The launch a swift success, the ambitious young man set his heart on San Francisco, where he was offered the job of publisher at IDG's MacWorld. But on the eve of his resignation, Felix Dennis called from New York. "I said, OAre you still working for me?' " recalls Dennis. "He said, OYes, I am.' I said, OIn that case, you've got to get on a plane.' " Held captive by his boss on a boat in the middle of Connecticut's Candlewood Lake, near where Dennis keeps a weekend home, Colvin received the offer of a lifetime-the chance to infect America with Dennis Publishing's grandiose vision of men behaving badly. He accepted it on the spot.
In truth, Dennis Publishing had had two previous incarnations on Yankee soil. The first was as the producer of hugely profitable souvenir books for movies like Jaws and Star Wars beginning in the early 1970s. The second was a failed mid-'90s attempt at a CD-ROM-based music "magazine," also called Blender.
This time, however, was different because Dennis had Colvin on his side. In one of his first and highly praised moves, Colvin lured Cond? Nast veteran Lance Ford, who had worked at The New Yorker and Bon Appetit, to be Maxim's general manager. He since has poached overachievers from nearly every publisher in town. "Steve's best ability is in locating talent and getting that talent to work for him and for the company, and keeping them on our side and motivating them," says Dennis. "He is very slow to blame and anxious always to share kudos with other people."
And he has a knack for getting to the heart and soul of the matter. Ford, who is British but has spent his whole career with American magazines, first connected with Colvin not as an adman but as a fellow failed musician (Ford's band was appropriately named Bad Press). "He's as real a boss as I've ever had," says Ford, since promoted to Dennis's executive vice president. "There are no sides to Steve, which is very refreshing. He speaks his mind, I trust him, and I think his instincts are great. He doesn't have to primp and pose as a president-people just give him the respect he deserves."
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