For Publishing Success, Look to an Older, Truer Example of ‘The Voice’

When I was a young and very impressionable publisher at the ripe age of 19 or so, I stumbled upon Forbes Magazine. At that time it was championed and published by the none too subtle and sublime Malcomb Forbes, the son of Forbes magazine founder BC Forbes.

Malcolm was always bigger than life in a time when life was pretty damn big. He dabbled in politics and then gave the rest of his professional life to his father’s magazine and also to the fun involved in being an extremely prosperous publisher in the heyday of New York publishing.

Malcolm Forbes had a lavish lifestyle with his private jet called the Capitalist Tool and his yacht called the Highlander, which was parked at the 23rd street pier in NYC on many an occasion. He had a huge art collection and also a substantial collection of Harley-Davidson motorbikes, a French Chateau and several collections of uniquely shaped hot air balloons not mention a collection of Fabergé eggs.

But that is not what I want to tell you about. What impressed me the most and what is still reverberating in my heart as a publisher is the voice of Forbes Magazine. That voice was Malcolm’s voice—clear, identifiable and pervasive on every page throughout the magazine.

There might be many reasons that I have been successful with all my publications, but I hold the very distant mentorship of Malcolm Forbes as a shining light to us all, of how to be recognized in a sea of multi-title wannabe’s. The answer to success in publishing is and always has always been to have a unique and recognizable voice worth listening to. That identifiable voice exists today when I write blogs, articles, and continue to publish the world’s oldest newsletter. It has always been prevalent in what I do. If there is a secret to the success of this process it is because it has a clear and an identifiable voice. So I say with great humbleness, thanks Malcolm—for showing the way.

Bob Sacks (aka BoSacks) is a printing/publishing industry consultant and president of The Precision Media Group (BoSacks.com). He is also the co-founder of the research company Media-Ideas (Media-Ideas.net), and publisher and editor of a daily international e-newsletter, Heard on the Web. Sacks has held posts as director of manufacturing and distribution, senior sales manager (paper), chief of operations, pressman, circulator and almost every other job this industry has to offer.

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