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TR Enhanced

From the Editor in Chief
October 1, 2003

Welcome to the latest phase of Technology Review’s evolution. Nearly six years ago, TR embarked on a bold mission: transform a university-run publication with a lackluster circulation of 92,000 subscribers into a vital mainstream technology magazine. We recruited talented editors and writers, photographers and illustrators, and asked them to tell the story of emerging technologies and their impact-on business, society, and personal lives. Today, our circulation stands at 315,000. We have won a slew of editorial and design awards and have been recognized as a National Magazine Award finalist in three of the past five years. In the last year or so, while many biz-tech magazines were going under, we beefed up our Web site, started two newsletters, and worked with leading international publishers to lay plans for four foreign editions, two of which, in Italy and Germany, have already launched. Our global readership is now estimated at more than 1.5 million people a month.

In short, we believe that we have established an unrivaled vantage on the future of economic growth, which is increasingly driven by emerging technologies. And with this issue, we are turning up the heat even more. The reason is simple: times have changed. When Technology Review relaunched in 1998, we basked in the light of the dot-com explosion-and anything tech was white hot. Now, it’s almost the reverse. But that doesn’t change the essential truth: innovation and technological progress are crucial to economic development. Consequently, especially in these less exuberant times, we are determined to work even harder to bring you the important story of technology and its impact.

Our mission hasn’t changed. But our focus is sharper than ever, with a renewed emphasis on authority, clarity, and accessibility. You’ll find those traits reflected in every section of the magazine, beginning with the cover and its streamlined logo and new tag line. Inside, thanks to a fantastic redesign by outgoing art director Eric Mongeon (who is leaving for marriage and the serenity of western Massachusetts), our typefaces are bolder, the colors more powerful. The features showcase more active photography that does a better job of depicting both the creators and users of technology. You will also find more sidebars, graphs, charts, and tables that serve as different ways to extract the essence of each story. We offer our thanks and best wishes to Eric, while welcoming new art director Linda Koury, who implemented the design with her own flair. Linda was assistant art director at Fast Company and art director of Inc. We couldn’t ask for a better hand-off.

Three new columns will be joining our lineup. One is by Rodney Brooks, director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. As a leading authority on artificial intelligence and robotics, and as head of one of the world’s largest and most important computer science labs, Brooks will give Technology Review readers a firsthand glimpse into the future of computing. Brooks’s column will debut in November. He will then alternate each issue with another new voice: Joe Chung, cofounder of Art Technology Group, one of the original high-flying Internet companies. Chung will turn his shrewd eye toward startups looking for early investors and discuss the broader technological and market challenges confronting these fledgling firms.

The last of our new columns will have a familiar name attached: Simson Garfinkel. An incurable gadgeteer whose column for the past two and a half years has focused on Internet issues, Garfinkel will turn his attention to assessing how technology can fit into, and hopefully improve, people’s lives. The column, which he calls “part product review, part how-to guide, part reflection on the impact of technology,” debuts this month with a look at the rewards and pitfalls of digitizing those paper records in your basement. Only Michael Schrage’s monthly examination of business innovation will remain an unchanged part of Technology Review’s column lineup.

Even more changes are coming down the pike-and we’ll introduce them as we go along. But for now, what better place to start than with our special TR100 issue, featuring 100 of the world’s top innovators 35 years old and younger. It’s an incredible bunch-with a world of great ideas, and nearly 50 startup companies, between them. (You’ll find tables listing the companies in the introductions to our four main sections.) And the TR100 are just part of a lively issue that includes features on an unusual university-industry collaboration called PlanetLab that seeks to engineer a new and vastly improved Internet; the challenges facing pharmaceutical companies striving to refill a sputtering drug pipeline; and a special “Point of Impact” interview with General Electric chairman Jeffrey Immelt, who has beefed up his company’s investment in longer-term research in an effort to extend a legacy of invention that traces back to GE’s founder Thomas Edison.

Truly innovative organizations never stop evolving to meet changing times. In that spirit, we are very excited about what’s afoot at Technology Review. We hope you are, too.

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