Dan Crowe, on starting Port Magazine

I’m in the middle of developing a speech for Creative Doing right now, and the research process led me to revisit an interview I did with Dan Crowe (who most recently launched INQUE magazine) a few years ago. 

A few excerpts from Dan that I really loved:

“My friends and I that launched [Port], we put together a list of heroes that we wanted to work with. And then I approached all of them. With only a few exceptions, we ended up working with all of them in the first five issues. Hence, Daniel Day-Lewis on Issue 1, and David Remnick from the New Yorker on Issue 2.”

See make lists, Aesop on lists, and make a map.

If the person on your list is busy, try this:

“You don’t ask them much. Ask them for a 50-word quote, ask them for a picture of their favorite book or something, but get them involved in your network. Very easy thing to start working with somebody, even if they’re saying no, they’re still saying something. You start from there. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a politician or a writer or a scientist or a technologist like Bill Gates. Just start from there.”

See also Amanda Natividad on permissionless co-marketing, and how 50 Cent used it to start a conversation with Vitamin Water. 

David C. Baker published Derek Sivers’s refusal to write the foreword of his book (with his permission), The Business of Expertise:

“Hi David, So sorry I have to say no to writing the foreword, but please don’t take it personally because I’m saying no to absolutely everything! I’m years behind in my own projects, so I’ve vowed to add nothing new to my life until my already-started things are finished. If you are interested in some more thoughts on this, search for my article on “Saying no to everything else.” 

Also, I’m not an entrepreneur anymore, so don’t feel qualified to say anything about it. As I wrote recently, you have to keep earning your title or it expires, and it’s been years since I started a company.”

Starting a magazine, a community, or even a book, is really effectively starting a club (Seth Godin might call it a tribe):

“And then you can start — not making things up — but you can start saying, ‘This is part of my clan, my group.’ That’s what a magazine is, in a very proud way, it’s a club, it’s a group of people. And then you visualize it. Just make sure you work with good photographers. That’s the other thing, you don’t put crappy ingredients into a cake.”

The magazine might need to be a part of something bigger:

“I think you would need to launch a consultancy, that is spearheaded with the magazine, which would be your couture, it would be your value pillars: this is what we are, this is what we’re capable of,” he said. He reflected on his experience implementing this fundamental change in his more recent magazine, Avaunt. “That’s what your magazine is. You’ve got to aim high, and the great thing about aiming really high is that it’s just really healthy. It’s really not worth doing something like this if you’re not really going for it. Really going for it. Like, go nuts.”

Really going for it. Don’t do it if you’re not gonna seriously do it. Whatever the prestige, dignity, or position, you can choose to make your work a craft.

Read the full interview here!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *