Interview with Stan Flack

Stan Flack is no doubt one of the references when you talk about Internet news sites: founder of MacCentral and then MacMinute, knows everything about the Mac universe and what does “success in Internet” mean.

Tell us something about your background…

I’m 37 and grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada. My initial training was in graphic design, but this quickly changed to writing and computers, Macintosh specifically. I spend a number of years working for a local newspaper and then decided to make my hobby my full-time career. More on that later.

When did you start using Mac?

I believe I got my first Macintosh in about 1990 or so.

What Macs do you own?

I assume you mean me personally. MacMinute as a whole has many different systems. With my travel schedule and the nature of my work, I use a PowerBook G4 800 MHz. I expect I will pick up a 17″ PowerBook later this year.

Why did you decide to start MacCentral?

At the time, I saw a need. I loved Macs and I felt that there weren’t enough resources available for the average Mac user.

How did you started? Did you find investors, went to the bank…?

I funded MacCentral myself. I never went to the bank or had any other investors.

What was the mac news scenario when you started?

There really wasn’t much of one. When I started MacCentral there were only a few other sites out there, most of which catered to a more technical audience. It was nothing like we see today.

How did you give notice that MacCentral was born? Did you spend a lot?

I got the word out about MacCentral initially by attending Macworld Expos with promotional material and by word of mouth mostly.

Why did you decide to sell?

There were several reasons, actually. One is that I felt we had taken MacCentral as far as we could without the backing of a major publication. Another is that I wanted the experience that working with a print magazine would give me.

How did IDG approach?

I was approached by the CEO of Mac Publishing (publishers of Macworld magazine).

And then MacMinute came out… How many people work in MM? Are they the same that worked in MacCentral?

No, they are not the same. In total we have five people working on MacMinute.

Did MacCentral have any problem with you launching MM? You both are tough competition…

I don’t know because I didn’t ask them. 🙂 Certainly we are competitors, but I feel that competition is a good thing. It generally makes everyone do a better job – keep you on your toes. Besides, I think MacCentral provides a different kind of service than we do. We both cover the news, but our format is very different than theirs.

What are the main goals of MM?

To provide up-to-the-minute Macintosh news from around the world in a simple, clean, quick, and effective format. I want to be sure we give our readers the information they need, without bogging them down reading page after page after page. We want to get right down to the core facts, and provide links for further information should the reader require it.

Is MacMinute already what you wanted it to be? Will MM be offering new sections?

Oh no, there is a lot more we have planned for MacMinute. We are growing the site in stages, but many more features will be added in the future.

Do you think Apple in doing well?

I think they are doing very well, excellent in fact, if you factor in the present economy.

What is lost in Apple to gain marketshare?

Advertising. Lots more advertising. Specifically showing why a Mac is a better computer.

Which one, in your opinion, is the best Apple product?

That’s a tough one. I would have to say in terms of appeal and innovation, the iPod.

What do you think of Mac OS X? Will it be -someday- the best OS around?

I think it already is the best operating system around. 🙂 I love Mac OS X.

What applications do you use in your daily life?

The ones I use the most are BBEdit, Photoshop, Safari, Mail, NetNewWire, StickyBrain, LaunchBar, TypeIt4Me, and WeatherPop Advance.

So now everybody (PCs included) are in the “digital lifestyle” mood. What should Apple invent now to stay ahead? 😉

A device that incorporates a PDA, phone, and an MP3 player, all in one small package.

If Apple were to create such a device -phone+pda+mp3 player- Will you buy it?

I suppose I would have to see it first, but I would guess I would buy it.

You are presently visiting Spain, but have travelled around Europe… Was it a mix of job/tourism?

I really want MacMinute to have an international flavor, so I spend a lot of time traveling. I can’t say that it was all work, as I love to travel, but I am primarily in Europe to establish more international contacts.

What do you like best of Spain?

Three things… the weather, the food, and the people.

And what do you dislike the most? (don’t be too cruel ;-))

Shellfish. Spain has got loads and loads of shellfish, of which I am not too fond.

Do you think you will stay here for long?

It is very difficult to say, as I have a lot more traveling to do. I would certainly like to though. Spain is beautiful.

Can MacMinute be run from so far away?

Easily. We have staff in locations around the world, so the hardest part really is coordination. That is one of the joys of working on the Internet – I can work from anywhere.

And about our site… What do you think of www.faq-mac.com?

I think it is an excellent site. Now my Spanish is pretty weak, so I can’t read very much, but you certainly seem to provide a lot of information.

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