Growing Up

Yesterday I bought a sweater, watched football, and made chili. Classic fall. For me, fall brings a sense of nostalgia—and a realization that time keeps on chugging along. During summer, it seems to stand still. The long days and hot weather make everything slow down. But when I can open the windows again, the nights cool down, and election signs start showing up in people’s yards, it’s a reminder that time has started moving again.

On Saturday, I spent the morning helping a group of people clean up a state park called Big Bone Lick. (Yes, that’s the real name. It was named after sulfur springs in the area that created salty residue that the mammoths used to come to lick. When they died, they left their big bones behind. Duh.) We put up a temporary fence, helped dismember and remove a giant tree that had fallen across a trail, and picked up litter.

As I was working on the fence, a man came up to me and said, “Amy? I thought that was you! Do you remember Dylan?” He was the father of a boy I used to babysit; from when Dylan was a newborn until he was about three. He’s now in 3rd grade. We all worked on the fence together, and I was delighted to see that Dylan was the same sweet inquisitive kid he was five years ago. Just taller and with new glasses.

Inside the F+W building, we’re also moving from summer to fall. I spent a portion of last week creating a PDF of a book that was published in print form a few years ago. Could I have imagined that I would be doing this a year ago? Maybe. Five years ago? No. I now have Photoshop Elements on my computer, and Adobe Acrobat Professional—tools that will allow me to digitize content to my heart’s delight. We are planning to re-release the book as a DVD, and also perhaps as a digital download. Our goal is to deliver information in a format that consumers want. In ANY format that consumers want.

In some cases, putting books on CD and DVD makes a lot of sense. Need to print out some woodworking plans to take to your woodshop? Grab the CD! Need to make 30 copies of a specific visual writing prompt to give your class today? Grab the DVD! In other cases, it makes less sense. Want to read an 80,000 word book on your BlackBerry? Not really…

Our challenge is to figure out what makes sense and what doesn’t. What will make people’s lives easier? What will make people say, “Cool! Why didn’t I think of that?”

While it’s not summertime anymore, and change is in the air, my conviction is that our products will remain the same high-quality, inspiring, useful tools they are now. Just taller and with new glasses.

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