Last week’s passing of Pat McGovern, founder of tech publisher IDG, feels like the end of an era. Over a span of five decades, McGovern brought a passionate spirit and a culture of innovation to B2B publishing – qualities that too often are absent from today’s B2B media companies.
I met with Pat a few times during my time at IDG from 2004 to 2006, and each interaction left an impression, similar to the times I spent with another tech publishing legend, Bill Ziff, who led IDG rival Ziff-Davis through the mid-1990s. Both were larger-than-life yet surprisingly humble leaders who balanced strong business instincts with a passion for journalism – and the people who produce it.
Here are three lessons B2B media leaders can (and should) take from McGovern’s approach to publishing.
Find & cultivate new markets
McGovern was a big thinker who saw great promise in emerging markets for technology news and information, not just in the U.S. but internationally. Just five years after launching Computerworld in the U.S. in 1967, McGovern launched Shukan Computer in Japan, kicking off a long string of global licensing deals and other partnerships that built IDG into a global powerhouse. In 1980, McGovern forged one of the first joint ventures in China by a U.S. business. In 1992, he established IDG Technology Ventures, one of the first venture capital firms in China.