Earlier this week, I happened to notice in Forbes that Founder of the International Data Group (IDG), Pat McGovern, passed away.
IDG owned and ran a few hundred magazines over the years – most notably PC World Magazine, where I worked from 1993 – 1997.
There were several things about Pat McGovern (or, the McGovernor, as I called him) that really impressed me.
Every year at Christmas time, he would visit every single one of his offices across the entire globe and visit with every single employee. And when he stopped by your desk, he’d do three things. First, he’d shake your hand. Then, he’d ask you what you thought your group (PC World, in my case) or IDG could be doing different or better. Finally, he’d hand you a bonus check for $500 and thank you for all you did that year.
IDG was privately owned, so we weren’t beholden to any investors or board. And that’s the second big impression he made on me and why I’m partial to working at private companies over public ones.
Instead of the misguided, short-term runs at profit that many public companies make just to make month or quarter-end, Pat always invested our profits back into the product.
At PC World, we did user research on every single article in every single issue to see if it was useful to people and how we might have done it better. My first research experience was at PC World, and I was able to involve myself in some world class research projects because of the infrastructure he believed in so much.
IDG and PC World, in particular, were very well run companies when I was there. And that was due, in large part, to Pat and the people he put in there to run them.
He’d never know it, but Pat McGovern made a very positive and lasting impression to me. He was consistent and smart, and I’m sure he’ll be missed by the entire IDG family – past and present.