came to Speak when Jennifer and Denise were still there, and I subsequently
heard that they had followed several other people. Then they were let
go. Elisabeth had been there one issue and she had gone. And even when
Dan hired me he said, "Maybe
this should be temporary." Soon after I had a trip planned to Mexico
and assumed I would be jobless when I returned. Dan just always seemed
unhappy with everyone. It was an ambiguous time.
I used to
be very uncommunicative with employees as to whether they were doing a
good job or a bad job. Nobody thought they were going to be fired until
the moment they were fired. Because of this, Tomas felt unsteady. From
the beginning, he did a great job, really helped improve the magazine.
But I only realized that I hadn't told him this when he asked if he was
going get fired like everyone else.
When I first worked for Speak, it seemed like Dan had a different person
answering the phone every time I called. One of them said, "You're
not the only John that calls so it would be helpful if you could tell
me your last name, too." She was gone the next time I called.
Dan isn't the same person now that he was at the beginning. At that time
he was particularly shy and had a hard time dealing with people directly,
they were very intimidating to him.
to right: Imipramine (psychotic), Buspar (nothing), Paxil (irritable),
Zoloft (jittery), Doxepin (sleepy).
had anxiety attacks and was put on anti-depressants. They worked well,
except that I felt sleepy all the time and was quite happy to turn responsibilities
over to other people. I wasn't satisfied
with the first few issues, but had a difficult time getting out of my
own way to do anything about it. I finally decided to get off the pills
and I instantly snapped back to normal. I fired almost everyone and took
control over every aspect of the magazine, with the exception of ad sales,
which I just couldn't do.
me that he thought he was such a poor seller, he figured someone as different
from him as possible ought to be a good seller. That was the logic behind
My dad warned, "You're
new to New York, you're new to the publishing world, and you work for
a new magazine. Too much news is bad news."
I still have
my first phone file from Caitlin. She had a home number, a work number,
a voice mail number and a basement number.
I had a basement
office in the building where I worked for my other job. I'd run down there
at lunch. Before that I used to call agencies from payphones just outside
the office, I always had a whole stack of quarters. The doorman took pity
on me, he said "C'mon,
this is crazy you standing out there trying to write things down. Let
me set up an office for you."
Dan and Caitlin are about as opposite from each other as any two people
can be. It's no surprise, in hindsight at least, that things didn't work
out. Caitlin is incredibly enthusiastic in an optimistic, salesperson-y
way and Dan is warily enthusiastic in a thoughtful, cynical, more anti-social
way. By the end it seemed like they were working for two different magazines.
made me believe that anything was possible. She was enthusiastic and fearless.
And nobody worked harder. She'd call the office at nine p.m.-- midnight
her time-- to talk about an ad proposal or whatever she was working on.
We both worked long hours, but we never commiserated or complained; we
were doing exactly what we wanted to be doing.
a group of journalists came in from Japan and imagined us as these swinging
party boys who knew all the clubs and were the toast of the town. We were
sitting around in a circle without much to say and they asked us about
fun places to go. Dan and I couldn't think of a single one. We said,
"Well, we just work
on the magazine all day and night." If Speak reflected our
lives, it would be a dull magazine. We live very isolated lives.
hired, and fired, three different advertising directors, prior to
the first issue. Maybe it was the logo.
bloody hard on Speak. I always believed in Dan's editorial vision and
I championed it very aggressively. But apart from a steady check, I never
got the same support or morale building that I felt I was giving to him.
He did give
me a compliment one time after my first visit to San Francisco. I loved
the place and called when I got back and said, "If
I could have turned the plane around, I would have." And Dan said,
"If anyone could have,
you could have." I made a lot of cold calls that day.
moving into more non-commercial terrain, and Caitlin never fully accepted
it. She always felt that I should do more for her editorially, whether
it be fashion or music, to help her sell ads.
Dan and I
had the same goals, but we were operating on different tangents. I knew
I had the ear of record companies and a lot of them were excited to have
me connect them with other advertisers that could create an event. I'd
seen companies like Sony and others use music as a tool to promote who
they were. I didn't want to be calling Dan the way promoters did, saying
"I'm sending you some
CDs, make sure you write this up." But I saw Speak, plus music,
as a powerful way to leverage funds. Dan saw it as, "Oh,
God, Cait wants us to be a music magazine."
already too many music magazines, and they all covered the same bands.
Caitlin was always very encouraging that we could do it better than the
others, but I didn't have any idea how.
Dan would criticize every magazine in the world; there was no other magazine
that was good. "Details,
I hate that magazine!" "Paper, I hate that magazine!" He didn't
hate Might, but then it went out of business.
was trying to do something with Island records and U2 were about to embark
on a tour. She appealed to me to publish a story on the tour to get a
little synergy going. But, jeez, how dull would that have been? Most ideas
that were generated around selling ads were not only bad ideas for Speak,
they were just bad ideas.
I think collaboration
is a very important thing. There are compromises that you sometimes have
to give in to, but if you're working with talented people it all gels
rather beautifully in the end.
was that most magazines were filled with compromise and I liked the idea
that Speak didn't have any of that. I thought Caitlin should have bought
into what I was doing and not try to reshape it to make it easier to sell.
That Caitlin would work on Dan for added editorial to support her advertisers
is totally in keeping with the personality he was looking for when he
hired her. I don't think he thought this part through. He just knew that
he didn't want to have to sell.
Caitlin couldn't understand why Dan would hire her and then resent the
very thing she specialized in. And Dan couldn't understand why she wouldn't
leave him alone and stop trying to change the magazine. In other words,
why would she resent the very thing she was hired to promote?
If Dan were
more amenable to the needs of marketers who don't share his sanctification
of the separation of edit and advertising, he may have had more success.
Not that Speak would have been a better read. Caitlin was right on in
her strategy, but Speak was trying to be different. Advertisers don't
a point at which Caitlin accepted she would have no sway over the editorial,
and she instead tried to get Speak involved in event marketing-- mainly
club music stuff that had nothing to do with the actual magazine. The
events would be for the advertisers and even if they didn't jibe with
the magazine, they allowed us to bring something to these companies that
we never could with our editorial. Caitlin was smart about this, but I
was protective. Too protective probably.
said "Cait, I trust you.
Do whatever it takes to make noise about this thing." I would never
do anything without his approval, so I would call and check everything
with him and nine times out of ten, it was a no. There was a sense that
Speak was a young vehicle and we needed to present the right image.
...Speak was banned from all future events at the club >>