My short bio: I'm a veteran journalist with over 20 years of reporting for print and online publications, mostly about technology. I contribute regularly to the Economist's print edition, most recently writing about Bitcoin's technological challenges, and have written over 300 posts for its blogs. I was the first editor of The Magazine, from shortly after it was founded in October 2012, and bought it in May 2013. We're in the middle of crowdfunding a hardcover and ebook collection of our first year.

My Proof: I tweeted a photo of myself with the title text behind me from my Twitter account.

Comments: 74 • Responses: 33  • Date: 

mrskeleton13 karma

Hey Glenn, maybe you could give us a little introduction to The Magazine? I've heard about it but haven't had a chance to check out what sort of stories you do. So what do you folks do?

montlaker15 karma

You bet! The Magazine is an ongoing experiment in telling non-fiction stories (essays and reported pieces) at a medium-form length of about 1,500 to 2,000 words. We want to pay writers well ($500 for essays, $800 for reported articles, and extra for photos), while supporting ourselves entirely from subscriptions. (We now have a partnership with Medium in which they're paying us to produce and post some content, too, but it's not ad-driven. No ads on Medium.)

We want to be able to tell stories that aren't being told because they are too long or involved for blogs, and don't fit into the rubric of the very few long-form pieces published in the New Yorker and elsewhere. We're trying to share interesting tales about people that folks who love technology will enjoy even when they're not about technology at all.

The experiment is whether we can continue to bring in enough revenue, as we have so far, through subscriptions and other means.

I'd love to talk about editing, writing, running an iOS publication, Kickstarter, and anything else. Many of my writers are likely to chime in here, too, about non-fiction writing and freelancing in general.

montlaker5 karma

I am so terrible at self promotion, even though I think I'm relentless at it. Yes! Help us make a book in which everyone in it was already paid for their work when it ran and now will be paid again when the darned thing funds.

antico3 karma

Perhaps add a link to the top text?

montlaker3 karma


Busterbook4 karma

Used to love hearing you on KUOW. Tell me what Apple is like in ten years.

montlaker12 karma

It's a stodgy company that sells hardware that rests on the success of five years from now, and is run by Tim Cook's successor, who seems hellbent on raiding the archives for pictures of Steve Jobs to put into the advertising, but can't seem to come up with anything that really ignites consumers, who are all having sex with robots.

montlaker3 karma

FYI: the Kickstarter just funded with 48 hours to go! Thanks for everyone's support here and everywhere. I can answer questions now about what it's like to have a funded Kickstarter campaign (even though money doesn't arrive until as long as 14 days after Dec. 19th).

nathanl11923 karma

Hi there Glenn, thanks for doing this, I have much respect for what you are trying to do, even if, as you may remember, I have had doubts in the past.

The Magazine's very recent growth and diversification seems to have been focussed greatly on the web, rather than the original app and magazine. Do you feel as if you are outgrowing The Magazine's original aims - is the app soon going to become second to another medium, such as Medium? Do you have any future plans for content exclusively within the iOS ecosystem? I'm so curious to see where you're going with this!

montlaker3 karma

Pretty much accurate. Apple hasn't made the Newsstand more attractive, nor engaged in any marketing or iOS behavior that has made it more likely to attract users. We still get about 90-95% of our revenue from Newsstand; the rest is via our own Web site and, now, via Medium. (Since Medium is ad-free, it's a good fit.)

My goal is for The Magazine to have less than 25% of its revenue from Newsstand by the end of 2014, and probably 50-60% from subscriptions as compared to books and other work we do.

Practicing2 karma

Why do I follow you on Twitter even though I am completely unfamiliar with your work and why have I been unable to unfollow you?

montlaker6 karma

I have a magnetic tractor beam hidden in Twitter?

letterama5 karma

Glenn once quit Twitter briefly. Through a series of misunderstandings, this act made him a Twitter Immortal. It means once you catch a glance of him, even out of the corner of your eye, you must follow him. And it makes unfollowing him impossible, even if he tweets 50 times in an hour. Which he does.

montlaker2 karma

My name is Connor McTweet of the Clan McTweet. I am 185,000 tweets old. And I kinna mute. { stabs self with tiny blue bird }

mathowie2 karma

Honest question I grappled with for a couple weeks: If I'm a subscriber to The Magazine (since day one!), why should I back the Kickstarter?

montlaker2 karma

I should also say that supporting the Kickstarter is a conceptual thing: if it's worth $10 or $15 or $30 or whatever to you to help support an independent publication that tries to pay everyone well and does interesting work even though we are ostensibly for-profit that's a reason.

