Dear Fresh Cup
I’m sorry to read your news.
Now, I don’t know you. I understand that you are a long standing magazine about tea and coffee. Or rather, based on the ten most recent articles when I perused your website, a magazine about coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, milk, coffee, coffee, coffee, tea and coffee.
You’re not a magazine I have previously read. I read a lot about tea, but my primary source is the endlessly fascinating stream of tea blogs that crosses my screen, virtually at random.
Sometimes I’m in the mood for serious tea news, and then I look to credible mags/outlets who feature writers I admire and trust, like Katrina Munichiello or Dan Robertson.
But mostly, I want to be entertained while knowledge is entering my brain.
And so I try to avoid the dull bits. The silly health claims. The bits where we, as an industry, take ourselves so seriously that we may, in fact, vanish up our own backsides.
When I heard that Geoffrey Norman, a blogger of incredible scope had applied to be your editor, it was an issue that cut across BOTH my fields of expertise. You see, I happen to also be a professional recruiter, and my speciality is finding incredible talent.
After two dozen years in the recruiting game, I could probably write the transcript of the meetings you’ve had to discuss who you need. And like many of my clients, you’ll have some ideas. Safe ideas, Predictable ideas.
And I like to deliver those, because there’s nothing wrong with safety, predictability, good due diligence.
They are wonderful concepts… unless you spoil them by ONLY looking at those things.
I always brighten up a shortlist with someone who is passionate, lateral and, quite often, more than a little nuts.
Do they get the job? Sometimes, but not often.
But sometimes their very presence livens up the thinking.
And that’s why I think you’ve made a mistake.
Sure, interview the other guys. The ones who have been editing for years. The solid, reliable, no-risk guys.
Interviewing Geoff would not have changed those guys. But it might have changed your thinking. It might have changed your expectations.
Of course, it’s up to you. It is your business, your future, your magazine. What you publish is YOUR news.
When your next editor comes on, we may see a sudden flush of newness, a point of difference, new scope, new hope.
I sincerely hope so, because if not, this small opinion expressed here will make me look like some sort of genius, whereas the truth will be much more pedestrian.
And there is nothing beats being pedestrian as a shortcut to failure.
I may have the wrong end of the stick. You may have included a genuinely left-field candidate in your shortlist. You may, even now, be planning the biggest, most spectacular leap of the imagination known to tea and coffee publishing.
We’ll all know soon enough.
It’s probably not too late to give Geoff a call, though.