Here’s a fun game you can play that will prove a point I want to make. In fact, I’ve played this game in the Scottsdale neighborhood to which my wife and I moved this past summer, and I was amazed by the revelation. As you go for an early morning walk with the dog, take a dawn jog, or as you drive down the street on your way to work, here’s the simple task: count the number of neighborhood homes you pass with at least one newspaper laying in the driveway.
Over the last year, I know I’ve taken a few shots at “traditional” media because, quite frankly, most print media forms are on their way to their final resting places and they just don’t know it yet. An automobile junkyard is a fine analogy!
Advertising dollars in the media business have had some very good years, while some…well, let’s just put it out there…some have been down-right abysmal. After working in the broadcast, magazine publishing and digital media sectors at various times over the last several decades, I’ve come to appreciate and welcome even the smallest of economic markers pointing to a new burst of growth. When it comes to online advertising dollars, the growth curve is dramatic.
The heartland of technology innovation…Silicon Valley…was home for almost 20 years. I not only worked inside publishing companies that covered the technology sector, but I also went onto the other side and ran a major technology company, as well as a venture capital-backed pre-YouTube streaming media company that was just ahead of its time.
In the spring of 1984, I left Ziff-Davis’ Computer Publishing Division in New York and moved to Northern California to join IDG’s PCW Communications, handling advertising sales for PC World and this 2-issue old magazine called Macworld. I was fascinated from the beginning because of the back story on how the magazine was created, by the creative nature of how it was produced and by its larger trim size (we called it Fortune-size because it mirrored the trim size of Fortune Magazine at that time).
It has been a very short three years since I left Sunshine Media/Scottsdale after a fun and fruitful 5-year stint. We built a great team, we recruited some very talented publishers from all over the United States (about 190 at our high point) and in 2007 we even pulled off an acquisition of a custom publishing company in Chattanooga, TN that concentrates on the burgeoning health care sector. Our home building and real estate publishing sectors did hit some heavy weather in the difficult economic conditions of 2008, but our commitment to our publishers and their successes never wavered during my tenure.