James Sinkinson, Publisher, Infocom Group, Oakland, Calif.
What was your first job out of college and how did you get into this business?
My first job out of college was as advertising manager at the King Size Sleep Shop. I learned that it really matters what you say in your advertising—for example, I discovered that people don’t buy a new bed to achieve better sex. I got into publishing because I started selling advertising for a counter-cultural weekly newspaper in the ’70s, which led to my becoming the editor. I’d never had so much fun as at that job, combining my advertising skills with my editorial instincts. I decided this would be my career. About five years later I started my own newsletter business.
Has there been a defining moment in your career? Perhaps when you knew you were on the right road.
When I sent out our first promo—my first-ever direct mail effort—and it brought back 700 paid subscriptions, I figured there might be a future in this business. However, I must confess, it’s been a few years since we hit one so far out of the park.
In brief, describe your business/company?
Our business is about 60 percent paid content—mostly professional development webinars—and 40 percent advertising based, revolving around a daily online trade journal. We serve the PR/corporate communications industry.
What are two or three important concepts or rules that have helped you to succeed in business?
Never give up; continuously reinvent yourself; insist on quality above all.
Do you see a trend or path that you have to lock onto for 2011?
Move from a one-off business and return to a renewal-based business.
What are the key benefits of SIPA membership for you and your team?
SIPA has been a major key to our survival and success. We’ve learned the most important content and marketing breakthroughs from SIPA, and it’s served as a continuous inspiration to our growth.
Where did you grow up?
At the beach in Southern California.
What college did you attend? Is there a moment from that time that stands out?
I attended the University of Redlands [their nickname is the Bulldogs; Infocom’s url is www.bulldogreporter.com]. I became a hippy student radical in a sea of religious conservatism and started a successful underground newspaper. There I learned to question authority.
Are you married? Do you have children?
I’m married to my very best friend and have three great kids.
What is your favorite hobby and how did it develop in your life?
My favorite hobbies are cooking, which I do most every evening, and learning German, which I read, study and/or speak most every day.
Is there a book you recently read or movie you saw that you would recommend?
I recently read “Matterhorn,” a novel about Marines on the ground, in the [muck], during the Vietnam War. Gripping.
Get the benefits of Jim’s vast knowledge and experience
at the June Annual Conference, where he is co-chairing
the track New Revenue Streams: From Products to
Media to Markets (along with Emily Sheahan of HCPro).
SIPA 2011: Cashing in on Content –
Models for a New Decade.
June 5-7, Capital Hilton, Washington, D.C.
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and register early to get best rate.
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