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A Possession Obsession: Jamie Pallot

With new iPad subscriptions now available for GQ and Vanity Fair―and Wired, Glamour, and the New Yorker soon to follow―the digital newsstand is officially underway. All of these popular publications hail from mega publisher Conde Nast, home to an award-winning dream team of digital geniuses, including Editorial Director Jamie Pallot.
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One of the principal players in this e-media revolution, Pallot is no stranger to reinventing the way we experience magazines. Before overseeing Conde Nast's web brands, such as Epicurious.com and Style.com (which earned him a coveted American Society of Magazine Editors award for General Excellence Online in 2005), the brilliant British expat spearheaded the redesign of People.com at Time, Inc. A pioneer in the young and volatile online publishing industry, Pallot has received many accolades throughout his 20+ year-career, including an induction into MIN's Digital Hall of Fame in 2008.

Here, Pallot divulges his off-line obsessions and addictions.

Tell us how you came to own this precious object.

“I've only owned this bicycle for about 14 months, but it is brilliant – an amazing feat of design and engineering – and it has changed my life. It keeps me fit, happy and motivated. When I'm on a really great ride, I literally feel like I’m flying.

About a year ago, I had the January blahs. Feeling sluggish, I realized I needed to start doing something physical (I’ve never been a gym person). A friend suggested getting a bike, and so I started checking out stores around Manhattan. Being a design geek, I began obsessing over materials, colors, logos, etc. The process dragged on for months. But when I saw the Cervelo R3 – an ultra-light (less than 3 pounds!) racing bike made by a boutique Canadian company – I was instantly smitten. With a cool black-and-white color scheme, it looked futuristic yet traditional at the same time.”

How do you live with your heirloom?

“It leans against the wall in my living room, mostly for easy access. When I ride in the morning before work, time is of the essence in terms of getting everything together and heading out the door. I try to ride at least three times a week for as much of the year as I can.

The hardest part of riding in the city is finding some space. As soon as it's nice out, all the paths and parks become overcrowded. I love riding in winter when there are fewer people around. Seeing the sun rise as you pedal over the Brooklyn Bridge is pretty great. I did a ride on Shelter Island in January and it was so cold, my water bottle froze!”

Who in your life has most influenced your personal style and taste?

Paul Smith, the British designer and, coincidentally, cycling enthusiast. My first-ever designer item was a pink-and-white striped dress shirt from his Covent Garden store way back in the 80s. He's been a staple in my wardrobe ever since. 'Classic with a twist' pretty much sums up my style and he more or less owns that corner of the market.”

[Fill in the blank] Whenever I look at ______I can't help but smile. “I'm leaving this blank in an attempt to cultivate a reputation as a man of mystery.”

What's the best part of your day?

“My first cup of coffee in the morning. What can I say, I’m an addict.”

What was the most memorable gift you've ever given or received?

“Shortly after I moved from London to New York, my then-girlfriend gave me an Olympia Cremina, a classic hand-lever espresso machine. It's kind of the Rolls Royce of the genre. Twenty years, 10,000 cups of coffee, and two top-to-bottom repairs later, it’s still a beloved part of my daily routine.”

What was your last purchase that you believe (or hope) will mean something to you 10 years from now?

“That would be my apartment. I love it for many reasons, one of which is that it’s a great space for entertaining. It’s a third floor walk-up in an 1830s building, but it’s laid out like a loft. It's one big room with a deck out back. I grew up incredibly shy, so the fact that I now throw two big parties a year, and have a hundred people milling about in my space, is kind of amazing to me.”