Portfolio’s David Carey: ‘Stay Outside Your Comfort Zone’
David Carey, group publisher and publishing director of Conde Nast Portfolio/Business Media thinks that the magazine industry is currently outside of its comfort zone, and that’s not a bad thing. “The industry is at an inflection point,” Carey said. “We’re watching the newspaper industry write its own obituary. We must avoid that for magazines.”
During a luncheon presentation at the 2007 Folio: Show Monday, Carey highlighted a career in which he’s flouted the conventional wisdom and moved outside his comfort zone whenever he got too settled into a position to achieve success with products ranging from the launch of Smart Money during the first Gulf War, the re-launch of House & Garden, the rejuvenation of the New Yorker into being a financial success, and now Portfolio, which debuted in May and went monthly with its September issue. “Launching a big, thick business magazine in 2007, who thought that was possible?” said Carey.
Carey said that dealing with the criticism and nay-saying he experienced working with Smart Money and House & Garden prepared him for much of the negative reaction to Portfolio from the competition and bloggers. “It’s the job of your competitors to do everything they can to slow you down,” Carey said. “Your job is to use the flexibility of your new product to outthink the legacy competition.”
Staying close to his market is key. Carrey puts his own business card in each issue of Portfolio under the title, “Open for Business, Open to Feedback,” a practice that’s yielded hundreds of responses to which Carey says he’s responded to every one. “When they get a prompt reply from an actual person, it humanizes the product,” Carey said.
Three elements are key to succeeding in this business climate, according to Carey: trust your intuition; learn to ignore the conventional wisdom and discover most soul-satisfying moments of your career.