FAST COMPANY IN THE NEWS: Min, May 14, 2007
NEW "FAST COMPANY" EDITOR SAFIAN MADE TURNING DOWN $1 BILLION TOP PRIORITY...
Mark Zuckerberg is the American Dream. The Harvard dropout moves to Silicon Valley and launches the social networking site FACEBOOK.COM, which has 19 million registered users, and, per eMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson (ex-Advertising Age), is projected to accrue $100 million in revenues this year. That, and press accounts (The New York Times, etc.) reporting that Zuckerberg and partners had rejected a $1 billion offer for FACEBOOK.COM from Yahoo! made The Kid Who Turned Down $1 billion compelling for Fast Company, and it was on the May story board in late February when Bob Safian joined after successful Time Inc. stints as Money managing editor (1997-2004), Time executive editor (2004-2006), and Fortune executive editor (2006-2007).
But it had gone no further, Safian tells min, because no FC staffer had been able to track Zuckerberg down. "With the May editorial deadline approaching, I had to move quickly. I assigned senior writer Ellen McGirt, whom I brought with me from Fortune, to 'do what you can.'Ellen was perseverant, but not to the degree of stalking Mark. [Very sensitive, because she writes in the lead paragraph that Zuckerberg was nearly mugged in a service station three years ago.] By quickly earning his trust, she produced a first-rate cover story."
Result was Zuckerberg on the May cover (above left), and China's New Creative Class, with actress Ziyi Zhang (right) was bumped to June. She is added proof that the China of 2007 is a far cry from the Maoist/"Red Guards" repression of the 1940s/1950s/1960s.
...AND SAFIAN PLANS TO STAY AT "FAST COMPANY" FOR AWHILE.
His joining FC is reminiscent of John Byrne, who ended an 18-year stint as BusinessWeek senior editor (plus several books, with biographies of "Chainsaw" Al Dunlap and 1980-2001 General Electric ceo Jack Welch the most notable) to take the job in April 2003. The FC of Byrne was clearly in trouble when he got there, with the well-publicized problems of then-parent Gruner + Jahr USA Publishing and 2000-2004 G+J USA president Dan Brewster. Byrne knew what he was getting into, but he wanted the editor's experience as a stepping stone. After helping to "match" FC with current owner Mansueto Ventures in June 2005, Byrne returned to BW as executive editor under then-newly hired Steve Adler (min, July 11 and 25, 2005).
Common denominator that Safian shares with Byrne is coming from big companies (see above story), but Safian tells min that the turbulence at Time Inc. made him amenable to a change when MV ceo/editor-in-chief John Koten recruited him to succeed now-projects editor Mark Vamos. "I would not have felt that way two years ago," he says. "But Joe Mansueto is committed to growing FC and Inc., and the most visible evidence is our just moving to the rebuilt 7 World Trade Center. It has offices and a view of Manhattan that my friends at Time Inc. would envy.