Modern Machine Shop

DEC 2018

Modern Machine Shop is focused on all aspects of metalworking technology - Providing the new product technologies; process solutions; supplier listings; business management; networking; and event information that companies need to be competitive.

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MARK: MY WORD malbert@mmsonline.com Mark Albert EDITORIAL DIRECTOR MMS DECEMBER 2018 18 mmsonline.com The Vantage Point Advantage Long ago, I told a story about being an editor in metalworking and the value of the vantage point it gave me. The point of that story is still true today. "Once upon a time there was a large city in a valley. Surrounding the city were high hills and mountains. From the tops of these mountains, anyone could look down into the city and see what it was like." With that I started an imaginative story char- acterizing my early experiences as an editor of a metalworking magazine. I composed this piece for the December 1981 issue of this magazine. At the time, I had been writing my monthly "Mark: My Word" column for only a year. This would be my 12th contribution. I titled it "A Winter's Tale." Rereading this column in 2018, I see that my little allegory was a good one: The inhabitants in the city are like people working in the metal- working industry, and on the hillsides and moun- tains are editors like me, people who observe, ponder and report. I noted that although we visit the city often and talk to those who are prospering or trying new things, we had never lived in the city. As onlookers, we didn't always know in every detail the customs of the city or fully understand the dialects spoken there. Yet we could discover things about the city and keep the worthy citizens informed about how things are being done in different parts of town. This was an important job because the inhabitants of the city were so busy with the task of constantly building and rebuilding the halls and towers of their homeland, they rarely had the time to climb to one of the mountaintops or mountain ridges and study the scene below. I described editors as not quite insiders, but certainly not outsiders either. We were not gurus or prophets, we simply had a vantage point that gave us a broad view. I noted that we had to be good listeners and good storytellers. That much I certainly came to realize, even with so little expe- rience as an industry observer. Thirty-seven years ago, I could not have real- ized how my interest in, amazement at and respect for this "City of Metalworking" would be sustained for almost four decades. I could not have realized that being a listener and a storyteller would never grow stale, become boring or easier to do (keeping up with ever-changing technology made this job a constant challenge). For editors and readers alike, the importance of keeping up with changes has been a recurring theme during this past year, as Modern Machine Shop closes out the commemoration of its 90th anniversar y of publication. Despite the many changes in metalworking and publishing that have occurred over those nine decades, I believe my comments about our editorial vantage point are as valid now as when I first wrote them. This magazine continues to provide relevant insights because they ref lect a broad perspective balanced by a distinctive and consistent "street- smart" interpretation. Call it shop-wise wisdom, if you will. I ended my original, 1981 year-end column with this timely (and perhaps timeless) note: "This is the time for reviewing where we fit in for the sake of making worthwhile resolutions for the new year. In the context of my fable, I hope to climb a little higher but come down more often, to look a little more intently but grasp more clearly the big picture, and once in a while, just to sit back and admire this fascinating city of ours." I have kept and renewed this hopeful resolution year after year, but now a new resolution will have to supersede it. I intend to climb along different paths soon, take views from new angles and find fresh ways to explore developments in metalwork- ing. And finally, when I sit back, I will do so more contentedly, all the while admiring this fascinat- ing city with the same fervor and respect.

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