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Forbes editor Randall Lane on the pursuit of readers -- and revenue

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Randall Lane
Randall Lane Credit: David Hall

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There are few media properties with the brand heft of Forbes. Synonymous with powerful, rich and usually white male entrepreneurs, the 101-year-old publisher is, like many media companies, being forced to evolve.

Randall Lane took over as chief content officer in December of 2017, replacing Lewis D'Vorkin, who went on to run the LA Times newsroom — and left a large pair of wingtips to fill: Under D'Vorkin, Forbes grew its army of contributors in a bid for scale and led the native advertising charge with its Brand Voice program.

Lane joins us on the Ad Lib podcast today to help us get a handle on what Forbes is today — how it plans to expand its custom content offerings, attract a younger set of readers with its 30 under 30 franchise and use its handpicked contributor network to dig into new "microbeats."

"Whether it's crypto, real estate, sports business, we're looking at all sorts of niches and saying, 'Where can we go deeper and who can we find that are truly experts?'" says Lane. "Quality is paramount, and engagement. Those are the only two things we measure on."

Give a listen to hear Lane break down the challenges and opportunities for a publisher that gleefully calls itself the "Capitalist Tool."

"In the very first issue of Forbes, in his very first editor's letter, B.C. Forbes says the purpose of Forbes and the purpose of capitalism and the purpose of free markets is to allow people to pursue happiness and create happiness. That's what Forbes has always been about."

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