Thursday, May 21, 2009

May 21, 2009
Sprinkling and overcast again today. Debbie in yoga class commented that she has never seen the desert ironwoods in such spectacular bloom. They produce a violet array of flowers and against the palo verdes' bright yellow it really creates a magnificent palette.

I'm on my way this morning to Tucson for a PBS documentary taping.

Tracking The Purchase of True West Magazine From Ten Years Ago:

Here's the culling of my Franklin Daytimer. We started talking about buying True West in May of 1999, but the actual purchase and taking over of the magazine took most of the year. Here are the highlights of that long ago summer:

June 17, 1999
Just got off the phone with Steve G. at True West [in Stillwater, OK]. He shot me a new proposal. $50,000 down and the remaining $48K at the end of the year.

June 22, 1999
Bob McCubbin called and told me his former boss at El Paso Gas is interested in investing in True West. We could be back in biz. An amazing ride.

July 1, 1999
Marcus Huff [True West editor] wants me to write up the Earp Trial for True West [The Arizona Bar recreated a mock trial of Wyatt Earp. I portrayed Johnny Behan], which is weird because I’ll be working for someone who may be soon working for me.

July 6, 1999
Steve G. called and is threatening to put magazine up for sale through a media broker. I think he’s just anxious to sell. Assured him we’d have an answer Monday.

July 9, 1999
I met with Jim F. the accountant and he gave me the rundown. Many, many questions. It appears True West is spiraling downward which is not surprising, but the $64,000 question is: how close to the ground are they?

Jim’s main points are:

• no bank statements since 12-31-98

• Value is in subs and name—everything else is incidental

• accounts payable aging has too many slow paying accounts. Could indicate cash flow problems.

July 12, 1999
Bob McCubbin and I made a verbal commitment to Steve G. to buy True West this morning at 9:35. It was a conference call and Bob McC. was masterful. Very calm, reassuring, in control. He offered a piece of the new business to Steve! Really inspiring. [We] agreed to a $2,500 earnest fee. We are on our way to owning True West.

August 19, 1999
Bob Early [Arizona Highways editor] called yesterday to chat about the status of the morning show and when we got to True West he really laid it on me, saying, “I like you Bob and I don’t want to see you get hurt and you can get hurt real fast in this game.” And “I wouldn’t buy True West on a bet.” He sees nothing but failure there. Told me the intimate details of their [proposed] Myths & Legends magazine which they are going to spend $900,000 on the first year and they won’t be profitable for the first three years! Described all the pitfalls (we have no circulation director or Sales Manager) and how TW is doomed. Sigh.”

End of daytimer entries.

Bob Early is no longer the editor of Arizona Highways. Their proposed magazine Myths & Legends was never launched and my two original partners eventually sold out. True West Editor Marcus Huff and I got crossways in 2000 and he left in a, ahem, huff, but we are featuring him and his wife’s general store-home in Ten Sleep, Wyoming, in the next issue.

And, this is the most amazing part of all this—we are still here holding our own. I wonder if ol’ Sir James has anything to say about this?

“The secret of happiness is not in doing what one likes to do, but in liking what one has to do.”
—Sir James Barrie

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