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FT has news that’s tweet-worthy


Years ago when Twitter was launched, I decided I had had it. It was bad enough I was still trying to figure out Facebook, pop-up ads and click-thrus, and who came up with the word “blog?” I remember asking one of our advertising clients, a guy who was a gifted marketer, what the point of this blogging was anyway.

I’m sure if we had taped our conversation and listened to it today, it would be reminiscent of the then-anchors of the Today Show Katie Couric and Bryant Gumble having their first on-air discussion about the internet. “Alison, what’s internet?” Couric asked the reporter on the story.

I was going to be a self-declared Luddite, and proud of it. This Twitter thing sounded ridiculous (“A ‘tweet’! How juvenile! 140 characters? Dumb!”) and I wasn’t partaking.

So how realistic is that stance when the media biz delivers your paycheck twice monthly? Not very. Perhaps I should get off my high horse with my buggy whip and see what the fuss is about? And, I soon grew tired of asking our graphic designer Joe Veen to fix every little internet, computer and keyboard glitch. (He was helpful, but he did have another job to do, FYI. With this issue that includes rolling out his fresh new design for FT, which we’re very proud to reveal).

Much like the Grinch on Christmas day, a change came over me: “Then Mary Jo thought of something she hadn’t before! What if technology, she thought, isn’t a bore. What if technology...perhaps...was something more?”

Did my heart grow three sizes for technology that day? Probably not, but I’ve fixed a lot of iPhone issues and MacBook glitches, and I’m a Twitter devotee. I love that medium, with its burst of headlines and crazy discussions. And of course years later, Franchise Times editors are blogging away, giving us the franchise news in real time.

It may be appropriate then, that within this issue of Franchise Times hitting your desk heralding the start of a new year, our editors and reporters are covering the franchise individuals and companies that ARE embracing new ways of doing business. Change is in the air.

It’s the air Dzana Homan, CEO of School of Rock, breathes. The franchise gets kids interested in music through hands-on learning and a healthy dose of the Rolling Stones, or Radiohead, whichever they prefer. I won’t reveal too much of Tom Kaiser’s tale, but let’s just say when Homan landed on these shores from war-torn Bosnia, she didn’t even know what the DMV was. Today, she’s a CEO.

Mary Jo Larson

Mary Jo Larson

Reach Mary Jo at 612-767-3208
or mlarson@franchisetimes.com

Then there’s the story on Taco Bell’s new Cantina concept, the deals Freshii is inking with big-box execs, and our annual 20 to Watch feature—the trends, people and companies to follow in 2016 always highlights thought leaders.

Here at Franchise Times, we won’t be left out: With the new year comes change. Our executive editor, Nancy Weingartner, will now be Franchise Times editor-at-large—don’t fret, she’s still here, but will have the freedom for more globetrotting and penning the ultimate franchise tales the likes of which you already love. She’s been working on this magazine as long as I have, and I’m glad she’s still down the hall—unless she is in Bangladesh.

Beth Ewen, formerly managing editor, is stepping into the editor-in-chief role, which means she’ll still be in charge of getting the magazine out the door each month, but is taking a more active role in developing talent for the magazine, website and auxiliary products. Like Nancy, she’s a true talent.

When I think about it maybe Nancy and Beth should have been two of our 20 to Watch for 2016. I’d tweet about it but it would take me double the 140 characters they’d allow.

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