The race after the race…

Fans of GP+ will have seen that (amazingly) we managed to slash our record for the production of the magazine, bringing in the 80-pager in one hour and 45 minutes after the chequered flag (give or take a minute or two). We were at the airport about 25 minutes after that and having wangled an upgrade on Emirates (We love you guys!!) we took off while the F1 press releases were still coming out back at Marina Bay.

Lots of people have asked us how we manage to do this, but sadly we cannot say much, for fear of giving away trade secrets. Suffice to say that the most efficient method of doing anything is to have a ridiculous deadline. We booked the flights home without really think about the consequences and thus had no choice! It was a little like “The Keystone Kops Go Publishing”.

However, it is great fun to amaze people – and we’re pretty happy with the result…

We are now in Dubai. I will be lunching in Paris. Mr Tremayne will be lunching in Newcastle.

48 thoughts on “The race after the race…

  1. Yep Joe, I can say I was pretty amazed – won’t bother asking about trade secrets, it’s too late in the day (early in the morning) for that.
    I am an avid reader of this mag; you fill in pretty much all the gaps that other, paper-based mags seem to leave out. In the last few years I have despaired of reading race reports that really only talk about the cars at the front.
    My only tiny gripe this time is that, had I not watched the race live I would not have realised from your report that Massa had received a puncture from the incident with Hamilton… on the other hand we had overkill on this after the race on the Beeb (yawn) so maybe this wasn’t such a bad thing.
    On the plus side, great to read about Chris Amon, one of my boyhood heroes, and the Bonneville write-up captured the atmosphere well – it’s not something I am particularly interested in but I found the story interesting enough not to skim read.
    One thing – I can’t quite picture Niki Lauda sitting through a Catholic mass – so many potential one-liners springing to mind.
    Safe journey home guys

  2. Thanks for the amazing feat and the pleasure of reading GP+ with a cup of coffee this morning local time. I am a local and would love Singapore to continue hosting an F1 race with the locals truly embracing the event. If the Kallang area is not an option, the Marina South area suggested by you is a viable alternative without causing much havoc to the public. Let’s get this suggestion heard in the coming discussions on renewal. Enjoy your lunches in Paris and Newcastle!

  3. So, how was your lunch Joe?
    If you introduce these tantalising tid-bits into your column, then we are going to require details 🙂


  4. (Imagined in the style of “I went on the Morcambe and Wise Show”)

    I used to get Monday’s work done after the race. Now look what has happened to me! (rubs bleary eyes)

    I’ve fought to get copy in, commissioned 6 months earlier. Heck, ISDN was a dim memory before agencies let bromides disappear*, and yes Virginia, i could shuffle gigabyte files over ISDN. The worst is big (genuinely big) companies sending you uncorrected low res JPEGs and expecting work done on them.**

    *the generic excuse was color matching, clinging to Matchprints, but no technical excuse. Real reason was to control the commissions and intimidate small publishers. It is still surprising what a low value is put on the sharp end of agency work, not saying there are not sophisticated outfits but they tend to exist in isolation, idea being that everyone will fawn at their door.

    **very strange things happen when the only ad which makes sense is local to a spot where the usual corporate thing wouldn’t work. Say you brought a plant on stream early, and are proud. Agencies love to provide style guides, big fat makework, looks good in boardroom – “our logo like this, not that” tomes – and subsidiaries seem to like to say “yup, we read that, what was it about again?” (as in do you really expect London or NY agency BS speak to translate linguistically or culturally? This is why some look like the Highway Code on steroids, complete with little stick men jumping out of windows with their pink slip in hand for noncompliance . . .kidding, but that’s what i see, and that has almost happened . .)

    Obviously, Joe and David have created the Infinite Improbability drive. Which makes them rather hard to catch. I’m sure i saw one of them flying past my window just now mumbling about the readability of the upstrokes in Geneva CY***, but i shouted out too late 🙂

    ***I have my excuses guys, i have “issues” with that font, but meanwhile preflight that one out.

    . . .

