Today I met and spoke with with Christie Hefner, former Playboy enterprise CEO…twice. I should probably say right off the bat that her visit was largely controversial. Since she was the CEO of the Playboy enterprise, and therefore the famous erotic men’s magazine, some people didn’t want her to come to Syracuse University-Newhouse. As a student of magazines, it’d be sacrilege to skip her visit since Newhouse did bring her in, so I decided to check it out. Before her public speech, the magazine group I help spearhead had a meet-and-greet with Christie.
Looking past erotic content to what Playboy has actually done with branding and starting the dot com era of journalism, I listened to her first speak to our magazine group of less than 20 students, and then to a 300+ audience later tonight. I found her words enlightening, stimulating, energizing and educating.
In fact, I intended just to write up one blog post on my conversation with her and let that be the end of it, but after looking over my notes tonight, I have way too much material to do my impression of her justice.
Plus, there’s tons of good stuff–stories about her father Hugh Hefner, the reality TV show Girls Next Door, how she became CEO, where business is headed regarding digital media, advertising, online journalism, and integrating journalism across multi platforms, plus my own impression and description of her personality and character(and much more!)– that I’ve decided to run a mini segment I’ll call: The Playboy Series.
She had a lot to say in the defense of the fist amendment, liberal feminism, and media issues. Regarding media issues, she talked about journalism very much as a business, integrating business concepts broader than journalism itself. It’s all interrelated.
Christie became CEO in 1988 and stepped down in 2008, 20 years later. For the record, the average CEO lasts between 4-5 years, and she was the first ever female CEO, and was named on Forbes’ list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.
Next edition: meet Christie up close, the engine behind one of the most powerful brands in the world.