LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

This issue of Small Times marks many milestones. It marks the fifth anniversary of our initial print publication. It marks the fifth year we have unveiled our “Best of Small Tech” awards in these pages, and it marks our first anniversary with our parent company, PennWell Corporation.

It is gratifying to see the impact our awards program has had in such a short time. Recipients have come to take great pride in receiving the awards, and the awards themselves have come to be a good predictor of future achievement. I trust that you will enjoy reading about 2006’s winners, and that you will join me and the staff of Small Times in applauding their success.

I remember when we started these awards. At that time it was difficult to find a nanotech company that was successfully commercializing a product, and the MEMS sector was going through a brutal contraction. Today it is quite different. With all the work that has taken place over the past few years, it is much easier today to find good nominees – but perhaps more difficult to sort through and evaluate all of them.

To that end, while I congratulate our winners I would also like to thank all the panelists who made those evaluations possible by generously offering their time, energy and insights in evaluating the award nominees. All they get in return is their name printed in small type at the bottom of the page, but readers should know it takes a lot of work to get there.

As many of you know, the process begins with nominations that come in from our readers via an online form. The editorial staff culls through the nominations and sends them out to our panelists along with dossiers of additional information on the nominees. Panelists are asked to review the dossiers with an eye toward various criteria that gauge commercial impact, and rank their favorites. We then use these ranked responses in determining our final lists of winners and runners-up.

You will also see some more names on our masthead in both the contributing editor and guest contributor category. We have been ramping up our global network of writers, as well as working more closely with industry experts to get authoritative technical contributions.

As for that other milestone, we’ve come a long way since the inaugural issue of Small Times was published in September 2001. The amazing thing was that by the time I joined the team in April 2002, the publication was already very well known – a testament to the fact that it was serving a market need for information and analysis in micro and nanotechnology.

We have covered a lot of ground since then. As I noted earlier, September marks the first anniversary that the tiny startup of Small Times became part of PennWell, a diversified global media corporation with nearly a 100-year publishing history. Many of the improvements you see are the result of the wealth of resources now available to the Small Times team.

At the same time, much has remained the same. Looking back at that initial edition, you would find content that is still relevant today: a profile of the late Richard Smalley, Rice University’s legendary nanotechnologist; application notes about MEMS in athletic shoes and other nifty applications; and a cover story that sought to answer the question “why size matters.” In a way, Small Times has been answering that question ever since.

David Forman is editor-in-chief of Small Times. He can be reached at davidforman@smalltimes.com.

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