Tag: death

Death by Amazon

By Rebecca Ungarino for Market Insider

A new “Death by Amazon” index released by the investment-research firm CFRA tracks the stocks its analysts believe could be short-seller targets given their vulnerabilities to competition from Amazon.

The index is full of home goods and electronics retailers like Party City and Bed Bath & Beyond, some of which have seen their entire market value wiped out in recent years.

Investors are familiar with the Amazon effect by now.

The e-commerce juggernaut announces that it is preparing to enter into an industry – be it medication, brick-and-mortar grocery, entertainment, or others – and the stocks of companies in the new target market fall as jittery investors are struck with the fear that irreversible disruption is coming.

So the investment-research firm CFRA created a new index, “Death By Amazon,” that tracks the stocks its analysts think are particularly vulnerable to Amazon’s expansion and offerings.

“The equally weighted index serves as a retail performance benchmark and short-selling idea generation tool for our clients,” CFRA analysts Camilla Yanushevsky and Todd Rosenbluth wrote in a report to clients earlier this month.

To pinpoint the 20 constituents the analysts believe are poorly positioned to compete against Amazon’s efforts in various industries, they evaluated the companies’ “Share of Voice” data that comes from web-traffic analytics company Alexa Internet (which is owned by Amazon as its other Alexa-named product).

That measure shows the percentage of searches for a keyword across major search engines in the past six months “that sent organic traffic to the respective site.”

For example, the analysts compared how much traffic was going to a national jewelry retailer’s website when consumers search for the term “jewelry” versus how much traffic was going to Amazon for the same search term.
With this kind of analysis, you get an index full of brick-and-mortar retailers whose products are available on Amazon – and apparently less popular through online searches – from floor tiles to party supplies.

To be fair, it’s not the first Death by Amazon index. Bespoke Investment Group had already created its Death by Amazon index, tracking the same theme.

Here are all the stocks listed, in alphabetical order, with how their “Share of Voice” scores for various products stack up against Amazon:

  1. At Home Group
    1-year performance: -40%
    % below all-time high: -46%
    Share of Voice score for “seasonal decor”: 4.2%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “seasonal decor: 19.6%
  2. Barnes & Noble Education
    1-year performance: -38%
    % below all-time high: -74%
    Share of Voice score for “textbook”: 1.3%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “textbook”: 6.9%
  3. Barnes & Noble
    1-year performance: -0.1%
    % below all-time high: -84%
    Share of Voice score for “books”: 23.2%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “books”: 12.2%
  4. Bed Bath & Beyond
    1-year performance: -16%
    % below all-time high: -80%
    Share of Voice score for “cookware”: 2.4%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “cookware”: 23.3%
  5. Best Buy
    1-year performance: -14%
    % below all-time high: -19%
    Share of Voice score for “electronics”: 1%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “electronics”: 8.1%
  6. Big 5 Sporting Goods
    1-year performance: -71%
    % below all-time high: -88%
    Share of Voice score for “fitness equipment”: 0%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “fitness equipment”: 11%
  7. Big Lots
    1-year performance: -6.5%
    % below all-time high: -41%
    Share of Voice score for “cookware”: 0%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “cookware”: 23.3%
  8. Dick’s Sporting Goods
    1-year performance: +15%
    % below all-time high: -43%
    Share of Voice score for “sports deals”: 18.7%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “sports deals”: 24.5%
  9. GameStop
    1-year performance: -31%
    % below all-time high: -87%
    Share of Voice score for “video games”: 7%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “video games”: 17.1%
  10. Kirkland’s
    1-year performance: -49%
    % below all-time high: -81%
    Share of Voice score for “home decor”: 5.4%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “home decor”: 10.8%
  11. Office Depot
    1-year performance: -19%
    % below all-time high: -95%
    Share of Voice score for “office supplies”: 33.1%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “office supplies”: 9.8%
  12. Overstock.com
    1-year performance: -67%
    % below all-time high: -86%
    Share of Voice score for “dresser”: 1.3%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “dresser”: 9.9%
  13. Party City
    1-year performance: -49%
    % below all-time high: -65%
    Share of Voice score for “party supplies”: 22.5%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “party supplies”: 13.2%
  14. PetMed Express
    1-year performance: -40%
    % below all-time high: -60%
    Share of Voice score for “pet supplies”: 5.1%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “pet supplies”: 13.7%
  15. Pier 1 Imports
    1-year performance: -65%
    % below all-time high: -97%
    Share of Voice score for “home decor”: 8.3%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “home decor”: 10.8%
  16. Signet Jewelers
    1-year performance: -49%
    % below all-time high: -87%
    Share of Voice score for “jewelry”: 3.8% for kay.com, 2.9% for jared.com, and 0.12% for zales.com
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “jewelry”: 10.7%
  17. The Michael’s Companies
    1-year performance: -43%
    % below all-time high: -67%
    Share of Voice score for “drawing supplies”: 13.1%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “drawing supplies”: 24.5%
  18. Tiffany & Co.
    1-year performance: -5%
    % below all-time high: -31%
    Share of Voice score for “jewelry”: 6%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “jewelry”: 10.7%
  19. Tile Shop Holdings
    1-year performance: -36%
    % below all-time high: -85%
    Share of Voice score for “tile”: 2.1%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “tile”: 22%
  20. Williams Sonoma
    1-year performance: +7%
    % below all-time high: -42%
    Share of Voice score for “cookware”: 16.7%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “cookware”: 23.3%

