Founder ﾕ Mansueto Ventures LLC
Fast Company and Inc. returned to their entrepreneurial roots when Mansueto Ventures acquired the magazines for a song, relatively speaking, in June 2005. Joe Mansueto, who formed Mansueto Ventures to acquire the publications, is also chairman and CEO ; and founder; of Morningstar, Inc., which has no involvement with the magazines.
Some observers thought that Joe Mansueto was making a mistake by buying Fast Company and Inc., two respected magazines that were hit hard when the economy plummeted a few years ago. Instead, the investor’s long-term view has turned the tide, and the two magazines are succeeding once again.
Prior to the acquisitions, budget cuts lowered the quality of the magazines. To reverse that downward spiral, Mansueto focused on bringing back that quality. “We couldn’t ask advertisers to invest in a magazine that we weren’t investing in ourselves,” he says.
All facets of the magazines were strengthened; editorial, paper stock, newsstand draw, marketing, ancillary products. “I want to publish the best journalism that we can produce,” Mansueto says. “That means setting high standards and having a very open environment that supports the staff.”
Both titles saw growth in 2006, online and in print. Mansueto Digital manages the online business, which represented about 15 percent of revenue in 2006 and is expected to approach 20 percent this year.
One of the things that attracted Mansueto to Inc. and Fast Company was the power of their brands; so brand building is also very much a part of his strategy. “We’re all competing for people’s time, and they look to brands,” he says. “If you don’t have a good brand, it’s much harder to prosper.”
Mansueto advises other publishers to focus on putting out a high-quality publication and to think long term. “You have to get on the upward spiral,” he says. “Investing in the magazine is the only way to attract more readers and generate advertising. A short-term, myopic, P&L-based focus and budget cuts will only hasten your demise.”
In second-half 2006, Fast Company reported paid circulation of 750,000, a 37 percent increase in newsstand sales. PIB ad pages increased 9.2 percent. Inc. reported a paid circulation of 690,000, a 47 percent increase in newsstand sales, and a 6.4 percent increase in PIB ad pages. FastCompany.com and Inc.com together reach 1.4 million visitors per month and have quadrupled revenue and tripled page views since 2004.