I don't want any nano-scale violins playing for me, but The Magazine doesn't throw off cash. It's an experiment and so far sustainable, but the balance is very tight. The money from the Kickstarter will go 100% to expenses with a modest margin against higher expenses than anticipated. We'll fold any "profit" into improving the book and then improving the app and Web site.

Ultimately, I pay writers, artists, and contractors first, and then myself. My goal is to create a great collaborative product with myself at the head, and someday make a full-time living from it.

montlaker1 karma

Totally reasonable question. There are a billion people who haven't subscribed, and perhaps I should have given subscribers a better explanation!

Really, if you've subscribed and read all along, this is more of a keepsake if you buy the hardcover edition. It's going to be beautiful, designed almost like a magazine, and something that lets you share the sense of what you like about The Magazine with other people without having to forward articles or get them a subscription.

(The ebook edition will also be nice.)

Beyond that, we threw some special stuff in, like a discounted one-year subscription, a special exclusive T-shirt, and some prints, thinking those might appeal to subscribers who didn't want the words.

Due to subscriber churn (people who unsubscribe, which happens all the time, even as we gain new subscribers), more people are now past subscribers than current subscribers, and I've received hundreds of emails asking for some other way to read the "best of"; we've got more ideas to come, too.

Busterbook2 karma

I saw an article in Zite yesterday about the problems magazines are having with IOS7, or maybe just the whole online medium. What are the main problems with online magazines, and how do they need to be worked around or solved?

montlaker3 karma

The true problem is twofold: finding readers and getting them to pay.

The model of using advertising to support sites only worked in two scenarios, really:

  • Modest to ambitious sites with one or a handful of people who typically don't derive their whole living from the site, but can devote enough time to it to generate enough new writing/art that the volume of viewers creates high-enough return from advertising. Those still exist, probably in the 10,000s, making $100s to $10,000s per month.

  • Super high-volume sites backed by print revenue or venture capital that can produce a massive quantity of articles, often with original video reporting or commentary, that use a combination of low-paid freelance writer and modestly paid staff writing (as well as "borrow" pieces from the higher-ad-backed print side of the organization). These sites with tens of millions to billions of page views can produce enough traffic to be worthwhile.

For everybody else, it's nearly impossible to create work at a fast enough rate and attract enough viewers for advertising revenue to match up.

Subscriptions are a logical alternative. I wrote a long blog entry explaining that The Magazine would need as many as 20 million monthly ad impressions to equal the equivalent of 25,000 monthly subscribers. That's impossible for us to achieve, because we focus on long-form content.

So! The real trouble is that people are used to reading for free online, which is fine when the business model supported that. But after nearly 20 years of it, it's hard to change expectations. The iOS Newsstand was going to "help" because it would be a place for Apple to market periodicals directly to people who had purchased hardware designed to read such electronic publications well!

In the end, Apple doesn't provide a great conduit for new or existing publications: we still have to do all the marketing, and the Newsstand is full of wonky problems never fixed or that have gotten worse. Meanwhile, Apple modified several unique elements of Newsstand that benefited publishers who had chosen to be inside the Newsstand folder to allow those same benefits for any app.

There has to be a better way for us to reach hundreds of millions of potential subscribers when we only needs a few tens of thousands to make it really possible to produce something great and pay contributors well.

Busterbook1 karma

The follow up question would be whether Zite or Flipboard aren't a huge problem for online magazines....

montlaker1 karma

They're so barely on my radar, I don't know whether they have a chance or not. The fact is that paywalls are going to trump free reported writing because the free stuff is driven by ads, and I've noted elsewhere how difficult it is to use ads to pay for content, especially good content.

I don't see how Zite and Flipboard fit in perfectly with paywalls, because they don't align with the business model of firms that want to "capture" companies for their periodical content.

Jukaela1 karma


What do you found most "entertaining" to you, personally, about tech journalism - I'm a software engineer, I find cs problems "entertaining". What's the equivalent for you?

What do you think of the current state of affairs in Redmond. Where do you see them going in the upcoming years with the new leadership?


montlaker2 karma

I've lost interest over the years in the latest gadget. I don't want to see another article about the latest tiny improvement or some new thing that the company thinks everyone should have, but which tries to invent the problem that it solves.

I'm most interested in the "internet of everything," because it has so much potential to improve people's lives and happiness, spur the economy with better productivity, and possibly make more people's lives better than anything that's happened so far. Internet-in-everything seems like a goof at first glance.

But a refrigerator with an Internet connectivity can run its defrost cycle at an off-peak time because it coordinates with the central power grid. A million refrigerators doing that reduces the need for peak power generation.

A person with diabetes with an implant pump with Bluetooth-to-smartphone connectivity or that can use a central hub can avoid serious health complications. And so on! Lots of little things that don't require us to manage them. (Privacy is a massive, massive issue, of course.)

Redmond: I know a lot of very smart people who work at Microsoft, and it's remarkable how effective the company is at being unable to take advantage of that. Microsoft will become a business-to-business company with a very strong Web services business. The consumer part will eventually fade away or be spun off (like Xbox).

redmitten1 karma

Thoughts on hardcore music?

montlaker1 karma

Hardcore for me is Willie Nelson turned up really loudly.

FlyingSandvich1 karma

Glenn, with all the work you do, how do you manage to find the time to tweet so much?

EDIT: Dammit, just saw your tweet.

montlaker1 karma

I'm actually a colonial organism, like a slime mold. We are legion.

Ozt1ks1 karma

After hearing your latest appearance on The Talk Show with John Gruber... I'm compelled to ask the following two questions:

  1. as a well written writer yourself, what advice would you give to someone who is trying out their chops at writing with their own blog?
  2. where do you see podcasts, as a medium, in 2-5 years?

Thanks for the AMA and I look forward the book!

montlaker1 karma

Thank you!

  1. The most important thing about writing well is writing a lot. As much as you can. The more you write, the better you become, as long as you continuously evaluate your own writing and try to "hear" how you sound compared to writers you admire. Writing without affectation, not necessarily simply, but using the fewest and best words to communicate, is really difficult, and just requires practice. You have to try out a lot of words over a long time to get a muscle that lets you just sit down and write well as a baseline.

  2. It's got to get easier to both fund podcasts and get them into ordinary people's hands. I expect we're going to see subscription networks tied into delivery systems for car stereos and apps, in which one fee gives you access to regular episodes, special content, live chats, events, meetups, etc. So podcasts will become more like music acts together, who combine studio albums, live performances, fan events, and merch. (Most podcasts will continue to have small, dedicated audiences and be free, though.)

melonheadct1 karma

Advice for young people interested in long form nonfiction?

montlaker1 karma

It can take a long while to get to where you can write long form and get it published, because of the commitment of time by both you and an editor to bring something to fruition.

Writing short features with narrative structure (a beginning, middle, end; tension and resolution; strong central characters; evocative but not flowery descriptions of settings) is a great way to start, as people love little gems.

Finding a bigger story that can sustain a narrative is hard. You can't break the facts to fit into your narrative, either, of course, and thus you find all sorts of stories that might work, but few do, because they can't work at that length.

Medium is probably a great place to explore, because they have a professional-grade approach that makes your work stand on its own and yet look like other work on the site. This can give you more confidence that what you publish will be taken on its merits instead of evaluated by its appearance or blogging platform.

someukguy1 karma

Can I be a dork and join in here? I'm young (apparently) and write longform nonfiction. What Glenn says is very true: you're not going to get an editor taking a huge commitment in time and money on you that often. I was lucky in that I actually did get that one-in-a-million editor taking a chance, but also it took perseverance and proving I could write at a shorter length.

But the main thing is to prove you can actually write. Editors will take shorter stuff from less experienced writers because it's less of an outlay for them with cash or editing time. Try and write some 5-600 word stories somewhere and get paid, then use that as proof that there's a reason an editor should take a chance on you writing something longer. Once you've done 1,000 word essays, move up again. Eventually, you demonstrate that someone should invest the larger longform budgets on you.

And largely the advice Glenn gave above to a commenter about how to get better at writing holds true here. Read a lot of long stuff, write regularly, and you get way better really quickly. Then pitch Glenn ideas. Then feel really smart.

melonheadct1 karma

Thanks for the reply! I'm a senior in high school. What should I be doing now and in college to put myself in position to write longform nonfiction afterwards?

montlaker1 karma

Find a specialty that you can obsess about. Part of my accidental secret is that I've had successive obsessive subjects that have led me to areas where "regular" journalists or staff reporters weren't in, but were interesting enough to editors to want longish pieces about.

I covered Wi-Fi in late 2000 and early 2001 when nobody else was on top of what it would mean as a public amenity and my first long-form Economist feature in print was about municipal Wi-Fi!

In a bit of irony, crowdfunding has been my obsession since 2010.

If you can develop technical, scientific, or medical expertise in particular that can often get you into places where editors will take a risk on you since they are willing to work with you on your writing because they want your deep knowledge, even if you're young. I wrote my first magazine feature for pay because I had at age 23 already about 7 or 8 years of esoteric knowledge about managing fonts on a Mac!

someukguy1 karma

Just write something every day, and read more than you write. I learn stuff from reading other people (so for example, The Magazine has five great, disparate stories every issue that invariably show five different angles of doing a story).

Write for your school paper, I guess, and the college one -- but it's not the be all and end all. I didn't, and am doing okay. The good news is that longform is in vogue, and that there are countless publications now who want writers and will when you're out of college. Some of them even pay well, too.

melonheadct1 karma

Thanks again. Last question, back to your first reply. How should I find outlets to write the shorter stuff that you describe as a good starting point?

montlaker2 karma

Almost every site you read takes freelance submissions, although some only want experienced writers. I hate to advise writing for free, because that's only a good idea for brief periods of one's career, but writing some drafts of stories you could submit that are already in great shape and might appeal is an incredible calling card for sites desperate for content.

If you're a Mac head, go to TidBITS, a publication I've been involved with for well over 15 years. They pay modestly as they are a small-scale publication, but they have a long history of bringing in writers with no or little experience and working with them intensively to become professionals. Tons of people went through TidBITS (back when we couldn't pay, even), and went on to full-time freelance or staff gigs.

I don't know other sites that are as interested in fostering new writers, but so many tech sites accept submissions or work with beginning freelancers, that you should find the sites you like and start talking to them with pieces in hand you might submit.

melonheadct1 karma

Thanks for the great advice. Any tips for pitching in general?

montlaker1 karma

Don't go on at length. Tell the nugget of the story. Explain why it's interesting and, if possible, unique. Show enough of the story you want to tell that an editor can make a decision. Don't use elaborate language, but listen to your own voice and make sure it's clear, and you've picked the right words, instead of using phrases you've heard before.

An editor can hear the shape of a story very quickly. Some people can't put a shape to one; others have the knack right off. For news, it's much more important to tell a clear story understandable to the purported audience of the site. For a longer feature, you need to get a reader hooked without being too ridiculous. The story should bring them in, however mild it is, so they want to go along for the ride.

SlaunchaMan1 karma

I backed this project after listening to you on The Talk Show. I have grandiose ideas about a KickStarter of my own, which would be a 50-100 page focused technical book on one aspect of iOS development. What advice would you have in terms of the non-writing aspects of this: printing, fulfillment, reward tiers, etc.?

montlaker2 karma

Hey, thanks, and that's a great idea for a project. You have to start with either an audience or a way to build the audience fast. What I learned with a failed Kickstarter in summer 2012 and this nearly successful one (so close!) this time around is that if you don't have an audience that wants you to create the thing you want to do and that audience isn't large enough relative to the money you need to raise, you won't succeed.

So you might look into whether you can find a group of people interested enough before launching that will likely contribute the necessary minimal funds. It's very very hard to have a project without an audience and build it during the campaign unless you're a consumer electronics project.

Simple tiers are best. Have $10, $25, $35, and $50 tiers, because those are where most of the money comes in. You could even have $10, $25, $50. Have higher-dollar tiers for people who want a way to support you more for something special.

For short-run and shorter books, check out print-on-demand options from Lulu, Amazon, and others. These let you stock no inventory, and can have very reasonable per-copy costs. And they handle fulfillment!

matthewbischoff1 karma

What have been your favorite article and contributor to The Magazine?

montlaker2 karma

Don't ask me to make a Sophie's Choice, Matthew!

I will say, though, that John Patrick Pullen's piece on Soap Lake, Washington's giant (proposed) lava lamp, "Beacon of Hope," is one I cite a lot as a perfect example of what we do. Unique story told well with on-site reporting and loving detail, in which people aren't lampooned but shown with foibles and all the joy they bring to life and their community. And they might actually build that goddamned 60-foot-tall lava lamp in the end!

But the biggest problem I've had is picking. We get a lot of pitches, and we winnow down to subjects we think our readers are least likely to have heard of and most likely to go, "huh! cool!" about.

lexfri2 karma


Happy to have cleared that up.

montlaker2 karma

I can neither confirm nor deny that that guy, who has hardly written for me for several months, is my favorite contributor.

He is my favorite podcast ad salesperson management person.

imgarysmith1 karma

Congrats on getting past the goal. I think the year best of book is a great idea. I hope an issue is released every year. Have you considered making the regular issues more like a magazine? Same digital format but with images and fancy typography. I understand there is more cost and time involved with it but people may be willing to pay more for it.

montlaker1 karma

Yes, absolutely. The founding goal was to have a really great, simple reading experience that wasn't full of crud, like the "digital replica" publications being produced then. I think we succeeded.

So one of the notions of the Kickstarter was to work in depth with skilled designers and think about how a print and designed ebook would work.

We're going to take what we learn in completing the book and apply that. The app will almost certainly remain very simple, but we already produce standard ebooks (MOBI and EPUB formats) with every issue. These are automatically generated.

The next step is to have an app version and a designed version in PDF that keeps some of the design in EPUB and a touch in MOBI. That will make The Magazine more readable and accessible outside of iOS.

You can subscribe and have EPUB and/or MOBI versions emailed to you already; when we add designed PDFs, I think that makes it even better, no?

agitat0r1 karma

Hi, I work with concept development in an old, subscription-based newspaper, so this is pretty interesting.

How do you plan to stay afloat financially? Will you rely on user payment exclusively?

What will you do differently than Carr&co in NSFWCorp (rip)?

montlaker2 karma

Subscriptions were low-hanging fruit initially, and that propelled us to this point. I've been laying the groundwork for months to diversify out. Ads aren't a solution because we don't produce enough work to get enough ad sales to outweigh the benefits of having zero ads, which readers love.

So we're doing the Kickstarter to underwrite the high cost of doing a hardcover book, because that seemed like a really nice stick to put in the sand. We'll produce the book, ship it to backers, and have extra print copies to sell later (and an infinite number of copies of the ebook!), and then we're going to also:

  • Sell individual copies of each issue. That was too much overhead earlier, but it's a frequent request and we'll have that set up soon. This avoids needing a subscription, and lets people buy an issue to get the article they want.

  • Sell quarterly compilations (with a subscription option) to get a print or ebook (or both) version every three months with a subset of articles in our fortnightly (every other week) version. Much requested for those who want less to read.

  • Medium articles. Medium is exploring the future of what and how people will read, and I'm delighted they want to pay us something to go along with them. We're publishing shorter stories and archived pieces in The Magazine at Medium (there's an RSS feed) to try out their platform and help them explore this. That'll be some of the revenue moving forward, too, although most of what we're getting paid at Medium is going directly to writers.

