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The Great Migration

A letter from the founding editors.

For a few years now, we’ve been hearing about the Great Convergence — the techno-coming-together of just about every piece of equipment into a single unified computer, TV, PDA, or handheld wireless device to be named later. In the meantime, the new economy has given us something immediate, real, and undeniable: the Great Migration.

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It’s not about the technology; it’s about the work. It’s about asking yourself, Are you right for a dotcom, or should you stay with a “notcom”? In other words, should you make the voyage? George Anders’s richly textured tale of men and women who are making the Great Migration suggests that if there is a great convergence, it lies in the fact that there is an unlimited supply of great opportunities — and a limited supply of great people.

Sometimes, if you’re not ready to make the Great Migration, the Great Migration will come to you. Charles Fishman, our answer to Thornton Wilder, traveled to Campbellsville, Kentucky, a town where the work used to be about sewing underwear in “the Factory.” When the Factory closed, that might have been that — but then the new economy came to town. In the voices of the people of Campbellsville, in the stories that they tell about themselves, you can hear the sound of an entire community joining the Great Migration.

But is the Great Migration right for you? Anna Muoio put just that question to Becky Stein, who leads the Silicon Valley Internet practice at Russell Reynolds Associates. Stein’s answer: Do you have Web DNA? Why do you want to make the journey? Are you afraid of being left behind — or do you thrive on risk? And are you comfortable operating on Internet time?

Finally, for those who are looking for a great coming-together, here’s one that we’re particularly proud of: the convergence of honors that were bestowed on us last spring by the American Society of Magazine Editors and by the Society of Publication Designers. This year, Fast Company art director Patrick Mitchell and the design team won both ASME’s National Magazine Award for Design and APD’s Magazine of the Year award. Now, that’s what we call a great convergence.