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Life lessons learned from 30 years at GRM | Articles

Life lessons learned from 30 years at GRM | Articles

It was a weekend of light bites and an open bar at $350 a head, a poolside spread presented by smiling faces, and locally caught seafood that practically melted in the mouth. Even the lunch in the media center looked fairly deluxe. 

The one meal that I actually chewed during the recent Amelia Island concours weekend? A Wendy’s spicy chicken sandwich eaten in my hotel room around 11:00 at night. By the glow of my laptop, I got to savor every bite–no answering questions, no grabbing photos, no rushing to the next item on my agenda.

[How to enjoy The Amelia with your classic car]

And at that moment, a light went off: Perhaps I should slow down a tick and just take a few extra moments to chew my food. 

In early April–or was it late March?–I will have celebrated 30 years here at Grassroots Motorsports, nearly all of them heading up the editorial department. That’s a lot of files proofed, captions written and assignments assigned. 

As I have been approaching that milestone–apex? zenith?–several things have been on my mind. Maybe sharing that list will help the rest of the class–or at least allow my brain to fret over something else now that these have been expressed. 

Chew your food. Okay, we covered that. 

Put the audience first. When I started here, the scene was awash with magazines. We had the class-leading buff books staffed by all the Cool Adults plus a slew of specialty titles employing the nerds that I partnered with at press events. Today, we’re one of the last titles left. 

Something that I think helped us remain relevant? Keeping the spotlight on the audience. If you do that, everything else–circulation numbers, advertiser base, inner peace, etc.–should fall into place. We’re no different than our readers, J.G. often jokes, but just with access to press cars. 

Don’t put off things that annoy you. When I rebuilt the engine in my Porsche some 15 years ago, I went with a “stage 1” clutch from an advertiser. Gotta keep everyone happy and involved, right?

Guess what? That clutch has sucked since that day: It’s either on or off and, oh, it also chattered. I just went back to a stock unit–finally–and it totally transformed the driving experience. Just as life’s too short to drink bad wine, it’s also too short to drive around with a miserable clutch. If you have the means, take the time and spend the money to fully dial it in. 

Maintain a proper work/life balance. I…

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