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Luckbox Magazine: A Definite Alternative To Depending On Lady Luck When It Comes To Decisions Of Money & Investments – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Jeff Joseph, Publisher & Editorial Director, Luckbox Magazine…

April 1, 2019

“Ultimately, we have one objective; we did a lot of surveying of our audiences in the past, because that’s the only way you really measure if you’re engaging, and if your unique content proposition is resonating with your audience. So we measure that a lot, frequently, in the form of surveys with our audience. And the survey criteria that we’ve had in our prior financial publications that we aspire to achieve is that in the past, within sixty percent of our audience never threw out their print editions, ever. They kept them as a permanent library. That specific metric of engagement really drives us and motivates us. It means that we are providing a library of resource to our audience that they go back to and refer to over and over again. That means that they like the look and feel and texture, and the magazine is aspirational to them. And that it provides a value beyond the first read.” Jeff Joseph…

A Mr. Magazine™ Launch Story…

With investment experience from floor trader to institutional asset management, and venture experience as well, Jeff Joseph has the expertise needed to bring a financial magazine, such as the new title Luckbox, to great success and bring even greater informational strategies to lead readers from chancy risks to skilled decisions when it comes to their investments. And as chief content officer and publisher of Modern Trader magazine, he knows a thing or two about the publishing industry as well, although he’ll tell you he is a financial wiz much more than a publishing tycoon.

I spoke with Jeff recently and we talked about the new magazine Luckbox, which he and his team are developing and publishing for TastyTrade, one of the fastest growing online financial networks in the world. Partnering with TastyTrade on this endeavor, Jeff said that the magazine started with an already embedded audience that allows him to do what he wanted to do, allocate resources for content. In Jeff’s opinion, it’s all about the content. And with TastyTrade as owner of the magazine and Jeff as its publisher and editorial director, the magazine about probabilities and content is a sharply designed, extremely smart new publication that takes the “what ifs” and the “might happens” and quantifies those probabilities when it comes to making money on investments. It’s a magazine for investors who want to take control of their money and make their own decisions.

So, I hope that you enjoy the Mr. magazine™ interview with a man who talks magazine as fluently as he does money – Jeff Joseph, publisher and editorial director, Luckbox Magazine.

But first the sound-bites:

On starting another print magazine in this digital age: I’ve always agreed with your premise, that it’s not a magazine if it isn’t print. But at the same time there is something else that I believe is true, and that is that a magazine has many forms. And in the long run a magazine is still about content. I’m agnostic as to what platform our readers choose to access our content. I prefer it to be in print, because I agree with you, that it’s a beautiful, tactile, engaging experience, but for those who prefer to access our content through digital platforms, that’s fine.

On the idea for Luckbox and how the magazine was born: Luckbox is a partnership with a financial services firm that is a content marketing firm that understands the importance of content marketing to engage with a larger audience and is all about the idea of giving information to be able to create goodwill and customer engagement and customer loyalty. And it had the marketing means and the audience size that would immediately allow this new publication, Luckbox, to reach even larger audiences.

On the concept of Luckbox and how that applies to the audience he is attempting to reach: We’re very focused on a step-by-step process that defines our unique content position, and then ultimately measures the engagement of that content and the scalability to larger audiences. So the unique content proposition is like every publication, you have to have a very clear idea of what you are and what you stand for, and that idea should drive all of your editorial decisions. In our case, it’s about life and money broadly speaking, but narrowly speaking, our publication is really about probabilities. And the key word in unique content proposition is “unique.” What’s the differentiator?

On were there any stumbling blocks or challenges along the way: I think my distinctive advantage as a publisher and also as the editorial director is that I have subject matter expertise and domain expertise, first and foremost. I come from finance and trading and the investment industry, the decades of my professional career have been in that area. I’ve been a publisher for only five years, although those five years seem like twenty years, but it’s the content knowledge and domain expertise.

On having a partner with this venture and why he felt he needed one: To be clear, this publication is owned by the financial partner Tastytrade, this is their publication and we’re developing it for them. And the reason is, to answer your question, is scale. It’s that simple. As you know the economics of print are still predominantly focused on subscription revenue or advertising revenue. And they feed each other, the larger your subscription base, the larger your ad revenues. There is that third level of event revenue, but you first have to focus on brand development and audience building before you can go down that event path.

