AKA: 3.PROG 032013
Okay. Those 3.prog post titles seemed like a good idea once upon a time. Not so much anymore. I’m changing it again. And since nobody ever comments on these, I figure nobody really minds anyway. So this one’s called ‘Cerebellum Fusion,” after one of my favorite Calvin & Hobbes strips of all time. It’s how I’m feeling after yesterday.
All my troubles seemed so far away. (Sorry. Couldn’t resist.) I trust you saw the preview of my third interview with Jeremy Boysen. Not only has he shuttered his JB Autosports business for a while in order to focus on new, niche venture FT86 Speed Factory, he even sold his beloved Evo to make it happen. Since he’s an Official GBXM Partner, he’s sharing insights into how he came to launch a business, close it, launch a new specialty business, and sell his personal plaything to fund the dream. In the future, we’ll be talking FRS/BRZ tech (and more) with him. He’s a good guy who genuinely wants to make a difference. Exactly the kind of company we want for our Official GBXM Partners. (And that page needs reworked.)
In addition to that, I polished up the preview of my interview with Malcolm Neill, professional motorsport consultant, that’s coming tomorrow. He was the main man in charge at Rally GB (the final round of the WRC) for 14 years, and has since been involved in the organization of a couple other rallies you might recognize – Rally Mexico and Rally Jordan, for example. I’d like to point out that I ended up being introduced to Malcolm via Eugenio, whom I didn’t know until I sent a private message on a forum where I have all of zero posts a couple years ago. A friendly reminder that you can do this too.
I also crossed a few other things off my to-do list, not the least of which was getting pictures of Michael’s bitchin’ Defender pickup in Ireland. We were hoping to get some shots of it covered in mud, towing a rally car out of the woods, but the pictures he ended up getting (which look like they were taken at 3AM) turned out superb. Look for a preview of his story very soon.
On top of all that (again, this is all yesterday), I also…
- got pictures for a follow up on Aaron Ekinaka of Dirty Impreza
- requested pictures for Damn Yankees Shitbox Rally interview (epic!)
- started buttoning up an interview with Patrick Wyman, who owns a Cobra kit car
It seems like, as soon as you start producing what looks like a monthly magazine, people want to know where they can order printed copies. You know why you can buy a copy of Motor Trend at the grocery store for less than ten bucks? Because the cost per printed issue goes down as the number of copies printed goes up. And because they have advertisers paying them to insert 6 pages of floor mats in every issue. We don’t have 1.06 million subscribers like they do (source). And we don’t do advertising. This means we have to make Gearbox Magazine worth your hard-earned money.
You want a printed copy? We want you to have a printed a copy. Yesterday, I really tried to make this happen. Until we can offer special, digital+print or print-only subscriptions, though, we’ve got to do print-on-demand, where you click a button and order your printed copy directly. Sounds easy enough, right? You want a printed copy? We give you point-and-click to order a printed copy. Piece of cake, right?
Hardly. I think we should offer deep discounts to people who already pay for digital subscriptions. It’s only fair. They’re making our dream a reality. The least we can do is hook them up where we can. So that means two different price points for the same product. Okay. Conceptually, it’s a piece of cake. Implementation, on the other hand, is where things get hairy.
I thought we could just do a print-on-demand button somewhere with a cover price, then give the paying subscribers a discount code in the email they get when the new issue comes out. Seemed like a great idea until someone (Eric!) asked me what happens when we have an issue go viral, that code gets leaked, and eleventy-billion people get it at cost. We wouldn’t see a dime of that. Back to the drawing board!
I also thought about doing like a group buy. What if we only sell printed copies for a limited time; people order in advance and I order them up at the best possible cost for everyone. This, too, seemed like a great idea, until I asked myself how I’m going to pack and ship printed issues to 1,000 people all over the world every month. Ugh. Fail.
THE IDEAL SOLUTION
Would be really nice if there was a gearhead out there with a print shop who wanted to work with us and grow both our businesses together. It would be nice to finish the digital issue, email the file to a partner, who would handle printing and shipping the physical issues each month. Smaller quantities, smaller margins (profits) today, in exchange for greater volume and margin tomorrow. I’d love to partner with a gearhead-owned business to make this happen. Hell. I’d love to partner with gearhead-owned businesses for everything! (Own your own business? Let’s talk!)
QUESTION OF THE DAY: COUPON OR WHAT?
I always want to close these with a question. All the time and effort going into this is for you. So what do YOU think? Should we stick with on-demand printing and risk the coupon thing until we can come up with a more robust solution? Or should we do something else? Maybe a private, subscribers-only area on the site where there are print-on-demand buttons with special pricing just for you? Maybe you have a better idea? PLEASE SHARE IT! This is driving me crazy right now.