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Slip Slidin’ Away —This could be waiting for us

OOH …Here’s One Thing  

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shutterstock_1844618761 Syndi Pilar

OOH …Here’s One Thing

by Jim Johnsen,
Managing Director, Johnsen, Fretty & Company


Slip Slidin’ Away


“Slip slidin’ away, slip slidin’ away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you’re slip slidin’ away

I know a man he came from my hometown
He wore his passion for his woman like a thorny crown
He said, “Delores I live in fear my love for you is so overpowering
I’m afraid that I will disappear””

Paul Simon “Slip Slidin Away”


Holy shit Johnsen.  How could you have left Paul Simon off the G.O.A.T.’s list for all this time?  My bad (and I cringe when other middle aged white guys say that to me).  I recently stumbled on Paul Simon while listening to some of Malcolm Gladwell‘s podcasts.  Anyone else remember Malcolm at one of the recent OAAAs?  (Johnsen…that was 2015…not so recent).   Brainiac, self effacing and yet well spoken and really, really entertaining.  Turns out this very smart journalist, born of a British math professor father and a Jamaican physiotherapist mother has built himself quite the podcast empire, which he calls Puskin Industries (most likely with a humorous nod to the Russian author with the same surname).  

Anyway, like usual, I digress.  Puskin and Malcolm have produced an audiobook (yes they do that too) called Miracle and Wonder which is a different take on Paul Simon.  I look forward to really digging into it on one of my upcoming long billboard rides.  But Malcolm does a great job of summarizing the book on his podcast here (which I did listen to):


It absolutely gave me a new and re-ignited appreciation for Paul Simon.  Malcolm opens by saying “my mom brought me home 2 albums from the library when I was little, a Peter, Paul and Mary record, which I have largely forgotten and “Bridge Over Troubled Water”…which I have never forgotten.  Amen to that.  Gladwell considers Simon a true genius and says so several times during the podcast.   Each time Simon rebukes him.  As Simon puts it, it’s all trial and error.  I just keep trying until it works.  Sounds like there is some wisdom in those words for all of us.   At some point during the podcast Malcolm asks him something to the effect of when do you settle on some kind of genre or some kind of signature sound.  Simon responds with never.  As he puts it, he never wants to get comfortable.  He always wants to keep exploring and pushing the boundaries.  Some more words to live by. 

Another Malcolm paraphrase from the podcast: “All great artists borrow, including the Rolling Stones and Janice Joplin…But with Paul Simon it is more dramatically nuanced; 5 traditions layered one on top of each other…new york city jewish, jamaican reggae, new orleans brass band, harlem gospel and alabama r&b…that was the Paul Simon mystery that we started with.”  Intrigued yet?  Let me know.  I will buy the audiobook and we can ride together.  

Speaking of building podcast juggernauts and not slip sliding away, as media guys and gals, anyone read the news a few weeks back on the death of Entertainment Weekly, InStyle, EatingWell, Health, Parents, and People en Español and think to themselves, wholly shit it’s happening?  The unraveling of our brethren in the magazine industry is starting to hit critical velocity.  As the smart guys say, don’t draw any conclusions based on your own biases and views, so take this for what it is worth, but other than an occasional article from Wired, The Economist or the New Yorker, I almost never read long format articles, and even with the aforementioned,  I usually pay for them a la carte and come to them through a link someone shared or a google search.  I can’t remember the last time I shoved a magazine in my backpack.  Is it just me?  

Here is Shelly Palmer’s take:

“Barry Diller’s IAC’s Dotdash will cease publishing print versions of six magazines: Entertainment Weekly, InStyle, EatingWell, Health, Parents, and People en Español. They will live on as digital-only brands. The decision triggers about 200 job cuts.

This should not come as a surprise to anyone. I was in Hudson News (an airport newsstand) the other day, and there was one small magazine rack tucked into a wall with fifteen varieties of corn nuts and other salty snacks. If print isn’t already dead, it sure smells funny.

That said, we are not talking about the content; we are talking specifically about form factor. The days of killing trees, mashing them up into paper, slathering them with ink, and delivering old news in gas guzzling trucks are truly numbered.  (jj comment…is that whip cream on horse shit or what?)

People will say, “The brands are the assets.” Maybe. This raises the question: Can these brands transcend their original form factors? Asked differently: Are they “print brands” or “brands?” Please post your thoughts and comments to PGX, our private social network. -s

InStyle and Others Owned by Barry Diller’s Group to End Print Editions – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Anyone else ponder the demise of one of the most attractive pieces of the media ecosystem and then think to themselves, shit maybe we shouldn’t gloat so much.  This could be waiting for us.   The existential risk is probably something we haven’t even dreamed of yet.  After all, iPads didn’t put magazines out of business.  Generational shifts in consumer behavior did.  Don’t believe me?  Ask your 15 year old to trade her TikTok consumption for Seventeen magazine.   

The King is Dead.  Long live the King.  

(Sleepless in Connecticut)




Securities transacted through StillPoint Capital Member firm FINRA/SiPC

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