    On a serious note, P7, picture of the Hispania, was not captioned, here’s the relevant link:

    Same young chap as who was given tribute on Lewis’ helmet.

    – j

  5. I should have said about the agency style guides, it’s more “look how clever we are, have a pretty brochure, no *this* is what matters, don’t forget 50% is wasted, we don’t know which half*, but now you have this lovely book to remind you of the image you we know how to control you with – cough splutter – that reflects your values” on company hours, but that would be being too cynical . .

    *”half of it is worthless, not our fault” has got to be the best sales blag ever in history.

  6. Very, very impressed with the speed of this race’s GP+, and also with the range of coverage. DT’s pieces on Chris (Chrissie? Really?) Amon and Bonneville, and yours on McLaren’s plans for World Domination, really help broaden the magazine. Good work chaps, and keep it up!

  7. GP+ is a great mag but obviously 80% of it is written before the race. Still a worthy achievement. A great deal of depth and history in many of the articles.
    Any chance of another Aside with Joe soon?

  8. “Lots of people have asked us how we manage to do this, but sadly we cannot say much, for fear of giving away trade secrets.”


  9. Joe,

    Well done of the fast production of your publication. You really caught the Singapore work ethic with its emphasis on efficiency and high quality work.

    You must be a fan of what is remembered as the first “law” of the late Professor C. Northcote Parkinson, that “all work expands to fill the time alloted for its completion”.

    Keep up the good work and you may earn the title of “Old Asian Hand”, a rare honour for an expatriate Brit living in France!

  10. Hi Joe (and team)
    thanks for another excellent magazine
    One request (not a complaint) – Is it possible to be consistent in the naming of the pdfs to make it easier to archive? (eg gp_090_Sing11.pdf) I think they started out that way, but these days seem to be in any order.

    1. ginerchris.

      No, it is not possible to do that for security reasons. If there is consistency then thieves can jump over paywalls.

  11. John (other John), ???
    “look how clever we are… 50% is wasted, half of it is worthless, we don’t care which half…”

    Agree with this though: – “Obviously, Joe and David have created the Infinite Improbability drive. Which makes them rather hard to catch.”

  12. I am obviously happy for you to have success with GP+ and also respect for your efforts associated. Would love, honestly, to have a look into one of these, however I won’t subscribe and ironically the reason is that short period of time after the race when GP+ is published. What additional value it can have when it is published even “before all teams’ press releases are out”? No screening of post-race comments, no time-distance analysis (see Adam Cooper’s outstanding reports with calm-down post-race comments included). The only idea coming to my mind is that race doesn’t play crucial role in GP+ and additional value is represented by other stories. However, not being sure about that, it hardly convince me to pay for something I am not sure I haven’t read somewhere else for cheaper. 1 hour 45 min. is not convincing argument for me and with all honesty I’d be pleased to be given some alternative ones.

    1. Tomys,

      I’m not about to get involved with you arguing with yourself about signing up to GP+. The means of delivery may have changed in recent years, but there is noe thing that has not yet changed. If you want content for free you can get it. If you want quality you have to pay. There is some free quality content out there (at the moment) but that cannot survive forever because the people who produce it need to earn money to survive. So it will eventually die out and then you will be left with only the frauds who pretend to be knowledgable, but have no access at all. Paying £25 a year for what you get with GP+ is an incredible bargain but if you cannot see that there is really nothing I can do to help you. The speed on this edition was much more than we actually need and usually we take twice as long, but the circumstances called for this and we achieved it.

