Jim Spanfeller
Former President and CEO, Forbes.com
02:57

Jim Spanfeller Analyzes Public Policy

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The CEO praises Obama for promoting the American brand.

Jim Spanfeller

James J. Spanfeller serves as President & Chief Executive Officer of Forbes.com, a leading media Internet company, and as Executive Vice President of Electronic Publishing for Forbes, publisher of Forbes, the nation's leading business magazine. As CEO of Forbes.com, he oversees all aspects of the strategic and operational management of the company. He is the first person to hold the position of Executive Vice President of Electronic Publishing at Forbes, a position created in recognition of the driving need to link all elements of the company's business to the Internet. In this capacity, Mr. Spanfeller develops and oversees joint opportunities for print and online across all areas of Forbes.
Prior to joining Forbes, Mr. Spanfeller was President, Consumer Magazine Group of Ziff Davis Media, Inc., the largest technology publishing company in the United States. The titles under his responsibility were PC Magazine, Yahoo! Internet Life, Smart Business, Family PC and Expedia Travels. He also managed Corporate Sales and Custom Publishing and was on the company's Board of Directors. He joined Ziff Davis Media in 1996 to launch Yahoo! Internet Life, as Founding Publisher, and oversaw all aspects of the business, including editorial, circulation, production, marketing and advertising sales. This magazine launch was one the most successful in the last decade, and the publication now has a circulation of 1.1 million. He also had direct supervision of the magazine's Web site, which attracted over 4 million page views a month. Before working at Ziff Davis Media, Mr. Spanfeller was Publisher of Inc. magazine, and he has also been Senior Vice President, Marketing/Associate Publisher of Playboy Enterprises Publishing Group, which owns and operates Playboy Magazine. Prior to this he held senior sales positions at Newsweek.
Mr. Spanfeller has a BA in English Literature from Union College, Schenectady, New York. He sits on the Board of Directors of The New York Chapter of The National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship To At Risk Youth (NFTE); served as Executive Director of The Magazine Publishers Association, 1999-2000; and was named one of Folio magazine's "40 Industry Visionaries" in 1999. Mr. Spanfeller lives in New York City with his wife, Peg, and their three daughters.
Transcript

Question: How will Obama impact globalization?

 

Spanfeller:    Well, it’s commissioning.  I think he’s off to a good start in that regard, he is certainly reaching out and opening up the American brand if you will in a way that the previous administration was not particularly nimble with.  That would be a very, very good thing.  I was encouraged by the fact that you know, this G20 was radically different from the meeting similar to it back into the early 1930s that I think year it was the first time the FDR administration got involve and actually ended up resolving a lot more protectionism around the world.  So, you know, that certainly some levels of high end protectionism happening but clearly it’s not nearly as bad as many feared and hopefully it will not get any worst it might get a little better you know, coming from Forbes, you know, we’re free market capitalist, I’m firmly believe in that, I think history has shown, that’s you know, that’s a really good way to go out there and rise the overall quality of living for all above, so, I’m very, very hopeful that in fact we won’t see barriers being build up and we still we’ll see the free flow of capital and free flow of ideas around the globe and you know, it’s even more important now because it has been you know, repeated at notion on some much smaller globe.  It’s a much more an interconnected world and if you think about it we only have to look at the initiation of this recession to have a recent example of that.  You know, the world went bad and the US and within weeks or months it went bad around the world.  You know, there was no like.

 

Question: What is the American brand?

 

Spanfeller:    Well, it’s this concept of the brand America that was sort of begins to be better, why I guess its always been talked about but was sort of conscious level was increased rather about the half way through the second term of the Bush administration.  With the notion of the American brand, brand America was under the rest and I was, there was a lot of ill will towards the administration that was a lot of do it alone thought and not a lot of outreach and discussion around that thought.  So, even things that we probably shouldn’t done, we could have been better about explaining or you know, giving you know, a sugary concept as opposed to simply handing it down.  So, I think you know, where the Obama administration has been, although it’s very, very early yet but certainly where they’ve suggested they’re going to be where they would have been so far is trying to be much more communicative and much more open to ideas from around the globe.


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