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An Island of Clarity

I was having a discussion with a tech guy about “translating” IRON MAN from the printed page to mobile devices such as smart phones. He’d never seen IRON MAN, nor had he visited His expertise was moving information to small screens. He was enthusiastic about the sheer volume of high-quality, authoritative content that IRON MAN has in every issue and the incredible storehouse of knowledge and experience contained on our Web site.

To him, “Founded in 1936” was a powerful statement. Someone once said that to truly understand something, you must be able to explain it clearly to someone else. In order for the tech guy to help us, I had to explain who our readers are, what they want and why they read IRON MAN. So I started to distill my thoughts about our readers and how we serve them. IRON MAN is its readers, and its readers are IRON MAN. I thought about my own journey to become a part of IRON MAN. What made the magazine stand out to me as a teenager?

I had recently attended a media seminar, and one of the speakers was the chief revenue officer of The Wall Street Journal, Michael Rooney. His presentation was both brilliant and funny. He talked about what his readers wanted and how The Wall Street Journal was perceived, and he made the statement, “The Wall Street Journal is an island of clarity in a sea of madness.” That resonated with me as I tried to formulate my explanation for the tech guy.

I think Michael Rooney’s statement applies to IRON MAN as well—IRON MAN is an island of clarity in a sea of madness. The madness is the incredible volume of information that exists in our world that is simply naive. Anyone who has access to the Web becomes an expert. There’s no question that the Web is a wondrous tool, but it’s also a “sea of madness” because it’s so difficult to separate the expert from the neophyte.

IRON MAN is created by a group of writers who have hundreds of years of combined experience and a track record of excellence. That foundation is what gives clarity to the content. Time has created a body of proven information that defines the expert, and Steve Holman, IM’s editor in chief, is our curator of content. Not only must our information be accurate and useful, but it must also be well written and accessible to the reader. As I explained all of that to the tech guy, he smiled and said, “Integrity.”

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