Archive for the ‘Words of Wisdom’ Category

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Introducing A New Auto Magazine Circ’ 1962: “There Has Been No Periodical To Truly Reflect The Grandeur, The Majesty, The Adventure That Is The Automobile…”

March 10, 2017

From The Mr. Magazine™ Vault:

Automobile Quarterly: First Issue, Spring 1962 —
“The Connoisseur’s Magazine of Motoring Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow.”
As fate will have it, the magazine folded in 2012, the same year its founder L. Scott Bailey died. A beautiful publication with a hard-back cover sold for $5.95 an issue… If you are thinking of starting a new magazine, read the introduction to the first issue of the magazine and use it as a great example of setting the DNA for your new magazine and its position in the marketplace.

Here’s the intro:

The automobile is an extreme passion with us. As writers, editors and artists we have been drivers, racers and collectors, carrying on a continual love affair with the motorcar. In touring, we have discovered the beauties of the American countryside… in racing, the supreme challenge of speed…in collecting; we relive the great moments of a glorious past. And all the while we have searched for a publication to meet the demands of our enthusiasm and have found a void in the field of automotive literature.

There has been no periodical to truly reflect the grandeur, the majesty, the adventure that is the automobile… none to depict in spirit nor in dimension the lineal beauty of our fond obsession. Nor does any periodical begin to capture the tangible satisfaction comparable with the ownership of our elegant motorcar.

To these ends, we have drawn upon the talents of the world’s leading writers, illustrators, designers and industrialists and created an articulate quarterly, outstandingly designed in hard-cover format, dedicated to pay tribute to the past, the present and the unlimited future of the automobile.

Far too long, the automobile, a long, sleek thing of beauty, has been cramped and channeled into the standard, vertical magazine page.

In our new, iconoclastic, horizontal format we will bring into full perspective the triumphant architecture of the automobile, pioneering many new and varied art techniques. With a glimpse of the past, yet an eye to the future, we will cover significant aspects and obligations of the motoring world. Only in this spirit of dedication and devotion can we hope to make each issue surpass the preceding one, giving delight to the eye, keen satisfaction to the mind and a treasured heirloom for generations to come.

The Editors

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Dealernews Is Reborn: The Vision Of A Man Who Believes In Balance When It Comes To His Family, Business & Life – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Harley-Davidson Dealership Owner & Proud Keeper Of The Dealernews Flame, Bob Althoff

January 23, 2017

“Initially, we have to focus on the digital because; number one, it’s the immediacy of it. The dealers need that first and foremost. We would love to be back in print and I suspect that in due course we will be. Certainly, hopefully, with our Dealernews Top 100; this is our industry’s most prestigious competition, and highlights those 100 best retailers in North America. Also with buyer’s guides, annuals and that sort of thing, but to go back to a monthly print; I think that will take us a while. We’ve got some work to do to get relaunched and reengaged.” Bob Althoff

screen-shot-2017-01-22-at-5-28-51-pmBob Althoff is a self-proclaimed enthusiastic evangelist. He is an evangelist for Powersports, for the dealers of those products that fall beneath that umbrella, motorcycles, especially Harley-Davidson’s, and he’s an evangelist for the people who buy them. He is a man who owns the oldest Harley-Davidson dealership on the planet, and now he is the proud steward of the 50-year-old Dealernews magazine that folded in December, 2015. The only difference is Bob is presently concentrating on the immediacy of digital in order to keep the community of dealers informed and connected throughout the industry.

I can honestly say that I have never spoken with a more genuine and sincere human being in my life. I talked with Bob recently and we discussed his plans for dealernews.com and his hope that someday he will once again have an ink on paper component in the marketplace to help uplift the industry. Bob’s plan is to make dealernews.com the resource that he feels every dealer and retailer, customer and Powersport enthusiast, needs and he’s already seeing positivity from peers and colleagues in the industry.

Bob, along with his wife, Valerie, acquired A.D. Farrow in 2003. Under Bob’s leadership, A.D. Farrow expanded from its single, historic downtown store to three thriving dealerships in the greater Columbus, Ohio area, and won Top 100 Dealer honors for 11 of the last 12 years. Bob has been riding motorcycles for more than 50 years. An avid industry historian, he acquired the Heroes of Harley-Davidson exhibit from the American Motorcyclist Association, and maintains the valuable Motor Co. archive on the A.D. Farrow website. Bob is also the 2013 recipient of the Don J. Brown Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing his lifelong dedication to the business, lifestyle, community and sport.

So, I hope that you enjoy this Mr. Magazine™ interview with a man who believes in balance throughout his entire life, and strives to implement it evenly, Bob Althoff.

But first the sound-bites:

bob-a-hd-jacketOn how he got into the magazine publishing side of the Harley-Davidson business: To be honest with you, when Dealernews was shut down by its British parent, UBM, it was done on the publication of our 50th anniversary issue. That occurred in December, 2015. And as a dealer, I will just tell you that Dealernews is where I learned from other dealers; where I was inspired by their good works; it was where we competed with one another for honors. And when this void was created it was a moment that I just said to myself how can a $24 billion industry that is not represented by an industry association; we do not have an analog to the NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association) in Powersports, and there are 9,500 dealers, large and small, all over North America that are left without service. And that’s just not acceptable. So, I acted on that.

On whether he thinks Dealernews’ parent company, UBM, shut the magazine down due to an overreaction about the death of print: In this case, Advanstar, which was the owner of Dealernews, sold itself in December, 2014 to UBM, which is out of the British Isles, for almost $1 billion. Their primary business is expositions. Advanstar was the owner of Magic, which is the largest fashion exposition in the United States and one of the largest in the world. So, clearly there were assets there that were worth a lot of money. It’s just that UBM decided that expositions were the be all and end all, and that the publication of Dealernews in our industry was not going to be a part of their future.

On what he has been doing since he acquired Dealernews: Since our acquisition in May, we’ve been very busy taking those assets, which amounted to lists of our industry players and all of the contact information that was all cleaned up at a great deal of time and expense; we have certainly the best records now that exist anywhere. We’ve gotten our website, which was extremely expensive. We brought it over to new webhosting and we’ve updated it dramatically. But it’s quite an archival treasure trove, with, as you might imagine, print records that go back 50 years. There are literally 10,000 how-to articles in there. So, we’ve been busy reengaging and relaunching the Dealernews brand.

On the early reaction he’s received from his colleagues in the industry: It’s been nothing short of phenomenal. We very quickly tried to reach out to some gray beards in the industry, which have great credibility and said look, we need your advice and guidance. And we have a stellar advisory board that has been empaneled. Virtually, no one turned us down on that.

On whether he has plans to bring back the printed magazine to the marketplace: Initially, we have to focus on the digital because; number one, it’s the immediacy of it. The dealers need that first and foremost. We would love to be back in print and I suspect that in due course we will be. Certainly, hopefully, with our Dealernews Top 100; this is our industry’s most prestigious competition, and highlights those 100 best retailers in North America. Also with buyer’s guides, annuals and that sort of thing, but to go back to a monthly print; I think that will take us a while. We’ve got some work to do to get relaunched and reengaged.

On the most challenging moment he’s facing and how he plans to overcome it: The most challenging really is the macro environment. Our customers have to have jobs and they have to have discretionary income, and they have to have enough confidence to make that discretionary purchase. The great thing about our final market is that everyone wants a motorcycle. It’s just that they don’t want it now. My job as a retailer is to uncover what exactly that reluctance is and try to address it.

On the lack of community among dealers: People think we sell motorcycles, but we are really cultural institutions. As dealers in a local market, large or small, we’re the glue that holds those bikers together in that firm fraternity or sorority or kinship. We’re seven-days-per-week; we’re busy being available to our customers in their leisure time, and so I will tell you this, for the last 15 years I’ve worked seven days per week to try and serve those customers of mine.

On anything else he’d like to add: You can see the vacuum into which we are really stepping here. And I think you can understand how passionate we all are about the work that we do and the impact that it has on our communities and the impact that our writers have on the larger community. We have a great story to tell, and what we have to do is find a way to be able to tell that story so that it ignites not only the dealers, but our customers around the brick and mortar and the gatherings and the social. Customers are looking for some release, recreation, identities and opportunities to pursue their charitable inclinations, and so you can see how important this work is and you can see why Dealernews is so important.

On what someone would find him doing if they showed up unexpectedly to his home one evening: I am a voracious reader. I do lecture at Ohio State University at three or four levels: MBA, Executive MBA and Undergraduate Honors. I am consumed by this great industry and I’m very blessed to do the work that I do. But all of this is at risk, and so that’s what I do. I get up very early and I’m 67-years-old now; I go to the gym and I come in here and I try to keep this business healthy. And obviously now I have a new hat that I wear, but as difficult as things are and as big a challenge as this is, I’m driven like most of the people who work for me and most of the people in our industry, and that is that we have a great passion for this. And we know it’s important, so we do what we do.

On how he balances his passion with business: I am an enthusiastic evangelist for all of the good things that motorcycling has brought to me in my life. I’ve ridden motorcycles all over the world; I have made great friends; I’ve had great adventures, and I’ve had great misadventures. My marriage is stronger because my wife and I ride together. I don’t go to the golf course and she doesn’t go to the tennis club. We ride together. I believe God put me on earth to do the work that I’m doing and I’m just blessed.

On what keeps him up at night: If I died tomorrow, and I could write my own epitaph, it would say on my tombstone: He led a balanced life. I don’t want to be the best husband, because if I were I would be at home right now feeding my wife bonbons and attending to her luncheon menu. I don’t want to be the best spiritual person, or the best businessman, or the best father, or the best citizen, but I’d like to think that I’m a little bit good at all of those things. And that’s why I worry sometimes the demands of my business are keeping me from being as balanced as I would prefer to be.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. magazine™ interview with Bob Althoff.

Samir Husni: I know you’re an avid motorcyclist, and you have the dealership, but what got you interested in the publishing side of this business?

Bob Althoff: I’m blessed to be the steward of a 105-year-old dealership; the oldest Harley-Davidson dealership on the face of the planet. I represent a storied, American brand. I’ve been a motorcyclist since the morning I turned 16-years-old, so now that’s been 50 years. I was fortunate enough to turn my avocation into my vocation some 15 years ago when I bought this business.

And to be honest with you, when Dealernews was shut down by its British parent, UBM, it was done on the publication of our 50th anniversary issue. That occurred in December, 2015. And as a dealer, I will just tell you that Dealernews is where I learned from other dealers; where I was inspired by their good works; it was where we competed with one another for honors. And when this void was created it was a moment that I just said to myself how can a $24 billion industry that is not represented by an industry association; we do not have an analog to the NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association) in Powersports, and there are 9,500 dealers, large and small, all over North America that are left without service. And that’s just not acceptable. So, I acted on that.

It’s not any grand design; it is simply that there is an important thing here. It’s important to me and it’s important to these other men and women, and it’s important to our customers, some nine million active American motorcyclists. So, here we are.

Samir Husni: In the marketplace, there are a lot of motorcycle magazines that serve the customer, rather than the retailer. The newest that came is one for people who are both in the army and motorcyclists. So, there is a market there for these types of magazines. Do you think the publishing industry overreacted to the death of print and became more fascinated with all things digital?

Bob Althoff: In this case, Advanstar, which was the owner of Dealernews, sold itself in December, 2014 to UBM, which is out of the British Isles, for almost $1 billion. Their primary business is expositions. Advanstar was the owner of Magic, which is the largest fashion exposition in the United States and one of the largest in the world.

So, clearly there were assets there that were worth a lot of money. It’s just that UBM decided that expositions were the be all and end all, and that the publication of Dealernews in our industry was not going to be a part of their future. So, they walked away from it, lock, stock and barrel.

I’m not sure exactly what the motivations were; you would know better than anyone the problems that have beset the print industry, and the disruption of the microcosm that this has caused. As a consumer of this very important information resource, I just couldn’t sit by and say OK – game over; we now no longer have that nexus where we can speak to one another, where we can learn from one another, and where we can be an industry. This is a pure B to B effort; obviously, this is of, by and for dealers. We now no longer have a corporate master in the sense that there will be no lack of clarity about what we’re doing or who we’re serving.

And we’re going to try and lift our industry. It’s an industry that has been under some assault. We sell highly discretionary products, they are big ticket and they require a bank loan many times. Our industry, therefore, is deeply cyclical. But as I said, it’s a 105-year-old business that I am charged with and I felt like this was an important thing to do, so we’re off and running.

Samir Husni: What have you been doing since you acquired the brand?

Bob Althoff: Since our acquisition in May, we’ve been very busy taking those assets, which amounted to lists of our industry players and all of the contact information that was all cleaned up at a great deal of time and expense; we have certainly the best records now that exist anywhere. We’ve gotten our website, which was extremely expensive. We brought it over to new webhosting and we’ve updated it dramatically. But it’s quite an archival treasure trove, with, as you might imagine, print records that go back 50 years. There are literally 10,000 how-to articles in there.

We have put some embellishments in that website. We have a paywall behind a paywall, so we’re going to be providing some interesting new engagement tools to our almost 10,000 dealers. We just went back into action with the website in the last month, and we’ll be relaunching our Dealernews Alerts, which is a blast email that goes out to the trade twice a week. And we’ll be doing that within the next week. So, we’ve been busy reengaging and relaunching the Dealernews brand.

Samir Husni: What has been the early reaction from your colleagues in the industry?

Bob Althoff: It’s been nothing short of phenomenal. We very quickly tried to reach out to some gray beards in the industry, which have great credibility and said look, we need your advice and guidance. And we have a stellar advisory board that has been empaneled. Virtually, no one turned us down on that.

We have announced ourselves not only to the dealers who we serve, but also to the manufacturers who produce this product for us to sell to the public. And we are getting some traction there. I will say that it’s been a little slower on the uptake, but there is obviously some concerns that they have about how exactly this tool will be used in the hands of dealers. We’re assuring them that we’re going to lift this industry and we’re going to help tear down some of the silos that have been created and be of service, ultimately, to the retail customer because retail excellence is what drives final demand and ultimately that’s what drives $24 billion worth of commerce. So, we can’t lose sight of the customer and the best ways to serve that customer.

As that message has went out, I think it’s been really terrific. Now I won’t tell you that it’s not a chore to get hold of and be able to explain all of this to all of the players in our industry. Obviously, we have a pipeline to the dealers, but the rest of the industry has to hear about this with phone calls and personal contacts and so forth. It’s a little more time-consuming.

Samir Husni: Do you think that you can accomplish that with just the website; with the virtual? Or do you have plans to bring back the printed magazine into the marketplace?

Bob Althoff: Initially, we have to focus on the digital because; number one, it’s the immediacy of it. The dealers need that first and foremost. We would love to be back in print and I suspect that in due course we will be. Certainly, hopefully, with our Dealernews Top 100; this is our industry’s most prestigious competition, and highlights those 100 best retailers in North America. Also with buyer’s guides, annuals and that sort of thing, but to go back to a monthly print; I think that will take us a while. We’ve got some work to do to get relaunched and reengaged.

So, right now for us, I think that the focus is to give the dealers what they need and quick bursts of information; explain to them the engagement tools, which will allow them to go into our website and go back behind these various paywalls to places where they can identify one another by geography, brand, problem or opportunity, and communicate with one another in confidence. They will have a public presence in that website, which will be out there and available to the general public, where we will extol the virtues of the good work being done by these men and women and their charitable endeavors in their communities. Generally, we’ll be doing community building, so that’s the first focus.

There are also some fun things that we can be thinking about that might provide some economic sustenance and would support us getting back into print, and those things are going to be along the lines of some other information services. Perhaps, on-demand online training for our staff, and there are a few other ideas that we have up our sleeve.

To be honest with you, as I look at the landscape, I look at it from two standpoints. One, as an advertiser I’m at sea because I don’t know whether the world is really changing and I should place all of my bets on the electronic delivery, or whether it should be balanced with print, or whether I should even be in print. And as a result, I look at the Washington Post and I say they might not even be in print if Jeff Bezos hadn’t made a little money with Amazon. So, I’m going to just learn and watch people like you, and hopefully we’ll rebuild this iconic masthead that is Dealernews.

Samir Husni: As you bring that trust of the brand back to life, what do you think is going to be your most challenging hurdle, and how do you plan on overcoming it?

Bob Althoff: The most challenging really is the macro environment. Our customers have to have jobs and they have to have discretionary income, and they have to have enough confidence to make that discretionary purchase. The great thing about our final market is that everyone wants a motorcycle. It’s just that they don’t want it now. My job as a retailer is to uncover what exactly that reluctance is and try to address it. This is the biggest challenge confronting our industry; it’s the biggest challenge confronting dealers, and it’s put us all under a great deal of economic pressure. So, clearly that is the biggest challenge.

Now secondarily, it is dealers have never really had the opportunity to be an industry; it’s a lonely place being a Powersports dealer in North America. You are serviced by your OEM (original equipment manufacturer) with information, but the OEM has a certain, very pointed opinion about things, and your ability to interact with fellow retailers around some of the subjects that we’ve just discussed has been extremely limited, if not zero.

Think about the 14,000 discreet industry associations that are out there; they’re all serving their audiences in great ways. Some better than others, but at least those associations exist and they exist as information exchanges and share best practices, what have you. We’ve never had that. So, dealers are going to have to understand that a) we’re here, b) we are of them, by them and for them, and the rest of the industry is going to have to understand that we’re going to be a positive force to try and lift all boats onto a rising tide.

Samir Husni: When I think of motorcycles, I think of clubs, groups and communities, so I am surprised to hear that there isn’t that community among dealers.

Bob Althoff: Well, you’re right; you hit the nail on the head. People think we sell motorcycles, but we are really cultural institutions. As dealers in a local market, large or small, we’re the glue that holds those bikers together in that firm fraternity or sorority or kinship. We’re seven-days-per-week; we’re busy being available to our customers in their leisure time, and so I will tell you this, for the last 15 years I’ve worked seven days per week to try and serve those customers of mine.

So, part of it is just that dealers are busy, and they’re busy leading and sometimes following those communities, but those communities are very, very solid. It’s just that for whatever reason, an accident of history, we are a vastly underserved industry from that standpoint. I hope that Dealernews can begin to provide some of that glue that will make us all better at serving those great customers.

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

Bob Althoff: You can see the vacuum into which we are really stepping here. And I think you can understand how passionate we all are about the work that we do and the impact that it has on our communities and the impact that our writers have on the larger community. We have a great story to tell, and what we have to do is find a way to be able to tell that story so that it ignites not only the dealers, but our customers around the brick and mortar and the gatherings and the social. Customers are looking for some release, recreation, identities and opportunities to pursue their charitable inclinations, and so you can see how important this work is and you can see why Dealernews is so important. Wish us luck, say a prayer for us and we’ll be watching you and your website to see what we can learn there.

Samir Husni: If I showed up unexpectedly one evening to your home, what would I find you doing; reading a magazine; riding your motorcycle; having a glass of wine; or something else?

Bob Althoff: It’s certainly not the latter; my wife and I are now 11 years without a drink. But I certainly do love my motorcycle, and I will tell you that there is a little bit of tyranny involved in what I do and that is that the Cobbler’s kids have no shoes. All of my waking hours are really involved with all of the things that we just talked about.

I am a voracious reader. I do lecture at Ohio State University at three or four levels: MBA, Executive MBA and Undergraduate Honors. I am consumed by this great industry and I’m very blessed to do the work that I do. But all of this is at risk, and so that’s what I do. I get up very early and I’m 67-years-old now; I go to the gym and I come in here and I try to keep this business healthy. And obviously now I have a new hat that I wear, but as difficult as things are and as big a challenge as this is, I’m driven like most of the people who work for me and most of the people in our industry, and that is that we have a great passion for this. And we know it’s important, so we do what we do.

Samir Husni: How do you balance your passion with your business? How do you balance the relationship between your heart and your brain?

Bob Althoff: That’s a great question and I’ll just tell you this, 100+ years ago when the founders of our company, Harley-Davidson, got together and formed this company, they had a company, House Morgan, it was called The Enthusiast. It was not called The Realist; it was not called The Pessimist; it wasn’t called The Pragmatist; it was called The Enthusiast.

I am an enthusiastic evangelist for all of the good things that motorcycling has brought to me in my life. I’ve ridden motorcycles all over the world; I have made great friends; I’ve had great adventures, and I’ve had great misadventures. My marriage is stronger because my wife and I ride together. I don’t go to the golf course and she doesn’t go to the tennis club. We ride together. I believe God put me on earth to do the work that I’m doing and I’m just blessed.

Every morning when I walk up to one of my buildings, I take a moment and I just stop and look at the building. I try to see it with new eyes and I try to remember that we can change people’s lives. We do it all of the time, in small ways and in large. It’s a unique business that allows passion to be unbridled and to show the way, because ultimately people have their reluctances; our riders and breadwinners, they’re supporting multigenerational families; they’re hard workers; their police and firemen and military. And now increasingly, it’s a clubhouse that everyone is invited into. We have women who are buying motorcycles for themselves and we’re proud of that. My only problem is that there isn’t 72 hours in every day.

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

Bob Althoff: If I died tomorrow, and I could write my own epitaph, it would say on my tombstone: He led a balanced life. I don’t want to be the best husband, because if I were I would be at home right now feeding my wife bonbons and attending to her luncheon menu. I don’t want to be the best spiritual person, or the best businessman, or the best father, or the best citizen, but I’d like to think that I’m a little bit good at all of those things. And that’s why I worry sometimes the demands of my business are keeping me from being as balanced as I would prefer to be.

That’s my honest truth. When I said that I wished that I had more hours in a day, it’s for that very reason. When I was driving to work today, I was thinking that I have two daughters, one in California and one in Ohio, and my wife, all of whom would love to get some flowers from me today. And here it is halfway through the day and I haven’t had time to do that. Like a lot of people who are similarly situated, to whom much is given, much is expected. There’s a lot to do every day, that’s for sure. That would be what keeps me up at night.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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Hearst’s David Carey & Michael Clinton: 2016’s Magazine Executive Team Of The Year Prove That Success Comes From Teamwork & Well-Executed Ideas As They Move The Company Forward Into A Very Profitable Future – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With David Carey, President, And Michael Clinton, President, Marketing And Publishing Director, Hearst Magazines…

December 15, 2016
David Carey, right, and Michael Clinton.

David Carey, right, and Michael Clinton.

“We believe that if you don’t grow; it’s not a question of just standing still, you actually fall behind. And so we are happy to keep pushing ahead with the growth agenda, and this is not just print, but digital, and all that we do. So, I feel fortunate that the company understands the very important need of new products to our future. We often talk about the famous strategy from the 3M Corporation. They wanted 25 percent of their profits each year to come from businesses that did not exist five years prior to show that their company would be much smaller if you did not force innovation. And we think about that a great deal, but I’m proud to say that more than 25 percent of our profits in 2016 came from businesses that either did not exist or were in a loss position five years ago.” David Carey…

“We’ve always been a print-proud company. We look at the consumer numbers. What’s been interesting about the print magazine world is, before, during and after the Recession, which was all right in the middle of the digital revolution, magazine circulations and magazine audiences have actually been very stable. And in fact, slightly growing in a world where a lot of other traditional mediums’ audiences have declined significantly.” Michael Clinton…

Inside The Great Minds Of Magazine Makers

tc-oct-cover-cakeIn a world where many believe that print is a declining medium, David Carey and Michael Clinton preach the opposite gospel. Their firm belief in and love for the printed product knows no boundaries, or to borrow their own phrase, is unbound. And as Hearst Magazines moves into the New Year, we see two more titles being launched through meticulously strategic opportunities and carefully-laid plans, and an innovative mindset that can’t be shaken. The two were named by Adweek as Magazine Executive Team of the year in its annual Hot List, and it’s a very well-deserved shout-out. While some are closing print magazines, or at the very least, scaling them back, Hearst is proving that the power of partnerships in print may very well be the future of the medium, as they innovate and create one new title after the other with strong brands that have footprints in the sands of many different markets. If you think 2016 was a good year for Hearst, wait and see what they have in store for 2017 and 2018.

I spoke with David recently on the phone and with Michael when I was in New York last week. As I asked them both most of the same questions, I found that the two men are very in sync with each other professionally and have a vision for the company that is creatively consistent. As they move toward the New Year, their thoughts and strategies are already focused on 2018, as 2017 is locked in with two new partnership launches with Airbnb and The Pioneer Woman. And as David prepares his annual New Year’s letter to Hearst employees, his mindset is as it always is; crediting and praising his teams of creative talent and thanking them for another banner year of Hearst success. In a preview to that annual letter, David send a preview letter to the Hearst Magazines employees in which he said:

While a crystal ball would have come in handy, it wasn’t hard to predict that 2016 would be a real roller coaster ride, full of change and disruption, across every sector of the media business. But as I like to say (often!) I believe that change leads to opportunities, and our teams have worked hard to make the most of each one this year. Once again, our year-end performance significantly outpaced the industry. Six of our print brands delivered record-setting results. Hearst Magazines Digital Media increased audience by 31 percent and revenue by more than 30 percent… We have evolved our structures, carefully monitored our expenses, and set aside long-held orthodoxies that at times held us back.

So, I hope that you enjoy this Mr. Magazine™ interview with two men who have their fingers on the pulse of what their audiences want continuously, which is a fantastically, well-executed print magazine. And now, the Mr. Magazine™ interview with David Carey and Michael Clinton.

But first the sound-bites:

On why they think Hearst, one of the major publishing companies around, has never stopped launching print magazines, even during the dawn of the digital age:

david_carey_portraitDavid Carey: As you’ve heard us talk about our sort of corporate tagline, which is “unbound,” this is a company that believes in the future, believes in partnerships and is comfortable with risks. We don’t do crazy risks, but our format is we greenlight a handful of test issues and we read the results and we proceed from there. We believe that if you don’t grow; it’s not a question of just standing still, you actually fall behind. And so we are happy to keep pushing ahead with the growth agenda, and this is not just print, but digital, and all that we do.

Michael Clinton: Well, first of all, we’ve always been a print-proud company. We look at the consumer numbers. What’s been interesting about the print magazine world is, before, during and after the Recession, which was all right in the middle of the digital revolution, magazine circulations and magazine audiences have actually been very stable. And in fact, slightly growing in a world where a lot of other traditional mediums’ audiences have declined significantly.

On why they think not many publishing companies have imitated Hearst’s successful strategy for launching new magazines:

David Carey: I’d say that Meredith is doing a pretty good job with what they’ve done with their partnerships and products. They rolled out The Magnolia Journal. I just wanted to point out that there is another company out there that we respect that is also committed to innovation. But to answer your question; it takes something special to have a partnership culture. These are complex, long-term relationships.

Michael Clinton: The way I would answer that is, after the Recession we had a major assessment of the world around us, our world, and we came up with a word called “unbound,” which is our sort of mantra. And unbound means “be contradictory.” It’s contradictory to think that you could launch new print products and be successful; it was contradictory when we decided to create our own digital strategy. It was different than how publishing companies did their own digital strategy. We were very counterintuitive, in terms of how we built our digital strategy, very successful.

On the secret of longevity with magazines like Town & Country, House Beautiful and Harper’s Bazaar:

David Carey: First of all, nothing succeeds like success, right? I spent time last week with the CEO of Scripps and our two ventures, as you heard from the teams, had a terrific 2016, so that makes everyone happy. But the secret is obviously just like the partnerships in your personal life, a shared vision about the future, a way to process, on occasion, unfavorable news. But a commitment, I think, adds core, which the fundamental belief here, Samir, as you know, is that we would rather own half of a really successful business than all of an unsuccessful one.

Michael ClintonMichael Clinton: We like to say that we’ve been through every media revolution possible. When the telephone was born it was going to displace magazines. When the radio was born it was going to displace magazines. When the television was born it was going to displace magazines. (Laughs) So, we’ve been through every media revolution imaginable; in fact, Town & Country has been through the Civil War, so… (Laughs again)

On the biggest challenges they’ve faced in 2016 and how they overcame them:

David Carey: The industry has been up and down. Our retail/advertising faced a lot of challenges the second half of the year, so that was new for us. The broader retail climate is very difficult, so that did throw some curve balls. I think the business challenge for 2016 was the same challenge in 2015 and will be the same challenge in 2017, and that is on the one part to lead a team that is inspired to try new things, raising workflows to set aside long-held orthodoxies, so that’s our eternal challenge; to create a scale organization of entrepreneurs in their thinking.

Michael Clinton: I think the biggest challenge continues to be that the marketing community and the advertising community; I always like to say don’t confuse me with the facts, because the medium is strong and healthy with the consumer. Newsstand has its challenges; the channel has its challenges, in terms of people in stores. And as you know that only represents four or five percent of the distribution of magazines. The challenge is that the marketing community that doesn’t acknowledge the power of the medium with the consumer is something that’s, how do I put it, well, it’s certainly a challenge in getting that message out there. So, how have we addressed that? We’ve done an enormous amount of innovation with paper and how you can work with paper, so all of our various cover configurations are native units in print and are co-branded executions in print and have stimulated the market a lot. We’ve had huge growth in revenue in these new ways that an advertiser can work with paper.

On the fact that magazines have always been marketers of content; why the hoopla over all of these new buzz phrases like content marketing and native advertising:

David Carey: I think it’s also true when you think about the television business; it used to have its sponsored television programs, such as when GE sponsored a certain program, and there were many others that did that too. The tradition of integrated advertisers is as old as the hills.

Michael Clinton: Everything old is new again. That’s a great question and I think that what happened is that over time the magazine industry had boxed itself in. And I would argue in many ways that it became too precious. It’s like you were talking about earlier with the cycle of the kinds of magazines that were born and came into play, and then left the market. What happened is these isms started making plays and the world around us completely evolved and changed and the magazine industry didn’t. And with what we do in print, we all had to move into what the digital world was doing and the Teleton world was doing and the radio world was doing, and that was tied into sponsorship and co-created content. All of that is very much the norm when it comes to how those mediums operate, and the magazine industry had lagged behind.

On what’s next for Hearst Magazines:

David Carey: I think you’ve seen our game plan now for the next couple of years. I’m very proud of our digital strategy that we’ve executed; I’m really proud of our product development, in terms of our core thinking about expanding the operation.

Michael Clinton: Well, what’s next will be our two big launches. We have a new chief content officer, Joanna (Coles) next door. She and I have been working on the Airbnb project for over a year now and we did a sampler edition that I’ll show you. It was distributed at the Airbnb Open, which is a big festival that they do once a year. They had 13,000 people in Los Angeles a few weeks ago. Joanna was on the stage with Brian Chesky, the founder of Airbnb, and I was in the audience and we taped the sampler magazine under the seats, so when she was talking, and I wish that I had had a video of it, when she was talking and they said take the magazine out from under the seats, and people were waving it in the air and asking how they could subscribe to it. So, the response was phenomenal. And people were excited that they now had a magazine.

On what keeps them up at night:

David Carey: My typical answer is always the same; I’m very fortunate that I sleep pretty well, my friend. I never really get thrown off the path or unnerved by the state of the business. We start the year with the same hope that we did this year.

Michael Clinton: I’ll go back to what I said earlier, what keeps me up is that there is a lack of appreciation and understanding of the vitality of the printed magazine, with regards to consumers. The metrics are there, when it comes to overall circulation units, which are pretty good. There are ups and downs, you know, but overall pretty good. And the audiences are quite good. And there is a lack of appreciation for that and for the role that magazines can play in the media mix. It’s a media mix. And that’s what keeps me up at night; the lack of appreciation for the strength of the medium to the consumer.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with David Carey, president, and Michael Clinton, president of marketing and publishing director, Hearst Magazines. Up first; David Carey:

screen-shot-2016-12-15-at-9-36-54-amSamir Husni: Recently, you announced that you’re launching yet another print magazine in sponsorship; why do you think that Hearst is one of the few major companies that actually never stopped launching magazines since the dawn of the digital revolution in 2007?

David Carey: As you’ve heard us talk about our sort of corporate tagline, which is “unbound,” this is a company that believes in the future, believes in partnerships and is comfortable with risks. We don’t do crazy risks, but our format is we greenlight a handful of test issues and we read the results and we proceed from there.

We believe that if you don’t grow; it’s not a question of just standing still, you actually fall behind. And so we are happy to keep pushing ahead with the growth agenda, and this is not just print, but digital, and all that we do. So, I feel fortunate that the company understands the very important need of new products to our future. We often talk about the famous strategy from the 3M Corporation. They wanted 25 percent of their profits each year to come from businesses that did not exist five years prior to show that their company would be much smaller if you did not force innovation. And we think about that a great deal, but I’m proud to say that more than 25 percent of our profits in 2016 came from businesses that either did not exist or were in a loss position five years ago.

Samir Husni: We’re such a creative industry, and yet there are a lot of imitations that take place. Why do you think that not many publishing companies used the same approach that you’ve done when it comes to launching new magazines? You’re launching another print product, The Pioneer Woman; you’re doing two issues in 2017, and you’ll probably move forward like you did with the Food Network and all of the other past new launches, and then wait and see. Why do you think no other publisher has imitated you?

David Carey: I’d say that Meredith is doing a pretty good job with what they’ve done with their partnerships and products. They rolled out The Magnolia Journal. I just wanted to point out that there is another company out there that we respect that is also committed to innovation.

But to answer your question; it takes something special to have a partnership culture. These are complex, long-term relationships. We drive a great deal of our profit building through partnerships and those require us to have a somewhat different stance because we have to make decisions with others, and some of these businesses have great days and some have challenging days, so the credit for that really goes to Frank Bennack; it was Frank who established the partnership DNA that is part of Hearst. Frank did it scores of times and so we continue to run with the plays that Frank created when he formed the initial partnership with Capital Cities, and initially created A+E, which lost money for a number of years before it became a huge business. It’s in the water here. We’re fortunate to be the proud, not so much custodians, but keepers of that partnership flame.

Samir Husni: Once you and I were talking about the way you grow these partnerships; you actually spend a lot of time analyzing the entire process. It’s like going on so many dates before you can decide if this is someone you want to develop a relationship with. Can you explain that process you go through before deciding if a particular partnership is a good mix for all involved?

David Carey: Like anything in life; it’s about chemistry. And it’s not only about the chemistry that each partner contributes, but also how everyone works together. So there is a courtship process and I think it goes in all directions because we are committing capital; we’re committing to a business that we will want to operate for many, many years.

In fact, I can tell you that there were two meetings last week and one meeting yesterday that was the first stages of the potential new projects for 2018. We have a long-term horizon on this stuff. Our 2017 projects are in place and now we’re starting to think about what comes next. So, they take a while to get done, there’s no question about it. That gives you a sense of how this is just a part of what we do every day. We’re very focused on the test issues of these two different franchises, but then what comes after that? And we can’t start to answer that in September; we have to begin getting to know these other organizations early. So, I had the meeting last week, and there was a conversation yesterday that I was not part of, and that’s some of what we do.

tc-oct-cover-childSamir Husni: Within a span of one year you had a magazine celebrating its 170th anniversary, Town & Country; one celebrating its 150th anniversary, Harper’s Bazaar; one with its 120th anniversary, House Beautiful; what’s the secret of longevity with those magazines?

David Carey: First of all, nothing succeeds like success, right? I spent time last week with the CEO of Scripps and our two ventures, as you heard from the teams, had a terrific 2016, so that makes everyone happy. But the secret is obviously just like the partnerships in your personal life, a shared vision about the future, a way to process, on occasion, unfavorable news. But a commitment, I think, adds core, which the fundamental belief here, Samir, as you know, is that we would rather own half of a really successful business than all of an unsuccessful one. That’s something that we say often, and both companies need to really believe that they are better off together than they are apart.

Samir Husni: What has been your biggest challenge in 2016 and how did you overcome it?

David Carey: The industry has been up and down. Our retail/advertising faced a lot of challenges the second half of the year, so that was new for us. The broader retail climate is very difficult, so that did throw some curve balls. I think the business challenge for 2016 was the same challenge in 2015 and will be the same challenge in 2017, and that is on the one part to lead a team that is inspired to try new things, raising workflows to set aside long-held orthodoxies, so that’s our eternal challenge; to create a scale organization of entrepreneurs in their thinking.

And then the second is, our clients, our advertisers, they have as complex a time as ever navigating through so many different media options, and we have to make sure that our brand, ideas, and our people are front and center. I’m happy our team solved it; we’re very proud of their accomplishments, but the media business, and maybe I’ve given you this standard line, so I apologize if I’m repeating myself, but if you like an industry that’s dynamic, fast-changing, sure to reinvent itself, then the media business overall, not just magazines, is a great place to be. If you want your job and what you do to be exactly the same a year or two years from now, you should probably become a schoolteacher, and so we have to have people who feel very comfortable with change.

Samir Husni: And during that constant change, is there a point where you can sit down, draw a deep breath, and say, we’ve done it? Or is it a continuous process?

David Carey: You can go back to the founders of Dow Jones: we’re proud of what we’ve done, and next year we want to do better.

