There are a few basic lessons to be learned from Conde Nast’s decision to close Portfolio, despite sinking $100M into the launch.
Lesson 1 is the obvious: Use the Web to test new products and launch with some modesty. Portfolio, of note, was doomed because it was full of hubris.
Lesson 2 is somewhat sexist but it’s true: Unless you are a magazine targeting women in one specific category or another, just go online-only. End of story.
Lesson 3 is that you can pick a great category like Finance and Business but still get blindsided by poor timing and abysmal luck. However, while I’ve never read Portfolio, I get a sense that instead of covering what was actually going on in the world of Finance and Business, the editors put their heads in the sand.
The perfect storm created by these three things culminated in the news yesterday. I reiterate: The only thing that print companies should be investing in is online video (not because I am biased) but because it remains the only salvation, not today, or tomorrow, but in 1 or 10 years down the line.