Thursday, January 26, 2012

About saving the magazine industry

Everybody wants to be digital today and most magazine executives today seems to be building iPad apps. Yet the user experience of a print magazine is unmatchable: they’re cheap, never out of battery charge, not a target for thieves and they have twice the screen space when spread as an iPad screen.

Analog version of Publishzer

The concept of magazines is great and without bringing it to the same level on digital, the executives are running a losing war. Lets consider the recent experience of one of my favorite magazines, The Economist. I subscribed to their iPad mag. First of all, the subscription takes me away from the app, to website with 2 options. €32 13 weeks and 125€ for 51 weeks. But I'd like to pay monthly as is the status quo on most of my subscription services. Sure I could pay per issue, but then there would be no auto-renew.

Granted, this is a small issue in the grand scale. But come on, take a que from something like Spotify, where I do not need to renew, they have my credit card info and its conveniently everywhere I go. That is a well done subscription service. Secondly, most successful magazine concepts in digital media are blog communities. No fees, no limits but high quality accessibility, funded by quality and relevant advertising.

I believe the key on saving the magazine industry is accessibility. Whether it is magazine subscription or advertising funded, the key is to provide seamless accessibility. Let me work a little at the beginning if needed, but aim to guide me to a state where I have the magazine when and where I want to, without forms to fill. This obviously needs security matters, but that I trust you've taken care, right? That is accessibility.

So remember that:
- Monthly fees appear lower than yearly fees
- Cancel anytime feature will enable easier testing
- Have auto-renew as default
- Advertising should be relevant and considered part of the content

If this is taken care, all you really need to focus is having great content.

Photo by: Teppo Hudson

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mark Cuban's 12 rules for Startups

These are reblogged from Mark Cuban's post on site. Love the suggestions. Embody these.

1. Don't start a company unless it's an obsession and something you love.

2. If you have an exit strategy, it's not an obsession.

3. Hire people who you think will love working there.

4. Sales Cure All. Know how your company will make money and how you will actually make sales.

5. Know your core competencies and focus on being great at them. Pay up for people in your core competencies. Get the best. Outside the core competencies, hire people that fit your culture but aren't as expensive to pay.

6. An espresso machine? Are you kidding me? Coffee is for closers. Sodas are free. Lunch is a chance to get out of the office and talk. There are 24 hours in a day, and if people like their jobs, they will find ways to use as much of it as possible to do their jobs.

7. No offices. Open offices keep everyone in tune with what is going on and keep the energy up. If an employee is about privacy, show him or her how to use the lock on the bathroom. There is nothing private in a startup. This is also a good way to keep from hiring executives who cannot operate successfully in a startup. My biggest fear was always hiring someone who wanted to build an empire. If the person demands to fly first class or to bring over a personal secretary, run away. If an exec won't go on sales calls, run away. They are empire builders and will pollute your company.

8. As far as technology, go with what you know. That is always the most inexpensive way. If you know Apple, use it. If you know Vista, ask yourself why, then use it. It's a startup so there are just a few employees. Let people use what they know.

9. Keep the organization flat. If you have managers reporting to managers in a startup, you will fail. Once you get beyond startup, if you have managers reporting to managers, you will create politics.

10. Never buy swag. A sure sign of failure for a startup is when someone sends me logo-embroidered polo shirts. If your people are at shows and in public, it's okay to buy for your own employees, but if you really think people are going to wear your branded polo when they're out and about, you are mistaken and have no idea how to spend your money.

11. Never hire a PR firm. A public relations firm will call or email people in the publications you already read, on the shows you already watch and at the websites you already surf. Those people publish their emails. Whenever you consume any information related to your field, get the email of the person publishing it and send them a message introducing yourself and the company. Their job is to find new stuff. They will welcome hearing from the founder instead of some PR flack. Once you establish communication with that person, make yourself available to answer their questions about the industry and be a source for them. If you are smart, they will use you.

12. Make the job fun for employees. Keep a pulse on the stress levels and accomplishments of your people and reward them. My first company, MicroSolutions, when we had a record sales month, or someone did something special, I would walk around handing out $100 bills to salespeople. At and MicroSolutions, we had a company shot. The Kamikaze. We would take people to a bar every now and then and buy one or ten for everyone. At MicroSolutions, more often than not we had vendors cover the tab. Vendors always love a good party.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Fotoshop by Adobé

No surprise this went viral like a wildfire. Everything is spot on: concept, production, design (especially the package design), talent, voiceover, and most importantly the satire that is so true.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Top 10 Blogposts 01/2012

I will be curating 10 great blogposts each week. Published at Publishzer obviously! Below is the first one for this year!