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Redefining masculinity: Our chat with Ted Gushue

Posted August 15, 2015

Find Ted Gushue’s stellar food recommendations on our app Supper.

Forget flashbacks of Poirot and inspector gadget, the modern hi-tech man is stylish, savvy and chic. He values his iPhone as much as his favorite gym shoes, relying on if for everything from dating and shopping to finding a hot spot for dinner.

Welcome to Supercompressor – the site responsible for redefining masculinity. Part of the Thrillist Media Group, this online platform – launched in 2013 – is a highly curated resource for the modern man.

Full of news and recommendations surrounding home, tech and automotive, it also features interviews with tastemakers, influencers and innovators. 

It’s not just Engadget or Gizmodo – but a holistic representation of a new generation of man. Is it successful? Just ask the 1.5 million unique monthly users. 

We chatted with Executive Editor Ted Gushue – formerly of GrandLife Hotels – a man who well and truly embodies the Supercompressor spirit. 

What were you guys trying to achieve when you started Supercompressor? 

We wanted Supercompressor to be the world’s greatest buyer’s guide, and we wanted to profile the world’s greatest gear gadgets, tech, home cars, rides, lifestyle – that whole thing. Stuff that guys wanted to buy, we wanted to be the destination for it. And now we’ve grown into a multifaceted platform for men who want to learn interesting things, have interesting questions answered and actually go and enrich their lives beyond pure consumables. 

What was the public reaction when you launched two years ago? 

It’s gone incredibly well. We have a team of 13 serving an audience north of 1.5 million unique users a month. We’re based in Manhattan, we travel the world and take photos of interesting things and try interesting things. It’s not centralized in New York, but it has that kind of New York energy. 

Do you feel like the Supercompressor brand is surrounded by a certain pretense? 

Maybe initially. But I think it’s very much evolved into something that invites everyone to the conversation, which I am proud of. I’m proud that I was able to build a product for a lot of people to enjoy – not just myself. It’s very easy to build something that you like – because it’s masturbatory and everyone likes to jerk off. It’s tougher to figure out what a lot of people like and feel good doing that.

What is your favorite aspect of the job?

I’m always partial to the cars. I get to go on press trips and see some incredible stuff. Concours D’Elegance Pebble Beach is a particularly special place you can go to see vintage cars. It’s like a five star flea market of the world’s coolest cars. Ok, so it’s a private golf course they open up to ticket holders with like 650 cars flown in all over the world. Ralph Lauren always shows his collection there. Just very special and rare stuff. That’s kind thing that really ticked all the boxes for me.

Tell us about your relationship with New York. 

I’m from Connecticut originally. I moved here 5 years ago with a degree in finance that I never used. I became a DJ for a little over a year and a half. From there I went into management consulting with clients like NASA and Dow Jones, which was pretty interesting. Then my friend was running a newspaper called the New York Observer, which I became a nightlife reporter for. I basically got paid to party for a year and meet a lot of people. And then a hotel chain that I used to DJ at hired me to host a party every Friday for two years. That was really fun. I worked at most of the major nightclubs downtown. From there I was offered the chance to launch Supercompressor. And here we are, two years later. 

After spending some solid time here, what is your favorite NYC neighborhood?

I’ve loved every neighborhood I’ve lived in for different reasons. I lived in Yorkville briefly – it was so far away from everything and so silent. I lived near the French school there and there would be all these kids standing out the front smoking cigarette’s looking cool as hell. It felt like it was a different country. There was a coffee and croissant shop there that was amazing and birds were always chirping. You didn’t feel like you were in New York.  I lived in SoHo and I remember getting mugged one night on the street at like 5 in the morning coming back from a club. All of the shop and restaurant owners used their cameras to try and help me track down the guy. I love Williamsburg because the women there are beautiful and very young and friendly and my dog loves running around in McCarren Park. I loved FiDi because it felt like you were in the future. I lived in a very tall high rise that kind of felt like Japan. It was very isolated, and when you live in New York long enough you start to really value that sense of removal from the hustle and bustle. I probably loved Greenwich Village the most. I would say that is the neighborhood that most closely matched my personality – a kind of tattered bohemian wearing Gucci loafers.

Having worked for both Grand Life and now Supercompressor, do you find it overwhelming to find places and experiences you like in a city like New York? 

I mean once you find a place that has decent quality food that you can afford and you don’t mind being there, and you can build a relationship with the staff – you’re good. For example, I can’t remember the last time I’ve paid for a beer here at Cafe Select. But I would always leave a tip bigger than the bill anyway. 

What do you make of the New York dining scene?

People always forget how far a smile takes you. Look like you’re someone who belongs there and people treat you like that. Come in and act like you’re annoyed to be there, or like you just read some shitty yelp review, and you’ll get that experience. You get back what you give in every service industry you go into. I treat service people really well because I’ve been one, and you don’t want to make their really difficult day any more difficult. 

What are your personal favorite spots to wine, dine or hang in the city?

I come here to Cafe Select most nights of the week. I go to Cafe Collette in Williamsburg. I really really love Mooncake Foods for lunch. They have the best 9 dollar chimichurri steak plate that I’ve ever had. Every time I’ve ever taken anyone there they get blown away by it. Ruby’s has great music and food. And I love Parm, Fanelli Cafe, Charlie Bird and Osteria Morini as well.

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