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Odds and Ends: Card Snark
Odds and Ends: Card Snark

When you care enough to be sarcastic, thank Someecards co-founder Brook Lundy


Rick Tulka



Happy Valentine's Day! Or not. If you find February 14 more revolting than romantic, you can trade sentimentality for the biting humor of Someecards, created by entrepreneur Brook Lundy and his business partner Duncan Mitchell. An example? "There's no one else I'd rather spend this annual obligation with." Since the unconventional e-card site launched in 2007, it's become the sarcastic, witty voice for the frustrations and passive-aggressive urges of everyday life, especially in the workplace. (The site sinks its teeth into college life too.) With millions of unique monthly users, Twitter followers, and Facebook shares, Someecards is an entertaining force across social media. But getting a laugh isn't enough for Lundy, a former advertising firm creative director with a passion for improvisational comedy. "Even then I'm a little suspicious," he says. "Are we laughing because the card is insightful and funny or because it was kind of shocking and maybe off-brand? Some ideas take a while to get right."

Some holidays are known as Hallmark holidays. Are there any Someecards holidays?

There's plenty of overlap with traditional holidays like Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and Christmas, but we also get plenty of action around occasions like Boss's Day, which was huge for us last year. Then there's random stuff like Pi Day [on March 14], which we now have a bunch of cards for after people came to the site looking for them. Any occasion that involves heavy drinking or complaining about your job tends to have an audience on Someecards.

How would you describe Someecards' interpretation of Valentine's Day?

Honest. We cover love and romance in our own way, but we also make sure to hit on the big truths of Valentine's Day: It's annoying, it can be lonely, it can feel really contrived, it puts uncomfortable pressure on couples, it's kind of a big rip-off. We also offer a more realistic picture of what Valentine's Day looks like: trying not to check your phone on the date, being too tired for sex, facing your fear of commitment. I think being able to laugh together at Valentine's Day by sharing a card takes some of the seriousness and pressure away for couples.

Why is Someecards "the lamest idea" you ever pitched your partner?

The typical e-cards were uncreative, unfunny eyesores. They all looked like horribly animated words and pictures without any point of view or unique voice. There wasn't a lot of respect for any of the e-card sites. It had never been my dream to start one, so it felt a little like slumming. But I think it's become more than an e-card site. The cards are basically shareable objects. Our goal was always to keep them really simple and clean since everything else out there was kind of complicated and messy. So I guess I'm no longer that ashamed of what I do.

If you could judge only by looking at Someecards' offerings about college life, how would you characterize the state of higher education and the economy today?

Ha! Well, there's certainly a lot of fear out there about potential unemployment. We definitely take a perverse thrill in telling graduating students that college has been a complete waste of their time and money. We may just be projecting, though. That's how I felt about college. It prepared me for absolutely nothing. That said, Someecards is always looking to underpay new grads!

What have you learned about social sharing and viral content?

People are constantly looking for ways to communicate these days—a mood they're in that afternoon, a bad date they had the previous night, a comment on something topical from that morning. We try to offer the right messages for the exact thoughts or feelings they may be having and the exact social media they want to use to express it. When we do that, things spread quickly.

—Interview by Theresa Walker

 

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