Build­ing com­mu­nity with a sim­ple “Hello”

An in­ter­view with Ryan Fitzgib­bon, founder and pub­lisher of Hello Mr.

The Insider - - PUBLISHING -

Lately I’ve been think­ing a lot about, “What is jour­nal­ism?” The Amer­i­can Press In­sti­tute says that “Jour­nal­ism is the ac­tiv­ity of gath­er­ing, as­sess­ing, cre­at­ing, and pre­sent­ing news and in­for­ma­tion. It is also the prod­uct of th­ese ac­tiv­i­ties.” It seems to be a very broad def­i­ni­tion. Does that mean any blog that shares news and opin­ion is jour­nal­ism?

I’ve had this dis­cus­sion with a num­ber of peo­ple and some strongly be­lieve that jour­nal­ism only comes from those with a for­mally ed­u­cated in the craft. Oth­ers be­lieve we all have the po­ten­tial to be jour­nal­ists.

But per­haps the most sur­pris­ing def­i­ni­tion I heard was, “Jour­nal­ism is about pa­per,” — be­cause of the tac­tile ex­pe­ri­ence print of­fers over dig­i­tal.

I def­i­nitely can see the fas­ci­na­tion with print and why pub­lish­ers in­vest in print for read­ers who pre­fer it.

But should jour­nal­ism stop there? I per­son­ally don’t be­lieve of­fer­ing a dig­i­tal com­pan­ion to a print prod­uct will can­ni­bal­ize the pa­per edi­tion; they have dif­fer­ent au­di­ences. But if pub­lish­ers be­lieve that, shouldn’t they test the the­ory?

I de­cided to talk to some­one who started pub­lish­ing a very high-qual­ity, bian­nual print magazine only a few years ago, when the mantra, “Print is dead!” was on the lips of many pun­dits. Say hello to Ryan Fitzgib­bon, Ed­i­tor-in-Chief of Hello Mr. and learn what mo­ti­vated him to take what many would con­sider a risk and what jour­nal­ism means to him to­day.

Thanks so much Ryan for tak­ing the time for this in­ter­view. Hello Mr. takes a very in­ter­est­ing and un­ex­pected an­gle com­pared to tra­di­tional LGBTQ mag­a­zines, fo­cus­ing more on ed­i­to­rial con­tent and only pub­lish­ing it twice a year. How did you iden­tify that this was a niche mar­ket that was un­der­served/ un­oc­cu­pied, and how did you know what read­ers would like and pay for?

It was 2012 when the gen­e­sis of this idea was re­ally com­ing to­gether. I was liv­ing in the heart of The Castro in San Francisco and I felt that the com­mu­nity was so sat­u­rated with a lot of the same type of con­tent that was be­ing de­liv­ered to us, but not nec­es­sar­ily cre­ated by us. I felt that the vis­ual aes­thet­ics and tra­di­tional ways of reach­ing us weren’t aligned with my own brand aes­thetic.

Be­ing a brand de­signer and brand strate­gist at IDEO at the time, it be­came a per­sonal chal­lenge for me to re­brand the iden­ti­ties and the sym­bols that were so tra­di­tional in stereo­types for a gay com­mu­nity. As I started dig­ging into more of the me­dia land­scape for LGBT peo­ple and what was be­ing of­fered on the news­stand, there was more of­ten than not just more shal­low con­tent that felt like it was un­der­serv­ing us.

I started to cre­ate more depth of con­tent for us to chew on and share all the progress that we’ve made. I think we were mov­ing to­wards more ac­cep­tance in the main­stream, but our pub­li­ca­tions weren’t fol­low­ing as quickly. As soon as I started to shop this idea around and tell peo­ple of the mission and the di­rec­tion I was go­ing, it be­came so ev­i­dent that other peo­ple felt the same way.

How long did it take you to ac­tu­ally have th­ese con­ver­sa­tions with peo­ple and get the feed­back be­fore you de­cided, “Yes, this is ex­actly what I want to do?”

