WonderHowTo.com - a directory of how-to videos

The New York Times profiles Stephen Chao, a former Fox executive who was fired in 1992 by Rupert Murdoch for hiring a male stripper at a Fox meeting (Here's an old NYT story about it). He has a new web directory of how-to videos called WonderHowTo.com. It has links to 100,000 how-to videos.

Here are some fun quotes from the article:

Picture 4-64 (Photo by Ann Johansson for The New York Times)

Mr. Chao is an expert at getting attention, but it will be difficult to top some of his previous stunts. Once, during a party at Mr. Murdoch’s home, Mr. Chao nearly drowned his host’s purebred puppy after throwing it in a swimming pool to see if it could swim. Mr. Chao then had to jump into the pool, while in a business suit, to save it.

After parting ways with Fox, Mr. Chao spent six weeks working at a McDonald’s in Redondo Beach, Calif. He went on to head programming for USA Networks, where he helped develop the popular series “Monk.” But a fiery relationship with Mr. Diller, the head of the network, overshadowed that experience. The two executives had a hard time living down an incident when both were at Fox in which Mr. Diller hurled a videocassette at Mr. Chao with such intensity that it created a hole in the wall. Mr. Chao framed that section of the wall.



  1. pranks is pranks – hurting/scaring puppies is NOT cool. f sw ths knd bhvr nywhr wld
    bt th fkkr lk drm.LK DRM!Cntsh bhvr.

  2. Hassan, he dived in to rescue the puppy himself, and probably ruined his suit doing it.

    Also, if you’ll just say the word, I’ll send you a brand-new assortment of adjectives more suitable for public use.

  3. I’m with Hassan on this one, though I see the reason for the disemvoweling. As far as I’m concerned, it’s no better than if he chucked a baby into the pool to see if it could swim. And the fact that the article specifies that the puppy was purebred also makes me feel a bit stabby. Because, y’know, it would have been totally fine if it had been a mutt. They aren’t expensive.

    He sounds an interesting fellow, but I can’t get past the drowning puppy. Anyone who would do that deserves worse than a ruined suit.

  4. I think he sounds rather annoying. A novelty to have around, perhaps; But certainly a small-dose friend.

  5. Yeah he sounds like a drama queen, and yeah I don’t agree with the abuse of any animal, but hey at least the guy dived in with full suit donned and saved the little guy. Gotta give him some credit for that, if not the fact that he is obviously successful in everything he does, no matter how ridiculous.

  6. I read that as him being impulsive and injudicious, but instantly penitent. Everyone knows that dogs can swim. Not everyone knows that young puppies can’t. When he discovered his blunder, he acted immediately and personally to fix it.

    He can’t be a complete jerk. You can’t be that successful if you don’t get along with the people around you most of the time.

  7. What a lame defense for an obvious jerk. “Not everyone knows young puppies can’t.” ….? As if there is/was any good reason to throw an animal into a pool?

  8. Think what you want, M2Key.

    Can anyone here think of something to say about WonderHowTo.com, or has the puppy consumed all the available attention?

  9. I’m sorry Teresa, I’m with Euryale and Hassan on this one.

    Although I agree Hassan could clearly have chosen to express his sentiment in a more eloquent, and hopefully less vulgar, manner I think his sentiment is spot on.

    One does NOT chuck someone elses puppy into a pool to see if it can swim. While I agree he did the right thing in jumping in after it I’ll have to admit that if he tossed my cat into a pool to see if it could swim I wouldn’t care if jumped in to save it afterwards. I would still want to send to the hospital in an ambulance, though in the actual event I doubt I would since I’m a fairly non-violent sort.

    But what he did was legitimately beyond the pale.

    And yes, the puppy has consumed all of my attention. At this point I couldn’t care less about anything else he’s involved in. My outrage overwhelms all rational thought. Animal and child abuse tend to do that to me.


  10. Just had a quick flick through the site and it looks really groovy, particularly like the disclaimer on all the vids. This is a great addition to all those ‘make’ fiends out there, I for one will be trawling this with my 10 year old for interesting holiday projects. I tghought we could start with this one;


    (sorry HTML illiterate geek, a dying breed)

    dogs? swimming pools? jokes? well I never!

  11. I could be wrong here, I don’t know the guy personally so I can’t really say, but based on the provided info he seems like the kind of guy who likes to push peoples buttons and be the center of attention to the detriment and annoyance of those around him. In other words, a jerk. I don’t care if he finds a cure for cancer, if he acts like a jerk he’s a jerk. According to the article his own friends said he likes to push boundaries and provoke people. Tossing a puppy into a pool = instant dislike in my book.

    Regarding his website, meh. I’d be more impressed if he’d made the videos himself, or heck, even hosted them himself on a site just for tuts. But all he’s done is link to video tuts from various sites. So he gets credit for displaying other peoples hard work which always annoys me. Besides, there are other sites just like this, it’s not innovative or anything. Overall I’m unimpressed with him as a person and a businessman.

  12. Oh, for pete’s sake. Making one error with a puppy doesn’t put someone “beyond the pale.”

  13. And throwing an animal in water is hardly abuse. Give me a break. I have a cat and a dog, if someone did that to either of them I might give them a “Hey man lay off my animal” but to revile them forever after is way overboard. Additionally I would like to say that this guy is obviously a button-pushing jerk and I wouldn’t like him anyway.

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