I was excited to attend my first FOLIO: Show in ages, and after a slow start that included HTC’S awkward plea for VR content and some uninspired Facebook examples, things picked up with some great presentations from National Geographic, Harvard Business Review, The Foundry, and Revmade. While I didn’t come across anything particularly new, there were some solid takeaways that I found helpful and heartening.
I had the privilege of being one of the fifty voices included in Molly’s excellent feature at Brooklyn Magazine (the interview for which inspired my last post), and it’s a must-read for everyone in publishing. It left me with mixed emotions, no less frustrated with the industry and still vaguely optimistic that real change is on the horizon. Maybe. Go read it and share it widely.
If you’re white and work in publishing, the path to creating a more diverse industry that represents the real world is actually a lot clearer than it is for those who are underrepresented. You’re the default; you have access and influence and the ability to drive change from the inside. And thankfully, I know many who are doing exactly that and I appreciate their efforts. But what about the rest of us? How can we help drive change in this industry we care so much about, despite it so often not caring all that much about us?
Having spent the last 12+ years helping legacy print brands navigate the digital transition (excepting that 18-month run building DBW from scratch), I’m excited about the opportunity to jump into the digital present with both feet, no print crutch in sight. I still love the magazine industry and have a fondness for print that will never die, but I couldn’t resist an opportunity to help build something in the digital book world that will challenge me in new ways and allow me to expand upon skills that have always been somewhat constrained in print-centric environments.
That desire for community, to connect with others who share your interests, is what drives the best and worst of what, as a whole, makes the internet so invaluable — from the early days of Usenet to Tumblr and whatever comes next — and for some (including business execs who don’t get it), so dangerous. I’m sure there are plenty of business lessons to be learned from all of this, and I’m sure there will be plenty of think pieces and hot takes addressing those, but I’m far more interested in grappling with the human element.