Samir Husni: Why do you think there’s such a lack of institutional history in the magazine business in this country? I was looking at some old magazines in my collection and I saw native advertising in Esquire back in the ‘30s; I saw native advertising in National Geographic, an article presented to you about the environment by the Mobil Oil Company. We’ve always been marketers of content, why is it now all about content marketing and all of these new buzz phrases?

David Carey: I think it’s also true when you think about the television business; it used to have its sponsored television programs, such as when GE sponsored a certain program, and there were many others that did that too. The tradition of integrated advertisers is as old as the hills.

One of my fondest memories, you mentioned Esquire, I worked for Esquire as my first job out of college, and the owners of Esquire before Chris Whittle and Phillip Moffit acquired it, donated the Esquire archive to the University of Kansas, into the museum there, the physical items, all of the drawings, illustrations and sketches. It was kind of a complex relationship, because Esquire owned the copyright, but the museum owned the actual, physical artwork.

I went out there and I remember going and pouring through an attic of the physical archives, and we struck a deal in the end where we would share, they would provide the original artwork so that we could create new things, and we would share in the royalties, so we worked that out. But you can imagine the owners of Esquire, which may have been Clay Felker, but I’m not 100% sure if he was the person who donated it. There wasn’t really a national institution that was a depository for magazine media.

Samir Husni: What’s next for Hearst Magazines?

David Carey: I think you’ve seen our game plan now for the next couple of years. I’m very proud of our digital strategy that we’ve executed; I’m really proud of our product development, in terms of our core thinking about expanding the operation.

The media business today; we talk all the time about battleships and speedboats, and we want to be a speedboat. We want to be able to be a company that is both nimble and robust. At times though there are opposing forces, but we work very hard at it, and I am proud of how our team solves in 2016. We have had the best performance in the U.S. But it all starts over again next year.

Samir Husni: You’ve been at Hearst now for almost seven years.

David Carey: It will be seven years in May.

Samir Husni: If someone asked you to pinpoint one major accomplishment, and I know how humble you are, David; you always give credit to the entire team, but what would somebody write for the history books about the seven years of David Carey at Hearst?

David Carey: That’s a deep thought. Luckily they’d write, which is true, that regardless of headline news, and regardless of anything, hopefully each and every day we have fun. Some people I meet will find out that I work in the magazine business and ask me if it’s hard. And I tell them how much fun it is. We always believe that there is a path to growth, sometimes it isn’t brightly lit with signs pointing at it; you have to find it. But I believe we have fun.

In our company we’re blessed with more than 10,000 team members around the world and by no means is the success we’ve achieved attributed to David Carey or Michael Clinton, who by the way is brilliant, but the success goes to the entire, huge organization that if we do our jobs well as readers, feel energized and confident to go out and take risks with products; take risks with business strategies, and know all the while that the company supports them. And that’s our goal. That’s what we would measure ourselves against.

Samir Husni: At the end of the year you always write a letter to your employees that goes public about the accomplishments, the forecast, the future; what would be three highlights from that letter?

David Carey: We’re working on it now. Three highlights; I guess there will be a knock-knock joke; though we’ve haven’t figured it out yet. (Laughs) But there is a thread that connects all of these messages and notes, to talk about what certain brands accomplished; a number of our businesses did have record performances in 2016, both properties in the U.S. as well as markets around the world, the absolute best ever. And it’s always inspiring to take the lessons from those people who led their businesses to new highs, but then to set the path forward. And it comes back to that it’s a period of great change and opportunities, the media business is filled with plenty of both. We have both complexity and opportunity to greet us every single day.

And our team members again, when we’re successful, will solve for the complexity and cease the opportunity. I feel that’s our mission as leaders of the company and as colleagues of thousands of employees. And you’ll find a similar message in my letter, and one of great appreciation. By hook or by crook, we had a terrific 2016 and now we’re, as you know, setting the stage for next year.

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

David Carey: Again, I’m appreciative of your close coverage of the industry and our company. You get it; you see the opportunities as well. It’s a broader, journalistic world. We share your belief that there’s room for new product; there’s room for innovation in a business, despite market share or the stock market being up or down.

I think the political environment this year suggested that there’s always surprise out there; and we hope to surprise people again in the New Year.

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

David Carey: My typical answer is always the same; I’m very fortunate that I sleep pretty well, my friend. I never really get thrown off the path or unnerved by the state of the business. We start the year with the same hope that we did this year.

Michael Clinton is by far the most brilliant kind of revenue, relationship-focused executive in our industry. And he’s a very big part of what we’ve accomplished. We’re happy that Joanna Coles has now joined the leadership team of the division and helps us drive to the future. It’s wonderful to have Ellen Levine still very present in the organization, after a spectacular career at the company. And Ellen, as you know, is leading the development of The Pioneer Woman, with Maile Carpenter.

We have a fantastic leader of our digital business in Troy Young that brings the very best lessons of the digital pure plays to us, a company of scale and stature. And then we have a great CFO, who is quick to point out to me if I spend too much money on my own T&E, so I can cut back. Debi (Chirichella) was very proud of me; I was recently on a business trip and I commented that I was so excited because I got an upgrade, because I was in seat 32D, and that’s what it takes to make sure that in a company you spend your money where it counts, which is on the product and on the team.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

And now the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Michael Clinton:

harpersbazaar_decjan-cover_subSamir Husni: Recently, you announced that you’re launching yet another print magazine in sponsorship; why do you think that Hearst is one of the few major companies that actually never stopped launching magazines since the dawn of the digital revolution in 2007?

Michael Clinton: Well, first of all, we’ve always been a print-proud company. We look at the consumer numbers. What’s been interesting about the print magazine world is, before, during and after the Recession, which was all right in the middle of the digital revolution, magazine circulations and magazine audiences have actually been very stable. And in fact, slightly growing in a world where a lot of other traditional mediums’ audiences have declined significantly.

So, the core number of the interest in the consumer in a printed product is there. The trick is finding the right kind of product and the right kind of editorial interpretation of that product. And if you build it right, they will come. So, in 2009, the worst year since the Great Depression, we announced that we were launching a food magazine of which there were several hundred food magazines that existed already, and everyone thought that we were crazy. But it was with a great partner, Food Network, and now it’s one of our most profitable magazines. It is the number three selling magazine on newsstands in the U.S. It has one of the best set of metrics, from the consumer’s standpoint, in our company, and so the consumer votes.

When we followed that up with HGTV and then Dr. Oz; what we know is that the consumer still has an interest in the medium if you get the concept right. Dr. O, HGTV and Food Network, all three of them are within the top ten monthly sellers on newsstand.

Samir Husni: We’re such a creative industry, and yet there are a lot of imitations that take place. Why do you think that not many publishing companies used the same approach that you’ve done when it comes to launching new magazines? You’re launching another print product, The Pioneer Woman; you’re doing two issues in 2017, and you’ll probably move forward like you did with the Food Network and all of the other past new launches, and then wait and see. Why do you think no other publisher has imitated you?

Michael Clinton: No guts, no glory. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: (Laughs too).

Michael Clinton: The way I would answer that is, after the Recession we had a major assessment of the world around us, our world, and we came up with a word called “unbound,” which is our sort of mantra. And unbound means “be contradictory.” It’s contradictory to think that you could launch new print products and be successful; it was contradictory when we decided to create our own digital strategy. It was different than how publishing companies did their own digital strategy. We were very counterintuitive, in terms of how we built our digital strategy, very successful.

So, what we do is we step back and we look for an opportunity. With our new launches; we actually, as you know, have two new projects coming in 2017; one with The Pioneer Woman and one with Airbnb, one of the great disruptors in the world that is redefining the travel ethos in the world. And so if you capture a new sensibility and a new community and a new market, you can build a great print product.

Samir Husni: And yet, few have imitated you.

tc-oct-cover-horseMichael Clinton: That’s true. I can’t answer why. I guess it’s just how we’re wired as a company. I think it starts first with having a deep belief that printed magazines will be here for a very, very long time. Will all magazines be there, of course not, the strong will survive and those that have the best point of view will survive.

We’re in the lifestyle magazine business; so we have the great photography, the great visuals, and the great content. And so I think it starts first with the deep belief in our core business. It’s interesting, we call it our bricks and mortar business and there are some retailers who are doubling-down and being very innovative with their core business; Nordstrom is being extremely innovative with what they’re doing with their bricks and mortar, while other physical retailers are shrinking and/or cutting back the number of stores. Nordstrom’s is a chain that’s actually growing and opening new stores and doing new kinds of innovation.

I think it depends on how core your core belief is in your product and so we’ll continue to expand and launch; we’ll acquire the right things, and it’s that core belief. So, I’d say it starts with your core DNA.

Samir Husni: Within a span of one year you had a magazine celebrating its 170th anniversary, Town & Country; one celebrating its 150th anniversary, Harper’s Bazaar; one with its 120th anniversary, House Beautiful; what’s the secret of longevity with those magazines?

Michael Clinton: We like to say that we’ve been through every media revolution possible. When the telephone was born it was going to displace magazines. When the radio was born it was going to displace magazines. When the television was born it was going to displace magazines. (Laughs) So, we’ve been through every media revolution imaginable; in fact, Town & Country has been through the Civil War, so… (Laughs again)

Samir Husni: (Laughs too).

Michael Clinton: It survived literal war; the Civil War and kept on going. And I think what’s really exciting about a magazine is that it’s a living, breathing organism, and if you evolve and change, and if what the editor’s actually put on the paper evolves and changes, then you’ll evolve along with the culture.

