Read this: Media Masters - James Ledbetter
Summary: PodcastDownload MP3 www.buzzsprout.comMedia Masters - James Ledbetter…
Media Masters with Paul Blanchard welcome to master series of one-to-one interviews with people at the top of the media game here in New York and joined by James Leadbetter best-selling author and editor in chief of ink since starting his career in the 90s at the village Voice has held a number of senior editorial positions including time writers and business news like the big money.
Where was founding editor taking the reigns of ink in 2014 he oversees a global Media Empire of print digital video custom Publishing and live events with an online audience of 16 million in 2015.
He launched the European version of their influential Inc 5000 list which honours the fastest growing private companies in America James thank you for joining me Paul's Cray to Borough James congratulations on the complete cover to cover REdesign of income at home over huge fan of a longtime reader was it actually quite daunting to change up such a successful product so fundamentally it is especially because the magazine has been redesigned just a few years.
You know one of the challenges in the of these days is you've got to reinvent yourself all the time I enter anything any any magazine.
That's not currently in REdesign will be very soon and then so it takes a particular kind of minds and our creative director Blake Taylor who's been at the publication for many years really put a lot of of an effort into this and we only redesigned the way the magazine look but we try to come every conceive of it the previous design which had served its its function really well for a few years broke the magazine down into four sections, but what we found was I in Any Given tissue the sections were not as distinctive as they might be a little the circuit one of the launch section of the story could well in the Leeds action is there and so we just got rid of it because it was beginning to become a bit formulaic with the sections each section having the have a certain number of elements and we just did away with it.
So that was that was one motivation was to colour free up the pages.
For a different mix of of stories second thing was to try and emphasize the visual little more you not again the role of print these days in a as you point out again a multi-platform publication is different than it was 15 years ago and one of the things that makes magazines grade is the ability to use terrific photography original art illustrations and you made since since you're going to commissioners things anyway, you may as well make the most of them in the print products.
They may or may not play as well online and we were trying to put more thought into it into how we present some of our pieces online on a supposed to just kind of uniform owing on throwing them up there, but we might as well luxuriate in the print product ever going to live as long as we're going to produce it and so we are trying to introduce a different approaches to stories that emphasize the visual.
I'll give you an example.
We introduce the river called in the field where we take a shot of oven.
Is actually doing what it does so for example there was a group of people who make electric bikes in Colorado we get the whole team out on bikes in the street, and it just a bit of is a visual way of telling a story that and it really takes advantage of wood print can do so I'm very proud of the REdesign so far it seems to have a good response from readers good response from advertisers and you can be darn sure we'll be redesigning beginning with next couple of years.
It's it's that I've always been in permanent better isn't it'll be too as we will call in the UK you kind of have to be these days.
I'm in the market with its advertisers readers are changing their expectations of changing their demands all the time and it's a constant vigilance to to keep up with them it can be exhausting but it's it's really worth it if you get it is unusual to ask is because you're such an enterprising at magazine aimed at entrepreneurs, but there is there always the risk isn't there of tinkering with the formula like you put on the straight one string of the tapestry in whole thing unravels.
You don't wanna change what the readers lofi.
True and you know you tried it with with print.
You don't always get it immediate feedback me one of the interesting things about aah about digital is you know we change headlines in real time we ab test ahead, so you literally know which headline is more attracted to readers, then then then then then then it's a car park at with pretty don't necessarily have that kind of food but I think you're right if you take too many risks if you are kill a popular feature or if you introduce something that is there for your kind of obvious business reasons you will hear from readers.
Are you lately lately? Will let you know.
I don't think that people are going to be now.
Stop subscribing on Mass but you will you will get Letters you will get feedback.
We we we certainly see your ears all the time when our conferences and I'll give you feedback on the magazine with or without without even being asked but I think that up.
You know we we have been with our readers and we know our readers will end up.
It is unlikely that we would make this kind of change it because we we know it.
What we know they respond to and what are the touch points that readers have with the brands of example I go on in.com all the time.
I subscribe to the top five email but I also subscribe to the magazine and I read the magazine when I'm on planes.
That's my meat and I like the curated linear expense the very visual thing.
Where is it's a bit like a cafeteria when you're on the website you can I just picking and choosing the odd thing that you like that they are different experiences and that's by design by necessity mean just to just to look at the numbers in Any Given issue of ink magazine.
There are approximately 40 pieces of content depending on how you can have slice and dice it on any given day on it., publishing between 70 and 100 pieces of contents of a lot of candida and the size of the audience is different by the magazine has a great base of the circulation of about 700000 the website reaches on a really good man for about 20 million people so the scales very very different and I think that to your point people look to the different platforms for different things so.
What does very very well on the web are orcas quick stories stories about things like emotional intelligence what I call kind of personal productivity stories that variations on the above the 7 habits of highly effective people read all of them get something out of it and it illiterate City useful experience in them people move onto something up a lot of practical stuff about things like hiring a driving reviews that that that stuff does does very well the magazine.
Obviously has a different Rob there is definitely a role for practical advice in fact.
We have only not a regular Aruba called tip sheet when we take out of a kind of thing that many businesses is not all businesses face and give you advice about how to do it whether it's raising a series a round or are trying to hire without bias of these types types of challenges that the people running growing businesses face and we give them practive advised there are.
