Letter from the Editor
“What has surprised you over the past few years?”
Whether I’m speaking about Need, fashion, media, or design, this has become one of the most pervasive questions of my career.
Last week, for instance — during Dallas Startup Week — thousands of people descended upon Downtown Dallas. Whether curious about the process or eager to learn about the vibrant undercurrent of local activity, there was a diverse swarm of people at each and every event I visited.
For many of these people, the motivation of their attendance was simple. It was not to learn about the nuances of digital marketing or excessive hashtag usage, but, rather, to weigh the perceived risks of creating something.
In many respects, life is an ongoing tension between risks and decisions. From the moment you wake to the moment you sleep, your life is comprised of a series of decisions, all of which revolve around the assessment of risk.
(That’s probably one of the least romantic things I’ve ever written.)
So, for these people who are intrigued by the prospect of building something of their own, they want to know what surprised people. In other words, after those founders made that initial, irrational decision, what surprised them along the ensuing path?
The easiest answer is that, after you make your decision, you suddenly realize that there’s so much more to realizing an idea than you would’ve otherwise considered. In my case, I had the idea for Need and all I could envision was how great it would be to publish these well-considered collections each month.
I never sat awake at night envisioning myself running a human resources department or getting disproportionately excited about a new payroll solution.
The longer, less tangible answer is that you come to look at things much differently. I’m more self-aware of my shortcomings than ever, I understand that I derive the greatest sense of fulfillment from the act of building rather than sustaining, and so on.
If it’s not already obvious, I’ve found myself in a rather pensive, introspective mood. After answering the question innumerable times — both the short and long versions — and launching Foremost last month, I realize that the surprises continue apace.
Two years into Need, we’ve ushered Foremost into the world, whilst also launching The Society to bridge the gap between both sites. And, in direct correlation with these movements, I find my answer to the question evolving.
I no longer look at Need as the sum total of its parts. Rather, Need is a part of a much larger sum.
It’s an expression of transition, growth, and altered plans. And, perhaps, that’s the greatest lesson to be gleaned from all of this.
Regardless of the plans you can make and the risks you can convince yourself you’ve mitigated, life and business are volatile and fluid. The moment you try to convince yourself you know what will happen next is the very instant you’ll endanger yourself from making good decisions.
Why the lengthy treatise? Simply put, I encourage you to think of life as something transitional and moving. It’s not a stagnant thing you can build blueprints around, but, rather, a living organism prone to rapid irrational decision-making.
With that in mind, it’s a pleasure to introduce Volume 2.4: Transition. Although its moniker is derived from the weather, it dovetails nicely into the sentiment I’ve come across on this cold, grey morning.
Shot in San Francisco with Cory Maryott (and good friend of the company, Mason Allen) and in Dallas with our very own Jordan Laessig, Vol. 2.4 encourages you to wear clothing that exists between seasons, trends, and so on.
I’m tremendously proud of what we’ve got on offer.
Matt Alexander / Founder + CEO