Platforms like YouTube and Instagram may come and fade. But, content and e-commerce will always be important. This was one of the points Benjamin Clymer, the founder of the game-changing watch portal Hodinkee, made in an interview a few days ago.
“We believe content and commerce is the future of everything, whether that is the New York Times, Hearst or whatever,” Clymer, a 38-year-old banker-journalist-entrepreneur, told WatchPro.com.
“I can only speak for myself, and I still love the written word. YouTube content is great but a little like social media. Instagram is passé and on its last breath. Twitter was almost irrelevant before Donald Trump became President and started going crazy on it. These platforms have a life cycle. YouTube is not our business, Instagram is not our business. Our business is Hodinkee, and we want to be in control of that.”
Recently, Hodinkee received $40 million in funding, which raised the company’s value to about $100 million. Its investors include American football’s golden boy Tom Brady, musician John Mayer, iPod creator Tony Fadell and even the giant of old world luxury, the LVMH Group.
It is fascinating to think now that Hodinkee started in 2008 as a blog, which Clymer would write at his desk when he worked for UBS. The company’s name comes from ‘hodinky’, a Czech/Slovak word for wrist watches. Clymer reportedly chose the eccentric label as a dig at the snobbery of the luxury watch world. Even if he is among the caviar set himself now, he maintains that love for all kinds of watches, and not just expensive ones, is the company’s DNA.
“I love Watches of Switzerland (a leading watch distributor) and think they do a great job, but anybody can sell a Rolex. It is not the same thing as fostering a real appreciation for watches. I do not consider people walking in off the street to buy a Rolex, just because it is a Rolex, part of our community.”
Hodinkee’s plan with their war chest is to continue selling quality watches and accessories along with offering attractive content, such as its ‘Talking Watches’ interviews with celebrities.
“The real business is the commercial side,” Clymer admits, while also reiterating the importance of content. “We will hire new editors, new photographers, new videographers. We want to produce the very best content. We have a track record of that. It might surprise some folks, but we believe the future is all about content.”