The other financial columns devoted to particular types of financing things that again that are just my face like how do you split up with your partner if you're if you're bored and in the business, how do you do that? No longer magazine features or are you not a deep dive into the history of a company that's been on maybe Facebook and of near-death experience and got not a little better people who sold their company that the cover of the November issue.
I'm really happy with is it a Texas couple that makes these protein bars out of meat in the they just hit Italia parking at three years.
They sold their company for more than $109 to a general Foods and he still gotta run it but then there inside this big corporation that was the thing that they were kind of against that kind of struggle is something that that that that occur readers can learn from and we also seek particularly in the magazine to inspire them to give them the success stories from people who have been there and can pass that Wisdom down and and say you're not you.
Basically if I can do it you can do it to readers respond really really well to that in the magazine less so on online but again with 20 million people you are you going to get a big mix of of what people like but I think that that that that inform inspire and celebrate those of the real pillars of what we do have always told that business stories are actually people stories one of one of those that are really like about your magazine.
He's he's reading about the failures of other entrepreneurs and I don't say that to be cynical and it's more about how they bounced back with the lessons live love scars on the back.
I'm glad you you you bring that up all because one of the things that we hear from our readers all the time is that ink feels authentic that we are not trying to sugarcoat it were not saying that everyone is going to succeed.
We're not saying that success is easy.
I mean the the purpose of the magazine is to look at Grove and then the truth about growth is growth can be really really hard.
Obviously wanted most businesses want it but it
Things with it as a set of complications of the annual list of the 5000 fastest companies fastest growing companies that we published some of those companies go out of business.
We actually had within the last couple of years.
There was a company that made the list at number one for two years in a row which is unheard of and as we're talking about back-to-back 10000 percent years of Grosvenor museum.
Is a kind of crazy crazy numbers and they went bankrupt they've been misjudge the market.
They had an opportunity so that they probably in retrospective taking and we and we went along story about the so we're not propagandists in the sense that where are you now were always kind of saying that everything works in all businesses are good.
We we take the good with the bad but but I think people people respond to that by saying ok? I can trust them because they're telling it like it.
Is there telling like you're telling it like I know it is because I'm doing business in read a well.
So it's not the whole truth if you missed out the bad stuff about the challenges.
Again read us a smart readers.
Are you now in the end there and they're they're not interested in being bullshitted.
I mean that they want the real deal.
They not have time really for for kind of fluff and nnn artificial pottery which you know I'm not saying the other publications do that but I think that really speaks to the experience in a direct almost personal way to do to the reader that the Harder They Come by if you the Wall Street Journal or if you know if your fortune you covering these Wheels mega corporations.
I think it's very hard for readers who are running businesses to identify with the Tabernacle a massive.
We we talk to people who work in a closer to the process often very very new businesses, so they they they can share this experience with readers who are going to experience it so probably what I call superhero entrepreneurs.
Have a huge amount of respect of people at Richard Branson Elon Musk and all these people but in some sense.
They actually alienate young people in might be aspiring entrepreneurs when they get old.
Because I think what I can never be a Richard Branson never be a multi-billion are like Elon Musk but when they read your magazine and this is like you were saying about that protein company there real people then not so that you know so far away that they're not at least not in mate vable.
Yeah, I think that's right and we can we get there at the at the conferences as well the the the the entrepreneurs who connect the most with the audience are the ones who who seemed relatability Thomas Lee politics right at the Reno Richard Richard Branson comes off like up like a polished politician.
Who is you're probably got people riding his words for him.
Where is the people who tend to do to do to get the most audience response and our conferences are the ones who are Real are the ones are speaking from the heart and then again.
You know we just can't tell when it's not real.
When it when is something.
I never be no not quite right about it and as you have to be you have to be honest with them and straightforward in and as you say, I'm it's not cynical but to celebrate failure to to learn from the mistakes.
And and to be able to do to give people at Hendra ball practical advice that they can take away to have a typical reader in mind when you writting on the website.
Are you putting an issue of the magazine together absolutely I think that the the kind of ideal reader are particularly for the magazine is someone who is running a business now or for thinking about starting a business.
It's a little bit different on the website.
There are only about 6 million companies in the United States with more than one employer and so if you got 20 million unique semantic clearly not all the web readers are running businesses.
I think that people encounter issues in the workplace whether it's you know how to handle a difficult employee or how to hire someone or how to structure your you're a bit patient how to get the most out your vacation that kind of stuff people come to as a memory thinking about those people in the in the workplace if they are they are keen to get ahead there.
To make the most out of their of their work and their lives and and where there's two of them that's that's the way we think about it things I like when I read about the entrepreneurs the profiling and lots of the articles on your website is you're not you're going to do 5 tips for better time management.
I already know before ready.
I'm not going to be with three of them, but I'm open minded another does remaining two and I might do more of something and less of something else and and often Jacqueline eyebrow razor where you get a cricket of something that it wasn't well that is incredible a couple years ago.
I read on your own article on your website.
It says just turning notifications off for your email.
Yes you going to going to email five six times in the world anyways.
I have popping up in the corner is distracting you and actually I did it and if it wasn't the best things I have a look this is so funny real life hacks can make a big difference and we get that from readers all the time and I think they're done against the website does a wide variety of things and now you're not everything is going to work for everybody but again there so much content do this.
