The Editor's Notes this month are written by Tom R. Halfhill, new editor Of COMPUTE!.
Editor In Chief,
A New Beginning
Nearly two and a half years ago, Robert Lock hired me as features editor of COMPUTE!. At that time the editorial staff consisted of four fulltime people. We occupied a few offices in an old building near downtown Greensboro, and the circulation of compute! was about 75,000.
Today COMPUTE! Publications has an editorial staff of more than 50 full-time people. Together with about 70 employees of other departments, we occupy an entire floor in a new office building, with warehouse and shipping facilities across town. COMPUTE! is approaching 400,000 circulátion. Our second magazine, compute!'s, has gained more than 300,000 readers in just over a year of existence, and our Book Division consistently places titles on computer-book bestseller lists. In mid-1983, COMPUTE! Publications became a part of ABC Publishing, a subsidiary of the American Broadcasting Company.
Obviously, we have gone through a great many changes in the past two and a half years. Hundreds of other companies in the computer industry have experienced the same kind of phenomenal growth, of course. But now that the industry is maturing, the spectacular growth of those first few years is leveling off and is becoming more like the steady, sustainable growth common to other industries. Some companies which became accustomed to annual growth rates of 50 percent, 100 percent, or even more are suddenly finding themselves in trouble because they assumed the roller coaster would keep speeding forever. That's partly why some of those companies are cutting back, laying off, and even going out of business. In an industry where the market changes almost monthly, you have to be quick on your feet to survive.
At COMPUTE!, so far we've managed to keep pace with the changes. There have been plenty of growing pains which have demanded much from our staff, but we've always remained flexible and succeeded in pulling together.
My own path shows how fast things change around here. After less than a year as features editor, I was appointed founding editor of our second magazine, COMPUTED GAZETTE. The first few months were a struggle, but with lots of hard work, together we built the GAZETTE into the most successful new magazine in the industry. Then, just as things started rolling along smoothly, I was assigned to another new project—COMPUTE!'s PC & PCjr magazine. The new IBM PCjr was arriving on the market and it seemed destined to become the success story of 1984.
As you probably know by now, things didn't quite work out that way. The PCjr didn't sell, so neither did our new magazine. We decided to stop publication with the October 1984 issue.
But that's not all bad. After more than a year's absence, I'll be returning fulltime to our flagship magazine, COMPUTE!—this time as its new editor. Richard Mansfield, who has handled COMPUTE!'s daily duties for more than three years, will continue as senior editor of COMPUTE Publications, helping to supervise editorial operations for both our magazines and our Book Division.
And we have a number of improvements planned for COMPUTE! to strengthen its position as the leading magazine for home, educational, and recreational computing. For one thing, we'll be merging our IBM coverage into COMPUTE! to serve both our existing IBM subscribers and several thousands of new readers joining us next month from COMPUTED PC & PCjr. More programs will be translated for the PC and PCjr, and there'll be some IBM reviews and standalone articles as well. We're also adding a new column next month, "IBM Personal Computing," by Donald B. Trivette.
Apple readers can expect more attention, too. With the introduction of the Apple IIc and Macintosh, plus heavily discounted prices on the Apple IIe, we've noticed a resurgence of interest in Apple coverage. More of our programs will be translated for the Apple, and we're beefing up coverage in other areas also.
If you use a Commodore, Atari, or TI, don't despair. You still make up the bulk of our readership and therefore deserve the most coverage in COMPUTE!. We won't let you down. If anything, we plan to strengthen our coverage of your computers.
You might be wondering how it's possible to increase coverage for everybody without taking something away from somebody. That's always a concern in a multimachine magazine. Our solution: We'll be reorganizing our regular columns, streamlining the articles, and taking great pains to make sure the articles and programs we publish continue to be of the highest possible quality.
For example, in coming issues you'll notice that some columns will be consolidated and new ones will be added. Programs will be translated to run on as many computers as possible. And we'll make a renewed commitment to minimize errors and publish the best computer magazine on the market.
You'll begin noticing these improvements within the next few issues—we're making them as fast as possible. That's the way things happen in the computer industry.