When Salesforce.com founder Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne bought Time magazine from Meredith Corp. in 2018, many read it as a vanity buy. A billionaire buys a legendary media brand, to impress his friends and influence people, without doing too much legwork.

Why is this important: But the exclusion proves transformative for Time, as Benioff appears to have actively brought much of his technology philosophy to the 100-year-old Henry Luce Company.

  • Benioff tells me that Time projects revenue growth of 30% this year to more than $200 million, with editor Edward Felsenthal saying about a quarter of that will come from a unit of studios that has just two year.
  • More broadly, the company was once organized internally by function (editorial, marketing, tech, etc.), whereas it is now restructured around the product (à la Salesforce).

Driving the news: “He kept pushing us out of the boxes we were in,” says Felsenthal, who averages at least one Benioff meeting a month (plus board meetings, which Marc and Lynne sit on). .

  • “For example, our Time 100 event was always a gala. One of the first things we talked about after he arrived was whether we could make it a summit. I said we could the following year, since we were just two months out, but he suggested we try to make it work immediately, and it worked, and we ended up with a very successful event with the likes of Hillary Clinton, Jared Kushner, and Tim Cook.
  • Felsenthal adds that the Benioffs are not involved in any editorial decisions.

Benioff says he doesn’t view the success or failure of his investment over time in terms of dollars, though he repeatedly mentions his interest in becoming profitable, hitting $1 billion in revenue, and becoming the “media brand number one” in the world.

  • Instead, he says he sees all business efforts as catalysts for change, which is why Time will launch a major sustainability initiative that “will provide all the content, solutions, apps and technology to help our customers to enter the net zero world”.

The biggest post-acquisition challenge, he explains, was an “individualization” of both Meredith and the former corporate house within Time Inc.

  • Part of that was getting offices and putting systems in place, but some also realized that Time had a lot more editorial freedom now that it was separated from old Time Inc. comrades like Fortune and People.

What he says : “I think innovation has to come organically and inorganically, just like at Salesforce when you look at things like the Slack deal,” says Benioff, who says he paid a lot more attention to the NYT/Athletic tie-up than he did. at BuzzFeed. stock collapse.

  • “We looked at acquisitions with Time, but I haven’t done any yet, I think, because the first three years were really about stabilizing… One thing I learned from buying Time is that t is much easier to buy a business and take it over than to buy a business from another business.