Maybe something for everybody if it's not a quite a formula to have in your mind's eye and ideal issue of the magazine that you can put one to bed and you starting again on the Monday for the next one.
Do you have an already in idea of the ingredients are going to go in it's a great question typically.
I tend to think of the upcoming issues around a handful of the big acts and the end of big acts are often dictated in advance because we are trying to absorb advertising against them so we have a number of special issues that recur every year being 5000 list or annual how I did it issue.
We give you this year or female founders 100 lesbian in October and that really helps to shape the magazine in terms of the big stuff.
There is also going to be some latest of some sort of stuff.
I like having the colonists or is it something that you know we just cant rely on you know they're going to be there and meet one page you can read it really quickly as you do.
Wire a mix of new not too many long things that too many short things in terms of the types of business are not usually at the one every every issued two features some companies that are more or less household names and definitely some that no one is ever heard of that.
That's good mix in terms of you know gender diversity.
It is it's a real struggle or I'll be honest but the fact is that the bulk of businesses that are started in this country has started by men and certainly when we when we assembled the 5000 fastest growing companies that subjective you know it's only if if if if if the companies are being 92% Mill run which is roughly I mean it's it varies from year to year of hyenas loan.
I need to come in percentage.
You really have to make an effort to find those female founders due to feature them in the magazine.
So there is it there is a kind of affirmative action that takes place because we we don't want a magazine filled with all.my The xx
Is next year will turn 40 and I've been spending some time looking at the issues from 1979 1980 and it was really all man I mean no one seemed to think that this was a problem.
The only time you get women in many of these issues is in the ads and is the next 25.
Yeah, it's really really striking and and and to be honest.
I did it again.
It's not like we couldn't do the magazine with men.
I mean there a lot of good stories out there, but we know that that's not the kind of image that we want to portray and we certainly want to be accessible to women and to celebrate then n n a document the particular challenges that the female founders face so so there is a lot of thinking because that and it and similarly with with racial representation we are again, but the overwhelming number of companies on the Inc 5000 with a star or white man and when we we'd.
Police search out people of colour to feature in the magazine because we won't be that we we recognise the diversity is important.
It's it's one of the core values in the magazine you mention about they really copy something that you reading it.
Can you just tell there's any more kind of observations that I found it very interesting in terms of what what was the same and what's different so one of the things that really cracks me up is at work today.
We will call them mean, but they don't think that term was much used in the in the 80s, but there is this thing where I am, but there's a there's a way of portraying like the businessman, and he's got a three-piece suit is always with the best.
I mean is just hilarious Emma like the business men hard at working at the jacket offer you still working develop this mean comes up over and over going in in in photographs in in illustrations the other great thing about those old issues, and I wish I had some with myriad theory of the ads or hysterical this was of course the very beginning of what we think of is the the PC Revolution over the mantle that like this as I know.
The size of a hospital so so many of the computer ads are framed around anxiety like like is it going to be too complicated and I do I really need it or is it going to take over my life and in the end the product of their selling is a kind of use of the solution to your computer anxiety but the Assumption is that you're very anxious about it.
There is Austin figure out you know that are you I wrote a book about the book last year about the history of gold in a talk about that, but I came across this after sadly after the book came out but I'm in I believe it was in 1980 or the early 80s the Krugerrand became available for Purchase in in the United States for the first time and it was very very popular and there is there is a dictaphone and if you remember with a dictaphone when I used to have one and edit.
They're selling their new.
Model is this sort of sleek black thing with gold trim and is surrounded with Krugerrand and I just don't like it because just like that stuff.
So I may have a sort of overly romantic view of Old magazines, but I I really enjoy can while away the hours with these with his old copies in you any new C220 changes in magazine design that do panda suspicious drill and publications it was much much text heavier in those days.
Not a lot of Rich use of photography lot of stock photography black and white photography was still kind of a thing that not uniform but it was you know there was no shame in running a black and white photo which we would only do now it really really really artsy black and white photo now.
You're not routinely like there was then I will I will I will share with you one one thing at unit in a very very early issue.
I came across a h.
Two page article telling readers about this really interesting new ways that companies can find it themselves.
They're called junk bonds and it features features an interview with drexel Burnham Lambert which leader bino Ken's exploded because of the misuse of these bands and then you turn the page and there's an app for a Betamax and all I could think of this is like a parody of a business man if you were if you were assembling like a parody version of a business making to release of the content you have it if it was all quite real you mentioned about the Inc 500 list of the fastest growing companies in Aldi in 5000 which is obviously very important for startups to get recognition.
Could you tell Alison is about that both of those listen might not be familiar with an idea when you taking it? Yeah it began life as the Inc 500 you can put practically up a list of 500 companies in a magazine and get away with it, but about 12 years ago the publication made the decision to expanded to 5000 that runs online we couldn't put 5000 names in a magazine article but they bought the same thing there.
Get the ball to the measurement of the fastest growing companies in America there are few requirements.
You have to be private and and not owned by some other entity you have to be doing business in the United States based in the United States we can talk about the €5,000, but this is that the main the main list you have to have in in in the year that you enter you have to revenues of more than 2 million dollars and you have to have been in business for 3 years the really amazing and genuinely unique aspect of this list is in order to prove that Grove you.
Have to tell us your revenue as my colleague is is fat fond of saying people will share with ink the financial information about the companies that they may not share with their spouse.
