April 21, 2009

elephant journal has survived the transition to web.

elephant magazine has survived the transition to elephantjournal.com. Now, it’s time to Thrive.

On January 1, 2009—only 3.5 months ago—the last issue of elephant journal sold off the last stands at Whole Foods, bookstores, yoga studios, Pharmacas around the country. Why’d we kill the magazine, after patiently, steadily growing it over 6.5 years so we could keep it 100% independent as we took it national? Because I couldn’t figure a way around the fact that every major magazine in America has a sell-thru rate of around 3/10. Bad for the environment, bad! (I was willing to compromise down to, say, 5/10…but even printing on ecopaper, as we did, 3/10 necessitates too much milling and shipping and reshipping to keep our hypocrisyometer from going off. So we bit the bullet, and went paperless—saving ourselves from the New Media Reaper.

Anyways, Yaddayadda, regular readers have heard my eco version of a cowboy song (instead of “lost my horse, lost my girl, pickup broke down,” it’s “gave up my magazine to go paperless and lost my offices, lost my staff, gave up my car, put house on market…”) and now know the song by heart.

Only now, after a coupla months of elbow grease and counting pennies (for two weeks, singalong now, I didn’t even have a bank account, credit card or debit card—I sold books at the Trident so I could buy eco dog food, and lived off organic popcorn and rice, myself) elephantjournal.com is now at 70K unique visitors a month—more readers than our quarterly magazine ever had—thanks to Sam Breed we got a spiffy tech-friendly web redesign, I just sold four months of ads to a major sponsor, New Belgium, prAna has been a huge support, Yoga Journal is coming on board and I’m in convos with three others.

And now, PR Newswire—this is bit stuff, like touching the Traffic God’s pinky—has picked elephant journal as the blog of record for green, spiritual stuff. They liked our sense of irreverence, and I think wanted to give a leg up to the little guy.

My twitter followers aren’t at @aplusk levels, but they’re now at 2,500, good enough for Top 10 in all of tech-central Boulder, Colorado, and regular #ffs from green giant tweeters. And we’ve got a new Facebook page, if you’d like to Become a Fan.

My column for Huffington Post is going swimmingly—now if you search Endangered Species Chocolate or one of a dozen subjects I’ve covered, you’ll find me (and 20 links to elephant) in the Top Ten under Google search results. Whoot, whoot. 

Our Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis is back—next up on May 6 at the 800-seat Boulder Theater, which we hope to sell out, is an ecofashion show, yours truly, Mayor Appelbaum, Top Chef Hosea Rosenberg, famous yogi John Friend, tech panel including Micah Baldwin, Gwen Bell, Brad Feld, and Jeffrey Kalmikoff (of Threadless), Boulder Ballet and Paper Bird. On Facebook? RSVP here. Videos will be forthcoming, including my interview of Sister Prejean (of Dead Man Walking fame) on Monday. I’m also talking with reps of Julia Butterfly Hill and Mr. Michael Pollan re video interviews in near future.

Finally, President Obama’s mortgage modification plan means that I might just be able to keep my house, and afford my mortgage despite not having paid myself a living wage for the better part of six months.

And so, after a long, boring, stressful, oft-lonely, humbling, humbling, humbling, cry spontaineously-on-friends’-shoulders kinda six months of transition…


…well, I think today might be the last day it’ll snow for awhile. Hello, Spring—may the goddess of renewal and new life bless all of us hit hard by the economy we bubbled and borrowed our way into over the last eight years, and may our new buds and flowers of growth be rooted firmly in the earth, in sustainability, in reality. With a leader worth the following in the Oval Office, with an EPA that’s finally admitted that pollution might be bad for us (and is therefore required to act)…well don’t count this ol’world out of the ballgame just yet.

It’s rally cap time.

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