And if you think about the recent evolution of Town & Country, which is a great example of how that’s happened under Jay Fielden and now Stellene (Volandes), but the other part of that is that the magazine brands have such a deep texture in the American culture that generations know certain brands of magazines. Whether it’s Good Housekeeping or Harper’s Bazaar or Esquire; your father, your father’s father and so on; it’s part of the American culture. There’s a trust factor and an authoritative factor that is deeply rooted into the culture and I think if you keep that story contemporary it continues to carry on through generations.

And I think magazines have an outsized influence in the culture. If you hear somebody say I read it in Esquire; you hear the evening news talk about a recent report in – pick a magazine – it is referenced in other media and that has a lot of credibility as well, in terms of authority. In a world of fake news and suspect news and lack of credibility, these are brands that have the great credibility to their subject matter. I think as long as you keep it fresh, they keep evolving.

Samir Husni: What has been your biggest challenge in 2016 and how did you overcome it?

Michael Clinton: I think the biggest challenge continues to be that the marketing community and the advertising community; I always like to say don’t confuse me with the facts, because the medium is strong and healthy with the consumer. Newsstand has its challenges; the channel has its challenges, in terms of people in stores. And as you know that only represents four or five percent of the distribution of magazines. The challenge is that the marketing community that doesn’t acknowledge the power of the medium with the consumer is something that’s, how do I put it, well, it’s certainly a challenge in getting that message out there.

So, how have we addressed that? We’ve done an enormous amount of innovation with paper and how you can work with paper, so all of our various cover configurations are native units in print and are co-branded executions in print and have stimulated the market a lot. We’ve had huge growth in revenue in these new ways that an advertiser can work with paper.

Samir Husni: Why do you think there’s such a lack of institutional history in the magazine business in this country? I was looking at some old magazines in my collection and I saw native advertising in Esquire back in the ‘30s; I saw native advertising in National Geographic, an article presented to you about the environment by the Mobil Oil Company. We’ve always been marketers of content, why is it now all about content marketing and all of these new buzz phrases?

december-2016Michael Clinton: Everything old is new again. That’s a great question and I think that what happened is that over time the magazine industry had boxed itself in. And I would argue in many ways that it became too precious. It’s like you were talking about earlier with the cycle of the kinds of magazines that were born and came into play, and then left the market.

What happened is these isms started making plays and the world around us completely evolved and changed and the magazine industry didn’t. And with what we do in print, we all had to move into what the digital world was doing and the Teleton world was doing and the radio world was doing, and that was tied into sponsorship and co-created content. All of that is very much the norm when it comes to how those mediums operate, and the magazine industry had lagged behind. And now we’re kind of rediscovering our past in a way, because yes, you’re right, those things may have happened 20 or 30 years ago and we’re now bringing it forward into a modern interpretation.

Everybody says to me the people have been around for a long time, native advertising, isn’t that like advertorial? And I say, yes, it’s all semantics. It’s the next generation’s version of what advertorial is, so it’s just a contemporary version with a tweak.

Samir Husni: What’s next for Hearst Magazines?

Michael Clinton: Well, what’s next will be our two big launches. We have a new chief content officer, Joanna (Coles) next door. She and I have been working on the Airbnb project for over a year now and we did a sampler edition that I’ll show you. It was distributed at the Airbnb Open, which is a big festival that they do once a year. They had 13,000 people in Los Angeles a few weeks ago. Joanna was on the stage with Brian Chesky, the founder of Airbnb, and I was in the audience and we taped the sampler magazine under the seats, so when she was talking, and I wish that I had had a video of it, when she was talking and they said take the magazine out from under the seats, and people were waving it in the air and asking how they could subscribe to it. So, the response was phenomenal. And people were excited that they now had a magazine.

So, what we did with the sampler was produced it just for Los Angeles, because they were all going to be in Los Angeles. What you see in the sampler is a letter from Brian, an opener to sort of give them a taste of what’s coming. And then it goes into an Airbnb sensitivity, which as you know, their tagline is “Live like a Local.” So it’s very local tips and content about Los Angeles and the tricks of the trade when it comes to navigating around L.A. Then it covers three neighborhoods; Venice, and there was an Airbnb host in Venice and some of their favorite spots. And then there was another neighborhood, Echo Park, and things going on in that emerging area. There was also a host there and his tips. Then downtown L.A., which there is the entire renaissance going on there.

And then you may have read the piece in The New York Times recently where they introduced something called “Trips,” so when you go to a destination for Airbnb, you’re now able to sign up for experiences that you buy directly through Airbnb. So, if you want to have a surfing lesson over the weekend, you can hire this guy to give you surfing lessons, and you do that right through your Airbnb app. Or you can have a farm-to-table, urban dining experience, or you can have a disco night in Hollywood. These trips are going to be in 12 cities for launch. And then in the sampler magazine, there is a little closing essay.

But the difference is when we did all of our research, and we spent about a year doing research with consumers, the Airbnb’er has such an incredibly different sensibility about their travel experience. They are a very different kind of traveler. Airbnb had its largest night ever about two months ago; they had 1.8 million Airbnb properties rented around the world. That’s 1.8 million; this ship has sailed big time.

And when we did the research with the consumer, they don’t like any of the existing travel media; they think it’s too five-star, and there’s a market for that, it’s just not that market. And they also don’t have the belief and the trust in a lot of the content that’s on sites like TripAdvisor or some of the other rating sites. And so, we saw a real interesting white space through our research that was validated. And that’s when we together decided to move forward. So, that and Pioneer will be the two big projects for us in 2017.

Samir Husni: When is the first issue of Airbnb?

Michael Clinton: June, 2017.

Samir Husni: So, you have two magazines coming out in June?

Michael Clinton: Yes, different markets and different consumer base, primarily. I think you know that Pioneer Woman is only going to be in Wal-Mart. And how that started was, it sort of came together in two ways. Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman, reached out to us because she was interested in this platform. And she knew that we did the Food Network magazine.

Then there was a group of us that was having a meeting with Christy Jenkins, who runs the Wal-Mart books and magazines buying, and we were just talking and she mentioned the wild success of Pioneer Woman products in Wal-Mart. So we put the two things together and then we went back to Christy and said if we did this, would Wal-Mart really get behind it. So, they’re going to merchandise it around the product and so forth. There is no intent to keep it Wal-Mart only necessarily beyond the test, but we figured let’s test it where she has another built-in constituency.

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

Michael Clinton: I’ll go back to what I said earlier, what keeps me up is that there is a lack of appreciation and understanding of the vitality of the printed magazine, with regards to consumers. The metrics are there, when it comes to overall circulation units, which are pretty good. There are ups and downs, you know, but overall pretty good. And the audiences are quite good. And there is a lack of appreciation for that and for the role that magazines can play in the media mix. It’s a media mix. And that’s what keeps me up at night; the lack of appreciation for the strength of the medium to the consumer

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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I Miss This Type Of Journalism: A Monthly Magazine Without Political Slant or Personal Bias…

September 30, 2016

From the Mr. Magazine™ Vault…
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The above magazine Know The FACTS, with a tag line that reads,”A Monthly Magazine Without Political Slant or Personal Bias”. In addition to the tagline, the magazine published a creed on the back of its first anniversary issue dated February 1956. The Creed reads:

WE BELIEVE
In the Power of Truth. That the American people want the Facts and all the Facts.
That the people are willing and able to face all the Facts squarely, at all times.
That they want the Facts without Political slant or personal bias.
That the American people do to want to be told HOW to think, or WHAT to think; that they can make up their own minds.
That OUR task is a new one: to give you concise, FACTUAL reports on the issues America is talking about and worrying about; to give you the FACTS without trying to tell you what to think.
That An Informed Public Makes a Strong Republic.

That was 60 years ago and I do miss that type of journalism. No additional comments are necessary or needed. Enough said.

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Forbes’ Editor Randall Lane Celebrates Five Years & Proves The Golden Age For Print Magazines Has Only Just Begun – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Randall Lane, Editor, Forbes Magazine

September 6, 2016

Randall 2016

“We just got our new MRI numbers a few weeks ago. Forbes magazine is at the highest print readership in its 99 year history; print readership. Not online, but print. And that’s MRI, independent research. We’re well over six million and pushing toward seven million readers in print, and we’ve never hot those numbers before.” Randall Lane

“This year, we had our highest, best-read print magazine ever; the cover with Ashton Kutcher had 8.8 million readers for that issue. So, when you do it right, the market for print magazines is as big as it’s ever been, maybe bigger than it’s ever been, as shown by the numbers. Our newsstand sales over the last five years have crept up, while our draw has gone down and our average price point has gone up. It’s a hard balance, but we’re able to do it because we’re putting out a more focused product and being smart about it.” Randall Lane

forbes cover 072616 celebrity kardashianAs Forbes magazine prepares to celebrate its centennial anniversary in 2017, the legacy brand’s editor, Randall Lane is celebrating his fifth year at the helm. And according to the title’s latest numbers, there is much for Randall and the magazine to be excited about.

Randall has taken Forbes magazine to peak levels of readership. According to this spring’s MRI report, the title’s readership is at 6.8 million in the U.S., a new all-time high in their 99-year history. And the magazine’s most-read issue ever, featuring Ashton Kutcher on the cover, was published this April and had 8.8 million readers. Over the past five years, Randall has also focused on investing more in the magazine, as well as uncovering new ways to develop and deliver content for today’s magazine reader. For example, he uses data from online content to learn about what content readers want most. And it is these innovative ideas that have given birth to the realization that the golden age of print may have just begun.

