N&T: What is your overall strategy for launching a publication?
Garrett: Of course, you have to have passion, drive and great people to start with. We believe that one of our strongest success components is due to private ownership. My wife Jennifer and I are able to make decisions that are not just based on quarter results. We look at the big picture, and as first generation private owners we can plan for the next five years.
One of the most important ingredients is sales culture, which is not often discussed. Our sales culture focuses on our core product and not related offerings with Facebook, Google or others. A strong and focused sales culture with the ability to work within our local community helps drive our success. You have to add some fun into the environment.
N&T: What’s your biggest business prediction for 2019?
Garrett: I believe that privately held companies will have a huge advantage and opportunity to grow in an unpredictable market. If there is a slowdown and sales decline, we can offer the opportunity to take care of our employees and direct resources in a very timely manner.
N&T: What tech trend are your watching for 2019?
Garrett: I really want to see how the NextDoor/Facebook battle will play out. This might be the year that someone makes up big ground on Facebook.
I think this is an interesting time for NextDoor. They’ve built a great network, but can they monetize it like Facebook? Can they be an alternative for advertisers to Facebook?
The way the advertising market works is at the local level. Mom-and-pop stores actually want an alternative. It’s the nature of the business. If we go into a new market, we actually compete with Facebook and the local business owners want a local alternative, especially in a recession. I feel like I understand the local ad market. The company that works the hardest with local ownership will get the business.
We can compete with Facebook. Facebook wants us to look at them helping newspapers sell subscriptions so that we won’t focus on them selling local advertising. The right product with the right culture and hard work will be the success to bringing in local advertising dollars.
I know I can get my share from Facebook. If we have the right people we will get our share.