Those of you who follow the publishing business know that most magazines hold at least one major retreat event a year to plan for the following year. It's a time to focus on what we're doing well, correct what we're doing wrong, and consider new initiatives. Sales people and editors who often see each other only rarely during the year share insights about the market.  

I'm pleased to hear their thoughts, as our excellent sales staff works very hard to be in touch with manufacturers and vendors. I like to surprise them with contrarian viewpoints gained from staying in touch with readers, including end users, designers, consultants, and regulators. 

Most readers, though, would be surprised to learn how early in the year Mission Critical starts its planning process. For instance, our staff meets next week in Troy, MI, and we'll begin writing our 2011 editorial calendar soon after. Our colleagues from Engineered Systems will be joining us as we share a lot of resources and people. 

I'd like to invite you to be part of the process, as you have so often in the past. The webinar program, for instance, is one of the successes I'll be mentioning to management. It's no secret that I regularly ask readers and others for topic ideas and questions to make sure these events meet the needs of industry. From these requests have come ideas not only for topics but also for sponsors, speakers, and even formats. Our widely imitated Open Forum format came from one such request; a reader asked simply: "Why can't we just get our questions answered?" As a result, we have held or scheduled 10 such events in the first six months of the year. 

Send your ideas for topics, and I will continue to work to make webcasts that provide information on these topics, and to provide editorial coverage. As always, please feel free to call me at 518 731-7311 or email me at