On the probability that he will be having this conversation one year from now: (Laughs) That’s a great question and that’s exactly the business concern that I have been most focused on. So unlike a publisher that would be launching a new magazine that has to deal with all of the business issues, when you have an embedded audience from day one, that probability rises materially, so I would tell you right now, go on the record as saying there is a 95 percent-plus probability that next year we are talking about how we’re expanding our audience and that Luckbox is looking at is next phases of evolution.

On anything he’d like to add: You know what it’s like out of the gate, there is just so much to do. You just want to focus on trying to get better and better. I’ve never been happy with any issue we’ve ever produced. I have a really smart and knowledgeable team, with great editors that are willing to shake up the conventional way of looking at things. Our parent company is very provocative in the manner in which they work, they have their own marketing voice. And that makes this all just a lot more fun.

On the biggest misconception he thinks people have about him: I guess that I’m a publisher. Again, my background is first and foremost in the financial industry investment and trading, that’s where I’ve spent my entire career. It’s the content expertise that I think gives me an edge. And with my past entrepreneurial and venture activities, I’m more of an entrepreneur than a publisher, and that to me only implies a little bit more flexibility. That’s all.

On what someone would find him doing if they showed up unexpectedly one evening at his home: Aside from family, my passions are brown whiskey, cigars, and my Samoyed, my dog. I also probably spend more time consuming media than any single person I know. Whether it’s walking, listening to podcast news or every morning listening to financial media, every night listening to political media, and then every evening on the weekend reading, I consume a lot of media. And that’s probably where most of my time is spent.

On what he would have tattooed upon his brain that would be there forever and no one could ever forget about him: I’m my father’s son and my father is approaching a milestone birthday on April 3rd, he’ll be 100 years old. And his spirit and his heart is still beating strongly and he, above everything else, is a warm, wonderful man, the nicest man I’ve ever met, but the hardest working man I’ve ever met. And with an insatiable, entrepreneurial spirit. He was at Normandy in the second wave, he did five European tours; he was an innovator as a restaurateur, he worked long hard hours. He had as many as a dozen restaurants at one time. I’ve learned my work ethic from him and an entrepreneurial spirit and an accept-no-failure attitude and that becomes my greatest challenge, to pass it on to my children as well.

On what keeps him up at night: All this media that I consume. (Laughs) I don’t sleep much. I consume a lot of media. What keeps me up in terms of the business, is the challenge. We know where the headwinds are working print to digital, and again, in the same way that I embrace what you’ve always said, which I find very motivating, it’s not print if it’s not a magazine, at the same time it’s finding the way to engage new audiences. It’s not about marketing that keeps me up, it’s about that content. I believe in the power of content, and content to mobilize and engage, to be aspirational, to be educational; and finding the way to communicate that content is to me the challenge.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Jeff Joseph, publisher and editorial director, Luckbox Magazine.

Samir Husni: Are you completely losing it to start another print magazine in this digital age?

Jeff Joseph: (Laughs) That’s a loaded question. I’ve always agreed with your premise, that it’s not a magazine if it isn’t print. But at the same time there is something else that I believe is true, and that is that a magazine has many forms. And in the long run a magazine is still about content. I’m agnostic as to what platform our readers choose to access our content. I prefer it to be in print, because I agree with you, that it’s a beautiful, tactile, engaging experience, but for those who prefer to access our content through digital platforms, that’s fine.

I think being platform agnostic is important. The love of print is motivating and I believe completely in the segmentation of lean-in versus lean-back media; the idea that there are people who are spending their time focusing on digital content and accessing digital content, they’re leaning into it on a daily basis. I’m a big proponent and advocate of the studies that have made it very, very clear now that when it comes to actually engaging with content and actually absorbing it, recent studies out of the University of Maryland show very compelling data that the print reader and the digital reader walk away with the same basic understanding of the content. But if your content is detailed-oriented, as ours is, there is far more engagement retention and recognition of those details for the print reader than there is for the digital reader. And that has been verified through a number of independent university studies.

And the third thing, which I have always thought was ironic that those same studies have pointed out, is that the digital reader and the print reader although they’re absorbing different levels of detail walk away with the notion that they’ve retained the content equally. So this false sense of confidence that the digital reader has, in terms of their ability to actually engage with and retain the content, is something that print seeks to address. So, I look at two worlds, one where you’re leaning into content and one where you’re leaning back with content. And I prefer the magazine, but I’m not going to let my bias get in the way of what readers choose to access.