It was an in­ter­nal dis­cus­sion I was hav­ing with my­self be­cause, in a cul­ture like IDEO where ev­ery­thing is rad­i­cally trans­par­ent and pro­to­typed and de­vel­oped with the user, I was the ul­ti­mate user in this sit­u­a­tion and the de­signer and the cre­ator. Part of my think­ing was that if I could share with other peo­ple some­thing I was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing and liv­ing, it would re­ally help me build on the idea.

What I try to do with Hello Mr. is make it more of a re­flec­tion of life than a pre­scrip­tion of what we should be do­ing. I never wanted to la­bel it a life­style magazine be­cause I think the ex­pec­ta­tions of what a gay life­style magazine have be­come is so cliché.

Ev­ery­thing was kind of an in­struc­tion man­ual in how to get the best body, how to live your life, where to go on va­ca­tion, and noth­ing was just ab­sorb­ing and act­ing as a mir­ror back to what was hap­pen­ing in the com­mu­nity. I think that’s why it re­ally stuck. Peo­ple felt for the first time this re­lata­bil­ity to some­thing that re­ally was lis­ten­ing to them.

That’s true. I mean, there were re­ally no pub­li­ca­tions to talk about the emo­tions, the

strug­gles, and be­yond the stan­dard strug­gles with HIV/AIDS or strug­gles with de­pres­sion, strug­gles with ac­cep­tance, and strug­gles with bul­ly­ing…

I think the dif­fer­ence is when they did ex­ist, it felt more like an in­for­ma­tional or teach­able mo­ment. I think that we learn a lot more by hear­ing some­one’s story that we can re­late to in a unique way. So cre­at­ing those emo­tional trig­gers and those emo­tional con­nec­tions through sto­ry­telling is much more ef­fec­tive than ex­plain­ing some­one’s sit­u­a­tion and try­ing to learn from that.

In terms of your busi­ness plan­ning process, were you go­ing for world dom­i­na­tion of the niche au­di­ence that you’ve iden­ti­fied or just ze­ro­ing in on those who would dis­cover it? How do you dis­trib­ute the magazine? How do peo­ple dis­cover it?

Scale for me has al­ways been a means to cre­ate greater im­pact. I’m not afraid of be­ing main­stream. I’m more in­ter­ested in how many more peo­ple I can reach, how many con­nec­tions I can make and how many more minds I can change. I’ve al­ways wanted to achieve that and be in more places for more peo­ple.

I cre­ated a print pub­li­ca­tion in a tur­bu­lent time. In 2013 when it launched, it was def­i­nitely new ter­ri­tory and ques­tion­able for any busi­ness­minded per­son. Mak­ing it a bian­nual, high­qual­ity pub­li­ca­tion turned it into this cof­fee table pub­li­ca­tion that peo­ple cov­eted and val­ued enough to pur­chase at a pre­mium.

At the time and even to­day with sub­scrip­tion mod­els, the Condé Nasts and Hearsts of the world can essen­tially give away their pub­li­ca­tion for free, and sell that to the ad­ver­tis­ers.

When the model flipped and all of those pub­li­ca­tions started cre­at­ing more in­fre­quent edi­tions or go­ing mostly dig­i­tal, and all th­ese young guns in the in­die world were emerg­ing, it was a huge jump for a lot of con­sumers who thought, “Why pay 99 cents for 12 is­sues of GQ and $20 for one print edi­tion of Hello Mr. that I get twice a year?”

That was def­i­nitely a big learn­ing curve. But be­cause there were a lot of other pub­li­ca­tions go­ing through some­thing sim­i­lar — Ce­real, Kin­folk magazine and even Mon­o­cle, cre­at­ing high-qual­ity, long-form pub­li­ca­tions and sell­ing them at a pre­mium — we were able to ad­dress that more eas­ily.

We sold mostly di­rect through our web­site in the be­gin­ning, just to keep the mar­gin re­ally high for us. Dis­tri­bu­tion be­came more and more com­mon as we in­creased the print run.

By the third is­sue, we were in Barnes & Nobles and the Chap­ters of the world. Each is­sue pays for the next one and the pro­duc­tion costs that go into it.

