We Could All Be The Magazine

When I sat down to write earlier this evening there were a lot of things on my mind, my mind kept returning to the subject of design, still fresh in my mind after this site’s redesign last weekend. As much as I like the clean and simple layout I have now, it is not very media-friendly. I made this choice early on in the design process partially because I very rarely desire to post any sort of content other than plain text, but also because I have not found an acceptable way to do so in a manner complementary to my site’s design. Like The Magazine in its early days, therefore my site does not feature anything but simple text. Although for the most part I am fine with that, I would nevertheless prefer to have the ability to post a cool or interesting sound byte, image, or video should the need present itself.

With this thought in mind, I drew an interesting parallel. Marco Arment’s The Magazine, now in its ninth issue, is known and widely regarded as the superlative publication of its paradigm for three reasons: quality articles, quality design, and quality distribution. If Marco doesn’t like an article, that article will never ship; he retains complete control of the app’s design; and as of today, combining each edition’s size sums to a mere fraction of the hundreds of megabytes required for traditional digital magazines. In other words, Marco Arment controls every aspect of this experience, from distribution to the end user experience, and he uses this control to produce the best digital magazine on the market.

Does this at all sound familiar? We bloggers also control every aspect of every reader’s experience on our sites: as writers we control the content; as designers, or as the contractor hiring a designer, we have the final say in every design proposition; and as the publisher of our own content, we determine how our products reach our audiences. In other words, we control every aspect of this experience; unlike Marco Arment though, for some reason the vast majority seem to be incapable of realizing this simple fact, continuing to produce poor content in confoundingly whimsical designs.

We all have the potential to succeed in this space for the very same reasons Marco succeeded in the digital magazine industry. Your success depends on whether or not you realize this though, and on the steps you take towards that goal.