I spoke with Randall recently and we talked about the upcoming 100th anniversary of Forbes and about his five-years as captain of the very large ship. Internationally, Forbes content and its mission of entrepreneurial capitalism continue to resonate, particularly with emerging economies. As he sees it, when people from around the world look to the United States for present-day heroes, it’s at the entrepreneurs that continue to bravely climb those mountains that most wouldn’t dare to.

Randall has also been focused on capturing the millennial audience and, based on the numbers; a new generation of doers is highly engaged with Forbes content across multiple platforms. Over the last seven years, Forbes magazine has seen a 50% increase with readers aged 18-34 – the largest increase of all 144 publications measured by MRI. Shortly after joining in 2011, Randall launched the annual Forbes 30 Under 30 list and has since transformed it into one of Forbes’ most successful franchises. Today the Forbes’ Under 30 franchise is a global multichannel platform, which comprises 30 Under 30 lists published in print and online all over the world; live summits in the U.S., Asia and Israel; an Under 30 channel on Forbes.com and a Forbes Under 30 app.

So, having all of this to celebrate, and an upcoming centennial anniversary to boot; well, needless to say, the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Randall Lane was a creative and interesting conversation about Forbes, past and present, and the bright future of print that he is a strong believer in. And Mr. Magazine™ would have to agree with him.

Up first the sound-bites:

On how his role as an editor has changed over the years: That’s a good question. In my opinion, the editor’s role has gotten so much more interesting and three-dimensional. You can’t look at a magazine as simply an inorganic printed media product, but as one platform of a multiplatform entity that’s really about telling a story and using a brand to reach as many people as possible, and be as groundbreaking as possible. So, to me, over the last five to ten years, the job has become much more interesting and rewarding.

On the biggest stumbling block he’s had to face over the years and how he overcame it: The stumbling blocks are really only opportunities. Forbes is all about entrepreneurship and it’s been that way for 99 years. And entrepreneurship is all about problem-solving and taking advantage of opportunities, and both the stumbling block and the opportunity over the last five years has been how do you take a brand, and Mike Perlis (President & CEO, Forbes Media) has said it many times; how do we build a company as big as the brand, and specifically for Forbes magazine; how do we take that reputation that we have, one that’s almost a century old, where you have people like Bruno Mars singing “I want to be on the cover of Forbes magazine,” we’re one of those iconic brands that means something, and everybody knows what it means; so how do you build a product that over delivers on their promise, so that’s what we’ve done over the last five years.

Forbes First EditionOn his plans for Forbes magazine as it celebrates its centennial anniversary next year: We are neck-deep in planning. We’re almost exactly a year-out from the anniversary, and we have a team of about 10 people that’s been working on this already for about six months. I don’t want to give away any secrets, other than it will involve a lot of very big names, and most important, a lot of very cool innovations.

On whether he thinks print will always be around: Well, I think so. Magazines are inherently, if produced correctly, a form that humans love consuming. We just have to understand why they’re consuming them and understand that there was a point 30 or 40 years ago where magazines had, again, an oligopoly on information, because people had to read them. No they don’t have to read them, so you have to make it where they love to read them. That’s a challenge, but it’s also a huge opportunity.

On his secret recipe for gaining a new audience, while maintaining his long-time readers as well: It’s respect for the brand. And I started with Forbes out of college, so I respect the brand. We have so many veterans on the management team, such as Lewis DVorkin. We have so many people who have entrepreneurial experience who also respect the brand, so we’re not trying to change what Forbes is; we’re making it more Forbes. And expand that base to a larger audience.

On the need for the printed Forbes with all of the information that’s out there on the web: What the magazine isn’t trying to do is compete with all of that information, because it just can’t. What the magazine is meant to do is, in a world where there is so much information, we curate a package that’s inspiring and teaches lessons; it reveals things that you’ve never seen or read before, and thus it becomes kind of a beacon in a world where information is everywhere.

RandallLane with Hat 2016On how the term “brand voice” differentiates Forbes from everything else out there: Brand voice is our product in native advertising, but it differentiates because Forbes was a pioneer in doing that. It’s now become sort of an industry standard and a salvation. But again, Lewis and Forbes were the pioneers and took a lot of criticism, which I never really understood, because there has always been advertorial in native advertising for decades. The only difference is they were trying to disguise it as editorial. The innovation in the power brand voice is that it’s completely transparent and it gives brands a way to tell great stories in a completely transparent way.

On what he thinks the focus of Forbes will be in the near future: We’re focused on entrepreneurship, and it’s only going to get stronger coming out of the election. The future of America and the strength of America is entrepreneurship and the greatest stories of America are the Facebook’s; the Snapchat’s; and the Instagram’s; and the Uber’s, and these young innovative companies. These are the heroes of America right now. It’s very hard to look at politics and get anything more than a little queasy.

On Forbes’ investigative pieces: We won a Loeb Award a year ago for an investigative piece looking at the looting in Angola and actually following the money, and looking at how the daughter of the president suddenly became the first woman billionaire from Africa.

On whether we are in better or worse shape as journalists today in the U.S.: I think it’s two things: journalism is in better shape just because there is no longer a system where only a few people have the power of the press in a few companies; today, anyone with talent can be a journalist. Now, anybody who is talented can be a journalist and break stories and get noticed, in terms of doing it themselves, and/or having the opportunity to do it within an organization.

On what keeps him up at night: Continuing to innovate enough and not resting on our laurels. Complacency is part of human nature. Our numbers are good, but that doesn’t mean we sit back and say we’re done. This fall, we’re going to tweak the editorial formula, not really tweak, but we’re in constant reinvention.

FORBES 011816 gatefold
And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Randall Lane, Editor, Forbes Magazine.

Samir Husni: You’re approaching your fifth anniversary at Forbes, and over your entire career, you’ve technically done it all; from a food and restaurant critic to the editor of Justice Magazine and financial magazines. Can you tell me how your role as an editor has changed over the last five to ten years?

Randall Lane: That’s a good question. In my opinion, the editor’s role has gotten so much more interesting and three-dimensional. You can’t look at a magazine as simply an inorganic printed media product, but as one platform of a multiplatform entity that’s really about telling a story and using a brand to reach as many people as possible, and be as groundbreaking as possible. So, to me, over the last five to ten years, the job has become much more interesting and rewarding. And if it’s done right, the outcome is much better, because you’re able to reach people in so many different ways and change lives in so many different ways.

Samir Husni: What has been the biggest stumbling block that you’ve had to face over the years and how did you overcome it?

Randall Lane: The stumbling blocks are really only opportunities. Forbes is all about entrepreneurship and it’s been that way for 99 years. And entrepreneurship is all about problem-solving and taking advantage of opportunities, and both the stumbling block and the opportunity over the last five years has been how do you take a brand, and Mike Perlis (President & CEO, Forbes Media) has said it many times; how do we build a company as big as the brand, and specifically for Forbes magazine; how do we take that reputation that we have, one that’s almost a century old, where you have people like Bruno Mars singing “I want to be on the cover of Forbes magazine,” we’re one of those iconic brands that means something, and everybody knows what it means; so how do you build a product that over delivers on their promise, so that’s what we’ve done over the last five years.

We’ve honed in on how we can make the magazine experience richer and more “magazinier,” to coin a new word. How do you look at the environment of magazines that no longer have an oligopoly on information, and realize that it’s no longer enough to just print information on dead trees for the audience? We have to create an exceptional magazine experience specifically for our audience. We’ve made the articles longer and more in depth; we’ve invested a lot in photography, and we’ve invested in paper. We’ve strengthened the classic Forbes point of view, so that every story has an attitude and a voice. We’ve focused on packaging, so that when you read the print product, you see different elements on every page. Those are all things that are accentuated by print magazines. Again, we’ve focused on what makes magazines great, because quick stories that are timely and on the news are better for the website.

Samir Husni: What are your plans for Forbes magazine as it celebrates its 100th anniversary next year?

Randall Lane: We are neck-deep in planning. We’re almost exactly a year-out from the anniversary, and we have a team of about 10 people that’s been working on this already for about six months. I don’t want to give away any secrets, other than it will involve a lot of very big names, and most important, a lot of very cool innovations, because what we’re going to do with the centennial is not just honor and focus on the past, but also focus on the future and use it as a springboard to show what business, entrepreneurship and also what magazines can be like for the next 100 years.

Samir Husni: Can you think of any other product or any other entities, besides magazines in print that have lasted for such a long time?

Randall Lane: Electricity. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: (Laughs too).

Randall Lane: Telephones?

Samir Husni: So, as long as we have electricity and telephones, we’ll have magazines?

forbes cover midas kutcher domestic 04-19-2016Randall Lane: (Laughs) Well, I think so. Magazines are inherently, if produced correctly, a form that humans love consuming. We just have to understand why they’re consuming them and understand that there was a point 30 or 40 years ago where magazines had, again, an oligopoly on information, because people had to read them. No they don’t have to read them, so you have to make it where they love to read them. That’s a challenge, but it’s also a huge opportunity.

We just got our new MRI numbers a few weeks ago. Forbes magazine is at the highest print readership in its 99 year history; print readership. Not online, but print. And that’s MRI, independent research. We’re well over six million and pushing toward seven million readers in print, and we’ve never hot those numbers before.