But ob­vi­ously out­side of print and con­tent, we have a com­mu­nity that we cre­ate events for. And we have all th­ese other ex­pe­ri­ences that brands also love be­ing a part of. So those have be­come more lu­cra­tive rev­enue streams for us. They form part of a holis­tic busi­ness model that goes with the magazine.

We’ll come to the other more ex­pe­ri­en­tial el­e­ments in a bit, but you said that you fo­cused on cre­at­ing a print magazine that would be­come a cof­fee table book.

I know you spend quite a bit of time over­see­ing the process of print­ing each one of the is­sues. Can you give us more in­sight as to how you se­lected the printer, which is not in the US; this ob­vi­ously adds to the cost and ship­ping.

If you’re in­vest­ing in cre­at­ing some­thing in print th­ese days, it has to be high cal­iber. So all those de­ci­sions, like you said, are re­ally im­por­tant in choos­ing the pa­per and where it’s cre­ated.

Be­cause there was this new col­lec­tive of in­die pub­lish­ers com­ing to­gether, there were a lot of smaller print­ers step­ping up and will­ingly to take

on smaller print runs. The big box print­ers push­ing out pa­per, newsprint and glossy mag­a­zines just didn’t make sense.

When we iden­ti­fied a printer in Ber­lin who wanted to sup­port in­die pub­lish­ers, they were re­ally will­ing to work with us and gave us the best price that we found so far. At the time, our Euro­pean read­er­ship was al­most half of our total user base. Ber­lin, as a cen­tral hub, makes a lot of sense. Even com­ing back to the US and con­tin­u­ing to look for quotes and prices, we’ve built such a re­la­tion­ship with this printer that it’s still more cost ef­fec­tive for us to print there. They just ap­pre­ci­ate the time and the en­ergy that it takes to cre­ate a high-qual­ity, Ger­man-cer­ti­fied, printed piece of ma­te­rial.

We know some niche pub­lish­ers are fo­cus­ing on the print prod­uct, feel­ing that once you go into a niche the prod­uct be­comes more than just a dis­pos­able, com­modi­tized monthly magazine — it be­comes some­thing you would want to keep and ref­er­ence later. Some have ac­tu­ally re­stricted dig­i­tal dis­tri­bu­tion, feel­ing it would de­value and can­ni­bal­ize the beau­ti­ful print prod­uct.

You dis­trib­ute both in print and dig­i­tal, apart from the other el­e­ments, the aux­il­iary el­e­ments that we’ll talk to in a sec­ond. Why did you choose to do both, and is it driv­ing read­er­ship and build­ing brand aware­ness for you?

Def­i­nitely. The im­pe­tus of go­ing dig­i­tal was back to cre­at­ing more im­pact and be­ing more ac­ces­si­ble in places where it’s still is hard reach with print. There’s also still a lot of shame in the gay com­mu­nity and parts of the world where it’s not okay to be gay.

Giv­ing ac­cess in a dig­i­tal form is much more dis­creet than hav­ing a printed magazine mailed to them or their par­ents’ house and it cre­ates a larger pool for us to do the work that I want to do. It reaches more peo­ple in those corners of the world by be­ing dig­i­tal. It’s a nice sup­ple­ment to have the op­tion to have both.

Has it helped in build­ing the brand aware­ness? Ob­vi­ously with a print prod­uct peo­ple dis­cover you through the outreach pro­grams that you have with events and through word-of-mouth and so­cial me­dia.

Is a dig­i­tal edi­tion eas­ier to dis­cover as a new brand, or was it eas­ier for you to be dis­cov­ered as a new brand? Def­i­nitely.

I think so­cial me­dia was the cat­a­lyst for us be­com­ing more widely known. It’s a sup­ple­ment to print, so I cre­ated an ob­ject that has a beau­ti­ful shelf pres­ence and a beau­ti­ful cof­fee table pres­ence just as In­sta­gram was get­ting started. It be­came a piece, or fix­ture, of peo­ple’s liv­ing spaces and a part of their iden­tity. I call it “the badge” — the magazine, the phys­i­cal ob­ject, is a badge for peo­ple.