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has died

Source: MyBroadband/Bloomberg

Paul Allen, who co-founded Microsoft Corp. with fellow billionaire Bill Gates and used the fortune he made from the iconic technology company to invest in professional sports teams, cable TV and real estate, has died. He was 65.

Allen died on Monday in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, according to a statement from Vulcan Inc., his investment firm. Allen’s source for his varied investments and sizable charitable donations was his once-major stake in Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft. He had a net worth of $26.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Allen, along with Gates, helped create an entire industry selling software for a new breed of smaller, more affordable and widely accessible computers.

“I am heartbroken by the passing of one of my oldest and dearest friends,” Gates said in a statement. “Paul was a true partner and dear friend. Personal computing would not have existed without him.”

Allen stepped down as an officer of the company in 1983 because he was grappling with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In 2009, Allen was treated for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which two weeks ago he said had returned.

“A high-tech demigod” is how Sports Illustrated described the man who came up with the name for Microsoft, a company whose ubiquitous products include the Windows operating system and the Office suite of software. “He is one of the richest men in history, a figure of such dizzying wealth and eclectic tastes that he recently donated $100 million to brain research and $25 million to the search for extraterrestrial life,” the magazine wrote in a 2007 profile.

Paul Gardner Allen was born on 21 January, 1953, in Seattle to Kenneth and Faye Allen. His father was a university library executive and his mother was a teacher.

Allen went to the Lakeside School, where he met a younger Gates and the two worked on early computer programs in the school’s lab. In a time when computers were rare, Allen lurked in the University of Washington computer labs, using the machines and aiding students and professors. Finally a professor asked if he was actually a student and Allen was forced to admit he wasn’t. But he was allowed to stay, as long as he continued to be helpful, Allen said in a 2017 interview.

He attended Washington State University but didn’t graduate, dropping out and moving to Massachusetts to be closer to fellow computer aficionado Gates, who was attending Harvard University.

In 1975, they founded a company they called Micro-Soft in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after Allen saw a new Altair computer kit on the cover of Popular Electronics magazine and realized computer prices would drop and software would be necessary.

As they struggled to produce operating software for Altair and International Business Machines microcomputers, Allen was regarded as the brains of the partnership, while Gates was the marketing whiz, according to Laura Rich, author of “The Accidental Zillionaire,” an unauthorized biography of Allen.

Allen, a Microsoft general partner, initially held the title of vice president. When he left in 1983 for health reasons, he was executive vice president in charge of research and new product development. He remained on the board until 2000 and was a senior strategy adviser after that.

“Paul Allen’s contributions to our company, our industry and to our community are indispensable,” Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella said in a statement. “In his own quiet and persistent way, he created magical products, experiences and institutions, and in doing so, he changed the world.”

Allen was the world’s 27th richest person on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Vulcan, formed in 1986 as the chief investment vehicle for his life after Microsoft, became one of the most prominent family offices globally thanks to its high-profile bets on real estate and space. The billionaire, who signed the Giving Pledge in 2010, said he planned to dedicate the majority of his fortune to philanthropic endeavors including wildlife conservation and brain-cancer research.

