Today we look ahead at the week with Jeff Taylor, founder of Courier. Now a glossy bimonthly, the business/start-ups magazine launched as a free newspaper in London five years ago. Jeff is one of our speakers at ModMag on 1 November, when we look forward to hearing about the magazine’s shift frpom free to paid-for.
Tell us about your typical Monday journey to work
Cortado and sometimes breakfast from Mae and Harvey (scrambled eggs with tomato and basil and bacon jam) on Roman Road or Allpress in Redchurch St (their breakfast plate is one of my favourite London breakfasts). I catch the number eight bus usually. If I have gym or a breakfast meeting, I’ll go to Shoreditch House.
Normally I’ll take in a podcast en route and flick through the Financial Times and Apple News to catch up on overnight news. I don’t live that far from the office so if it’s a nice morning I’ll work. We start the week with an all company status meeting, so I’ll normally be preparing for that and working through my priorities for the week.
Describe the state of your desk and what you can see in your office
I try to keep my desk fairly neat. I have a small American football for throwing about when I’m thinking, a pile of magazines to review, a couple of plants and a pile of pens, plus normally a stack of A3 paper for jotting ideas and sketching layouts on. We’re lucky to have a really lovely space with big floor to ceiling windows that open up on to Hanbury St in Spitalfields. There’s a coffee shop below us and a large Bangladeshi supermarket over the road so there’s always street life to distract me out the window.
Which magazine do you first remember?
I wasn’t that much of a magazine kid, but I remember my parents would always have piles of titles like Vogue Interiors, Belle and Vogue Entertaining and Travel. At our beach house we’d have piles of old copies of loads of these titles too. And at the dentist, there would always be stacks of Country Life in the waiting room which I thought was really boring and odd given we were in Australia and it was all about England.
Which magazine matters to you the most right now?
Matters? I’d say The New Yorker and The Economist. These are times when rather than detach from politics or get our news from lazy sources we need to become better informed and support those sources that stand for ethical, honest and quality journalism.
Can you describe your magazine in three words?
Serendipitous, humble, diverse
How is the shift from free to paid-for working out for Courier?
We’re really pleased with the jump. It was always something we’d wanted to do but the free title had such a following we kept putting it off. Finally, we bit the bullet. It’s been like launching all over again, with a whole lot of new learnings but it’s great. Now we’re on sale in over 25 markets and growing strongly.
You just held the first Courier Live event, you’ve launched a new London free mag… what else have you got up your sleeve?
We’re always looking for ways to help people work and live on their own terms more, and so that’s how we judge opportunities. There’ s a million things I’d like to do, but next year we’ll focus on growing internationally and really expanding our digital offerings to complement the print and event products.
What are you looking forward to sharing with the audience at ModMag?
I think the main thing is sharing a message that you can do things really differently from the norm and still succeed if you just stay really close to what your customer needs.
Who are you most looking forward to hearing speak alongside you at Modmag on 1 November?
It’s a great line-up so it’s hard to choose but like everyone I love National Geographic, so Emmet will be super interesting to hear. Also, I’m a big fan of Mundial so can’t wait to hear Dan talk about that too.
What’s going to be the highlight of the week for you?
I’m off to New York tonight with our editor and commercial director to meet readers, advertisers and dig up a few stories! We’re there all week.
What will you be doing after this chat?
Breakfast and a walk in the park, then clear my inbox, write a presentation for some client work, pack and head to the airport.
Jeff Taylor will be speaking at this year’s ModMag London conference on Thursday 1 November.
Book your ticket now.