An Interview with Shauna Mei from

Q. To tee up this Q & A with some context, can you tell me what your company is all about?

A. is an online discovery destination where consumers can learn about – and purchase – unique products and gifts from around the world, collectively curated by global influential tastemakers from Daniel Boulud to Tim Gunn.  We offer one new luxury item every day to our members, who sign up for free to receive to learn about our exclusive products.  We showcase a range of lifestyle products, but all are united by their exceptional workmanship, provenance and aesthetic.  We believe in the importance of story-telling, highlighting the inspiration, creative process and what makes our curator’s finds truly unique.

Q.  What led you to start  Was there an AHA moment for you the gave birth to the idea?

A. The AHA! moment came to me when I was living in Sweden.  I’ve had the opportunity to travel and live all over the world and am constantly discovering unique products that should be globally available.  Designers and brands designer, it is extremely difficult and expensive to expand their brand and products globally.  I wanted to create a discovery destination and platform for people to be able to buy the best the world has to offer.  I wanted to create a destination across your entire lifestyle…versus forcing the consumer to have to go to different categories.  Time is the new luxury and people want to cut through the noise on the internet. is all about cutting through that noise and clutter and working with the most influential tastemakers and experts to discover and make available treasures of the world.

Q.  What makes AHALife a real business instead of just a cool idea?

A.  Since the company launched its site in September 2010, AHAlife has grown its subscriber base by almost 10 times.  We’ve created a sustainable platform that is a destination for the most discerning consumers to find the best unique lifestyle products the world has to offer.  It is very difficult and expensive for a mono-brand to drive high quality awareness and traffic to their site.  We aggregate the most discerning and influential individuals to come to one place, AHAlife, to discover, learn about and purchase.  Over time, as we grow, we will have more and more of an impact for our brands. We are on an incredible growth track right now.  The biggest potential for us is in the global market, and we haven’t even scratched the surface, we will be shipping internationally in the beginning of December.

Q.  I understand you come from Beijing.  What was your path to NYC?

A.  I was born in Inner Mongolia, raised in China and moved to the United States when I was 8 years old.  I grew up in Seattle, and attended MIT studying computer science, electrical engineering and management.   After graduation, I took an investment banking job at Goldman Sachs. While I was at Goldman, I worked on several deals in the luxury space.  I was fascinated by the industry dynamics and a little after a year at Goldman, I resigned to co-found a private equity luxury advisory firm with the former CEO of Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs and Oscar de la Renta.  After several years investing and advising brands in the luxury space, I moved to Sweden to become the COO of Casall; a premium fashionable active wear brand.  It was AHAlife that brought me back to New York City.

Q.  Many Chinese love exclusive products.  Would the AHAlife concept work in China?

A. As an emerging luxury market the Chinese consumer has a natural appreciation for brands and quality.  In the next five years, China’s luxury goods consumption will reach $ 14.6 billion, making it the world’s largest luxury consumer. This incredible growth is driven by consumers constant appetite for history, heritage and knowledge of exclusive products. AHAlife will do well in China for these reasons as we provide a constant stream of unique high quality merchandise with a story.

Q.  What is the hardest part about being an entrepreneur?  What’s your daily challenge?

A.  The most difficult part of being an entrepreneur is having so many ideas and figuring out how to prioritize.

Q.  What’s next for AHALife?  Anything interesting planned for 2012?

A. Stay tuned! Our main focus will be to grow internationally as well as expand to more offline partnerships.  We are opening our first boutique in the SLS Beverly Hills Hotel later this year in partnership with SBE group!

Q.  I ask this question of all global travelers like yourself – What is your favorite airport, hotel and restaurant in the world?

A.  Amsterdam Schiphol, Peninsula Hotel in Kowloon, Hong Kong, Gou Bu Li Bao Zi in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia

Shauna Mei is the founder and CEO of

Thanks Shauna for taking the time to participate in this Q & A session and best to you and


An Interview with Daniel Hannan

Q. I’ve seen your speeches and have heard you presenting facts and sounding the alarms.  However it seems to me Europeans (politicians and citizens alike) just trod along as if the house is not actually on fire.  Is anybody listening to you over there in Europe where it counts?