When read­ers post a photo of their bed­room with the magazine on their night­stand on In­sta­gram, it iden­ti­fies some­thing about them and helps grow aware­ness. The magazine be­came a more vi­ral, so­cial, share­able thing — not nec­es­sar­ily our con­tent in dig­i­tal form that was shared and com­mented on and re-posted. By post­ing a per­sonal photo that other peo­ple were in­ter­ested in know­ing more about, our au­di­ence kind of took the mar­ket­ing out of our hands and did it on their own.

It must have been sat­is­fy­ing to see that the brand is as­so­ci­ated by your au­di­ence with some­thing that they’re proud to dis­play in th­ese sort of per­sonal spaces.

Yeah, in their apart­ments and in a cof­fee shop, hav­ing some­one iden­tify an­other reader is such an ex­cit­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. But I’ve also been sent screen­shots of dat­ing pro­files where some­one is hold­ing up Hello Mr. in their Tin­der pro­file.

It puts you in a dif­fer­ent league.

It to­tally does. It has this shared set of val­ues in that con­text that is, for some peo­ple, an in­stant swipe right. It’s very much like hav­ing your Mon­o­cle tote bag or your New Yorker tote bag. It’s like, “This is what I value and I’m proud to show that to you.”

Up un­til re­cently the magazine didn’t in­clude ad­ver­tis­ing. Was that by de­sign or was it just a nat­u­ral evo­lu­tion of es­tab­lish­ing the brand, cre­at­ing aware­ness and a dis­tri­bu­tion foot­print first be­fore invit­ing an ad­ver­tiser to the magazine, or has ad­ver­tis­ing al­ways been part of the plan?

It was def­i­nitely an evo­lu­tion. It was my in­ten­tion for the first is­sue to be ad-free and pure in vi­sion, and then invite ad­ver­tis­ers to come into our space. I think meet­ing in the mid­dle and es­tab­lish­ing some­thing to­gether with a set of ex­pec­ta­tions ex­ter­nally, tra­di­tion­ally founded in ad­ver­tis­ing for gay me­dia, be­came much eas­ier when I had a phys­i­cal, fi­nal ob­ject. That was my pitch to be a part of it or not, but we had set a level of ex­pec­ta­tion, a level of qual­ity that they had to meet. It was def­i­nitely my in­ten­tion to have ad­ver­tis­ers soon af­ter I had the first ob­ject, but it was a slow evo­lu­tion in find­ing the right part­ners.

In terms of your over­all rev­enues, what per­cent­age is from ad­ver­tis­ing? Is it a big part of your fi­nan­cial plan?

So far, it’s been nom­i­nal in print. But brands want­ing to in­clude our so­cial plat­form that is over 100,000 at this point in reach, plus other dig­i­tal plat­forms, events and ex­pe­ri­ences — who cre­ate a pack­age of part­ner­ing with Hello Mr. — then it be­comes more lu­cra­tive. It has been more bal­anced lately, but as I said in the be­gin­ning, our rev­enue model very much came from sales and di­rect sales and those ex­pe­ri­ences.

Do you ever see the con­tent part­ner­ships, more in terms of na­tive ad­ver­tis­ing or na­tive con­tent, where a brand would en­ter the ed­i­to­rial process for you, or is this some­thing that you keep quite sep­a­rate from a very dis­tinct ed­i­to­rial?

We’ve ex­per­i­mented with it and that’s an in­creas­ing ask from brands. We’ve been for­tu­nate to be in a po­si­tion where they trust us with our ed­i­to­rial vi­sion and voice to in­clude them in our con­tent in an au­then­tic way to us. The part­ner­ships that we have had in an ad­ver­to­rial sense have been very seam­less with the rest of our con­tent. Since those have been suc­cess­ful and we’ve been asked to in­clude more branded con­tent, we’ve cre­ated re­cur­ring plat­forms and spe­cific fea­tures that we can pitch to our brand part­ners. It’s ac­tu­ally been re­ally suc­cess­ful and our read­ers un­der­stand that this is a sec­tion for branded con­tent.

