The Next Wave of Publishers (or “I got my MBA by starting a magazine”)

Rafat, Spiers, and Malik all have backers for their blogs/content sites now. The guard is changing, and a new generation of publishers have taken center stage.

Now that they’ve got their shot it will be interesting to see who makes it to the finish line. As I’ve told all three of these stars: STARTING IS EASY, FINISHING IS HARD. John Battelle, Tony Perkins, Chris Alden, and I were all part of the first wave of publishers back in the Web 1.0 era, and we’ve all moved on to bigger plays. When I say bigger I mean that we’re all doing things that are larger in ambition than just publishing something like Industry Standard, Red Herring, and Silicon Alley Reporter (or PaidContent, DealBreaker, and GigaOm).

There is an interesting trend here I think. Some of the best entrepreneurs I know learned their skills by building a publication. It’s sort of like getting an MBA in my experience: you learn how to make a brand, scale a brand, reach an audience, build a sales department, and eventually how to exit (hopefully they exist better than Battelle, Perkins, and I did in the first round!!!).

Congrats to all, and I can’t wait to see where these folks are in 10 years. There were a whole group of publishers who were part of the Web 1.0 publishing movement that have just checked out (Alleycat ladies, @NY guys, the Upside team, Inside.com’s dream team, iVillage, etc). I think some folks go through the grueling process of starting a pub and just give up on doing it again.

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