Skip to main content

The Death of Magazines

I received a letter from Portfolio magazine, announcing that they were ceasing publication. I'm only mildly surprised and mildly disappointed. Surprised only because it joins a list of magazines that I had paid subscriptions to, which folded, or turned into ezines. Red Herring was a favorite of mine, but it disappeared years ago. I became a convert to Business 2.0. It didn't really get my attention at first, but over time I began to look forward to it. It closed a couple of years ago; I still don't think Time Warner gave it a fair chance.

More recently, PC Magazine converted to a net-only product. In all three cases, it was obvious that advertising was down as once-fat magazines full of ads became as thin as a supermodel, but not as rich. I occasionally go to PC Mag online, but for me it just isn't the same.

And I'm only mildly disappointed in that I had paid for issues I'll never receive. I'd already decided not to renew my subscription. In an attempt to stand out from Business Week, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, etc. the editorial tone was a little snarky. The columnists took a bit of a left-wing position (certainly different than one expects for a business-oriented publication). I don't recall one good investment idea, or business concept that I thought I could apply.

Further, it was too caught up in scandals, with feature articles on the mysterious disappearance of an executive with a Dillards Department Store supplier, and the fight among the heirs to the estate of the founder of an ice cream company.

So, no great laments for Portfolio. I've noticed my Fortune and Wired becoming quite thin. I hope that they are not next...

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: What Matters Now by Gary Hamel

Interview of Eric Schmidt by Gary Hamel at the MLab dinner tonight. Google's Marissa Mayer and Hal Varian also joined the open dialog about Google's culture and management style, from chaos to arrogance. The video just went up on YouTube. It's quite entertaining. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Cover of The Future of ManagementMy list of must-read business writers continues to expand.Gary Hamel, however, author of What Matters Now, with the very long subtitle of How to Win in a World of Relentless Change, Ferocious Competition, and Unstoppable Innovation, has been on the list for quite some time.Continuing his thesis on the need for a new approach to management introduced in his prior book The Future of Management, Hamel calls for a complete rethinking of how enterprises are run.

Fundamental to his recommendation is that the practice of management is ossified in a command and control system that is now generations old and needs to be replaced with something that reflects an educat…
Have you ever watched, or been involved in, a business failure, where, despite the best efforts of hardworking people, the business doesn’t survive? Scott Sonenshein lived through it, as he describes in the Introduction to his engrossing book Stretch.  (In some books, the reader can skip the intro- not this one; the introduction is a must-read part of the book.) He was hired by start-up Vividence in Silicon Valley at the very apex of the tech boom.  Despite prestige VC backers, top-tier hires and $50 million, Vividence didn’t make it. As his career continued, that experience led to an interest in why some well-funded operations don’t succeed, while other, more resource constrained, do. Peter Senge wrote about reinforcing cycles as part of his book The Fifth Discipline, which I consider one of the finest business books ever penned. In it, Senge describes the downward cycle that some companies fall into, and why it is so difficult to reverse. Sonenshein explores those cycles from diffe…

The Acceleration of Asset Lite Business Models

The number of asset lite businesses is steadily increasing, as is the breadth of industries effected.  I first noticed them in the 1970’s, when Baron Hilton sold several flagship Hilton hotels while retaining management contracts that entitled Hilton Corporation to a share of revenue and earnings. Over the next two decades, Marriott Corp copied and then perfected the hotel management agreement business approach, coupling a Marriott franchise with a management agreement for any one of a growing stable of brands (Fairfield Inns, Courtyard by Marriott, Residence Inns, J.W. Marriott, etc. etc.), enabling absentee investor/owners.  It turns out, however, that asset lite business structures date back much earlier.
Franchises and Dealers Early versions of asset lite businesses include franchise and dealer organizations. Soft drink and beer distributors, auto dealers and tire and repair franchises date to the early nineteen hundreds, as manufacturers needed mass distribution. The dealers furn…