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28 February 2024

What's crisis for someone is an opportunity for others

Magnus Greaves Founder, DoubleDown Media (SATISH KUMAR)

By Vigyan Arya

Publishing and advertising are essential tools for commercial activities and ride on the economic boom times. However, in times of crisis, it's the media that is the first to bear the brunt and last to recover. "Despite that," says Greaves, "it's the buoyancy of the industry that keeps me addicted to it."

Greaves, DoubleDown's founder and driving force, who was in Dubai for the launch of Dealmaker Middle East, observed that financial institutions in this region are just starting to emerge from the shadow of the more developed capital markets: a timely observation as Wall Street stalwarts, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch came under the weight of the credit crunch. He shares his opinion with Emirates Business about the current markets and the status of media and publishing sector.

When was the fist time you visited Dubai and what was your impression?

I think it was in 2003 when I visited Dubai for the first time, on my way to Sydney. And since then I have been here a few times and seen some very positive changes in the emirate. What's most incredible is that these changes are very visible.

Businesses all over the world have gone high, but in the emirate its moved to different levels and as a result, people are talking about Dubai not just in the US or the UK but in fact all over the world.

What fascinated you about publishing business that you changed your line of work?

Publishing requires a different level of skill that I am attracted to. Of course the pace of work and making money is not the same as in financial trading, but when I accumulated a long list of more than 500,000 high-profile traders, I thought of choosing a means to communicate with them and what better way than bringing out a magazine for them and about them.

Brought up in Vancouver, I was exposed to magazines of different kinds and genre from a very young age and fascination for them started at a very young age. However, bringing out a magazine didn't happen over night. It was somewhere in 2001 that I decided to get into the publication business. I studied magazines and a whole lot of books about the publishing business for about two years and then eventually pushed the button to establish a publishing house in 2003 and eventually in 2004 we brought out the first magazine that was the US version of the Trader.

Tell us about Dealmaker?

Our first publication received a very good response from Wall Street crowds and we had steady increase in our readers. Following that we launched the Dealmaker soon afterwards – converting our readers into our subjects. The formula was so successful that we soon decided to duplicate the same in the UK.

The one in the Middle East is our third version and after this we are in talks with potential partners in Russia, Brazil and even in Asia.

Is the magazine available online?

Yes, the publication is duplicated online with some enhancements. The online publication not only increases our exposure internationally, but boosts our interaction with readers and our probable subjects also.

Now that you are out of trading and full time into publishing, do you feel lucky to be out of the trading activities, considering the early crash of stocks market all over the world?

I was into trading for the initial part of my life, but now publishing is not just my passion but my core business. When I read about the crash, as early as the Lehman Brothers last year, I was for sure glad to be out of it, but its not something that I haven't experienced myself. May be not to that extent, but you got to be prepared and watchful for any unexpected moves in the market.

Chaos and opportunity go hand in hand. And to share with you, when I talked to my friends and old colleagues recently, you will be surprised to know that some of them have made more money in the recent past than ever. What's crisis for someone is an opportunity for others.

Did you see it coming – the financial crisis?

Well some of the traders did see some signs indicating the current crisis, but if we could have anticipated this credit crunch scenarios as a publisher, I think we would have been printing 'gold plated' magazines.

This represents a change. Business models will change and some rules of the financial world will be redefined to avoid all this in future. There is a certain community of people who have made tonnes of money out of this crisis, but that is bound to change and this fiscal reality will bring in some positive outcome for all.

What's your impression of the local market?

Dubai is not just an international market now, but a very important global player. For that I consider lucky to have a foot in here.

The pace and fundamentals of this market are very unique and are in fact redefining some of the basics of the market and business. We are looking at Dubai for long-term investment and hope to expand in the region from here.

PROFILE: Magnus Greaves Founder, DoubleDown Media

Magnus Greaves is a 33-year-old finance and media entrepreneur. A co-founder and CEO of MacFutures, the world's largest independent futures trading company, Greaves made his entry into the media world after orchestrating the sale of MacFutures for $50 million (Dh183m) in 2004. Today his New York-based media company DoubleDown Media publishes Dealmaker, a business and lifestyle magazine, dedicated to the trail-blazing, working wealthy in the world of business and finance, that made its Middle East debut in Dubai. Greaves is born to an English father and a Jamaican mother and brought up in a fitting metropolitan Vancouver, Canada.