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Oct. 5 2009 - 11:11 am | 19 views | 1 recommendation | 5 comments

McKinsey consultants can eat dirt and die


There’s a special parking spot reserved in hell for McKinsey consultants.

The news is just breaking that Condé Nast, the venerable magazine publisher, is shutting down three of its storied titles: Gourmet, Modern Bride and Cookie.

Thanks to whom? A small army of twentysomethings with fancy degrees who’ve never worked a day in the magazine industry — or any other honest line of work.

A couple of years ago, a similar army (or maybe the same) descended upon Time Inc. They sat silently in the back row at edit meetings. They held hushed conferences in some borrowed offices. They made a lot of copies. They used a productivity diagram so ridiculous it could have come off the set of “The Office.”

When they had eaten enough donuts, they left a seven-figure bill and instructions to lay off hundreds of people.

So now the same thing’s happened at Condé Nast. I hope the twerps are happy eating Kraft mac and cheese, wearing ugly wedding dresses and dressing their children in hand-me-downs. Because the editorial talent at those three magazines sure won’t be lifting a finger to help them.


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  1. collapse expand

    Sad news, indeed! My mother still has stacks and stacks of Gourmet from the 80s and 90s that I love re-reading when I visit her house. That said, the current Gourmet paled in comparison…I got it for free and even then didn’t really enjoy it. But disappointing that no one could come up with a convincing way to save it.

  2. collapse expand

    I understand the sentiment, Lisa, and I’ll miss Gourmet, too (I’ve been missing being close to their test kitchen for a few years already …).

    Unfortunately, in general, McKinsey is usually brought in after Management has made most of their decisions and is looking for a scapegoat. “We’re paying them 7 figures; who are we to disagree with their findings …”

    Many in Condé Management are actually pretty passionate about their titles / brands; sometimes, they need to hire bogeymen to dispassionately “cut off the foot to save the leg.” One can hope, anyway.

    If you’d like to relive your McKinsey experience, btw, rent “Office Space.”

  3. collapse expand

    When I joined the Times, back in 1984, I was astonished to see some reporters arguing over computer terminals. I asked about it, and what I was told (I don’t know first-hand that it’s true, but I know I believed it at the time) is that a bunch of efficiency experts had come into the newsroom, noticed how many computers sat idle on a typical day, and suggested to management that some reporters share. It didn’t occur to anyone that if two reporters were on deadline at the same time, all hell would break loose.

    I repeat, I don’t know if I was being scammed by colleagues with that story or not — but what scares me is how plausible it seemed at the time, and still seems today.

  4. collapse expand

    Go Lisa! Couldn’t agree more with the sentiment However, Gourmet was kinda stinking out loud lately.

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    Read Wasabi Mama for your daily dose of sinus-clearing rant on parenting, work, media and entertainment. If you like a fresh nasal passage, please click below my photo to "follow me." For more on me, please visit www.lisacullen.com.

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