TLAO Newsletter #44: Craig Fuller, Eads Bridge, and FatFIRE

I haven’t written anything since May but Lauren Rothlisberger inspired me to start writing again. Let’s see how this goes! 

As for excuses on why I’ve fallen off, I have none. I tell myself my work on other exciting projects has taken time away from writing, but I know that’s a weak alibi. Far busier folks manage to write on a consistent basis. 

My wife and I also moved in the last month to Omaha, NE for her physical therapy doctorate program at Creighton, which she starts this week. We also returned from our belated honeymoon in Hawaii a few weeks ago. It’s been busy, but good busy.

Onto the newsletter. I’m considering a couple different formats and want to start with short commentary (just a few paragraphs), followed by a few interesting pieces of content I found this week. I don’t want to add resources just for the sake of it. If I don’t find anything, I won’t add fluff to fill space. Let me know if you have other ideas, I’m all ears!

The most exciting news I’ve been reading about this week is Craig Fuller’s acquisition of Flying Magazine, a blue-chip, but currently under-performing, publishing brand focused on the aviation industry. Started in 1927, Flying is one of the most popular magazines in the aviation industry and has a very strong connection with their readers. In addition to owning Flying, Craig is also the founder of FreightWaves, a $19 million revenue VC-backed media business focused on freight and supply chains. While Craig didn’t have a background in media prior to founding FreightWaves, they have laid out an incredible playbook for building a successful media business. FreightWaves has digital editorial content, a data product, job board, video content, a YouTube channel, and multiple podcasts, all powered by their 188 employees. (According to LinkedIn) I highly recommend these two interviews with Craig, a podcast courtesy of A Media Operator and a video from their company’s YouTube channel to learn more.

Craig takes great inspiration on the model from Bloomberg, and mentioned using the autobiography Bloomberg by Bloomberg as the playbook in building FreightWaves. One other element Craig talked about was relentlessly using data to figure out who their customer is and what they care about, then designing products to fit what they wanted. I could do a better job of this with Think Like an Owner and I’m always open to feedback if you have any ideas on improving the podcast.

Craig has a ton of insight to share on building in media that is widely applicable in building any business at scale. As someone running a media business today, I’m taking copious notes.


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Other Notes

  • Mark Valdez’s Eads Bridge Holdings wrote the latest edition of their Substack newsletter, Kill or Be Killed, on using technology to improve systems within a business. My favorite section was reading through the different real-world examples of painful processes that could be improved with technology:
    • “9 people reconciling physical checks received in the mail to A/R
    • Invoiced orders need to be manually entered into your fulfillment system
    • Manual data inputs in your manufacturing facility cause significant man-hours to be wasted on scrubbing the data
    • Billing and scheduling mistakes creating an unpleasant patient experience and poor online reviews”
    • Here’s a similar Twitter thread I started this week on the most antiquated system seen in a business. 
  • I’ve been getting into the FatFIRE Subreddit recently and this My First Million episode outlines some of the reasons why I find it so interesting. I’m sure most are familiar with the FIRE movement (financial independence, retire early), the FatFIRE is the same idea but without the intense focus on frugality. Folks aiming for FatFIRE want to live a middle to upper class lifestyle in retirement, meaning they save $5-20 million for retirement. The Subreddit is filled with unique perspectives on life with money, how to manage growing finances, and how to navigate a healthy family life. It’s a fascinating place. Take a read through this recent post on a young college-age entrepreneur reflecting on their high income earnings.

If you found an interesting article, podcast, or interview that I missed, please let me know. I’m always looking for great content.

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