Patrick J. McGovern is founder and chairman of Internationial Data Group (IDG), the world's leading computer publishing, research and exposition management company, which had revenues in 1999 of $2.56 billion. His wife, entrepreneur Lore Harp McGovern, is instrumental in advising the strategic direction of several high-tech companies.
His career in publishing began while he was a student at MIT, when he started working for Computers and Automation, the first US computer magazine. He became associate publisher upon his graduation in 1959, with an SB in biology.
In 1964, with the computer industry still in its infancy, Mr. McGovern founded International Data Corp. (IDC), now an IDG research subsidiary, to provide the industry with timely and reliable statistics on information technology (IT) markets. Three years later, he launched Computerworld, a weekly newspaper dedicated to keeping computer buyers abreast of industry and product news.
Computerworld became the flagship of IDG Communications, IDG's publishing subsidiary. In 1972, Mr. McGovern began exporting the Computerworld concept, launching Shukan Computer in Japan. By "thinking globally but acting locally," a strategy that would guide IDG's worldwide expansion, he ensured that the Japanese publication would not be a Computerworld clone.
Mr. McGovern has overseen IDG's launch of more than 290 computer magazines and newspapers in 80 countries, including such globally recognized titles as Computerworld/InfoWorld, Macworld, Network World, CIO and PC World. IDG Books Worldwide, launched in 1990, offers more than 4,000 titles with translations in 37 languages, and has more than 75 million copies of the For Dummies series in print. The company also produces more than 168 IT conferences and expositions on five continents, including international series of ComNet, Windows 2000 Conference & Expo, Macworld Expo, and Internet Commerce Expo.
IDC provides market research, analysis and consulting to nearly 4,000 clients in 42 countries.
"Thinking globally" is the heart of Mr. McGovern's growth strategy for IDG and drives his success in identifying and opening new markets. Today, IDG has more than 30 publications in the world's seven fastest growing IT markets, including China, India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Korea, Colombia and Malaysia.
"Acting locally" describes his commitment to a decentralized management structure and style and an emphasis on customer contact. Inc. Magazine, upon naming Mr. McGovern CEO of its "Start-Up All-Stars" in 1989, wrote: "Knows startups cold -- grows them by launching them constantly within his own company. Craves customer contact, responsiveness, speed. More than any other CEO around, McGovern gets it: preach the mission, provide information, give folks plenty of rope -- then get out of the way."
Among Mr. McGovern's most recent awards are the James Smithsonian Bicentennial Medal from the Smith-sonian Institution, the Business Publisher of the Year from the Delaney Report and the Entrepreneur of the Year from Ernst & Young.
Among his many affiliations, he has served as a director of the Information Industry Association, the Boston Computer Society, and the American Management Association. He is a life member of the MIT Corporation and the Whitehead Institute.
LORE HARP MCGOVERN
Lore Harp McGovern, a successful entrepreneur and high-tech strategic advisor, is chairman of the Board of Associates of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT. She also serves as the director of filmsOn. com and sits on the Board of Advisors for Women.com, Blue Pumpkin Software and Skillsvillage.com. Mrs. Harp McGovern is also an active member of the Committee of 200, a national organization of women business executives.
Previously, Mrs. Harp McGovern was the president and CEO of Good Morning Teacher! Publishing more than 750 educational titles for grades K-12 and consumer-oriented educational materials for four- to eight-year olds, the company was sold in 1999 to an educational publisher.
In 1985, Mrs. Harp McGovern founded Aplex Corp. to design and develop products for the feminine hygiene market. She holds patents for two inventions. Mrs. Harp McGovern sold the marketing rights in 1989. In 1981, she co-founded the Pacific Technology Venture Fund and directed the firm from 1983-85.
In 1976, Mrs. Harp McGovern co-founded Vector Graphic Inc., one of the first pioneering microcomputer companies. After raising venture capital, she initiated a successful public offering in 1981 and grew the company to more than $50 million in sales.
Mrs. Harp McGovern is the former director of the American Electronics Association, Montgomery Ventures, Women's Campaign Fund and Network Telemetrics Inc. She was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young in 1983.
She is a graduate of California State University at Los Angeles and has an MBA from Pepperdine University.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 1, 2000.