by William Needham Finley IV™

Author

William Needham Finley IV @WNFIV

William Needham Finley IV @WNFIV has 167 articles published.

ITBlake Learns How To Wash Cars And Be A Penguin Mascot

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ITBlake the intern came to me with a problem. He needed a summer job that would allow him the flexibility to be a famous intern and also play Fortnite (it’s a video game) constantly. I told him that I would help him find a job, despite being overwhelmingly busy with launching a podcast, running a media empire, and trying not to get sued.

We posted an ad and his résumé in the micITBit Facebook group.

We got a lot of great responses but ITBlake didn’t follow up with any of them. So I took it upon myself to find him a job and set up an interview.

I reached out to Scot Wingo, who was named 2018 CEO of the Year by The Triangle Business Journal. Wingo is the CEO of Spiffy, a local company revolutionizing car care. Spiffy’s convenience and eco-friendly process have made them a triangle favorite. With the tap of a phone screen, they bring car washing, detailing, and oil changes to you. Using the Spiffy app, you can quickly schedule an appointment and their professionally trained technicians show up with everything they need to make your car stand out from all the others in the White Memorial pickup line.

Wingo had the perfect job in mind for ITBlake. As you can see from the video, we pivoted from our original strategy of having ITBlake wash cars, and instead focused on leveraging ITBlake wearing a penguin costume while synergistcally standing on the side of (and sometimes in the middle of) a busy road to attract attention.

We generated over 1M impressions that day. To thank ITBlake for his hard work, Spiffy is offering our loyal readers $20 off a full wash or detail, or $10 off oil changes. Just use code “ITB” when checking out. You’re welcome.

ITBehind the scenes footage:

Dads Won’t Stop Fly Fishing In Orvis Parking Lot

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A new addition to the Ridgewood shopping center has area fishing enthusiasts flying high. After it was reported in the Development Beat that the new Orvis in Ridgewood had opened, dozens of dads from inside the beltline have flocked to the store’s parking lot. They aren’t just there to check out new gear. These dads are there to fish, or at least practice fishing.

With the flooding of Crabtree Creek becoming more common, combined with Raleigh’s new “pop-up” fishing holes that result from the city’s decaying sewer and water infrastructure, it’s no surprise that fishermen are taking to the streets to practice fly fishing. We spent some time investigating the phenomenon.


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“They come out at all hours of the day, all days of the week,” said one Orvis employee. “It’s like that scene in the movie Field of Dreams. They just start appearing from in between the rows of Tahoes and Yukons in the Whole Foods parking lot.”

An avid fly fisherman, who arrived at 6:00 am carrying his Orvis Battenkill reel in a monogrammed Filson case, shared his excitement over the new sporting goods store. “It’s just nice to get away from the office and come to the great outdoors. There’s no better place to tighten your loops and practice your back cast than a new Orvis parking lot,” said Davis Franklin, a commercial real estate broker.

“Surrounded by the beautiful stone facade and the traffic on the Wade Avenue 500, I can just close my eyes and imagine I’m hooking a bonefish on our annual Bahamas trip,” he added.

To recreate optimal fishing conditions, the store installed a livestream of a live stream. A video of a live stream in the North Carolina mountains is projected onto the side of the building while the soothing sounds of the water can be heard from the Bose surround sound speakers mounted in the parking lot.

The live stream livestream

The live stream livestream has been a huge hit, with many dads returning at night in their North Face Cat’s Meow sleeping bags to simply watch the river. Customers have already requested that a livestream of graduations, childbirths, school plays, and music recitals be played so they won’t have to leave the parking lot.


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The lot continued to fill. Two dads wearing ultralight waders and Barbour vests in the 90 degree heat unloaded gear from their Yukons while debating whether to use a 4 weight or a 7 weight when catching bluegill at Lassiter Mill.

Nearby, a father was giving his son a lesson. “So this is called a wind knot. You’re going to get those if you keep tomahawking your cast like that,” he explained, as he placed a metronome on the curb to teach his son proper timing.


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One dad even brought a boat to the parking lot.

“I always try to snag some red drum while tooling around Rich’s inlet,” said Thomas Miller III, attempting to recreate those conditions by sitting in his boat that rested on the asphalt.

Another fisherman chimed in. “You might want to stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to in that drift boat, pal. I was about to bring my Jones Brothers Cape Fisherman out here and work on my double haul. Then my wife said all her friends that shop at Whole Foods might see me and think I was slacking off with their investments,” said Five Points resident and financial planner Vance Craig VI.


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“I’m just glad we’ve got an Orvis in Raleigh now,” added Craig VI, refusing to acknowledge the existence of the Orvis at Triangle Town Center. He went on to name-drop Orvis CEO Perk Perkins. “We’ve been giving Perk a hard time at the hunting camp for not having one of these inside the beltline. I told him I’d personally spend at least six figures a year if he’d just put one somewhere close.”



Craig VI then entered the store to purchase three new rods, a dog jacket, and a shotshell collar with an engraved brass plate for Birdie, his golden retriever puppy.



To keep potential customers in the parking lot longer, Orvis designed a custom OtterBox DryBox YETI container for cell phone storage. Customers can store their phones and be free from distractions as they perfect their casts.

“We want this to be a safe space for our customers while they practice the sport they love. I’m not sure anyone is improving, but they’re buying a lot of gear,” said an Orvis employee.

The store has done over $3 million in sales since opening last month.


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The N&O Praises Intern For Saving Iconic Sign

in Humor/ITB Intern by

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A Broughton High School senior is finally being recognized by the media after a year of hard work. The News & Observer, a newspaper located in Raleigh, North Carolina, reported on the incredible story of how ITBlake the intern single-handedly saved a piece of history. Seriously, here is the article that features ITBlake the intern in the newspaper.

Over the last year, ITBlake spent countless hours managing a social media campaign using the hashtag #savethesign. The goal was to draw attention to the N.C. Equipment Co. building’s tractor sign (or is it a bulldozer?) that was in danger of being demolished along with the rest of the building. The campaign generated over 60 million impressions on social media and dominated brunch and dinner party conversations for months.


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ITBlake initially planned on taking legal action. “At first I thought about taking this to the Supreme Court of the world, but Stacy Miller was too busy dealing with Fyre Festival™ lawsuits. And if you can’t have Stacy as your attorney then there’s no point in even trying,” said ITBlake the intern.



In a last-ditch effort, ITBlake handcuffed himself to the sign for weeks, surviving on LaCroix and Rise biscuits alone. His dedication to the cause worked, as developers announced plans to save the sign and incorporate it into the new student housing development being built on the site.


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ITB Insider™ posted the news of ITBlake the intern’s victory on Instagram and Twitter.

The News & Observer’s Josh Shaffer saw the story and began to investigate. ITBlake’s story was so powerful that Shaffer featured it in his article on the history of the sign. Here’s ITBlake the intern’s big newspaper debut.

Once you get through the Kroger and Netflix DVD rental pop-up ads, you’ll see ITBlake featured in the article.

Many Raleigh residents were pleased to see the heartwarming story get the attention it deserved.

“It’s great to see the media covering stories that matter, instead of wasting time on articles about where Amazon will put their headquarters based on some “source”,” said Five Points resident and commercial real estate broker Vance Craig VI.


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“I don’t read the news because of my crippling addiction to micITBit and other buy/sell/trade Facebook groups. But I did see this on Facebook as I scrolled by a Kissy Kissy Dogs Day Out footie that was too small for lil Vance VII and it made me happy,” added Mary Cameron Knoll Craig, who runs an Instagram account featuring images of the best Wine and Design paintings in Raleigh.

As for ITBlake, he reacted to the news of his appearance in the news as any 18 year-old would. With a simple “Omg”.

Omg indeed, ITBlake. Omg indeed.


Baskin-Robbins In Cameron Village Closed And Dunkin Donuts Is To Blame

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Dunkin Donuts Just Ruined Your Childhood

Baskin-Robbins in Cameron Village, an institution to generations of Raleigh residents for over 50 years, is closed. I was sent the picture below on Wednesday afternoon.

I was already exhausted from covering Webb’s victory, debuting ITBlake the intern’s house flipping video, editing the Development Beat, and breaking the news about Apple moving to NC (more on that later).

