The Business of TPM

December 31, 2020 12:06 p.m.

Here’s an installment from the 20 for 20 Anniversary series about TPM’s business history. It’s by Joe Ragazzo, TPM’s publisher. I’ve told you that all the other pieces I read for first time when they were published. This is the exception. I read a draft and suggested a few changes. But this remains an example of how histories are best told by those who weren’t the primary actors in them. Joe is the right person to tell you this story because of his centrality to the story and deep knowledge about the operation. I hired Joe as my assistant almost eight years ago and he became publisher last year.

I’ll just let you read it, rather than providing more commentary. If you’re interested in TPM or digital publishing generally I think you’ll find it very interesting.

The one point I’ll make is that it allows me to discuss one thing that I don’t know if I have before. And that is that I am in many ways more proud of keeping TPM in existence, especially during some very scary and arduous years in 2011 and 2012 than I am of creating the organization in the first place.

In the early days, as many good decisions I think I made and whatever talent I brought to it, the reality is that the wind was at my back, our backs. We had timing on our side. Trends and good fortune were pushing us forward. It’s hard to keep track of this sort of stuff as it’s happening since you get used to your plans working. A decade later, it was different. The updraft was a down draft. In many ways the logical outcome would have been for TPM to go under or get sold off for parts, as so many other publications have been. That fact that it wasn’t is something I’m greatly proud of and thankful for, both to our readers and my coworkers. In this piece, Joe tells the story of TPM’s history as a business and why the organization still exists.

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