Twice Divorced, 50+
Robin Wolaner has had an illustrious and unconventional career in the publishing industry. Starting at Penthouse magazine as a copywriter, moving to Runner’s World for its national launch, and managing Mother Jones in the Reagan years, she made publishing history when she founded Parenting Magazine in 1986.
Named by Adweek “the hottest magazine in America” for two consecutive years – a first-time achievement in the industry – Parenting was started as a joint venture with Time Inc. and remains today one of the most successful women’s magazines. Its circulation of 2 million is roughly quadruple the size projected in the original business plan. In 1991 – the year after Time Inc. acquired full ownership of the company from Robin – Parenting acquired Baby Talk, America’s first baby magazine, and formed The Parenting Group, which ultimately led to the introduction and acquisition of several other titles.
Robin served as Vice President/Development for Time Publishing Ventures beginning in 1990 and, in that capacity, oversaw the launch of Vibe (a joint venture with Quincy Jones) and helped develop Martha Stewart Living.
She became President and CEO of Sunset Publishing Corporation, a subsidiary of Time Publishing Ventures, in 1992, retaining corporate oversight of The Parenting Group until 1994 and appointing as her successor her partner in starting the magazine. In 1996, Robin left Time Warner to pursue her interest in the Internet, advising companies and investing. In 1997 Robin joined CNET Networks as a member of the executive committee, reporting to the founders. There she launched the company’s groundbreaking shopping services, participated in the acquisition of CNET’s largest rival, ZDNet, and helped the company achieve profitability in an environment where black ink was virtually non-existent. Most gratifyingly, she helped develop many of CNET’s talented but inexperienced managers into leaders of the company today.
Robin left CNET in 2003 to write this book.
In 2006, she founded TeeBeeDee, which will be launching to consumers in 2007. www.tbd.com is a venture-backed online startup that enables people to share their experience in work, relationships and the other challenges of midlife.
Her approach to business and entrepreneurship is the subject of a Harvard Business school case study that is required study for all HBS students today; one decade after its publication, more than 10,000 students at numerous schools have studied her partnership with Time. She was profiled by the New York Times on the front page of the Business Section (“Beating Time Warner at its Own Game”) and has been featured in USA Today, the Boston Globe, Inc., the San Francisco Chronicle, and many other publications
Trying not to make the same mistake more than twice.