Still, I pressed on to read the letter written by the owners of the Baskin-Robbins in Cameron Village. A sadness melted over me as I read each sentence.

According to the letter, the parent company of Dunkin Brands (aka Dunkin Donuts) thought the “location and the age of this store can no longer meet the brand standard” and gave the owners the choice to move to a different location. The owners declined and have decided to retire. That’s right, Dunkin Donuts kills jobs.


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The letter ended, “It has been an honor to serve such a loyal group of customers and we will close happily with fond memories,” which is the classiest and most mature way you can handle this situation.

I, however, am anything but mature. I will now destroy any argument in favor of the existence of Dunkin Donuts. First, what “brand standard” does Dunkin Donuts have? What even is Dunkin Donuts? Is it a donut shop or a coffee shop? I’ve never eaten their donuts, but I imagine they taste like rocks or dog food.


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For some reason, their coffee is an obsession for people from the North. Not the good North from Game of Thrones, the North that we roll our eyes at when their former residents, who now live here, try to coffee-splain how good Dunkin is to us. Full disclosure: I have some of their coffee K-cups and they aren’t even that great. I will be lighting those on fire in protest.

To align with their “brand standards” I assume they’ll build these Dunkin Donuts/Baskin-Robbins hybrid stores as stand-alone locations on some busy road instead of a nice upscale retail destination center nestled between some of Raleigh’s oldest neighborhoods and the best high school in the country.


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It’s pretty obvious that Dunkin was just afraid of moving into a location around the corner from Rise Biscuits and Donuts (one of our fine sponsors). Going head to head with Rise is a donut death wish.

I shared the picture of the letter on social media around 4:00 pm on Wednesday (before the “real news” outlets even knew about the story, obvi). By the time I posted this article, the social posts received an outpouring of comments from people remembering fond times they had there.

My own mom used to go there when she was pregnant with me, and look how I turned out. People recalled taking “field trips” there during school. Broughton legend Mary Holt Collins recalled the Broughton girls soccer state championship tradition of running from the track to Baskin-Robbins.

A few more comments (my comments in bold)

Scene of my parents’ first date – (this place literally created life)

Do they not realize the patrons don’t care that the store isn’t the typical chain?

So sad! My kids will be crushed!!!

Dunkin Donuts sucks.

Is anything sacred?

Every birthday cake for my sons special day has come from that store since they could choose their cake. So sad. It’s always busy and that family (not BR/DD) has always worked hard at customer service.

The ice cream is good but the owner is great. A real loss to me and my family.

First blockbuster now this…all our good report card rewards disappearing

I’d like to mourn this loss the only way I know how, by eating an entire mint chocolate chip ice cream cake by myself in a dark room listening to The Connells. But I can’t do that. Not in a “I can’t sit around at a time like this! I’m going to stand up and fight for what’s right!” kind of way. I mean I literally cannot buy a mint chocolate chip ice cream cake anymore.


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Therefore, I am calling on a city-wide boycott of all Dunkin Donuts stores, products, commercials, advertisements, and anything related to the company. If we can’t have Baskin-Robbins in Cameron Village, Dunkin Donuts can’t have our customers in Raleigh. Last night, I put a plan in motion.



This is just a start. I haven’t even talked to my attorney Stacy Miller yet to see if what Dunkin is doing is even legal. If we work together who knows what could happen.


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ITBlake Flips A House

ITBlake Flips A House

in Humor/ITB Intern by
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ITBlake the intern has been working hard over the last year. We’ve seen him complete multiple workout classes, cover the Raleigh Christmas parade, and much more. We’re excited to finally share the results of one of his passion projects. Early on in his internship, ITBlake came to me and said, “The real estate market is booming. I want to learn how to flip houses.” So I arranged for a house to be purchased in Five Points, and told ITBlake to watch as many episodes of HGTV renovation shows as he could.

After watching countless episodes of the hit show Fixer Upper, ITBlake learned how to flip houses. He just finished renovating a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 2,407 square foot home at 404 W Aycock Street. ITBlake spent days working on the project, only taking breaks to walk down to Roanoke Park and play Fortnite on his phone.

We produced our own HGITB episode to show off all his hard work. We also figured this would be a hit with his target demographic, because nothing appeals to ITB moms more than ITBlake and home renovation projects.

As you can see from the first episode of the series, ITBlake thought of everything:

Space for parking multiple Yukon XLs from Thompson Buick GMC Cadillac (Hey Mark)

“Baby in a wall” storage, great for those with new babies who need to get some rest

Quartz countertops – also known as “rock” countertops


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Plenty of room to throw produce to Jimmy as he leaves for school

Stove capable of cooking steaks, pasta, sauces, and more

Everything is designed to be very cute

Harry Potter bathroom

Master bedroom with a clock

Efficient shower for ITBlake and his future wife Emma Watson

Furniture from micITBit- NO POMS

A storage shed with doors that lead into the storage shed

(This is an actual house for sale. Contact John Hawkins with Fonville Morisey for details.)


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Here are some before and after pictures:

Webb Simpson Dominates The Players Championship

in ITBNN by
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Raleigh’s Webb Simpson had quite a weekend. The Broughton and Wake Forest graduate, 2012 U.S. Open winner, Ryder Cup team member, Presidents Cup team member, Broughton Hall of Famer, cousin of Bonner Gaylord, and Carolina Country Club course record holder dominated the competition to win The PLAYERS Championship on Mother’s Day.

To celebrate, a victory parade will be held every day at 1:00 pm for the rest of May on the following route:

Winning the hearts and minds of the entire world isn’t easy, but Webb made it look that way. He shot 18 under par, decimating his peers, including the likes of Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, and everyone else who lost.

Tiger was gracious in defeat.


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Webb’s Friday round of 63, featuring 9 birdies and an eagle, tied the TPC Sawgrass course record. He also set a record for the largest margin through three rounds and tied Greg Norman’s 54-hole record at 19-under 197.

Webb overcame a lot in this victory. After winning the U.S. Open in 2012, the PGA Tour banned the anchored putting stroke (belly putter) used by Webb and many other golfers. It was a ruling made out of fear, fear that Webb would go on to win every single tournament for the rest of his career. The PGA was worried that Webb’s dominance would discourage younger players from even trying to play golf.


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With the ban in place, Webb’s putting declined. The day before the 2017 Players Championship began, Webb had a conversation with NC State alum Tim Clark while on the putting green. Clark suggested Webb try out a claw grip. Using his genius IQ and LeBron Jamesesque photographic memory, Webb memorized the grip in less than two seconds and is now 10th in putting this season.


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One of the best parts of Webb leading all weekend was that the announcers were able to focus on Broughton. Here they are congratulating the Broughton boys golf team for winning their 12th state title.


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And here they are talking about Broughton’s Pistol Pete Maravich.

The victory was Webb’s fifth on the PGA Tour and makes him eligible for the World Golf Hall of Fame. Webb is now ranked 20th in the world and 9th in the Ryder Cup standings. So congratulations to Webb, his team, family, and friends. Everyone should celebrate this victory. But if there was any question as to where Webb is from, he gave Raleigh’s SportsChannel8 the exclusive answer last week.

As always, we got a glimpse of Webb taking a phone call after his victory.

“Hey Bonner, yeah I know it’s almost surfing season. Let me call you back. I’ve gotta go add to my trophy case.”

Go Webb, go Caps, go America.

Highlights from Webb’s win:

During his victory press conference, a reporter asked if Webb had really broken his belly putter. Webb replied:

“I was going to play in the Dunlop Phoenix tournament. I had made a plan to switch to the short putter that week kind of under the radar, I knew you guys wouldn’t be there. It was a year before the rule was enforced so I thought I’d get a year under my belt. I started to chicken out a little bit, and I called Paul and said ‘Hey I’m gonna take the belly putter one more tournament.’ My wife’s in the driveway pulling out with the kids and I tell her this, and I see my bag in the garage and I see the belly putter. For whatever reason I had the urge to break it. If I break it I can’t take it with me. So I go over there and snap it over my knee and I’m on the way to throw it in the trash can, and she tells me I better hang on to it, it’s been pretty good to me. So I put it in my trophy case, both pieces, and then went to Japan with the short putter.”