  13. Jo Torrent,

    you know that faster than light Neutrino CERN thinks they found . . strange forces are afoot lately . . . coincidence?

    sebsronnie, agree, can never get enough of Amon, even if his wins were anon . . (ugh, sorry)

    rpaco, you cynic you, you also forgot to mention that most magazines are 80% press release, canned quotes and PR script with a generous helping of advertorial. Slacker 🙂

    If anyone remembers that far back, i once exhorted Joe to not take adverts. Which is odd coming from me. But the sordid little trap of agency land (one of them) is selling against editorial schedules, and getting bogged down when you want – or need – to mix it up. See the Economist, they are a newspaper (by their definition which is fair enough) but this is why you get those section features. To be strict, they’re easier to sell, get better rates, and you can sell them early. But it is still a tug of the forelock and a nod to how agencies want you to play. You get nowhere arguing with this, because adland is a food chain pyramid: at the bottom are too many scared herbivores running away from the smallest unfamiliar noise. It’s glorious overhead for the big boys only.

    p.s. Jo Torrent, busy season for me, haven’t forgotten your twitter feed though.

    On a tangential publishing note, I’m studious to block as many ad networks from my web browsing habits. (Why feed the competition?) This weekend i thought to read through some of the javascript trackers which are showing up in my bitbucket/bin. The first thing that came to mind was “Section 13 Theft Act, Theft of electricity”. I profiled some, and got some back of envelope idea how many cycles they would consume on my computer. Allowing some sites use as many as 20 of these, and there is further compute overhead because the browser is trying to download all this guff (500 lines of code seemed average) from their crappy slow networks. I did all this because installing a new router, and building a updated block list. On my old faithful desktop (because it is still plenty good) i hear the fans spin up on some web pages . . this attrition against common sense and basic law is pernicious. But life is simpler when when you sell a page, because, well, you can expect it to be a page. Not send a spreadsheet of “banner” sizes and a bundle of Powerpoint presentations how the advert works behind the scenes, and oh, it doesn’t work unless you sign up to some tracking CDN. Babel applies to business as much as morality. (But notsomuch to programming, if you know what you need, see von Neumann)

    Both cases are cart before horse, inverting the value pyramid. For the curious, that is why GP+ is a bargain, not because it is cheap.

    . .

    rpaco, in aid of cheering you up:

    i’m pretty sure the world got on just as well without all these recent paper inventions. Check out too the other BBC note on that site about how the ECB is creating derivatives of the same kind and complexity as caused this mess, to manage the “bailout”. (“wow the BBC caught up, ohhh, shhh we’re in trouble now!”)

    I’m glad to the gods my childhood passion was to study horticulture, as those long lost but not forgotten memories might just come in handy. (and i know a man with good idle land) But isn’t that like a Mad magazine cartoon, hippy guitarist raves against the man and industry, and says he’s happy so long as he’s got his axe . . and a power socket for his amp . . who will deliver me GP+ in socio-economic Armageddon*? Ouch, i really was trying to be upbeat. Still, got another fix coming in 6 days (breaks sweat) 🙂

    best to all,

    – john

    *don’t worry Joe, you can send radio teletype over shortwave . .

  14. Dunno if this is allowed, because it’s half memory, and i don’t have that sycophant 300 quid a copy ref called “ALF” any more, but the word “banner” stuck in my mind, when i wrote the above, about website ads, and i recalled why: used to be an outfit called “Banner Media”. This was the agency who whenever i closed SUN (Stanford University Network, aka the biggest dot com recipient / toolmaker other than CISCO – think who made in goldrush – , both were nurtured on public money, then ran with it. CISCO just lucked out with one of the nicest CEOs ever, for their formative years, but they played harder ball also, realizing the system they were involved in) this bunch of numpties would jump in and nix the deal, bog me down in what was nothing but third part tortious interference with contract, (i was brought up to think such ways so my youth was informed albeit inadequate under my eaves) under guise of wanting numbers to make them look good, every time. Because they held the freaking advert bromides. And this was a crappy little outfit somewhere down on the river near Chelsea. So i took the cancellation clause at 50%. Yup, my cost of production, billed to real customer, publisher safe also, and the customer got nout. (and i got my commission, fingers up here). I’m pretty sure they are gone now, else would not speak.