A. No one is listening at all – except the majority of the electorate. A rift has opened up between politicians and people on the issue of the EU. Almost every time there is a referendum on closer integration, in pretty well any country, people vote ‘No’; yet their parliaments are usually in favour by around 80 per cent. Britain is typical. According to most opinion polls, roughly 60 per cent of voters want to leave the EU, but that position is shared by only 3 per cent of MPs. Why the division? Because politicians make the mistake of believing that, since the Brussels system has been kind to them personally, it must be good for their constituents. As Upton Sinclair once observed:’It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends upon not understanding it’.

Q.  Why do the Eurocrats insist on bailing out Greece?  Do they really think that the Greeks are going to change their view of the world or their behavior simply because some Eurocrat in Frankfurt or Belgium demands they do so? (or the Italians, the Spanish and so forth) or is something else going on here?

A. The priority here is not to bail out Greece, but to bail out the euro. The people in Greece don’t believe that they’re being rescued. They understand perfectly well that the bailout money will go to European bankers and bondholders, but the repayment will come from ordinary Greek taxpayers. No wonder they are protesting. They – and the Irish, and the Portuguese – are being sacrificed in order to keep the euro going.

Q.  What’s the worst that could happen if we simply dissolved the Euro and went back to Francs, Drachmas, Lire, Guilders, and Marks ? – They were more romantic anyway.

A. More romantic and more efficient, since they allowed each country to set its interest rates and exchange rates according to its own needs. There are some technical difficulties in returning to national currencies – people would rush to put their savings in whatever money they thought less likely to devalue – but a partial and orderly unbundling of the euro is clearly a lesser evil than the generational poverty which keeping it going implies.

Q. What’s so good about Socialism?  Why is it that proponents of Socialism refuse to see its inherent problems?

A. Socialism has always struck me as being more about intention than outcome, about showing what a nice person you are rather than affecting real change. The survey that said it all was the one that showed that people who wear awareness ribbons and wristbands are less likely to give to charity than people who don’t. There’s always been an element of that in socialism. ‘Whaddaya mean, why don’t I give to charity? I’m already calling for higher taxes!’

Q.  Two of the best things to come out of the ascent (and failure) of Barack Obama is that more and more Americans are seeing (many for the first time) what it really means to have a man like this as President and many are now revisiting the question of exactly what is government supposed to do and what is it not supposed to do.  It reminds me a little of what happened in Spain with the Socialist Jose Luis Zapatero and his Socialists getting hammered in elections.  Is this a sign of hope for all of us?  Are the voters of the world finally realizing that Socialism simply doesn’t work or are we doomed to fight this charade forever?

A. I’m afraid it’s cyclical. Right-of-Centre governments generally win office when the other lot have left the treasury empty. They then patiently rebuild the nation’s credit, whereupon the electorate says: ‘Great – crisis over. Let’s have those nice, caring Lefties back again’.

Q.  Speaking of Obama, in 2008 Barack Obama won the American Presidency with millions of followers thinking he would deliver utopia.  Europeans swooned over him even thinking America had finally come to its senses and placed a “reasonable” man into the White House.   Not that is matters at all in our elections, but out of curiosity how do you think Europeans see Obama today now that he’s actually been in the White House for almost three years?

A. All American presidents end up being unpopular with the European Left. The same charges are thrown at Obama that were thrown at all his predecessors: the US is still in Afghanistan, Guantanamo is still open, the climate change treaties still unratified etc etc. The truth is that no country wins popularity by emulating its critics. You win respect by outperforming them. Or, at least, you did until your present leaders decided to spend, tax and borrow the US to ruin.

Q.  An England question.  England used to be a polite, mannered place with proud people.  Is it just my impression or does England seem rougher, more cynical, more tabloid.  What has changed in British culture over the past 25 years?

A. We’ve never been as polite as Americans think. We’re an earthy, violent, Hogarthian people, whose manners are simply a way of keeping our native bellicosity in check. One thing that has changed, though, is the expansion of welfare dependency. It has made us less independent, more whiney, less responsible. I hope, though, that that’s a remediable problem, and the current government is doing some useful things to free people from the squalor of reliance on benefits.

Q.  What open advice would you offer to American voters that think the European model of social welfare is the way to go?

