Nick Denton, Oprah Winfrey And The Art Of Getting Laid


Let’s talk about sex.

Not Sam Sugar Sex or Cowboy Sex or anything like that.

My friends and I managed to boil down our handbook for getting laid down to one sentence.

It’s the same principle used to make a good product into a successful brand people rave about.

And yes, it can really all be boiled down to one deceptive sentence.

But if you get it you’re guaranteed not only fulfilled nights but raving fans which will make you wealthy beyond your dreams.

Here’s the sentence.

Treat the smart girls like they are pretty and the pretty girls like they are smart.

Since some of you are rolling your eyes so let me repeat it.

Treat the smart girls like they are pretty and the pretty girls like they are smart.


Ever heard of Oprah Winfrey?

She used to be just another daytime talk show host. Successful but nothing really special.

Then she had an epiphany.

She decide to treat her middle class audience of single mothers and stay at home moms different than everyone else.

Instead of talking about different ways to lose weight she started a book club.

Instead of showing the latest fashions from Paris she talked about politics.

Instead of showing ‘gotcha’ Jerry Springer type shows she decided to tell her audience they could change the world.

She treated her audience of ‘pretty women’ like they were smart.

And how did her audience repay her? They made her one of the most powerful women in the world.

Treat the smart women like they are pretty and treat the pretty women like they are smart.


Remember Hugh Heffner?

Instead of treating men who wanted to look at naked chicks like men who wanted to look at naked chicks, he treated them like men who wanted to look at naked chicks and also wanted to read about Jimmy Carter’s New Marshall Plan.

He filled his magazine with not only naked chicks but well written articles about automobiles, politics and religion.

And how did his audience repay him? They made him an icon.

Treat the smart girls like they are pretty and the pretty girls like they are smart.


The same thing is going on in the blog network space.

Who is Nick Denton’s audience? Highly-Educated, urban folks.

And how does he treat these smart people?

If they are interested in news he gives them loud tabloid headlines to stories which are not really important.

If they are over-educated New York dwellers he gives them a site which makes fun of the famous.

If they are nerds interested in computer stuff he gives them stories about their sex lives.

He treats his smart audience like they are pretty. Like they are the cool kids they never are in the real world.

Treat the smart girls like they are pretty and the pretty girls like they are smart.

Got it?


Now go get yourself laid.

(this post was inspired by the comments section of Successful-Blog and my friend Henry Michel)

Explore posts in the same categories: blog networks, branding, cowboy, Gawker Media, money, old media, Oprah, successful-blog

20 Comments on “Nick Denton, Oprah Winfrey And The Art Of Getting Laid”

  1. Dave Says:

    Char, you can’t use Hugh Heffner for this, You are not telling me men buy playboy to read about Jimmy Carter… what playbloy and Heff did, was give an excuse to a guy who, when it was found he had a copy, could say he bought it for the great article on the Aston Matin DB9 ! , but nobody ever bought playbloy for the articles, its like saying the swimsuit edition of sports illustrated which is out this week is bought for the insight into sports , though it sells about 3 million more copies than every other week. No argument on the line for women though.

  2. chartreuse Says:

    I respectfully stand behind Hugh.

    Anyone could have put out a sex magazine. There were many out already. What made Playboy special was that he treated his audience different. He treated them like they were smart. It doesn’t matter if they are smart are not.

    Most Oprah watchers don’t buy the books she promote.

    The point is to treat your audience different than they expect to be treated. (Am I making sense?)

  3. Anthony Says:

    You are now officially my life coach.

  4. Brian Clark Says:

    great post… Dave, you’re right, but Hugh allowed men to use the articles as excuses, therefore letting them appear smart. Because the articles were well-written and not dumbed down, the men felt that Hugh considered them worthy of that level of discourse. The way an audience feels it is perceived by a communicator influences their perception of themselves.

  5. Dave Says:

    Yeah , you make sense, and i agree, i only take issue on Heff, because I don’t think his intention was to treat his market smart, his intention was to make it look like you were not buying a porn mag, and hopefully keep himself out of the tpye of problems that Larry Flint got when he launched Hustler.

  6. chartreuse Says:

    Brian, thanks for explaning that better than I.

    Anthony, I suggest you read some of my other posts. You may be in trouble…

  7. Brian Clark Says:

    Not many marketing tactics are altruistic. That applies to Heff *and* Oprah.

  8. Dave Says:

    Ok… now i am off for a copy of Sports Illustrated because i think there is a great Winter Olympics feature this week…

  9. RT Says:

    Maybe it’s because Oprah and Denton appeal to the masses, and not to others in their industry, they do well… is that what you are getting at? Besides Andy Hagans, Darren Rowse and a few others, why are so many networks blogging about blogging and talking about blogging,isn’t the ponit of an online media network to feature MEDIA to the public that can be found in magazines and TV ONLINE? It’s fine if thats what identifies them, but it shouldn’t be the main focus if the goal is to be a true media company.

    Maybe I am coming into this differently, I was involved in publishing print media (magazines…)so im not too sure of the goals of many networks. There definitely , in my opinion, is a difference between a media network and a blog network.

  10. Anthony Says:

    chartreuse, don’t worry, there are others within the my team of life coaches so there’s no need to be pressured. Some of the others you’ll be working alongside include Harry Shearer, Ben Folds and Stephen Colbert.

  11. Vince Chan Says:

    Is there a reason or simply coincidence why you decided to reveal this secret on Valentine’s day? =)

  12. gizo Says:

    what about people who are both smart *and* pretty?

  13. RT Says:

    they still read gawker

  14. chartreuse Says:

    {what about people who are both smart *and* pretty? }

    You call them girlfriend.

  15. […] Finally a sofa opened up and we sat down. Since my friends and I had not yet figured out the art of getting laid, I was surprised and happy to see that she was not mad when I, in an 18-year-old-trying-to-be-casual-way, put my arms around her shoulders. […]

  16. […] Burger King always seems to have some cool trick up their sleeve. They had the Subservient Chicken and the “King” Halloween Masks. So when I went there today for lunch I wasn’t surprised when I saw their new gimic. At first I kind of just absorbed the feeling the signs were projecting, but then I just started smiling once I realized what was going on. It reminded me of something I had read online. A post on the Chartreuse blog. He said “Treat the smart girls like they are pretty and the pretty girls like they are smart.” and that was exactly what was going on. […]

  17. […] Let me be smarter than you are. and sweeter too. Chartreuse says, “Treat the smart girls like they are pretty and the pretty girls like they are smart.” Believe me, it works for boys too. That is the key to customer relationships and to building customer evangelists. That is the intangible value-added, making the customer the center of all you do. […]

  18. Bob Says:

    Very insightful really, but what do you say to a pretty woman who is smart?

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