Thoughts as ABM nears 100 years

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Attending American Business Media's Top Management Meeting last month in Chicago, and reflecting on the fact that the organization is about to celebrate 100 years, was a bit mind-boggling. To know that we are all grappling with problems and opportunities that are so new, and to think that our core business really didn't change dramatically until the late 1990s, sheds new light on the challenges at hand.

We have not before been as pushed by any major societal change as we have been by current technology and the Internet. Publishing companies such as ours, Crain Communications Inc., have been doing business the same way since the early 20th century. (G.D. Crain Jr. started Class, the magazine that would eventually become BtoB, back in 1916, the same year he launched the company.)

While our company lived through major changes and economic challenges, like the Great Depression and the launch of radio and television, none affected our industry quite the same as what we face now.

That's why, rather than complaining and yearning for the old days, we should all be very excited to be part of an opportunity to change our revenue models, yet maintain the strong core values of business information that we have succeeded with over the years.

I am excited to celebrate next year's ABM centennial and to be part of what will be a very unique time for our business over the next five to 10 years. Let's embrace the change, and let's maintain strong editorial and business integrity.

Bob Felsenthal can be reached at

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