Over the last year, our resolution has been get to know our community a little better. What you like, what you dislike, who you are. We've learned from talking to you, there's a lot to enjoy by meeting our community.
Most of you out there really do love our monkeys. Even the people who hate every other thing about the site still love our monkeys. They've been to Toy Fair, they've been to Vegas, they even hang out with the podcast team. Most of the time, our monkeys only travel in ones and twos (maybe threes to get the best deal on shipping). So when we heard about this:
…well, we were pretty impressed, and we figured you might be too. So after the jump, it's ten with the man who might be the biggest monkey collector we've got, the charming and witty... Joel the Great!
1) Who are you? Where are you? How many monkeys do you have? What kind of a lunatic collects so many of our monkeys?
I am Joel The Great. I am a geek who has been doing various I.T. jobs for over a decade, author of The Blog of Imminent Stabbing, a very experienced Backup Administrator at Rackspace, and just an all around awesome guy.
Where I am
when they let me out of my cage is currently residing outside of San Antonio, TX (Not originally by choice, but it worked out better than expected and is a story for a different day). But I'm originally from Northern California (near Eureka up in the Redwood forest part of California).
I currently have 69 (I swear I didn't do that on purpose) monkeys: 60 regular, 3 large, 6 keychain, and I keep getting more every Woot-Off.
Oddly it's not the first time I've been called a lunatic, nor will it be my last. But I'm the type of lunatic who has never really collected anything in my life, until now. [queue dramatic music].
2) Did you plan to be a collector from the very start, or did you just hit thirty monkeys and think "Well, now I kinda have to keep going"?
I did not plan to be a collector. I originally heard people getting them in their Bags Of Crap in Woot's early years, but I was never that lucky. Then they appeared during a Woot-Off and I bought a few, gave some to friends and family and thought nothing of it. Then they appeared again and I bought some more... I took them to work for my desk, then I bought more. Eventually I had quite a few on my desk, and unknowingly had developed an obsession with getting three monkeys every Woot-Off.
3) Have you ever given any away as gifts, maybe in some "Gift of the Magi" type situation where a girlfriend got you a monkey stand in return?
Luckily no "Gift of the Magi" situations ever happened, but I have given a few away as gifts in the beginning. I gave one to my girlfriend (now my awesome wife), one to a good friend back in California, and a few to some family members. That was before I decided to start holding them hostage collecting them.
4) Do you ever fling these monkeys or do you keep them mint-in-box? And where do you keep them all anyway?
I vacuum seal them and catalog them by number in my basement...wait, no, that would just be crazy.
The monkeys do get flung every now and then. Last year at my work, the team I was on was taking a team photo for our customers, and we thought it would be great if everyone had a monkey with them. We took a regular shot with each of us holding a monkey in some way, and one where we were all flung the monkeys at the camera at the same time. Since I'm not positive on if everyone would be okay with me submitting it I blurred their faces.
Most of my monkeys still have the plastic tab keeping them from screaming, and the square label. But a few of them are free monkeys and can scream and fly uninhibited. They come in handy for those times at work when you need to take a break and just MONKEY around!
I should write a book about where I keep my monkeys. As I mentioned earlier I work for Rackspace, and one of the great things about working there is they are all about culture, and allowing you to be you (Kind of like what I saw at Woot HQ when I got a tour). This means they let you personalize your desk however you want (within Human Resource standards of course). So as a geek I have 2-3 computers running a total of 7 screens (All controlled with 1 keyboard and 1 trackball), an old Xbox (modded) with its own 7" LCD TV screen. And of course Nerf weapons, Star Wars toys, and various other 'crap' I've obtained over the years.
At one point I was given one of those shelves that you put on top of desks to hold books and such, but I didn't have room for it. So I stood it up on end and it became my tower of crap. I started putting random things on it. Transformers, deck of cards, books (The Joker complete works, Monty Python's Holy Grail), Boba Fett statues/items, other Star Wars things, little toy cows, Legos, and the few Woot Monkeys I had at the time.
As I added more crap, I also added more Monkeys. Then a year or so ago I had more monkeys than other items, and from that day forward my co-workers started referring to it as my Tower Of Monkeys.
Pro tip: Having a huge tower covered in Woot Monkeys make it very easy to give someone directions to your desk if they don't know where you sit. "Just look for the tower of monkeys, you can't miss it!"
5) What do your friends and family think of all this? Are you "that monkey guy" or do they respect your lifestyle choices?
