Machinedesign 20844 Start The Conversationnew

Starting the Conversation

July 12, 2019
Introducing Machine Design’s new senior content director, Bob Vavra.

As I begin my tenure as Machine Design’s senior content director, there are a few things you should know:

  • I’ve been covering the manufacturing sector for almost 15 years now, so I know I’ve met many of you along the way;
  • I’ve been in content delivery long enough to remember when we used to call it “editorial”—but not long enough that I knew Gutenberg personally;
  • I play a reasonable game of golf, and you definitely want me on your trivia team;
  • My wife and I love to travel, and we’ve been all over the world, which is odd because every time I fly is an act of faith.
  • My title is pronounced CON-tent manager, but it just as easily could be pronounced con-TENT manager.

At industry receptions, or when I’m asked to moderate events, these are what are called “conversation starters”. As we begin this monthly conversation, I wanted to make sure you knew a little about me, because I want to get to know how the team at Machine Design can help you.

There is a lot of communication going on in the world today, and it is growing at an almost alarming rate. I say alarming because there is a fundamental difference between “communication” and “information” (not to mention between “fact” and “opinion”). Communication is a process; all it requires is a sender and receiver. The process doesn’t evaluate quality or accuracy. It is a pipeline. Information is what comes through that pipeline, and that outflow can be evaluated and examined and is subject to quality control. Far too many people in my profession don’t care about the quality. One of the ways I know we are different at Machine Design is the painstaking efforts we make to insist upon that quality.

Machine Design covers a profession that is by its nature focused on precision and detail; you should expect no less from the magazine you trust to keep you abreast of industry changes.

And yet the process of information delivery is a two-way flow of knowledge. In the 90-year history of this publication, Machine Design has been the conduit for practitioners and industry leaders and suppliers and educators to exchange ideas, trade best practices, and support the industry’s common goals by learning from one another.

As technology has evolved from one-line drawings to 3D CAD and from precision metalforming to 3D printing, that community of learning hasn’t changed. We still always are looking for the tips and tricks of the trade to get a little better at what we do. We work in a community that, even though it is highly competitive, it also is highly collaborative.

The way we deliver on those goals has changed over the years, of course. What was once month-to-month delivery of knowledge on paper has given way to digital communication, available at once, and on demand. If you review our website and attend a webinar and pull an article from our print edition to send to your team, you’re still just scratching the surface of the ways we can assist you in the pursuit of your individual excellence.

In some realms of the communications industry, the need for speed has overwhelmed the need for accuracy. Not here. Not on my watch. Getting the wrong information out fast will never be as good as getting the right information out first.

Machine Design has been the champion of that ideal for 90 years. We work with all parties interested in furthering the pursuit of excellence in our industry. We want to hear all voices, and we need to stay ahead of the coming changes so that we can put those innovations in front of you for your consideration.

That’s why I want you to consider Machine Design your source, in a very personal sense. Our coverage needs to reflect not just the things our content team observes in person and through our many contacts at trade events, but also reacts to the needs of our audience. If there are subject areas we should cover or information we can help identify or best practices in your organizations we can highlight and celebrate, we stand ready to help.

The best part of my job—and there are many great parts about my job—is the conversations I get to have with the people in this industry. I find people to be inherently interesting, and each person has a unique story to tell. It is that chance to meet and talk and learn and share that is at the core of the editorial process I learned all those years ago. My job is to listen, and then to share.

Here’s my email: [email protected]. Let’s get the conversation started.

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