Media Business: What's your biggest challenge?
Sierra: How to build customercentric site-fulfillment back-end systems that allow easy transactions. Most of the work in the industry is a silo type of fulfillment [rather than] customercentric systems. The way we're approaching it is that we care about what you do, who you are; your interactions need to be dissected and understood.
MB: Some community members don't receive print editions?
Sierra: In some of our titles, one-third of the community's members received the print edition. Ten years ago, I would have thrown all of those people out. They weren't considered quality. Now we can find new ways to serve those markets.
MB: Such as?
Sierra: Picture a pyramid. On the bottom, we have all kinds of Web visitors and we graduate them to the pyramid into registrations and then into buyers. But also, if there are big enough numbers, we monetize it by creating news- letters. Or, for example, with our students: It used to be we wouldn't accept students as subscribers, but they are thirsty for information. It's an underserved market. There are also a lot of companies that want to reach those professionals early in their careers, so we create a student area that gets sponsorship. It's no longer wasted space. We just have different segments of the community and our chance to serve an underserved market.