Lord of the Fyres: Tales from a Surfyrevor

in Fyre Festival/ITBNN by


Update: 4/26/18

A lot has happened in the last year. A fellow Fyre Festival™ attendee and I filed a lawsuit against the festival organizers once we returned home. I’m not legally allowed to talk about it, but let’s just say that Stacy Miller is the best attorney in the world. Once that was resolved, I made a pretty big purchase to celebrate. No, I didn’t buy VIP passes to Coachella or take a trip back to Exuma. I bought the Fyre Festival™ trademark.

While doing research for my upcoming podcast, I discovered that the trademark for Fyre Festival™ was set to expire in April 2018. I’m somewhat of a business expert, having gone to college, and I had a feeling this mark was not going to be renewed. See, when a company goes bankrupt, or when people involved with it are facing prison time, they sometimes forget to renew their trademarks. So I had a copyright attorney file an application as soon as it expired. I now own Fyre Festival™.

This means that I have to actually put on a music festival in order to use the mark in commerce. While I have no idea how to put on a music festival, I definitely know what NOT to do. My goal here is to see if I can throw a festival, have a good time, and give back to a good cause or charity. I know there are some people in Exuma who are still owed quite a bit of money after not being paid by festival organizers. I also have some friends who just opened the first and only special-needs home and therapy center for orphans in Panama. I’m sure they’d be glad to take donations.

That all leads to the Dumpster Fyre Podcast, a docu-style series that explores how the first festival became the biggest dumpster fire ever, and also follows along as we try to plan another one. Stay tuned for more updates on the podcast and Fyre Festival™ II. It’s gonna be lit.

To celebrate the one year anniversary, I now present “Twas the night before Fyre Festival™”

Twas the night before Fyre Festival™, and one year had gone by,
Not an influencer was stirring, and we all knew why.

The disaster relief tents were gone, and the stage was not there,
In hopes that all would forget and that no one would care.

The millennials were nestled all snug on their phones,
Watching Kanye on Twitter, definitely in one of his zones,

And Billy awaited sentencing, probably in his home,
Eating a cheese sandwich, unable to roam.

When out on Twitter there arose such a clatter,
People refreshed their timelines to see what was the matter,

When what to their wondering eyes should appear,
A major announcement, not a joke, but sincere.

From a Fyre Festival™ survivor, who covered it best,
Came news that he hoped would top all the rest.

I went to Fyre Festival™ to relax and satirize
I could not make up what happened, it was such a surprise

A lot went wrong on that island, it was far from fine.
So I’ve filed a trademark, meaning Fyre Festival™ is now mine.

It’s time to make things right for all who were there,
Not just the millennials, but the people of Exuma who weren’t treated fair.

And what better way than to throw Fyre Festival™ II.
To promote the Dumpster Fyre Podcast, and also entertain all of you.


Originally published on May 10, 2017

Lord of the Fyres: Tales from a Surfyrevor

I survived the first Fyre Festival. The now infamous festival was supposed to be an event in the Bahamas unlike anything else. Entrepreneur Billy McFarland and Rapper/Actor Ja Rule (The Fast and The Furious) co-founded the festival in late 2016. They began promoting it in December with the help of famous influencers.

Along with this video, the festival’s website promoted a $1 million treasure hunt, luxury accommodations on a private island once owned by Pablo Escobar, exquisite cuisine, exclusive experiences like swimming with island pigs, and a music festival with soon to be announced big-name acts. This was clearly the trip of a lifetime. Three friends and I bought tickets during the first week they were on sale. We upgraded to VIP and one friend and I also bought an “Artist Pass” which included your food, drinks, backstage passes, 4 nights on the island, and “exclusive” experiences.

This was my chance to finally become BFFs with all the influencers and celebrities that would be there. I’d played the scenario out a million times in my head leading up to the trip. Emily Ratajkowski, Hailey Baldwin, The Rock, and I would be hanging out backstage looking at pictures of Dogs of ITB.


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We would start chatting about how I run a media empire in Raleigh, and they’d all start following me for all my fire #content. The Rock would say, “I loved that story you wrote about how I’d be playing football for NC State next year. Will you be in Fast and Fur9ious? We need someone that drives a Tahoe.”

“Thanks, The Rock. I’d love to, if I can fit it in my schedule,” I’d say, trying to play it cool.

“Are you the guy that created the hottest buy/sell Facebook group for moms in Raleigh?”

“It’s not just for moms, Hailey Baldwin. micITBit is for everyone. It’s a closed group but I could probably approve you,” I’d say, negging her slightly.

We’d spend the rest of the weekend swimming with the pigs and Instagramming until we got carpal tunnel. “My ITBFF Justin Miller has a pig named Theodore. Don’t worry, you’ll meet him when you move to Raleigh,” I’d say, while telling them about inside the beltline. I’d influence them into buying luxury condos at The Wade. We’d all live there together and launch a reality show on Facebook Live produced by Walk West, since TV networks will be dead in 5 years. It was going to be perfect. And then, we got to the island.

As you can see, all of my dreams were crushed when Fyre Festival turned out to be a mashup of Lord of the Flies meets Outbreak meets Locked Up Abroad. They didn’t even have LaCroix. My media empire instincts kicked in and I started documenting the event like I was the Samuel Pepys of Fyre Festival. My coverage was used in pretty much every story about the event and my Tweets were included in the $100M class action lawsuit.

You’re probably thinking, “This is great for you. You gained thousands of followers and a ton of exposure!” To be clear, I didn’t want 15 minutes of global fame. I didn’t want over 50 million impressions on Twitter in April. I didn’t want to spend weeks doing interviews with the LA Times, People, CNN, the Washington Post, TMZ Live, Time, BBC, NPR, Inside Edition, and dozens of other outlets. Sure, all of those things were great for my #brand, but all I wanted from Fyre Festival was a relaxing vacation and new famous friends.

To show you what we went through, I’ve provided an in-depth account of exactly what happened. If you enjoy watching train wrecks, you’re going to love this.

Thursday, April 27th

12:000 pm – My friends and I had lunch outside of Boynton Beach. It would be our last meal not served in a styrofoam container for the next 24 hours. We left for the Miami airport and arrived with plenty of time for our 4:35 pm flight to Great Exuma. We boarded the plane and sat on the runway for about half an hour. Someone tried to open their window and this happened, which we should have taken as a sign.

Still, we continued on. We arrived on the island, boarded shuttle buses and rode for about 15 minutes. That’s when we saw this.

7:51 PM – We realized organization isn’t their strong suit.

At this point, co-founder Billy McFarland tells people with a Lodge to “go find a tent”. That went well.

Here’s the first tent that we claimed.

We returned to where we had been dropped off and asked where our tent was, again.

8:26 pm – Night had fallen. We had no luggage, but managed to find another tent.

“A disaster relief tent is where the heart is.” – Martha Stewart #fyre #fyrefest #fyrefestival

A post shared by William Needham Finley IV (@wnfiv) on

8:56 pm – Two of us without luggage split up to hunt for our belongings while our other friends stayed back to guard the tent.

The “white glove concierge luggage service” required you to use your phone flashlight and dig through hundreds of bags to find your own. Maybe this was the treasure hunt they had advertised. I started to help unload a pickup truck full of luggage and just happened to grab my bag. A true Fyre Festival miracle. I dropped my luggage off at our temporary tent and then went to cover what was going on.

I believe this is when we found THE NOTEBOOK. We could devote an entire Dumpster Fyre Podcast episode to this. “Chips?” kills me every time I look at this picture.

The number one thing on the to-do list dated April 14th (13 days before the festival) was “Complete our corporate application to HOPEFULLY start order”. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

I’ll give credit where credit is due. They did have a stage set up. I don’t think there was a DJ at this point. I assume Billy just grabbed the aux cord and started playing his “Lit AF Beach Jams” Spotify playlist on his phone.

I took some food back to our tent, which we were then kicked out of. We walked over to the main area where we had been dropped off and saw that people were getting on buses to leave. My friend went inside the main house and somehow convinced them to put us on a flight out that night.

The quaint General Store.

We rode to the airport with about 100 others who were desperate to get off the island.

Friday, April 28th

12:15 am – We were told the plane was on the way and that our flight would be at 1:30 am.

3:47 am – We had been sitting on the plane for over two hours while the crew tried to resolve an issue with the manifest not matching up to the headcount of people on the plane.

