As my teenage daughters like to remind me, invoking a technologically fashionable cliché, I am not wired. I am not a nerd. I am not a cyberpunk, a computer jockey, or an all-night Internet junkie. In fact, I have not been a cruiser of the nation's information superhighway at all. When it comes to communication, I've stuck pretty much to the back roads.
Here is a list of the technological tools I own and use in my work:
At home my wife and I share a Macintosh IIcx. Sara uses it for book-packaging projects and to track household and medical expenses; I use it to play my favorite computer game, Ishido, and to write my monthly column for Inc., FYI.
At the magazine I have a 486/66 AST, which I use mostly for internal electronic-mail and to write my column.
When I go on the road, I take along a Toshiba Satellite notebook, which I use -- you guessed it -- to write my column.
At Inc. I have voice mail, which I use mainly to avoid PR calls.
My idea of a technological high is to come downstairs early in the morning, fire up my Gaggia, and brew a couple of dark, thick, foamy double espressos. Now that's wired.
My daughters' assessment of me notwithstanding, I believe that the decentralization of computing is the single most significant business event in my lifetime. (I also happen to believe that you can delete the word business from the preceding sentence and it will still be more or less accurate.) Over the past 15 years, as the locus of computing has migrated from the computer rooms of Fortune 500 companies to the desktops of the owners of the smallest companies, even the most ordinary business has gained the means to achieve an extraordinary competitive advantage through the intelligent and imaginative application of technology. Which is the point of this issue (and, starting in 1995, the focus of four issues a year).
The mission of these special editions of Inc. is to provide you with technology-based ideas and solutions you can apply to your own company. In Techniques, for example, we'll examine how even the smallest companies can use technology to improve, and sometimes transform, every facet of day-to-day business operations. Our Case Study will take you behind the scenes of small businesses trying to effect broad, companywide change using technology, and will also explore cutting-edge applications that entrepreneurs are using to create businesses that would have been unimaginable before the advent of personal computing. In addition, each issue will include State of the Art, in which we'll take a look at the "automation" of one crucial aspect of small-company operations (sales management, in this issue), featuring mini case studies as well as a roundup of the most significant resources available to company owners.
In addition to providing business solutions, these issues will play the role of a print "trading post." Sections like Verbatim and Network, along with our guest columns, will provide a place for members of the Inc. community to swap ideas, experiences, questions, and frustrations about life at the intersection of business and technology.
First and foremost, this is a management magazine, for people who measure performance with an income statement, not a technical spec sheet, for people who are less interested in what's inside the computer on their desk than in what it can do for them, their employees, and their customers.
Let us know what you think. Send us E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Fax us at 800-335-3348. Call us at 800-238-1756. You can even write to us. Steven Leveen, whose contribution appears [in [Article link]], did -- with a fountain pen, no less.* * *
This issue of Inc. Technology is part of a plan to expand the editorial coverage we offer readers. Starting in 1995, in addition to the regular monthly issues of Inc. , subscribers will receive four technology issues and an issue devoted exclusively to the Inc. 500, as well as a special issue, The State of Small Business .
Subscribers will receive their regular issues of Inc . around or before the first of the month., and special issues will arrive mid-month. Here are the dates on which you can expect to receive your special issues:
Inc. Technology, March 1995
The State of Small Business, May 1995
Inc. Technology, June 1995
Inc. Technology, September 1995
The Inc. 500, October 1995
Inc. Technology, November 1995 n