It's a big year for milestone anniversaries. ESTA is celebrating its 20th year. Pook, Diemont & Ohl is celebrating its 25th. Barbizon is celebrating its 60th. Oddly enough, it's even the 30th anniversary of Elvis' death. Congrats to them all, except Elvis, I guess.

We're celebrating some milestones too, as you may have noticed. It might seem kind of odd, putting together a big anniversary issue and generating a lot of fanfare for a magazine that's not even two years old. But it's not like we're actually celebrating the 22nd issue of Live Design here, folks. What we're actually celebrating are the birthdays of three key franchises within the entertainment technology community: the 20th year of the LDI show, the 30th year of Lighting Dimensions magazine, and the 40th year of the debut of Theatre Crafts magazine, the book that essentially started it all.

These are important milestones, not only in our history, but also, I would argue, in the history of entertainment technology. All three franchises have helped shape the way countless generations of designers, technicians, dealers, and manufacturers do business.

Think about it. In the 20 years since that first LDI in Dallas, think about how many seminal new lighting, audio, and staging products made their debut on the show floor? Think about how many lasting relationships were forged. Think about how much your business has grown. Think about how many Rose Brand parties you've attended.

In the 30 years since the first issue of Lighting Dimensions was published, think about how much you learned from contributors like Lee Watson, Beeb Salzer, and Karl Ruling. Think about reading an article about a new film or architectural project and discovering that the challenges LDs in other disciplines had were really not so different from your own. Think about all of those wacky LD logos over the years.

In the 40 years since Theatre Crafts first hit the newsstands — well, there's a lot to think about. Where to begin? Nearly all designers and technicians of a certain age will tell you that they first realized there was an entire world of people just like them by poring through the pages of Theatre Crafts, Theatre Crafts International, and Entertainment Design. If theatre is the wellspring of all modern design, then this publication, in all its various sizes and incarnations, was the pipeline.

To help celebrate these various milestones, we asked readers both how they got their start in the industry, and — perhaps most important — where they think it's headed; you can read their responses throughout this entire anniversary section. And since it was my bright idea to kick off this celebration, I figured I should throw in my two cents as well. I'm not going to bore you with the history of how I got here, except to say that I was initially hired by Pat MacKay — perhaps the single most powerful force of nature in this industry during its formative years in the 80s and 90s — as a business editor for TCI and LD back in 1993. For those counting, that puts me at the 14-year mark. I just shuddered when I wrote that.

Where is the industry heading? I know we've been beating the drum of convergence around here since we introduced Live Design; that continues unabated. Beyond that change, I think a lot of people are going to have to learn how to do things differently in the coming years, not just designers and technicians, but especially dealers and manufacturers. New technology will drive some of that, pushing creative boundaries will as well, but I think the biggest changes will come about from the way we all do business. This is an intensely creative industry, and I think it's vital that businesses in this market hold on to those artistic roots, while also getting smarter about how we produce, market, sell, and service. To paraphrase Jonathan Resnick in his Q&A on page 30, you don't necessarily need MBAs, but you can think like one.

We, as a publishing entity, have to do things differently too. The idea of people getting all of their information solely from a magazine is long gone. Websites, enewsletters, blogs, Podcasts, live events — these are all the ways in which information is now being disseminated in the 21st century. And while I will always love the look and feel of a magazine, it's clear to me that this is only a part of the puzzle. We have to be sure to give you, as a reader, a variety of sources for your information.

But is all this change so bad? Part of me — okay, a large part of me — would really love it if things could just stay as they are. But I realize this is unrealistic. And I suppose there's still a little bit of that lunatic teenager in me who secretly thrives on the palm-sweating thrill of flying blind. And considering the industry we're talking about here, something tells me there's at least a little bit of that in you, too. So I suspect we'll all be ready for the changes, whether they happen 20, 30, or 40 years down the road. Cheers.