A. It’s fine in the short term: long vacations, maternity and paternity leave, generous welfare entitlements. What’s not to like? The trouble is that, after a couple of decades, the money runs out. That’s the point we’ve reached now. In 1974, Western Europe accounted for 36 per cent of the world’s GDP. Today it’s 25 per cent. In 2020 it’ll be 15 per cent.

Q.  It seems to me Europe is cannibalizing itself.  With birthrates across Europe in decline, what kind of Europe are we looking at one or two generations from now?

A. We face a choice between massive depopulation and massive immigration. The former option needn’t be as calamitous as people think. Yes, the ratio of pensioners to working people will become harder to manage, but it’s much easier for a 70-year-old to carry on sitting in front of a computer screen than it was a hundred years ago for a 70-year-old to carry on mining coal. And, once that demographic bulge has passed, I can see advantages in Europe drifting back to the population level it enjoyed in the early twentieth century. My own constituency in South East England has become very crowded. Property prices are ridiculously high, people are having to commute for longer and longer, there is massive demand for schools and hospitals, the green spaces are disappearing under concrete. I could live with a slight easing of the population pressure!

Thank you Mr. Hannan for taking the time to sit for the interview.  Poignant comments and please keep pushing.

Daniel Hannan is a writer and journalist, and has been Conservative Member of European Parliment for South East England since 1999. He speaks French and Spanish and loves Europe, but believes that the European Union is making its constituent nations poorer, less democratic and less free.  His latest book is “The New Road to Serfdom – A Letter of Warning to America

An Interview with Nicole Daedone of OneTaste

Q.  So that I can tee this up properly, would you mind first telling us what is OneTaste so we have the right context.

A. OneTaste is a company redefining the way women (and men) relate to female orgasm and pleasure.  We teach a practice called Orgasmic Meditation, a partnered sexuality practice focused on the female genitals for 15 minutes. Through this practice, people experience deeper intimacy, sensation and connection to their partners, bodies,sex and orgasm.

Q. How do most (many) people think of orgasm versus what it can be with a little deeper attention and understanding?

A. Orgasm, as it exists in our cultural mindset is one small moment (what we at OneTaste call climax) often the end goal of a sexual experience.  We think of “having” an orgasm, rather than noticing the sexual, or orgasmic energy that permeates the whole experience.  At OneTaste, we think of it not as something to have, but rather something to be inside of.  Orgasm is the energy that creates the sexual experience.  The climax is only one small part of the whole. Another way to look at it would be to consider climax as a spark and orgasm as the fire that spark is born from.

Q. Tell me about a world where people took the time to really focus on this area – say the way they block out time for the gym or dining?

A. I LOVE this question.  Our sexuality, just like any other part of our human experience, should be given care, time and attention.  We do this for our intellect in the form of work, creative process, reading and other hobbies.  We do this for our physical body in terms of eating, exercising and sleeping.  Some of us do this with our emotions by hiring a coach or seeing a therapist.  Our sex should be no different; it is key to our experience as humans and yet we keep it hushed up, in the dark, full of taboo and shame.

If people were to take on OM as a practice, the world would look just about the same, only a brighter – a  better version of what we experience now. The world would go from black & white to color. So, imagine the way you feel after a great makeout, where your senses are more awake, your critical self is a bit more at rest and your willingness to be more a part of the present moment  is amplified – and extend that into all moments of your life. Imagine everyone feeling like this all the time. What you might find is that all of the distractions (food, drugs, shopping, arguing, isolation) we use to dull our senses, because we feel disconnected, would begin simply, quietly to fall away, because they would no longer be necessary.

Q. For some reason if I quickly think about four words right at this very moment I come up with Stress, Release, Breathing, Health.  Why do you think I associated these words immediately?

A. It’s likely that you tuned into me, if such a crazy thing is possible. These things have unquestionably been my focus of late. I’ve been working with Dr. Sara Gottfried, an amazing Harvard trained MD and together we’re looking at this epidemic of low vitality caused by stress in the culture and how the release of hormones through orgasm can remedy its myriad symptoms. Perhaps the word breath comes to mind because in my mind’s eye, when i see a woman having her first OM, it’s invariably some version of watching her exhale in a way she hasn’t been able to exhale for years. Finally she can let go of something she hasn’t known how to let go of.

