Hi. My name is Sam and 11 Points was the baby I haphazardly birthed out of the fertile birth canal of my mind back in June 2008. The baby has grown and changed and was briefly a child star, but has now settled into the comfortable groove of its grade school years.
Not to cut that brilliant and not-at-all-labored metaphor short, but here's the deal.
I grew up in Cleveland, went to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and moved to Los Angeles shortly after graduating. My goal was to get into the comedy business and after a brief and premature dalliance into stand-up comedy, I got my first professional comedy writing job in October 2003 and have been fortune enough to make my living as a comedy writer ever since.
Why I started this site
My first writing job was writing jokes and content for radio stations around the world -- and required cranking out massive volumes of content five days a week. It made me a fast writer and a much better writer -- and also inadvertently increased the amount I had to write to feel satisfied.
I bounced around for a bit and, in 2008, I began working as a writer and producer for a growing comedy video website. Writing two- or three-minute sketches every week or so didn't meet my desired daily writing quota, so one night I decided I was going to start blogging. Rather than pick a specific topic (like I probably should have), I decided to write about anything and everything that interested me.
I picked 11 Points because the plan was for every entry on the blog to be an 11-item list. (Which it was, for six-and-a-half years.) It's hard to remember, but in 2008, the Internet wasn't overflowing with lists. It would still be a few years before they became, essentially, the only type of writing online. In 2008, I loved reading lists but I felt like well-written lists were virtually nonexistent. So my goal was to produce well-written, well-researched, interesting lists as a showcase for my writing and as the best means to reach the largest audience.
Approximately one year after I started the website, it really started taking off. In 2009, Digg.com was everything, and my site caught the eye of some Digg power users. For about a month, everything I wrote made the front page of Digg -- which was enough exposure to grab an audience that pretty much never left.
11 Points has been remarkably stable since then. The traffic has remained consistently strong, with occasional peaks here and there when various lists would hit the front page of Reddit or get passed around on Facebook and Twitter.
The book and the show
11 Points caught the eye of a literary agent and, in 2011, my first book came out. It was called the 11 Points Guide to Hooking Up and stuck with the 11-item list format -- with all lists focused on dating and relationships. It did pretty well and is still on sale in ebook format -- the print copies are pretty much all gone and there hasn't been another printing.
Shortly after the book, I also hooked up with the website MyDamnChannel.com to begin producing a web series based off 11 Points. The 11 Points Countdown features a guest host and me counting down the results of polls I run on the site.
2015 and beyond
The Internet media landscape has transformed pretty significantly since I started 11 Points in 2008. That was before Buzzfeed, before Upworthy, before legitimate publications started making lists. And, as a result, in late 2014, I decided I didn't want to just play in the list space anymore -- I wanted to freshen up the site, reinvigorate myself, and, I hope, once again stand out in the increasingly crowded online content space.
So in January 2015, after a short break, I relaunched 11 Points. My plan was and is to focus on writing all sorts of good stuff -- not exclusively lists -- and also increase the Facebook and Twitter presence. With both, the goal is similar to the goal in 2008 -- to fill a void in the market and provide something of value that can't be found everywhere else.