4:34 am – The crew asks us to get off the plane so they can check us in one by one.

7:08 am – Locked up abroad. I later learned that locking the doors was standard protocol. Still odd that they use a chain and padlock though.

Note: While reliving Fyre Festival™ on the one year anniversary I found this video that I had yet to post.

7:15 am – A girl loudly asks everyone in the airport “who is William Needham?”. (See the video below.) They were on to me. I remained silent. She continued, “No really. He’s in this room right now. Who is William Finley? He’s fucking hilarious.” Realizing that they weren’t going to sacrifice me to the island, I raised my hand. One girl asked, “Are you always this funny?” I just replied, “I try.”

If you recall, I had tweeted at my lawyer Stacy Miller as we boarded the plane (the first time) to leave the island at 1:47 am. He called me at about 7:30 am.

Stacy: Hey man are you ok? What is going on?

Me: I dunno, I haven’t slept in over 24 hours. I don’t really know how to make sentences.

Stacy: Are you still in the Bahamas?!

Me: I mean, I’m locked in an airport and they say a plane is coming soon, but yeah.

Stacy: Ok, well call me as soon as you land.

If you’re exhausted after reading all of that just imagine living through it. I don’t ever want to go back to Fyre Festival. I don’t ever want to go outside the beltline again. Final verdict: Fyre Festival gets 0 out of 5 beltlines.

Note: Fyre Festival organizers have allowed us to “apply” for a refund. During the application process they asked if we wanted to forgo our refund in exchange for double the number of VIP tickets to next year’s event. We all politely declined.

We still have not heard anything back after filling the forms out last week.

ITBlake Goes to Burn Boot Camp (VIDEO)

in Humor/ITB Intern by
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ITBlake the intern survived his first Burn Boot Camp West Raleigh workout. I’m sure many of you are wondering why I would force him to stop playing Fortnite and actually do some work by attending this class. Not to get all Cambridge Analytica here, but our analytics have shown that ITBlake #content appeals to females between the ages of 25-44. It just so happens that the majority of Burn Boot Camp members fall into this demographic. ITBlake is an intern of the people, so having him attend a class was a no-brainer. As I told ITBlake in the video, this is his tribe, and you can’t spell tribe without ITB.


Even though we knew there would be a lot of ITBlake fans at the class I wanted to make sure he would be accepted by our target demographic. To be safe, I had him walk into the class with a monogrammed Lands End bag filled with La Croix, Pirate’s Booty, fruit pouches, and Paw Patrol fruit snacks.

As ITBlake worked out, I posted a few clips to my Instagram Story. The response was overwhelming. Below is just a small sample.


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I put a few other projects on hold and spent two days editing the video, which we’ll be submitting to Sundance and The Academy. In just over a week, the video has been viewed over 7,000 times on Facebook, has over 5,700 impressions and 152 likes on Instagram, and 674 views on Twitter (Twitter does not seem to be a big fan of ITBlake workout videos).


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A lot of people saw the video and asked “How did he survive? Does media empire insurance cover loss of interns?” Thankfully, Mary Holt Collins (Broughton legend, and one half of Humdinger Juice) was there to guide him. Shout out to her brother, Colin Fickes, for inventing juice and being a Broughton legend as well. 

Now that ITBlake is in peak physical condition, we’ll focus on finding him a summer job. We’re also in talks to give him his own show. Stay tuned.


ITBirdwatch 2018

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UPDATE: The baby owl hatched on March 25, 2018. We aren’t sure how much it weighs or how long it is. The mother and father are doing well. Our ITBirth announcement post has more details.

ITBirdwatch Brought To You By ITB Insider

Welcome to ITBirdwatch 2018, the exclusive source of the baby owl livestream. (Scroll down for highlights, added weekly.) In March, some good friends of mine told me about the huge following of their live birdwatching camera. Apparently, Nextdoor is obsessed with this family of Raleigh owls that can be watched online 24/7. I know nothing about owls, yet I am already addicted to this. I feel like Ed Harris in The Truman Show.


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Previously, on ITBirdwatch

We’ll keep this section updated with highlights that you may have missed.

4.24.18 – Highlights from April.

4.6.18 – 7:21 PM – Baby Owl surprised by Mom.

4.2.18 – 8:30 PM – Baby Owl eats its first snake. They grow up so fast.


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3.25.18 – 8:15 PM – Our first look at the baby owl

Highlights from February and March 2018 

Caution: it’s a bird eat bird world. And also frogs and mice.

2.2.18 – 10:14 PM – Owls talking

Why are you doing this?

I decided to capitalize on the owl camera craze by expanding the media empire to cover ITBirdwatching. I’m expecting people to start having owl watch parties as they fall in love with the baby owl.


We’ll have baby owl naming contests (corporate sponsors should contact me for naming rights), a baby owl Insta account, baby owl merch, the possibilities are endless. This should also keep ITBlake the intern’s ego in check. He was getting a little too famous, so hopefully the popularity of these owls will make him realize his place in the pecking order.

About the Owls

According to my friend’s children, the female owl’s name is “Scoop Ups” and the male owl’s name is “Drop Offs.” I’m not sure if this has anything to do with owl carpool pickup, but we’ll go with it. If you like birds, consider supporting the American Wildlife Refuge or Audubon NC with a donation.


Here’s a heartwarming recap of last year’s owls to get you emotionally attached to this live stream:



Trouble ITBirdwatching?

While it is 2018, and Elon Musk just sent a car to Mars or something, the camera will have technical difficulties from time to time. The camera can lose connectivity when:

  1. My friend is mowing his grass. He has to move the extension cords so he doesn’t mow over them.
  2. It rains really hard.
  3. My friend’s kids unplug the camera while he’s at work. We’re looking in to having ITBlake the intern babysit the kids to prevent this from happening.



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Webb Watch at The Masters 2018

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Hello best friends, welcome to the 2018 edition of Webb Watch at The Masters. We’ll be covering Broughton alumnus, and 2012 U.S. Open winner, Webb Simpson as he plays in his seventh Masters tournament. Unfortunately, we don’t have a live camera on him like the baby owl, but we’ll do our best to provide up to the second coverage. We would have sent ITBlake the intern to cover this, but he’s not good at social media and he’s currently in Cuba. (More on that later, if he comes back alive.)

Before we get started, I’d like to discuss a recent controversy that arose on Instagram.


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On Wednesday night I posted the following picture that I post before every big tournament that Webb plays in. He’s always getting a phone call, probably from Bonner trying to sell him Ray-Bans, and politely telling the caller that he will call them back because he has to go play in (insert tournament).

This morning, someone with nothing better to do with their life decided to chime in. They attempted to continue Webb’s conversation by saying: “I should be back home in Charlotte by noon on Saturday so let’s talk again then”. #GOHOKIES

Great joke, pal. (That’s a reference to when Webb joked “Enjoy the jail cell, pal” as his 2012 U.S. Open victory interview was interrupted by a Vince Vaughn look-alike who ran on the green to protest rainforest deforestation.)

To be clear, the implication in this Instagram comment is that Webb will not make the cut, thus making him available to talk on Saturday. I replied with “cool story, Hansel” a reference to the Oscar winning film Zoolander, and then went on with my day. The commenter then had the audacity to question my judgement because I went to Fyre Festival.

I have numerous issues with this interaction.

A.) If Webb missed the cut he wouldn’t be back in Charlotte on Saturday. He’d spend the rest of the weekend with friends and family in a cottage at the Masters eating $1.50 pimento cheese sandwiches.

2.) If you don’t like what I post, don’t follow me. My media empire is not a platform for your bad jokes or criticism. I’m fine with constructive criticism. For example, just this morning someone commented on this Dogs of ITB post and said the caption should have been “Raiders of the Lost Bark”. And they are totally right. I promise to do better in the future.

D.) Fyre Festival wasn’t cool. It was lit.

Earlier in my career I would have told this guy to go binge eat Tide Pods. But I can’t do that now or I’ll end up in the headlines. I have a baby owl and ITBlake (not my biological son) to think about and I can’t be that reckless. So the only thing I’ll say to this guy is, ITBless your heart. Now, on to the coverage.