“Paul wasn’t content with starting one company,” Gates said Monday. “He channeled his intellect and compassion into a second act focused on improving people’s lives and strengthening communities in Seattle and around the world.”

Allen also assembled one of the world’s most celebrated art collections. A public exhibition of 28 pieces in 2006 showcased works by Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet and Roy Lichtenstein. His mega-yachts were a frequent sight at ports worldwide.

A rabid sports fan, Allen bought the Portland Trail Blazers, a National Basketball Association franchise, in 1988 for $70 million. That investment was a success — the team repeatedly made the NBA playoffs after his purchase, and by 2018 Forbes estimated the team was worth $1.3 billion.

“Paul Allen was the ultimate trail blazer – in business, philanthropy and in sports,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “As one of the longest-tenured owners in the NBA, Paul brought a sense of discovery and vision to every league matter large and small.”

In 1997, Allen bought the Seattle Seahawks, a National Football League team, and took a minority stake in a professional soccer team, the Seattle Sounders. He also bought The Sporting News.

Among more mainstream businesses, Allen acquired 80 percent of Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. in 1993 for $242 million and sold almost half of that company’s stock to Home Shopping Network for $209 million in HSN shares. He bought control of Charter Communications in 1998. Charter’s 2016 purchase and merger with Time Warner Cable made it the second-largest U.S. cable company.

Allen also used his Microsoft fortune to fund scientific endeavors. He was the founder of the Allen Institute for Brain Science and the Institute for Cell Science. He also financed deep-sea exploration teams that located sunken World War II warships, such as the USS Indianapolis and USS Lexington.

Allen was the sole investor behind SpaceShipOne, a suborbital commercial spacecraft that climbed to an altitude of 377,591 feet in 2004, the first privately funded effort to put a civilian in suborbital space.

An avid Jimi Hendrix fan, Allen taught himself how to play the rock standard “Purple Haze,” winning praise from legendary music producer Quincy Jones for his talent, according to New York magazine. He also recorded a blues album with Chrissie Hynde, lead singer of the Pretenders, and used his Vulcan Productions unit to finance films, such as the series “The Blues.”

Allen wrote an autobiography, “Idea Man: A Memoir by the Co-Founder of Microsoft,” in 2011. In it, he recounted how Gates tried to buy out Allen’s minority stake in the company in 1983, offering $5 a share. Gates rejected Allen’s counteroffer of a $10 minimum. Allen said that was a lucky break for him because he would have lost billions in value by selling at that point.

When Microsoft went public in 1986, it had a list price of $21. The company, which posted revenue of $110.4 billion in its latest fiscal year, ended Monday with a market capitalization of more than $825 billion.

Allen also made a mark in various Seattle institutions. In addition to his ownership of local sports teams, he supported the arts, made property investments that converted South Lake Union into a booming technology hub that is home to Amazon.com Inc. He contributed significantly to the University of Washington’s computer science program and biomedical research.

“He’s been under-recognized for all the things he’s done for Seattle,” said Tom Alberg, managing director of Madrona Venture Group. “We tend to look at political leaders, and here we have someone not giving speeches, but building things important for Seattle and our future. Not a lot of people do everything from philanthropy to sports to technology to urban development.”

Allen is survived by his sister, Jody Allen, who is a co-founder and executive director of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

Pedestrian killed by self-driving car

Source: Associated Press via News24

Police in a Phoenix suburb say one of Uber’s self-driving vehicles has struck and killed a pedestrian.

Police in the city of Tempe said on Monday that the vehicle was in autonomous mode with an operator behind the wheel when the woman walking outside of a crosswalk was hit.

Police say that the accident happened overnight on Sunday when the woman was walking outside of a crosswalk.

Elaine Herzberg, 49, died of her injuries at a hospital.

Uber has been testing the self-driving vehicles in Tempe and Phoenix for months.

Police said Uber is cooperating in the investigation.

The company will stop the testing of its self-driving cars in Tempe, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto.

The testing has been going on for months in the Phoenix area, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto as automakers and technology companies compete to be the first with the technology.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi expressed condolences on his Twitter account and said the company is working with local law enforcement on the investigation.

(Find out how you can seek legal aid to receive compensation after a personal injury by visiting The Clark Law Office).

The federal government has voluntary guidelines for companies that want to test autonomous vehicles, leaving much of the regulation up to states.

