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Yobeat CEO and Publisher Brooke Geery would like to dedicate 2013 to herself. Or, that’s what I thought when I was asked to interview the boss on her own site. Apparently our staff blew it, the pros who were supposed to fill this spot blew it and the only interview we have is classified due to some sponsors requesting their rider not look like an asshole for like a minute or two. So, since you guys complain, bitch and moan whenever we don’t spoon feed you your precious Hump Day, here it is, a very incestual Hump Day with the Queen Bee herself, Brooke Geery.
What the fuck does Yobeat mean?
I started Yobeat when I was 15 with my friend Rachel, who I’d met in the Snowboarding Online Chat Room on AOL. This is when AOL cost $3 an hour and it wasn’t ok to meet people on the Internet yet. Anyway, Rachel lived in Boston, and I lived in Rutland, VT and we met inititally at a steakhouse in Woodstock while our parents nervously hovered over us. Fast forward a bit, we became really good friends and decided to start a zine. But since we didn’t have money, we used the 2GB — or maybe it was 2MB — of free space that AOL provided and it became a website. As for the name, it’s a joke based on trashy teen rags like Tiger Beat and Teen Beat. Since Rachel was from a real city, with actual black people, the joke was that they read “Yobeat” instead.
In the 15ish years of Yobeat glory, who are some of the most famed employees?
Employees is a bit of a misnomer and it’s always just kinda been friends helping out until now, but a short list of contributors people might give a shit about: Todd Richards, Danny Larsen, Colleen Quigley, Preston Strout, Seth Butler (who went on the start the Journal) and Sarah Morrison (who was famous on the Internet before being famous in the internet was a thing). Oh, and we were the first place to publish Tim Zimmerman‘s photos. I’m sure I’m missing some. Jeff Brushie wrote us a really angry email once. Does that count?
How many angry emails have you gotten in your career?
I couldn’t count so I’ll just tell the Jeff Brushie story. We used to have a gossip column called “vilification” in which I would write all the stuff I knew/cared about (which was limited as it was 1998) and at one point I called out Jeff Brushie for getting sympathy points from the judges because he was, “Old, fat and washed up.” Little did I know, people actually read Yobeat, including Brushie and he wrote me an all-caps email telling me to, “Learn to go over the lip before I talk all my shit.” It’s still online, let me find the link… http://yobeat.wpengine.com/issue5.htm
Speaking of making it over the lip, is it a prerequisite that to work for Yobeat you have to suck at snowboarding? Is that why the site is so bitter?
I think you might be projecting your own feelings on to the site. “Bitterness” was never the intention. Yobeat has always just been real, and if something is wack, we’re going to call it out. As for being good or bad at snowboarding to work at the site, that doesn’t matter. I don’t hire pro snowboarders to write because pro snowboarders get paid to do 720s, not blog. Or at least, they used to. I think the new crop of kids coming up with have to do both…
You once ran the wakeskate world, correct? What was that like?
Yes, the rumors are true. After college got a job working for Alliance Wake, where I started and ran a wakeskate website. It was awesome, I got to travel to warm places, ride around on boats with tan, in shape dudes and stay with rich people all the time. However, when Yobeat started to take off, I realized that my attention would be better focused on that, so I passed the torch on. I don’t really miss standing in knee deep muck taking photos, but other than that, I have fond memories of the places and people.
What have been the best and worst memories of your time at Yobeat?
I’d have to say the best memory was when you sold our first ad. I never really imagined that Yobeat could work and that was the moment that I was like holy shit, this could be a real thing. Another great moment was when we took a trip to Whitefish last year and got the media hook up — comped tickets, room etc etc. As for worst, probably the fact that I wake up at 5 am every morning and can’t get back to sleep because I am driven to update the internet. But then again, most people probably don’t jump out of bed because they want to do their jobs, do they?
How many enemies have you made along the way?
I used to make a lot more enemies when Yobeat was smaller and I was just freelancing. People didn’t understand why this loud mouthed little girl was calling them out for being stupid, had opinions, or was anywhere other than the kitchen. But a wise man once said to me, “They only hate you until they realize you have power. Then they’re scared of you.”
So you don’t take credit for ruining Josh Sherman’s career?
Ha, I forgot about Josh Sherman. Yeah, he was not a fan of mine after we went on a trip to Quebec together, but I think we both learned something from that one. I learned I have NO DESIRE to be a snowboard photographer and I can’t speak for him, but he is now running his own company, which is maybe a better place for him than in front of the camera.
Where do you want to take Yobeat? Would you quit in an instant if someone offered you the right price?
That’s something I ask myself a lot. Right now, no, I’m not trying to sell it to the highest bidder. The reason I love doing Yobeat is because I get to do anything and everything I want (including giving myself a damn interview) and having to answer to someone would change that. But like they say, money talks, so never say never.
What’s the worst part about being the boss?
Dealing with you. Next question.
Is it true you’re also a tattoo artist?
Yes. I gave Jerm his first tattoo. I was going for a charcoal look, which is why the lines were so squiggly. Either that, or it was because I was drunk and had never given a tattoo before.
You live in Portland, Oregon so you must have tattoos, chickens and a drinking problem right?
I have a tattoo – which I actually got in Chicago, two chickens – which are Jared’s, and I wouldn’t call it a problem.
Brooke is proud of this for some reason, so we included it. Comment away.
Why hasn’t Yobeat adopted Facebook commenting to cool down the anonymous hate like every other site?
Because Yobeat is a community and anonymous commenting is why it’s grown so much. And we deal with trolls the old-fashioned way — by tracking their IP addresses and calling them out publicly.
Where does Yobeat draw the line? How far is too far?
I just told our managing editor this actually. If it makes you feel slightly uncomfortable, then it’s Internet gold. But everything is taken on a case-by-case basis and I abide by the old adage, if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.
Why aren’t there random drug tests at Yobeat?
There are. Next question
What’s the proudest moment of your snowboard career?
Beating Hannah Teter in a halfpipe contest at Okemo. She was 9, but whatever.
That beats owning Kyle Clancy’s virginity?
Do you think the kids that will read this even know who Kyle Clancy is?
I don’t care. I’m making you take that question out. I just got invited to a premiere in Austria; do you think they’ll fly me there?
No, you’re not that important.