    SUN, by the way, were prescient. “The Network Is The Computer”. Which foresaw their own demise. Was that an agency tagline? Hell, NO! It was Bill Joy, their enigmatic cofounder, and a helluva interesting bloke. He thinks ahead. Try this:

    (reminding myself why i like computers, as opposed to them being a viewscreen)

    There is a half life to media companies. It is very short. Hark back to that pyramid with carnivores at the top. The middle ground is the trickiest place to be. ALL would be assailants slide on this slippery slope because the herbivores do not suss the money flow. I only sleep at night, knowing that would be agencies fail faster than even half decent publishers.

    I’m not just pumping up the GP+ team. I’m actively trying to work out what works which is a bit of new a bit of blue and a bit of old lace. Try telling a (fairly) bright lad of 19 (ish, as i was) that they would not make their rent because of this kind of crap, and you get a very argumentative boy indeed.

    When i say i am actively trying to figure out stuff, one thing is idealism, the other is what can work. I have never spoken about what i think outside of a very few people, and it shall remain that way for a while yet. Meanwhile, there is a passive resistance way, which is pitched for not very easily understandable reasons: block social tracking and so on. I am not big enough to speak to a browser company (they do exist) to say “hey, knock out this crap, work with me” but that would be an extension of my thoughts. As ever, the issues are couched in not very tangible terms. IF You Submit to web browser tracking, then the agencies bypass the producers of the things you actually want to read. Check that again. If you succumb to the countless constellations of invasive technical stars on the web, trajectory your innermost privacy, there is no reason for anyone to write for you, to hold your imagination, to exhort theirs, to interact with you or pay attention to your concerns. You are the commodity, and derivative contracts will be written against your every move.

    This is not fearfulness for individual authors, every one of them will find their niche, and scrape a living, but it amounts to a real hill of beans when you consider they can economically bring no-one, not a single intern with them, because they are constrained, and so we see a marginalization of communication clear and unclouded. Men of steel and cockroaches.

    The simple answer, as to all of doing things fast, is you cut the bullshit. THEN you get quick. Is good a secret? Bodyguards of lies for the rest . .

    I have barely touched the situation, even over all of my comments here. I write them here for 3 ways, to send support to Joe, to gather my thoughts, to send message to who reads of who might advertise (latter being not my game, sadly) and addenda, to make others think what is the value of a little PDF.

    A excusative corollary to my approach: real money is being thrown at web “apps” which do trivial things. Yup, it’s easy. How many people can grok page formats easily? Usually not even publishers, and i do not mean the output format, i mean what goes into it. (Color space transforms! GP+ Team!!)

    Neither in deep subjects or at least not those in industry (print is an industry) which require detailed exploration and multi faceted analyses of what rubs against what. You can knock down an advert trade to a few equations. But no-one will take those and go “Aha!” and leap out of their bath.

    Oh, the half life thing. In the late 80s particularly, and the early 90s in a boom, it was held that controlling infrastructure was they key to this internet thing. Countless failures later, ISPs who dropped like flies, it is clearly not true. If I buy a nice Heidelberg press tomorrow, will Joe and David make use of it? It is not “build it and they will come”, the interactions which drive us are neatly subdivided amongst those who cut your income into little pieces. You have to see it coming, and adjust accordingly. There was this lovely chap, a 20 something Russian, very sharp in a good way, who worked for BBC Monitoring, at a party – good party – asked me what i did. He said “you must hate it”. Because i am between two things. Yup, but i hate the bullshit, and all i realized since then was i wasn’t trying hard enough.

    Hey ho, hope you survived that, back into my box,

    all best,

    – john

  15. Err, ouch, that company does still exist. But none of the same people. You have to bear in mind that this is all smokescreen stuff. Same name, same bank accounts maybe, nothing the same. Worthless, in my book. Honestly , screw this lark. I keep commenting on just what made me run like the wind away from this utter shite. – j

  16. @Tomys

    You assume – but you are wrong. Buy it and find out. I will be subscribing again next year and I note that no people who do subscribe are not complaining……

    @Joe, I couldn’t find you in the Dubai lounge so I ate your Lion Bar.

