Bill’s Going Online

This is the last "In Biz" column that will be appearing on these pages. I’m not going away, just going digital like everything else these days.

There will always be a print version of In Business magazine — a beautiful physical product you can read anywhere and keep on a shelf forever. But going online with this column has many advantages, and the one I’m most looking forward to is the timeliness.

I plan to write several shorter columns monthly, and post them immediately. No more rushing at deadline time. And if I’m a day or two late, nothing else has to wait.

I started writing "In Biz" in April 1989, when Magna Publications bought In Business magazine from founder Suzanne Beecher.

I’ve had lots of fun doing it. It’s made me many friends and very few enemies, I think.

Sometimes when I’m first meeting someone, they recognize me as "the In Biz guy." I’m flattered when they recall a past column they particularly liked.

Recently, a man I had just met said, "You wrote a column once about your son’s first day on his first job. You told him, ‘If you’re not busy, pick up a broom and start sweeping. That will impress your boss.’ I cut that column out and gave it to my own son when he started his first job."

The column he was referring to was written 16 years ago!

Also recently, I sat next to a woman on a plane who recognized me and told me she liked a column I had written about the stupid things job applicants do when submitting resumes. In it, I pointed out that a prospective employer is not impressed with a resume sent using the current employer’s postage meter, ad slug and all. The woman on the plane was referring to my column of over 15 years ago!

Those two columns also happened to be among my favorites, along with a few others, such as the one in which I pointed out Madison trivia that newcomers wouldn’t know. I asked readers if they could remember the Gay Building or if they could identify Tom Holter.

The Gay Building was the now-renamed Churchill Building on the Square, and Tom Holter was a prominent local businessman, since relocated to Florida I learned after he replied to the column.

I once wrote that I thought it was stupid to force kids to say the Pledge of Allegiance in school if they didn’t want to. That column earned me a compliment in Dave Zweifel’s column in the Capital Times. Now, Dave’s a friend, but we rarely agree politically and his "endorsement" earned me a barroom confrontation. As I was leaving a restaurant, a tipsy reader verbally accosted me, assuming that if Zweifel agreed with me, I must have sold out.

But frankly, it’s harder to come up with new, fresh ideas for the column. It’s harder to find the enthusiasm for something I’ve been doing so long. And, yes, it’s harder to find the time to do the research to make a really good column.

(Perhaps those excuses sound familiar to you personally as well?)

So I’m happy I have the option of not quitting, just doing things differently. Hopefully, I’ll find challenges and rejuvenation by moving "In Biz" to the Web site.

See you online at IBMadison.com. In fact, by the time you read this, my first column will be there. Please check it out. And above all, thanks for allowing me this
indulgence all these years.