General Motors had too many brands, a bloated corporate structure, unmatched arrogance and totally ignored new competitors. Major magazine companies have had their challenges too, but Meredith, Time Inc., Hearst and many others have been able to adjust more nimbly and effectively to the new media world and traditional print dollars shifting to the Internet, etc. On the other hand, Conde Nast is still living in the past with its mammoth corporate structure, ongoing perks, large staffs that defy industry averages in both size and pay scale.
While McKinsey got Conde to shut down a few titles such as Gourmet, that was actually one of its most trusted brands. McKinsey and Conde Nast have yet to figure out how to make money with digital or hire the right people to create new digital profit centers.
Si Newhouse passed on air rights, i.e. signage for the new Conde Nast building, years ago. Si was a great print innovator but he seems out of touch and outdated in the new digital world. The Newhouses could have easily invested in new media companies years ago. Instead they ran their magazines and newspapers as if nothing was going to change. Even with 5, 10 or even 20% head count reductions Conde Nast would still be a bloated company. Its digital management team is basically the same as when Conde Net was launched years ago. This team brilliantly ignored their brand equity and launched sites no one had ever heard of. It has been late to the table in everything but increased head counts and budgets over the past decade. Unless Conde makes some draconian changes and paradigm shifts, the younger Newhouses could force the older Newhouses to sell it.
KEN AULETTA's NEW BOOK "Googled: The End of The World as We Know It" (Penguin Press) should be a must read for every media executive. The book explains Google's brilliant strategy and unorthodox management structure. The book has two relevant major themes. One focuses on how Google works and why it works so well. The other is about how engineers of the Internet changed advertising and media forever. Auletta even provides analysis from Mel Karmazin, Robert Iger and other media leaders on how Google diminished their business. Ken Auletta is without question the best media writer in the business today.
Steve's new book You Can't Fall Off The Floor - The Insiders' Guide to Re-Inventing Yourself and Your Career chronicles his 50 year career working for over 25 different companies with 189 lessons learned and insider tips from Gayle King, Cathie Black, Chuck Townsend and 28 others; Blacker is still going strong today as a partner in Frankfurt & Blacker Solutions, LLC. His web site is blacker-reinventions.com and e-mail address is email@example.com
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