On Monday, September 12, 2011 at 3:33 PM, Marty Alchin wrote:
On Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 10:57 AM, Brian K. Jones <bkjones <at> gmail.com
So if you're missing the old Python Magazine, and want to be involved in
something with even more awesome (where 'awesome' means, in part, that it
exists), let me know!
If I'm remembering right, Python Magazine wasn't even the first
If I remember right, Python Magazine was the first magazine devoted to Python that was distributed in print and digital formats, on a monthly basis. It was also (again, going on memory) the first one that seemed to have some kind of sane business model (I seem to remember another attempt being a quarterly for 2-3x the cost of a yearly PyMag subscription or something like that).
attempt, so I have to wonder: what went wrong, and how will yours be
There's existence, and then there's success. Python Magazine, far as I ever knew, was successful (it should be noted that I didn't have access to insider dollar figures, but the subscription numbers indicated that we were, at least, "not failing"). It doesn't exist, however, and that is, best I can tell, a completely unrelated issue with which I'm wholly unfamiliar. All I can surmise is that its non-existence was not actually related to its success in terms of subscriber numbers. Hidden in there are a million maybes, questions, and wtf's. More so if you worked directly with the publisher on an ongoing basis in various roles within the organization. Truly baffling. I just can't waste cycles on it at this point.
"Mine" will be different in that it will exist for as long as it can be maintained as a going business concern. I'm not going to hide the fact that it's a commercial endeavor, but Python Magazine, and php|architect before that, proved to me that you can provide real value to a community and simultaneously run a business that doesn't hemorrhage cash. So, basically, I think it'll be a *success* because I've done this before, *succeeded* before (w/ Python Magazine as well as php|architect), and understand what I'm in for. It'll *exist* as long as I and others can find a way to keep it successful. If I had to build other business arms to prop up Python Magazine, I'd do it if I could make business sense of it, which I'm willing to bet I could do :)
All of that said, it'll also be different because I'm starting out with zero existing infrastructure, zero existing staff, and zero funding. If you have another business-related word in mind, I'm starting with zero of that, too. It's a blessing and a curse, I think.
I may be interested in authoring and/or editing, but I
personally haven't read any existing Python magazines because I
haven't found the need to.
How many books on Django had you read before writing your own? I mean, I understand that you don't author a book to make money, but the question is still valid. The number of people who bought your book probably represents a rather small subset of the people for which it would've been useful. For any product, there's a community of people who *could* use it, but don't necessarily *need* it, and never actually *buy* it (though some may still use the product through other means). Focusing on this means imminent death, imo.
So I'm curious to know if the previous
attempts failed because of specific reasons that you can overcome or
if they were simply victims of a community that's not really
interested in magazines.
Now this is the really good question, and the answer is that previous attempts had fatal flaws either in the business plan itself, or in its execution. There are some other flaws I'm aware of that are *not* directly related to the mechanics of publishing as well.
There are a host of issues that arise in the traditional process involved in creating a magazine, and I'm looking to avoid that by changing how magazines are created. The way magazines work is essentially broken (well, 'legacy' magazines anyway, which is most magazines). I'd like to try fixing it, and I think I (and others!) have some good ideas.
I never gave any real serious thought to the idea that there might not be an interest in magazines, because nobody is "interested in magazines". Nobody is interested in books either. They're just dead trees after all. People *are* interested in lots of other things, though, that can be well served by magazines. One of those things is Python, and it turns out that quite a number of people are interested in that, and further, they buy printed materials about Python all the time. Daily, even.
Audiences tend to respond to things that add value in their lives. Period. The job, as I see it, is to make that happen for Python developers. I suspect I'm up to the task, though I should point out that I don't plan on doing it alone in a vacuum.
I really don't want to rain on anything by asking this, I'm just
genuinely curious why you expect yours to take off when others
haven't. Convince me. :)
Well, I tried more to 'relay' than to 'convince', but I hope it was useful anyway. As for 'taking off', I have no such expectation because, in my experience, magazines *don't* 'take off'. I'd like to change what the sales curves look like as well, and I think I can, but it's a little premature yet, and if I were forced down the 'slow and steady' road, I'd be ok as long as we're in the black.