It speaks for longevity and persistence if nothing else. This is post number 6,000 over two different websites. I actually contributed a few posts to MESA many years ago and had an asset management website briefly when I was working with MIMOSA. I don’t count those.

Dave, Jane, and I along with Jim, Wes, and Mike started Automation World in 2003. I was busy with that as editor-in-chief. Blogging was catching on. When I had a chance to pause and think, I started a blog on Dave Winer’s Radio Userland in 2003 as an experiment. The sales guys wanted to sell my blog to advertisers. We worked out a process that kept me pure but used it for promotion. I later moved the blog to SquareSpace when Userland folded. I renamed it Gary Mintchell’s Feed Forward—the title of my AW Editorial Page.

I left AW in 2013 after many changes. I hired a guy to remake the website. He moved it to WordPress. I renamed it The Manufacturing Connection—I could buy the domain name and wanted to feature the word Connection.

I have a second blog ongoing since about 2007 that focuses on personal and spiritual development called Faith Venture just because I have many and varied interests.

We came to Automation World from Control Engineering (both magazines still exist). I believed technology and requirements had moved from control and instrumentation to automation—which I defined as control + information. I wanted to cover how users (people) used these new technologies to make their operations better. I had writers focus on the “automation team” emphasizing that it takes teamwork to accomplish goals.

The industry has seen many fads come and go over the past 10 years of this incarnation of this blog. The market has consolidated greatly. That has resulted in loss of advertising revenue for the magazines (and me). I appreciate the long-standing sponsorship of Inductive Automation—which also seems to be the one software company still growing and “killing it” as one industry veteran told me.

Through it all, you all are still out there solving the same problems I was trying to solve when I was out in industry. The tools are better. Software mostly doesn’t require you to change your processes to fit their model. But the problems remain.

That means my focus must continue to evolve to match what is happening.

Let’s just see what 2023 brings. All the best!

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