    Am in India now but will be back in the UK by the time of the first GP. It’s going to be very interestesting to watch how F1 adapts to such a different location. It is so very different to many (every?) other F1 location. There doesn’t seem to be a great deal of knowledge that F1 is coming to this country. I had dinner with about 15 locals last night and none were aware there was a race less than a month away.

  17. Joe, and ginerchris,

    you could use URL rewriting, so that things are directed around the place. Strictly landing page thing: e.g. /singapore_2011_gpplus_magazine and that goes to a summary page inviting subscribers. Just inviting, mind. I cannot say that it would benefit anyone however.

    Looks like your site uses basic HTTPauth. Which is not the most secure of things, so worth a look at come next time you have for that. I am deliberately being vague so as not to offer any help to would be thieves in the night.

    As for the file naming thing, as asked above by ginerchris. Really? They are already named appropriately, not with some almost random string (like just about every academic paper gets named, forcing me to buy expensive forensic class search software, oh and learn how that works*) and you can always bundle up PDFs into a library yourself. This is a non issue, save i double took at the request (why?) and then thought might be better ways to secure. But, honestly, if you want a pattern in a URL, what is the point? Having a direct URL to the file name still goes through the same hoops. And you have your own copy, on your machine, right? It is not sufficiently descriptive that if you let say the google bot in, anything would become better advertised. You cannot put anything much of use in a URL to describe a race. Maybe a landing page with a TOC would up the ante, but not significantly. I say, do not buy in to the “everything searchable” game. There be a bigger boy’s playground, full of bullies.

    The idea is on a technical hiding to nothing. If Joe wanted to, he could lock each issue to a single computer, just using the standard features of Acrobat, but you’d just be more annoyed by that. I’d be disappointed too, as i tweak the files a bit to print them better on my printer, and that would also not then be possible. Gift horse, mouth. Phaw!

    * “dtSearch” is the nuts, 200 smackers, per machine, worth it IMO. Not what you allow employees to have running.

  18. Joe can I ask, as I can’t find it on the GP+ website – if I subscribe today what do I get? I mean does £25 cover a year’s subscription, or just until the end of 2011? Can I subscribe at any time or am I best to wait until 2012?

    I’ve been interested for a while, about time I got back to reading a decent F1 mag!

    1. Phil C,

      You get the same whether you sign up now or whether you signed up on January 1. All the editions of the year (21 this year) plus the entire archive.

      If you wait until 2012 you will get rather less. You will get the number of races plus two (preview and seasonal review). However, we are looking at the archive and reckon that with nearly 100 e-magazines it now has rather more of a value. £25 for a year of magazines is still a good deal, without the archive. In future you will probably have to pay for that.

  19. Honestly I’m in agreement with Tomys. The record time publication has little value to me. I subscribe to the mag because I value your blog, your insight and your writing style. It’s only fair ! There is some bonus in the historical features in the magazine too… But like Tomys said, I don’t see all that much value in blow by blow a description of a race I just watched on TV a few hours before, or for that matter, 10 pages on qualifying (no points given there).

    Personally, as I value your analysis most of all, I’d be quite happy with a GP+ coming out 1 week after the race, which would incorporates more analyses, rumors, paddock gossip etc… Pretty much “blog stuff”. But since you do a good job of that on the blog for free, to me the mag sub pays for the blog work 😉 Weird ?

    1. Gregory,

      I understand what you are saying, but speed is important. We do not need to be THAT quick because that is really bit much (I explained why it happened) but I think we need to be out on the market after six hours. That way we are well ahead of the game. Blogs are blogs but an e-magazine is a different animal.

  20. I sometimes miss races entirely. So the blow by blow analysis can get me back into the next race. There really is not an easy concentrated source for that otherwise. What i would say to Joe and David here, is that it is worth thinking what proportion of audience will always be up on the race – and bearing in mind you have a very attentive audience, who do not require the usual platitudes – so there is a question of prominence in the way you lay it out.

