The rest of the publishing industry who dealt with quarterly budget targets and expense account reports would walk by the office just off Times Square and stare in wonder at the purring black cars waiting to whisk the people inside off to expensive boîtes and remarkable parties. Money was not only no object, it was rarely discussed. Mr. Newhouse spent tens of millions of dollars resurrecting The New Yorker simply because he wanted to and piles of expensive stories and photo shoots ended up on the cutting room floor as editors killed their way to some beau ideal of a magazine. But the beast that feed it all — the need to market $1,400 handbags and handcrafted extra virgin olive oil — eventually went into the tank. Luxury spending typically trails a downturn, but this one has been so deep and abiding that by the last quarter of last year, Condé Nast was floundering along with the rest of us. McKinsey & Company was called in to assist in rationalizing an irrational place and, more important, to give management cover at a company not known for making tough decisions. – from NYTimes
Alex has written for Vanity Fair, Barrons, Bloomberg and Condé Nast Traveler.