I've been thinking…

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If I walk into a crowded management meeting at PS and utter those very words there's usually the look of terror on our staff's face. It's a love hate relationship. They sometimes love the ideas but they often cringe from the change they bring.

But still, I've been thinking. Thinking about the state of magazines, websites, forums, and communications in our small industry. Thinking there's too much focus on products and too little on practical matters and sharing. And it's not just our industry: cars, cameras, food, clothing, all seem more engaged with the flurry of new products than the use, enjoyment and community associated with them.

Imagine picking up a copy of Car and Driver and reading articles about driving, owning, maintaining and connecting with others interested in cars, rather than ads and articles about the latest. Or a camera magazine that isn't focused on new cameras, but rather how to take pictures, how to appreciate a good photograph from a poor one, how to connect with other photographers. A stereo magazine that isn't focused so much on products, but how to use them, how to enjoy them, connect them, improve them, integrate them into living spaces, share ideas with others. A publication that delves deep into what's possible, where the industry's going, why it's moving in that direction, introduces readers to the movers and shakers that make it happen. Connects like-minded people together, sharing what they have built at home and why.

Don't misunderstand my words. I am not being critical of our industry's magazines, both print and online. Quite the opposite. Today's publications focus on the constant stream of new products hitting the market. They provide a welcome service to us by offering opinions on how those new products stack up against the past. Without them how would any of us know what's new and exciting? They bring new music to our attention. They sometimes give us glimpses into the industry, take us to shows we would not have gone to, tell us the latest news.

No. What I am suggesting is not to change what is, but to add to it. I see a hole in the publication business. A rather big one that needs to be filled. Where do we connect together to discover how to use the wealth of new? Understand why something might make sense, while others might not. Express strong opinions, often opposing to the status quo. Find out what's meant by new technology and if we should be interested. Where do we go to be part of a community that's not so interested in selling us something, but simply engaging, discovering, learning, sharing?

I think I would like to spearhead something of this sort. It's not that I don't have enough to do already. But I think this is important.

Your thoughts?

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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