Thursday, June 20, 2024

The Secret to Failing More & Are We Witnssing The Return of Print?

 June 20, 2024

   It's another hot one.

Uno at The Top

    Meanwhile, down at the bottom of the hill, around noon, it's gets a little nuclear.

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:

"Saguaros Ripple In The Heatwaves"

Failing to Succeed

It's easier than you think.

   I have failed at so many things it's not even funny. Well, actually, it's a little bit funny, if you think financial ruin is a belly buster. For your amusement, here are a few of my more spectacular fails.

   Dan Harshberger and I started a monthly Arizona humor magazine in 1972, not realizing the state already had a daily humor publication called the Arizona Republic.  Our publication—excuse me, our magazomicThe Razz Revue, lasted four years and made zero money. The last time I looked, The Arizona Republic is still publishing.

Volume I Number 1 is worth $55 today
(I own three of these, so there's one
day's worth of retirement meals right there)

   I had a checkered radio career in the eighties and nineties. I went on KSLX in Scottsdale, as a guest on the morning show to plug my book "Low Blows." When I got off the air I was offered a job, which turned into the Jones & Boze Show. That lasted eight years but then we ran out of gas and we were fired and I went back to cartooning for a couple years and then we were rehired by our old manager, Reid Reiker, who told us to work our magic on a new radio station he named Young Buck (which was a jab at Buck Owens who owned KNIX). We worked hard at rekindling our original chemistry—this time billed as Jones, Boze & Jeanne—but at about the ninety day mark, the Seattle owners fired Reid and brought in a new management team, led by general manager Bob Chase, who took us out to lunch and said, "Your show bums me out. It's not funny."  A short time later, I said "Besa me culo," on the air and we were all fired.

   In 1999, two crazy friends of mine and I decided to buy a failing magazine. After paying way too much for it, we proceeded to lose $30k a month, until both of my partners bailed and two women saved the magazine, Kathy Radina and Carole Compton Glenn. It has been a very bumpy ride, but in two months I will celebrate my 25th year behind the wheel of this careening vehicle called True West. In the last six months, our competitor, Wild West, went out of business, along with a dozen-or-so other titles in the history field. Everyone has warned me to bail, but today I read a very thought provoking piece in the New York Times about small, niched magazines making a comeback. Why?

"We’re all exhausted from our screens. We want something to savor.”

—Stephen Casiniro

   I call it the vinyl effect. As one of the new, small publishers puts it, "In the scheme of things, we have a small audience who we want to serve really well, with the best scholarship and the best imagery. Our magazine is designed to be collectable, not disposable."

"Every time history is retold, it moves a little."

—Old Vaquero Saying

   In the end, I failed so many times, I actually succeeded because the one thing I learned is, get knocked down five times, get up six. True, I'm on my 18th knockdown, but you get the picture. My only regret is that I didn't fail more.

   Is it possible to fail your way to success? I think so. In fact, I know so.

   We associate Babe Ruth with record-setting home runs, but did you know he struck out 1,330 times in his career and that he held the record for most strikeouts for 30 years?
   So what have we learned?
   If you want to be a successful you need to strike out more. Put another way, you need to jump off more cliffs and figure it out on the way down. Everything you want is on the other side of fear. If you want new ideas, read an old book.

"Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little."
—Tom Stoppard


  1. Anonymous1:14 PM

    Daryl Drake

  2. Anonymous1:15 PM

    00PS! Please delete this and prior, watch for Take 3

  3. Daryl Drake1:20 PM

    I've referred to the state's "paper of record" for five decades as the ARIZONA REPUGNANT, but like the late, great US Rep Sam Steiger admonished repeatedly, "You can't make fun of it if you don't read it."

    And would you want the RAZZ to survive, but as a zombie, bought out and resembling USA TODAY West Lite?

    I think not, Robert.


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