My name is Steve Gardberg. I started this blog to talk about solutions to issues and problems that I find engaging and/or annoying. The blog’s name comes from the analogy that a media/publishing company is a three-legged stool. Each leg – editorial, circulation and advertising – must be in balance for the stool to stay strong and stay up.

In a broader sense, every organization strives for sustainable success, which is a never-ending journey. This journey requires defining, building and continually maintaining strength across three legs: People, product and process. But doing it requires a relentless culture of quality, focus and flexibility.

Posts to the Three-Legged Stool Report will be a mix of my ideas and comments on what others say. I will often use a framework or model, like the value chain, to help analyze and propose solutions.

With my background in media/publishing and technology, I think a lot about how we produce and consume content. These days the media stool is very shaky as advertising revenues have fallen farther and faster than anyone could have imagined. I also get lit up looking at industries and companies that need radical restructuring, such as the American auto industry.

About me
After my journalism undergrad at the University of Missouri, I returned to Chicago for my copywriting job at McMaster-Carr, a distributor of industrial supplies. Not a good fit. While temping I decided that I wanted to work in magazines, but not in an editorial role. I was very interested in the business and technology aspects, going back to high school on the yearbook staff and Mizzou when I proposed and developed an advertising-supported dining guide for the Columbia Missourian.

Marketing & Technology Group gave me the amazing opportunity to handle circulation, distribution and sales promotion for three magazines (two with audited circ). Five years later Edgell Communications in New Jersey drew me East. I managed circ and distribution for 8 magazines, including 4 audited titles. This was also when I joined the ABM circulation/audience development committee and became active in NTCFI. At ABM I developed a program to introduce circulation, and B2B media in general, to college students. We presented at three NYC-area schools.

Looking to focus on the operations side, I moved to The Deal in NYC as Fulfillment Director. Here I learned about paid subscriptions, customer service and integrated databases, along with people and project management from amazing bosses. My role transitioned from sales to marketing to IT, where I left as Director of CRM & Business Systems, putting in an integrated system to support the company’s evolving business model. With the economy taking a nosedive, and the integrated CRM-ERP implementation wrapping up, I moved on. As luck would have it, I had just finished my MBA at Rutgers.

Now at ARGI, a provider of subscription-management and marketing-database services, I work with clients in several industries to improve their marketing programs and operations.


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