The US Department of Transportation is considering other voluntary guidelines that it says will help foster innovation. But Transportation Secretary Elaine Chaos also has said technology and automobile companies need to allay public fears of self-driving vehicles, citing a poll showing that 78 percent of people fear riding in autonomous vehicles

The number of states considering legislation related to autonomous vehicles gradually has increased each year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In 2017 alone, 33 states introduced legislation.

California is among those that require manufacturers to report any incidents to the motor vehicle department during the autonomous vehicle testing phase. As of early March, the agency received 59 such reports.

Why would you start a business in a dying industry? Just ask Alexander Knieps.

In this electronic world, many say print is dead. But Alexander Knieps, the founder of online printing company, Printulu, echoing the words of famous author Mark Twain, says reports of this death are greatly exaggerated.

“If you look at how this industry is developing, I don’t think we are moving into a paperless industry, at least not in the next 50 years. Afterwards, I don’t know. It is all about what channel is out there and whether it is affordable,” says Knieps.

We meet Knieps at an industrial park in Modderfontein, east of Johannesburg. This is where business cards, posters, postcards, and flyers are printed for thousands of companies, media houses and coffee shops across South Africa. In a matter of minutes, a pile of paper flows from the printer.

On this spring day, the sun shines brightly and the sky is clear. The tranquillity is shaken by the loud rattle of paper being printed.

“In our age of technology, when you are studying, nobody thinks, ‘ooh, let me go into paper’. I think it is a very rare thing,” says Knieps.

Knieps, who is born and bred in Germany, founded Johannesburg-based Printulu last year. The name is a combination of the words print and Zulu (a South African language). He studied business at EBS Business School in Germany and got his master’s degree at ESADE Business School in Barcelona, Spain.

Starting the business has been far from plain sailing.

“The first couple of months, we were completely bootstrapped. You get your first clients, you show some nice traction, and then, in the beginning of the year, we raised some funds, which were a couple of million rands, which are enough to last for the next two years,” he says.

Investors are hard to find.

“South Africa is not the easiest place to raise money. There also isn’t much money in the market because of the current economic climate. [When] it comes to online printing, people just look at the industry itself; they don’t think how you could invest deeper. There aren’t many investors and it takes a while to close deals [compared to] anywhere else in the world,” he says.

Knieps says the future for paper printing is mass production.

“We are batching up all these smaller orders and print them in bulk and that is how you can disrupt the market. Hence, you see a shift from offline to online in the industry,” he says.

He calls on other entrepreneurs to get with the times.

“The industry is very inefficient in a way that there is a lot of competitive pressure. There are thousands of printers in Gauteng who are operating with an archaic business model. You have inefficiency on the one side and macroeconomic pressure on the other. That is why a lot of printers are closing down even though we are growing strongly at the moment. If you see those components, it actually makes people a lot more price sensitive and that actually helps the business to scale,” he says.

Print dead? Not in the world of Knieps.

By Melitta Ngalonkulu for Forbes Africa
Image: Forbes Africa

Walking into his office at The University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media, you are met by mountainous stacks of magazines on all sides. After your eyes adjust, one finds Dr Samir Husni, aka “Mr. Magazine”, sitting at his desk amid the magazine titles piled high.

Husni directs the Magazine Innovation Centre at Ole Miss’ School of Journalism, where is also Professor and Hederman Lecturer. He wrote for 28 years the annual Samir Husni’s Guide to New Magazines. He started a news series of books called Inside the Great Minds of Magazine Makers. He is also the author of several books including Magazine Publishing in the 21st Century, Launch Your Own Magazine: A Guide for Succeeding in Today’s Marketplace and Selling Content: The Step-by-Step Art of Packaging Your Own Magazine.

He has presented seminars on trends in American magazines to the editorial, advertising and sales staff of many magazine groups including Hearst Corp., Hachette Filipacchi Magazines, Meredith Corp., Reader’s Digest Magazine, ESPN the magazine, the National Geographic Society, the Swedish magazine group Bonnier, the Japanese Magazine Publishers Association and the American Press Institute. He is also President and CEO of Magazine Consulting & Research, a firm specializing in new magazine launches, repositioning of established magazines, and packaging publications for better sales and presentations.

