When Nathaniel Dorn learned that Google, the company he most admires, was launching a magazine, he was thrilled. It was March 2011 and Google had just announced the debut issue of Think Quarterly, a magazine focused on technology and innovation. To launch any sort of magazine, much less one that claimed, as this one did, to be “a breathing space in a busy world,” would have been a counterintuitive move for the company that had made its fortune in Internet search and advertising. But for people like Dorn, then a twenty-eight-year-old contracts negotiator for an international defense contractor, the magazine was a welcome change from gadget-driven tech publications. Already a fan of Google products such as Gmail and Voice, and a subscriber to sophisticated magazines like Monocle, he was more than ready for Think Quarterly.
“Tech sites and blogs are a dime a dozen and virtually indistinguishable from one another,” Dorn says. “Nobody was taking the time to mindfully address the important questions behind technology: the how, why and who. Until Think Quarterly, that is.”
He was not alone in his enthusiasm. On issuu.com, a digital publishing platform, the first issue of Think Quarterly, “Data,” has received nearly a million views as of this writing. (Readers have the choice either to digest Think Quarterly articles discretely on its website or to engage fully with the magazine on issuu.com, whose Flash applet mimics the experience of reading the print edition.) Each issue revolve...