When a man of a certain age zooms past in a red Lamborghini someone always makes a crack about him having a midlife crisis or small penis or, invariably, both.
There’s something about that last grasp of youth – extra bonus points if said driver has a comb-over and is taking a selfie.
Luckily Tyler Brule, the distinguished silver fox of the constantly growing Monocle empire, doesn’t have to worry about such things.
Not only does the entrepreneur refuse to Tweet and once declared, “I don’t drive, I’m driven,” his publishing empire makes seasoned media magnates go green with envy – and he says the key to longevity is embracing the new whilst remaining mysterious.
Claiming the biggest threat to media companies and newspapers is often internal, he has an interesting analogy for it, telling B&T: “I think most of the threat rests from their very own board members. I call it the ‘red sports car syndrome’.
“By that, I mean in the same way you go a little bit beyond middle age and suddenly, as a man, you want to have a red sports car, partly because of various insecurities… I think the same thing happens in boardrooms where you might be in your late sixties but suddenly want to show, ‘look how tuned into Twitter I am. Look at my Instagram feed.’
“It’s just cringeworthy and embarrassing and in that desire to demonstrate youth and how connected you are to the contemporary world’s media you almost over-egg it too much.”
Brule, who recently launched The Escapist, a luxury travel-based Monocle spin-off, and his newsagents-cum-café in London’s Paddington called Kioskafe, claims that by “over-egging” it media companies lose their mystery.
“I believe that’s why a lot of media companies are in this place of just going completely over the top,” he added, “and not really thinking through the various channels that are available to them to derive stories, to build revenue. In the process, I think with a lot of these board members being on all of these free social channels they’re actually denigrating their own brands, they lose their sense of mystery.”
The Canadian said he believes good brands are a little bit mysterious, because, “it’s like any relationship you have with anyone, you need to keep the mystery and excitement somehow. If it’s warts and all, all the time then suddenly things start to erode”.
Constantly innovating, Brule is a true visionary, and claims that even though he’s on his second magazine and presides over a growing empire – encompassing radio stations and pop-up shops – he strives to tweak and improve wherever he can.
“There’s just so much room for improvement,” he added. “With our own things that we’re doing, on a day-to-day basis that’s what drives us forward. I just think there’s so many opportunities beyond where things are.”