Meditating Entrepreneurs Take Over iPhone Life Magazine

Three twentysomething entrepreneurs in Fairfield, Iowa, home of Maharishi University of Management, have recently purchased iPhone Life magazine from owner and publisher Hal Goldstein.

The magazine, begun in 2008, covers the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, and has an international readership of over 500,000. Mr. Goldstein had been wanting to retire, and when he could see that several of his most recent young employees were exceptionally capable and talented, he decided to make his move. He broached the idea, and they were excited to take over. He called them his “young guns.”

Alex Cequea and David Averbach

The new company, Mango Life Media consists of CEO David Averbach, editor in chief Alex Cequea, and chief technology officer Raphael Burnes, all of whom had known each other before joining iPhone Life. “We had always talked about working together and maybe starting our own business,” said Mr. Averbach.

“They are exceptionally skilled and clear in their thinking and they work well together,” said Mr. Goldstein about the new owners. “They exceeded my expectations. They have a tremendous opportunity to make their mark and bring a younger perspective. They’ve already taken the magazine to a new level.”

Of course, running a magazine takes a lot of energy and focus. David says that Transcendental Meditation helps. “When I’m burnt out after a long day at the office, TM helps me relax and recharge.”

The team moved quickly and made a lot of changes. They added video to the digital edition of the magazine and came up with a new design for that doubled the traffic — and helped spur subscriptions. They approached ad sales in a more systematic fashion, leading to record sales for the first issue under their direction. They began a popular weekly webcast. And they created an app that will enable them to sell a digital version of the magazine via Apple’s Newsstand.

They networked with other young entrepreneurs in Fairfield to optimize the website so it would bring the most search engine traffic. And they hired fellow twentysomething and long-time acquaintance Jaime Thatcher to take over as designer, also putting their stamp on the appearance of the print magazine. The October 2011 issue was the first one to come out under the new management with an updated design and structure.

Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa

iPhone Life is yet another example of the spirit and entrepreneurial energy that permeates Fairfield. Indeed, the national press has occasionally referred to the town as “Silicorn Valley.” This creativity and energy is a hallmark of the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique. Not only do they practice the technique, but David, Alex, and Jaime are all graduates of Maharishi University of Management.