Stay Calm, Don't Panic ... and Step Away From the Ledge
I've been in the crisis business my whole career. In one form or another, I've been putting out corporate fires for almost 40 years. Perhaps that is part of the reason why I became a Volunteer Firefighter four years ago.
You can ask any of my old publishing cronies -- the bigger the problem, the calmer and more deliberate I become. I don't know why it is that way for me, it just is. I remember many an editor who was in total panic mode and was always annoyed that I never shared in the panic. So far as the magazine business goes, there has always been a solution, and to the best of my memory, I have never shipped a magazine late.
The reason I bring all this up is a reflection on the current financial crisis. What does it mean for the country, what does it mean for the industry, and most importantly what does it mean for us and our families?
I don't know the answer to this problem. Nor do I think there is a printer or supplier that I can call for an answer as I have done in times past. This is bigger than anything we have had to face as an industry or personally as family members and providers. There is no road map and there is no past experience to guide our way. Except perhaps to stay calm. That is what I intend to do. Panicked people generally make bad decisions, while calm people tend to be rational and capable of solving the problems on hand.
There are several things to remember. The country, the world, and our industry have gone through this before. In fact, there were many new magazines started in the last depression that are still around today. Did you know that the first issue of Fortune magazine was published in February of 1930, four months after the stock market crash of 1929?
I'll close with this thought -- the magazine industry, the advertising industry and the newly emerging digital information industry are not going to go away. All three will survive, get stronger and be better at what they do. Your job is to stay calm, stick around and be there as they do.