Launching a Magazine

The story behind my role in launching a new online magazine for creative professionals. 

Dear Reader,

I first learned of Seth Kravitz back in 2013, when I was a hopeful applicant to Experience Institute’s inaugural year. He was listed as a “Connector” on Ei’s website, which mentioned how iconic a figure he was among Chicago’s active startup and tech scene. When I was accepted into Ei’s founding class and began planning my year of self-designed education, Seth was on top of my list of those I wanted to learn from and potentially work alongside. In fact, I even had him written out in one of my video application pitches to the program, saying, “I’d want to grab a beer with Seth Kravitz and learn some of his quick jokes.” (That line didn’t make it past the final edits, by the way.)

If you’ve been reading along with me since 2013 you know what happened during that transformative year spent in Chicago, New Mexico, Fargo, and a number of cities in between. (If not, you can watch this 2-minute video here.) And if you’ve been reading along, you also know that I never ended up working with Seth. Though we did meet briefly on a couple of occasions, we didn’t get around to having that beer until more than two years later.

In August 2016, while working with Ei’s third class in Chicago, Seth and I met for a drink at a patio bar on Michigan Avenue. In the thick warmth of a Midwest summer evening, he told me about some projects he’d been working on and how there might be an opportunity for me to contribute to one of them as a writer. As he explained the scope of the project, how he was hoping to launch a magazine for creative professionals, with a particular focus on photographers, I listened with excitement. Earlier that month I’d completed my first book project, which involved acting as a writer, editor, and creative director to bring Rambles, for poetic wanderers into the world. So this idea of publishing a magazine for creatives was right up my alley. In a burst of excitement, I suggested to him:

“Sounds like you need an editor!”

He took a moment to pause and think, which he often does with no change of expression on his face, before saying something to the effect of:

“Yeah, I guess that might be a good idea.”

After a second round of drinks and an informal brainstorming session, we parted ways in high spirits and Seth agreed to keep me posted on the progress of the magazine project.

Fast forward to now, May 2017, and I’ve got something to show you:

Allow me to announce the launch of PHLEARN Magazine, an online editorial dedicated to nurturing the creative pro and kicking complacency where it hurts most.

Why am I telling you about this?

Well, my uncharacteristic burst of excitement in Chicago enabled me to take part in its creation. More specifically, I am proud to share it with you because I have the honor of serving a special role in this project.

If there's something you've been working on lately, think about when you can ship it. And more importantly when and how you can share it with those closest to you. It'll build momentum and remind all of us that creativity begets more creativity.

And if you want to share your work with me, I'm all ears. Just reply.

All my best,
Dane Johnson

Editor, PHLEARN Magazine