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February 1999

NewsWire Editorial

The Heart of the NewsWire
As I write this I’m marking the 10th anniversary of a partnership that stands at the heart of the newsletter you hold in your hands. This partner was essential to taking the only all-3000 news resource from dream to reality. I’m talking about the publisher of this newsletter and my partner in life, Dottie Lentz.

Dottie is the person you’re most likely to talk with when you call the NewsWire. She handles our relationships with business partners and subscribers, being in charge of our sponsor program and the circulation of our publication. Ten years ago this month, this spiritual sparkplug came into my life. Her energy fired my vaporous dreams into the combustion of communication that we create together each month.

At this point I’ll beg the pardon of the reader who may be looking for HP 3000 advice. This is a closely held business here, a very personal experience managed very hands-on. In this Valentine’s month it feels appropriate to tell the story of someone with a heart big enough to love a dream into reality, to be the first to believe. That heart has a quality that does hold a lesson you can use in your own relationships — even the one you pursue in owning and managing an HP 3000.

Ours didn’t start out as a business relationship. But when two people share passions in life and become intimates, they look for things to share. A company was the natural evolution of what we launched in the spring of 1989. It was a way to create an extended family, a nest of relationships nurtured by an extraordinary woman.

See, I never dreamed of owning a business. And I couldn’t even imagine owning a business with hundreds of clients. My goals were to work at a great job for a great company, to become influential by riding the magic carpet of a major publisher. And ultimately, to be able to write about what was in my heart and share it, to better others’ lives.

Lofty goals, not easily attained. But Dottie was able to see that my end result didn’t have to come through the steps I’d imagined. She believed in the value of what I learned from you, our readers, over many years of covering this market. It came in steps, a goal she led us through like a Zen archer firing the unaimed arrow that never misses.

First we had to step away from jobs to found our company. Much faith was needed there, after the arrogance of being independent had worn off. Then we had to learn to work together, a new kind of faith called business trust. Finally, we had to believe something different could succeed in a market where the light appeared to be dying. It was that believing part that Dottie taught me, patiently over many months of labor and hope.

If it sounds like having a baby, it’s only because that’s the way she describes creating publications, including this one. It is the third Dottie has given birth to. From the passion for the idea comes the conception. Many weeks pass with nothing to show at all, planning and forecasting, setting up new relationships and setting aside resources. Finally your idea is born: a mewling, helpless infant that must learn to crawl, to toddle, to walk, to stride.

Now she mothers each issue’s many parts, like so many children each given a moment of praise to encourage their growth. It starts with the sponsors each month, as she reaffirms the NewsWire’s oldest relationships and adopts new ones. If you have a product or service to offer the 3000 community, Dottie helps you express your message and feel excited about it touching the 3000 community.

She reaches out to our subscribers at the same time, billing and fulfilling, finding our prospective readers and shepherding them toward customer status. Every request for a trial issue or question about a paid account goes through her hands, making our joint venture grow for the community’s good.

Then, after the words flow from your mouths to my ears and from my fingers into little files, Dottie styles them into the pages you see. Her fingers shape the layout like a master chef creating a croissant crust, one layer at a time, refining until all is aligned with the space at hand.

At the last, when time is shortest, comes her work with our allied suppliers: the electronic pre-press shop, our printers, the mailhouse, and handlers of envelopes, paper and issues. And at this stage Dottie is hands-on in a very literal way, counting, touching and sorting, creating the labels that carry our words to you like so many channels of a river. Each company that works with her in this delivery stage feels like she’s fun to do business with. It takes a big heart to have fun on deadline. I like to call her my Vice President of Relationships. She likes to call herself a facilitator, a very modest title for someone who acts as such a natural founder.

Our relationship together now spans more than 10 years, a significant number for those of us who use base-10 math. Such artificial divisions of time do serve a purpose. They provide a reason to re-assess these durable relationships, to appreciate what is familiar with new energy. The 3000 NewsWire never would have been born without my partner. Her energy feeds the heartbeat of our mission: to nurture community among the HP 3000 owners and users.

Many ideas flow from my 3000 market experience on these pages, riding like small jockeys. But it is my partner’s thoroughbred heart that gives them a mount each month. This is a month to celebrate relationships. Appreciate and respect the ones that carry you to the winner’s circle, and forgive them any foibles that only the most intimate of riders can recognize.

Such intimacy is bred more easily in a closely-held community. That’s an apt description for the HP 3000’s world, not as big as many others but oh, one with so much more heart. Partnerships over great stretches of time may be one of life’s richest blessings. Appreciation is a gift and a skill all at once. To practice it, consider the many features in such long-term relationships you have, be they with partners in life or in business. If you’re as lucky as I, you may enjoy both kinds of partner in one person. I know the heart of the NewsWire is a great partner, one whose unaimed arrow flies through doubt and trouble to strike the heart of success.

— Ron Seybold

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