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Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela. Photo: Jamie McCarthy/WireImage

When Salesforce.com founder Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne bought Time magazine from Meredith Corp. in 2018, it read to many as a vanity purchase. A billionaire buying a legendary media brand, to impress friends and influence people, without doing too much legwork.

Why it matters: But the carve-out is proving transformative for Time, as Benioff seems to have actively brought a lot of his tech ethos to the company Henry Luce founded nearly 100 years ago.

  • Benioff tells me that Time projects 30% revenue growth this year to over $200 million, with CEO and editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal saying that around one-quarter of that will come from a studios unit that's just two years old.
  • More broadly, the company used to be internally organized by function (editorial, marketing, tech, etc.), whereas now it's restructured around product (a la Salesforce).

Driving the news: "He's kept pushing us to get out of the boxes we were in," says Felsenthal, who averages at least one Benioff meeting per month (plus meetings with the board, on which both Marc and Lynne serve).

  • "For example, our Time 100 event always used to be a gala. One of the first things we talked about after he came in was about if we could turn it into a summit. I said that we could the following year, since we were just two months out, but he suggested we try to make it work immediately. And it did. We ended up with a very successful event with people like Hillary Clinton and Jared Kushner and Tim Cook."
  • Felsenthal, adds that the Benioffs aren't involved in any editorial decisions.

Benioff says he doesn't view the success or failure of his Time investment in dollar terms, although he does repeatedly mention his interest in becoming profitable, hitting $1 billion in revenue and becoming the world's "number one media brand."

  • Instead, he says he views all business endeavors as change catalysts, which is a reason why Time will launch a large sustainability initiative that will "provide all the content, solutions, applications and tech to help our customers enter the net zero world."

The biggest post-acquisition challenge, he explains, was “individualization” from both Meredith and the businesses' former home within Time Inc.

  • Some of that was getting office space and setting up systems, but some was also realizing that Time had much more editorial freedom now that it was separate from former Time Inc. mates like Fortune and People.

What he's saying: “I think innovation has to come organically and inorganically, just like it has at Salesforce when you look at things like the Slack deal," says Benioff, who says he's paid much more attention to the NYT/Athletic tie-up than to the BuzzFeed stock sag.

  • "We’ve looked at acquisitions with Time, but haven’t done any yet I think because the first three years were really about stabilization … One thing I’ve learned from buying Time is that it’s a lot easier to buy a company and bring it in than it is to buy a company out of another company.”

Go deeper

Momentum builds to ban lawmakers from trading stocks

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Some progressive Democrats and MAGA Republicans are uniting on a proposal to ban sitting lawmakers from trading individual stocks, although it's unlikely that leadership will bring the bill up for a vote.

Why it matters: Members of Congress have great power to move stock prices, and great financial incentives to do so.

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm was lashing much of the East Coast on Sunday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: The Weather Prediction Center said in a storm summary Monday that winter storm warnings are still in effect for portions of the Central Appalachians, Ohio Valley, interior Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast, while portions of the Central Appalachians and coastal New England are under high wind warnings.

Colleyville Rabbi credits survival to active-shooter training

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, one of the people taken hostage in a synagogue outside Fort Worth on Saturday, said in an interview with CBS Monday that he initially took in the man because he thought he needed shelter.

The big picture: Cytron-Walker said he spoke to the hostage taker, identified by the FBI as 44-year-old British national Malik Faisal Akram, for several minutes and made him tea before Akram took the rabbi and three other people hostage during Shabbat services for around 11 hours in Colleyville, Texas.