When we started SHARP 15 years ago, I’m not sure I gave much thought to the idea of legacy. We had a five-year plan, not a decade-long one, and definitely not a decade-and-a-half — and whatever we did have changed and evolved as quickly as necessary. People have often said that it was daring to start a business — I’m not even sure they were framing that relative to the Canadian media landscape — but we never really thought so, or at least I didn’t. (“We,” incidentally, includes my business partner and co-founder: Sharp’s publisher and Contempo Media president and CEO John McGouran. Though he’s not front and centre writing columns and taking credit, John’s vision for what Canada’s most sophisticated men’s lifestyle publication could be is inextricable from the success it has become.)
Today, Sharp is a vastly different enterprise than it was on day one, but the goal is the same: to provide information and entertainment to Canadians of discerning taste. Sharp has grown into a platform that spans digital, social, newsletter and print publications, events and experiences, research, and lead generation, but it remains a magazine at its core. Sharp represents a vision and a voice, and is a thoughtfully considered and curated offering. The content — both its development and dissemination — is executed by a team of talented and passionate professionals who are very much as enthusiastic about it as you are, dear reader. A magazine is an ethos more than a physical thing, and that’s why it thrives in multiple incarnations.
What of the next 15 years? Well, if the last two years have taught me anything, it’s that it’s hard to predict the future, although that’s nothing new. The vision, however, remains the same: execute content to the highest standard, deliver it to interested readers through relevant means, innovate and adapt.
Sharp’s legacy is that, at its core, it’s a celebration of common interests for like-minded people made by like-minded people. If anything, it shows that there can be common ground across geographic, social, and economic fissures, and that passion and enthusiasm are powerful and unifying forces. Sharp is a sensibility; it’s a matter of taste and sophistication, and I look forward to seeing how it will grow and evolve for another 15 years and beyond.
— Michael La Fave, Chief Creative Officer & Co-founder