Welcome back to the Roaring Twenties. It’s amazing to think back a hundred years ago, to the original Roaring Twenties, when the United States would elect a Republican president, an avid golfer who would go on to oversee probably the most corrupt administration in our history while carrying on notorious extramarital affairs, eventually coming to be known as one of the worst presidents in US history. Thankfully our nation learned the errors of its ways in choosing our leaders after Warren G. Harding and have no reason to fear a crash and depression at the other end of this decade. Gulp.
Here at Newcity we’re setting our sights on 2026, as we undertake our first structured strategic planning since the Great Media Crash of the Aughts. So much has changed since then, especially in our business. Our flagship is now a glossy monthly magazine rather than an alt-weekly. We make publications and web sites for other cultural institutions. Digital, rather than print, is now the fastest-growing part of our business, and will possibly overtake print revenue by 2026. And feature film production is now a core part of our business. So much to plan!
Why 2026? Last summer I went to a gathering of independent cinemas—Art House Convergence’s regional conference—in Ann Arbor, Michigan. That trip afforded my first (and second) visit to the legendary Zingerman’s Deli to see firsthand how it has crafted what Inc. magazine once dubbed “The Coolest Small Company in America” from its foundation as a simple corner sandwich shop in a small college town.
Beyond sandwiches, the company’s ZingTrain division ran a session at my conference on the value of “visioning” for a company and its team. It made a lot of sense to me, and on my way out of town I picked up their founder Ari Weinzweig’s manifesto/strategy book, “A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Building a Great Business.” He made a hell of a case for planning for the really long term, and so we decided that 2026 made the most sense. It’s the year Newcity turns forty.
Meanwhile, I’m off to the Art House Convergence Annual Conference in Utah this month and looking forward to more transformative insights. Maybe I’ll let you know what I learn next month.
Look for Newcity’s January 2020 print edition at over 1000 Chicago-area locations this week or subscribe to the print edition at newcity.com/subscribe.
In this issue: