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Missing 'The Industry Standard'
March 28, 2010 - 8:17pm

I miss The Industry Standard. Were you a subscriber / reader of this print magazine? The Standard lasted from around 1998 to 2001 - both a participant and chronicler of the dot-com bubble. Essential reading during those jubilant (inflation), bizarre (peak), and traumatic (deflation) bubble days.

My memory is that The Standard's offices were South of Market (SOMA) - somewhere near the live/work loft of Education (the quasi startup that I was working). If you were employed at a dot-com during those years, you read the Standard. The reporting, as I remember, was both sober and informed. The Standard was not a Web business/personality cheerleader, like Business 2.0 and Red Herring (are these magazine still around?). Rather, the Standard was (at its best), a trade magazine for the emerging Internet Industry.

I still subscribe to Fast Company magazine, although more out of nostalgia than much of anything else (although the magazine does occasionally have some good articles - overall it is pretty thin).

Surprisingly (at least to me), is how good Wired Magazine has become. I attribute this mostly to Wired's editor-in-chief, Chris Anderson, author of two of my favorite books: The Long Tail and Free. Wired manages to combine fascinating stories with gorgeous visuals and graphics. Wired has managed to become both smarter and more relevant - a noteworthy achievement for a print publication. Unless I'm wrong, I even think that Wired makes money for its owner, Condé Nast.

Could a magazine like The Industry Standard be re-launched in the iPad era? Will the iPad allow for medium-form journalism (longer articles than a Web publication, shorter than The Atlantic or Harper's Magazine) to find a workable business model? I'm hoping so.

I will not read anything longer than 2,000 words on my laptop screen, but maybe the iPad will provide a quality reading experience. Magazines designed as iPad apps should be able to charge a premium for advertising, as the ads can be both be targeted and interactive. A magazine like Wired makes most of its money from selling ads. The $10 or so we pay for a subscription mostly qualifies the readers to the advertisers, as the subscription costs most likely barely covers paper, printing, and postage. An iPad magazine app would not need to qualify readers as high-value customers, as ownership of an iPad will be qualification enough.

Industry Standard gets my vote for the first new iPad magazine app that I'd like to see. We need a weekly journal for the technology and media industry that achieves what Variety does for the entertainment industry (although I've never read Variety). Would you want to see the Standard return as an iPad magazine app? What publication are you looking forward to reading on your iPad?


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