Hailing from Israel, Meron Bareket is a 25 year-old entrepreneur with a creative and fearless side. In August 2012, he launched "Inspiring Innovation," a digital magazine that has already made waves on the Internet.
Cendrine Marrouat: Hello Meron, thank you for answering my questions. Is there a particular event that triggered your desire to create the "Inspiring Innovation" magazine?
Meron Bareket: I was born an entrepreneur, and I ended up starting my first business at an early age. But things happened; I got some bad advice; I made some bad calls; I went through a car accident and rehabilitation halted my business development for almost two years, after which both my income and my passion for the business decreased.
Short on cash, I accepted an offer to join a company that offered me a technical leading role; working for Mirs-Motorola, Amex Israel, Mastercard Israel, Orange, and other big corporations. Very quickly, I started hating it. I could find no satisfaction in what I was doing and the need to play the corporate politics game depressed me.
I happened to stumble upon Pat Flynn's (Smart Passive Income) podcast late in 2011. Pat inspired me to follow my entrepreneurial calling, and in March 2012, I quit my job. A month and a half later I was given an opportunity to become a founding member of a new digital publishing platform called MagCast. I immediately knew what I wanted my magazine to be about: I wanted to help people like me get unstuck, and start pursuing their dreams. I wanted to tell the world that there is another way, and that no corporate job is worth giving up your dreams for.
CM: How many people are involved in the project and how did you meet?
MB: I have a full time VA from the Philippines on my team who helps with research and post production, a graphic design team from South Africa and an article writer/editor from the US. We're a multinational force.
CM: What makes your magazine different from others in your field?
MB: Look, I didn't consider my competition when I got started. All I know is that I was miserable for almost 18 months before I was inspired to do something about it, and there must be many others out there unreached, feeling the same way. Inspiration comes in different ways and forms, and each form touches other people.
I bring my outlook on entrepreneurship and my personality into each page of the magazine. I want my audience to see the road other people took on their path to success. I want my readers to see the adversities, the setbacks, the pitfalls and the lessons learned. I want people to be inspired because other human beings went through the same and succeeded. The human level of the story is what inspires me, not the figures.
CM: "Inspiring Innovation" has already featured many influential entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs. What is your favorite story / interview, so far?
MB: Wow, that is a tough question. I enjoyed all of my interviews, and actually I've put all the lessons I learned from their interviews into action and benefited from all of them.
If I must pick only one, then it's the interview with Amazon bestseller Ralph Quintero, where we talked about the importance of taking massive actions as a day-to-day attitude. Ralph is a great friend of mine and a fellow magazine owner. His vibe and outlook on life have been key to inspiring and encouraging me to start my magazine and to keep growing it ever since. Taking massive actions changes lives.
CM: How do you choose the people / contributors you want to feature?
MB: I aim at helping my audience 'stand on the shoulders of giants' – by interviewing inspiring individuals that can share their experience, adversities, lessons learned, and achievements made along the way. Any entrepreneur who successfully built something and is willing to open the door and share both his tips and mistakes is a good candidate.
CM: How long does each issue take you to create and release?
MB: This is something that I'm still trying to stabilize by learning to delegate better and systemize more of the tasks, as right now I'm the bottleneck for many steps in the process. Looking back, it takes 3-6 weeks to produce a single issue.
CM: “Inspiring Innovation” has readers in 58 different countries. It has also reached 'Top-10 Business & Investing Magazines' ranking in 23 countries. How did you do it?
MB: So far we have 2,605 magazine readers from 80 different countries, and the amazing thing is that this has been achieved mostly organically. Word of mouth, interviews like here, people sharing it with their friends on Facebook or Twitter - stuff like that. Our interviewees help spreading the word by sharing it with their fans and followers, which I appreciate deeply.
On top of that, I put a lot of work in 'App Store Optimization' - totally "white hat" - it's all about finding the right keywords that people are actually searching for, putting good screenshots, etc. I also had my app name, keywords, description and menus translated to 7 other languages, improving conversion rates in those AppStores countries.
I've been doing Facebook ads on and off, but still haven't made up my mind on how effective it is for my magazine.
CM: The magazine is only available on the iPad. Any plan to extend to other platforms?
MB: I believe that the day will come to expand to Android. Right now there is no solid Newsstand platform on Android. I am about to launch a podcast version of the magazine though, to allow non-iPad users to consume the content. As with any podcast - it will be 100% free too.
CM: Anything else you would like to add?
MB: I'd like to thank you, Cendrine, for the opportunity to talk to your audience. I'd like to add that I strongly believe there is no such thing as a failure in entrepreneurship. You only fail when you stop trying, or if you die without ever trying. Anything else is just delayed success - as long as you keep taking actions every single day towards your goals. Ford said "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right". So believe that you can!
For more information on "Inspiring Innovations," visit iTunes.