photos by: the author
Rick Seitz Admits that GM EFI Magazine, in a Sense, Began with his Love of Turbo Buicks
Just over a few weeks ago we celebrated the 2-year anniversary of GM EFI Magazine and truth be told, it has been a rocky, yet exciting, adventure. Starting your own business is never easy, and when you’re starting with minimal capital and with limited resources (as in $0 in our bank account, no investors and no loans), you quickly learn how to call in favors, negotiate everything and understand that there’s no such thing as a day off while 14-hour work days became the new standard.
For the first time ever, I’ve struggled to meet deadlines and at many times, pay my own bills including company overhead and payroll while facing opposition and ridicule from more “distinguished” and established competitors… while we slowly eat our way into their readership and ad revenue. That’s the way of the beast I suppose, and you quickly learn why so many companies fail in the first six months. Steve Jobs once said to a certain extent, that, “you need a lot of passion for what you’re doing because it’s so hard. Without passion, any rational person would give up,” and he was totally accurate in his assertion.
I’m going to be honest with you, there were times when I was ready to throw in the towel and sell GM EFI (and its sister mag, Timeless Muscle) off to start something new — I briefly contemplated it once or twice — but something deep down refused to let me quit. Maybe I’m not wired that way, or maybe, two years of fighting uphill just fueled my perseverance even more.
Or as Steve once put it, perhaps I’m not as sane as “most people?” Just in the span of two years, I’ve already seen other publications come and go — with much more funding and talent behind them — so I must be doing something right, right? It’s not just a one-man band, however, as I’ve had scores of additional help along the way from incredibly talented (and patient) people — which is just another important factor that Jobs mentions in this one-two punch of an insightful quote from the 2007 D5 Conference.
Notable veteran photographers and writers including Grant Cox, Kevin DiOssi, Brandon Burrell, Eric McClellan, Patrick Hill, Stephen Kim, Barry Kluczyk, Justin Fivella, Andrew Nussbaum, among others, and countless new talent that have since emerged over the last two years, have helped shape both publications into the two quickest-growing online automotive media outlets out there. None of this would have been possible without them, and for that, I’m forever grateful.
One evening it dawned on me that in addition to the vast amount of passion-fed hardwork that has been fueling this startup operation of ours, I could trace my passion for late-model cars, in regards to GM EFI, to the turbocharged Buick Regals of the ’80s. Being a car guy since I was a toddler or perhaps even an infant, my car lust eventually developed into two caveats; the classic carbureted iron of the ’60s/’70s, and the modern electronically-controlled fuel-injected GM vehicles.
The former birthed out of spending loads of time with my Dad in his garage and at the local car shows, including the then-premier Hot Rod Magazine Super Nationals in Canfield, Ohio. The latter was kicked off by an impromptu test drive with my uncle in a brand new ’87 Grand National, in February of that particular model year. I was just three-months shy of turning seven-years old.
The feeling of boost kicking in of what, at that time, was the fastest car I had ever ridden in would leave a lasting impression on me that would endure for decades, all the way up to today. My uncle didn’t pick up that particular GN that day, however, and ultimately settled on an ’85 T-Type but a seed had been planted and I was hooked.
Later on, a friend of his scored an ’87 T Limited, my Dad picked up an ’86 Grand National, and several years following that, an ’87 Grand National would land in my Mom’s garage. As a kid, it was safe to say that I grew up with Turbo Buicks and that interest would eventually lead into a keen admiration for the 4th-generation LT1 and LS1-powered F-bodies as well.
This active gearhead environment kindled a passion of cars that evolved into me becoming an owner of one example of each vehicle (an ’87 GN and a ’02 WS6), landing a Staff Writer gig at Power Automedia, and eventually, as Editor-in-Chief of GM High Tech Performance. Wanting to go off on my own after GMHTP’s parent company had pulled the plug on it and several other titles within a blink of an eye, I started AutoCentric Media as a way to explore my creative and editorial options while providing me with 100% freedom from the chains of Corporate America.
No longer would my income, self-worth or my work be decided by anyone other than myself — it was all up to me and those who were willing to lend a creative, hardworking helping hand. Win, lose or draw. This is also true for anyone who works with me. I will provide them endless insight and help steer them in a direction of what I’d like to see, but their work is essentially an extension of themselves, lending them limitless creative freedom in what they produce, just so long as it’s 100% factual, accurate and to the best of their creative abilities.
If their quality falls below a certain standard, I’m always there to help them improve it. So far, I’ve gotten no complaints.
I guess I’m telling all you this, to say to say this; to always follow your dreams, always set meaningful goals, ignore the naysayers and never give up. That young kid at the car show could be the next Chip Foose or Robert E. Petersen. Spend as much time with him/her as you can, teach them all that you can and make sure that you ingrain the power of the individual within them. Never before in American history has there ever been more of a reason to become an entrepreneur.
Without that passion in cars ingrained into my psyche, I have no clue where I’d be today. Building houses? Flipping burgers? Flipping cars, who knows? Though I will say that we still have a long mountain to climb and the end is nowhere in sight for the AutoCentric Media family. With your continued support and your valuable opinion, we’ll be around for many, many more years to come!
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of GMEFI Magazine, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.