Inspiration, Experience and Making Magazines
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: Every experience gotten in life feeds your next experience. Even things you can’t possibly believe would be connected, turn out to be connected. At the end of the day, all business is really an understanding of the complexity of human nature and human reactions in particular. So the lessons I learned 20-something years ago launching Spin are very effective and useful today. And a great percentage of what I’ve learned is of no use today. One draws instinctually from the experiences that have worked. Partly, what we’re doing in launching Prestige is industrial. I use the phrase at a meeting, I said, “You know, we are an assembly line. We mustn’t forget that. We may be a great, creative and hopefully complex assembly line but we’re an assembly line. We have to produce the product that’s coming out of a certain time has come off the line.” So, of course, industrially, all experiences are helpful. Editorially, I’m not involved in the editorial, so I would say though if I was that what I’ve learned in all my magazines, even the ones that haven’t been successful as somebody always have, editorial comes down to telling a great story. Know the kind of stories that are going to appeal to your audience. It’s the same thing with public speaking, you can get up in front of very, very different audiences. I’ve done this maybe 300 times and no two audiences are exactly alike. You got to know who you’re talking to and that tailors which stories you tell them. And sometimes, you’re bum when you’re not cognizant of who you’re talking to. So the editorial lesson is always just know your audience and tell them a good story.
Bob Guccione, Jr. discusses how to apply previous knowledge to find success in any new endeavor.