Bwog Staff writers Viviana Pereyo and Maya Reisner met with the two co-creators of this campus-wide phenomenon to unearth the inner workings of the famous Columbia Ten Dollar Posters.
After much anticipation and planning, the day had finally come. We sat in Passage to Altschul, waiting patiently to see who would come in the door. Today was the day we would learn the true identities of the mysterious Columbia Ten Dollar Posters. In first walks Guy, a self-proclaimed “WINNER,” avid chef, and explorer who made it ALL the way to Barnard campus—one entire block—and bravely asked where Passage to Altschul was after trying to arrive without help for a grand total of two minutes. He is closely followed by Philip, a “fellow WINNER, real math guy, and the brains of the operation” (Guy, Passage to Altschul).
Obviously, our encounter with Columbia Ten Dollar Posters instantly became the most significant event in our lives. We were blown away by Guy’s manly Jeff Bezos-esque blouse and Philip’s unremarkable purple shirt. Google says men can’t wear blouses, but Google is WRONG, because Guy is not just your average guy, and he CAN pull it off. After a few minutes of expressing our admiration for their cause and another Bwogger’s personal admiration for Guy, as detailed in this previous article, we dove into what everyone wishes they had the chance to ask this campus enigma.
But first, we had some questions about their journey to Barnard. You see, we were under the impression that the signs in Milstein that displayed which floor Passage to Altschul was on were very clear. Upon finding that the boys had struggled, we dove into a conversation about what a sign truly is.
What do you think a sign is? Is a poster a sign?
Guy: To me, a sign could be a variety of things, including a poster. Posters are signs that signal who you are as a person, and that’s why our business can never die.
Philip: Yea, we specialize in posters but dabble in all kinds of signaling. We can fulfill any custom request in the cheapest possible manner.
Do you believe that Columbia Ten Dollar Posters can take over as Columbia’s #1 sign maker? What would be the most essential sign to make for campus?
Guy: Yes, absolutely. The most essential sign would have to be one that helps Columbia students navigate Barnard (like Passage to Altshul).
Who would pay for that?
Guy: Columbia, they have a huge endowment. They may as well put it towards something useful.
How did Ten Dollar Posters start?
Philip: Columbia itself is an idiosyncratic school, a lot of nerds who don’t look up and see how blank their walls are.
Guy: Exactly, a lot of Columbia students have blank walls in their rooms, and the biggest barrier to resolving that is cost. Most people struggle already with deciding what they want to put up, so when they go and see that the posters they want are $20 each, they end up just not getting any. I think the $10 aspect is the heart of the brand. It is the center of how we operate and everything we do.
In your opinion, what is the coolest poster that you have sold to date?
Guy: (between chuckles) One time a student sent us an enormous, ultra-high quality file from the James Webb Telescope, like, an image so big it couldn’t be sent through Gmail. He wanted it to be over three feet wide.
Philip: We had never done something so detailed before, but it came out spectacular after a long time waiting for it to download and figuring out how to print something so large.
If you could spread a conspiracy theory on campus via poster, what would it be?
Phillip: If we could, I think we should funnel the entire student body into a fake event with fake speakers and fake food. Hypothetically.
Unprompted, Guy goes on a rant.
Guy: We have this issue where people send print queues to our—again—huge printer at night and it won’t stop beeping. Ever. People are trying to fuck with us and print stuff with our printer, and I don’t know who it is.
We sensed that it was a moment of passion for Ten Dollar Posters and decided to investigate how dedicated their team was to their printer.
Do you feel a deep, emotional connection to your printer?
Guy: People should know how damn complicated this printer is. Of course, we are deeply connected to it.
Does it have a name?
Guy: Yes, we named it Prince Myshkin (Guy would like to clarify that it is pronounced MOOSH-KIN), you know like from Dostoevsky’s The Idiot.
What is your favorite part of running the business?
Philip: I love meeting our customers, we make friends all the time because people just want to see the printer. It feels like we are doing something nice for people, and that makes me happy.
Guy: Sometimes people come to hang out with us while their poster is being printed and we entertain them. One time, this girl came to get her poster and we cooked her a Korean marinated steak while she waited.
What proceeded was a five-minute discussion of why we, Vivi and Maya, were not invited to join in the eating of the aforementioned steak. So far, no actual valid reason has been found, and we remain bitter about this exclusion.
Moving forward, the boys hope to continue sparking inspiration in an affordable way. They plan to start collecting art from Columbia student submissions to use in their posters. Additionally, they see the business as having a community impact, and they have loved working with brands on campus to make marketing materials. As they continue to expand their business, they are looking into the possibility of a website to more efficiently meet the public’s demand.
Anything else you would like to add?
Philip: A lot of people think for some reason that we are out of business or were operating only during NSOP.
Guy, interjecting: Let the people know: we are still in the game, baby!
A Blank Dorm Wall via Bwog Archives