Entrepreneur Profile: Michela O’Connor Abrams

aNewDomain.net—It was hard catching up with Michela O’Connor Abrams, president of Dwell Media and magazine. With a media company comprised of a print magazine, website, events and home tours—and when she’s not speaking on leadership, media, design, and business—she’s on the road frequently. I caught up with her last week to talk about Dwell Media.

In a time when print publications are dwindling in size and presence, Dwell magazine is one of those standouts that is bucking the trend. Part of its success is its focus on the architecture and design of homes that people actually inhabit. It has been 12 years since the magazine launched and this focus is still paramount to Dwell’s mission. On this O’Connor Abrams said, “Dwell’s mission to bring modern design to everyone…anywhere, anytime, any place and in any form.”

More than a decade after its launch Dwell magazine is still the flagship of the larger Dwell Media brand. Dwell Media comprises a group of 10 branded platforms and serves an audience of 2.1 million people who look for good design in all aspects of their lives.

Playing off the trend of featuring the obligatory bowl of fruit in design and home architecture media, the magazine made a statement published in the first issue in October 2000 about its vision of design. “If a photograph in this magazine includes a fruit bowl, it’s there because the homeowners eat fruit.”

That pretty much says it all.

And the audience knows it, says O’Connor Abrams who attributes understanding the audience as key to the magazine and brand’s success. “We keep our audience in the center of our vision. Making sure we know everything about them at all times allows us to deliver valuable content across channels and create new products and services for them.”

In In 2005, she launched the well-attended event Dwell on Design, which hosted 25,000 design professionals and enthusiasts in 2011. The event added a face-to-face component to Dwell Media’s suite of products.

Technology and applications are vital to the effectiveness and efficiency of running Dwell Media on all its platforms. From publishing systems, web publishing, and content delivery, Dwell has adopted tech to help deliver unique experiences.

As for social media, O’Connor Abrams agreed that engagement with the magazine’s audience is a key factor to keeping them up with everything Dwell. “Social media has played a significant role in our audience growth and feedback. It’s a critical engagement tool and helps us understand our audience much better than before we took part in Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and other social media. We also believe that it is an important promotion tool for our content-rich events.”

O’Connor Abrams has received several awards, including EWIP’s
prestigious “Exceptional Woman in Publishing Award” in 2012. An alumna of Cal
Poly in San Luis Obispo for the School of Liberal Arts, she was named an honored Alumni of the Year in 2011. She speaks at the summer Yale Publishing Course designed for publishing executives.

Dwell has an Android app which keeps you update on new content and upcoming events.

Based in Silicon Valley, Joy Ma is a long time tech journalist and startup veteran. She currently serves as aNewDomain.net’s Executive Editor. Email her [email protected]

Joy Ma

Joy Ma

Contributor at Tech Page One
Based in Silicon Valley, Joy Ma is a longtime tech journalist and startup veteran. She currently serves as aNewDomain.net’s Executive Editor. Email her [email protected]
Joy Ma
Tags: Business,Business Management,Downtime,Entrepreneurship,Tech Culture