Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Time Inc.’s Newest Product: A Magazine, Printed on Paper

Time Inc.’s newest product took nine months of meticulous work, carefully calibrated focus groups and a bunch of money. And it has absolutely nothing to do with the Internet, the Kindle or the iPad.

Time Warner’s (TWX) magazine unit is showing off a redesign of Fortune magazine, which should be in subscribers’ hands shortly and on newsstands next week.

Like every other business magazine, Fortune took a pretty good beating from the one-two punch of the recession and traditional media collapse. And I don’t think overhauling the way its pages look and feel will do much to change that.

But it’s still interesting to hear editor Andy Serwer explain why he thinks it’s important, and he was kind enough to chat with me about that the other day.

Note how emphatic Serwer is about the standalone status of Fortune as a print product. The periodical is starting to overhaul its neglected Web site as well, and Serwer pays obligatory lip service to the notion of Fortune on Apple’s (AAPL) iPad, Amazon’s (AMZN) Kindle and other digital platforms of the future.

But he’s clear that the magazine’s success or failure will depend on how readers and advertisers respond to the pen-and-ink product it is selling in the present tense.

Not revelatory, but a good reminder.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik