Ted Bahr Interview: Drone King turns into 60's Rock Art Gallery Owner
Diana Landau | February 08, 2023
Carl interviews successful entrepreneur Ted Bahr. This is an engaging interview about what it’s like to be an entrepreneur and then starting a cool second act. Carl met Ted in San Francisco, in the heady 1980’s when the computer age was taking off and magazine publishing was at its zenith. In his career, he launched dozens of new magazines, online properties and events. In 2017 he sold his company, BZ Media, and now owns an art gallery—more about that later.
Ted grew up in Westchester County in New York. He said his family lived the typical suburban life. In his teens, he “….rebelled with enthusiasm!” he tells us. After college he worked for one of the biggest names in publishing, Ziff Davis in NYC. After selling advertising for Car and Driver magazine and then helping with launches of some high-tech magazines, he was transferred to San Francisco.
In his 40’s, Ted had a wife and three kids and was entrenched in a very prestigious position with Miller Freeman in the corporate publishing world. He says he felt like he was losing the ability to be an entrepreneur. “I wanted to be the guy at the top. You know, the guy with his own business.” Ted made the bold move to leave and start up his own company. “It’s the entrepreneur mindset. Intellectually you know you are taking risks but emotionally you are positive you can do it.” (Never mind the 18-hour days and the naysayers!)
Ted and his business partner Alan Zeichick grew BZ Media, a high-tech media company, to 28 employees. The company produced technical conferences and expositions in a variety of fast-growing markets. They published SDTimes, the leading magazine for software development managers and produced SPTechCon, AnDevCon, Big Data TechCon and many more. BZ Media also launched InterDrone, the largest conference and expo for the commercial drone industry in the world in 2015. In 2017, Ted sold all the properties.
Here’s another Ted twist: He had always had a keen interest in the music of the 1960’s since his time in San Francisco, where he saw Big Brother, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Country Joe and the Fish and many others. And he avidly collected psychedelic rock posters from that period. At BZ Media, they had bought a big space and he had the idea to create a gallery to show his art/posters. The response was so enthusiastic that after he sold the company, he opened the Bahr Gallery in Oyster Bay, New York, selling high-end rock artwork and now has an online website as well. (Perfect for Baby Boomers who remember that time well and now have disposable income.) Ted enjoys connecting with lots of interesting people, hearing their stories and holds periodic exhibitions as well as lending his art to museums. Fun fact: Ted sold an Elton John art poster to Bernie Taupin! Ted is an inspiration—still following his passions with great success.
Ted Bahr’s (un)retirement tips:
“Create a F*@# it List, not a Bucket List. So many voices in our heads saying “You SHOULD do this. If you're not interested in doing whatever it is, don’t do it. That’s OK!
"Do what you love with people you love for as long as you can. Decide if you want to deal with employees. Decide if you want to work with people—retail or behind the scenes? Do you want to be on the clock or set your own hours?
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” blog.