On the Fast Track
When Time Inc.'s Business 2.0 ceased publication in October 2007, advertisers weren't sure if this boded well or not for Fast Company, she says. "We had to go back and tell advertisers, ‘This is still a vibrant book, it's always been a vibrant book to readers, [and] it's our job to communicate to you that it isn't just a dot-com book.'"
Osekoski speaks of the magazine with the pride and pleasure that comes from watching a product "arise from the ashes," as she puts it, to achieve success: exploding revenues (up 23 percent from '06 to '07, with growth this year expected above 30 percent), awards (two Loeb Awards in a row, most recently for the 2007 article, "Message in a Bottle," on the environmental impact of bottled water) and double-digit newsstand growth. It's a 21st-century success story wrapped in what many still see as a late '90s brand.
"We proved everybody wrong," Osekoski says. "When I came on, [Publishing Director] Jayson Goldberg said, ‘Are you afraid?' [and] I said, ‘Are you kidding? There's nowhere to go but up!'"
Osekoski believes Fast Company's emphasis on producing a quality print product is an essential part of the magazine's ability to keep and attract readers.
"There are a lot of questions in the ad marketplace about media mix," she says. "Most advertisers regale print as [a] great medium; however, I think with newsweeklies and business books, [advertisers] are wondering what [information] the consumer is already seeing [by the time the print publication comes out]. I'm a consumer, I read the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, I get news online .... We have a challenge because we're a monthly, so we have to close earlier and make sure our stories are fresh."
Fast Company's goal, therefore, is to truly be an idea leader - offering "not just information, but ideas and inspiration," Osekoski says. "We are starting the conversation, and that's a buzz phrase that a lot of people use, but I feel strongly that we do it so well, and we deliver on that promise," she says.