When I was a kid, I found a celluloid button with an odd message: “If They Can Brag Without Lying, Let ’Em Brag.” I have no idea who printed it, or why. My mother instantly disapproved. It is always ill-mannered to be boastful, she said.
Let’s agree right now not to show her this column, okay? And if you find boastfulness annoying, just skip this page and turn to this month’s cover story, or to any of the features that follow it.
Still here? Then I’d like you to know that in June, Twin Cities Business magazine received the gold award in the Best Magazine category at the June conference of the Alliance of Area Business Publications (AABP), our national trade association. It is an honor equivalent to being named the Best Regional Business Magazine in America.
We also received gold awards for Best Cover (“Stalking Google,” April 2006) and Best Feature Design (“Generation Next: Here Come the Millennials,” June 2006) and a silver award in the category of Best Personality Profile (“The Google Stalker,” a profile of software developer Arnie Schulz by freelance writer Dan Heilman).
Not many awards are meaningful to us, but the Best Magazine designation is. Although the magazine has received the award 5 times in the past 12 years, 4 times in the past 8—and although we have reminded ourselves that the approval of readers is always more important than the appraisal of contest judges—it remains undeniably gratifying to measure up well against our peers.
Some 300 representatives of U.S., Canadian, and Australian business magazines and newspapers attended the June AABP conference in Denver. The editorial awards judges were 29 faculty members from the University of Missouri journalism school. This is what they said about Twin Cities Business:
“The combined effect of this magazine’s writing, editing, and design makes it a standout for its personality. Covering a broad array of business topics, this publication has a contemporary feel that not only serves youthful readers, but experienced savvy ones as well. The lively and consistent design enhances the practical and trendy writing.”
“They called the “Stalking Google” cover “a show stopper” and the feature “a fine story that combines fascinating details about language, business, and personal ambition.” The “Millennials” design, they said, is anchored by “an illustration excellent both in concept and execution.”
I need to add this: In the late 1980s, I edited another magazine, Corporate Report Minnesota, which received the AABP’s Best Magazine award once and its second-place award four times, always behind Regardie’s magazine of Washington, D.C. Both publications are long gone, one the victim of a fallen commercial real-estate market, the other of self-importance and refusal to admit shortcomings, both of which separate journalists from their readers. Having watched them collapse, I think we can keep our most-recent awards from going to our heads.
And now I have a favor to ask: I would like you to help identify a small company of notable achievement for an annual project that we conduct in conjunction with Associated Bank.
In the December issue, we’ll feature our fifth annual package of “Small-Business Success Stories,” highlighting 8 to 10 small companies with achievements worthy of celebration. If you know a compelling story about any Minnesota company with fewer than 500 employees, we would like to learn about it—and yes, it can be your own company or a client of yours.
What makes a compelling story? It could involve a turnaround, rapid early growth, an unusual product innovation, notable longevity, or the overcoming of an unusual challenge. It could involve growth in a declining industry or a dilemma admirably addressed.
I do have to ask that you put your suggestion in writing—a page or two would be about right—and send it to me by August 10 at firstname.lastname@example.org or at Twin Cities Business, 220 South Sixth Street, Suite 500, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402.