Q. I’d like to ask you to give a piece of advice to four groups of people.  Young couples, single women, single men, and long-time married couples. Is it the same commentary for all of them or slightly different?

A. OM is like the secret ingredient that when added to almost anything can make it better.  While I may recommend different OM “regimens” to people in these different categories, always based on their particular desire, OM is neutral yet powerful enough to help couples of any age to deepen connection, learn about the other person and create a bond that is fuller and richer.

For single men, I would say that there’s nothing more powerful than learning to be a friend to women. It’s a skill that benefits you whether you’re single or coupled. So, rather than all of these fancy new fangled ways of finding a partner, I would suggest that you learn how to be a friend. Genuinely, the best way to learn to be a friend to a women is to be an ally in her opening her sexual power. If a man is willing to be an instrument in this way, the level of intimacy between him and a woman will transcend any particular type of relationship. When my first OM partner introduced the practice to me, he simply said “I have a mindful sexuality practice I’d like to share with you.” He went on to describe how I would take my pants off, but his clothes would stay on. That we would both place our attention on my orgasm for 15 minutes and afterwards would talk about the experience. Finally that he would expect nothing in return. For me, this was radical and undeniable. It was my first experience of this kind of friendship.

If I could say one thing to women, it would be “ask”. It would be to recognize the depth of desire that exists in your body and recognize that it won’t go away through lack of use or pretending it’s not there. And then, muster whatever courage you can and set about to asking for what you want. It may be a clunky mess, possibly embarrassing, but eventually will turn out to be the key to your power. In this, you’ll want to practice the four stages of having – Knowing what you want, asking for what you want, receiving what you want, and acknowledging what you receive.

For young couples I often see a tendency to want to “protect” a partner from what is true for you. There is a truth that exists in our minds that we often keep from our partners – they are thoughts we think at night in bed, alone in the shower, driving to work.  We all know them – the moment when someone flirted with you and your temperature rose; or how your partner  touched you in a way that you didn’t like, but you pretended it turned you on. In my opinion, the practice of relationship is ultimately to know your partner and to be known by them – and this entails revealing the truth of those moments. It is a practice, something we’re always working at, not a static linear experience. These moments that invite truth telling will either be your tools or your weapons.They will either be what you use to construct a lifelong relationship or build walls against intimacy.

For long married couples: my experience is that people who have been married for a long time often suffer from a lack of novelty; it’s not that the novelty doesn’t exist, but the eye that once saw it has grown dull. My suggestion to couples in this place is to start small in discovering the lover inside of your partner that you’ve forgotten. At night, before you go to bed, simply exchange one secret desire with each other. Say nothing afterwards, but thank you. Your partner shares one, you say thank you.  You say one, your partner says thank you.   No more, no less.   Then, rest well in the knowledge that you are re-creating intimacy. From there, you have a whole new range of play and turn on to work with. Truth is the ultimate turn on.

Q. I was going over your website – What is the “oral tradition of extended orgasm?

A.   There have always been groups of people throughout cultures that know things about the human experience that aren’t expressed in a conventional context.  Extended orgasm is possible for everyone, but is rarely discussed, let alone taught, in any kind of real way that can improve people’s lives and well being.  I am lucky to have come across these teachings in my life and want everyone to benefit from what I know – and that is that orgasm can be a life changing practice that deepens and enriches all parts of who we are.  I took 10 years to practice and integrate this knowledge into my own life – the synthesis of which I present in my book “Slow Sex”.

Q. Can you give me an anecdote of a person or a couple that you’ve seen transformed (or at least awakened) by what they learned in this arena.

A. Hormones can be a wonderful but flighty friend. Practice is your loyal companion who will see you through thick and thin. A couple whom I recently worked with had been married for 4 years. While the beginning of their relationship had been ignited with heat, over time they began to feel  like strangers to  each other. Outside of the intoxication of their early days together, they couldn’t find their common interest and connection. Without the rush of attraction and bonding hormones, they felt dull. The OM practice provided an arena through which they could come together and deliberately cultivate connection, heat and intimacy.  They found a sustainable way to keep their connection alive and potent.