Again, it’s balancing what you believe, which I believe that it’s not a magazine if it’s not print, but at the same time you can believe something else and that is it’s still all about content; it’s not the medium, it’s the message in the long run, and the manner in which the reader chooses to access that content. And I prefer to be agnostic about it.

Samir Husni: You’ve been involved in many other financial publications and platforms, from Tastytrade to Modern Trader, but how did you come up with the idea for Luckbox and how was the magazine born?

Jeff Joseph: The two prior print publications that I have been involved in; Futures Magazine, which was around for a long, long time, a full decade, was a B to B publication that was focused on futures and options and derivatives, and was predominantly for professional traders. When I acquired that company several years back, it was just limping along and the decision was made to reach a broader audience and make a shift to a B to C audience by adding in equities and financial markets. And that included the stock markets and being less focused on an obscure, narrowed segment of the financial market, which opened up a more B to C appeal.

And we had success with that publication. We achieved a number of editorial and design awards, including Best Business to Business Magazine during that transition. And we learned a number of things and having come to that conclusion of learning, we started seeking opportunities that would allow us to reach an even larger audience.

And that’s what Luckbox is, a partnership with a financial services firm that is a content marketing firm that understands the importance of content marketing to engage with a larger audience and is all about the idea of giving information to be able to create goodwill and customer engagement and customer loyalty. And it had the marketing means and the audience size that would immediately allow this new publication, Luckbox, to reach even larger audiences.

So, what we’ve ensured with Luckbox, which just launched last month, is that in a short period of time, within the next two or three months, we’ll achieve an audience that exceeds the largest audience that we ever had. We expect to be reaching 60,000 to 70,000 subscribers in a matter of months. And that is a result of this partnership with this multiplatform content marketing group in financial media.

Samir Husni: From the concept of the magazine, it’s a monthly magazine for anti-Wall-Streeters, proactive investors who want to make better investment decisions. Tell me a little bit more about the concept and how that applies to the audience you are attempting to reach.

Jeff Joseph: We’re very focused on a step-by-step process that defines our unique content position, and then ultimately measures the engagement of that content and the scalability to larger audiences. So the unique content proposition is like every publication, you have to have a very clear idea of what you are and what you stand for, and that idea should drive all of your editorial decisions. In our case, it’s about life and money broadly speaking, but narrowly speaking, our publication is really about probabilities. And the key word in unique content proposition is “unique.” What’s the differentiator?

And what we are aware of is that in print media there is not a single publication today, not one, that engages with the active investor. And that is someone who either trades or makes their own investment decisions and doesn’t allocate to a delegator or to a robot. They want control over their money; they want greater understanding of the decisions that they’re making and they want to learn how to make better decisions. And there isn’t a single publication in print form that addresses those issues.

So, that is our unique content proposition. We’re very focused on probabilities, and if you take a look at the “Welcome to Luckbox” page, which is a Publisher’s Note to our first readers in our debut issue, we clearly state what we’re about and that is looking at the world through the lens of probability. And that there is an irony to the name Luckbox, which is really a fun name, I love the name. It wasn’t my idea, to be clear, but it’s a wonderful name that has this curiosity gap: what is Luckbox?

And it has great irony about it, because our magazine is really about imparting knowledge, confidence and skills, and it has a lot of educational content. And the irony of the name Luckbox is that a luckbox is a slang term that traders, gamblers, and poker players know, and it refers to somebody who’s luck is significantly beyond what they deserve. Where somebody’s outcomes materially exceeds their skillsets. And that’s kind of the irony of this name. There are a couple of quotes on that very page where we define what Luckbox is. One from Seneca Roman, a philosopher who said: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity,” and that’s really what we’re focused on is that preparation of recognizing our opportunity. And then at that point, a little luck is not a bad thing. And that is our unique content proposition that we’re very focused on.

So, as we evolve, and as you know magazines evolve, we had our first issue and we’re proud of it and we’re pleased with it, but it’s like launching software, you have to have your next version; in our case it’s our next issue. And then our next issue and our next issue after that. We always look at magazines as being a lot like software launches and software releases, where every version gets better and better and more focused on delivering that unique content proposition.

So, that’s what we’re focusing on right now, being this platform that really focuses on the odds of everything. The odds of a successful investment than a particular stock or particular option. The odds of successful outcomes in life and in personal business pursuits. There is not a publication focused on that and the reason we’re focused on it is we know understanding math and probabilities empowers individuals to become more confident about the decisions they make, with respect to their own investments.