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Webb Watch: The Masters 2018

Webb tees off at 12:54 PM on Thursday. He’ll be playing with Charl Schwartzel and Yuxin Lin. Here are some quick Webb Watch stats from the 10 events he’s played in 2018:

47th in the FedEx Cup rankings

40th in the World Golf rankings

Eternally 1st in the ITB rankings

3 top 10 finishes

5 top 25 finishes

6th best scoring average

3rd best sand save percentage

9th in approaches from 50-125 yards

1st in final round performance

1st in late scoring average


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Here are our current betting odds:

Webb 3/1

Tiger Woods 8/1

Everyone else 20/1

(All bets must be placed using ITBitcoin. Payouts not guaranteed.)

Stay tuned for more coverage throughout the day.


We also have some 2018 Masters facts from Wallet Hub because they e-mail me great #content that I can simply copy and paste. And they say journalism is dead.


Source: WalletHub

Time Warp at the City of Raleigh Museum

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As the state capital, and the most important city in North Carolina, Raleigh has a unique history worth celebrating. If you’re looking for a night on the town where you can celebrate history by reliving the past, then look no further. Raleigh’s hottest party is Time Warp, and it’s coming up on April 21st. This 1970s themed blast from the past is the creation of the City of Raleigh Museum.

Since opening in 1993, the museum has collected and cared for artifacts, curated exhibits, and provided programming related to Raleigh’s history and heritage. Time Warp supports the museum’s mission to “Preserve Raleigh’s Past for the Future.” This party has everything, including:

Beer, wine, an assortment of LaCroix mixers, and a signature cocktail poured by ITBlake the bartender

Hors d’oeuvres and plates from some of your favorite Raleigh restaurants

A dance contest and a costume contest judged by our friends Mayor Nancy McFarlane and Joe Ovies, co-host of the Adam and Joe show on 99.9 FM The Fan

A Trolley Pub piñata filled with Bose noise cancelling headphones so you’ll never hear another WHHHOOOOOOO again

An auction of local art and a silent auction of items from Raleigh’s finest businesses and restaurants

Exhibits of ancient artifacts found in Raleigh, including:

Blueprints for the Weather Dome™

The street light from the DrunkTown ad. This will be available for photo opportunities.

Holy water blessed by the Pope during his visit to Raleigh

Recently discovered dinosaur fossils from Dix Park that will be used as a liquor luge

Plans for the Downtown Canal™

The mimosa glass from the first pre-noon brunch

There will also be an after party at Foster’s, where “Murder On The Dancefloor” will play on repeat.

An after-after party will be held in the Village Subway, where The Connells will perform.

We may have misunderstood some of these details while talking with the museum. Check out the Time Warp event website for accurate event information and tickets. If you’re interested in sponsoring the event, check out the sponsorship opportunities.

What: Time Warp 2018

When: Saturday, April 21, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Where: City of Raleigh Museum – 220 Fayetteville Street

Patagonia Unveils Seersucker Line

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Raleigh Residents First In Line For Patagonia Seersucker Collection

Patagonia fans had been waiting months for this moment. The famously preppy outdoor brand entered the world of Seersucker on Thursday, just in time for Easter. Patagonia held a secret pop-up shop at Great Outdoor Provision Co. in Cameron Village to debut the new line.

“We wanted a look that would be multifunctional. This line is perfect for folks who will never set foot on a hiking trail, but still want to display the prestige of Patagonia. We also included items that cater to the .06% of our customers who do go outdoors and want to do so in style,” said Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia.

The Patagonia Seersucker line consists of the following:

Patagonia Seersucker Suit – $499

Classic seersucker stripes trace a sharp, clean-lined design on this suit. Self-stuffs into chest pocket with carabiner clip-in loop. This luxe layer is perfect for your collection.

Bucks – $100

While these aren’t seersucker, they do pair perfectly with the other items in the collection. Four eye lace-up with a non-marking rubber outsole.

Seersucker Dress (monogramming available) – $329

This structured skater dress is perfect for an Easter service at St. Michael’s or White Memorial. The half sleeves feature an eye-catching flared design, while the upper thigh length hemline maintains a babydoll look.


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Fleece Vest – Men – $99

Classic vest made with midweight Synchilla-sucker polyester fleece. Great for hiking the paved Raleigh Greenway.


Down Vest – Women – $99

This classic Down Sweater-sucker Vest is lightweight and windproof, thanks to the 800-fill-power Traceable Down. The perfect warmth for waiting in your climate controlled SUV in the Root or Lacy pickup lines.


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Down Sleeping Bag – $519

An elegant, real-world bag, built with the best materials available. Performs in all conditions, including summer camp at Sea Gull or Seafarer, and neighborhood sleepovers.

The collection was an immediate hit. A manager at Great Outdoor Provision Co. said that about 200 people were waiting in line for the store to open on Thursday morning. The Patagonia Seersucker items were gone in approximately 16 minutes.

A Five Points couple hired ITBlake the intern to wait in line overnight and hold their spot. “This stuff is going to sell for triple in micITBit,” said Mary Cameron Knoll Craig, referring to the secret closed Facebook buy/sell/trade group with over 9,000 members.

Her husband, Vance Craig VI, added, “Now we can slightly stand out while still wearing the same clothes as everyone in our peer group.”



Administrators at White Memorial Presbyterian Church rejoiced upon hearing the news. “Every Easter we try to break the world record for most Seersucker at a religious service. This clothing line will definitely help,” said an unnamed church official. The current Seersucker world record is held by White Memorial and was set in 2017.

Patagonia has already increased production of the Seersucker line after seeing the success of the pop-up shop.


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ITBirdwatch: THE BABY OWL HAS ARRIVED

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ITBirdwatch Brought To You By ITB Insider

At some time during the day on March 25, 2018, Baby Owl came into the world. We aren’t sure how much it weighs, how many inches it is (3 or 4 maybe?), or if it’s a boy or girl, but we could not be more proud. The mother, Scoop Ups, and father, Drop Offs, are doing well.

The announcement was made on Instagram and we’re looking into putting a birth announcement in the newspaper. Feel free to comment with your suggestions on a name for Baby Owl (businesses can email wnfiv@itbinsider.com for sponsorship opportunities). Baby Owl Stacy Miller IV has a nice ring to it, but we’re open to suggestions.

Before we show you the first look at Baby Owl, let’s recap the last 12 days.


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March 13th – ITB Insider acquires exclusive broadcast rights to the owl livestream. Terms of the deal are not public, but it involved pallets of LaCroix and ITBitcoin.

March 14th – ITBirdwatch 2018 debuts on ITB Insider, along with this highlight video from 2017 that we made to get viewers emotionally invested in the 2018 livestream.



March 15th – ITBirdwatch passes 2,000 pageviews. My friend and I start to get concerned that the owl has not hatched.


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March 22nd – I make ITBlake the intern watch the livestream so I can get some work done.

March 25th – Baby Owl is born. All is right in the world.

As I said in our debut ITBirdwatch post, a live feed of a baby owl is internet gold. We’ve already passed 6,000 pageviews for the livestream in less than two weeks. Those numbers are going to skyrocket now that there’s a little baby owl to watch.


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I’ve received messages from multiple people asking where the owls are located (we can’t disclose that for safety reasons) and if we’ll be posting highlight clips of feedings and the owls doing stuff. To keep people from rioting, we are now posting those clips on the ITBirdwatch page.





If you like birds, consider supporting the American Wildlife Refuge or Audubon NC with a donation.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

My Valentime’s Day With Juliet From Customer Support

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I spent my Valentime’s Day falling in and out of love with a woman named Juliet, for real. I will now share this tragic love story exactly as it happened. For context, Juliet works for Buffer, a company that created an online tool used to schedule social media posts. I pay $10 a month for this service and have used it for almost a year to make running the media empire a little easier.

Everything was working just fine until Tuesday night. Buffer, a company that employs 80 people, wasn’t putting the correct images in my posts. I looked on their site for support and found that they didn’t have a chat option. I was instructed to fill out a form and Tweet at them. So I Tweeted at them.

I spent the next 36 hours chatting with who I thought would become the love of my life. I shared most of the story on social media already, but I’ve decided to turn the saga into a play so that I can add “playwright” to my LinkedIn.


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This post pairs well with “Romeo and Juliet” by Dire Straits playing on loop in the background. 

