Co-founder, Editor, Publisher ﾕ Make
Dougherty and his team have resurrected an era where magazines achieved cult status, and in the process have created a print, online and in-person triple threat.
Make, a tech-oriented magazine packed with do-it-yourself projects that harkens back to mid-century titles such as Popular Science, has managed to become a magnet that pulls a once-disparate community of hackers and tinkerers together (the first issue in 2005 instructed readers how do aerial photography with a kite). “The magazine means something to the readers and that’s really satisfying,” says editor and publisher Dale Dougherty. “I think we have partly redefined what a magazine is. We targeted an audience and their passions first, not the advertiser. In the age of the Internet when everything is broken into bits, we’re giving them a movie rather than a soundbite.”
Dougherty has kept Make at a quarterly frequency;”I thought when we started we’d go up to six or eight issues, but we’re happy with four,” says Dougherty. Indeed, as a magazine-book hybrid, Make has a longer shelf life and subsequently enjoys a 65 percent sellthrough rate, more than double the industry average.
Dougherty has filled in the time gaps between issues with a robust Web site and a hugely popular event. The site, which averages 4 million page views per month, accounts for two-thirds of the magazine’s 45,000 subscriptions and has become the gathering place for the reader community. “It’s about them, not Make,” says Dougherty.
A weekly podcast called Weekend Project has made Apple’s iTunes Top 50 downloads list. The Web site also has an active ecommerce function, raking in about $750,000 yearly in merchandise sales. Make also sells box sets of a year’s worth of magazines. The first year has sold about 5,000 copies and the second year 1,000 so far.
Make, with a total paid circ of 90,000, has developed an enviably solid position in online;4 million pages view per month;and events;such as Maker Faire.