Leaders February / March 2010

We’ve Come a Long Way

Holding the first issue of ACUMEN in my hands was a thrilling experience, if for no other reason than that it reminded me of how far the BCCJ has come.

When I was recruited to this post in 1987, it was in no small part due to the fact that I had a media and communications background. Chamber communications at the time (I was an Individual Member) were — to put it kindly — primitive: a monthly newsletter, typed and then mimeographed on bilious green paper; and a black and white journal that was set in hot type without the benefit of any editorial oversight.

One of the first things I did on assuming the post was to bring into the office my own computer (at the time a marvel: 5-inch floppy discs, Wordstar software and a monitor the size of a Rediffusion TV) in order to demonstrate that the BCCJ could, just, poke its head above the parapet of Old Fart-hood.

Not long after, I graduated to Mac — the wonderful old Classic — and discovered Pagemaker so we could ourselves produce our magazine, soon to be re-christened Insight and to be published in colour. The editorial was all in-house, as was the responsibility for raising the advertising revenue required to pay for the printing. The miracle is that for many years we managed to do just that. But that was then …

We had champions through those years: Patrick Lovell, then of Obun Printing, now of Alphatext, as well as Charlie Whipple and Eri Hama of Inex Japan, all people who gave us their professional advice and lent us their expertise for very little reward. Thanks to them, and to our various advertisers, we had a magazine that for quite a long time served us well, until we decided to drop print production in favour of going entirely digital.

The website continues to serve us well and it will be a continuing focus of development, but I know I am not alone in welcoming a return to a printed magazine. This time we have the advantage of an entire team of dedicated professionals — editorial, marketing, advertising, production—working with us.

Aside from the dedicated publications team, we also have a number of freelance writers who have made their mark here in Japan and are happy to contribute to ACUMEN so we are excited by their participation. Our goal is to make this publication the magazine of choice in the Anglo-Japanese community and beyond.

Let us know if you have ideas about features: your visiting CEO might make a perfect interviewee; your new product launch might give an edge to a regular article. This is your magazine; we’d like you to use it.