Act I

Prologue

We begin our play on the eve of Valentime’s Day. Love is in the air, but one in the house of ITB Insider is forlorn. It appears that house Buffer is not honoring their vow to post the words of William Needham Finley IV to his coveted social media platforms. William is outraged at this injustice. After searching far and wide for a contact page, he turned to Twitter, to express his rage.

The night came and went with no reply. The next morning, Juliet appeared and caught William’s eye.

Could this be love for William on Valentime’s Day? He doth not protest, but replied right away.

Seven minutes passed, which in Twitter-time is almost an entire day. He tweeted once more at his potential bae.

Juliet replied and included a smile. William was smitten, even after waiting a while. 


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Act II

Juliet slideth into to the DMs, and immediately dropped the L-word. William kept it cool, even as his emotions stirred. He began to explain his strife. William went on in great detail, since social media is his life.



Time ticked away as Juliet failed to reply. William thought about eating a Tide Pod, the most lit way to die.




Before eating the Tide Pod, William reached out one more time. If this didn’t work, he’d call Stacy Miller to report this heinous crime.

After putting it all on the table, a reply was received. But this reply came from Daniel, and William felt deceived. In between each message it took Daniel four hours to type. If this were a dating app, to the left William would swipe.


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Act III

There was no mention of Juliet, where did she go? It was up to William to determine if Daniel was a friend or foe.


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Night came, and from Juliet not a peep. William had lost hope and went to sleep. The morning arrived, and with it came Juliet’s replies. William threw the Tide Pods aside, and couldn’t believe his eyes.

Juliet’s message spoke of living in a different time zone. William knew this meant that they would never…..be together romantically.

He checked his Twitter mentions and saw Juliet taking the blame. But he still wasn’t sure if this was just another game.

William knew it was better to Tweet like nobody’s watching, and always love with the upper hand. So he ended things with Juliet and continued binge watching Homeland.

For never was a story of more regret, than this of William Needham Finley IV and Buffer’s Juliet.

Exeunt

I expect someone will erect a golden statue of these screenshots to memorialize this love story forever, just like they did in Romeo and Juliet. I’m going to send this over to Raleigh Little Theatre to see if they’ll let me perform this play. I also need to call my lawyer, Stacy Miller, to see if Juliet and I were together long enough to be common-law married. If you’re interested in the movie rights to this saga, please contact Stacy Miller at Miller Law Group. Thank you.

Oh, and I moved the real Prologue to the end because I figured people would get bored and stop reading. Here it is:

Prologue

Two Twitter accounts, both alike in dignity,

In the Twitterverse, where we lay our scene,

From a customer support request comes great malignity,

Where civil Tweets make civil DMs unclean,

From forth the fatal DMs of these two foes,

A pair of star-crossed millennials begin and end their romantic life,

Whose misadventured piteous overthrows

Do with their death bury their followers’ strife.

And the continuance of media empire ascension,

Is now the 13 screenshots of our blog post,

The which if you with patient eyes do pay attention,

What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to make the most.


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Seaboard Wine Chosen As Exclusive Retailer Of ITBlessed Glasses

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In a move that many are calling a “game changer,” Seaboard Wine & Tasting Bar and ITB Insider have leveraged synergies to provide customers with one of the hottest products on the market. The highly coveted ITBlessed wine glasses, part of the Shop ITB home goods line, are now available exclusively at Seaboard Wine for $15 each (or 2 for $25).

Analysts are already praising the move. “It’s absolutely genius. Having the creativity to pair a wine glass with an established company like Seaboard Wine, who sells wine, is brilliant,” said wine and retail analyst Serena van der Woodsen.

After successfully launching a fashion line and home goods line in December, William Needham Finley IV decided it was time to expand into physical locations. “The online store has been great, but I wanted people to experience the craftsmanship of our products in the right environment, while shopping local,” said Finley IV.

The decision was seen as “revolutionary” by industry experts. “The timing aligns perfectly with Valentine’s Day. Having the foresight to know that a holiday is coming up and then to execute something like this is rarely done in the world of retail. You don’t see other media empires making those types of moves,” added Serena van der Woodsen.



The markets reacted positively within minutes of the news breaking.

“With the help of Seaboard Wine, and all of the micITBit members and ITB Insider readers who drink rosé alllll daayyy, we’re expecting at least $6 million in sales in the first week,” said Finley IV.

Located at 802 Semart Drive #118 in Seaboard Station, Seaboard Wine & Tasting Bar has served Raleigh for over 20 years. We’ve partnered with them to bring our readers the ITBest wine and rosé.


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ITBest of the Week February 5

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Welcome to ITBest of the Week, a look at the most important events of the last week. It’s like if an e-mail newsletter and Buzzfeed (who follows me on Twitter) had a baby at Rex Hospital. I waited until Monday to post this so I could include ITBlake’s QOH picture from the weekend. You’re welcome.

ITBlake the intern goes to Queen of Hearts

ITB Insider Donates to White Memorial

lululemon turned me into an ITB Mom

Tracy On A Plane

Development Beat

Dogs of ITB of the Week

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ITBlake Works Out for Queen of Hearts

ITBlake the intern had a busy week preparing for Queen of Hearts. To get him in peak physical condition, I had him take a workout class at PBX®. You can read the full story here: ITBlake Prepares for Queen of Hearts. Or watch the highlights below.

I can’t decide what my favorite part of the video is, but I’m leaning towards ITBlake talking about how he didn’t know what a breathalyzer was during his freshman year.

After surviving his PBX® class, ITBlake was ready for QOH.

Stay tuned for his recap, coming this week.



ITB Insider Donates to White Memorial Silent Auction

I was honored to be included in the Silent Auction at White Memorial’s Valentine’s Dance on Friday. I gladly donated some t-shirts from my fashion line and some koozies and ITBlessed wine glasses from my home goods line. All proceeds went to the Love and Friendship Fund for the WDS school. This fund helps provide scholarships for students who need financial aid, training for teachers, and other resources. I didn’t see any other media empires donate items, so I’m going to assume we’ve got the inside track on heaven. #ITBlessed


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lululemon Turned Me Into an ITB Mom

I now own lululemon pants (for men) and I’m never taking them off.


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Tammy On A Plane

Be like Tammy.



Development Beat

NC State’s Carmichael gym is getting a makeover, Pizza Times opened in downtown, Michael’s English Muffins opened, O-Ku Sushi is coming to The Dillon, and more news.

Development Beat: Carmichael Gym Demolition, Restaurant Openings


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Best Dogs of ITB of the Week

Watson can’t believe it’s finally Friday. @along_came_watson

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Reese shows off how tall he is with an impressive pupstand. @reese_the_corgi

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“On Wednesdays we wear bow ties.” – Winston the golden pup @rileysmall_

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Sampson looking regal AF as he rules over Five Points. @goldendaysofsampson

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Winnie, hiding from the rain and the Mondays. @winniethe_minnie

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Skully’s not looking forward to Monday. @thegoldenskully

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Duck the Corgi @duckthecorgi

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Indi, heading into the weekend. @raleighnaround @indianajones_the_frenchie

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ITBlake Prepares for Queen of Hearts

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To have ITBlake try out your workout class, or anything else, contact business@itbinsider.com.

February is here and love is in the air. ITBlake the intern has been busy getting ready for the biggest night of his life; senior year Queen of Hearts. Also known as QOH, this formal dance held at Broughton is a tradition unlike any other. It’s more important than the Deb Ball and the Governor’s Inaugural Ball combined. People have children just so they can one day attend Broughton and go to Queen of Hearts. It’s that important.


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This year’s Queen of Hearts theme is Jurassic Park, which made me incredibly jealous of ITBlake. If someone doesn’t make their Tahoe look like one of the Jeeps from Jurassic Park then the entire senior class should be held back a year. I was going to make ITBlake wear an inflatable T-Rex costume, but we couldn’t find a tuxedo with arms that short.


Since this is such an important milestone in ITBlake the intern’s life, I wanted to do anything I could to make it the best night ever. I started by asking my friend Chrissy Teigen (who follows me on Twitter) for advice on getting him a date.


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Chrissy is super busy going to the Grammys and has a baby on the way, so I thought about reaching out to someone local. It just so happens that a contestant on this season of The Bachelor lives in Raleigh. I ran this by ITBlake to see if he’d want to go with her. Then we saw this video of her saying she would drink her own urine, which was a deal breaker for ITBlake. To each their own.