You’ve talked about di­ver­si­fy­ing be­yond just a print edi­tion. You’ve added an e-com­merce site of­fer­ing sweat­shirts, un­der­wear, t-shirts, et cetera. You’re at­tract­ing spon­sors and pro­mot­ing their prod­ucts in the magazine. You’re run­ning events across the US.

Be­yond just di­ver­si­fy­ing rev­enue streams, why did you de­cide to diver­sify? How did you se­lect your spon­sors and how do you en­sure that there is no ed­i­to­rial bias in the pro­mo­tion of their prod­ucts?

In the last few years, the em­pha­sis in­ter­nally for brands hav­ing an LGBT ini­tia­tive has grown. We’ve been for­tu­nate in that we launched at a time when brands were more aware of our de­mo­graphic and in­ter­ested in com­mu­ni­cat­ing to us. There’s been no short­age of pitches from brands. In cu­rat­ing those, just as we cu­rate our con­tent, and who we part­ner with has been a re­ally nice process. Then ob­vi­ously to sup­ple­ment that, tar­get­ing and reach­ing the part­ners that we work with, so that we set the ex­am­ple of how and who we’ve part­nered with, has be­come big part of how I spend my day now.

What are the spe­cific cri­te­ria that the spon­sor has to meet to gain your ap­proval?

I think the will­ing­ness and flex­i­bil­ity of al­low­ing our cre­ative vi­sion to lead is im­por­tant, so any brand part­ner who wants to play along with us has to un­der­stand that our vi­sion of re­flect­ing the com­mu­nity’s ex­pe­ri­ence is more im­por­tant than pre­scrib­ing some­thing or sell­ing some­thing. So it has to feel as au­then­tic as pos­si­ble.

It’s clear pretty quickly when brands pro­pose some­thing to us, which ones will play along in that space and are will­ing to give us the keys to drive how we be­lieve our au­di­ence — who we un­der­stand so deeply — will re­spond to their ini­tia­tives.

Why did you de­cide to add events to the mix? What is the pri­mary ob­jec­tive, and clearly it must take a lot of time, ef­fort and money to pre­pare. How do you make them work?

From the be­gin­ning I’ve al­ways said that Hello Mr. is more than a magazine. It’s a com­mu­nity. As easy as it is to claim that our brand is the peo­ple that it at­tracts, it re­ally is more of a move­ment in what tim­ing we had putting out the brand.

We had an event called “Hello Mr. LIVE” that I want to repli­cate and cre­ate more of a re­cur­ring thing. We also trans­lated it into a one-off pod­cast. The whole pod­cast route is an­other con­ver­sa­tion which I think could be fun for us, but again it’s al­most like I want to leapfrog that and move straight into TV and cre­at­ing video con­tent.

The read­ers iden­tify with what we do in such a strong way and are so pas­sion­ately en­gaged in the tra­jec­tory of our brand and where we take it, that they want more than two print pub­li­ca­tions a year. So cre­at­ing those spaces for them to con­nect and meet each other is so im­por­tant, so they can post on their so­cial me­dia and in­clude the magazine, or they can use it in their dat­ing app pro­file.

But I wanted to start cre­at­ing space for them to con­nect in an en­vi­ron­ment, and build out that en­vi­ron­ment. When a lot of gay bars are clos­ing and hav­ing harder and harder times keep­ing the lights on, what is that space evolv­ing into for com­mu­ni­ties to con­nect and find some sort of refuge if the night life scene is com­pletely dif­fer­ent than it was a decade ago?

For Hello Mr. to en­ter and cre­ate th­ese more care­fully cu­rated and con­sid­ered ex­pe­ri­ences that aren’t exclusive, just as ev­ery prin­ci­ple of the magazine is out­lined, it repli­cates what peo­ple ex­pe­ri­ence when they’re read­ing it. It’s been so great to be able to bring peo­ple to­gether for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons — whether it’s to just dance and have fun, or sit around

“From the be­gin­ning I’ve al­ways said that Hello Mr. is more than a magazine. It’s a com­mu­nity. As easy as it is to claim that our brand is the peo­ple that it at­tracts, it re­ally is more of a move­ment in what tim­ing we had putting out the brand.”

and have a dis­cus­sion and cre­ate new di­a­log that el­e­vates the cal­iber of con­tent that we’re cre­at­ing over­all.

What was the most suc­cess­ful event that you feel the most proud of?

The most re­cur­ring, and the one that con­tin­ues to grow ev­ery year is our Valen­tine’s Day party, which was born out of the very same dis­en­fran­chised emo­tions of the magazine. Valen­tine’s is a hol­i­day that is so clichéd, over­rated and com­mer­cial; it just puts so much pres­sure on be­ing in a re­la­tion­ship or not be­ing in a re­la­tion­ship, and fo­cuses so much on find­ing the perfect one. We have enough is­sues like de­vel­op­ing the perfect body and all th­ese other things that me­dia ex­pects of us.

It was a fun chance for us to let loose and let our hair down and have fun on Valen­tine’s Day. Then it just turned into this thing where ev­ery year we had hun­dreds more peo­ple join and then it turned into a cam­paign called “Hello Love,” which be­came this big­ger thing.

We’ve also had great suc­cess in sa­lons and con­tent per­for­mances in spaces where we invite per­form­ers, po­ets, co­me­di­ans and artists to share their work and recre­ate what we do in print on stage. We’re just ex­per­i­ment­ing with that now, but I think trans­lat­ing that and form­ing that into a new kind of con­sump­tion of the con­tent that we cre­ate is a re­ally nice blend of phys­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence with con­tent cre­ation.

Be­fore we get into the fi­nal ques­tion as to what’s in the fu­ture for Hello Mr. and Ryan specif­i­cally, how did the brand name Hello Mr. come about? Is there a his­tor­i­cal back­ground to this?

I didn’t go through too many it­er­a­tions be­fore I landed on this ti­tle, which essen­tially is a coy in­tro­duc­tion at its ba­sic form; and I think in the gay com­mu­nity this cheeky, “Hello”— this cheeky pickup line — is quite own-able for male re­la­tion­ships and male dat­ing. To cre­ate some­thing that also is greet­ing you on the news­stand by essen­tially wel­com­ing you over to pick it up is, I think, what made it so share­able and so mem­o­rable, too.

It’s cute; it’s very clever. I think you’re right, it is wel­com­ing peo­ple into the com­mu­nity that you fo­cused on cre­at­ing.

All right, let’s talk about the fu­ture. What else is in the works for you?

“For Hello Mr. to en­ter and cre­ate th­ese more care­fully cu­rated and con­sid­ered ex­pe­ri­ences that aren’t exclusive, just as ev­ery prin­ci­ple of the magazine is out­lined, it repli­cates what peo­ple ex­pe­ri­ence when they’re read­ing it. It’s been so great to be able to bring peo­ple to­gether for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons – whether it’s to just dance and have fun, or sit around and have a dis­cus­sion and cre­ate new di­a­log that el­e­vates the cal­iber of con­tent that we’re cre­at­ing over­all.“

I think one of the asks that we’ve al­ways re­ceived is to cre­ate more con­tent, more fre­quent is­sues. We hosted a sur­vey this past sum­mer and in four days we had 850 re­sponses — all long­form para­graphs of peo­ple want­ing to pro­vide feed­back for where we go next. That’s been re­ally help­ful in guid­ing us in ways that are true and re­flec­tive of what the com­mu­nity needs right now. I can only go so far as the cre­ative vi­sion of this magazine without re­ally re­ly­ing on them for what they want, and they want more con­tent.

They want more ex­pe­ri­ences. They want more av­enues to con­nect with other peo­ple who read the magazine. In that, I think for me, cre­at­ing two print is­sues a year is enough. I think to stay sus­tain­able in our busi­ness model but also rel­e­vant in a print space, one to two is­sues a year for any pub­li­ca­tion is smart, while build­ing out all the other con­tent plat­forms. I think our weekly news­let­ters, which are launch­ing soon, will be just the kind of side dish that they’re crav­ing in their ap­petite of our con­tent.

