Archive for August, 2017

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Parents Magazine & Its Editor In Chief, Liz Vaccariello, Both Offering Inspiring Storytelling & A Quieter Editorial Experience In This Manic Digital Age – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Liz Vaccariello…

August 17, 2017

“When she’s (the consumer) reading the magazine, she needs a much quieter editorial experience. It needs to be more inspiring. And she has more time. She wants to take more of an emotional journey, rather than be hit over the head with all sorts of practical advice and alarming statistics and stories.” Liz Vaccariello…

“I feel like that’s the power of magazines; it’s the power to tell a story in a unique way. Video tells a story; social media can tell a story, but the print story, the way pictures, words, headlines and the pacing of the magazine take you on a journey, that’s a much different kind of experience.” Liz Vaccariello…

With the recent redesign of Parents Magazine under the direction and leadership of Parents Editor in Chief Liz Vaccariello, the brand known for its credibility and stalwart trustworthiness, has been at the forefront of media these days, and its editor interviewed about the redesign many times over.

So, in true Mr. Magazine™ fashion, I decided to do something entirely different, and mention the redesign minimally, focusing instead on something that both Parents Magazine and its editor in chief have in common: storytelling.

Liz Vaccariello comes home to Meredith (she served as executive editor at Meredith’s Fitness for seven years) after several very successful positions with other titles, most recently as chief content officer and editor in chief for Reader’s Digest. Her storytelling drives her belief in the power of magazines, and the value of the journey they take you on.

I spoke with Liz recently and we talked about the role of print in this most digital age. She was adamant; when someone is reading a magazine, they’re seeking a different type of experience than digital can provide. They’re questing, as Liz put it, for a “quieter editorial experience” and inspiration. That’s very hard to find in the busy, noisy, notification-filled world that roams online.

And while the redesign of Parents Magazine is important and a value unto itself, what fills the pages of those designs, the stories, are always icing on the designer’s cake. So, come with me and experience the passion of a storyteller, a woman who believes magazines have the magical power of telling stories in the most unique of ways, and someone who knew from the sixth grade what her life’s journey would be, a wordsmith, the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Liz Vaccariello, editor in chief, Parents Magazine.

But first the sound-bites:

On why she feels the Parents brand needs a printed magazine in this digital age: The answer to that question is also the answer to why we did a redesign. In this digital age, the mom and dad, but mainly the mom, is on her phone and she’s on her social media, or she’s Googling or querying the solution to a problem. She might be on a Facebook page where she’s feeling a little less-than or judged, for example. When she finally puts down that phone, our research tells us that is when she is engaging with the magazine. It’s her me-time.

On being a storyteller first: I feel like that’s the power of magazines; it’s the power to tell a story in a unique way. Video tells a story; social media can tell a story, but the print story, the way pictures, words, headlines and the pacing of the magazine take you on a journey, that’s a much different kind of experience. And my love for storytelling is one of the first things that I wanted to bring to this team and ask them, many of whom have been here for decades or more; how do we tap into, not only a mother’s exhaustion, but her exhilaration?

On what’s different for her as an editor for Parents Magazine as opposed to other magazines she has edited, such as Reader’s Digest: What’s different about this role is that it speaks to a very unique and constantly moving readership. And that’s mothers. So, I had to immerse myself into millennial moms, and the world they were coming from. Aesthetically, who are the influencers? Also, verbally. What are the phrases that they’re using? What’s the language that they’re using? And culturally. This is a time where mothers are rejecting the mom-shaming or the guilt trips that used to be put on other mothers.

On her reaction when she was offered the job of editor in chief of Parents Magazine: My first reaction was utter shock. And I will tell you the reason why was because Parents Magazine, under my predecessor, was very strong and healthy, highly respected and admired. So, I never in a zillion years thought that this would be an opportunity for me. So, it was shock that I was talking about this suite of Parenting brands.

On the biggest stumbling block that faced her: The biggest stumbling block? I don’t know; it was a pretty seamless transition. I was surprised and delighted to find that almost every single person on my team was enthusiastic about taking a shift in direction and tone. People who had been here decades were some of the most enthusiastic participants in the early research and rethink that we did. So, really delight and surprise at how positive people were to do something new and fresh with the magazine. I wouldn’t call it a stumbling block; I’d probably call it my biggest surprise.

On why she felt the need for a change in the magazine when it was already strong and healthy: You change because your audience changes. The brand didn’t change, nor did what the audience needs from a parenting magazine change. But the generation coming into your space is different from the one that was entering your subscriber file five or ten years ago. They’re speaking a different language. Instead of helicopter parents, they’re the sons and daughters of helicopter parents. So, they’re looking at behavior in a different way. They’re looking at discipline in a different way. They are more interested in hearing from other moms and dads just like them.

On anything she’d like to add: This role is unique in that I am running; I am hands-on-editor-and-chiefing (laughs) the biggest magazine, and the biggest part of the business. But I also get to think beyond the magazine and the magazine’s core general brand and think about Latina parents, one out of every four babies born in this country is born to an Hispanic parent. So, Parents Latina is growing very quickly. And it’s fun to turn my attention to that demographic and see what we can do to interpret this voice and this information for them.

On why there are more line extensions from main titles in the Hispanic market than in the African American market: That’s a really interesting question. In the case of parenting, and I’ll answer in my space in particular, something unique happens when a second generation Latina in the United States becomes a mom. She doesn’t necessarily think of her Latina identity in the forefront of her mind until that moment she has a baby. And then suddenly she’s thinking more about her heritage and it becomes much more important to her. She wants to have one foot back in that culture.

On a memory or memories that she reflects on in her role as editor in chief and main storyteller of Parents Magazine: I often return to a moment in sixth grade when I was doing homework in my bedroom. I remember writing a book report about something and I was sitting at my desk with my pencil and paper. I remember looking at a sentence and thinking that I wanted to change the sentence, so I took another piece of paper and put it next to the first and began to change the words around in the sentence and reading it out loud and listening to the changing rhythms. And then deciding on the perfect way I wanted to say that sentence and putting it back on the paper.

On what she would have tattooed upon her brain that would be there forever and no one could ever forget about her: (Laughs) Mom to Sophia and Olivia. Sophia and Olivia’s mama; that’s my most important job. I think that’s why I get so excited and lit up about my job, because I get to help mommies and daddies and I know how much fun that is and how helpful that can be when you’re a mom. If we can help someone with the stories that we tell; make her laugh or feel better, or do something more efficiently, that’s wonderful. I’m in a good place and I have one of the best jobs in America.

On what keeps her up at night: We’re always concerned about the decline in print advertising. Meredith has a wonderful story about how the growth in digital advertising has far outpaced our small declines in print advertising. But, it doesn’t keep me up at night, because I just got back from a road trip with my publisher, Steven Grune, and I have to tell you, it made me proud to be a Meredith employee because I’m showing this redesign, and I’ve done a lot of road trips over the years for various companies and with various publishers. But when Meredith comes to town, and it speaks highly of Meredith and of Steve Grune and the Parents brand, but when we come to town 30 people show up and they want to hear what’s new with Meredith and with Parents Magazine. So, that speaks highly of our position in the marketplace.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Liz Vaccariello, editor in chief, Parents Magazine.

Samir Husni: Since the redesign of Parents Magazine, you’ve given quite a few interviews about that, so for this interview I thought I’d ask you something a bit different. In this digital age, why do you think the Parents brand needs a print magazine?

Liz Vaccariello: The answer to that question is also the answer to why we did a redesign. In this digital age, the mom and dad, but mainly the mom, is on her phone and she’s on her social media, or she’s Googling or querying the solution to a problem. She might be on a Facebook page where she’s feeling a little less-than or judged, for example. When she finally puts down that phone, our research tells us that is when she is engaging with the magazine. It’s her me-time.

We did a digital focus group where we had subscribers send in video tapes and show us precisely where in the house they kept their Parents Magazines. It was next to the big, comfy chair, or on their nightstands, or next to the bathtub.

So, when she’s reading the magazine, she needs a much quieter editorial experience. It needs to be more inspiring. And she has more time. She wants to take more of an emotional journey, rather than be hit over the head with all sorts of practical advice and alarming statistics and stories.