A post shared by Jenna Cooper (@jennacooperfit) on


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Just as I was about to turn to the micITBit Facebook group for advice, ITBlake found a date. The least I could do was get my friends at PBX® to host a special class and help him get in peak physical condition. As you can see from the video, he was a natural. His ability to go from rapping to almost dying from exhaustion was inspirational.

Now that he was in peak physical condition after one workout, I had ITBlake come up with some tips on how to have a good Queen of Hearts. Sure, he left out the dinner recommendations and a lot of other details, but we can’t expect him to plan the entire event. That’s what ITB moms are for.

ITBlake’s tips for QOH

1. Don’t eat Tide Pods, it’s not worth it

2. Rise biscuits and donuts are great for late night

3. Drink a lot of La Croix

I couldn’t have said it better myself. We’ll keep you posted on how ITBlake’s last QOH goes.



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ITBest of the Week January 26

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Welcome to ITBest of the Week, a look at the most important events of the last week. It’s like if an e-mail newsletter and Buzzfeed (who follows me on Twitter) had a baby at Rex Hospital.

Twitter is lit over Taco Bell Cantina news

Fyre Festival Still Burns

Chrissy Teigen follows me on Twitter

Grandma tries to sell 30+ years of Playboys on Facebook

UNC System spends $250,000 on a new logo

Dogs of ITB of the Week

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Inside Taco Bell Insider

When James Borden covered the Taco Bell Cantina in this week’s ITB Insider Development Beat I figured we’d get the standard replies of “Ugh, Hillsborough Street is losing its character.” While that reaction was shared by many, it was heavily outweighed by people who were ecstatic over this news. Exhibit A: the engagement stats for my Taco Bell tweet.

That’s a lot. The blog post had over 12,000 pageviews in less than a week. As a result, ITB Insider will now be known as “Inside Taco Bell Insider” and will cover everything Taco Bell related. I was going to put all the Twitter reactions here, but there were too many. Here are the ITBest.




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Fyre Festival Still Burns

Earlier this week, Vice published a story about how Fyre Festival attendees were getting e-mails that could potentially be scams. Vice and a few others had seen my Tweets about these emails that I posted in December.

Since I have a PhD in Fyre Festival, I was quoted in the story: Fyre Festival attendees are worried they’re getting scammed again.

The e-mails we received were offering things like dinner with LeBron James, meet and greets with Taylor Swift, and tickets to The Masters, Burning Man, the Met Gala, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show, and other events that I’m sure will be lit, fam. I’m just speculating, but I assume the guy/company sending these e-mails probably bought the Fyre Festival email list from Billy McFarland, the founder of Fyre Media, and is now using it to offer Fyre attendees tickets to these events. I don’t know if these offers are actually legit, so I’ll probably just buy tickets to each event and see how things go.


The Vice story brought Fyre Festival up in the news again, which resulted in this:

Which leads to my next topic…


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Chrissy Teigen Is My Best Friend

Well, now it’s official. #itbffs #bffs

A post shared by William Needham Finley IV (@wnfiv) on

When I saw Chrissy Teigen’s tweet about the Fyre Festival e-mail story, I assumed it meant that she now thought of me as a friend. I figured this was as good a time as any to see if she would help ITBlake the intern get a date to Broughton’s upcoming Queen of Hearts formal. So I tweeted the following:

I followed up by Tweeting a link to a video of ITBlake the intern.

ITBlake the intern doesn’t actually need any help getting a date to Queen of Hearts, but I knew it would be great for him if he could put “Chrissy Teigen knows of my existence” on his college applications.

And now, he can.



Grandma Tries to Sell Playboys in My Facebook Group

This is not a joke. The title says it all, but there’s so much more to the story.

Grandmother Attempts to Sell Three Decades’ Worth of Playboys In Facebook Group

UNC System Logo Unites All

The UNC System paid $250,000 for a new logo that has now unified all 17 of its academic institutions. From Appalachian State to UNC-Wilmington, fans of every school were united over the fact that spending $250,000 on a new logo and rebranding is absurd. Yes, I realize that includes research, branding, marketing and so on, but it’s still an absurd number for a logo that no one even cares about to begin with. That didn’t stop me from throwing my hat in the ring for the next time they need a new logo.

Full disclosure: I am red/green colorblind. But it looks like that won’t be a problem based on their approval of the new logo.


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Best Dogs of ITB of the Week

Look, Palmer, everything the light touches is ITB. 📷: @zaa1169

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Snow dog staring contest. Swipe ➡️. 📷 @helickteeva

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Sampson, kicking the week off with a good dig. @goldendaysofsampson

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This brunch isn’t going to make itself. 📷 @marksanchezsimmons

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Snow golden loves the snow. 📷@katiezsmith

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Jalapeño the Frenchie, fashionable AF in the snow. @jalapenothefrenchie

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@rowyn_the_giant_coyote playing snow fetch.

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Grandmother Attempts to Sell Three Decades’ Worth of Playboys In Facebook Group

in Humor by
ShopITB.com

ITBreakdown: A grandmother posted “30++ years of playboys” for sale in micITBit, a private Facebook group that I run. People had a lot of questions. This serves as a historical record of the event. Everything in this post is real.

A Funny Thing Happened in the Facebook Forum

Something magical happened on Sunday night in micITBit. First, let me explain micITBit.

micITBit is a secret and private Facebook group used mainly by Raleigh moms as a forum to buy and sell smocked clothes, furniture, Lilly dresses, and other mom stuff. Like many other buy/sell/trade or “BST” groups, micITBit cannot be found by simply searching on Facebook. To gain entry, one must be added to the group by a friend who is already a member.

The group operates like Craigslist, but on Facebook and without the serial killing (so far). It even has its own language and rules (yes, there are rules, otherwise World War III could break out at any moment). In short, a seller posts a picture and description of an item to the group and buyers comment “Interested!” to purchase. If someone has already commented “Interested!” the person next in line will comment “Next” in hopes that the person ahead of them will get stuck in the White Memorial pickup line or get hit by a bus, preventing them from following through with the purchase. It’s very cutthroat.

The majority of transactions are “porch pickups” or “PPU” which means the seller leaves the item on their front porch and the buyer leaves cash under the doormat after picking the item up. It is an entire economy that I knew nothing about until last year. I’m convinced that because of these groups there is roughly $4 million in small bills sitting under the doormats of Raleigh homes on a daily basis.


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So why does a 33 year-old single guy start a Facebook group for moms? Like pretty much everything I do, it started as a joke. In April of 2017, a similar group with 15,000 members shut down. That’s a whole other story for another day, but it resulted in mass hysteria and I became a hero for these people when I created micITBit. Members joined my group and began using it for real. A lot. Here are the stats on group activity from the last 28 days.

Over 64,000 posts, comments, and reactions from 8,570 members. That is insane. Here’s the demographic information for all you advertisers out there. (Email me at wnfiv@itbinsider.com if you want to talk ITBusiness.)


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You may be thinking, “Wow, you’ve got a captive audience of thousands of people with similar interests. You must be making a fortune off of the people using your Amazon affiliate link and your eBates link. What a great decision!” Yeah, not really. Creating this group was the worst decision I have made while running a media empire, and possibly the worst decision of my entire life. Yes, Fyre Festival was a dumpster fyre, but I at least made some money off of it and got to spend time with my lawyer and ITBFF Stacy Miller because of all the lawsuits. As the father of micITBit, I have to deal with constant complaints from total strangers. I have some wonderful moderators that help me run the group, but it’s still a huge time suck.

The silver lining of micITBit is that it provides some of the most hilarious #content on the internet. I am now ready to share these moments with the world. We begin by taking a look at a night micITBit will remember the same way they remember the moon landing or the New Year’s Eve episode of The O.C.


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Without further ado, I now present “And the Playboys Gonna Play Play Play Play Play: A Screenshot History of 30++ years of playboys.”

The names and faces of the innocent have been redacted. We’ll call the original poster “Martha.”

At approximately 8:04 pm on January 21, 2018, Martha posted the following to micITBit:

Here are the pictures she included in her post:

One odd thing I noticed (I’ve been watching The Wire recently) was that the date on the computer clock was 10/18/2017. Was the clock wrong or were these pictures taken over three months ago? Were these pictures from an earlier attempt at selling 30++ years of Playboys? If so, why was she unsuccessful?

