Goodbye to Pat McGovern, Founder of IDG
I worked for Pat McGovern in the late 1980’s, a sort of golden era for IDG, the International Data Group. I worked in the consumer division, located in Peterborough New Hampshire. Some of IDG’s consumer publications had been launched by Wayne Green, a brilliant and colorful character in his own right; many others were launched in that Peterborough lab during those years of creativity and opportunity: magazines for the Apple, for the PC, for portable computing and family computing; some of the first “disk” magazines; and, from Patrick Ferrell in California, the first consumer gaming magazine, GamePro.
Many, maybe all, of those magazines are now dead—the tech world has always moved quickly. But the publishing universe is filled with IDG alums, people who learned their lessons from McGovern and the principles he established for success in his companies.
One of McGovern’s principles we learned was the value of entrepreneurial business units. These competing units could learn from one another, could sometimes share resources, but would stand or fall independently of one another, based on their individual viability.
Another was to run the business according to the numbers. What graduate of the IDG school of publishing does not remember 30-60-90s, those projections that required monthly updating? Who can forget being in the hot seat when the numbers didn’t meet earlier projections? Even if they overshot projections by too much there was explaining to do—excessive conservatism for the sake of making goals more achievable was frowned upon.
Every Christmas Pat would come around to every employee and personally hand them a bonus check. Every Christmas he would stand and chat for a few minutes. While like many busy and successful people he did have someone to prompt and remind him, what impressed me was how much he remembered. I would see him at parties and he would remember what I had told him a year, two years before about newsstand sales.
I learned a lot from McGovern and from the people he trained and mentored. I and my family owe him a very great deal.
Thank you, Pat McGovern, for many great years of business leadership.
Linda Ruth, as president of PSCS Consulting (www.PSCSConsulting.com), offers communication companies worldwide the keys to magazine launches, search engine optimization and audience development online and at retail. She is a pioneer in the fields of Online Audience Optimization (OAO) and gamification for content publishers. Her books, "Internet Marketing for Magazine Publishers" ; "How to Market your Newsstand Magazine"; and "Secrets of SEO for Publishers" can be found on Amazon. Find her online at Google Plus, Magazine Dojo, LinkedIn, and Twitter @Linda_Ruth.