Paul Glader: We live in a tech age where customer service and user interface can be so good with applications like Uber or AirBnB. But almost every single magazine I subscribe to – whether it’s The New Yorker, The Atlantic, or whatever – I can’t get a bloody receipt! I have to call the magazines and they use outsourced services. I can’t get an online receipt from them. And even though I’m a loyal, loyal customer, they don’t treat me like one. As soon as I order a subscription from The New Yorker, I start getting mail from them saying my subscription is going to run out. No! Wait a minute! I just bought a 3-year subscription. It’s not going to run out! Don’t you know me? Why don’t magazines care about their customers more?

Samir Husni: If you really think about it, we are the only business that caters much, much more to the marginal customer and we ignore the loyal customer… I mean, you get offers “Oh, get the whole year plus a swimsuit! For $5.00.”

Glader: And a tote bag.

Husni: Then you start buying the magazine, and you’re enjoying it. They send you a renewal for like, $29.95. You know, I don’t become a Diamond frequent flyer mile on Delta just because I flew one time. No, it’s because I fly always on Delta. Because they reward those people and they upgrade me. They put me in first class. They treat me like somebody who’s loyal to them. We in the magazine business are the only industry that does its best to cater to the marginal customers for one simple reason: … In the United States, in the magazine business, we are always after counting customers rather than customers who count. Unless we change the business model to customers who count, somebody who’s willing to appreciate, ‘Wow, this is the New Yorker, I’m going to pay like, $8 for the cover price.’ But then as I am opening it, the card drops on the floor and says ‘You stupid Samir, for another $20, you can get the whole year.’ Why would I buy it from the newsstand? I am insulting myself… It’s not tied to any cost point. It’s about numbers.

Glader: And advertisers?

Husni: And they cannot get it into their heads by now that counting customers no longer counts, that our business model has to be reinvented and we have to make as much money from customers as we make from advertisers. First we thought the tablet is salvation. Well, last time I was in New York last year, everybody was saying the tablet is dead. The homepage is dead. It took us 550 years before anybody said that print is dead. The tablet is less than six years old, and now we’re saying the tablet is dead? The homepage is dead? I mean, nothing “dies” forever. Nothing stays forever. When a magazine dies, it does not mean the industry’s dead. How many television programs have come and gone; good ones?

Glader: All these magazines have come and gone too, right? Like the late great Saturday Evening Post?

Husni: The Post is still there. The Post is one of the best kept secrets in the industry. They’re still publishing. But, the sad part is, I blame the media. I blame the journalists. The media reporters look at their own publications. If you’re working at AdWeek or if you’re working at those magazines that used to be big, thick publications, and all the advertising disappeared from them, they are now like a 36-page little tiny thing… They look through that prism and they judge the entire [magazine] industry based on that. When in reality if people are willing to take the time and dig and look and stuff, we’re having almost 1,000 new magazines coming into the marketplace every year. But those magazines have an average cover price of between $8.50 and $10.50 now.

Glader: So where are the bright spots right now in magazines? Internationally or in certain sectors in the U.S.?

Husni: In Europe… they are not picking up yet. They are still struggling… Last year, every major publisher in this country published a new magazine, a print magazine. Whether it’s Hearst, Conde Nast, Time Inc. or Rodale. And of course now everyone is doing those book-azines. I mean, Time is flooding the market with book-azines. Conde Nast is flooding the market with book-azines. Everybody is subscribing to the aspect of “I can’t change my business model, but I can produce something new and charge $12, $13.” You know, that is doing very well… One magazine does not work, so they kill it, like they did with Ladies Home Journal, or they changed the frequency. But then, on the other hand, they are investing in Martha Stewart Living, they are investing in All Recipes. Hearst has done such a great job in enhancing the quality of print. They increased the paperweight. They upsized all the magazines. I mean, just last month alone Marie Claire and Elle went to a bigger European size. Vogue is testing the new bigger size of Vogue this month. So there’s a lot of good things. Last year was actually the year we buried the phrase “print is dead.” Nobody is saying “print is dead anymore.” You’d have to be out of your mind to say “print is dead…” And you know, you hear now phrases like “print is changing”. Of course. Change is the only constant in our business. I mean, why would print not change?

Glader: Well, are we not moving into a world too, where artisanal brands from places like Brooklyn, Berlin also influences media and magazine consumption? People are looking for the beautiful artefact, right? We may see less of print, but it never dies because it’s still more beautiful than anything digital?