I mean this is a level of trust and level of detail that that we get that no one else has and it's it's the thing that makes the list so powerful.
We we don't let or 5 hour.
Companies we we don't have the resources to do that although any company that runs in the magazine any company that is at the pub if it's category there about 36 categories that we that were in any of those companies.
We will we will that the information make sure there's been audited.
You know double-checking of forms that have been submitted you prevent someone from lying about someone feel that a fake tax return for example a week.
There's nothing we can do about the IRS and you know they have there have been some instances where we've been duped happens anytime that we've been duped since I've been there but I think they were there different been occasions where we passed people often is because we are just a number that you give us or that they're just they're clearly you're not being for coming with us, but the result is this fantastic slice of American capitalism.
You know you can you can literally look at the ink 5?
Good list and get a sense of cliff aware that the country's.
I'll give you an example.
We this year in the in 5 and we we noticed a lot of fitness companies and and it's true that you know more and more Americans are going to a gym or some other kind of exercise facility and more more Americans at particularly women are are working out in groups with companies like Palatine and soulcycle that they are going to be a group activities and and and that's a real training so we we we took a bunch of the companies that were in the space and running around feature about that im you see more and more companies focused on our seasonal and organic food again and major and of trend going on the society so you can you can just look at the end and logistics so many logistics companies which is a function of the globalization of the economy.
Gets more and more important to be able to do business in lots of different parts of the world and it is a huge russiable Justice companies that account.
So that needed jobs UAE visa to study the list and it's like a lesson in Contemporary American capitalism.
I find it fascinating and yeah, it's a fantastic on it for the companies who are on it.
I mean they they really again.
You know these people who have worked really really hard at made tremendous sacrifices probably in their financial lives in their family lives and end in and out of being recognised and you win when you come to our conference isn't any meet these folks you really get a sense work, how special it is for them to be recognised and enough for a lot of them.
It's it's going to be kind of the peak of their careers and son clearly will go public but that's a really small minority of of companies someone probably sell in and you don't make a lot of money, but should have been in ink being on the n5000 is just a tremendous honour for them and I and I get a kick out of the year.
Are we getting quasi philosophical about it.
Do you think that you know you were talking about the list of evolved? Do you think the changing list of the is reflux? How Society has changed and that reflective.
Can a list of do you think it's actually That business itself is driving the changing society for example.
You know you still have to meet my friends under the clock at 11 on a Saturday when I was a kid now known would do that because we've got iPhones in location tracking you know this uber.
There's all of these things that she has on society been driven by business solutely a really interesting example just with the development of apps.
You have a whole can of app driven economy, you have a hole type of colours that are on On Demand services like uber or lyft that we were simply not physically possible 518 years ago just the infrastructure wasn't there.
I'm still at the type of company that makes the list of change and not surprisingly your things like manufacturing or not all that well represented today compared to 220 years ago, but you could do the 20th of the window I T Services companies either so it so it definitely is is it is a kind of feedback?
For change in the society in that's one of the things they think it's all about me.
We we genuinely believe that business can be a force for good of a force for positive change in the society.
We pay a lot of attention to the so-called conscious capitalism movement companies like TOMS good with the Pioneer the model of when you buy one, they give a pair of buy a pair of shoes that give a pair of shoes to to to poor people have giveaway hundreds of thousands of pairs of shoes if not millions of pairs of shoes we we celebrate those companies.
We interrogate those companies and and and we like to believe that we we help push these companies in the right direction the dominance of the big tech Giants by Amazon and Apple and Google a dangerous are they squeezing out innervation of the other empowering innovators another one here and it's a lot easier to start up a tech company today because of things like a Amazon storage write a minute you can you can have a tremendous amount of
Server capacity for a very very reasonable cost in the eye eye cover the the internet boom of the late 90s and early autumn out of the industry Standard magazine and companies need to raise millions and millions and millions of Dollars just to buy servers now.
You can get all that stuff as a service for a very reasonable amount per month for your company like Amazon simile with Facebook and Google I mean theory of the ability to target an audience from marketing perspective with using the tools of Facebook and google, who built his incredible witchcraft Witchcraft and it's really cheap to pay the basic truth is if you've got it if you've got a direct consumers start up now and you're making toothbrushes or eyeglasses or whatever it is and you're not spending 95% of your marketing budget on Facebook and go you doing something wrong.
It's incredibly cheap.
It's incredibly effective in there are no alternative on the other hand those.
companies are Ken Ken Kentucky when there have been many allegations that Amazon will simply find out you know kind of what's working with selling on Amazon and then and then push those companies inside and increase their own product lives up to that effect or Google I think raises a number of privacy issues as well as a lot of these companies doing so I think that there is a increasing realisation on the part of people who are running startups that these companies are not always your best friend and that you need while you are you may need to use them you'll also need them under the way that you use them and not fall into some of these Loops where they are kind of crowding out innovation and they are perhaps taking advantage of the things that they learn by offering the services that they do this is something something we've written about in the in in the publication in and got a lot of good feedback from readers about what's the culture like at the in the
Restaurant ribbon is compared to the UK I know that you got quite a unique take it because you spent a lot of time in the UK you've written about some the biggest shoes like I don't want to be comes with was entitled why you shouldn't freak out about brexit and interesting questions that I think you're uniquely able to answer in terms of the entrepreneurial culture of both the us and the UK and also the economic outlook for be curious to hear your take on that as well.
