The Michaelmas Itch – and a new beginning in business media

I took my kids back for their first day of school today. They were kitted out in new uniform and it felt like a new start to the year – but it’s not. It’s September. So why that feeling?

Then I remembered a phrase I had heard in the mid-1990’s in my first management job in B2B media.

I was working for a company called Metal Bulletin in the armpit of Surrey (apologies to Worcester Park residents). I had just been promoted to Head of Direct Marketing & had built a good team around me. The company was growing fast and we were doing well. I was young, extremely cocky and thought I was not only the world’s greatest marketer but also a ‘natural’ at this management game.

Then, during the space of about 3 weeks, half my team resigned. And it was not only my team, a lot of good people from other parts of the company all seemed to leave as well.

In a slight panic I went to our Chief Executive, Tom Hempenstall, and said that something must be wrong. We needed to up our pay scales and do something drastic to stem this loss of key people. I remember Tom smiling at me and reassuring me that the sky was not falling in “It’s just the Michaelmas Itch” he said “it always happens at this time of year because people have been brought up with the new academic year signifying change”.

So now, as the Michaelmas (Autumn) term begins I am pleased to announce some new plans myself.

In the coming weeks I will be launching a new business media company – Briefing Media Ltd.

My co-founder is Neil Thackray who was previously CEO at both Quantum and Nexus Business Media. Over the past few months Neil and I have been discussing the opportunities to launch a series of niche B2B sites without the legacy issues that many traditional publishers face. Neil has already written a post on his blog explaining a little more about what we are trying to do, but in summary we are looking to combine some very clever semantic technology with traditional niche publishing disciplines to create a series of websites. I’m delighted that Patrick Smith has also recently joined us as our first Editor.

The initial site aims to launch towards the end of September and I will post further information on this blog as we gradually open up the curtains on what we are doing.

It’s exciting, hard work and fun. Like starting a new academic year at school. Just without the hurty shoes.



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20 responses to “The Michaelmas Itch – and a new beginning in business media

  1. Nice post. Never heard of it before, but will now shameless steal it and sound informed. Best of luck with BML.

  2. Will Callaghan

    Good luck Rory. There’s plenty of room for innovation in the sector – wishing you all the best.

  3. Nicola Tillin

    good luck, Mr B!!

  4. Rory Brown

    Thanks Mike, Will and Nicola,

    It’s exciting to be part of a new venture and I look forward to being able to reveal more details soon.


  5. Kelvin newman

    Great news can’t wait to hear what you’ve got planned

  6. Rory Brown

    Thanks Kelvin,

    I hope to be able to reveal a bit more soon.


  7. Vicky Priest

    Well timed piece – I read this half way through preparing a leaving speech – good to remember. Best of luck with the new venture – look forward to hearing more.

  8. “ch-ch-ch-changes…”

    Good luck with the new venture Rory, from all I’ve heard of you (and from our single brief meeting) I’ve no doubt it’ll be a rip-roaring success.

    Now, I need to go and scratch that itch myself…

  9. Rory Brown

    @Vicky – Thanks. Hope the speech went well – I assume it was for someone else rather than your own…

    @Ciaran – Kind of you to say so. Hope all’s well.

  10. Best of luck to you and Neil!
    When you have a moment visit us at – may spark some ideas….?

  11. Good luck to all – a talented line up. Just keep off the financial advice area or da boyz will be roudn …

  12. Rory Brown

    @Craig – Thanks, I’ll have a look.

    @Richard – How did you get a sneak preview of our first site :0

  13. Exciting news – hope all works out wonderfully.

  14. Rory Brown

    Thanks Simon. Hope you’re enjoying your new role as well. I think you’re just round the corner from me.

  15. Looking forward to hearing all about it. Ben

  16. Rory Brown

    Thanks Ben. We should follow up our chat in Washington. Drop me a line when you are next in town.

  17. Pingback: Start-Up Briefing Media Ltd. Blends Old with New | B2B Memes

  18. Congratulations Rory. Good luck with the new business.

  19. Rory Brown

    Cheers Rob.

  20. Pingback: – our first site launches next week « Rory Brown

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