Jim Spanfeller
Former President and CEO, Forbes.com
02:28

Jim Spanfeller Critiques the New Regulation Economy

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The CEO fears the one-size-fits-all nature of government regulation.

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: Will regulation do more harm than good?

 

Spanfeller:    The idea that more regulation as in anyway good for business is hard to imagine, you know, having said that, there are some, there are more than some that would suggest without more regulation if nor the place and our financial systems.  We’re going to have some tough issues going forward and I imagine that’s probably somewhat true, the issue was that with regulation and legislation it’s a blunt instrument, all right.  Alright, it’s not a scalpel, all right, it’s in there with you know, a steam shovel and as such… you know, there’s as much opportunity for harm as the risk for good so I guess I get worried about too much regulation, you know, and I guess I’ll take some refuge on the notion that you know, the Obama administration is just going to balance the budget by the end of the first term.  I’m a little hard press to see that’s it’s going to happen yet, given the spending that they’re working on right now and you know, spending around 3 or 4 major initiatives so, I get it why were increasing spending, not to lose of what your courses you know, is stimulating the economy, we can argue and debate in many will, the stimulus is the way to go for reinvigorating the economy.  The economy but you know, we’ll see if that works out.  But you know, I guess, when done it’s hard to imagine more regulation being good.

 

Question: What is one idea for the new economy you disagree with?

 

Spanfeller:    The idea that a certain amount of new cars will be mandated to work via fuels, when in fact I think the last set of research suggest that it’s more energy to produce and less efficient to produce a bio fuel than it is to simply use gasoline.  Now, having said that, in the side of that story would be yes but you know, personally technology will get better and better and better and at some point the efficiencies will be there and we’ll be reliant on diminishing resource and resource that we don’t have as a country that much controlled of.  So, but I don’t mean, I’m not the expert, I don’t… I really can’t weigh in on which side of that discussion is right.  What’s the old axiom, there’s your side, there’s my side and there’s the right side.


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