Q. What’s the worst that can happen?

A.  The worst that can happen is that people try OM with an exact expectation.  OM does a LOT to awaken sex drive, create more intimacy and have women (re)connect with their sexual selves.  However, going into any practice – yoga, sitting meditation, martial arts – with a goal can often not have you see all that you are gaining from the experience outside of your goal.  Take yoga for example:  If your sole purpose is to do a perfect handstand and all your practice goes into perfecting and strengthening your arm muscles and core strength to get to that handstand, you may miss the flexibility you’ve gained in your hips, or how your hamstrings have elongated, how the back pain you used to have has suddenly disappeared.  Even so, the most you have to lose is 15 minutes, so why not try it and see?

Thanks Nicole for being interviewed here on Anthidote!

An Interview with Ross Halfin

Thank you Ross for taking the time to be interviewed here on

Q. I love your travel photos.  It seems to me the scope for shooting travel is so much wider than the bandstand.  What do you like most about shooting travel and life as opposed to shooting gigs?

A. Well for start you haven’t got idiots trying to jump on  you after three songs,even if you’re meant to be there for the whole show.With Travel you deal with different forms of light,which make the scope for photography far more interesting.  At a show what do you get? Someone leaping around with a bit of coloured light on them.  It’s just not the same.

Q. I notice you have an affinity for SE Asia.  What is it about that part of the world that pulls you in?  Do you think the people back home have any clue how interesting the life in SE Asia is?

A. It’s a strange one to answer because to an Australian SE Asia is just not that interesting. I had an Australian friend tell me this. Yet Asia, because of the weather,h as much more interesting light, clouds.  I find it quite exotic.

Q. I was in Dubai not so long ago.  Quite a place.  How would you explain or describe Dubai to someone that’s never been there?

A. Dubai is a fascinating mixture of the traditional and the futuristic.  One minute your in a bustling back street market or lost in the desert, the next your on the monorail flying through the city which looks like the set of bladerunner or having a cocktail at the bar of the tallest building in the world. It never gets boring there.

Q.  When you shoot travel – what are you looking for?  Landscapes?  People?  Scenes?  Local stories in imagery?  Do you plan or do you “shoot from the hip” as it were?

A.  Not so much people,more colours.  I quite like when there’s no one around.  It makes things more abstract.  You go to some historical building you don’t want to see thousands of people milling around.I really have no plan when I go somewhere to shoot because apart from sun, weather there are no time constraints.

Q.  With a lifetime of musician and live gig shots under your belt, how would you describe the view from the stage out to the audiences when you find yourself shooting from the stage out?  Geddy Lee described it as “total elation”.  Do you get a glimpse of that or it is just a day at the office?

A.  Well, I suppose,doing what I do it’s the latter.  Although I must say if you walk on stage with Metallica for the first couple of numbers you realise how insane and incredible the view is.

Q.  What is your favorite airport, hotel, and restaurant in the world?

A.  Singapore Airport has a good vibe and easy to get around.  Sunset Marquis in LA is a great hotel because when I go there I feel at home.  The SoHo House in LA is a great restaurant but you have to be a member to get in.

Thanks again Ross for sitting for the Q&A.

Ross Halfin is one of the world’s best photographers.  He’s best known for his work as a rock photographer and his travel work is even better.  You can see some of his travel work here.

An Interview with Erik Wachtmeister

Thanks Erik for taking the time to talk with you about your new venture “Best of All Worlds“.   In order for us to give people some context to your new venture, perhaps you can tell me how you went from A Small World to “Best of All Worlds”.

A.  After working as an investment banker for 20 years, I started to think of online opportunities in 1998. To me the Internet immediately presented incredible opportunities to aggregate and leverage human mind and behavior. My wife, Louise Wachtmeister, and I launched ASMALLWORLD in March 2004 and were true pioneers in Social Media. We were able to transfer people’s real life relations on-line, enabling them to reconnect with each other.  We had 250,000 active online connectors globally in 2006 when Facebook was just emerging from colleges in the US.  This was the start of a new industry and very few understood the relevance and magnitude of this.

I had realized since many years the existence of a global community of people who are strongly connected and continuously gravitate towards each other. This came to me after having lived in and travelled to many places across the globe, running into the same people over and over again, looking for the same things.