This year, we had our highest, best-read print magazine ever; the cover with Ashton Kutcher had 8.8 million readers for that issue. So, when you do it right, the market for print magazines is as big as it’s ever been, maybe bigger than it’s ever been, as shown by the numbers. Our newsstand sales over the last five years have crept up, while our draw has gone down and our average price point has gone up. It’s a hard balance, but we’re able to do it because we’re putting out a more focused product and being smart about it. If you look at our readership; the average median age, and I think this is key to the driver, has gone down. We’re now at age 42 as our average reader. So, we have a bigger and younger readership. And looking at our research numbers, we also have the same HHI or slightly up, so we’re able to make it a richer readership too. That’s a very trick to pull off, but if you’re focused on the product, this can be a glorious time for print.

Samir Husni: You’ve managed to attract new readership without losing loyal, long-time readers; it hasn’t been either/or with you as it has with so many other magazines, and I give you and your editorial team and all the other people working at Forbes all the credit for that. What’s your secret? So many other magazines have tried, but many lose their old audience and never really gain traction with a new audience. But in your case, you’ve kept the old audience and gained a new audience as well. What’s your secret recipe?

Randall Lane: It’s respect for the brand. And I started with Forbes out of college, so I respect the brand. We have so many veterans on the management team, such as Lewis DVorkin. We have so many people who have entrepreneurial experience who also respect the brand, so we’re not trying to change what Forbes is; we’re making it more Forbes. And expand that base to a larger audience.

The core message of Forbes: entrepreneurial capitalism, has never been more resonant, because if you think about it, especially for young people, when they come out of college their career aspirations aren’t to get some job with a big corporation and work there for 40 years; they want to start their own thing. They want to be Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk. And that’s always been what Forbes is about, so we happen to have a very resonant message. Entrepreneurship has never been more important, and we’ve been able to pivot slightly and also understand that we can embrace young entrepreneurship. The 30 Under 30 franchise has become an incredibly important driver for us. Every year we do the Under 30 Summit, it is the biggest live event that Forbes has ever done.

So, we’re able to reach that younger audience, but this is also very relevant information for the more mature audience as well. It’s respectful of the core brand. There’s nobody craning their necks and saying, wait a second, this isn’t the magazine that I’m used to. Hopefully, it’s just a better, more relevant version of what they’ve always enjoyed.

Samir Husni: As you move forward and we, as a country, get through this crazy election year, do you think as you enter your centennial anniversary, you’ll find there’s more need for Forbes than ever before? There is so much information out there, but who is doing the curation?

Randall Lane: That’s a really smart question and the answer is, you’re so right about there being more information out there, that’s why forbes.com, and we just got our comScore numbers recently, and forbes.com just hit its highest ever readership; we’re at 52 million on comScore, which is more than twice of the Wall Street Journal. So, for all of that information out there, we have an amazing website to juggernaut business media and it’s able to do that.

But what the magazine isn’t trying to do is compete with all of that information, because it just can’t. What the magazine is meant to do is, in a world where there is so much information, we curate a package that’s inspiring and teaches lessons; it reveals things that you’ve never seen or read before, and thus it becomes kind of a beacon in a world where information is everywhere. It says, OK, here’s your regular dose of inspiration and cool stories to get yourself motivated to go out and change the world as much as you can.

Samir Husni: You’re the first entity that I remember to use the term “brand voice.” Why do you think coming up with the term “brand voice” instead of native advertising or content marketing, or whatever the current buzzword terminology is; how does the term “brand voice” differentiate from everything else that’s out there?

0524_forbes-cover-self-made-women-06-21-2016Randall Lane: Brand voice is our product in native advertising, but it differentiates because Forbes was a pioneer in doing that. It’s now become sort of an industry standard and a salvation. But again, Lewis and Forbes were the pioneers and took a lot of criticism, which I never really understood, because there has always been advertorial in native advertising for decades. The only difference is they were trying to disguise it as editorial. The innovation in the power brand voice is that it’s completely transparent and it gives brands a way to tell great stories in a completely transparent way. It’s something that has been copied, but we’re still the innovators in that area. It’s been a great driver in terms of allowing our company to produce great journalism.

Samir Husni: Looking into the future and at you celebrating your sixth anniversary as editor at Forbes; with the elections behind us, what do you imagine the focus of Forbes will be next year?

Randall Lane: We haven’t really focused much on the elections because the core purpose of Forbes is entrepreneurial capitalism. I actually personally wrote a story on Donald Trump last year for the Forbes 400, detailing his 30-year dance with Forbes. We have decades of history on questioning what his net worth was and is.

We’re focused on entrepreneurship, and it’s only going to get stronger coming out of the election. The future of America and the strength of America is entrepreneurship and the greatest stories of America are the Facebook’s; the Snapchat’s; and the Instagram’s; and the Uber’s; and these young innovative companies. These are the heroes of America right now. It’s very hard to look at politics and get anything more than a little queasy. But when you look at what people around the world are looking at when it comes to America; who are the icons of America that people look up to in every country as entrepreneurs and innovators? And that’s what Forbes has always celebrated and that’s what we’re celebrating now to a degree that we’ve never done before. We’re really trying to focus on those people who are changing the world.

We also do a lot of investigative stories. My mentor, Jim Michaels, used to call Forbes the drama critic of capitalism, because we’re all for calling out the bad guys too. We’re the place you can go to look for heroes, lessons and people who have done wrong as well.

Samir Husni: I remember you not only questioned Trump’s wealth, but also Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia’s wealth…

Randall Lane: We won a Loeb Award a year ago for an investigative piece looking at the looting in Angola and actually following the money, and looking at how the daughter of the president suddenly became the first woman billionaire from Africa. How does that happen? (Laughs) We were able to give a very definitive blueprint of how, in reality, a country can be looted. And what was hailed originally when she hit our billionaire’s list was kind of a moment, because we had a woman billionaire from Africa. When we kind of rooted and dug into why, it actually became quite a sensation. We had 400,000 views online for a story about Angolan money and it also won a Loeb Award, so there is a civic good to following the money.

Samir Husni: Separate yourself from Forbes for just a bit and put on just your journalist’s hat; are we in better or worse shape today as journalists in the United States?

Randall Lane: I think it’s two things: journalism is in better shape just because there is no longer a system where only a few people have the power of the press in a few companies; today, anyone with talent can be a journalist. Now, anybody who is talented can be a journalist and break stories and get noticed, in terms of doing it themselves, and/or having the opportunity to do it within an organization.

We’ve never had a more diverse set of media options, in terms of what you read; we’ve never had more opportunity if you have a story to tell when it comes to ways of putting it out. If you have a story that’s true, in this environment, it will find a way to get out and you don’t have to convince somebody in one of the ten places that matter to tell your story. And I think that’s very powerful.

The second thing is that the journalistic model, the model to produce journalism in a way that allows the journalist/storyteller to make a living is challenged and there are ways around that. Places like Forbes are thriving, but it is challenging. And that’s something that we obviously have to keep an eye on.

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

Randall Lane: Continuing to innovate enough and not resting on our laurels. Complacency is part of human nature. Our numbers are good, but that doesn’t mean we sit back and say we’re done. This fall, we’re going to tweak the editorial formula, not really tweak, but we’re in constant reinvention.

I don’t really like redesigns or re-architectures, because I think you only do that in a situation where things are really not good, but I think on the flipside, if you are constantly kind of renovating, such as with your house; what can we do better? You can look at things room by room to see what can be done better or differently. We want to be cutting edge and do things that continue to push our readers.

So, again this fall, you’ll see another kind of twist where we’re going to focus on context and make each page a little more contextual, so that you’re getting more and more things out of every page you turn, which again makes the print experience that much more relevant. It’s a new way of looking at it. It’s not reinventing the wheel, but we’re going to turn up the wheel a little.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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Billboard: The Power And Magic of Magazine Covers…

July 4, 2016

Billboard coverOne of the major social roles of magazines is being an initiator of change.  From Esquire’s leading role in initiating the ban on gun advertising in the 1960s to this week’s Billboard’s cover, and the spread that follows, calling on Congress to stop gun violence.

The message is clear, but the medium is even clearer.  Nothing like a magazine cover can deliver, in your face, at your newsstands, on your coffee table, and in your mailbox a message as such.  No need to turn anything on, no switches and no batteries.  Judge for yourself.

To quote from the cover of the magazine and its editorial, “An Open Letter To Congress STOP GUN VIOLENCE NOW. As leading artists and executives in the music industry, we are adding our voices to the chorus of Americans demanding change. Turn the page. Get involved… Billboard and the undersigned implore you — the people who are elected to represent us — to close the deadly loopholes that put the lives of so many music fans, and all of us, at risk.”

Billboard inside spread

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The Power And Magic Of Print: Words Of Wisdom (WOW) From The Editors Of Pallet Magazine…

June 14, 2016

Pallet issue 3 Starting today I will be posting short Words of Wisdom as wow mini blogs based on quotes or article written by others about the power of print in today’s digital age. My first selection comes from issue three of Pallet magazine where the editors wrote in their intro letter:

Not many things have the power to make people stop and appreciate what’s in front of them nowadays. A good beer is one and a quality magazine another. Unplugged from the low-level anxiety that comes with reading online, and that bottomless pit of information, sometimes it’s comforting to feel how many pages are left between your fingers.

Knowing there’s a beginning and end to anything, being able to see it, like the last few sips at the bottom of a bottle, always helps you to savor the moments in between.

Letter from editor

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