Saturday morning started off at about seven in the morning–– at least, mine did. I have no idea what sleep schedule Olivia ended up being on, but she was wide awake when I finally rolled out of bed. We took to the roof of the house to explore the space, which included an old basket from a hot air balloon, a series of exotic tents and our favorite set: a romantic two-seater table with heart shaped chairs and candles. We vowed to someday share a plate of spaghetti Lady & The Tramp style in those seats.
We sat in one of the tents weaving conversations between Atlas and personal lives. We are friends who haven’t seen each other in years, after all. Although we chat every day, it was such a good time to pick up our IRL friendship exactly where it left off. I held onto the quiet moments of the morning throughout the extremely busy day. The only thing that could have made the morning more perfect would have been puppies; though there was an extremely cuddly feral cat roaming about.
During breakfast with the group, issuu shared with us a presentation of potential awesomeness. Let it be known to digital publishers, present and future, that issuu with its already exciting features is continuously gearing up for more awesomeness. Like, more! We’re so thrilled to keep using it to host our digital editions, and to keep reading the dozens (okay, hundreds… thousands) of other publications utilizing the platform.
The group was then addressed in an informal conversation with issuu’s Joe Hyrkin, little league coach and issuu CEO extraordinaire. We comfortably scattered across the living room as Joe spoke to us on the excitement behind and future potential of independent digital publications. It was encouraging to hear him speak so highly of us, as to quote my fellow campers: “I think we all had a moment where we asked ourselves, why are we here?” But sitting in a room of such talent and interest, I believe, reaffirmed everyone’s feelings.
Up next came a design panel consisting of Lowell Goss (TeleNav, Amazon Fire TV) and Bob Baxley (Pinterest, Apple), moderated by issuu’s design VP Jeremy LaCroix. What followed was an hour of good discussion, with speakers fielding questions and concerns of the campers. It was fascinating to hear the opinions of seasoned professionals on the future of the publications industry and to discuss the place of millennials in content generation. The temperature of the panel turned up as campers discussed the concerns both of modern creators and their audience, such as elitism and inclusiveness in modern publications.
We stepped out of the house to enjoy the warm breeze on our way to lunch at Mau, a Vietnamese restaurant in the Mission District. Once exposed to the beauty of the day, we begged to have our next meetings outside–– only to find that a chill had set in post-meal. Without missing a beat, the group continued the discussion from where the panel had left off. I found myself a bit distracted, as I realized that everywhere I had ventured in San Francisco, the music was the exact same. Not to say that it was bad, I just felt like it was the same relaxed electronic song in every store, restaurant and basically waking moment. Nonetheless, the opportunity to continue to dive in for some intellectual conversation was not one to be wasted.
Upon our return, we were greeted by the smiling faces of Kristine Shine (San Francisco Chronicle, POPSUGAR) and Chas Edwards (The California Sunday, Pop-Up Magazine). Joe the CEO (ha, it rhymes!) moderated the discussion as the campers paid close attention. A forum on monetization and marketing begun, which is an extremely valuable conversation to be had for independent publishers. The two panelists answered the group’s questions wholly and happily as we talked of the birds and the bees of publishing–– that is to say, the awkward questions of revenue.
Comforted by the conversations we’d just had, issuu gave a demonstration of their feature, Magma. This is an essential tool for publication management; a feature that allows the planning, production and organization of a publication. From flatplans to drafting notes, we were hugely impressed by the multitude of production features that the program provided. To say that the tool is a necessity for independent publishers is an understatement.
What came next was the moment of truth–– the “hackathon”. Seven editors, one magazine, only a few hours. We put our heads together and came up with a simple publication title and tagline: Generate – The Creation Generation. Matthew of Forge designed our logo while I came up with names, taglines and a hurriedly written article. Olivia and I chose a cover photo before she oversaw some of the design aspects, quickly taken on by guest Cory Hall of Liminal Magazine. The other campers rushed around creating content, both photo and video. Lisie came up with a Q&A for the group to answer, quickly filling the small, spontaneous publication’s pages.
We finally got a moment to breathe during cocktail hour. Guests from different creative facets arrived and connected with the campers over addictive h’ors d’oeuvres… which Olivia and I ended up missing in favor of a quick Atlas work session. We were finally given the opportunity to do some creative work in the same room–– how could we pass that up?! We made our final cuts for the Delicate Issue (which, by the way, we cannot wait to show) and working on it live rather than a consistently choppy FaceTime connection was quick and easy. The cover choice was almost instantaneous; a first for the two of us in four whole years working together.
The night capped off with a brief break from our antisocial work habits to join the party. Thankfully, our friends at issuu and our fellow campers were totally understanding of the need to get work done. After all, we were in a room full of people who share the same love and excitement for publications as we do. Though we missed out on the snacks, tacos were quickly ordered to save the day. Admittedly, I may have spent forty percent of the trip telling Olivia how much I needed (yes, needed) Mexican food–– finally, my trip was complete, the quest was over.
I speak for both Olivia and myself, and I’m sure the rest of the editors involved, when I say thank you to issuu and all those involved in the process for the opportunity to indulge in our passions, to get to know other editors in the same unique boat, to be able to see Olivia once again, and to be able take so much knowledge away from a short but sweet trip to San Francisco. The #GeneratorsCamp was a fantastic experience and I am delighted to have met those that were involved. Thank you issuu for a weekend we’ll never forget.
Article by Megan Breukelman
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