With a history spanning 105 years and a global presence, the iconic and highly regarded Forbes has opened an Australian arm. Headed by its founder and CEO Michael Lane, the prestigious title has brought Yahoo! Finance’s Sarah O’Carroll on board as the editor-in-chief.
Sitting down with Marketing magazine, O’Carroll talks about the plans for the magazine, as well as how art direction is at the forefront of everything Forbes Australia will do, as well as the NFT universe.
MM: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us today, I’m so excited that something as iconic as Forbes is coming to home soil! Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you ended up in the role?
SO: I was working for Yahoo! Finance for the past three and a half years. During my tenure, we got up to about two million readers. It was really focused on empowering people to take control of their finances.
Is this your first foray into print?
This is actually me returning to print. At the start of my career I was the editor of HR Magazine. I’m so glad that my path has brought me back to it. In saying that, print is only one part of our offering.
How much do you think will be syndicated across print and digital?
I would like to see the print as a window into the whole world of Forbes Australia. There will be digital newsletters and podcasts and then when the team is built out enough, we will focus on events. The magazine is one part of the media universe, but we want to bring stories to life. We can bring these stories to life through digital or in-person events. Allow our readers to delve in, meet these people – even if it’s the billionaires or venture capitalists or philanthropists. We want to meet and connect with people.
Some of the stories we’ll share across the digital platforms, but not all of them. We want to keep some for print. Some may be drip fed, but we won’t have every story on every platform.
When it comes to Australia compared with the American market, what is the difference there? Australia seems to have a real ownership in the tech sweetheart space, for example Mr. Yum, Strava and Atlassian, will you focus on these sorts of businesses?
Absolutely, we really have the darlings in the Canva and the Atlassian and they’re just the epitome of a homegrown success story. They’ve done phenomenally well. But there is a lot more going on, and now these tech companies are going through a time that is going to be really tough. Inflation is really affecting them.
But looking at our cover story, we have the brothers behind Immutable. They’ve been so phenomenally innovative in this space and they’re leading the way in Web 3.0. We see so many people put this and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) into the too hard basket, but this is actually where we can potentially create a whole new world of digital economies. Immutable have built that infrastructure.
Web 3.0 and NFTs are so highly spoken about. We find our audience at Marketing is highly engaged in this.
I do think Australians were probably a little late to it, a bit more hesitant to pick it up – but there’s a lot of money to be made in it. People want to be, what they call, ‘early adopters’. Some people are slow. But in my opinion, Web 3.0 and NFTs are not going anywhere.
The first issue of Immutable was such a beautiful image, is this creative direction important for Forbes?
It’s everything. We have brought on board Huw Reynolds from Harper’s Bazaar, and his vision is so important. On our team we have Stewart Hawkins who’s ex-Bloomberg and AFR. Elise Shaw is our digital editor from The Australian, but I really wanted someone to get that non-traditional business injective, and so Reynolds made sense. His creative vision is amazing.
We looked at the Immutable team and Reynolds didn’t want to shoot them in the normal business way, not at Martin Place or behind a desk. He completely changed the vision.
It’s so admirable to take something that is so reputable and bring it to the Australian market, it’s a big task and we’re excited to see where it goes.
It is quite the task, but it’s exciting. The feedback we’ve had so far is phenomenal. People are so excited and you can really see and feel their appetite. We’re taking the best of Forbes and injecting a bit of joy and some local points. We’ve introduced columns like Breakfast with a Billionaire or Beer with a Billionaire. We are focussing on philanthropists as well. Who is bettering Australia? That’s what we are looking at.
Forbes Australia hit shelves in September 2022.