SIPA Member Profile: Warren Keeps Family Business Humming

Dan Warren, President and Editor, Warren Communications News Inc., Washington, D.C.

SIPA: What was your first job out of college?
DAN: For two years I was a high school English teacher.

Has there been a defining moment in your career? Perhaps when you knew you were on the right road.
I was 29 and had finally completed my Ph.D. in English literature when two things happened: I got a taste of the grind of the real academic world while teaching at Catholic University, and I got a call from my father to help out with the launch of Warren’s risky and exciting startup, Communications Daily. I soon knew which world I wanted to be part of.

In brief, describe your business/company?
Warren is what I call a “first-generation” newsletter publisher. Such companies were typically founded in the ’60s or ’70s by journalists or businessmen who had personal expertise in a specialized area and struck out to create publications of their own. My late father was such a journalist, and now that my brother Paul and I have succeeded him, we are still relatively old-fashioned, even if our areas of expertise are anything but. We publish daily hard news publications, delivered as PDFs, focused on regulation and legislation of such fields as telecommunications, mass media, consumer electronics and the Internet. We do a good ancillary business selling ads in our flagship Communications Daily.

What are two or three important concepts or rules that have helped you to succeed in business?
It’s hardly the stuff of rah-rah business books, but we’re humble, cautious and attentive to detail. We jealously tend and defend our brands.

What is the single-most successful thing that your company is doing now?
We have a well-managed, first-rate, salaried (plus commission), professional subscription sales staff. Virtually all our marketing is designed to generate leads for them to pursue.

Do you see a trend or path that you have to lock onto in 2012?
I am unimpressed with the prospects for social media for publishers of premium-priced B2B services. (See point just above.)

What are the key benefits of SIPA membership for you and your team?
SIPA members—even your rivals—will share their wisdom with astonishing freedom. And it’s great fun to learn how many different ways there are for creative people to confront similar challenges.

Where did you grow up?
D.C. born and bred. So, yes, some people are actually from here.

What college did you attend? Is there a moment from that time that stands out?
When I jumped from college at Boston University to graduate school at Cornell things got a whole lot tougher.

Are you married? Do you have children?
Kerry and I have three: David, 27; Stuart, 24; and Helen, 16. Oh, and three dogs.

What is your favorite hobby and how did it develop in your life?
I’m an avid woodworker. I also read fiction, science and history, and play violent videogames.

Is there a book you recently read or movie you saw that you would recommend?
Freud: Inventor of the Modern Mind by Peter Kramer. Idolaters of the great genius (I was one) have taken a heavy beating over the last 20 years. This biography puts the so-called Freud wars in perspective. (Kramer is also the author of the landmark Listening to Prozac.)


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