Bob Guccione, Jr. on Staying Ahead of the Trends
Bob Guccione, Jr. began his career at the age of 18 in the UK where he became Britain's youngest-ever publisher. A year later he returned to America and launched the monthly music magazine, Rock Superstars, making him America's then youngest-ever publisher. In 1985, he launched SPIN, the enormously successful music magazine that usurped Rolling Stone as the dominant pop culture magazine for 18-24 year olds. In 1997, Guccione sold SPIN to Vibe Ventures and in 1998 launched Gear, a young men's lifestyle magazine, which closed in 2003. In October 2005, Guccione completed the acquisition of science magazine, Discover, from Disney and formed Discover Media, LLC. In the two years Guccione ran the title before stepping down as Chairman in December 2007, the magazine returned to profitability. He is now helping launch a new luxury lifestyle magazine in New York called Prestige New York.
Guccione: I’m not sure I do, personally, anymore. Certainly, pop culture [is down] because it’s no longer organic for me. So the real answer is to those people who are wondering if their instincts are right, if they’re organic, they’re probably right. If they Google Analytics, they’re probably wrong. Google, by definition, is only analyzing what has happened. You can, maybe, infer what might happen, but I always trust human instincts over analytics. I have instincts about other things in life within pop culture. I think I see trends and I’m pursuing personally business ventures in those trends. I’m looking right through this recession. I’m saying, I’m not bothered by that. This is not a depression. We’re not going to have, you know, 30 and 40% unemployment. We’re not going to have the people walking by wheelbarrows of dollars like they did in Germany in the Weimar Republic, you know. So I think this recession is temporal, it will pass, and those trends will come back up, you know, and that’s where I’ll go. I think the real number one answer has to be it has to be organic. You have to feel it. You have to be passionate about it. I don’t get involved in a lot of things that I’m neither [shown or offered] because I’m not passionate about it. I have no instinctual feel for it and no real desire. So I think it’s better to stay away from those things. I probably miss good business opportunities that way, but, ultimately, I’ll do better with the things I feel passionate about.
Bob Guccione, Jr. says trend-spotting must be organic.
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