Overheard at IMAG

Random notes from Boulder, Colorado.

Tony Silber By Tony Silber
05/22/2009 -09:19 AM

BOULDER, Colorado—The IMAG conference—a gathering of some of the best and brightest independent (and independent-minded) magazine publishers—wrapped up earlier this week. Here are some leftover notes, quotes, and erstwhile inspiration from my notebook.

•    In opening remarks, conference chairman Andy Clurman told attendees that the event would be a worry-free zone. “After all,” he said, “you are in Boulder, Colorado, or as we like to say, 25 beautiful square miles surrounded by reality.”

•    Bob Sacks of Precision Media Group gave a great luncheon keynote, but he didn’t necessarily adhere to what an earlier presenter, Len Burnett of Uptown Media, described as the five “Bs” of preaching: “Be brief, brother, be brief.”

•    Rick Jones, president and CEO of DLG Marketing, told attendees that he does not like being called a vendor. “That denigrates us,” he said. “We want to be seen as a partner.” To which Clay Hall, CEO of Aspire Media, later responded: “Mr. Jones says, ‘Don’t call me your vendor. I want to be your partner.’ And I say my partners share my risk. And then the vendors shut up. Then they’re happy being a vendor.”

•    The opening reception was held at the Colorado University stadium, which offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. Perched prominently on one of those mountains is the large all-glass home of John Toomas Cabell, CEO of Cue Ball, an international magazine and media licensing firm. Cabell and a pre-event party he hosted at that house became the topic of conversation at a cocktail reception, as the sun glinted off the house. The stairs in the house had to be an exact replica of the stairs in Apple stores, noted one attendee. Another attendee wondered at how the house got zoning approval in Boulder, which he said is meticulous about what it allows to be built in the hills around the city. A third noted that Cabell asked him why he moved from Boulder to a presumably less glamorous locale. His response: “So I didn’t have to hear anymore people say how smart they were to move to Boulder.”

•    From a conversation with a supplier after a session on the online magazine-on-demand site “Wasn’t that just a commercial? Hey, I’d do that.”

•    Publishing entrepreneur extraordinaire Dan Weisner on the old days of publishing: “I miss the days when you could go write a few stories, sell a few ads and off you go.”


Tony Silber By Tony Silber --

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