I would say that based on my time in in in the UK out of there from 2000-2006 there isn't the same kind of a celebration of entrepreneurship in the UK that you get in the United States are better words than that.
I'm not I'm not judging.
I think a lot of people in the UK expect startups to fail.
There's this kind of like I was all just going to go pear shaped dinner at the end of the day and that's that that that could be viewed as of kind of realism it could be viewed as a kind of pessimism the flip side of that is I think.
Many American operators could be accused of a certain i-vtec I thinking that because they want it's about of course is going to work and you know it again.
They were the role of ink is double help them but also point out to them that it doesn't it doesn't always work that way to Mystic fatalism but I think you know the other reality is that the United States of view of itself as an entrepreneur hub, is is beginning to deviate from from reality middle of the world economic Forum in and a few other organizations.
Look at these questions of how easy is it to start a business in these countries in the fact is the United States of slipping down that League table even you know without with a supposedly pro-business president and pro-business Congress and the reasons for that are are manifold and and and intimately write about but these days places like Singapore places like Israel places like even I think Denmark are are easier to start a business in then.
United States and the fact is startup formation in the United States has been on the decline for several years despite the fact as I mention before that it's easier in cheaper to do a lot of these things there is no real consensus on why that is the case.
I've seen people blame the amount of student debt that people have now as is greater in so they're there their they're risk-averse.
I've seen the fact that I've seen it the theory that in past generations of people who left the military started business is at a much higher rate than they're doing today at uwc certainly as the argument about taxation and regulation.
I take this with a grain of salt, but they could be a factor in this, but it is a really start facts, so I think while the US has a more pro-business more, you know that kind of frontier cowboy mentality and I'm going to be now when you're taking on myself and do it but the fact is it's it's not it's not happening at the rate that used to happen in and I don't know that our self assess.
Airsoft perception has caught up with those realities.
I've never bother arguing about hundred lesbian put off by the bureaucracy like I'm going to not start a business cos there's a government forms to fill in more than 6 countries that is that is the case.
There is a wonderful book by Hernando de Soto called the what is the mystery of capital or something like that one of the things that he does in their ranges countries by the amount of paperwork.
It takes to start a business in Uno 68 different countries and there are places.
I've been arguing again then performed.
I mean it really isn't saying but I don't think there's any of the OECD countries fall into that category.
I really don't again there are some cultural proclivities toward entrepreneurs and it'll probably stronger in some places and others you have you.
You have a greater government role in the economy in some European Nations than you do in in in most of the United States but these are these are kind of Sabrina grades of difference.
I don't think.
I don't think they're all that black and white the route of the fact is that there? Are you have they are terrific entrepreneurs in in the UK in terrific entrepreneurs in the US but I think I think we just we just look at them with slightly different expectations and and Pen prejudices you like to mention Singapore as I've been up there many times.
I got some plans out there and it is a real that are all cultural entrepreneurialism then it's driven and then they the definitely liverman tin of the politicians really want npower that it seems to me there in the US and in the UK that the entire political machine is paralysed with this huge issues of example here.
You are the love him or hate him but he just seems to dominate everything in the UK is brexit.
You're not asking our Prime Minister Theresa May's a reason doing a reasonably good job 95% of what's on a desk every day is going to be brexit.
She hasn't even got the mental Capacity no one would to deal with anything else, so we're on our own.
Yeah, I still have an entirely wrap my head around the brexit issue and Anna and I do want to be on.
The Promise has been made that it wouldn't be a second referendum, but my my sense is that sort of buyers remorse on brexit is pretty high and then there's a lot of people who voted for it.
I'm had not thought through the implications and the difficulty I'll be at the reference the pieces.
I wrote you know enough in a flareon in in 2016 right after the rota.
When is a grass car, thank you.
I went back and looked at it in and I think a lot a lot of it still Rings true, and I was I was writing specifically for an American audience that was on the verge of freaking out because what was going on like market.
You know that was a blip it turned out and it was one of the arguments and I made is that while the historic ties between the us and the UK are so strong the fact is is trading partners.
It's not it's not really that digger to York from again from the American perspectives of the bridge have their own reasons for freaking out or not freaking out but but I agree with you.
About the all-consuming nature of it and and and and what's so challenging about that isn't the vote was so now it's not like it was an 80 20 and then it dominates everything is ok, but this is the will the people it's not clear that it really was the will of the people and it's going to be that closed you really take a step that that that that momentous and I am I still not convinced.
It's going to happen and you've engage in the debate on how dangerous artificial intelligence will be to the Future of humanity.
I mean is this just a case of you watching Terminator 2 and then they're knocking an op-ed out.
I think I think it'd be issues of a real I mean on the one hand it is an extremely exciting time with all of the the rapid developments in in big data and an artificial intelligence and the way that is going to be applied in the business world in and in our lives.
I think that the sum of the Debate gets a little heated in a little over blown with.
Talking about you know robot Revolution believe my question was quite furry but but but there but there are very real issues.
I mean that you don't want one one thing that we wrote about recently involves self-driving cars are autonomous car have one.
Do you have a Tesla fantastic 7 Ford Mustangs all to cancel out the good time down.
There is a classic.
