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Those RoofTop parties ROCKED!

(Now what am I gonna read on those Southwest flights?)

Who other than me noticed that it was getting thinner and thinner by the week?



Thursday August 16 10:00 PM ET

Industry Standard Shuts Doors, Lays Off Staff

By Reshma Kapadia and Elinor Mills Abreu

SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Industry Standard, whose pages chronicled the hope and the hubris of the dot-com revolution, announced Thursday it was suspending publication and laying off most of its staff — the latest victim of the slumping technology sector it once celebrated.

The move to shutter what had become a glittering symbol of San Francisco’s high-tech revolution came as publishers struggle with a deteriorating advertising climate and a sharp economic slowdown.

The magazine will officially suspend publication Monday and all of the remaining 180 staffers, except for about 15, Jonathan Weber, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, told Reuters after Thursday’s announcement. “I’m very upset and very sad about it. I don’t think it needed to happen this way,” he said.

“I think we had a great magazine and had great people here and I’m very sorry we won’t be able to keep doing it. I’m very proud of what we accomplished here. I have no regrets.”

The end of the Industry Standard marks yet another dashed dream for San Francisco’s dot-com digerati — who once gathered every week at parties atop the magazine’s headquarters to toast the new economy.

Standard Media, the publisher of a magazine hailed as the new magazine of the Internet economy during the dot-com heyday, continues to seek a buyer, a source said.

However, it is quite possible that it will file for Chapter 11, the source added — a move already taken by many of the high-tech companies the Industry Standard once covered, Weber said.


While employees have been paid this week, most of them have been on a forced vacation. A skeleton crew remained to manage the magazine’s Web site.

“We are very disappointed that our short-term financial situation requires this, but we remain hopeful our assets will be sold,” a company spokeswoman said.

The Industry Standard becomes the latest of a crop of magazines founded to cover the Internet boom that have seen their fortunes go into shocking reverse as the technology sector slumps.

Founded in 1997, the Industry Standard swiftly became a leader in advertising sales, regularly putting out issues so stuffed with ads that they rivaled the heaviest fashion magazines.

The magazine hit on a nerve, becoming the fastest growing magazine in American history reaching more than 350 pages and gaining popularity with its irreverent look at the hyped and burgeoning Internet marketplace.

The company’s legendary rooftop parties, where visitors could enjoy a view of the Bay Bridge, snack on fancy hors d’oeuvres and rub elbows with Netscape founder Marc Andresseen among others, drew long lines around the block of the modish brick building in San Francisco’s financial district.

The company also sponsored close to a dozen conferences in 1999, including one in Barcelona where a reported $2.5 million was spent on one party alone. The Industry Standard Europe was launched in early 2000 only to be shut less than a year later.

The magazine’s success and ultimate failure mirrored that of the company’s it covered. In its heyday it offered employees free snacks, happy hours, massages and gym membership. During the IPO boom of 1999 and early 2000 executives worked behind the scenes preparing to go public, hiring a chief financial officer and offering employees stock options which would never be redeemed.


The magazine receive $30 million in early 2000 from investment firm Flatiron Partners, among others, with International Data Group retaining a large stake.

As the Internet start-ups that dominated the magazine’s ad pages started to go under, the magazine began to shrink, leveling out to around 80 pages this year, an 80 percent drop from 2000, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. The percentage of ad dollars dropped by 71.5 percent from $14.8 million to $4.2 million.

Layoffs seemed to come close on the heels of the magazine’s hiring boom of 2000, which required the leasing of at least 5 buildings on downtown San Francisco alone. The first round of layoffs was in January, followed by another in February and trickles throughout the following months.

According to Standard Rate and Data Services, Industry Standard’s total circulation as of December 31, 2000, was 192,700, of which 93,500 was non-paid and 99,200 paid.

Red Herring, a competing magazine, featured circulation of 315,634, all of which it said was paid.

San Francisco media executives said the demise of the Industry Standard marked the end of a particular kind of new economy magazine — one fueled by the hopes, and cash, of a particular dot-com moment.

“The Standard was a magazine built on sharp writing on the emerging or evolving Internet industry. To some extent their story dried up,” said Ned Desmond, editor and president of Business2.0, a rival magazine recently relaunched by its new owner AOL Time Warner Inc. (AOL.N.) “The expectation that the Internet would be center stage in the New Economy for the foreseeable future just didn’t pan out.”

Alex Gove, a venture capitalist with San Francisco-based WaldenVC and a former editor at Red Herring magazine, agreed.

“Many of the subscribers to the Standard belonged to companies that shut down,” Grove said. “The ideal customer for the Standard was the VP of bizdev at an Internet company, a position that no longer exists for the most part.”