It seemed as appropriate a last event as any to wrap up a year as Editor-in-Chief (EIC) of The Harbus. There was the glamour of sitting a stone’s throw from a Russian supermodel, a world-renowned fashion designer, and perhaps the most infamous editor in New York City, Anna Wintour of Vogue magazine (the woman who inspired the movie The Devil Wears Prada). Sitting in the media section of Burden Auditorium for a panel discussion on health and the fashion industry (stay tuned for an article by Alex Nelson in next week’s Harbus), I found myself examining Wintour’s outfit, craning my neck to get a good look at her shoes. She sat donning a dramatic, sparkling necklace – every strand of blond hair held perfectly in place – looking at once sophisticated and intimidating, but also a touch exhausted. I found myself thinking, “Now there’s a feeling I can relate to!”
You might ask what possessed me to accept the role of EIC of The Harbus, especially when Joey, my predecessor, did his fiduciary duty in warning me that this job would be time-intensive, demanding, perhaps even overwhelming (think sleep-deprivation), for long stretches of time. And he was right; there were moments when I found myself posing that same question, usually at 3 a.m. when I was still up, toiling away at finalizing files on my laptop and periodically glancing over at my bed longingly. “Why did I agree to do this?!”
Why? It was the thought of building an extraordinary team, leading a collaborative organization, and facilitating knowledge-sharing in this very special, rapid-fire HBS community. It struck me early on that at HBS, we have access to a deep pool of human capital talent. Leading an organization here provides the unique opportunity to build a team of such talent and expertise – I will probably never again be able to afford all of you!
The Harbus also brought business concepts to life on a day-to-day basis. I found myself re-examining our business model and considering where our competitive advantage resided. It was interesting to consider that the writing and design functions remained in-house, while printing was outsourced. These strategic decisions led to an editing process that more closely resembled a magazine (requiring longer lead times but lower in capital intensity) than a newspaper.
Just last week over breakfast with Bert Twaalfhoven, a protagonist who stepped right out of the pages of an international entrepreneurship case and into Spangler, I found myself chewing over a piece of his advice: A good partner for a new venture is someone who complements you, someone who will balance out your way of thinking. He noted that a lot of people have a tendency to gravitate toward taking on similar business partners rather than complementary ones – a mistake.
I have to thank last year’s Board of Directors for picking Joanne Knight to be my partner in this venture as Publisher. Our graphic designer recently pointed out that while Joanne and I usually reach the same conclusion, we have different thought processes in arriving there. Essentially, we take different routes to the same destination. A year of working together has made abundantly clear just how valuable this dynamic can be!
With that, it gives the 2009-2010 Leadership Team great pleasure in passing on the baton to the 2010-2011 Leadership Team (effective April 2010): Editor-in-Chief Lavanya Manohar, Publisher Ami Malaviya and Chairman of the Board of Directors Dan Monahan. We are excited to see where you take The Harbus in the coming year. Congratulations!