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On publishing well…great advice from David Carey

October 12, 2007

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15 years and four magazines later David Carey, one of three group presidents at Condé Nast and publisher of Condé Nast Portfolio, has seen the good, the bad and the ugly in magazine publishing. Carey who spoke at the University of Mississippi Department of Journalism‘s 23rd annual Journalism Week recalled his publishing career from the early days at Esquire to the latest launch of CN Portfolio. One word sums it all: passion. And it showed during his presentation and later during his discussions with the magazine students at Ole Miss. In a world filled with people who see the glass half empty, Carey sees it half full. He challenged the students (and future magazine publishers) to:

1. Go outside your comfort zone,
2. The industry is at an inflection point,
3. It’s the job of our competitors to do everything they can to slow you down. And it is your job to use the flexibility of a new product to out think a legacy competitor,
4. You have to have the confidence to hit the re-set button then hold on,
5. Trust your intuition, and
6. Stay very close to your audience and learn how to engage them in new ways.

In short, Carey told the students, “to succeed in this business you have to:

1. Trust your intuition.
2. Learn to ignore conventional wisdom.
3. Discover the most soul-satisfying moments of your career.”

Why should future publishers listen to David Carey? Well he has a 4 – 0 record with the magazines he held the publisher title at. He succeeded in 1991 with Smart Money, later he hit the reset button on both House & Garden and The New Yorker, and now he is the “talk of the town” with Condé Nast Portfolio. Carey’s visit to Ole Miss and his candid discussions with the students was a breath of fresh air from a magazine publisher who is not only passionate about the magazine business, but also “gives a hoot” about this business.

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