It started with this tweet
Based on the lack enthusiasm @TheBravehorse we concluded Amholes don't tip well. An 80s Muzak playlist likely contributed to the dejection.— byron@bikehugger (@bikehugger) May 21, 2013
Mark V and I went out for a pint with fish and chips and ending up at this odd Tom Douglas restaurant in South Lake Union. I tweeted that, The Brave Horse responded, and Mark V wrote an email providing more feedback. Reading his response, I proclaimed, “that’s an article for the mag! Restaurant reviews by bike!”
iPad screenshot from Issue 00, the sample that ships for free with the app
And that’s a good example of we’re doing with our new Magazine. First it’s in a format where we have more room for content and second we’ve got more time to write. In our social channels and often here on the blog, I’m pulling bits and pieces out of the data firehose and sharing them. That’s digesting, curating, and doing so quickly to keep up with and entertain audiences on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, G+, and YouTube, with the occasional podcast. That’s a lot of work and at times, the content lacks the context or in-depth reporting a particular topic requires or even what we really want to write about. Like Mark V has a thing for fish and chips and is super upset about chain wear with 11 speeds.
Longform (feature-length writing and reporting) is a reaction to the state of the web too. It’s now so full of distractions, tough to keep anyone’s attention or focus. Audiences are also changing, with the majority on mobile now. So we’re carving out a deeper niche for our content with an ad-free, subscription-based magazine app. For an audience we hope wants to spend more time with us and what we do. If you followed my posts on Medium (a site for web writing), I was experimenting their with bike vignettes and storytelling too and some of that content ended up in the magazine.
Our magazine is native and built from the ground up for smartphones and tablets. Because of our blog roots, it’s free of traditional magazines concerns, which have been stuck adapting their print to the web, offering glorified, PDF readers, and reliant on ads. To that point, another term to describe what we’re doing (and others like The Magazine or the thousands of titles on iTunes), is Micro or Subcompact publishing. That’s an enterprising, independent publisher like us who is monetizing their own content by charging a small amount.
You can read more about mobile magazines and micropublishing in these posts
To learn what Mark V thought of Brave Horse, download the free app from iTunes and subscribe to get Issue 01 for $1.99. There’s much more than just Mark in the magazine. Here’s the Issue 01 TOC
- A Six Thousand Dollar Cruiser
- Giro Recap
- Brief History of Major Road Bike Innovations
- A Raver in the Rain
- The Rebirth of the High End Cyclists
- Go-to-Gear: Niko
- A Ride to Weezerville – Mark’s restaurant review
- Hozan C-205
- 5 Trends Mar V Wants to See in Road Bikes
- Dum Dums Repair
- Pedaling Past Change
For those who don’t live in Seattle, Tom Douglas is a Pacific Northwest Celebrity chef with several restaurants. South Lake Union is just north of downtown Seattle and was previously warehouses, stables, and import/export houses. Now Amazon is making the neighborhood into their company town. Cyclists ride past that change everyday, including me and Mark. Amazon employees that work in South Lake Union, have been nicknamed Amholes, for their sometimes rude behavior.
We’re writing Issue 02 now and focused on Urban. More on that next month.
Finally, for Droid users, we went to market first with iTunes and are now considering other mobile platforms. Until then we do have a Droid app called Currents from Google. It’s their magazine-style reader and serves up our content ad free. It does not include the subscription-based content. For now, that’s exclusive to iTunes and iOS devices.
Hey if you’re happy with things just as they are, keep reading the blog. It’s maximized for mobile and we’ll keep posting as usual.