Husni: Yeah. As long as we have human beings, we appreciate the touch, the feel, the history. I mean, even our own history. Can you imagine, I mean, now, I still have letters from my dad, God rest his soul, that I show to my kids and say, “look what dad wrote me when I first came to America.” What do my kids have? E-mails? Text messages? What are they going to show their kids? “Oh, look your grandpa sent us a text message!”

Glader: Do they inherit your Facebook page?

Husni: Digital does not keep the heritage going… I mean, can you imagine? Can you imagine if the shepherds found the Dead Sea Scrolls on a CD? A jump drive? They would have thought they were Frisbees or something. So, I mean, there is an inherited value in print, and that’s why I say the problem is not with print. That has been my biggest problem with newspapers. I mean the word “newspaper” is an oxymoron. And I tell people, like, you know, why can’t a newspaper be a 48-hour bridge between what happened yesterday and how is it going to impact me tomorrow. You can’t just be telling me on Sunday that the Broncos won the Super Bowl. I knew that at 9:20 p.m., or like tornadoes killed 70 people in Texas. I knew that as the tornado was taking place. I mean, we have to be more in the business of what’s in it for me rather than the “five Ws” and the H.”

Glader: Hmm. Interesting. It’s tough for journalists to break out of that model.

Husni: It’s all about me. It’s all about the audience. And that’s what we have to do.

Glader: In my Entrepreneurial Journalism class our mantras include, “What problem are you solving for your readers? What are the needs your audience has and how will you meet those needs?” That’s how you build an audience.

Husni: Check out this magazine. It’s $40 bucks. Let’s Panic. It’s their second issue. I mean, you have to do stuff. Too many magazines are dull. You cannot produce print today that has that disposability factor in it, because then it’s not going to last.

Glader: Yeah. Which companies or titles are you watching right now and think are doing really cool stuff?

Husni: Hearst and Bauer, to me, the gold standard. Hearst, Meredith, Time Inc. and, lately, Conde Nast.

Glader: What are some examples of titles that you like from those companies?

Husni: Hearst for example, when they launched the Food Network magazine, they launched it right after Conde Nast killed Gourmet, almost the same month. And because they, the geniuses at the consulting firm, they shall remain nameless, went to Conde Nast, and said “Oh, you have two food magazines, the economy cannot handle two,” so they killed Gourmet and kept Bon Appetite. Hearst launched the Food Network magazine in ‘09, right when the market completely crashed. The Food Network magazine is now almost 2 million in circulation. And then, two years later, they launched HGTV, and they got the same success. Three years later they launch Dr Oz: The Good Life. So Hearst has managed to create those partnerships with the TV shows, with the personalities, with the networks. So Hearst is doing very well. Meredith is also doing well. They relaunched Martha Stewart Living. They launched All Recipes. They took it from a website to a magazine that as millions in circulation. Meanwhile, companies like Time Inc. are flooding the market with bookazines, publishing around 150 titles a year.

Glader: I guess bookazines make sense, because they paid celebrity photographers to take photos Time now owns? So they can repackage and resell that content?

Husni: Time Inc. is doing the bookazines for Hearst. So you find a bookazine for Confessions From A Cosmopolitan and on the side it says it is a Time Inc. Publication.

Glader: Sounds like they’re adapting to American consumers too?

Husni: Bauer’s Woman’s World is the number one selling magazine on the newsstands. Also Bauer’s First for Woman is the number two selling magazine on the newsstand… There are bright areas if you are willing to look for bright areas. You put the blinders on your eyes and guess what? Everything you are going to see is going to be dark. And that’s what some of our media reporters do. That’s has always been one of my biggest complaints: that media reporters either have their angle formed, like that reporter that called me one time that she thinks that all women’s magazines are becoming so bad and they only care about sex and diet, what do you think? Well, you already told me what you think, why would you want my opinion? You already wrote this story. I mean, so, what you want somebody to tell you, oh yeah, I agree with you? And so, it’s really, I mean, if you are not excited and happy to be in the journalism world today, and specifically in the magazine world today, I don’t think there have ever been more exciting, intriguing times than we have today.

Glader: Why have food magazines become so hot? It seems like we have a greater interest in food-related TV shows as well?