Samir Husni: The first thing that comes to mind when I read about you or think about you is storyteller.

Liz Vaccariello: Thank you. I feel like that’s the power of magazines; it’s the power to tell a story in a unique way. Video tells a story; social media can tell a story, but the print story, the way pictures, words, headlines and the pacing of the magazine take you on a journey, that’s a much different kind of experience.

And my love for storytelling is one of the first things that I wanted to bring to this team and ask them, many of whom have been here for decades or more; how do we tap into, not only a mother’s exhaustion, but her exhilaration? How do we tap into nostalgia when it comes to being a mom? Then suddenly, you’re nostalgic for your childhood, for example. There’s so much humor that goes with being a parent. And oftentimes, failing to be a perfect parent. Let’s be able to laugh at ourselves.

You can see in the new magazine, we have very short stories, some are longer, but there are little ways to tell those emotional stories in a way that feels like a complete and authentic life.

Samir Husni: Did you have to make any adjustments when you came to Meredith from Reader’s Digest, Prevention, Reminisce? All these magazines that you’ve edited; what’s different about Parents Magazine?

Liz Vaccariello: What’s different about this role is that it speaks to a very unique and constantly moving readership. And that’s mothers. So, I had to immerse myself into millennial moms, and the world they were coming from. Aesthetically, who are the influencers? Also, verbally. What are the phrases that they’re using? What’s the language that they’re using? And culturally. This is a time where mothers are rejecting the mom-shaming or the guilt trips that used to be put on other mothers.

So, I had to do a lot of research into “what is meaningful right now for this millennial, and even coming up soon, Gen Z mom?” And that was unique. You still want to tell good stories, but you also want to speak in a way that is familiar to your audience so that they get you.

Samir Husni: A little less than a year ago, you and I were talking and this job was in the making. And no matter how much I tried, you wouldn’t tell me the name of the magazine. (Laughs)

Liz Vaccariello: (Laughs too).

Samir Husni: Can you describe that moment when you were offered this job as editor in chief of Parents Magazine? What was your first reaction?

Liz Vaccariello: My first reaction was utter shock. And I will tell you the reason why was because Parents Magazine, under my predecessor, was very strong and healthy, highly respected and admired. So, I never in a zillion years thought that this would be an opportunity for me. So, it was shock that I was talking about this suite of Parenting brands.

The magazine; the business was very, very healthy heading into the redesign. Our MRI, our household income, they were both high. We’d experienced a boost of 3.3 percent in household income. So, there was nothing at all broken about the magazine. The fact that my predecessor was leaving was a shock. That was my absolute first reaction.

And then my second one was just feeling my heart swell, because I love to lead brands that touch people’s hearts. You always want to improve people’s lives, but I loved Reader’s Digest because it spoke to positivity and hope. And an oasis of optimism in a world of snark. And with Parents, when you think about optimism and hope, and happiness and meaning, very few things rival being a parent. So, this really hit my sweet spot of service and soul.

Samir Husni: And what has been the biggest stumbling block you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?

Liz Vaccariello: The biggest stumbling block? I don’t know; it was a pretty seamless transition. I was surprised and delighted to find that almost every single person on my team was enthusiastic about taking a shift in direction and tone. People who had been here decades were some of the most enthusiastic participants in the early research and rethink that we did. So, really delight and surprise at how positive people were to do something new and fresh with the magazine. I wouldn’t call it a stumbling block; I’d probably call it my biggest surprise.

Normally, when you come in, the new editor in chief will often bring in their new photo director, their new assistant, their new creative director, and I didn’t do any of that. I found that the team here was filled with superstars. Agnethe Glatved, who did the redesign with me, has been with the magazine eight years, and this is her third refresh of the magazine. When you have that level of talent, they’re able to pivot and embrace change. It was a nice experience.

Samir Husni: Let me go inside your great magazine maker mind, you come to a magazine that is doing well, there was nothing wrong with it; why change?

Liz Vaccariello: You change because your audience changes. The brand didn’t change, nor did what the audience needs from a parenting magazine change. But the generation coming into your space is different from the one that was entering your subscriber file five or ten years ago. They’re speaking a different language. Instead of helicopter parents, they’re the sons and daughters of helicopter parents. So, they’re looking at behavior in a different way. They’re looking at discipline in a different way. They are more interested in hearing from other moms and dads just like them.

For 90+ years, Parents Magazine has stood on the shoulders of its credibility. We’ve always done partnerships with the American Academy of Pediatrics. Every word and picture in Parents Magazine had a reputation for being absolutely trustworthy and credible. So, this generation of reader not only expects that kind of creds from our pages, they want that enhanced by what other parents are doing.

They want to know what the experts say, they want to know that trampolines are dangerous; the American Academy of Pediatrics warns parents against having any kind of trampolines in the backyard. But they also want to make their own decisions. Maybe to them the benefit of family exercise and the hours spent jumping on the safest trampoline they can get is worth the mild risk that somebody might twist an ankle. So, what are other parents doing? And how do they justify having a trampoline? So, you need to add how other people in their world are interpreting the news and the guidelines.

Samir Husni: Is there anything you’d like to add?

Liz Vaccariello: I think it’s interesting. We call it the Meredith Parents Network, and Parents Magazine is the jewel in the crown of the Network. And by far, the largest of the magazines, but it also includes Fit Pregnancy and Baby, FamilyFun Magazine, Parents Latina and Ser Padres.

This role is unique in that I am running; I am hands-on-editor-and-chiefing (laughs) the biggest magazine, and the biggest part of the business. But I also get to think beyond the magazine and the magazine’s core general brand and think about Latina parents, one out of every four babies born in this country is born to an Hispanic parent. So, Parents Latina is growing very quickly. And it’s fun to turn my attention to that demographic and see what we can do to interpret this voice and this information for them.

And then think about the baby space and the pregnancy space, and what kind of digital products; what apps; what magazines can we offer the pregnant mom or the wanting-to-be pregnant woman. So, there is always something new; the business is constantly evolving and shifting. It’s a bigger job in that I get to do a lot of fun things, in addition to editing the one magazine.

Samir Husni: Why have we seen more line extensions in the Hispanic market than we have in the African American markets when it comes to the main titles?

Liz Vaccariello: That’s a really interesting question. In the case of parenting, and I’ll answer in my space in particular, something unique happens when a second generation Latina in the United States becomes a mom. She doesn’t necessarily think of her Latina identity in the forefront of her mind until that moment she has a baby.

And then suddenly she’s thinking more about her heritage and it becomes much more important to her. She wants to have one foot back in that culture. And it’s important that her child be perhaps bilingual and understand the Spanish language. Maybe she doesn’t know it, so she wants to learn it too. So, the cultural touchpoints become very important to her in the parenting space. That’s why in my network Parents Latina made sense.

Samir Husni: What memories from your own childhood do you reflect on in your role as editor in chief and head storyteller of a parenting magazine?

Liz Vaccariello: I often return to a moment in sixth grade when I was doing homework in my bedroom. I remember writing a book report about something and I was sitting at my desk with my pencil and paper. I remember looking at a sentence and thinking that I wanted to change the sentence, so I took another piece of paper and put it next to the first and began to change the words around in the sentence and reading it out loud and listening to the changing rhythms. And then deciding on the perfect way I wanted to say that sentence and putting it back on the paper.

In that moment, there was a knock on my bedroom door and in walked my dad. He said you’re up late, you must be doing homework. He had come in to say goodnight. And I remember saying to him that I had just decided that I wanted to be a writer. I remember that moment and the idea of creating a story and telling it in a rhythmic, pleasing way. And working with the words. The words acting like a puzzle. So, I always remember my father being a witness to that pivotal moment in my life.

Samir Husni: If you could have one thing tattooed upon your brain that no one would ever forget about you, what would it be?

Liz Vaccariello: (Laughs) Mom to Sophia and Olivia. Sophia and Olivia’s mama; that’s my most important job. I think that’s why I get so excited and lit up about my job, because I get to help mommies and daddies and I know how much fun that is and how helpful that can be when you’re a mom. If we can help someone with the stories that we tell; make her laugh or feel better, or do something more efficiently, that’s wonderful. I’m in a good place and I have one of the best jobs in America.

