As the Magazine Industry Dies

Maxim sounds like it’s close to edge.  Last week, I read  this post on Paid Content and must admit I’m not surprised except that it appears Quadrangle was taken for a ride and that Steve Rattner has lost his touch.   Meanwhile, I stumbled upon (no pun intended) the new Wired Magazine retail store on 18th between 5th and 6th in NYC Sunday.  I had fallen off the diet wagon and was sipping some City Bakery Hot Chocolate when I wandered into a massive showroom for Wired Magazine advertisers.  But seriously ask yourself, “Will anybody really buy a flatscreen tv here”  How about MBT sneakers or a Nikon D90 camera?

My guess is the store will not do enough revenue to cover rent never mind labor, but hey the CondeNast advertising team will claim that thousands of prospective buyers interacted with the Lincoln MK something that was parked in the back.  Conde’s sales people will claim that they have created an interactive brand experience. And they did.  But will it justify continued multi-million dollar commitments from the falling-into-the-abyss General Motors?

Non-magazine folks might ask, “Why can’t Wired just publish online, cut costs, and raise their profitablity?”  Here’s the answer:   CondeNast (great editorial company that it is) refuse to commit themselves to reinventing the magazine industry.  I write this as a major, major magazine fan.  The New Yorker is, without question, my favorite media brand in the world.  I recently had the gall to bother David Remnick at a restaurant just to tell him how much I admired him and valued his magazine.  The only other celebrity I’ve ever interrupted was Joe Montana — and, let’s face it, he’s Joe Montanta.

But I’m 41 not 25 and magazines are dead.  With all that CondeNast has going for it the best they can do is to acquire Reddit and shutter and their 12k uniques/month some $10-30mm dollars later.

We know newspaper and print industries are falling off the proverbial cliff.  I know that Conde Nast is to big to radically reinvent completley.  But why not take the Wired brand and experiment?  Is there anything to lose?


Lose 30 Pounds: my foray into fatblogging

I’m starving.  And this is fatblogging.  Perhaps this will be Jason’s Calacanis greatest legacy.

It’s day 3 of my latest significant push to lose weight.  I’m not in new territory.

This already has been a 15 year struggle. My first big push was at 27, when after 3 years of drinking and eating in japan, I weighed in at a puffy 196.  One of my parents friends told me I was gaining too much weight, and that triggered action.  Ieliminated dessert and “seconds” and returned to my great athletic passion — Ultimate Frisbee.  I  dropped 29 pounds.  Then I met Nina who still jogged me into the ground on our first date.  Luckily she agreed to marry me a few years later.

5 years later, after the go-go 90s, a period in which I’d bought, sold and closed my first companies, I crossed the 200 pound threshold. I rationalized it this way:

“I just had my first kid and laying off 150 people was very stressful.”

Unfortunately when I read Fucked Company descriptions of me  that included “chubby, flabby, and fat” I knew that my rationalizations were irrational.   I rallied, tried a no-carb approach, played some basketball, a ate a lot less and lost  15 pounds to get to a new low of 186. Acceptable but not thin.

3 years later I stepped on the scale at my first physical in years and was back to the painfully familiar 196. After my physician took a detailed history, he pronounced me very healthy. “However,” he said, you should lose 20 pounds.”

Daunting. So much so that I’m 2 years overdue for my next physical. After I saw my doctor, some good and bad things happened to me.  Through it all I ate. You know my type. I’m from the family species that plans dinner during lunch. I learned to eat when I was happy, sad, excited, angry,  even and especially bored.

Anyway, cut to November 4th 2008 — an historic and fantastic day. I weighed in at 207.

So now begins the next push. And why not? My kids tell me I’m fat, the shake shack line continues to grow, and Michael Pollan has elevated food to a national security issue.

I have always admired the fatbloggers. I have struggled for years to write this post. I’d love to write that this feels cathartic, but let’s reserve that label for the magic number – 177.