How The Atlantic went from losing $7M in 2005 to turning a profit this year, as reported in the Times.
How did a 153-year-old magazine — one that first published the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and gave voice to the abolitionist and transcendentalist movements — reinvent itself for the 21st century?
By pretending it was a Silicon Valley start-up that needed to kill itself to survive…
“We imagined ourselves as a venture-capital-backed start-up in Silicon Valley whose mission was to attack and disrupt The Atlantic,” said Justin B. Smith, president of the Atlantic Media Company, who arrived at the magazine’s offices in the Watergate complex in 2007 with a mission to stanch the red ink. “In essence, we brainstormed the question, ‘What would we do if the goal was to aggressively cannibalize ourselves?’ ”
“Q. Even compared to how “The Simpsons” has mocked Fox in the past, this seemed to push things to a different level. Are you sure there’s no one higher up than you on the corporate ladder who’s displeased with this?
“A. I think that we should always be able to say the holes in our DVDs are poked by unhappy unicorns.”
– Al Jean, producer of “The Simpsons,” on the show’s recent Banksy-directed opening sequence
“As a matter of profit and loss, it doesn’t make sense to store wool in a spa and let it convalesce for six months, but the methods of Luciano Barbera were never destined for a get-rich-quick guide to manufacturing. His business will make sense only to customers, and for them, quality has a logic of its own.”
– A look at the waning days of a bespoke merchant: “From Taxis to Textiles, Italy Chooses Tradition Over Growth”
“Do you want to build ideas first and foremost?” he recalls Mr. Drucker asking him, trying to capture his mentor’s Austrian accent. “Zen you must not build a big organization, because zen you will end up managing zat organization.”
– Jim Collins, channeling Peter Drucker in a 2009 New York Times profile
“Apple, the maker of iPods, iPhones and iPads, overtook Microsoft, the computer software giant, on Wednesday to become the world’s most valuable technology company.”
– Miguel Helft and Ashlee Vance, “New King of Technology – Apple Overtakes Microsoft”
“‘There has been an entire strata of restaurants created by chefs to feed other chefs,’ Mr. Bourdain said. ‘These are restaurants created specially for the tastes of the slightly stoned, slightly drunk chef after work.’ As examples of places serving that kind of food, he offered some of David Chang’s restaurants; Au Pied du Cochon in Montreal, with its poutine of foie gras; Crif Dogs in the East Village, which makes a deep-fried cheese steak hot dog; and, in fact, the entire genre of mutant-hot-dog stands.”
– Kim Severson, reporting in the New York Times on “Chefs Using Marijuana Create a New Kitchen Culture”