Come August, I would complete 14 long years with the Outlook Group. It has been a very gratifying journey filled with excitement and great many editorial accomplishments that I look back with a sense of awe myself.
During this period, Outlook Business has grown rapidly to get ahead of homegrown incumbents such as Business India and Businessworld as well as foreign publications such as Forbes and Fortune. More importantly, over the past five years, we have transitioned from being just a magazine into a brand that intimately connects with targeted business communities through a multichannel approach. Leading Edge, Outlook Business' annual conclave was conceived for business leaders; Smart Enterprise, a platform for mid-sized business owners is to voice their challenges as well as exchange ideas, and Outlook Business WOW, introduced in 2015, is a forum for women entrepreneurs. We have also attempted several other experiments, which are yet to scale like producing business documentaries for OTTs.
Personally, I look back at the years gone by with a sense of pride and satisfaction having executed several high-profile print editions including interviews with Warren Buffett and Bill Gates; the Secret Diary of an entrepreneur/CEO series; Masterspeak, a biennial special featuring interviews with global thought leaders, and several other standout editions. We were the first Indian business magazine to interview Warren Buffett way back in 2014, after he praised our work as “terrific” and granted us this exceptional opportunity, having asked for additional copies for his board members. We were the first publication to go to Silicon Valley and bring out special editions that captured all the action in the start-up world when it was not as fashionable as it is today. But most importantly, we earned a reputation of being a magazine that brought out “full facts and analysis” and not a rehash. Neither legal notices and threats, nor attracting the ire of spin doctors deterred us from pursuing tough business stories that other publications rarely attempted.
I have to say all this would have been impossible without two critical factors. First, a supremely passionate team that constantly gunned for more and better at work, and never showed the slightest dip in enthusiasm even in the face of extremely difficult circumstances. It always felt like we were on a mission to ensure every story stood out. The distinct positioning and respectability that Outlook Business gained over these years is because of these incredible people that I am proud to have led. Second, the editorial freedom and independence given to me while pursuing controversial and potentially litigious stories for the magazine, as also for taking forward many ideas beyond the magazine. These helped us differentiate ourselves in a cluttered media space and take the brand to a higher level. I am infinitely grateful to my team and the promoters of Outlook Publishing for this lifetime opportunity. And finally, a heartfelt thank you to every reader for your patronage.