I think item in ethics courses in philosophy 101.
Course is called the trolley problem about whether you know whether you make a decision to sort of throw someone off a travel.
It's about the crash or not and will you save nnn factors that are autonomous cars are going to have to deal with this in there in their algorithm who killed my grandmother got run over is it the algorithms hi Natalie and an intimate? Just as there is no real answer to the trolley problem there there may be no real answer to this but but this is an example of I think that kind of issues that we're going to be grabbing within the 21st century similarly you got the whole.
Role of of robots and automation in the workplace is going to change the role that managers have we had a story in the November issue about a consultant that came into this.
It was like a real estate fulfillment form and a lot of their business was just cold calling just calling people up.
You know her.
Why have you paid your bills etc? Etc? And they cut they come in in the end.
They can automate several of these drugs and they this this one guy who'd been there for a long time when you saw this he started crying and it was really awkward for the consultants are coming because they thought oh my god.
He's sad about losing his job and in fact he was crying because he was relieved of the drudgery of doing this awful work day in and day out his enjoy it tiers of Joy realise that he could now maybe do something interesting because this machine could do his job for him these types of of of issues about your what is the work that humans should do that.
They do best verses.
Have they done all alaska's it needed to be done we didn't know what the technology behind it was these types of questions are going to be confronting the managers of the future and you know we think feel like it's time to start thinking about them discuss them and where is a conversation heading then.
There is a lot to be said for the technology that can do repetitive tasks that can do tasks that are necessary to a business's day-to-day functions, but not necessarily helping that business distinguished so strategically or grow and to concentrate the creative and uniquely human resources on those places where they can make the most difference.
That sounds great and Siri how do you do in practice but I think we can all should have a look at the way our lives are going and realised that you noticed so many of the things that consume our time are really quite road, and you know I was reading in the New York Times today in articles basically like the fact that a lot of your email can now.
The automated shows you how much time you been wasting with your stupid email that you don't really need to do and if you can find ways to to sort of shift that activity to automation and attacking at your offend anybody hurt anybody's feeling that you should do that because you can make better use of your time doing something that cannot be automated and getting that equation right.
I think is going to be the difference between a wireless successful businesses and a lot of businesses that gets stuck.
Yes, I call that a Starbucks barista problem because not to be mean but a barista does but 99% of the actual making of the latter could easily be automated.
Yeah by machine imagine Starbucks stuff think that their customers value the fact that a human being warms the milk and makes it but they don't have to do that.
That's my point I like that.
I like making eye contact and having a conversation with somebody to make up a delivery of the wrong actually cheaper then ultimately I don't want that person.
They're quite happy for it to be a machine.
We were pasties Brahms all the time there are classic examples of Dino buggy whip right people work in the body with factory or people to but you don't need buggy whips if you have cars in so that the but there is that kind of planned obsolescence vs.
Urandom with the Market Force obsolescence so again that the idea that you want.
We'll start vouchers have those people doing something else that machines can't do and it's either we wasted in in in in in manufacturing we say sit in in agriculture.
We visit in all all sorts of sectors.
I'm in medicine.
You know how I've seen these little Robots did it go around in hospitals now delivering you know pharmaceuticals from point a to point B that used to be done by a pharmacist used to be done by a nurse and then it while you don't you don't suit the idea of this place and people from from job but the Challenge for I think the
The companies of the future is what can people do that only people can do and how do you deploy your workforce in in that most effective way while trying to use the cutting-edge technology to do stuff that they can do we don't have it right.
You know there's no question that that that Society does not have this right yet, but as I said we are trying to push the conversation and it's really fascinating to think about and it's even more fascinating to think that some jobs at might have a hybrid of human and hot sativa journalism for example some of the sports results columns now is my dad's in this could be a Turing test but but also some of the can of Stock Exchange reporting as well as a semi-automated even now absolutely no way I was working at reuters shortly after they did this you know at that time so tremendously revolutionary thing was they they they moved the routine coverage of quarterly earnings announcements to Bangalore where the label was.
Too much cheaper and so he's kind of weird.
Cos you BTW be reading a story about in our company in Cupertino announcing its earnings ended date line on the story would be Bangalore as a little disconcerted next step is to simply automate that and and quite frankly that's already happening with that that that that level of a very formulaic news writing can now be done by machines and it'll give you the likes of writers.
So then what do you do with those reported that that your challenge and like many employers they'll probably just let them off because from a from a purely private point of view that makes sense that the hidden challenge.
There are the hidden possibly hidden profit.
Is there may be some even better more creative than that those people can do you just have to figure out what it is as a company as a manager or an elegant.
I think that's with that one of the great roles of entrepreneurs doesn't come in and figure that balance out.
The the the bigger companies are missing because they're so focused on that profit.
So he's a book that of robot couldn't have written one Nation Under god.
I've not read it.
I bought it actually I know others have looked in preparation for this meeting is it actually struck me as incredibly fascinating that you've got to the root of the American fascination with gold and it's impact on policy.
It's really interesting as the inspiration for this book came in in 2012.
I was watching the Republican presidential primaries and it dawned on me that there were seven men on stage and of them sex said that if elected president they would either restored United States to the gold standard for seriously consider restoring United States to gold standard and and it struck me that no other nation of any size or import.
Is that a major debate in the one of the largest political party like that.
