Michela O’Conner Abrams
President and Publisher, Dwell Magazine
Michela O’Conner Abrams came to this very important position as a result of a passion for journalism and a series of ever increasing managerial responsibilities in the field. After getting her journalism degree from Cal Poly, she pursued an interest she was exposed to as an intern at Chiat Day Advertising Agency. She was fascinated by the exposure to magazine representatives telling their publications’ stories. Her first job was working for TV Guide as a sales assistant. In the next 25 years she acquired additional experiences and responsibilities, such as CEO of Business 2.0, CEO of Computer World and COO of Soft Bank Forums.
At Dwell the diversity of daily challenges is both the most interesting and challenging aspects of her job. She finds that she has to prioritize things that must be accomplished within the financial constraint of the business (finding readers at a reasonable price). She believes the best measure of a magazines success is circulation vitality; which means new subscriptions, subscription renewals, news stand growth and its advertising base. Two of the keys to her success are knowing better than anyone else the community Dwell serves and then delivering content to that community through the vehicles of print, live events, online and other mobile technologies.
In the future, Michela thinks there will be a renaissance for newsstand sales because book stores like Borders have set up areas making magazines a destination spot. High end grocery stores, such has Whole Foods and Wild Oats, have placed magazines before the checkout area. Also, the internet has taken on a content role that is important to a growing number of people. There are something like 100 million people in this country with email addresses and internet accounts. A new network of authors / publishers is in power. This has democratized content and traditional media companies need to make sure they are relevant on all these platforms and empower these authors to be part of their networks. They can do this by attaching their content to these new publishers / authors.
In her free time, Michela likes to be with her family, to horseback ride and to travel.