Husni: Yeah, the whole TV shows. I mean, it was a combination of September 11th, where we, as a nation started cocooning inside. Then, in ‘08, the economy crashed so money became tight, and so you had the food magazines, the how to do food at home. Plus, you have the luxury of eating out and the combination of the two created a fertile ground for food magazines… I mean just if you want a magazine about church suppers, you can find one. You have a magazine I saw yesterday about, “one pot dinners.” All you need is one pot, not nine or 13 pans. I mean, you name the specialization and technology has made it possible, you don’t have to print millions of magazines anymore you can print a few thousand.

Glader: By the way, how did you get so obsessed with magazines?

Husni: Who would have believed my story, that this kid growing up in Tripoli, Lebanon, falling in love with magazines and becoming his passion, would become an expert on new magazines? I’m not even from the United States of America. I came from Lebanon. I either would have gone to be a dentist or to seminary school, because that’s what my parents wanted. They pushed me more toward being the dentist. They had a friend who was already a successful one, so they had me check out Hills Dental Design. Even tried to make me intern there. So all my high school education was scientific. I used to sit at home while other folks are playing and create my own little magazines. I used wax to rub on the paper so I can copy the images, then I rubbed the wax paper on the old newspapers. And a pastor who noticed this told me I would be disobeying God by obeying my parents and going to dental school instead of journalism school. He said, “I’m not telling you to disobey your parents, I’m just saying I’ve watched you and I’ve seen what you do is journalism.”

By Paul Glader for www.forbes.com

German pencil heir dies

Anton-Wolfgang von Faber-Castell, who led the centuries-old German maker of the humble pencil used in classrooms around the world and added a line of jewel-encrusted pens, has died. He was 74.

Von Faber-Castell died on 21 January in Houston following a severe illness, the Stein, Germany-based company said Friday in an e-mailed statement.

He was a “model businessman, whom we both admired as an extraordinary entrepreneur and a farsighted personality, and who above all was a role model as a fellow human being to us”, the company said.

The eighth generation of his family to run the enterprise, Von Faber-Castell took control in 1978, when it began producing make-up pencils for the cosmetics industry. During the next four decades, he propelled the brand into a €600-million ($648-million) business, offering four-figure pens under the Graf von Faber-Castell label in addition to mechanical pencils, art supplies and standard ballpoint and rollerball pens.

Von Faber-Castell, who became Faber-Castell AG’s chief executive officer in 2000, emphasized setting up foreign subsidiaries. Faber-Castell Malaysia, an eraser producer, was the company’s gateway to Asia in 1978. Today, the manufacturer operates throughout Asia and Latin America.

Graphite pencils
The company was founded in 1761 in Stein near Nuremberg. Starting in the mid-19th century under the fourth generation’s Baron Lothar von Faber, it became a major producer of graphite pencils under the A.W. Faber brand, according to the company’s website. Following the 1898 marriage of Ottilie von Faber to Count Alexander zu Castell-Rudenhausen, the company became known as Faber-Castell.

Faber-Castell AG’s No. 2 pencils remain a fixture of educational test-taking and math classes. Sales of wood-cased pencils totaled €577-million, a majority of its revenue, in the last fiscal year.

The company, with 7 500 employees in 23 countries and nine production plants, also makes limited-edition writing instruments. Its premium line includes fountain pens with 18-carat gold nibs and precious stone-embedded barrels. The 2016 “Pen of the Year,” called Schönbrunn Palace Vienna, has a four-sided barrel with hand-ground plates made from deep black onyx and will sell for €7 500.

Early life
Count Anton-Wolfgang von Faber-Castell was born June 7, 1941, in Bamberg, Germany, the son of Roland von Faber-Castell and Katharina Sprecher von Bernegg.

He was educated in Germany and Switzerland and received a law degree in 1966 from the University of Zurich. In 1972, he graduated from the International Institute for Management Development — then known as the Institut pour l’Etude des Méthodes de Direction de l’Entreprise — in Lausanne, Switzerland.

After a one-year internship at the family business, Von Faber-Castell worked as an investment banker from 1971 to 1977 in both London and New York, spending four years at Credit Suisse White Weld. When his father died in 1978, he became the sole managing partner of Faber-Castell Group.

His first marriage was to Carla Mathilde Lamesch, who died in 2010. His second wife, the former Mary Elizabeth Hogan, survives him as do his children Charles, Katharina, Sarah and Victoria.

By Nancy Moran for www.bloomberg.com

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