    Serious comment, Joe: when you rejig pricing, think through all those changes, so it makes logical sense. Gregory Deschodt, above, does raise a worthwhile question. I’ll submit a rather odd one: I would pay more for some aspects of print quality to be tweaked. Up note: i would think you should be able to sell an “app” (lordy i hate that “word”) for individual issues. Think i hammered that before. Make it a higher price but balance adjusted if subscription happens.

    Think about it this way. (speaking to Readers!) Adverts pay only for the print. So, if you buy a print mag, well you just made the publisher whole, nett nett. Basically, the adverts paid for the delivery mechanism. So, what people are accustomed to paying, is the ticket. No reason GP+ should not do the same. And i note that adverts are actually more annoying on a computer, than in print, because no-one has worked out how to flip pages as neatly on a machine.

    Huge caveat: people collectively seem to value what is online differently. Look up this word “freetards” – it invades every publisher at one time or another, or at least demarks their online boundaries. So please make transitions understandable, and do not start out with the “not being paid full rate” huff which has sunk many others by false “collective” opprobrium. You are not being paid full rate, so much is obvious. But not to everyone.


    – john

  21. Just to note and compare, about every other headline subscription i have costs 4 times what GP+ does. The not ironic thing, is i read those, and pay for them, usually because of only one or two journalists. Scale arguments and advertising economics are another debate. Thorny ground afoot now, so i shall skip off. But last comment, i usually do get archives with my other subs. This has thrown me into a contemplation of formats, As in, if every FT cope was on my disk since i subbed, don’t know how long ago, would i need their searchable archive? Anyhow, i think that a subscription increase ought to come with a bit of polish, just not too much to be burdensome. all best – j

  22. The photo p.24 from the Tasman Series in Teretonga Park 1968 is terrific !

    Curious front row : the Tasman race grid should have been arranged on the basis of race times in the heats, which meant that Clark, Oxton, Courage and Rodriguez would have shared the front row. But the organisers lined up the field on the basis of the previous day qualifying lap times.

    No 4 Chris Amon Ferrari 246T (V-6 Dino, 2.4)
    No 6 Jim Clark Lotus 49T (V-8 Cosworth 2.5)
    No 1 Bruce Mc Laren BRM P126 (V-12 BRM 2.5)
    No 7 Frank Gartner Brabham BT23D (V-8 Alfa Romeo 2.5)

    It was not Amon’s day. The V6 went off-song, then on lap 45 he had a spin and that was all Gardner needed to gain third position.

    1. Mc Laren – 2. Clark – 3. Gartner – 4. Amon…

  23. sombrero,

    that’s brilliant. Thank you. Not within my memory at all, but it calls to me, and i do reach for more, always.

    can i just say that when i open GP+ on my setup, which is Acrobat Pro, but plus a lot of other stuff, and i have custom scripted it to suit my needs in a very messy way, i get the list photo captions, straight from the metadata, and my hotch potch system wants to compile me a index for that. Diving into that is is wonderful. Half of what i get out of Joe’s work is looking up and learning. (the tiniest bit of which i try to pay back). Oops, was dragging that out. The photo captions are there if you have the tool, but not always in your face. Nice thing to find.

    Still, i think a picture index would really add something. Once annually would not spoil the hunt! (and yes, i know all this is what so many people say will go into the coffee table book, as in do the tabulating later, but i think this could come out far better now), am i hinting i want a christmas present? 🙂

    It would be tops to get that info synched (ouch, semantic data, ooh, no-one ever sussed that, with a programme, but worth a try) with say Corbis, or Deutsch. Actually, the value of indexing these things is so great, likes of Corbis (that;s Gates, Getty most junior has the rest) should pay Joe David and Peter for the effort. Those few words attached to a picture, accurate described, are gold dust. I have just a bit of archivist bones in me – this is not easy stuff to manage.

    – j

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