappointments, she has to apologize for things, and all of that. She has her own little meltdown at some point and everything comes crashing down around her. But it’s not just the life of a generic star, it’s actually tying it to everybody’s life. You really can track certain aspects of your own life throughout the book. Again, this is all meant to be in fun; we’re not trying to overstate the profundity of this book, but it is meant to be relatable on that level. It’s about your life, and it’s about the ups and downs of this generic star’s life.”

    There’s much more, so go and give the fine folks over there a click. You’ll find out which star we think is winning the celebrity game above all other stars – but she’s due for a fall within the next 18 months or so.

  • T Lo’s Tips on How to Become Famous

    We did a fun interview for the New York Post, riffing on most of the themes and jokes in the book:

    “Decide you are beautiful

    “Being beautiful is something you determine yourself and tell the world, which is why we’re in a period where beauty is being defined by eating disorders, spray tans and extensions,” says Fitzgerald. “Celebrities have this incredible amount of power in terms of defining certain things for the culture. One of the things is what beauty is in the modern era. As twisted as that is, there’s something a little bit admirable about that. If [only] we could all just say, ‘I am beautiful. Accept it.’ There is something blindly, delusionally, wonderful about the way they do that.”

    Assume that everything you do is interesting

    “You have to go through every situation assuming that everybody is fascinated by every single thing that you do,” says Fitzgerald. “And after you convince yourself of that, everything is on the table. Exiting a car with a short skirt with no underwear on, public drunkenness, sex on a hotel balcony. The sky’s the limit.”

    Plagiarize poetry

    “Use social media in a way to make you seem deeper and more profound than you actually are,” says Fitzgerald. “Post bizarre little snippets of poetry that you probably plagiarized from somewhere else.”

    “And then put it with a picture you took of the sky,” adds Marquez.”

    Go and read the whole thing, darlings.

  • T Lo Talks Celebrity Romance

    From the Associated Press, via ABC NEWS:

    “AP: What can we learn from celebrities about romance?

    Tom: They don’t have relationships and they don’t have romances. They canoodle, and that is a very public form of a courtship dance that allows them to do this stuff in front of paparazzi while still maintaining a deniability. Do a whole themed celebrity scandal night. Leave a restaurant and pull a coat over your head and see what happens. Ask for a dark table at a restaurant and hide behind your menus. Just pretend that everyone’s interested in your love life. It makes it much, much, much more fun. Go have sex on a hotel balcony.

    Lorenzo: Take a picture of yourself in the car with somebody and tweet it out but let them wonder who it is. Facebook mysteriously that you’re going to have a wonderful night, you can’t wait, and keep them guessing.”

    Go, as they say, and read the whole thing. We were approached by the AP to give tips for Valentine’s Day (because this is our life now, noted with no small amount of amusement) and while we wondered ahead of time whether such a hook for an interview made much sense for us, we wound up really enjoying ourselves and running with the concept. It was a fun interview. Which is good, because it’s likely to be the most widely read interview of the two of us for the foreseeable future.

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