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

Liz Vaccariello: We’re always concerned about the decline in print advertising. Meredith has a wonderful story about how the growth in digital advertising has far outpaced our small declines in print advertising. But, it doesn’t keep me up at night, because I just got back from a road trip with my publisher, Steven Grune, and I have to tell you, it made me proud to be a Meredith employee because I’m showing this redesign, and I’ve done a lot of road trips over the years for various companies and with various publishers. But when Meredith comes to town, it speaks highly of Meredith and of Steve Grune and the Parents brand, but when we come to town 30 people show up and they want to hear what’s new with Meredith and with Parents Magazine. So, that speaks highly of our position in the marketplace. And also of Steve. Our September issue is nice and thick; our October issue is even thicker, so it’s looking really good. I’m actually sleeping quite well. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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Magazines Are Going “Boutique.” Is That A New Trend? Mr. Magazine™ Thinks Not…

August 15, 2017

A Mr. Magazine™ Musing…

We hear a lot of talk today about magazine publishing becoming a “boutique” business, what with all of the special interest magazines and niche publications that are so pointedly targeted that many fear not even the intended audience will be able to recognize them.

However, this “boutique” description may be new, as far as the actual wording, but let me assure you, there is nothing about being niche or a special interest magazine that hasn’t always been around. We’ve always had special interest magazines right along with the general interest ones. And we’ve always had titles that reflected very specific topics, such as: cars, music, history, celebrities; you name it, because after all, magazines have always been, in my book, the best reflectors of our society, and they always will be.

Just in these past couple of weeks, I came across a host of new magazines that are truly nothing but a reflector of our present day society. And that’s our society as a whole, because as the global magazine network starts to take shape, magazines are being published in France, printed in the Netherlands, and distributed in the United States. And the topics are as targeted and trend-worthy as they have ever been.

For example, Spinner Force, a new title about the fidget spinner craze, and also Spinner Power; can you think of a better topic that reflects what’s going on in our world today? Not since the Yoyo or the Pet Rock has the planet seen such popularity with a small, no doubt, inexpensively made toy. Yet, so far, there are at least two magazines on the topic. But of course there is. Magazines are always at the forefront of what matters to us.

Then there’s the new twist on car magazines, such as 5054, which deals with automotive culture. And as the founding editor of the magazine states inside the first issue’s cover: the magazine’s rough mission statement is to cover automotive culture. And that might mean most things with an engine. And engines might mean engineering. In other words, this is not your average car mag.

Or there’s a new magazine called Dream dedicated to objects and materia. And as the editor tells us about her “dream” finally coming true with the publishing of this first issue, we learn that this chimera of print is all about the inanimate, but takes shape in the dreams that created the objects. Quite captivating. And along with the magazine, a hardbound book called South Africa conjoins with this premier issue to allow the audience a look into one contributor’s experience in the country watching the graceful and elegant balance of objects onto people’s heads.

Wow! That’s about as niche as the 2005 magazine titled Emu Today & Tomorrow. As I said, being a special interest magazine is not as “boutique” as some might think.

Then there’s the new magazine Diaphanes that’s published in both German and English. Or the new twist on an old concept, the Romance Journal. It’s a new magazine that the first issue focuses on just emotions.

Or things I’d never heard about, but my grandson had, such as a sport called Pickleball, which I’m sure is a deserving sport that needed its own magazine. The mindfulness craze continues with a new magazine from the U.K. called In the Moment, treating us to mindful ways to live our lives well.

And there’s a new magazine from Poland all about cities and the way they have changed over the years called Cities Magazine. From our good friends at Stampington & Company, we have Bella Grace – Field Guide to Everyday Magic, which has the feel of your own personal journal and invites to write in it as you would a diary.

Then we have a new title called Swim that combines art, photography and literature in a publication driven by narrative, so we can feel free to start anywhere, even at the end if we choose.

And I cannot leave out Salty at Heart, which is a new title for those who love the ocean and living in the beauty and miracle of the moment. We have Summit; a magazine about the resurgence of Hawaiian activism that took place on the peak of Mauna Kea, and examines a new generation of globally connected thinkers and doers. As its mission statement states, “Summit is Hawai’i’s global magazine, with in-depth coverage of arts, design, style, business, civics, and literature in the Hawaiian hemisphere.”

Hemp is a magazine that explores the renaissance around the reality of hemp farming that’s sweeping the U.S. A sewing magazine published in Belgium and distributed internationally called Victor, and last, but certainly not least, a new title called Mold. Yes, Mold, a magazine that moves beyond the aesthetics of food, and celebrates design as an agent of change in our food system. Mold explores the innovations emerging at the intersections of science, technology, agronomy, gastronomy, engineering and design.

So, as you browse through those titles and as you spend a lot of money to purchase those titles, Dream has $46.99 cover price, join us in the “boutique” and sit back, relax and enjoy the eternally reflective nature of magazines.

Until next time…

Mr. Magazine™ will see you at the newsstands…

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Alie Oz: A Man With A Vision To Revolutionize The Publishing Industry Through Art & Artists, Innovation And Philanthropy Using Print As The Most Connective Medium – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Alie Oz, Director, Arts Sports International…

August 10, 2017

“There is no such thing as a “best,” because best only applies based on what we’re looking for. If you’re looking for a way to get timely information, then you cannot beat digital. However, if you’re looking for quality and beauty, and certain human elements, such as touching the paper for that physical connection, print provides that. There is no human connection like an organic texture of a good quality paper. With a monitor this is not possible, because we’re on the outside of that connection.” Alie Oz…

“With print, you’re much more connected to those pages. And there are different fundamentals for people. Some want to be in control, so they want to sit down in front of the monitor and click here or there. But many people are tired of making decisions all of the time. They want to just sit back and be entertained. With each page they flip, they want to see something surprising. They don’t want to know beforehand what they will be looking at. They just want to relax and be entertained.” Alie Oz…

Call him a dreamer, call him a theorizer; call him anything you can think of that would describe a true visionary, and Alie Oz will most probably explain to you why you think that. The man is a deep-thinker and truly sincere and concerned about this planet, the cultures that influence people’s behavior and the choices they make and the arts and artists who bring beauty and consciousness into our lives. And he has a plan to revolutionize the present-day business models that most publishers use. According to Alie, it’s a very simple approach, nevertheless, a very comprehensive one.

Alie described it in this way, “In the pursuit of creating a vision for new age philanthropy to help Artists and Children in need, the process inspired me to a vision that will revolutionize print publishing in its entirety. From its purpose, its new entity, its definition, its look, its products, its production, its publishing and its business model; it will be transformed in such a way that the print magazine world will go from what it is today, to a desirable, profitable and honorable art form, that is unimaginable by today’s standards and reality.”

Between art, sports and the beauty of both, 0-15 ArtBook Magazines were born. And the philanthropic influence of Alie himself isn’t lost on this new business model; in fact, at one point during our conversation, he described it as a new vision for the “Philanthropic Business Model.”

Alie said that we have to change everything about print magazines, beginning with the definition and identity to “ArtBook Magazines.” That they have to be created as an art form (artwork) by real artists. Timeless, collectible ArtBooks that reflect the artistic side of any given subject, or subjects, like a moderately printed coffee table book.

He added that the production process had to be changed as well, by eliminating the unnecessary waste, and by replacing old ways of doing things with clever and intelligent thinking, and unique methods of creativity and production process. And that publishers then needed to be innovative and introduce a completely new vision for the publishing business model to the equation, to make this vision so profitable (equal or more profitable than the Internet publishing business model), so that it becomes one of the most desirable new age businesses for entrepreneurs, with its new role of how ArtBook Magazines can serve us and our business in our cultures. While all of this might sound like a pipe dream to some, to Alie Oz it’s not only possible; it’s achievable.

So, come along with Mr. Magazine™ as we take a walk down a visionary’s path and possibly discover that the Philanthropic Business Model is here to rescue us all, the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Alie Oz, director, Art Sports International.

