oct 17

Why Industries Die

Clearly the strangest part of the NYT Mag's interview with Ruth Reichl:

[Gourmet] has a legendary renewal rate. They would never tell me exactly what it was. I kept asking: "What does that mean? What are you talking about?" And they just kept saying: "It's great. People buy Gourmet forever."

This reminds me of NYTimes.com's lead editor saying he has no idea of their metrics. I understand why editors might want to shield their publications from the vagaries of metrics, but to completely ignore them seems like suicide.

1 comment

Hi Rex,
I think what you're missing is that publishers (not editors) control information on things like renewal rates and metrics, and they're often quite dedicated to not sharing that information because if they did the editor could use it as leverage to get a raise.
There's often little transparency between editor and publisher because of issues like that, and also issues of the publisher trying not to/trying not to be seen as influencing the editorial side's coverage, which both upsets the editorial side and damages the brand.
So, you're right in aggregate, it is probably a strategy for suicide, but the reason behind it isn't willful arrogance and ignorance, it's probably simpler than that, merely a tradition of management keeping labor in the dark both for labor's perceived own good (not biasing them) and for management's own good (keeping labor cost down.)

posted by Dara at 12:06 PM on October 22, 2009

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