Next month marks the completion of a decade writing Fast:Forward, which debuted January 24, 2004, as The Franchisee Focus. It was an MS Word document sent to 10 people at a time from our email account… and 32 people read it – most of them family and friends. You can find it on our website, although be forewarned, my writing style is in its infancy.
Eighteen months later the first fancy edition premiered with a new name, graphics, a more news-like column layout and automated distribution to our ever-growing master list that eventually peaked at more than 2,000. January ’08 brought an updated picture of yours truly… and at the beginning of this year – after I grew weary of people saying, “You look so young” – we switched to the current version.
It’s been a fun ride. Special thanks go to my wife Kathy and brother Mike, who have graciously proofed every single issue. The folks at eMail Networks – first Katherine Brown, then Rachel Dawson and for several years now Martyn Castens – have been great partners… always willing to provide technical support and fast response. With all these people gifting their time behind the scenes, only one typo made it through and ended up in your In Box. (Other than, of course, a few summers ago when I inadvertently sent the entire list a first proof while writing on a Saturday. Oops!)
While thinking about the 720 hours I have spent to date producing these is a little overwhelming, knowing some one or some many might find insight or inspiration each month makes it worthwhile.
Last week, I facilitated a leadership retreat for my church. One of the participants, a priest, shared that whenever he’s giving counseling or in the confessional and doesn’t know how to respond, he simply pauses and says, “I’m waiting for the Holy Spirit to give me the words.” Whether it’s the Holy Spirit, the writing gods or simply my imagination run wild, each month the words somehow appear as I type.
For some time I’ve sensed 10 years is a nice round number… and a good jumping off point. I came thisclose to ending Fast:Forward when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve; however, the muse continues to speak to me, so I’ll be around a while longer.
Thank you for reading. I hope there were some occasional words of wisdom the past 120 months that made a small difference in your work and life.