Just not a debate it's happening anywhere else in why is that and so the more?
The more I dug into it the more if your school is better for nuggets.
I begin to find in any of you think about this continent.
It was quote unquote discovered by people who thought they were going to find gold amulet.
That was the one of the motivations for the dodo the Western explorers and then after a few hundred years is kind of comes through I in in California and an l&d of the attitude is really fascinating to go back and read the contemporary attitudes about the discovery of gold in California Yoda work there were definitely some who denounced it as being of the inevitable source of evil and corruption of of of man, but more often the the attitude was God has put this metal here for us.
It is part of the Divine plan, it is it is proof positive that Americans are destined to be wealthy and
Scented manifest American president of American men and I think no one almost no one would make that argument today.
It's still there.
I think in the back of our minds and yet has had this amazing.
I end end indomitable impact on American politics not always for the good.
There's nothing quite a lot of damage that gets done when you tie your currency to a bum you know any any physical commodity book particularly one that has to be in our excavated in process than she has it has some very useful dustrial applications.
It is fine conductor of of of of electricity in it it it it it it it Indestructible it does have some some some good physical properties, but the the idea of Tanya currency to it is located as a barber barber acrylic and NN really quite damaging and na na na one of the reasons why I wanted to write the book was.
The kind of argue against this I'm not kind of often unconscious or semiconscious idea that we be better off if we turned our or currency to her to a metal and below the book The Book found a good ideas for it.
So I'm really happy to have have published it and I am in no hurry to read another 20 cuz it was a lot of work.
I have written a book as well, and it was just help from start to finish you allowed It A Year to write it.
It'll be 4 years to figure out the door.
Yeah, that's that's about right and the last couple of years.
It was just like wading through treacle wasn't it was for me anyway, when you're talking about that mate his fascination with gold bows Conjuring up images of Donald Trump in his gold play absolutely absolutely euro garages in so many of the trump properties do these someone actually said I should try and add up all the gold in on interim properties which is good idea to publicize the book but I never got around to doing it, but yeah, I mean it's it's it's it's part of our culture.
No, you still have wiener rappers with with gold teeth and you don't we talk about the ghost of this being the gold standard in a gold record mean.
It's its its.
It's literally woven into our language and our culture and I think that's that indicative of of of of of mankind's fascination with go but there is this peculiarly American attitude as well and I am out the anybody who is interested in this will pick up Harvey the book absolutely right that was being have been a great canvas for you as a journalist who was fantastic.
Really not done a lot of opinion or it's not very consistently prior to am I taking that position are Middlesbrough part of it was quite uncomfortable because they
It would somehow undermine the credibility of the of the of the Newswire I think most most people got over that but it was part of a broader digital reimagine of reuters which quite frankly didn't work out of The Wizard playing it says he's actually these kind of dismantled most but not all of the opinion section but yeah for a few years.
I symbols is a terrific team of contributors are people from the UK like any tool koletzki and John Lloyd in the US Susan glasser Jack Schaefer David Road it was Mohamed el-erian the head of HR pimco.
It was it was a real effort to do opinion pieces that were not the kind of you know left right shouting heart take stuff.
There's there's so much are politically charged opinion we want to do something.
Different we certainly wanted the riders to have opinions it was the opinion section but we one of them to actually make the argument spelling the used statistically one of them to look at issues the way that economists and business people look at them as opposed to political partisans, which is the way that so much of this material gets gets dealt with one of the one of the side effects of of the approach was I suppose I'm telling tales will be that's cool enough time has passed.
This is ok from time to time I would get indications from on high that we should really make sure to reflect a conservative political viewpoint so I spent a fair amount.
I am I was talking Jesus level.
Make sure that we will be that we had in our least one reliable conservative columnist and so I I sort out you don't many of the folks who are on the right writing for places like the Financial Times in Forbes in the washing line.
It was actually these folks.
Are you know quite in demand in and and commanding good good paychecks, and so it was it wasn't all that easy and then I settled on a really really smart guy who had worked on Capitol Hill in was writing his kind of been a wonky pro-market pieces for us and then a few months went by and and working down again and realise that even though I had hired at this conservative councils reading every week in was really quite good because he wasn't jumping up and down with leg veins coming out of his did no one perceive them as a conservative.
They wanted like the rum.
He can serve as well, so it kind of circle.
My car on itself that's not that's not the reason why they should have down the ultimately they didn't really find a way to make usage of the same money out of the opinion that were producing.
It's a shame I long for that.
There was some market potential there so just for example and you think of the average American newspaper now if they ever employed colonists to write opinion pieces for there a bit of that those jobs are long gone and it's all syndication now, but you if you're already ordered subscriber.
You could subscribe to the opinion section in put some other folks in the paper 2 hours that was a market there, but actually delivering that proved something that was a lot harder than than a father being so at the end of the day after a 304 years day baby larger cut back on the opinion which is do that.
We we somebody's some of the great team.
I got to edit some fantastic Fox
And I moved on what type of editor.
Are you? How do you go about your job without getting to existential about you know what is a typical week and you know I've interviewed literally dozens upon dozens of editors and it's fascinating to see the differences in how they go about doing it.
You know this level one of the things that are not sure that it is apparent that most people outside or even inside the organization the amount of actual everything that I do is a pretty small part of my leg.
You know I mentioned before that the website is publishing you know 607080 piece of the day.
