Back in 1996, during the earliest days of the web browser, the magazine-business B2B magazine, Folio:, featured a youthful-looking custom publishing “pioneer” named Rex Hammock on its cover as part of a story on the nascent move by custom magazine companies into digital media. Earlier this week, 20 years later, the author of the first story, Tony Silber, caught up with Rex for an update on whatever happened to that thing called the internet.

Here’s Tony’s introduction to the updated Q&A with Rex. The full story can be viewed here.

In September 1996, nearly 21 years ago, Folio: published a cover story on the state of custom publishing. The article was organized as a quasi-Q&A, posing 10 questions custom publishers were asking themselves at the dawn of the digital age as their businesses were fracturing. Suddenly alien ideas like HTML — and alien platforms like Compuserve and America Online — were emerging, and print-based media services firms were worried about the impact on their business.

The article asked several custom-publishing sources to provide answers for each question. The most prominent of those sources was Rex Hammock, owner of an eponymous custom content agency, and one of the pioneers in a nascent market — using high-quality content in a magazine format as a communications vehicle for marketers. Hammock is also the founder of Rexblog.com, which goes back to the year 2000, and has been consistently and faithfully maintained in all those years — a rare accomplishment by itself, without even considering that it’s also been a media-business thought leader all that time.

Recently, Rex suggested to me that we revisit that Q&A, and try to make sense of the questions and answers from the nineties and seek their corollaries for 2017. The frequently fascinating results follow.

Continued | Foliomag.com

Happy Valentine’s Day! For the folks here at Hammock headquarters, today started like any other Tuesday. Well, that is, until a special visitor dropped by the office around 9:30.

If you know me at all, then you know I am a hardcore Nashville Predators fan. On the windowsill behind my desk, I have three signed hockey pucks, a miniature autographed helmet, a miniature autographed hockey stick, a sticker and two bobbleheads.

So imagine my surprise and excitement when Gnash—the Predators’ lovable saber-tooth tiger—entered the building dressed as Cupid. There was no doubt who he was coming to see—after all, who at Hammock loves the Predators more than me, right? It turns out my husband, Stephen, arranged this dancing/singing telegram more than a week ago. He called Natalie, our office manager, to check my calendar and make her aware that someone was coming by the office. 

Gnash danced as Frank Sinatra serenaded me from an iPod. He gave me a bag of Predators goodies, a box of chocolate, Popcornopolis popcorn and a Hat Trick bouquet (three red roses). We tried dancing, too, but I have to be honest: Dancing with a saber-tooth tiger can be a bit difficult. I have to say, though, that this may be my favorite gift ever. Stephen has never been able to surprise me with a gift, so this was the best. 

Contrary to popular belief, we don’t spend all of our time at Hammock Headquarters in downtown Nashville. When we’re not in the office, you can often find us spending time outdoors, watching a sporting event or catching a concert at one of many Nashville music venues.

Before and after hours, our fearless leader Rex enjoys riding his bike to and from the office. “I try hard to do it at least twice a week,” he says. “In 2017, my goal is three. I started doing this about four years ago and it has become a part of my life—a good part. And certainly one of the most fun parts—except when people blow their car horns at me.”

But Rex isn’t the only one who enjoys being outdoors. Our designers, Kerri and Lynne, both love staying active outside. Kerri likes to hike nearby parks and walk and run for exercise. In the summers, you can probably find her relaxing by the pool or spending time with her husband. Lynne enjoys biking with her friends, and she’s also an avid swimmer. Speaking of swimming, Lena does it weekly with a local swim team. She hasn’t competed yet, unless you count competing for craziest person ever by doing a polar bear plunge (water temperature: 38 degrees).