Now, I’m not judging Martha at all. I just think she should have known her audience better. You’re offering hundreds of Playboy magazines to a group that consists mainly of married women. Sure, the handful of guys in the group could have been Interested!, but do you not realize that the same internet that you’re using to post these Playboys was actually invented to replace these types of magazines (or so I’m told)?

A member of micITBit mentioned me in a comment, alerting me to the post.

What followed resembled being in an AOL chat room with 50 friends who were all freaking out over this real time train wreck. I was genuinely amazed by the post and wanted to know more. I even thought about buying these and reselling them. They’ve got to be worth more since Hugh Hefner passed away.



There were questions about whether Martha was real. Someone discovered she had posted another item for sale in the group, proving that she at least was a real person selling more than just hundreds of Playboys.

That’s when the most important question of the night was brought up. (GUC and EUC mean Gently/Good Used Condition and Excellent Used Condition).



I wanted more answers on the number of Playboys.

micITBit members did some investigative work to confirm this was real.

Someone pointed out that the $1,350 price was a bit high.



 




Someone offered a trade for some Teen Vogue issues.



 

The comments were coming in so fast that I got distracted while playing my first HQ trivia game and lost.

People started suggesting that ITBlake the intern look into this.



Since we were on the topic of magazines, I figured most of the group members would jump at the chance to own an issue of 16 with JTT on the cover. Note: I don’t actually own this, but I was sure I could find it on eBay if someone wanted to buy it from me.



 

The group continued to investigate.

At this point, I believe Martha began to understand that there would be no buyers in this group. She deleted the post and I removed her from the group. I felt somewhat bad about doing that, but I was honestly doing it for the greater good. The comment sections in these BST groups are not for the faint of heart. One time in a different group a mother told another mother she hoped her child “breaks its neck” in a dispute over a pair of snow bibs. I’m not making that up. Plus, I have a #brand to uphold. What if one of those Playboys fell into the wrong hands and ruined a marriage? I can’t have that on my conscience.

 

There were many more comments, but I couldn’t keep track of them all. As a founder, it is my duty to recap this event for all the micITBit members who uncharacteristically were off of Facebook for 30 minutes and missed this saga. I truly hope Martha finds a buyer for all of those Playboys.


ITBest of the Week January 19


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ITBest of the Week January 19

in Humor/ITBNN by
ShopITB.com

Welcome to ITBest of the Week, a look at what I deem to be the most important events of the last week. It’s like if an e-mail newsletter and Buzzfeed (who follows me on Twitter) had a baby at Rex Hospital.

Broughton Teacher Crushes Jeopardy!

It Snowed Again

Dinosaur at Dix Park

ITBlake Not Pleased Over Award Show

Raleigh Makes the Cut for Amazon’s HQ2

Best Dogs of ITB of the Week

Don’t eat Tide Pods

Broughton Teacher Crushes Jeopardy!

Lee Quinn, a Raleigh resident and teacher at Broughton, has been on Jeopardy! since Wednesday night.

Lee went in to Final Jeopardy with a commanding lead and won $22,400 on his first appearance. He returned to defend his title on Thursday night.

He’ll be defending his title again on Friday night at 7:00 pm on ABC11.


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It Snowed Again

This week saw yet another forecast calling for snow. As always, I checked with Seaboard Wine to get their wine forecast.

The forecast resulted in mass hysteria in the Cameron Village Harris Teeter.

With the forecast in hand it was time to see if Wake County Public Schools would be closed. They like to be coy about their school closing announcements, which drives a lot of parents insane. Fortunately, I’m a journalist and know how to get answers. They replied within minutes of me Tweeting at them.

There has been a lot of talk about the weather dome lately, so Bonner cleared things up.

With that settled, Bonner and I began doing meteorology.

Around 9:00 am on Wednesday morning it was decided to let snow fall upon the citizens of Raleigh.


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Dinosaur Spotted in Dix Park

If you build it, they will come. Take note, Raleigh.


ITBlake Was NOT Happy That He Couldn’t Attend an Awards Show

I was nominated for “Best Twitter Personality” by WRAL.

Unfortunately, ITBlake wasn’t old enough to attend the awards show. He was not happy.

WRAL cleared things up.

I took this to mean that WRAL is offering ITBlake exclusive coverage of the next award show, plus a possible Intern of the Year award. We’ll be launching our own “ITBest Awards” later this year. Read the full story here.

Development Beat News

City Market wants to add outdoor dining in a parking lot behind Big Ed’s. There’s also a 50+ tennis court facility being planned for somewhere OTB. Full story.


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Raleigh Makes the Cut for Amazon’s HQ2


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Dogs of ITB of the Week

Twinning. 📷: @zookiescrittercookies

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People Are Eating Tide Pods

For some reason, people are actually eating Tide Pods. We’ll keep an eye on this as it develops. In the meantime, don’t eat Tide Pods.

PSA: do NOT eat Tide pods.

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ITBest of the Week January 12

ITBlake Wasn’t Old Enough To Attend the WRAL Awards So We’re Starting Our Own

in Humor/ITB Intern/ITBNN by
ShopITB.com

UPDATE: WRAL has responded. Apparently, they were just obeying the law. They have invited ITBlake to attend an upcoming award show. I assume this means he’ll get exclusive coverage rights and possibly an Intern of the Year award.

Age. Is it just a number, or perhaps a way to disenfranchise Raleigh’s younger citizen journalists? That’s the question many are asking after learning that ITBlake the intern was not allowed to attend the WRAL Voter’s Choice Awards due to being under the age of 21.

WRAL, a news station in Raleigh, held their annual awards event at Level7 in North Hills (JOTB) this week. After months of online voting, awards were given out in over 100 categories, with “Best Twitter Personality” being the most important. This year’s nominees were: Triangle Explorer @Trianglexplorer, Kaytee Smith @SciKaytee, Joe Ovies @joeovies, Bill Leslie @wralbleslie, and William Needham Finley IV. For real.

I received an invitation for myself and a guest to attend the event. Obviously, I planned to bring ITBlake. It’s my job to teach him about media empire stuff and this event was going to be the perfect teaching tool.


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ITBlake had been looking forward to the event for weeks. I hadn’t seen him this excited over something since the first time he met Stacy Miller. He asked me about the dress code at least three times (hoping it would be black tie) and even texted me the night before to make sure we were still going. That’s when we realized that this was a 21+ event. I checked with WRAL to see how strict this rule was.

They confirmed that ITBlake would not be able to attend because the bar would be open during the entire event.


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I didn’t know if this policy was the “law” or a devious plot by WRAL to keep ITBlake from becoming more famous. Were they threatened by him after seeing his raw talent on display at the Christmas parade? I thought about holding an emergency press conference at Broughton to announce an ITBoycott of the event, but I needed more time to investigate. The last thing I wanted to do was accuse WRAL of age discrimination if they were just obeying the law. Plus, it would be super awkward if I threw out accusations and then won the “Best Twitter Personality” award.

My investigation was put on hold so that I could break the bad news to ITBlake. As you can see from the video, he took the news pretty well. Our discussion brought up some valid points. Why couldn’t they let people of all ages attend the event and check IDs at the bar? Why not hold this at Crowley’s? Should the drinking age be changed? Was the First Amendment being “infringed” here? Are people under the age of 21 incapable of having value in our society?


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Instead of wasting our time worrying about what really happened, we came up with the genius idea to create our own awards. The “ITBest Awards” will be given out to the places that I think are the best in Raleigh. There will be no online voting to increase pageviews, no user submissions, and no opinions from others. Stay tuned.

As for the WRAL awards, Bill Leslie won the “Best Twitter Personality” category. I received honorable mention. That’s right, the host of the event announced that “William Needham Finley IV” received honorable mention in front of the whole crowd. What a time to be alive. #ITBlessed.

And yes, I’m fine with the result. I know that I’m more than just a Twitter personality. I’m a media empire. Oh, and I made sure to let WRAL know about the potential age discrimination when I took their feedback survey even though I didn’t attend the event.

Also, congrats to Rise for winning the “Best Biscuits” award. I’ve got a pretty good feeling they’ll be taking home an “ITBest Award” in 2018.

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