Sam Taggart’s Hard Sell

Door-to-door salespeople sound like an endangered, if not extinct, species. Brushes? Vacuums? Knives? Nope. Try home security systems and solar panels. In this wide-ranging and captivating piece, Tad Friend goes inside the current state of the “knocker” industry and comes out with a treasure trove of anecdotes and psychological insights.

Schanz requires his execs to knock doors for a week each year; in 2019, he spent his own week in a town in northeast Louisiana and sold two hundred and five accounts—a total that might take a merely great salesman half a year. He installed systems for local officials and paid them a hundred dollars for each referral who bought in, got more leads from church congregants after he dropped a thousand dollars in the collection plate, and then raced from house to house, sweeping the town clean like the Pied Piper of Hamelin.

Author: Tad Friend
Source: The New Yorker
Published: Aug 1, 2022
Length: 37 minutes (9,497 words)

Why Ageism Never Gets Old

Tad Friend takes a look at the ways in which ageism is perpetuated in a variety of fields, particularly tech, where rapid-fire advances in technology keep rendering obsolete the knowledge and skills of those who are older.

Author: Tad Friend
Source: The New Yorker
Published: Nov 20, 2017
Length: 18 minutes (4,530 words)

When Vine Was Hollywood’s Future

Twitter just decided to discontinue its six-second-video app. This is a dramatic end for a platform that launched numerous viral hits and entertainment careers.

Author: Tad Friend
Source: New Yorker
Published: Dec 15, 2014
Length: 26 minutes (6,575 words)

The Mogul of the Middle

Friend goes inside the offices of STX Entertainment in Burbank, California, providing a revealing look at how movies are green lit, made and marketed in a foundering industry.

Author: Tad Friend
Source: The New Yorker
Published: Jan 4, 2016
Length: 44 minutes (11,000 words)

Tomorrow’s Advance Man

A profile of Netscape cofounder and Andreessen Horowitz venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, and a look at the current risks and rewards of tech VC funding.

Author: Tad Friend
Source: The New Yorker
Published: May 11, 2015
Length: 54 minutes (13,580 words)

The Last of the Wasps

In an excerpt from Tad Friend’s new memoir, Cheerful Money, he explains the proper way to say “tomato,” where his family’s money went, and what makes him a Wasp.

Author: Tad Friend
Source: The Daily Beast
Published: Sep 27, 2009
Length: 12 minutes (3,177 words)

Jumpers: The Fatal Grandeur of the Golden Gate Bridge

Every two weeks, on average, someone jumps off the Golden Gate Bridge. It is the world’s leading suicide location. In the eighties, workers at a local lumberyard formed “the Golden Gate Leapers Association”—a sports pool in which bets were placed on which day of the week someone would jump. At least twelve hundred people have been seen jumping or have been found in the water since the bridge opened, in 1937, including Roy Raymond, the founder of Victoria’s Secret, in 1993, and Duane Garrett, a Democratic fund-raiser and a friend of Al Gore’s, in 1995.

Author: Tad Friend
Source: The New Yorker
Published: Oct 13, 2003
Length: 21 minutes (5,385 words)