Leadership Lessons: Racing, Writing, Building a Business – Outside Insights Podcast Episode #6

by placers on April 16, 2021 in Outside Insights


For this week’s podcast, I sat down with a long-time friend and consistent source of inspiration for me: Joe Clancy, owner of ST Publishing. In this podcast, Joe shares many lessons applicable for life and business. I’m confident you’ll find nuggets of wisdom that you can apply to your life today.

It goes without saying that Joe is passionate about writing and regularly provides feedback on my own writing. For this edition of Outside Insights, I’m giving him the mic!

An introduction from Joe Clancy, owner of ST Publishing:

My friend Chris talks to me about business, frequently. He’s got ideas, opinions, thoughts (really good thoughts) and perspective. I listen, sometimes follow his suggestions and always soak in everything even if some little voice tries to tell me that none of it applies to me.

Of course, I’m wrong there. Advice from someone like Chris always applies, even to someone like me.

My brother and I own a small publishing company that specializes in Thoroughbred horse racing. We’re the only full-time employees. There’s probably no way ST Publishing will ever “scale” up into something major, but we’ve been in business in one form or another since 1994 and there’s real value there for us. It was a part-time endeavor at the start, and focused on a newspaper about steeplechase racing. Steeplechase Times took us a long way, showed us we could actually do it, and we gradually added other projects, adapted to various changes in the world and we’re still at it in 2021 even if Steeplechase Times is no more. Instead, we focus on a summer newspaper about horse racing in Saratoga Springs, New York and a long list of other projects. The Saratoga Special started in 2001 and continues to be our flagship. In addition, we run a website which is supposed to appeal to lifelong racing enthusiasts and newcomers alike; edit and write for the monthly Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred magazine; produce content for the New York Thoroughbred Breeders Association; and even sell a retail wall calendar to customers all over the world.

All this came to be because we liked horses and writing. Our father trained racehorses. Our mother’s father edited the Newark Post many years ago and later wrote about hunting and fishing for the Wilmington News-Journal. So I guess we combined two interests (loves?) and crafted a business. I can’t say it was by design. I was working for a small community newspaper. Sean was working with horses and riding races as a steeplechase jockey. We learned to sell advertising, do accounting, edit websites, deal with customers, navigate ever-changing economic conditions and so on.

If there’s one certainty in business, it’s that nothing ever stays the same. Adapt, work hard, find something you like, do the best you can under whatever circumstances you’re dealing with, create something people enjoy and you’ll be served well – no matter the field.

Chris asked me to be a guest on his podcast, to talk business, to explain (a little) about how we managed to do what we’ve done. It felt like all the other conversations we’ve had – two guys who lived (he moved) in the same neighborhood and who sent their kids to the same school talking shop.

Now if I could only remember the advice he gave me.


What did you take away from Joe’s story? What would you like to hear more of in the future? Reply and let me know!

Until next time friends,


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