Pop Culture Curator

From sneakers to celebrities and pop culture, Joe La Puma has his finger on the pulse of what moves people. The Senior Vice President of Content Strategy at Complex Media didn’t get there by luck, but instead through relentless hard work.

Joe started at Complex Media in an unpaid internship back in 2005. Two days a week at Complex, while managing a sneaker store the other five, wasn’t easy. “I was doing a 100-hour work week, and of course, the internship at Complex was what I wanted to do.” Joe adds, “I wanted to write about pop culture and I wanted to write about sneakers.”

Joe began at Complex full-time, just two years after getting the internship. He watched the digital staff grow from six to over 300 worldwide. Now he handles ideas, whether big or small, still finding a way to write about pop culture and sneakers…even hosting his own web series called Sneaker Shopping, taking artists and athletes to the best sneaker stores around the U.S. “My goal, ultimately, is that anyone who has a pair of sneakers where they say ‘I want this specific pair of sneakers,’ I want them to be aware of the Sneaker Shopping segment. I really want people to recognize the show through the footwear they’re wearing. I want the show to get that big.”

“Pay it forward. Take time. Be a student of whatever industry you’re in. Work hard to get that passion job. Just be relentless.”

Well on its way, Sneaker Shopping recently surpassed its 100th episode and is available on cable channels MSG and Fuse. Currently the #1 footwear/style show on YouTube, it was awarded “Best Weekly Unscripted Series” at the Cynopsis Digital Awards in 2017.

For Joe, it’s about hard work. “[It’s about] always remaining relevant for the right reasons. Striving to be the best at what you’re doing, whether you’re an athlete or a musician, or a writer. Every year that passes you want that to be your best, both from a qualitative and quantitative standpoint, and that’s what I hope to do. At the end of every year I look back and make sure I progressed.”

Joe’s advice for those pursuing their dreams? “Pay it forward. Take time. Be a student of whatever industry you’re in. Work hard to get that passion job. Just be relentless.”