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FAQs on the 50 People to Watch 2013

We answer all your questions from who to nominate to how we choose the final 50


Tony and Susan Perez
Photo by Lauren Radack

One of the 50 People to Watch of 2012, Tony Perez, and his wife Susan

Are we doing the list again this year? Yes.

Deadline for nominations: October 1

Likelihood of deadline being extended by at least a week: High

Nomination form: Doesn’t exist.

So nominees should be submitted directly via email? Correct. I’d put ‘50 people’ in the subject line somewhere if I were nominating someone. fiftypeople@sandiegomagazine.com And include a photo! It’s easier to remember faces.

Criteria: San Diego people poised to do wildly interesting and highly impactful things in 2013; people that are preferably photogenic, available for interviews, and willing to participate in this feature.

Do people really nominate people that don’t want to participate in the feature? All the time. Makes for really difficult and awkward interviews. Don’t submit these people.

Sticking point #1: 2013. Next year. We try to highlight folks you should be watching in the coming year rather than people who peaked in 2012. We love an award-winner as much as the next magazine, but for this, we’re trying to call out the ones who are poised to have their names in lights in the coming year.

Why do all that when you just list all the people who already did cool stuff? Because that would be easy, and Meanley, Kim, Troy and I live to make things complex and difficult. I think we think the stories come out funnier and smarter that way. We want to wow our readers with humor and intelligence.

Sticking point #2: We do not put people on the list two years in a row, so do not submit someone who was on the list last year.

Do people really submit people who you picked last year? All the time. We can’t figure it out either.

How do you choose the 50 people? We print out all the nominations and scatter them across our conference room. Then my six-month-old son will crawl around on them to sort out the first round. Then Erin Meanley uses a special splattering technique to splash red wine on her choices, and that gets us to a second round. Troy then likes to make his food-related selections in secret (with all the Food Network fame, he so rarely gets to be anonymous anymore so we like to humor him with this one), and Kim Cunningham basically selects anyone nominated from Point Loma or Coronado as her contribution. Then we hire a very expensive marketing and polling firm to survey thousands of people on who they want to watch.  And if we still have more than 50 at that point, we ask our executive assistant Rita to make the final selects. She is wiser than all of us.

Is any of that true? Every word.

So how do you actually choose? Meetings, research, more meetings, more research, lots of phone calls to other people and interviews and print-outs and headshots and … it’s an art not a science.

When is the party? January!

See the 50 People to Watch from 2012 here

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