Wanna Be The Next Director Of The MIT Media Lab?

November 18, 2010 — 0

MIT Media Lab

Position Description: Director, MIT Media Lab


The Director is expected to artfully guide the Media Lab through its next decade of innovation and world influence—and inspire a powerful Lab vision made possible by a highly interdisciplinary, exceptionally talented, and creative body of faculty and students. The Director will serve as an effective organizational leader, and be a poised and creative


One Of The Best Jobs Ever

March 1, 2010 — 2

Two years ago, I read a New Yorker piece about Brian Grazer’s search for a new cultural attache.  I wanted a job like that. Or maybe I wanted to hire my own culutral attache.


So many times, I meet with people who make little or no obvious sense to meet with for my core business. I’m drawn to them because they don’t think like anybody else, they’re relentless visionaries, they “break things” (as one of my colleages put it, last week). Classical music conductors, inventors, architects, painters, poets, politicians, religious leaders, sports trainers… I invite them for a visit or we meet out somewhere. Sometimes crazygood shit comes from it, sometimes nothing real. But every time, I end up busting out of my normal creative rhythm, dizzy with ideas, and I can’t sleep for a couple of days.  Those are the moments when I feel I grow the most. And hopefully I offer them each something, too.

Last week, I met Brad Grossman, mentioned below, Grazer’s favorite attache of all time.  Now Brad’s business is booming and he’s advising a few other top secret clients.  And I’m dying to find a way to work with Brad somehow.  Or introduce him to everyone I know.

 From The New Yorker


Want Ad: Beautiful Minds

by Lizzie Widdicombe

Bored at work? Victim of a hiring freeze? In the past few weeks, word has been circulating, among the post-collegiate cubicle crowd, about an exciting new job opportunity. The rumor, according to one (unofficial) e-mail: “Oscar-winning producer Brian Grazer (Da Vinci Code, A Beautiful Mind, American Gangster) is looking for a new cultural attaché.” The e-mail explained:

This person would be responsible for keeping Brian abreast of everything that’s going on in the world; politically, culturally, musically. . . . They’re also responsible for finding an interesting person for Brian to meet with every week . . . an astronaut, a journalist, a philosopher, a buddhist monk. . . . There is LOTS of reading for this position! Grazer may ask you to read any book he’s interested in. You’ll probably get to read about 4 or 5 books a week and you may be required to travel with him on his private plane to Hawaii, New York, Europe—teaching him anything he asks you about along the way. . . . You will also be provided with an assistant. . . . Salary is around $150,000 a year. . . . You will be to Grazer what Karl Rove was to Bush.

“This job is kind of an urban legend in Hollywood,” a twenty-five-year-old assistant in the movie business said last week. (She had received a similar e-mail, describing the position as Grazer’s “idea curator.”) Rovian undertones aside, it’s actually an old concept: according to Anthony Grafton, a history professor at Princeton, Renaissance and Enlightenment princes often had such a minion, known as a “reader.” Frederick the Great, of Prussia, cribbed much of his expertise from a reader named Dantal; Sir Philip Sidney relied on a Livy scholar named Gabriel Harvey to brief him before a meeting with the Holy Roman Emperor.

Cultural attaché to a movie producer. Not a bad gig. But who, in this post-Renaissance era, could do it? Michael Rosenberg, the president of Imagine, the production company Grazer owns with Ron Howard, said that about a hundred would-be attachés have e-mailed résumés since word of the job got out. One was Ed Cooke, twenty-six, a British writer and education consultant. His résumé: philosophy-and-psych degree from Oxford, three languages, a demonstrated interest in “the philosophy of cricket.” “This seemed like a job that would suit me,” Cooke said. He’d sent in a list of interesting people: the medieval scholar Mary Carruthers; the cricket star Shane Warne; Dmitri Nabokov.

But Cooke didn’t make the final cut. By last week, Grazer’s staff had already narrowed the potential attachés down to four finalists, who would interview with the boss. “I’ve met a lot of good candidates,” Grazer said, reached on his cell phone en route to a meeting with the screenwriter for “Angels and Demons.” He said that he’d been hiring cultural attachés for twenty years, ever since he asked Jonas Salk’s assistant to help him track down interesting people in science. Fifteen or twenty people have held the job since then. (The “attaché” title started out as a joke.) “They have to be really resourceful,” Grazer said. “I like to meet people in dangerous organizations, and my cultural attaché finds out who that person is—who runs the Yakuza, or the Masons, or MI5.” The best attaché so far, Grazer said, has been Brad Grossman, the current one, who is leaving the post, after four years. Grossman is thirty-two; he owned a tutoring business before taking the job, and Grazer said that he is especially good at explaining the things he’s asked to learn about—bacteria or makeup or superdelegates. “I’m looking for a person who has that teacherlike quality,” Grazer said. “Also, it’s good to have a person who is a connector, who is liked by people.”

Grazer has had one bad attaché experience. “A few years ago, I hired this really smarty-pants Harvard guy,” he said. “He was just remarkably lazy. If he didn’t get the Wall Street Journal on his desk, it was like it didn’t exist.” Still, he said, the experience came with a lesson: “Under no condition can you teach curiosity.”


A Shitty Job In Times Square

November 5, 2009 — 1

Every year, Charmin’s holiday poop pop-up store here in Times Square manages to thrill the toursists who just can’t contain their excrement excitement. It’s a shitty job, but somebody’s got to do it…