But first, the sound-bites:

On the idea behind 0-15 ArtBook Magazines: There are two parts of this. On the one hand, there is the philanthropic part; how can we help people, children in need, and this is worldwide. And redefine art and artists and understand their responsibility and their effect; how they can influence the cultures and therefore our behavior changes and we become more sensible people, and in turn world problems seem not so insurmountable, because the world’s problems have become more and more senseless. We’ve become robotic and driven by greed; greed is run by fear, etc.

On why he is starting this new business model overseas and bring it into the U.S.: I discovered that the East follows the West, because of Colonialism and everything else, and they are so much more receptive to new ideas. Even by their nature they’re more open to innovations, because of their freshness and virginity when it comes to these high-end developments. If you can break down that Colonialism stage, they can be original and unique, and that allows creative minds to be so much fresher, and in turn, creates creativeness within the platform. In the West, new ideas have to convince people that their old ways are not good enough, which most people are reluctant to believe, and also to give up their old ways to adapt the new ways.

On whether he thinks print is the best medium to implement his creative vision: There is no such thing as a “best,” because best only applies based on what we’re looking for. If you’re looking for a way to get timely information, then you cannot beat digital. However, if you’re looking for quality and beauty, and certain human elements, such as touching the paper for that physical connection, print provides that. There is no human connection with a monitor; we’re on the outside of it. Also, this vision is the beginning of the one that will follow next, which will bring all three media (Print+TV+Internet III) together and make them function like one organism. After this vision is in place, I am willing to introduce the next vision for the more future-oriented players.

On how his business model will allow publishers to offer their product for free and still make money: The answer to this will be explained to certain chosen ones to give them a heads up in this visionary business plan.

On whether he’s on to something that’s possible or he’s merely a dreamer:
It is very much real and with proof of concept, all details will be explained to seriously interested players.

On the biggest stumbling block facing him in launching this business model: There are no stumbling blocks at all, because as I said, we’re doing this as a part of our philanthropy vision. In our vision, we give this licensing to retired tennis players or young tennis families, or even players as a supporting source. So, philanthropists can have this magazine and have children educated from it. The economics are so attractive that the objective is never compromised. Of course, we’ll add more of the art and the nobility and the consciousness into the product, and it will be an art platform. We’re doing this in our philanthropy business, and once the magazine is established, we’ll be introducing many other products and businesses and services. The way we use this publishing vision is unique, and as our base to introduce other new ideas and boutique business to help the needy

On the possibility that the publishing world will understand his vision and get excited by it; what would then stop him from doing it on his own and becoming that multi-billionaire:
Anything is possible, however today my focus is on the broader picture. I’m interested in changing the art and artists, fundamentally, culturally, practically, and effectively. And I’m just a single human being who has a vision that could change things from a fundamental level. If I meet the right people/publishers, I will make plans to take actions to implement this vision in a larger scale to lead all. With our philanthropy business model and the platform that we’ve created with 0-15 ArtBook Magazine, we have so many other products that will start small businesses and help everybody. So, me creating many ArtBook Magazines and storming the publishing world means I would rather work with someone and achieve that goal under special conditions. It’s not the money that motivates me, it’s doing the right thing and getting the publishing business to the right stage. And to get the publishing world to where they belong by influencing our lives in the right ways by creating the right products and awarding our artists and influencing people the way true artists should. I would like to make the publishing business a very attractive, lucrative and desirable business for young entrepreneurs by making publishing an art form.

On what keeps him up at night: Well, I am worried about what’s going on in America, in our senseless behavior, the choices we make because of our cultures that affect our decisions; our thought processes that lack taste, class, reasoning and consciousness, that senseless lack of understanding and disconnection. Why did we become this way? What causes this senselessness? Who and how can help make these corrections?

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Alie Oz, director, Arts Sports International.

Samir Husni: Give me some background on the idea behind 0-15 Artbook Magazines and the company.

Alie Oz: There are two parts of this. On the one hand, there is the philanthropic part; how can we help people, children in need, by connecting many forces altogether, such as the sports world, artists, corporations, governments, philanthropists, new entrepreneurs, etc., and this is worldwide. And redefine art and artists and understand their responsibility and their effect; how they can influence the cultures and therefore our behavior changes and we become more sensible people, and in turn world problems seem not so insurmountable, because the world’s problems have become more and more senseless. We’ve become robotic and driven by greed; greed is run by fear, etc.

So, our senses are designed to protect us and give us rationale and give us an understanding of everything that’s supposed to help us to survive in the best conditions. So, the artist’s job should be that, because human beings who are in touch with their senses fully are the best part of ourselves. And that should be an artist, which we have an obligation to redefine, protect and help them to perform their best.

But overtime, like everything else, art and artists have become business components and instead of a true meaning and purpose of what art and artists should be, they become just another tool for the middleman to make more profit for all costs. It becomes another game. So, that question is very important to me personally, because I’m an artist by birth. I had my first exhibition when I was 12-years-old and I dedicated myself to question everything to make them better through arts. In this process I became an art director at 18.

Let’s say, we have these wonderful ideas and wonderful talents, but how can humankind benefit from this, instead of becoming a tool for the rich and famous? So, the idea of art and the artist is very important. And we have to reanalyze and redefine that, in order to help more humankind to influence their behavior and make them more sensible and conscious creatures.

So, the classic question is: how do you save the world? Well, everyone has their own answer. In my humble opinion, the answer is by changing the proportion of the world. Having more artists, with the right definition of the word artist, is how you can save the world. In order to do that, we have to be open to art. And we must make it so organic and so pure, and make it a part of our lives and in all business.

I extract the art and artist from the talent and the taste; not even from perfection. The consciousness has to be the guiding force of what art and the artist should be. And the artist is the ambassador of that energy. Everything is made of that energy; consciousness is the source, so the artist should be the one who brings that consciousness to our lives.

Now, true talents, true tastes, true craft; yes, of course, that is a part. In my opinion, the first artists that we know are our mothers. And they’re the ones creating something incredible with the hope that eventually wonderful things will follow.

I’ve been involved with many different projects, this being a growth process of ourselves. At one point, with a dear friend of mine, Caroline Newhouse, her family is in the publishing business, we were discussing magazines. Why are magazines so important? In those discussions, I was always arguing that those pages were being wasted and because there was no challenge to the magazine world, magazine publishers did nothing to improve them. They were basically sleeping and enjoying the glory and benefits of the publishing world.

But once they were challenged, the problems began to rise to the surface. And very quickly, some fell apart, because their models fell apart. So, these problems have been around since a couple of decades ago and I promised my friend that I was going to do something. In fact, at one point Caroline wanted to hire me for Condé Nast, although she wasn’t in charge. But I was very busy with other projects at that time, nevertheless, I promised her that I was going to do something about it, because we’d had this wonderful conversation. And she was an artist.

But going back to how we can help people using all of the elements together, because all energies have to connect to each other and then to consciousness. Everything we do has to connect to each other; our purpose of helping people, media, the arts, just everything. I realized that the best way to do this was to implement art and artists into consciousness, was into business models. I always hated it when, as a child, I would hear people say, “Don’t take it personally; it’s just business.” We have to be conscious of everything we do, even in business.

So, one after another these ideas would come in, so I decided to create an organization where we can connect these powerful elements together; to redefine art and artists and inject the idea of art and artists into businesses and connect the sports world, because that’s very much needed and they’re a very powerful group of people. And then create a business model that will help the children and artists by connecting publishing and small businesses, government and philanthropy; everything. So, the idea of helping people really motivated me to start developing the organization.

And this is a part of my passion already, as a platform, I put print publishing in the center of it. So, with the publishing we create a platform to help children, artists, the sports world; and allow governments and philanthropists to become involved and create a new vision for philanthropy. Since I wanted to revolutionize the publishing world, it has to be improved in order to do that. And the purpose of our publishing platform is to develop a vision for philanthropy, and at the same time revolutionize the publishing world.

In my vision, everything about publishing will change. Only two things will remain the same in the publishing process: the paper and distributing monthly. Besides those two elements, everything changes, because that’s my nature, I do not accept things they way they are, I like to change and improve things. Because I believe anything and everything can be improved, and that is the way civilization moves forward and true human capacity develops.

