You’ve launched a new magazine into the embedded market which is already covered by a couple of titles. Was there a gap in the market that you feel is not covered by the existing titles?
The intention I had when I launched Cassidy Publications was to be a specialist publisher within a specialist sector. That’s pretty focused! I absolutely see a need for broad-based magazines but I think there’s so much going on in the area of embedded software and microprocessors/ microcontrollers that it’s difficult for a broad-based title to cover everything.
I don’t see enough coverage of embedded software in particular, which is why I’ve launched Emcore Magazine with equal coverage for embedded software and processors.

You are a very entrepreneurial journalist, who also takes the publisher role. Do you think that the role of publisher is now dead for most magazines in our sector?
I’m also chief cook and bottle washer! I would love to have a full team in Cassidy Publications, which would include a Publisher, Editor and Advertising Manager. At the moment it’s just me but hopefully in the future…

The launch of Emcore was pretty quiet. Why didn’t you go out to get advertisers in the first issue?
The biggest challenge for me as a small independent publisher with limited resources is building a circulation. With a brand new title like Emcore, that means starting from scratch. so I’ve taken a new approach to its launch. The intention is to demonstrate its viability first by publishing early, build a strong readership and then commercialise on that.

Emcore is the first digital magazine from Cassidy Publications. Why have you switched from websites to digital magazines? Do you think the advent of products like the iPad are going to drive a renaissance in magazine reading?
The main reason I’ve switched to a digital format is because I still believe in good journalism, which can easily be lost in the noise of so many websites aggregating news and views.
The investment needed to create a website is fairly low, the commitment needed to produce a magazine – whatever its format – is much higher. The digital format brings all the benefits of magazine publishing to a new platform and yes, I do believe products like the iPad will breath new life in to publishing. I also hope that the advent of digital magazines will encourage a new generation of journalists.

You publish Engage, a custom magazine for three companies. Engage is in print, so why didn’t you launch Emcore in print if it is a more effective medium?
Again, this is partly due to the ‘backwards’ way I’ve launched Emcore. I’ve committed to producing Emcore on monthly basis without an existing database, but being digital it is much easier to distribute to new readers than a print copy. Plus my audience is global, servicing that kind of readership with a print product speculatively would require huge investment.
Engage is a product line I developed which allows three non-competitive companies to spread the cost and share the benefits of contract publishing. Typically it would be sent directly to customers and in that situation I do feel paper is the right format.
Also, the objective of a customer magazine is different to that of a periodical, so it’s appropriate to have different formats.

Why do you think Cassidy Publications will make money when large publishers with long-established brands are struggling?
Profit is relative; as a start-up my investment is predominantly my time and effort. The cost of publishing digitally is much lower than printing, but it’s not zero. However as I don’t currently have to pay the huge salaries demanded by publishers and advertising managers my costs are still pretty low.

What one thing do you think most companies in the electronics industry could do to improve their PR?
Talk to journalists! I get the impression that many smaller companies feel blogs and viral marketing is the only way to communicate with existing customers, or attract new customers.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time, when you’re not writing about electronics?
Sorry, I don’t understand the question.
No seriously, I enjoy outdoor pursuits; hiking, cycling, camping. I read constantly but that’s not always for relaxation.

What’s your favorite gadget?
I am such a gadget nerd it’s impossible to pick just one. I’ve just bought and installed a Freesat HD player which has an Ethernet port. My wireless network router was too far away to connect so I bought a HomePlug kit to extend the network. Installation was a simple as plugging it in to the wall and turning it on, and now I can get BBC iPlayer through my Freesat box, piped from my router through my mains wiring! Seriously, I understand how it works but it still blows me away, I suppose that’s why I love writing about this stuff.