To be honest, I've been considered weird by my friends and family since they've known me, so it's not a huge surprise. My in-laws who have only known me for a few years do think it's a bit strange, except then they remember who they are talking about and it isn't that strange in context.
Some of my co-workers find it odd, and still don't understand. But some of them think it's fantastic and have gone out of their way to show other people my Tower of Monkeys. It's kind of odd, and flattering when a new hire is being shown around the building and they make sure to point out Joel's Tower of Monkeys.
6) We heard you visited the Woot HQ this summer. Did you get to see the monkey room? What did you think?
Whaaaa?! Monkey Room?!?!? I saw no Monkey Room! (At least I don't remember seeing a room full of monkeys, or being told of any Monkey Room!) I saw monkeys on various desks at Woot HQ, and some on the wall, but alas, no door labeled 'Monkey Room!' Of course when I toured I'm not sure how aware Woot was of my Monkey Tower, or my obsession.
7) Our in-house monkey collecting champ has some special test-colors that we've never sold. How much are you willing to pay him to get your hands on one of those?
Unfortunately my blog has not made me a millionaire, and I have a family to support, so I can only offer what I'd normally pay for monkeys. Less if possible. I'm cheap frugal and can't really justify spending a lot on Monkeys.
This is why I only buy them from Woot, during Woot-Offs. I know I could buy plenty of them via Ebay and other channels, but then I'd probably be broke. The time between Woot-Off's make sure I don't go bankrupt buying Monkeys. Now if your in-house Monkey collecting champ wanted to donate any special test-color monkeys to my Tower, I'll gladly give them a wonderful home. Heck, we could kill two stones with one bird, send them down in the limo that is to take me to the Monkey Room. Or they could just meet me there, whatever is more convenient, I wouldn't want to be a hassle.
8) What's your favorite color monkey that you own? What monkey do you secretly wish you had? In your opinion, what color monkey should we do next?
I don't play favorites. I like quite a few of the colors/patterns I have: Tie-dye, black, red, camouflage, they are all cool in their own way.
I wish I had every color offered, but I have not seen any collectors chart in Woot Monkey Quarterly yet, so I have no reference to go by. I know I've missed a few, especially when they only were in Bags Of Crap, but I have no clue what color they were. But since you mentioned it earlier, I wish I had some of the prototype colors that were never released, those would make any true collector giggle in that uncomfortable way people giggle when they are extremely happy.
Some thoughts I have on cape colors I think you should try:
• Pirate theme (skull and crossbones)
• Woot Exclamation Points (like polka dots)
• A clear cape. That would be a sight to see...sort of.
• Plaid. Just because it would be ridiculously funny.
• Make it look like bacon. Everyone loves bacon…mmmm…bacon.
• Gold limited edition signed by the Woot Staff and presented to Woot Members with over 50 Monkeys?
9) What color monkey would you never ever EVER want to buy?
I cannot honestly think of any color I wouldn't buy, as long as it was during a Woot-Off. Even if a color was painful to look at, I have so many on my tower I could blend them easily enough to not be a problem.
I was a little sad about the Glow In The Dark Monkeys. Don't get me wrong, they are awesome and I even set up a black light specifically to make them glow all day at work, it just seems the Monkey itself is made out of a not so soft fabric. Of course I'm not cuddling with them
when anyone's looking so I guess anything will work.
10) And finally, be honest… is it us, or the monkey? Like, if we went to little plush sharks or something, would you still collect them, or would you just give up?
I am going to sound like a complete kiss-ass, but it's Woot! I know where to buy Screaming caped monkeys locally. They would cost me about the same, but they are not Woot Monkeys!
As a geek I watched your site start, and grow. It was one of the greatest ideas I ever saw. I spent many times during the early years staring at a Woot-Off Killer (I remember those Dick Tracy style Microsoft Wrist.Net watches one day taking like 8+ hours to sell out). I may not buy much from Woot!, besides monkeys, but I've been a loyal member for 6 years as of this month, but an active visitor since Woot started. So it's not the Monkey, it's the fact that it's a WOOT Monkey. A Screaming, Flying, smartly dressed, Woot Monkey!
I hope you don't change to Sharks though. They'd be harder to put on my tower since they have no arms. Maybe if the teeth were like clips...We're going to need a bigger tower.
Thanks to JoelTheGreat for the interview, and also for giving our monkey friends a home. If you'd like to harass him on Twitter, he's @JoelTheGreat. But otherwise, we want to know more about you! Done something great? Something ridiculous? Something Woot-related? Let us know! Maybe you'll be the one answering the next ten questions!