Now, I have an opportunity for a couple of years, while we are going forward with the philanthropic vision, I can start focusing on the publishing as well. I realize from my research how to develop this vision; how to improve everything. The publishing world works in a very old-thinking way. If you look at the columns and the text and the graphics, things haven’t changed very much over the years since Gutenberg. Everything else has changed in the world; why hasn’t publishing changed? Through the process of shortsightedness, the publishing world has been left behind.

When the Internet started challenging the publishing world, then everything fell apart. What I want to do with the publishing business involves three elements: the products, the production, and the publishing. In this process, in my opinion, the products have to be an artwork, because the publishing itself, touching the paper, it shouldn’t be taken for granted. There is something very natural and human about that.

In this out of control development; for the most part I agree with the world development, but if you lose connection from one to another, it creates big gaps. And those gaps are taken advantage of by either opportunists or by dysfunctional behavior that is created within those gaps. It’s like if you don’t brush your teeth, plaque will build up in your mouth. So, every idea has to connect to the previous one in such a way that there will be no gaps in between to break the system. All developments should be based on our needs, they have to serve us, not the other way around. We should not become a robot, just simply because the development of robotic ideas are in full swing.

In the process of developing this vision for a new product, it has to be an art platform; a form of art that I see for publishing. The production part has to be in such a way that it’s a healthy business, and the publishing part has to also be done in a way that it will award the publishing world as it deserves. So, it will be a very healthy business and therefore the idea of publishing will impact people’s lives properly.

In our business plan, we have to create these art books, and right now they’re part of the sports world, tennis, 0-15 is a tennis score, so part of the vision is also part of our philanthropy, the art and sports part. But within that, the publishing itself is revolutionized. Making publications as an art form and created by artists, and published in such a way that we make a perfect business model and a very successful business model is what we’re talking about.

Samir Husni: Why overseas? Why are you starting this outside the U.S. and then bringing it in?

Alie Oz: A long time ago, Caroline tried to put my ideas into place at Condé Nast. She set up a meeting for me and I went there to talk to the creative director. Now, I was never in the corporate world, I am an artist by birth. After a weird energy filled the room for a while, he told me that I should not be telling him my ideas, because he would steal them. And I didn’t know how to respond to that. And I have to ad that in his own little mind, he was respecting my friendship with Caroline Newhouse.

In America, we are very much driven by corporate principles. I don’t even believe in the Wall Street model. I don’t believe humans should be described as winners or losers. We can all be winners. With the Wall Street models, which is the backbone of our business, it’s okay to steal, cheat and lie, as long as you win. I don’t believe in that. I have a problem with Picasso when he said, “Good artists borrow, great artists steal.” Nobody questions why do you steal; you only steal if you don’t have it. Well, if you don’t have it, you don’t deserve it. So, in America, this has become a big part of our business principles. Everywhere else has their problems as well, but if we accept this principle that it’s okay to steal, cheat and lie as long as we succeed, no original ideas will ever be born from that. Then you’re trapped in that psyche. Then you focus your energies on that, rather than being innovative.

And I discovered that the East follows the West, because of Colonialism and everything else, and they are so much more receptive to new ideas. Even by their nature they’re more open to innovations, because of their freshness and virginity when it comes to these high-end developments. If you can break down that Colonialism stage, they can be original and unique, and that allows creative minds to be so much fresher, and in turn, creates creativeness within the platform.

In the West, first you have to convince people that what they’re doing is wrong. And if you achieve that, then you have to explain to them what else they can do; how they can progress. That’s why it became much more difficult to explain how things could be more progressive to people in the West. In the advertising world that I was a part of; the difference between European and American behavior is for one, in Europe we select creative directors and we ask them to lead us. In America, we’re always afraid of our job security, and we ask the public constantly what they want to see. And the public is busy with their own daily lives, their own careers, so it’s not their job to analyze and understand.

So, we tell our bosses this is what the public wants, let’s go with that. This to me is a plague that stops progress. We’re not progressing well. Everything has to be created outside first, then America can take it and make a business out of it. And yes, make it big business. Also, in Asia, the children have a bigger need; in India and in China.

In China especially, I was interested because they need a vision. China is losing their artists and by nature, they don’t have that many to begin with. So, I had to give them a vision. For those reasons, I was in Asia.

But I’m interested in America if we can build a trusted relationship with a powerhouse. Then I would be able to introduce this vision and the entire publishing world could change because of it.

Samir Husni: Is it because it’s your vision that you’re focusing on print as the vehicle to spread this vision, or is it that in this digital age print is still the best medium for implementing this innovation?

Alie Oz: There is no such thing as a “best,” because best only applies based on what we’re looking for. If you’re looking for a way to get timely information, then you cannot beat digital. However, if you’re looking for quality and beauty, and certain human elements, such as touching the paper for that physical connection, print provides that. There is no human connection with a monitor; we’re on the outside of it. And to me that’s also the failure of the arts in the West. In the East, the arts are a part of life. If they create a beautiful piece of art, such as a bowl, it becomes a part of their life. In the West, we create a bowl and then we put it in a museum and watch it. And call it art. No, that’s not art, you’re outside of it. You have to be inside of it.

And print is the same thing. With print, you’re much more connected to those pages, if they are created in the right ways. And there are different fundamentals for people. Some want to be in control, so they want to sit down in front of the monitor and click here or there. But many people are tired of making decisions all of the time. They want to just sit back and be entertained. With each page they flip, they want to see something surprising. They don’t want to know beforehand what they will be looking at. They just want to relax. And I don’t believe in losing or wasting things, especially print. We owe so much to print. Print has an opportunity to lead our culture.

And the Internet was created by engineers. But art is missing from the Internet. In contrast, print is all about art. So, they have to exist together. With my model, creating these art books, and by the way, we can create these art books from all topics. So, we can introduce thousands and thousands of them all over the world. But the key with this model, is they have to be free. Art book magazines have to be free. In today’s world, almost everything on the Internet is free. And yes, I have created a business model that brings in hundreds of millions of dollars of profit to publishers, even though the magazines are free. Having said all this, Internet publishing and print publishing doesn’t have to compete, they can co-exist and complete each other.

Samir Husni: But someone will say, Alie, you’re a dreamer. You’re telling us that the present publishing models are based on greed and that you want to change everything and do something completely different, but you’re still depending on advertising, albeit, you’re changing distribution. So, either you’re a genius coming up with this new idea or it’s simply a dream.

Alie Oz: Before anything else I have to say this, even though cynics will be satisfied with proof of concepts, whomever denies progress will be left behind. In contrast, the ones who are looking for opportunities will take advantage of this vision. In order to succeed, this vision, all aspects and all elements, has to be done correctly, no cutting corners. When that has happened the right way, the transformation of the publishing world through this vision will be revolutionary. Again as I said earlier, I am willing to explain all of the details to the right people in the right time.

Samir Husni: What’s the biggest stumbling block that’s facing you in launching this new business model?

Alie Oz: There are no stumbling blocks at all, because as I said, we’re doing this as a part of our philanthropy vision. In our vision, we give this licensing to retired tennis players or young tennis families, or even players. So, philanthropists can have this magazine and have children educated from it. The economics are so attractive that the objective is never compromised. Of course, we’ll add more of the art and the nobility and the consciousness into the product, and it will be an art platform. We’re doing this in our philanthropy business, and once the magazine is established, we’ll be introducing many other products and businesses and services.

With this, philanthropists will be able to help people through sports and through artists. And while we’re doing that, our platform, the print magazine, will become a very visionary concept that could be implemented. One magazine can produce, in the hands of a major publisher, $100,000,000 per year profit after all of the fees and expenses. If you make 10 of them, now we’re talking billions. This is impossible for people to believe, because this is unheard of. But who would have thought a company called Google would become bigger than General Motors? Great ideas start this way.

The problem in the publishing world is that we try and fix things. We’re patching and matching, surviving. And they’re cutting quality in order to survive, which will only speed up the process of going down. So, everything has to change. First, you have to serve the people and their interests. When that happens, with a brilliant business model, success will come in the most satisfying of ways.You can’t just patch and match and put a Band-Aid on the problem. The time element has to be eliminated from the print publishing world, because fundamentally you cannot compete with the speed of the Internet when it comes to delivering information.