I respect what Paul Carr/NSFWCorp did: they raised a pile of money (about a million) and set up an investigate-reporting publication. Traditionally, those don't make money, but are money-losing arms of newspapers and magazines. ProPublica does the same, and it's funded by foundations and members and is non-profit! So Paul and crew fought the good fight, but had the same marketing problem we have. I suspect there are easily 50,000 people who would pay for NSFWCorp, but it would cost $5,000,000 to find them!

reticulate1 karma

Hey Glenn, what's a day in the life like for an editor of The Magazine?

Also, have you ever tried Marco's coffee? Is it as good as he says it is?

montlaker3 karma

I put my gold-plated pants on, one gem-encrusted cuff at a time like the rest of you — actually, my valet does that part.

It's hectic. I am married with two youngish kids, and work out of the basement of the house (thankfully, daylit on the side I work on). I'm in a constant swirl of getting new articles assigned out, looking at drafts that have come in, examining images, commissioning illustrations, and talking to potential new writers. My part-time managing editor, Brittany Shoot, assists with all this.

We produce an issue every other week, so there's at least a pause to gasp for air. During the planning and execution of the Kickstarter, you can imagine that we're doing all the regular Magazine stuff, plus we're making sure that everything was lined up and continues to be pushing along for the book! When the Kickstarter funds (looks like soon! looks very likely!), we'll be able to hand off a lot of the work to our designers, while we go over with writers any changes we think we should make or that they want to make, and write the material for the front and back matter.

I have never had Marco's coffee. I will someday visit his kingdom of Hastings, slay the giant bug that guards entry, sing a song about ResEdit to put the five-headed Siracusa into a state of slumber, and then crack the crypto on his car's ignition lock, at which point I gain the keys to the kingdom and his coffee secrets.

mzagaja1 karma

A few questions:

  1. What tools and formats are the writers using? Do they have to be trained in formatting it in certain ways or do you have someone that takes in whatever they send and converts it?

  2. Is the Magazine limited to Marco's audience or has it been building readership in other niches? In other words, how are people discovering it?

  3. Is The Magazine a concept that works because the audience is tech savvy, or are there signs that it could work in other spaces like local news and politics, or cooking?

allhumanknowledge3 karma

I can comment on that first question (I'm a frequent contributor). I write for The Magazine in Markdown using BBEdit on a Mac. Some of the more complex articles (ones with many footnotes, like my Tetris piece in January) were first written in Scrivener (which is where I try to write anything of real length/complexity), then converted into Markdown via export. The reason I use Scrivener is to keep track of footnotes, interview transcripts, and citations -- basically, making sure I keep my factual ducks in a row and have all the pieces together in one place.

I do this largely because because I know that Markdown is the native language of The Magazine's CMS -- so I assume there's less friction in popping the article into the CMS. (It also makes revision diffs easy for me to view when I get back edits. I use Kaleidoscope for that, though anything would work.) I presume that an author who is not fluent in Markdown could use something else (your canonical Word document, for instance), but I'll leave that to Glenn.

FWIW, in my other freelancing work, I have never seen a publication accept (much less encourage) Markdown nor any sort of plain text format. Usually it's Word, or in the case of a blog, "put it in the CMS yourself."

montlaker2 karma

What he said!

My answers:

  1. We're increasingly working in .doc because of its ability to track changes. We worked initially with more technical writers for whom BBEdit or other tools and diff were just fine ways to see changes. Now we're working with more general reporters and essayists, and .doc is a necessary evil. (I edit in Pages ’09, and then export as .doc, and Track Changes markup is preserved back and forth!)

  2. What's funny is that Marco and I changed the focus of the publication a few weeks into my tenure (back a year ago) with his full blessing to a more general-interest publication, but it's still seen as a bit of a techie mag. We try to find stories that someone who spends most of their time reading Reddit, Wired, and similar publications would find interesting, but which aren't about technology (or at least about digital consumer stuff). We've gone way beyond the original audience, and we're trying to find subscribers and readers who like Wired, the Economist, and the New Yorker, but want stories that speak a little closer to their hearts in terms of feel.

