Marty Edelston’s Idea Factory
He told reporters in Washington, D.C., that there were far too many of them, and said to employees they should be free to look at explicit Web sites while at work. He has also told journalists that they must be part of the quest for revenue, an unsettling prospect for people in a line of work who have prided themselves on remaining apart from their employers’ business concerns.
Imagine that! Journalists must be part of the quest for revenue!
In 1994, two years after we took over Target Marketing, I wrote a cover story about our Direct Marketer of the Year: Martin Edelston, founder and publisher of the $125 million-a-year Boardroom mini-conglomerate of newsletters and books.
In the course of his life, Marty Edelston held a dozen jobs before becoming a publisher. In his boyhood, he worked on a milk truck and behind a soda fountain. He sold greeting cards door-to-door and, later, behind a counter. He also worked as a swimming instructor and lifeguard, and sold advertising pencils, Yellow Pages advertising and billboard space. After stints selling advertising for Hearst magazines and The Reporter magazine, he went on to become business manager for Norman Podhoretz’s Jewish intellectual monthly, Commentary. In 10 years, Edelston took the circulation from 10,000 to 80,000.
In 1972 he founded Boardroom and various offshoots. For 20 years, Edelston and his editors talked to hundreds of important and successful management consultants, business school professors, Wall Street analysts and business executives as they continually searched for specific advice on how a company could improve productivity, creativity and profitability. He told me:
Then about five years ago, I began to feel uneasy. It was becoming evident that there were major flaws in the ways American managers were handling their businesses. And as a major advice-giver to America’s managers, that meant there were flaws in the advice we were seeking and publishing.