My thoughts turned to a George Carlin 1970s comedy routine as I packed up our second carload of stuff for my daughter's second year of college dorm life. Carlin accurately suggested that with “wealth” comes the challenge of stuff. More the wealth, more items to store, and thus a need for a bigger storage area.
My daughter was spatially challenged this semester. Her new dorm is about 25% smaller than last year's abode. (Unfortunately the school doesn't charge dorm fees by the square foot.) So my daughter faced the classic choice of what to keep and what to send home.
After about three hours of grief, I solved the problem by phoning my nephew who lives about 30 minutes from the school. I bribed him to store the not quite necessary but still needed stuff in his basement.
This month I've been facing my own problem with wealth, stuff, and space. In my case, the wealth is the value of a special report on what I believe to currently be our industry's most important story – what's going on in the Florida masonry housing market. The stuff is the amount of data, ideas, and insights I've uncovered while developing this story. And the limiting space is the editorial page allocation of our magazine.
This is not a typical story that you've been accustomed to reading in our magazine. As such, I'm hesitant to radically change the magazine's successful coverage or format. So I've decided to borrow an idea used by two great authors. Charles Dickens and Steven King used the writing concept of installments for some of their novels. While I'm not saying that my report will ever share equal billing with the likes of “David Copperfield” or “The Green Mile,” I hope you'll find my extended coverage insightful, useful, and interesting.
I'm also approaching the problem of space by thinking out of the box, or pages. Much of these installments will be posted on our Web site. I'm trying to take full advantage of the creative space and tools the Web offers.
I realize that this approach is a major risk. Going to the Web can be perceived as an inconvenience to you. Posting new items and special reports on the Web also can be viewed as an abandonment of our loyal paper readers.
My goal is to be loyal to you and the industry by providing a special report that will allow you to react and potentially help save a market segment that is under attack from all sides.
I promise to make the extra effort worth your while.