  3. Hard to say—I think there are enough people now with smartphones and tablets of all kinds, and who read perfectly happily on a desktop browser, who would subscribe in large-enough numbers to make other subject areas work. But my refrain is: it's hard to find paying subscribers.

mzagaja1 karma

Oh wow I had no idea track changes worked back and fourth with Pages. I just started using Pages '11 and now am going to have to try that. Though as a lawyer I'm often stuck using word because I need to use some obscure feature.

montlaker2 karma

Pages ’11 is a different matter! It's essentially new, immature software, and I don't recommend anyone uses it, in fact! You need Pages ’09.

Digital_Medievalist1 karma

TidBITS ( also uses Markdown, and that and Glenn's use in The Magazine has me trying to learn it instead of using HTML, in an effort to reduce keystrokes.

montlaker1 karma

Markdown is the lingua franca of content-management systems (CMSes), including Reddit (which uses a slightly modified Markdown).

Digital_Medievalist1 karma

Do you have an ISSN for The Magazine? Why or why not (more on ISSNs: -- ISBNs for periodicals)

montlaker2 karma

We absolutely should, and I will put that on my list.

(The book will have an ISBN and be sold through some bookstores/online stores as well as directly.)

enricosusatyo1 karma

Hi Glenn, I just want to let you know that I am so impressed by you and Marco with The Magazine. I started my own magazine publication, The Photo Journal, but haven't found as much success as you have. Do you have any tips?

montlaker2 karma

Marco was a huge rainmaker: he is very visible in a community to which he has given a huge amount of time and knowledge. While Instapaper is a for-profit app & system (and since sold), the fact that it could be used extensively at no cost coupled with Marco's then two-year run of his podcast with advice for programmers?

Well, that brought a really huge audience in who were interested and gave it a try. It also got a ton of coverage because it was among the first of its kind: no ads, independent, etc., and got so many subscriptions so fast, which drove more subscriptions.

It's very hard to replicate, and I don't say that to discourage anyone. We're having difficulty sustaining interest, to be quite blunt, which is why we're doing the book and pursuing a lot of different directions about how to take the same features and work and bring it to more people without subscriptions being involved — and even involving the real world of atoms!

monsterbox20121 karma

Hiya Glenn,

I teach art to teenagers in New Haven and the other day I asked them what their college plans were, if any. Except for the two who have European grandmothers and intend to use their lineage to immigrate to the EU for a cheap education, most regard it as a prohibitively expensive proposition. One is too preoccupied wondering how he will help pay off his mother's student loan debt, let alone his own in a few years. I enjoyed 4 incredible, life-changing years at Yale, like you did, and this breaks my heart to say they might be right.

I despair for them. Can you expound a little about the New Disruptors of Education--Do you think years down the line one could get a Bachelor's or Master's Degree from khan academy or similar inexpensive online university? Are frats, clubs, Masters Teas, working on the college newspaper worth that additional 200+ thousand dollars in debt?

Good luck in next 60+ hours of crowd funding. I can't wait for my book! (hopefully:) Rodger

montlaker1 karma

Yes, I don't think college in a few years can possibly like what it is today for most people. Rich people will be able to afford it, but with fewer middle-class having enough money to pay, that won't allow financial aid to pay for enough poorer people to go. Need-blind admissions can't persist if they can't get rich people to subsidize.

I figure college in not that many years will instead be a lot of certificate programs, lower-key, and the like. More people will be working and attending school (a large number do now, but it will millions more).

I'm so glad that you're out there doing the good work! Kids should have hope for the future, but an expensive college degree increasingly only helps you indenture your future.

Seandroid1 karma

Do you think that Apple allowing Newsstand to be placed in a folder in iOS 7 is a sign of Apple relaxing promotion/support for the service?

montlaker1 karma

Yes, absolutely. Also, apps can now do regularly occurring background downloading of new content. The only advantage of the Newsstand is being able to update the cover of the app with a new cover, which is hardly an advantage since it has to be hidden inside the folder. (There are others, too, but that's the only one that, to me, makes a big difference.)