Samir Husni: Has it been a walk in a rose garden for you? You have all of this experience behind you, having done this before; were there any stumbling blocks or challenges along the way?

Jeff Joseph: I think my distinctive advantage as a publisher and also as the editorial director is that I have subject matter expertise and domain expertise, first and foremost. I come from finance and trading and the investment industry, the decades of my professional career have been in that area. I’ve been a publisher for only five years, although those five years seem like twenty years, but it’s the content knowledge and domain expertise.

And I personally believe it’s the absence of having decades of publishing experience that allows us to be more flexible, less inclined to accept the rules; this is how it needs to be done. Clearly, our least favorite words are “this is how it’s been done in the past,” we want to be provocative. We want to challenge some of the rules that have guided publishing and journalism in recent years.

And to some degree I think it’s kind of led the industry down a path and in the long run you still have to be relevant and engage with your audience. And I truly think that our team is more entrepreneurial as opposed to being beholden to journalism practices and publishing rules. And by focusing on our content and our knowledge of the content and just trying to find more engaging and compelling ways to deliver that content, I think that’s a distinct advantage for us.

My push back on your setup to that question is that I understand the publishing industry, those five years seem like twenty, but I’m learning every day. But what I do understand is our content, the investment and trading and financial industry. And that understanding of our content, when in the long run it’s the content that we are delivering as a product, not the magazine, I think that’s our advantage.

Samir Husni: You said you have a custom content publishing firm as your partner, specializing in finances; why did you feel you needed a partner with this venture?

Jeff Joseph: To be clear, this publication is owned by the financial partner Tastytrade, this is their publication and we’re developing it for them. And the reason is, to answer your question, is scale. It’s that simple. As you know the economics of print are still predominantly focused on subscription revenue or advertising revenue. And they feed each other, the larger your subscription base, the larger your ad revenues. There is that third level of event revenue, but you first have to focus on brand development and audience building before you can go down that event path.

And what we wanted and what we needed was to reach the widest possible audience. So, by working with a group that had an embedded audience from day one as opposed to spending all of our energies on audience acquisition, we have an audience. Our financial partner Tastytrade is a content marketing firm, every day at Tastytrade.com they are producing five days a week, eight hours a day, original live on-air financial programming to a large audience of hundreds of thousands that watch that programming. And that’s free programming, so they already recognized the value of providing important educational and actionable content on a daily basis to generate goodwill to monetize through their brokerage company.

And it’s that understanding, that audiences are the prerequisite to being able to scale and focus on content, and that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to focus on content. And so much of a publisher’s responsibility is focusing on audience acquisition, and by having an audience from day one it guarantees your success in terms of potential subscriber revenue and advertising revenue. That’s very important. I think it allows us to allocate our resources more for writing and refining the content that maximizes engagement with our intended audience.

Samir Husni: What’s the probability that a year from now you and I are having this conversation?

Jeff Joseph: (Laughs) That’s a great question and that’s exactly the business concern that I have been most focused on. So unlike a publisher that would be launching a new magazine that has to deal with all of the business issues, when you have an embedded audience from day one, that probability rises materially, so I would tell you right now, go on the record as saying there is a 95 percent-plus probability that next year we are talking about how we’re expanding our audience and that Luckbox is looking at is next phases of evolution.

So, unlike the challenges that a publisher has on a daily basis, is it going to be subscription revenue or advertising revenue and they feed each other and how do I acquire more, when you start from a base it gives you a lot of advantages. And of course, we’ve just had our first issue, but our second issue will appear nationwide at Barnes & Noble and other newsstands. And we pass out complimentary issues at investment, trade, financial and entrepreneurial conferences every single month. And we’re looking at a number of different distribution platforms as opposed to both print and digital.

And of course, we’re doing the other things that integrate with technology. We have augmented reality in our very first issue, right out of the gate. And we’re integrating technology, and since we already have this lean-in media environment, by that I mean the digital programming that is online every day, that live programming, this lean-back form of media is very complimentary to that.