My vision is not about excluding people. On the contrary, it has to do with creating an intimate environment where you can let your hair down and feel at ease when interacting with friends of friends or new relationships that share common interests. My goal with BestofallWorlds is to help people getting together around the world to build new businesses, start strong friendships and learn from each other. To create an atmosphere where people can be more accessible, accommodating strangers as friends. It’s the kind of intimacy that has not generally existed before on the World Wide Web.

Today there is still a huge vacuum that all social networks have failed to cover, and which has nothing to do with the ‘collecting connections’ approach so prevalent everywhere today. Facebook provides an effective way of indexing people’s relationships and reconnecting with the past. BestofAllWorlds will be focusing on helping people build new relationships that are relevant for your present and future life. By entering secure global groups on BAW that correspond to mutual interests, users will grow and develop new useful and relevant relationships. We will continually leverage the best new technology available, in order to provide services to our members and to global niche interest groups. Being an agile platform, the most recent technology will be available as we will be aggregating rather than reinventing the wheel. Our users will also be able to access and post directly to their walls and feeds in Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and many other services, without leaving BestofallWorlds. Thus the best of all worlds!

We live in a world of increasing information saturation and overload. As more and more people upload videos, documents and photos on to the web, it’s becoming harder and harder to find what we are looking for. We need to think about the “signal-to-noise ratio”, particularly online. People need tools to filter out what is relevant to them, whether it is finding good places to eat, nannies, vacation homes, useful I-phone or Ipad Apps, or cool services available on line. By creating an intimate atmosphere of people you trust and can learn from, the ratio naturally increases to help you find the relevant signals among the noise. That way it becomes easier to find relevant, useful and unbiased information.

What also distinguishes Best of All Worlds is that anybody will be able to join the platform; once in, they will find their way into global private groups that will have defined their own membership rules. Much the same as in real life in most societies.

A supporting network of representatives and local committees will help manage the scalability, consistency and careful growth of the groups. It is surprising how many people are keen to help out in exchange for corresponding recognition and visibility. Dedication, expertise, and delegated authority is key to manage successful network proliferation.

I have always been drawn to strong connectors with large and diverse networks across many different interests. It is the ability to relate on a range of different areas that deepens and extends relationships. I would never have come up with these ventures, had I stuck to a network of banking professionals. I strongly believe in creating an exciting and diverse tapestry of relationships that enrich people in each of their own personal dimensions.

BestofallWorlds is focusing on what is relevant to you right now, not when you were in a different stage in life, living somewhere else, with somebody else, and in a different time.

It is about responding to a prevalent need that exists, as all successful businesses tend to do.

Q. I have been traveling the world for over 20 years and the part of ASW I find coolest (and most useful) is the Geolocator.  Can you tell us about how this works, its uses, and if Best of All Worlds will offer this sort of a feature?  If yes, do you see an even more enhanced version given the newer technology that exists today that did not exist a few years ago?

A. You said it yourself! Today we are in an era with geo-positioning technology and mobile apps. It’s very different from building something in 2003.  Best of all Worlds will leverage all this new technology and give our users the ultimate access to this within the boundaries of the privacy settings of each user. Just wait and see!

Q. When I am on “A Small World” I sense two groups of people in the community.  Maybe I’m wrong but I sense there is one group of people that are true players on the world stage or in their professional careers and a different group that looks like they were lucky enough to snag an invite and are somewhat out of place to some degree on ASW.  Do you envision with “Best of All Worlds” both open and private groups such that you can build a much larger overall community yet allow invite-only groups to form where needed to better serve the needs of a particular community within the community?

A. You are absolutely on the right track. Just like in real life we will have intimate areas of privacy and at the same time allowing for more public spaces elsewhere. We will be aggregating people that share similar backgrounds, interests and passions. The focus will be on connecting with relevant people that bring you relevant information or experiences. Other networks are focusing primarily on the noise from the past.

Q. People will leave the home without their watch, but they won’t leave their home without their iPhone or Blackberry or Android….. Do you see Best of All Worlds doing anything in the mobile space?

A. We will be launching on most mobile platforms including the IPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows phone. Mobile platforms will be core for us.

