Three scruffy boys. One very smooth site. Men.com. Launched in 2014, this is a multi-billion-dollar business with a social mission – to empower men to grow thick, happy, long hairs.
Bennett Anthony is the founder and CEO of Men.com. He’s a 41-year-old Texan who grew up in a family of five boys in San Marcos, Texas. After earning a business degree from the University of Texas at San Marcos, he attended Harvard Business School. While there, he founded the MBA program’s Entrepreneurship Club, which provides free business advice to HBS students. Since graduating in 1994 with a master’s degree in Business Administration, he has occupied senior management positions in companies such as AIG, Prudential, and MetLife.
You might know him from such mainstream media appearances as ABC’s Shark Tank and CNBC’s The Big Bang Theory.
The Business of Empowering Men
Men.com is a ‘buyer’s market’, which in business school terminology means there are plenty of men who will buy whatever a company is selling. The advantage for entrepreneurs looking to enter this market is that there are plenty of men who want a good mate and will pay for the opportunity to find one. As Anthony puts it: “There are a lot of single men who want to meet attractive, successful women, and there are also a lot of women who want to meet successful, attractive men.”
The matchmaker mentality that permeates Men.com is something that Anthony sees as a double-edged sword. “On one hand, it’s great that men are motivated to meet other men for a mutually beneficial relationship,” he says. “On the other hand, it can be very dangerous if that’s all men are focused on. When there are no women in the workplace, it’s very difficult to develop a sense of empathy or care for your fellow man. I think the key to being a successful entrepreneur is learning how to balance these two competing objectives.”
Men.com is a wholesome, family-friendly site. While many of its competitors are raunchy he-man slashers, Men.com is happy to promote ‘manliness’ in a more wholesome way. Many of its revenue streams come from subscriptions and premium content. For instance, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) is one of Men.com’s biggest sponsors. Oprah’s shows are typically among the most-watched of all television programs, and she regularly features segments where she speaks with prominent businessmen.
If you’re reading this, I guess you’re either a business school grad or you’re considering grad school. Either way, you’re probably familiar with the term ‘MBA’. An MBA from one of the world’s best business schools can cost you upwards of $250,000, and it’s no surprise that more and more students are seeking this level of education. While many people opt for an MBA, there are a host of other business degrees that you could pursue; such as the less-costly BBA, which stands for Bachelor of Business Administration. With an undergraduate degree, you could expect to pay less than $100,000 for an accredited BBA program.
The Big Three
In keeping with its mission to empower men, Men.com promotes self-reliance and independence. One of its most popular articles is ‘How to Become Your Own Boss’ – a how-to guide for entering the self-employment world. The idea is that, as a woman becomes more independent and able to rely solely on herself, she will no longer need a man to provide for her. This trend is referred to as ‘neo-traditionalism’ and it’s the focus of Bennett’s business school course, “The Future of Men.”
A Rising Star
In addition to having an MBA from the University of Texas at San Marcos, Bennett has also founded a business school at his alma mater, UT-San Marcos. Known as the Allen School of Business, the school’s website claims that it is the first of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. The website also touts Bennett as a “prestige degree” and “living legend” – who also happens to be a UT-San Marcos alumnus.
Three To Talk To
The top of the page lists some of Men.com’s most popular articles. These are the ones that the three-line spread articles on the site. You’ll notice that each article has a brief synopsis, an image and a button for readers to click. Each button links to an article on the Life Skills page of Men.com. This is where you’ll find the more in-depth information on the subject matter covered in the article on the home page. As you might imagine, the more complicated the topic, the more in depth the Life Skills information will be. So, for instance, if you click on ‘How to Become Your Own Boss’, you’ll be taken to the Life Skills page where you’ll find plenty of useful information about starting a business, creating a business plan and financing your business.
The Man’s Magazine
It might surprise you to learn that there is actually a magazine devoted to men. In fact, there are entire bookstores devoted to manly topics such as fashion and style. Called “Man’s Magazine”, this glossy quarterly publication is published by Future Inc., a company that owns several other publications including Parenting and Family Circle. If you thought that only female-centric publications like O and GQ were interested in men’s fashion and style, think again. Man’s Magazine is officially licensed by major brands such as Ralph Lauren and Hugo Boss, which is why you’ll often see men’s fashion and style staples like Lauren’s Polo or Boss’s Gentlemen’s Attire on the covers. The downside to this magazine is that it can be pretty expensive. The digital version is free, but you’ll have to pay $4.95 to print a physical copy. And if you do decide to subscribe, you’ll have to wait until October to get your first issue, which is nearly half a year from now. It can also be a little frustrating to search for articles on subjects that you’re not familiar with; especially when half of the articles are behind a paywall. But, as a business student, you’re probably already familiar with the frustration of having a textbook that’s out of date. Hopefully, this is the only ‘dating’ magazine you’ll ever need.
The Future of Men
While you’d think that the future of men is obvious – grow a thick head of hair – Anthony sees this trend towards feminism and “becoming more independent and self-reliant” as a double-edged sword. “On one hand, it’s great that men are motivated to meet other men for a mutually beneficial relationship,” he says. “On the other hand, it can be very dangerous if that’s all men are focused on. When there are no women in the workplace, it’s very difficult to develop a sense of empathy or care for your fellow man. I think the key to being a successful entrepreneur is learning how to balance these two competing objectives.”
So there you have it. A little bit of business school jargon. Now you know what men’s magazines are all about. While this may seem like a lot to keep in mind when reading these magazines, don’t worry – you’ll soon be running your own business. Sooner rather than later, you’ll be able to add these important skills to your repertoire.