Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Running a publication is like running a public company

Dan Hesse, the chief executive of the U.S. telecommunications company Sprint, said the following to Bloomberg when describing the challenges of convincing investors (by way of his company's board of directors) that the long-term view is worthwhile:

“There is a disconnect with Wall Street because if you’re building a brand, it does take a long time. It’s hard to quantify.”

His frustration: that investors clamored for the iPhone, putting the company in a commitment with "punishing" terms. Short-term desires bested long-term decisions.

A publication, especially an online one, is very much the same. The editor must convince investors -- by way of his publisher, or his general manager, and always his CFO -- that some expenses (certain writers, events, photography, investigative journalism) just won't immediately pay off in a given metric, e.g. pageviews or unique users.

What's your iPhone?

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