gawker and new york magazine have been constantly a-twitter since it was announced last month that mckinsey would be combing the conde nast books.
would you like to know what an mba student thinks? well, basically initially mckinsey will most likely comb the accounting books of each individual book within conde nast from details magazine to gourmet to vogue. then they will search for efficiencies. which doesn’t mean ‘who can we fire.’ at least, not initially. but they will look for overlaps. and question why one executive needs multiple assistants and ask what’s the difference between editor, managing editor, associate editor, and assistant editor and so on.
then they will ask questions like, why do you need one person to book your covers. doesn’t the editor make this decision? couldn’t the assistant handle this?
or, as what happened with anheuser busch when inbev took over (see the wall street journal). and inbev decided that no one needed an assitant by asking the question, can’t you answer your own phones and use your own computer?
this is not an argument for getting rid of assistants. they are actually an intrigal part to the smooth running of any magazine. –see ‘ugly betty.’ but the real question is, how many people do you need in the art department and what does a top editor really do?
but this could be an argument against anna (edit: initially spelt with ‘e’ for shame!) wintour making the rounds of fashion week in europe and racking up 250K in expenses. does one need multiple stylists when one has been wearing the same hairstyle fot the past half century? is the ritz really necessary? why not stay at a 5 star boutique hotel that would be so grateful to have you occupy the whole building for a week that they would offer you an incredible discount. or maybe even give you half the rooms for free in exchange for a half page ad or an advertorial.
one could argue what a bunch of guys (and they will be mostly guys) in brooks brothers suits and thomas pink ties might know about fashion and the fashion industry and the unique way that magazine publishing works. and anyone who would offer this up at conde nast would definitely have a point.
but then the question is is overspending ever justified? yes, in fashion, perception trumps reality. one would rather stay at the ritz than the hilton. or god forbid, days inn, but when there’s a financial crunch, reality trumps everything.