November 15, 2007
Magazine makes GOOD on charity lifestyle
(Page 2 - Previous Page)"I'm still trying to figure out how I identify myself," said Goldhirsh, who said he's rarely been to temple since his bar mitzvah. "A Bostonian? A businessman in the mediaspace? An American? A Jew? A Human?"
"I'm starting with the broadest one -- I'm human. That is the common theme that exists within all the decisions I make. If I am cause agnostic, that is my passion: the potential of our species."
Human potential is the real capital that GOOD is trying to generate. But magazine publishing is littered with the carcasses of ostensibly relevant publications that suffered some fatal flaw -- think George or Teen People.
"I've seen great ideas go down in flames because the timing was off," said Lou Ann Sabatier, principal of Sabatier Consulting Group outside Washington, D.C. "Here, the time was dead on."
Things have gone well for GOOD thus far. The seminal issue, featuring an essay by economist Jeffrey Sachs calling for an end to poverty and another piece about the United States' place in the world by New Yorker financial columnist James Surowiecki, was received well in the magazine world.
"I was really surprised at how much I wanted to read it, and how good it looked on a first glance of a first issue," Kurt Anderson, a former editor and founder of magazines such as Spy and Inside.Com, told the New York Times. "First issues aren't necessarily great, but I was impressed by how it looked, the writers they got to write. It's an interesting idea. Lord knows if they can make a go of it commercially."
Goldhirsh, who put $2.5 million of his own money into starting the magazine, said the publication is still running in the red, but that it is ahead of schedule to get in the black, something Sabatier said about 25 percent of the magazines published never do. But Goldhirsh doesn't want to be subsidizing GOOD for the next 50 years. It's either going to survive on it's own, he said, or die trying.
"We are on the precipice of becoming a great business or becoming a great case study on blown potential," Goldhirsh said. "I'm serious, and I'm losing sleep over it."
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