Hurts So Good

“I got scared,” Mr. Goldhirsh told The Observer. “I personally got scared and I personally got stressed out about my ability to execute and really actualize the potential of the whole thing. And that for me wasn’t fun at all.” (Mr. Goldhirsh remains chairman of the company.)

The Sept. 14 issue of The New York Times will encase a mini-issue of the magazine (sponsored by the car company MINI) that will feature updated content from previous issues. And this week, GOOD is scheduled to launch its new Web site, Good.is, which they intend to make more than just an extension of the magazine.

The site will feature more video, including a recently launched series called “America Love It or Fix It,” which will roll out a dozen new installments as the election season continues. Mr. Goldhirsh’s film company, Reason Pictures, will be scaling back its feature film ambitions—including a project called Marching Powder that has Don Cheadle attached to it—in order to focus on Web and mobile video.

During a recent swing through New York for press meet-and-greets, GOOD’s newish CEO, Mr. Greenblatt, exuded none of the “scattershot feel” noted by Ms. Waxman in 2006. Mr. Greenblatt and Mr. Goldhirsh couldn’t be more different in their approach to the press: Mr. Greenblatt seems more likely to quote a management textbook than the Notorious B.I.G., and comes equipped with press kits and a polite but vigilant PR rep. When Mr. Goldhirsh ends his conversation with a reporter, he signs off with “peace, brotha”; Mr. Greenblatt offers one of those bone-crushing M.B.A. handshakes.

Sitting in the glassed-in conference room above GOOD’s New York office, a bottle of Ethos water at his side, Mr. Greenblatt lays out his mission with succinct, PowerPointed language: “The mandate is to help mature GOOD and take it from what was once a very magazine-centered business to a diversified media company.”

Will a new CEO, partnerships with companies like BMW (which owns MINI), prominent ad buys from companies like BP (on the back cover of the May/June “Don’t Be Scared of China” issue), and a growing profile challenge the core values that make GOOD good?

“This is a serious challenge for our company,” Mr. Goldhirsh says. “If we sacrifice the culture that this whole thing started with—this kind of ‘fail hard, fuck it all, let’s just do it’—you know, if we lose that, then that’s a shame. And then we’ll fail in the long term. Or, if in pursuit of success we alter our definition of what success is, start making little subtle sacrifices that deteriorate the mission, you know, then we failed, too.

“For me, it’s what’s keeps me up at night.”

mhaber@observer.com

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