Ultimately, we have one objective; we did a lot of surveying of our audiences in the past, because that’s the only way you really measure if you’re engaging, and if your unique content proposition is resonating with your audience. So we measure that a lot, frequently, in the form of surveys with our audience. And the survey criteria that we’ve had in our prior financial publications that we aspire to achieve is that in the past, within sixty percent of our audience never threw out their print editions, ever. They kept them as a permanent library. That specific metric of engagement really drives us and motivates us. It means that we are providing a library of resource to our audience that they go back to and refer to over and over again. That means that they like the look and feel and texture, and the magazine is aspirational to them. And that it provides a value beyond the first read.

And everyone has their KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that they look at; the KPI that I’m most interested in is that this is a publication that once somebody has it in their hands, they never want to throw it out. That means it has actionable, short-term information, and then it has educational, long-term information that becomes an essential, which is a key word for us, an essential resource.

And that’s what we always seek to be, essential to our readers, in the same way that if you’re a mechanic, Popular Mechanics is essential to you. If you’re a designer, Architectural Digest is essential to you. If you’re in the fashion industry, Vogue is essential to you. If you’re in the music industry, Rolling Stone is essential. If you’re a guitar player, Guitar World is essential. That’s what we’re focused on being, is essential to our readers.

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

Jeff Joseph: You know what it’s like out of the gate, there is just so much to do. You just want to focus on trying to get better and better. I’ve never been happy with any issue we’ve ever produced. I have a really smart and knowledgeable team, with great editors that are willing to shake up the conventional way of looking at things. Our parent company is very provocative in the manner in which they work, they have their own marketing voice. And that makes this all just a lot more fun.

We don’t feel beholden to any real rules and because we’re small we can make quick decisions and we can fail fast and adapt, and evolve and move forward immediately. There’s not a whole team of people that belabor every decision, we just decide to do something and we do it, we measure it and we move on if it doesn’t succeed.

Samir Husni: What’s the biggest misconception you think people have about you?

Jeff Joseph: I guess that I’m a publisher. Again, my background is first and foremost in the financial industry investment and trading, that’s where I’ve spent my entire career. It’s the content expertise that I think gives me an edge. And with my past entrepreneurial and venture activities, I’m more of an entrepreneur than a publisher, and that to me only implies a little bit more flexibility. That’s all, and a lot of learning as well.

Samir Husni: If I showed up unexpectedly at your home one evening after work, what would I find you doing? Having a glass of wine; reading a magazine; cooking; watching TV; or something else? How do you unwind?

Jeff Joseph: Aside from family, my passions are brown whiskey, cigars, and my Samoyed, my dog. I also probably spend more time consuming media than any single person I know. Whether it’s walking, listening to podcast news or every morning listening to financial media, every night listening to political media, and then every evening on the weekend reading, I consume a lot of media. And that’s probably where most of my time is spent.

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

Jeff Joseph: I’m my father’s son and my father is approaching a milestone birthday on April 3rd, he’ll be 100 years old. And his spirit and his heart is still beating strongly and he, above everything else, is a warm, wonderful man, the nicest man I’ve ever met, but the hardest working man I’ve ever met. And with an insatiable, entrepreneurial spirit. He was at Normandy in the second wave, he did five European tours; he was an innovator as a restaurateur, he worked long hard hours. He had as many as a dozen restaurants at one time. I’ve learned my work ethic from him and an entrepreneurial spirit and an accept-no-failure attitude and that becomes my greatest challenge, to pass it on to my children as well.

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

Jeff Joseph: All this media that I consume. (Laughs) I don’t sleep much. I consume a lot of media. What keeps me up in terms of the business, is the challenge. We know where the headwinds are working print to digital, and again, in the same way that I embrace what you’ve always said, which I find very motivating, it’s not print if it’s not a magazine, at the same time it’s finding the way to engage new audiences. It’s not about marketing that keeps me up, it’s about that content. I believe in the power of content, and content to mobilize and engage, to be aspirational, to be educational; and finding the way to communicate that content is to me the challenge.

For example, it’s one of the reasons that we’re doing something in the first issue of Luckbox that we’ll continue doing going forward, we’re doing magazine reviews. In the first issue we noted Popular Mechanics and did a review, and there was a reason for that. The second issue will have a review of The Atlantic magazine, because we welcome media in all forms. And there is extraordinary journalism out there. It’s one of the reasons we want to try and bring it to the attention of younger audiences who might not be consuming print, and not aware of these different platforms and publications. So, we’ll continue to mention other magazines and promote them on a multi-basis in our own magazine going forward, because we believe in the platform.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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