Viewpoint: Sailing Into 2010 & Beyond

bill_kieselresizeI recently spent time putting my old wooden sailboat away after a season on Lake Michigan.

As I worked, I began to realize how similar sailing is to magazine publishing. Exhilarating, yet challenging.

In sailing, preparation is crucial before you set out on any trip. Those of us with a passion for this pastime know that once you're away from shore, things can change quickly and dramatically—from clear skies and smooth waters to hurricane-like conditions in a matter of minutes. Adequate preparation involves maintaining the right attitude and mindset to plan for whatever adversities might arise. Again, it's much like publishing.

The last few years have been tremendously challenging for most businesses; B2B magazines have been hit especially hard. Successfully navigating the turbulent business climate has required having a sailor-like mentality and understanding that our chosen course, just like winds and waves, may change, regardless of what we want.

In talking with executives across numerous industries, I hear plenty of nostalgia for what was—and for the old ways of doing business. Technologies have changed, and so have spending patterns. Most of these executives, however, continue to long for a return to the "simpler" business era of the past. It's not going to happen.

I was born into this business. My father also was an executive in B2B publishing—a very successful one! Tough challenges and rapidly changing conditions have always been part of our lives. My dad's consistent response? "Attitude is EVERYTHING. Stop complaining and do SOMETHING."

At Maintenance Technology, we're not complaining. We are constantly doing SOMETHING. It goes without saying that our publications, and Websites have been greatly enhanced. But, print and online improvements are just part of the story. We're doing new things in other areas, too. For example, check out a few of the things on tap for MARTS 2010 (

  • Actor, author and manufacturing activist John Ratzenberger, one of this year's featured keynoters, will speak about his "Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs" foundation that brings students and manufacturing together.
  • Futurist and financial professional Bob Chernow will offer predictions for manufacturing, technology, the economy and other key issues.
  • A gala "Reliability Gives Voice to Autism" event will kick off MARTS. This collaboration with the Autism Society will feature dinner and live entertainment, while raising awareness and funds for the cause.
  • MARTS, though, is just one of many exciting information-packed learning venues on the horizon. Stay tuned for updates on other conferences that we co-sponsor/co-produce, including:
  • Energy Summit 2010, promoting energy-efficiency and sustainability across industry (
  • IMEC 2010, an International Maintenance Excellence Conference (

The good news about the current business climate is that it has fueled an explosion of creativity in Media. In our case, we're merging the best of what we have been doing for 23 years, while transitioning and embracing the countless opportunities ahead of us. Like my old wood boat, the design and structure are solid and fast, but new technologies make it safer and more fun.

Some fight the future and long for the past. Not us. We're embracing the future and building on past successes as we sail into 2010 and beyond. MT

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