Also, not only do we need to eliminate handicaps, but we need to add advantages. The Internet doesn’t have that touch experience or that human connection like paper does. And if you take the time element out of the print media and add the art part to it, the quality part to it, suddenly you’re separating yourself from the Internet and you’re providing what the Internet cannot provide. So, not only are you coexisting; with my business model, you can make equal or more profit than the Internet.

By eliminating print magazines’ handicaps against Internet publishing, in addition to emphasizing its advantages, it will not only create a complimentary partnership and coexistence with each other; it will also totally complete each other in my vision. By changing the perception of what print publishing is today in its entirety and creating a new future for the print publishing era like never before.

At first, it sounds like a utopian idea and a romantic dream for print publishing and its defenders and supporters, but (remembering that in this vision, 98% of everything we know about print publishing has changed, or been altered or replaced by its new evolutionary process), the analysis of all aspects of print publishing adapted to this new vision, making this unimaginable dream a provable reality.

In order to start a revolution, a renaissance of the print publishing world today, we have to abandon what we know, what we think we know, what we think we need to fix, replace or repair. We need to rethink all aspects of print magazine publishing, and replacing the old outdated components with their new counterparts. In addition, we have to add a new purpose, new identity, new look, new definition, new production, publishing and new business model.

Samir Husni: If people see your vision and agree with it and think this is how revolutions start, what will keep you from doing it on your own and becoming that multi-billionaire?

Alie Oz: Publishers that are seriously searching to do better, will understand and will get excited by this vision. Anything is possible, however today my focus is on the broader picture. I’m interested in changing the art and artists, fundamentally, culturally, practically, and effectively. And I’m just a single human being who has a vision that could change things from a fundamental level. If I meet the right people/publishers, I will make plans to take actions to implement this vision in a larger scale to lead all. It’s not the money that motivates me, it’s doing the right thing and getting the publishing business to the right stage. And to get the publishing world to where they belong by influencing our lives in the right ways by creating the right products and awarding our artists and influencing people the way true artists should. I would like to make the publishing business a very attractive, lucrative and desirable business for young entrepreneurs by making publishing an art form. Of course, anything is possible, but we have already created one ArtBook Magazine as an example of this vision and as a part of our philanthropic vision-project, to become a centerpiece, a publishing platform for our operation. But publishing revolution doesn’t happen with just one product, it has to be many of them to become the new standard, to become the business inspiration to all, so everybody will be inspired and follow the vision to change their business model and the industry, once and for all.

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

Alie Oz: Well, I am worried about what’s going on in America, in our behavior, the choices we make because of our cultures that affect our decisions; our thought processes that lack taste, class, reasoning and consciousness, that senseless lack of understanding and disconnection. Why did we become this way? What causes this senselessness? Who and how can help make these corrections?

Well, in my opinion, what caused all this senselessness is the lack of senses in our lives, in our actions and our perception of what life is about, which is the essence of true Arts and Artists. Not a self-serving, narrowed purpose and meaningless bullshit, maybe with a little taste, a little talent, but still meaningless bullshit without any real purpose, no consciousness and no service to humankind. “The Art Game” that the rich and famous manipulated for a very long time, without realizing the effects caused in cultures and younger generations.

The Arts have to have a new definition, a new identity, a new purpose that is adjusted to our times, and to provide what is needed, what is missing, with a true and noble, and yet practical and productive, purpose that will make a difference in the world.

The Artists have to have a real purpose for a greater good that is very much needed; a direction and guidelines for our behavior, our senses and in our consciousness. For that “The Arts” have to be in our lives in all forms at all times, and “The Artists” have to have a new defining role in all aspects of our lives and business. New Age Print Magazines with their “new vision of existence” can provide this very much needed function. This new vision of ArtBook Magazines can provide the opportunity to merge in our lives to make a difference by uplifting the human spirit, representing taste, presenting new ideas and becoming the very much needed tool for the real artists to connect to people like never before.

For this, I did my job by creating and developing this vision “The ArtBook Magazines” to be implemented by all who represent the future of our Business-Culture Renaissance, and who want to take the publishing world to its new golden era like never before for the new age, “The Age of Aquarius.”

For many, these things I shared with you might sound like utopian ideas and wishful thinking, but they aren’t. They are true concepts created for practical applications that are tested, executed and proven. They are created based on responsibilities that real artists should have, a greater purpose than just a good idea, guided with consciousness and prepared as great business models and that take new age conscious business to its new heights in print publishing and its new place in our lives and cultures.

I can understand why for some this vision could feel like “A pie in the sky”. It is because most people are not used to creating things from scratch, as a completely brand new idea/vision. Usually, they are used to patch and match, fix or repair old and outdated ideas to make it work and fit into the new realities. Even some of the so-called new ideas are not new; they are a different version of the existing ideas or old ideas that were created in the past. Truly new ideas are rare, and usually difficult to relate to because they require us to forget what we know, and rethink everything without any baggage of our own belief system.

For those who are skeptical, there is a proof of concepts to convince them. For those who are already waiting for something new to change the game, there will be an inspiration like nothing before. Not only for the scale of success for the print publishing industry, which is unimaginable by today’s standards and expectations, but also what the publishing world should be in our future and its new function and responsibility in our cultures.

I will explain all of the details and step by step game/business plan to the right people, starting with those who already dedicated their efforts to improving the publishing business and who care to do the right thing and understand the potential of the “Print Publishing Business”.

We are already using this as part of our revolutionary vision of philanthropy by connecting children, artists, the sports world, corporations, philanthropists, governments etc. as the centerpiece of our publishing platform. But to start a real revolution in print publishing, there should be dozens of examples in action to become an example to all, then everybody will be inspired and understand the virtue, and everything will change after that.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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July Gave Us 43 New Titles – 14 Of Them With Promised Frequency

August 8, 2017

Summer continued on with great new titles that covered everything from the “Art Market Gold List” to what many call the trendy way of eating today – straight from the field to the table with Recoil’s “Carnivore,” the magazine that relives the days when that practice was far from trendy; it was necessary and normal. However, this just goes to show, as Mr. Magazine™ has said from the beginning; magazines are the best reflectors of our pop culture and society in each generation, and they always will be.

We also saw the rebirth of “American Frontiersman” in July, and we say welcome back after its brief respite. It’s always good to open the door and invite an old friend back into our homes. So here they are, the newborns, the reborn, and the ones that arrived to the newsstands for the first time.

Here are our frequency titles for July – to see the entire collection, please visit Mr. Magazine’s™ Launch Monitor

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Tail Flyfishing Magazine: When What The Doctor Orders Is A Magazine, Sometimes The Proverb “Physician Heal Thyself” Hits Very Close To Home – The Mr. Magazine Interview With Dr. Joseph Ballarini, Founder, Tail Flyfishing Magazine…

August 3, 2017

A Mr. Magazine™ Launch Story…

“The digital publication grew; we were in over 100 countries. And people were screaming for a printed version of the book. Everyone was asking us to print it. So, initially, we made a PDF site where they could download it and print it out. And that was big for our European audience. Ultimately, after a barrage of emails, and then I started getting phone calls, we decided to give the people what they wanted. And we had a big enough following, so we knew the launch wouldn’t be a shot in the dark; we were already popular and people liked it.” Joseph Ballarini (on why he added a print component to his digital platform)

When passion guides you, anything is possible. Even if you’re a busy emergency room doctor. Just ask Dr. Joseph Ballarini. An avid saltwater fly fisherman, Joe is also an ardent conservationist. When his love of fishing and his respect for the environment joined forces, after taking note of many undesirable things that were happening in and around some of his favorite fishing spots, Joe decided that he needed to write his own prescription for the problem. He already had the placebo in place that brought awareness to the issue, an online presence where he could get information out there, but eventually the prescription was filled with just the right medicine: a printed magazine.

I spoke with Joe recently and we talked about the bumps in the road that can make starting a magazine a bit of a rocky journey, especially for someone who has never been in the publishing industry before, such as himself. But beating within every true entrepreneur’s heart is that firm belief and passion for their ideas, and a determination that no one can tamp down. Joe’s heart was and is filled to overflow with those attributes. So much so, that a second publication is in the works.