Out­side of that we drop monthly playlists and videos and all th­ese things just fill in that di­gest.

The thing that I’m re­ally ex­cited about launch­ing to­wards the end of this sea­son is a res­i­dency. One thing that I’m of­ten pitched are new con­cepts for mag­a­zines. We’ve cre­ated a sub­mis­sion-based cul­ture, where peo­ple send in their ideas. Some­times they’re fully formed, and some­times they’re half-baked, and a lot of them need time to grow.

They need guid­ance and fos­ter­ing to re­ally cre­ate the im­pact that they de­serve, be­cause in a time and for a gen­er­a­tion that’s so used to im­me­di­acy and post­ing a com­ment and mov­ing on to the next thing, there aren’t enough spaces for ideas to be molded, formed and cul­ti­vated.

Where we’ve come in the last three-and-ahalf years since I launched the magazine, al­most four now, I’ve seen so many other pub­li­ca­tions launch. I’ve seen a whole trend of in­die pub­lish­ers come out of nowhere and re­ally cre­ate more plat­forms and more voices.

For me and Hello Mr. to start to stay at the fore­front of that and be a thought leader in this cat­e­gory, I’m cre­at­ing a plat­form to in­cu­bate new ideas and cul­ti­vate those that haven’t been given the chance or don’t have the re­sources to re­ally be­come a thing.

Ev­ery print edi­tion of Hello Mr., start­ing in the fall, will in­clude the res­i­dent-zine in­side the magazine, so you get to ride on the coat­tails of Hello Mr. and in the fu­ture, ex­tend and share your pro­to­type for your magazine in our plat­form. It is very ex­cit­ing for me to cre­ate and craft a more stream­lined and ac­ces­si­ble set of tools in cre­at­ing a magazine.

Just cre­at­ing an idea and mak­ing it come to life in a way that de­serves the kind of at­ten­tion that some ideas don’t get. I’m build­ing out the part­ners and the men­tors and the peo­ple to help guide th­ese ideas along, so that in the fu­ture we have a whole net­work of cre­ators who’ve par­tic­i­pated in this res­i­dency and have ac­cess to this en­tire men­tor net­work, which are spe­cific to th­ese dif­fer­ent parts of mak­ing your idea hap­pen.

Awe­some. Is there any­thing else that I didn’t ask but you would want to tell peo­ple about?

No, I think that’s it. That’s where my brain’s at right now. It is on this res­i­dency and cre­at­ing

more space and more op­por­tu­ni­ties for our mem­bers and our com­mu­nity to cre­ate. I think every­one’s look­ing to use their voice right now. It’s easy to cre­ate a protest sign or to cre­ate a stream of tweets, but I want to help take it to the next level and ac­tu­ally make an im­pact with all this en­ergy that peo­ple have right now. Every­one’s ac­tive in their po­lit­i­cal views. They just need some guid­ance, so I’m ex­cited to harness that en­ergy and cre­ate some new things for the world.

Has any­thing like this been done be­fore?

I think it is part of uni­ver­si­ties, but I don’t think it ex­ists out­side of a re­cur­ring sea­sonal thing. I think it’s been done in one-off ways, but I’m ex­cited to pro­to­type the first it­er­a­tion of it and hope­fully scale it so that other pub­lish­ers can join me in cre­at­ing con­tent for their plat­forms too.

Thanks so much Ryan. It’s great to hear how you are in­no­vat­ing across many dif­fer­ent ar­eas with your magazine and com­mu­nity. Your in­ter­view is an in­spi­ra­tion for other pub­lish­ers.

Hello Mr. is avail­able on PressReader here.

“I think every­one’s look­ing to use their voice right now. It’s easy to cre­ate a protest sign or to cre­ate a stream of tweets, but I want to help take it to the next level and ac­tu­ally make an im­pact with all this en­ergy that peo­ple have right now. Every­one’s ac­tive in their po­lit­i­cal views. They just need some guid­ance, so I’m ex­cited to harness that en­ergy and cre­ate some new things for the world.”

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