Felix Dennis RIP

Jo Francis
Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Jo Francis mourns the passing of the mercurial publishing legend. She can but hope to see his like again.

RIP Felix Dennis. Such a life force. Such great spectacles.

It is so difficult to believe this most vibrant and extraordinary of lives has been extinguished, even while knowing full well that it would be nothing short of a miracle for him to keep going indefinitely after his throat cancer diagnosis. 

He was a figure of god-like genius in my eyes, not least because I love magazines and I love trees.

I also loved the fact that Felix was one of the very few people who would stand up at AN Big Event, and say exactly what he thought.

Such people, who don’t have to worry about what their boss, their shareholders, or even their customers will think, are few and far between these days.

I remember him speaking at the FIPP magazine conference in London five years ago. He gave a typical Felix tour de force, and recounted the tale of how a highly-paid management consultant had told him that plans for a magazine launch in the US couldn’t possibly work.

Felix, in typical style, ignored this advice, preferring to use his own nous and to trust in the enthusiasm, ideas, and belief of his editorial and commercial team.

At the FIPP event he went on to detail, with great relish, how many people had become very, very rich indeed on the back of Maxim’s success. Felix included, of course.

I can think of companies where every project is analysed pretty much to a standstill before, generally, being shelved. Often due to the fear of failure. Either that, or the window of opportunity will have passed in the meantime.

What firms suffering from this over-analysis paralysis need is a bit of that Felix Dennis verve and brio, that willingness to back a good idea with sound plans for implementation. And to take a punt.

In the words of the great man himself: “In risk lies the only sure path to riches.”

There’s a whole cult built around the question: “What would Steve Jobs do?”

For those of us in the publishing game, it’s always worth asking: “What would Felix do?”

 

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