I’d always thought that the major part of my career in the endurance industry was my time at Quintana Roo, and Slowtwitch was the coda. The wind-down. Then it dawned on me that I’ve spent about twice as much time at Slowtwitch (24 years, by next year) than my 12 years at QR. I guess QR was just the opening act!
Twenty-four years is long enough and I made the decision last year to pass the baton. Not to step down! I remain publisher of Slowtwitch but as of last week I am no longer its owner. Let me explain why, how I chose the new owners, who the owners are (and aren’t) and what you can expect from Slowtwitch going forward.
I began to think about this when my wife and I commenced long overdue work on a family trust. Only then did I realize what a monumental cluster I’d leave for my heirs. I’d built a life that required my constant tinkering and management, chief among these a company that – like Oz – required a flawed wizard to furiously work steam valves to keep the thing running. I liked playing wizard but it would be a lot easier teaching others to do it rather than having them learn the valves and gauges on their own, upon my demise.
I’m not demising. But hey, I’m on Medicare now! It was stressful knowing the toilet I’d flush on the heads of my heirs if the management of Slowtwitch was suddenly plopped on them.
I began to consider who should take the rein of ownership while I could make a change on my terms. It’s been an 18-month journey, more or less. A lot of folks contacted me over the years about this brand and I’ve always asked the same question: “Other than money what do you bring?“ That question was never satisfactorily answered until the new owners answered it.
When I asked these eventual new owners “What do you intend to do at Slowtwitch that is not being done now?” a half-dozen things were listed and every one was something I’d thought to do over the years but lacked the ambition or the expertise. This is the sort of answer I’ve been looking for.
The new owners are not private equity or venture capital. It’s not a “roll up” combining Slowtwitch with other publications. They’re folks who’re already Slowtwitch-sympatico, and the managing partner is Eric Wynn. Eric already runs Slowtwitch Media House and brings a formidable video and imaging skillset I don’t have. (Read Eric’s first opinion piece on our front page.)
I have always taken the title publisher here at Slowtwitch and I will remain publisher. For sure, when a brand comes under new ownership and the acquirer says, “We’re changing nothing,” they’re busy planning all the changes and layoffs as they’re telling you that lie. Nevertheless, we’re changing nothing. We’re adding! But we’re not subtracting. (To my knowledge.)
I have never cared about shareholders, only about stakeholders and at Slowtwitch they are readers, staff and partners. How would stakeholders fare under a new regime? Only if stakeholder value remained and improved would I know I’d found the right group to whom I could hand the baton. I found it, and now I have to amend our family trust.