John McManusPhoto: Katherine Lambert
We've been saying it for a while: We feel your pain.
A 300,000 new-home sales market on a 12-month rolling basis is not business enough for all of us. Home building companies by the hundreds have gone down over the past several years, and, unfortunately, continued slippage in the net tangible value of land assets means dire straits for a good few more, some small and some once very large. Hardly anyone's immune.
Literally. Big Builder magazine will cease publication with this November/ December issue. Finis.
Big Builder's genesis as a title discrete from its natal mother Builder traces back some 15 years. That's when a home building cycle that rose abnormally and lasted too long started to act as the rising tide that lifted all ships. Big Builder was one of them. Builder editor Boyce Thompson got the magazine started, and Hanley Wood management under CEO Frank Anton and publisher Warren Nesbitt resourced the effort as the opportunity grew. And boy, what an opportunity and what a ride!
In spite of building executive Larry Webb's mantra through the years that "maybe bigger is not better," bigger defined the set of needs the magazine and its associated events and online services could meet, and bigger defined the value it could create. In 2006, we published an issue full of news, data, perspective, and intelligence every two weeks.
What happened during the past seven years is that you, our audience, taught a willing and committed editorial team what you wanted, and we raced to give it to you.
We illuminated advertising and sponsorship partners who were the glue that held the pages together through the years. We're appreciative of that financial support for our eff orts, and we know that many of those companies too are fighting for viability while housing's great correction continues so they can be around for the eventual recovery.
As editor, I'm grateful beyond words to both you, the legions of people in upper, middle, and field management who've practiced the disciplines of home building and kindly shared with us your secrets, and my team, shrunken in numbers but no less huge of heart and soul, for what you have made Big Builder through its proud lifetime as a print publication.
For a little magazine serving a print audience of less than 10,000, it overachieved, but only because you helped us try to help you become smarter, and the sum certainly exceeded its parts.
There are too many colleagues and friends to name to say "thank you" for contributing so mightily to all that one might ask for as an editor?the opportunity to work passionately and with a purpose, the opportunity to work with a splendid, good-humored team, and the opportunity to connect with a community of people whose actions speak volumes about who they are and what they care about.
Efforts to continue to bring such value will stay in place here at Hanley Wood. If you'll stay tuned to our daily newsletter Builder Pulse, we'll have more information as to where you'll be able to find dedicated coverage of highvolume and production home building companies on www.builderonline.com topic pages.
Meanwhile, again, I want to say "thank you." It's been a glorious run, and sadly I can quote a hero?Steve Jobs, who was invoking the words of Whole Earth Catalog creator Stuart Brand?as a parting imperative to keep firmly in mind as we all continue to battle through this challenging moment. "Stay hungry. Stay foolish."
Who knows? Perhaps, like our featured story on the redemption and resurrection of Northern California's Mountain House, we may build a new dream out of the stuff of this nightmare.