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You’re Invited: tED magazine Turns 50

By Scott Costa

Be prepared, because I am about to compare tED magazine to Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts.  And before you roll your eyes, know that as the Publisher of tED, I am a huge fan of the magazine.  And as someone who likes to eat, I am also a huge fan of Pop-Tarts.  And I am not afraid to admit it.

2014 is already off to an interesting start.

This has been a winter we may never forget, as strong storm after strong storm doesn’t just drop snow, ice, and below zero temperatures in the Midwest and Northeast, but in the South as well.

The Winter Olympics have started.  So, too, has the campaigning for the 2014 primary election season.

At tED magazine, we are excited about 2014.  This year, the magazine is turning 50 years old.  50 years of following the trends, staying on top of the latest innovations, and passing along the comings and the goings.

We aren’t alone in turning 50 this year.  First lady Michelle Obama turned 50 already. Just to be politically balanced, we will also tell you that Sarah Palin turns 50 on February 11th.

Four NAED distributors turn 50 this year: Evergreen Oak Supply and Sales in Chicago, Electric Supply Lighting in Kansas, Davis Wholesale Electric in Southern California, and Brown & Powell Electric Supply in Pittsburgh.  Congratulations on 50 years, and we look forward to growing with you over the next 50.

On March first, Pop-Tarts turns 50.  The folks at Kellogg’s has expanded the Pop-Tarts line of products from four flavors in 1964 (blueberry, strawberry, brown sugar cinnamon and apple) to its current 38 flavors sold on a daily basis, and 24 others that are sold as “limited edition”.  

So here is my crazy comparison, and I know this is a little strange.  50 years ago there was just tED magazine, in print. We have since added websites, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and even a Vine video site that are all connected to tED magazine.  We have tED webinars, #tEDchats, and four times a week a tED newsletter.  It is not 58 new offerings like the Kellogg’s people did with the Pop-Tart, but it is a big expansion over the past half century, and I can say more expansion is planned for 2014.  But at the end of the day, all of those efforts still center around tED magazine, the publication the NAED board of directors decided needed to be sent out monthly back in 1964.  The magazine is our brand, it is what we are known for, and it is still the top provider of relevant news and information in this industry. When you think of tED, you think of the magazine, and we want you to do that because it is so good.

As far as the Pop-Tarts goes, take a guess what the top four selling flavors are.  Strawberry, blueberry, apple, with brown sugar cinnamon coming in at number 1. So no matter how many other flavors the Kellogg’s people create, the fact is the original Pop-Tarts are the ones you remember and buy.  Do we work every day to be the Pop-Tart of magazine publications?  We strive to be a little more higher-end than that, but maybe we should, because in 2012, Kellogg’s sold $331 million in Pop-Tarts.

Turning 50 means we need to celebrate, and we want you to be there.  50 years ago, The Rolling Stones released their first album in the United States, called “England’s Newest Hit Makers” (nearly 40 years later it was re-released on a compact disc with “Hit Makers” now one word).  I bring that up because we are going to celebrate tED magazine’s 50th anniversary with a Rolling Stones cover band at this year’s NAED National Meeting in San Francisco. The meeting begins Saturday, April 26th, and runs through Monday, April 28th.  On the final night, we will host the tED magazine 50th Anniversary Reception and Dinner.  The entertainment will be provided by “Satisfaction”, a band that will play all of the hits by the Rolling Stones over the past 50 years.

The weekend meeting has a number of speakers lined up in a different format from past meetings, which will allow you to ask questions of the people we have invited to talk with you.  Our keynote speaker is Ben Stone, the author of the book “The Everything Store”.  Stone is the only person to go inside the front office at Amazon to get an idea of the planning CEO Jeff Bezos is doing as he tries to shape his online empire to compete against our traditional supply chain and, if Bezos has his way, become the people where everyone will one day shop for everything.

We will also have a panel discussion with manufacturers, distributors, and contractors about the good and the bad when it comes to new product launches. Plus, Lou Pearce will be there to talk about not selling products, but selling your business through your brand.  I have heard him speak before, and I can tell you there is something to learn from him.

tED magazine wants you to join us for all of these events, and tED magazine’s 50th Anniversary Dinner and Reception.  You can register for the meeting at http://www.naed.org/National

As always, you can contact me by e-mail, scosta@naed.org.

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