Q. How can people learn more about Best of All Worlds or get on board?

A.  For early access, go to and follow erikww on twitter!

Q. Just curious – what is your favorite airport, hotel, and restaurant anywhere in the world?


Thank you Erik for your taking the time to provide some insight to your story and what coming next with Best of All Worlds.

Ed.Note:  Best of All World was also covered in Scandinavian Startups.

An Interview with Drew Patterson, CEO of Jetsetter

Let’s get started right off the bat with the Jetsetter name and the audience.

Q. The name is great. It conjures up images of zipping off to some port on the other side of the world where crisp sheets and a tall drink are waiting for you.  So how does Jetsetter work and who is your customer?

A. Travel sites don’t do a good job of helping travelers decide where to go on their next vacation and travel magazines don’t offer a means to book the trips they feature.  Jetsetter is the first vacation site to combine these two worlds.  Like a travel magazine, Jetsetter inspires members to discover new destinations, hotels and experiences.  Then, Jetsetter provides a simple booking process so consumers can easily book that dream vacation.  

Our team of travel experts, known as curators, meet weekly to discuss in demand destinations and thoughtfully hand-select each participating hotel, villa, tour, yacht and cruise. Jetsetter correspondents, representing the world’s most experienced travel writers, visit the property and verify that the experience will exceed member expectations.  They also write a comprehensive review that includes recommendations for the best time to travel, where to eat, what to do, and how to get there. 

Jetsetter provides two booking options for members.  We feature 20-30 vacations on sale at prices up to 50% off in the flash section of the website.  These vacations are available for a limited time, typically 5-7 days, while availability lasts.  The new Jetsetter 24/7 collection features almost 400 hand-selected, verified hotels and resorts that are available at Jetsetter-exclusive pricing 365 days a year.  

Jetsetter members are savvy travelers and discerning pioneers, who want to discover new destinations, immerse themselves in a foreign culture, escape to an oceanfront villa, and be the first among their friends to stay at a stylish new hotel.  They are dedicated to finding value in the details such as excellent service, added value amenities, and insider tips. 

Q.  The imagery is rich.   Clearly that is to “whet the users whistle” as it were or was that decided upon for other reasons?

A. Travel is such a visual, personal experience and it’s a shame that travel sites display a small thumbnail shot of a hotel’s exterior and a few bullets of copy.  Like a travel magazine, Jetsetter is telling a story through editorial and photos.  Jetsetter’s team of photo editors demand-high resolution photography and thoughtfully choose the pictures that best represent the vacation’s amenities and accommodations because that’s what consumers need to make an informed decision.  Our new iPad app takes photography to the next level with amazing 360 degree panoramic images that transport the user into the fabulous suites of the world’s best resorts and hotels.  

Q.  Jetsetter is part of the Gilt Groupe.  What is the relationship?  Is it different companies but related or is Jetsetter a product of Gilt?

A. Gilt incubated Jetsetter, which was hugely important as we were launching the business.  Their audience and brand provided credibility and a template as we were starting the company.  At the same time, travel is a pretty different product than fashion, and the Jetsetter effort has been focused on meeting the needs of affluent, sophisticated travelers, which is why we’ve built a sister brand and distinct product experience. 

Q.  What is your personal favorite location and hotel in the world?

A. An all-time favorite is tough, because there are so many amazing places to see in the world.  The short list would definitely include The Maidstone in East Hampton, which has a unique design for each their 17 rooms, and Bardessono, a relaxed spa in Yontsville, CA.

Q. How did you get involved with Jetsetter?

A. I met the Gilt founders at an industry function here in New York.  They told me that they were thinking of branching out into new verticals, and travel seemed like a perfect fit.  Before Jetsetter, the needs of the affluent, sophisticated traveler were not being met online, and the Gilt membership would be a platform to launch from.

Q. It’s 2014, Jetsetter is……

A. Working with Richard Branson on space travel.

Thank you very much Drew.  Anthidote readers can join Jetsetter here.

* Jetsetter is a member of the Gilt Groupe and is a private online community that provides members with insider access, expert knowledge, and exclusive deals on the world’s greatest vacations. All of the properties Jetsetter features are hand-selected by their team of globe-trotting correspondents, and sales last five to seven days. Jetsetter’s philosophy is that travel should be fun and easy — and that includes the planning part.