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Thursday, February 24, 2005

Cleveland B2B Rocks 

Location, location, location

Fellow b2b media blogger Paul Conley has a nice meditation on the unique places where b2b media companies make their headquarters.

Sample grab: Location is the advantage that many trade-journalism companies have in the recruiting battle. And I'm always surprised how few of them seem to understand that.

While it doesn't have the romance of the Berkshires (or much else, really), I'd like to add Cleveland to his list. Home to the headquarters of Penton Media, and the former headquarters--and still major office--of Advanstar, deeply economically depressed Cleveland boasts a cadre of fine b2b journalists and publishers.

I used to enjoy my trips to Cleveland for Advanstar corporate meetings. The office, built for an insurance company, sits on a beautiful piece of land (see the little picture). It was a huge open office, on one main floor, with executive types up a level on a partial floor. To manage the noise, small rivers burbled among the cubicles. (People located near the rivers had to use the bathroom more than average).

Advanstar ended up in Cleveland in a complicated way. Bill Jovanovich, the chairman of media powerhouse HBJ, decided to move the corporate headquarters of the company out of New York City--a controversial move for a major book publisher. HBJ ended up in Orlando, and Bob Edgell, the chairman of the b2b magazine division, took over the Cleveland space. Of course, that was before HBJ ended up hobbling itself in the late 80s in an attempt to fight off a corporate takeover.

And so HBJ Publications became Edgell Communications, which became Advanstar.

Advanstar is also a major employer in sunny, tropical Duluth, Minnesota. For some reason, I'd find myself in Duluth most Februarys--probably the result of some karma issue I have. The Duluth Advanstar team--circulation, production and finance, primarily--is one of the best in the business--if not the best.

As I re-read this, I note that I'm not doing much to support Paul's recruiting thesis here, except maybe for the fact that great b2b opportunities can be found anywhere.

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