I don't have those pieces of huge number of them are bubbles without my ever seen them.
It's just the volume is too high.
I mean that's true for a lot of places in the magazine.
I certainly edit everything that goes in it.
I buy we are usually several times, but the owner I have I have some great folks who work for me I trust them and they produce terrific.
I have suggestions.
I may have them up of sources.
I may give feedback on a p singer needs more of this or any bless of that should be restructured differently but I do I do not have put a lot of value in finding the right riders and finding the right editors and then kind of getting out of there way.
I'm not I wouldn't consider myself a micromanager is an editor you know I spend a certain amount of time putting up planning future issues or latter times in strategy meetings a lot of time working with the business side because that's a big part of what the lump the 21st century publication looks like a lot of discussions about you know.
What can we do that? Will that will excite advertisers? What can we do to me to meet the market needs, but actual kind of you sitting down with the paper in mm in a cutting words and stuff.
I do it but I would say it's if it's 20% of my time.
That's that's probably high estimate all those up.
There's a lot of meetings.
There's a lot of meetings.
And if you could clone yourself, so that you could send the other you to some of those meetings that you're not that particularly bothered about the have to be there which which would you work which would you send the other guy to the web strategy meeting? I think I would send them to some of the some of the meetings with the other departments like marketing and sales heating advised and Anna and I would spend I would spend more time.
I think with the with the magazine itself, but it again it's it's you know.
It's a machine.
I have got a terrific staff at the machine that runs itself reasonably well, you know I have to put out some fires now and again.
You know what without putting together the current issue with some happy occasion that they've sold a lot of the heads and so we actually need some stories that we didn't initially planned for weighing myself and I Zayn extendable magazine.
Can you believe it? So it so they were there of things like that that need doing in there.
Are there a lot of choices about you don't different photographs of should we have a chart that accompanies this those types of things and I
Enjoy that stuff but it again it's striking to me.
How little of my day is is actually taken up with that lot of listeners that are aspiring journalist and students and so on then and I'm as with anything like me when I was at that age.
I was incredibly ambitious now would reading and I will say I want to be added to have in one day 20 years from now.
That will be me at the top of the masthead.
What advice would you give to that person now listening that 20 years from now wants to be the next to you.
Well, I didn't us a Spiderman kind of fell into this job in quite happily, but before I was a business journalist.
I really Focus more on politics and media.
I kind of Ruin to business journalism starting in the in the mid-to-late 90s couple of things one is that you can't get to Addicted to any kind of platform if you talk about a 20-year horizon.
I don't want to make any predictions.
I certainly hope the printer still around but it's no secret that print represents a declining percentage of white publications like ours.
Without a tissues a year it had been 12 and it was standing outside I certainly hope it doesn't go any lower than that because it some point why you doing it anyway? I know I would doing it out and I can make up a part in the defence of print, but I wouldn't bet the house on it if we talking about 20 year Horizon so don't get addicted to any given platform and internet even through diddly.
I mean the the way that the digital content has changed his also fascinating in a wee-wee went from a period where virtually everyone was reading in.com on a desktop to be having to be mobile-friendly in in a relatively short period of time in that wouldn't been 20 years that will be replaced by something else you Know Podcast will be delivered in the different for I'm sure video maybe you're really really important or be surpassed by some augmented reality things so that you hear about.
Talking about brands which can be you know both boring and euphemistic, but but the brand is what type is different platforms together and so to think about things in terms of what a brand delivers in butter brands Commitments are rather than any given platform.
That's that's number one but the second thing that we we have it we have a running Rubik in the magazine notes to my younger self something of this that way I would have been well served to learn about the business side of media are much sooner than I did I kind of fell into it as a media reporter in advanta quite interesting and sometimes a little depressing but that's that are really really useful thing to know as you as you go into the market to understand where the revenues come from what relationship does advertising have to editorial content but relationship.
Could it have what relationship should it have what are the revolut app?
Kennedy's outside of advertising so you don't want to think it's really important thing is our conferences.
We get a lot of money from people who were going to pay to come to work offices franchises like being 5000 people pay thousands and thousands of companies pay to get into that and to be able to think about what sustains the kind of journalism that we that we celebrate and that we want them we want to keep doing that will make you a very valuable editor very valuable reporter and if you if you can think those, where is the other thing? I would say is that while it's important to have a niche and animated you think of Incas as a kind of niche.
It's not it's not just business during was but it is particularly about growth and entrepreneurs and startups at the said there's a tough-minded optimism yeah it down Outwood looking nurse without really like but won't important to developing expertise in and it is also really really important to not lose.
Krakow broader issues to eat you know that there is a race that you start paying attention to politics.
Are you stop paying attention to culture or you stop stop paying it because you because you're so focused on what your doing and no we're not going to run a piece about Harborough right.
So why should I read about alphabet but actually you're a better editor if you're if you've got a diversity of interests in if you keep track of what's going on in the rest of the world in it'll make you smarter.
It'll make you more creative and a little little ultimately serve your reader's better.
If you don't become too narrow in your in your passions James have learnt a huge amount.
Thank you ever so much.
It's been my pleasure podcast with big things Media
Lots more recommendations to read at Trends - ukfree.tv.
Summaries are done by Clipped-Your articles and documents summarized.
CommentsYour comment please