So, I hope that you enjoy this doctor’s tale; one that follows him into unfamiliar territory, but also leads him down possibly his true path, that of a storyteller, the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Dr. Joseph Ballarini, founder, Tail Flyfishing Magazine.

But first, the sound-bites:

On why an emergency room doctor such as himself starts a magazine: I hate to admit this, but it really happened out of a little bit of anger. The blog and the digital magazine were meant to bring light to conservation efforts. As I would fish in the Florida Keys and in Southeast Florida, there was always trash and propeller scars destroying mangroves. And I saw this. I would go out fishing and come back in with my kayak loaded with garbage and debris that I had picked up floating around. And I think I launched the magazine to make people more aware of this. As a result, the full-blown publication grew out of it, and partly because of my passion for fishing and the outdoors.

On why he felt a magazine was the answer to the problem: Well, it actually wasn’t the answer right away. (Laughs) I’ve been fishing from the age of four, and I really didn’t know what to do. I started the blog, the website, and the magazine because I just wanted to put information out there. I wanted to create awareness. If you look at the early issues of Tail in the digital side, they’re not very good to be honest. (Laughs again) We did it all in-house; we didn’t have designers, and it kind of evolved over five years into what we believe is something really strong and great.

On why he decided to venture into print: The digital publication grew; we were in over 100 countries. And people were screaming for a printed version of the book. Everyone was asking us to print it. So, initially, we made a PDF site where they could download it and print it out. And that was big for our European audience. Ultimately, after a barrage of emails, and then I started getting phone calls, we decided to give the people what they wanted. And we had a big enough following, so we knew the launch wouldn’t be a shot in the dark; we were already popular and people liked it.

On the vastly different professions of being a doctor and a magazine founder and whether it causes any struggle between his left and right brain:
There’s always a disconnect between my left and right brain. (Laughs) My background is a little odd. I went to University of the Arts, and actually started there when I was 13 years old. I went there for Industrial Design, and had a Piano minor when I was there. So, I’m very artistic to begin with. And then in my late 20s, I had a big shift and decided that I wanted to be a physician. And that’s when I made the jump.

On whether his magazine journey has been a walk in a rose garden or he’s had stumbling blocks along the way: It was a lot like a walk in a rose garden except that the garden was all thorns. (Laughs) When we launched the magazine, we were novices in the print industry. So, it was very difficult for all of us, especially Shawn Abernathy, who is the creative director. Shawn had to redesign the magazine entirely, because the digital format was not amenable to a print style. So, we had to essentially redesign the magazine, and there were so many mistakes we made along the way. We learned quickly, because we were very motivated, and we’re all hands-on. But it was a very arduous process to get to the point where we are now.

On what he would say is hindering the growth of the magazine today: There’s such a huge expense involved with printing, especially when you decide to go to print with a quality book such as we have. It’s 100 lb. cover stock with a soft touch finish. And the inside pages are 80 lbs., so this is not an inexpensive magazine that we make. One of the big stumbling blocks that we have is capital. As quick as it comes in, it goes right back out.

On how he came up with the name for the magazine: It’s funny, because it took about 14 months to actually come up with the name. And it’s based on sight fishing. When you fly fish in saltwater, a lot of it is done on shallow water flats, and what you look for is a tailing fish. And that’s a fish in shallow water that’s nosing in to catch the prey. So, you’ll see its tail sticking out of the water and it’s iconic for fly fishing in salt water. The name is actually an abbreviation for tailing fish.

On what letter grade he would give the magazine and himself as he approaches the first anniversary of the printed edition of Tail: As you know, you’re always your own worst critic. And I’m very hard on myself. So, at this stage I would say this, we have improved with every issue. And we’ve corrected some little, minor things. So, I think I would probably give myself and our team a B at this point. Maybe a B+. Moving forward, starting with September, we have gone out of our way to reach out to some of the most notable figures in fly fishing, and we’re making it a point to get into that A category.

On when he thinks he might give up medicine and become a full-time magazine publisher: That’s a difficult question to answer. I don’t dislike medicine; I don’t want to give that impression. I actually love helping people and love taking care of them. However, it would be really nice to be able to be at home more frequently and work less, and be with my family more. So, I would say after Tail becomes a little more established, maybe another year.

On the second magazine he plans to launch that will complement Tail:
We are going to launch a complement to Tail, which is of course focused on saltwater, but we are going to launch a freshwater book as well. This will be a book that focuses on the other side of the fishing spectrum. And I think it’s necessary to complete our portfolio of fly fishing in general.

On a name for the new magazine: We have a couple, and we’re going to hold off on sharing them until we actually hone in on one and decide.

On a launch date for magazine number two: We’re looking at the preview copy being ready in late 2018, with a full launch in the spring of 2019.

On anything he’d like to add:
The only thing that I would like to add is for the people who are reading this interview, we are very conservation-focused and if you page through our issues, you’ll see the Everglades Foundation and you’ll read the articles that are very concerned about our environment. And I would just ask people to support our cause and take the environment seriously, because we only have one planet and if we destroy it, it might not come back.

On what he would have tattooed upon his brain that would be there forever and no one could ever forget about him:
That’s a tough question. (Laughs) Being that the magazine is a saltwater publication and I love saltwater fly fishing, I wouldn’t mind being remembered as a very “salty” guy, similar to the way the Tail title has multiple connotations. (Laughs again)

On what someone would find him doing if they showed up unexpectedly one evening at his home: That’s an easy one to answer. Tail is a startup, and we are grossly understaffed. So, if I’m not taking care of my child or spending time with my wife, I am at my computer working on the magazine or I am packing and shipping products for the magazine. I’m kind of a one-man-show at the actual facility with designers that work there and remotely as well.

On what keeps him up at night: What keeps me staring at the ceiling until 3:00 a.m. many nights is that launching a magazine, having never been in the publishing industry, and trying to learn an industry that isn’t that easy to learn and trying to wrap my head around how to make this magazine successful, can be hard. But it’s working and it’s exceeding expectations.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Dr. Joseph Ballarini , founder, Tail Flyfishing Magazine.

Samir Husni: You started a blog four years ago and then last year in September, you launched the first issue of Tail Flyfishing Magazine. And you are an M.D., an emergency room doctor. How did the magazine happen?

Joseph Ballarini: Actually, we did launch the magazine almost five years ago as a digital magazine, but we just made the jump into print last September. And I hate to admit this, but it really happened out of a little bit of anger. The blog and the digital magazine were meant to bring light to conservation efforts. As I would fish in the Florida Keys and in Southeast Florida, there was always trash and propeller scars destroying mangroves. And I saw this. I would go out fishing and come back in with my kayak loaded with garbage and debris that I had picked up floating around. And I think I launched the magazine to make people more aware of this. As a result, the full-blown publication grew out of it, and partly because of my passion for fishing and the outdoors.

Samir Husni: But why did you, a doctor, think the answer to this problem was a magazine?

Joseph Ballarini: Well, it actually wasn’t the answer right away. (Laughs) I’ve been fishing from the age of four, and I really didn’t know what to do. I started the blog, the website, and the magazine because I just wanted to put information out there. I wanted to create awareness. If you look at the early issues of Tail in the digital side, they’re not very good to be honest. (Laughs again) We did it all in-house; we didn’t have designers, and it kind of evolved over five years into what we believe is something really strong and great.

Samir Husni: And last September you decided to venture into print. Why?

Joseph Ballarini: The digital publication grew; we were in over 100 countries. And people were screaming for a printed version of the book. Everyone was asking us to print it. So, initially, we made a PDF site where they could download it and print it out. And that was big for our European audience. Ultimately, after a barrage of emails, and then I started getting phone calls, we decided to give the people what they wanted. And we had a big enough following, so we knew the launch wouldn’t be a shot in the dark; we were already popular and people liked it.

So, we figured out how to do it and decided to launch it last September. We spent about eight months planning to go to print. We had to change the format of the magazine and bring in professional designers. We just did it out of wanting to give our audience what they wanted. And I’m glad we did because it’s actually working.

