My Life In Media: Samir Arora
'In my teens I made a list of 100 things I wanted to do, and had reached No 94 by my thirties, including running a billion-dollar company'
Monday 28 July 2008
Samir Arora, 42, is the founder of Glam Media, the world's biggest women's fashion and lifestyle internet portal. Glam.com boasts 64 million unique users, and launched in the UK last month. It integrates over 500 women's style websites into a vast, online glossy magazine, and advertising partners include Agent Provocateur, Reebok, Paramount and Garnier.
Arora began his career at Apple computers in the 1980s, and takes credit for inventing the term "website". He has an estimated personal wealth of $250m, is married, and lives in California and New York.
What inspired you to embark on a career in the media?
The desire to change the world by enriching the lives of millions of people through communication and entertainment. Most of my career has been involved, in one way or the other, in enabling publishing. First desktop and magazines, then video, then the first web publishing.
When you were 15, which newspaper did your family get?
The Wall Street Journal, The Times of India and The Hindustan Times.
Describe your job.
Running a media company that is number one in reach for women globally – in style and fashion, living, entertainment, health and family. Setting the strategy and vision, empowering my team and helping them to achieve more than they thought was possible. I have always stood for big ideas that create massive change. This is one of the most exciting times, as digital media companies are changing the web.
What media do you turn to first thing in the morning?
The internet. Google.
Do you consult any media sources during the day?
Yes. In the US, I look at The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times for news. I also read magazines including Fortune and Forbes, and women's magazines such as Vogue and Elle for work.
What do you tune into when you get home?
iTunes and Apple TV. I'm listening to the soundtrack of the film The Darjeeling Limited at the moment.
What is the best thing about your job?
Seeing people light up when speaking passionately about how Glam understands their needs, and how their lives have been enriched because of us.
And the worst?
Non-stop travel! My last trip was to Germany for the Glam Media launch in that territory.
How do you feel you influence the media?
By understanding the deep level of changes that are happening in web users, readers and engagement – and using them to redefine what a media company is, much like Google did for search.
What's the proudest achievement in your working life?
The 20 million websites that were created using one of my products by creative people all over the world: NetObjects Fusion. And now the 77 million people we reach and touch every month with the publishers of the Glam Media network.
And what's your most embarrassing moment?
Showing up for a keynote address and finding out that I had brought two left shoes! I was in Chicago, and had to get Barneys to get a new pair of shoes to me in time for the speech.
What is your Sunday paper? And do you have a favourite magazine?
The New York Times is what I read on Sunday, and I love magazines and read dozens of them every week, from the US, UK, Japan, Germany and some other countries, across a wide range of subjects. My favourites include Häuser, the German modern-architecture magazine; Kateigaho, the Japanese design and lifestyle magazine; and the British magazine i-D.
Name the one career ambition you want to realise before you retire
I made a list of 100 things I wanted to do when I was in my teens. I decided to slow down in my thirties when I realised that I had already reached No 94 – including running a billion-dollar company! There are a few things still left on the list... one of them being to write a book.
What would you do if you didn't work in the media?
I would not work.
Whom in the media do you most admire, and why?
That would be Rupert Murdoch. I have never met someone that is so deeply engaged and understands media as well as he does.
1984 Begins working on Apple products in India aged 19, while studying electrical engineering
1985 After a formal job offer from Apple, a paper Arora writes on the future of the internet is noticed by boss John Sculley. He goes on to work in many of the company's divisions, ending up in marketing in Paris
1992 Leaves Apple to work on Rae Technology, which pioneered browser-based information navigation applications
1995 Co-founds software start-up NetObjects; goes on to receive 14 US patents as co-inventor of various web-publishing software
1997 Sells NetObjects to IBM
2002 Starts working on the Glam Media idea
2005 Glam Media is launched in the US, and becomes fastest-growing web property and number one in reach for women
2008 Glam Media launches in UK and Germany
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