Samir Husni: To me, publishing the magazine and giving the audience what they want, seems a little bit different than being an emergency room doctor, where you hope that the patient wants the doctor to give them what they need. (Laughs) So, it’s like a reverse of what you otherwise do every day. How do you wrap your brain around the idea that during your regular job you’re in control, you’re the one that’s helping people, but with the magazine the people are in control and you’re just giving them what they want? Does that cause any struggle between your left brain and right brain?

Joseph Ballarini: (Laughs) There’s always a disconnect between my left and right brain. (Laughs) My background is a little odd. I went to University of the Arts, and actually started there when I was 13 years old. I went there for Industrial Design, and had a Piano minor when I was there. So, I’m very artistic to begin with.

And then in my late 20s, I had a big shift and decided that I wanted to be a physician. And that’s when I made the jump. Fortunately, I’m blessed that I was able to make that jump and do both, but in reality, emergency medicine is taking care of people and it’s customer service, because they’re coming to you with their needs, at all hours, and it’s never scheduled and it’s never planned. It’s not unlike publishing a magazine, because you never know what’s coming at you and you have to think on your feet, and do what’s best. So, they’re very similar in an abstract way.

Samir Husni: You’re coming up on your first anniversary this September. Has it been a walk in a rose garden for you, or have you had some stumbling blocks along the way?

Joseph Ballarini: It was a lot like a walk in a rose garden except that the garden was all thorns. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: (Laughs too).

Joseph Ballarini: When we launched the magazine, we were novices in the print industry. So, it was very difficult for all of us, especially Shawn Abernathy, who is the creative director. Shawn had to redesign the magazine entirely, because the digital format was not amenable to a print style. So, we had to essentially redesign the magazine, and there were so many mistakes we made along the way. We learned quickly, because we were very motivated, and we’re all hands-on. But it was a very arduous process to get to the point where we are now.

I’m embarrassed to admit, but there were a few typos that slipped by us in the early print editions. And that was something that we nipped in the bud after about two issues. We had a couple of little faux pas’ on our part. But now it’s smooth sailing. I’d have to say that now it’s become pretty automated. And it’s much, much better, but there’s still room to grow and room to improve, which is what we try to do with each issue.

Samir Husni: And what would you say is hindering the growth of the magazine today?

Joseph Ballarini: There’s such a huge expense involved with printing, especially when you decide to go to print with a quality book such as we have. It’s 100 lb. cover stock with a soft touch finish. And the inside pages are 80 lbs., so this is not an inexpensive magazine that we make. One of the big stumbling blocks that we have is capital. As quick as it comes in, it goes right back out.

The other issue is distribution, since we are a new name and we are a new publisher, it’s very hard to get people to take a look at us, because there are so may established books and companies out there. I think the biggest difficulty has been having enough money and enough resources and enough contacts to get to the right places. We’ve employed a distribution company and a circulation company, so we have some really good professionals helping us out and getting us where we need to be.

Samir Husni: How did you come up with the name of the magazine? It’s such an obvious name, yet one would think it had been used before.

Joseph Ballarini: It’s funny, because it took about 14 months to actually come up with the name. And it’s based on sight fishing. When you fly fish in saltwater, a lot of it is done on shallow water flats, and what you look for is a tailing fish. And that’s a fish in shallow water that’s nosing in to catch the prey. So, you’ll see its tail sticking out of the water and it’s iconic for fly fishing in salt water. The name is actually an abbreviation for tailing fish.

Some people thought it was a bit risqué, because it kind of has some connotations. However, it seemed to work and people seemed to get it. One famous person, Lefty Kreh, and if you’re not familiar with him, he is probably the base of fly fishing and has been for at least 50 years; he’s a very nice man, who is probably in his 80s.

He still fishes and still teaches children how to fish. He is at all of the conventions and shows, so he is still very active. But he was one who said that he didn’t get the name. And it’s funny; about a year and a half ago I was talking with him and he told me that he loved the magazine, but that he didn’t understand the name. And it was quite funny. After I explained it to him, he told me that it finally made sense. But he asked me why I didn’t just call it “Tailing?” (Laughs)

Samir Husni: As you approach your first anniversary of the print magazine, what letter grade would you give yourself? Do you feel you’re at an A+, an A, or maybe a B level right now?

Joseph Ballarini: As you know, you’re always your own worst critic. And I’m very hard on myself. So, at this stage I would say this, we have improved with every issue. And we’ve corrected some little, minor things. So, I think I would probably give myself and our team a B at this point. Maybe a B+. Moving forward, starting with September, we have gone out of our way to reach out to some of the most notable figures in fly fishing, and we’re making it a point to get into that A category.

If all goes well with our September issue, with our five year anniversary launch; I think that will be the first A magazine that I have put out. And I think it’s going to happen. Everything is in place and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that nothing goes wrong, because as you know many things can go wrong between the time you plan it and the time you print it.

Samir Husni: When do you think that you’ll quit practicing medicine and become a full-time magazine publisher?

Joseph Ballarini: That’s a difficult question to answer. I don’t dislike medicine; I don’t want to give that impression. I actually love helping people and love taking care of them. However, it would be really nice to be able to be at home more frequently and work less, and be with my family more. So, I would say after Tail becomes a little more established, maybe another year. We do have a second publication in the works, which will be a complement publication to Tail. So, I think when we get both of those launched and established, I’ll take a look at my medical career and make a decision at that point.

Samir Husni: Mr. Magazine™ can’t hear about a new launch without asking; can you tell me a little more about the second publication that’s in the works?

Joseph Ballarini: We are going to launch a complement to Tail, which is of course focused on saltwater, but we are going to launch a freshwater book as well. This will be a book that focuses on the other side of the fishing spectrum. And I think it’s necessary to complete our portfolio of fly fishing in general. We’ve recruited a couple of big names, a couple of established editors in the field, to go forward with this. And we’re also going to work with Rajat Sports and make their fishnique water initiative a priority to the magazine.

Samir Husni: Do we have a name for the new magazine yet?

Joseph Ballarini: We have a couple, and we’re going to hold off on sharing them until we actually hone in on one and decide.

Samir Husni: Do you have a target date for when the second magazine might be launched?

Joseph Ballarini: We’re looking at the preview copy being ready in late 2018, with a full launch in the spring of 2019.

Samir Husni: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Joseph Ballarini: The only thing that I would like to add is for the people who are reading this interview, we are very conservation-focused and if you page through our issues, you’ll see the Everglades Foundation and you’ll read the articles that are very concerned about our environment. And I would just ask people to support our cause and take the environment seriously, because we only have one planet and if we destroy it, it might not come back. And a lot of fisheries have been destroyed by gill netting and pollution. On the freshwater side, dams are destroying a lot of fisheries, and I’d like to see a lot of these things change and improve.

Samir Husni: If you could have one thing tattooed upon your brain that no one would ever forget about you, what would it be?

Joseph Ballarini: That’s a tough question. (Laughs) Being that the magazine is a saltwater publication and I love saltwater fly fishing, I wouldn’t mind being remembered as a very “salty” guy, similar to the way the Tail title has multiple connotations. (Laughs again)

Samir Husni: If I showed up unexpectedly at your home one evening after work, after your emergency room duties are over, what would I find you doing? Having a glass of wine; reading a magazine; cooking; on your iPad; watching TV; or something else?

Joseph Ballarini: That’s an easy one to answer. Tail is a startup, and we are grossly understaffed. So, if I’m not taking care of my child or spending time with my wife, I am at my computer working on the magazine or I am packing and shipping products for the magazine. I’m kind of a one-man-show at the actual facility with designers that work there and remotely as well. So, you would probably find me working.

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

Joseph Ballarini: The long list or the short list?

Samir Husni: (Laughs) Either one I can handle.

Joseph Ballarini: What keeps me staring at the ceiling until 3:00 a.m. many nights is that launching a magazine, having never been in the publishing industry, and trying to learn an industry that isn’t that easy to learn and trying to wrap my head around how to make this magazine successful, can be hard. But it’s working and it’s exceeding expectations. However, being a perfectionist, I really don’t know if I can make it better, and that does keep me up at night. I’m always second-guessing my decisions and my actions. And I’m always making sure that I try to do the right thing.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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