It did not take long to come up with a topic: for the 200th issue of brand eins we wanted to look at what has happened since we launched at the turn of the century and what progress we can still aim for. And as it was designed to be a very special issue, we wanted to get a grip on this vast topic by posing questions, big and small. We planned to have a hundred of them and ended up with 200, not least because our writer Jakob Vicari came up with 82 questions to which there are still no answers.
We also looked back and asked us three questions:
What were you expecting back then?
Not what happened. The brand eins team already had one start-up behind it, thought it knew every trick going, was basking in a certain degree of popularity and for the first time had potent investors to back it. It was supposed to be a stroll: it turned out to be a long, hard slog. All the experience we had gathered was not much good without a publishing house to back us up. We had to make ourselves known all over again and the investors lost their money when the dotcom bubble burst. With hindsight, all that was fortunate. We learned to cope with the crises to come.
What was the biggest surprise?
That we survived. And that we found readers of all age groups who to this day are still pleased we came through. I am often asked how we coped in the early years, when all too often it was not certain that we could raise the money for the next print run in time. The first answer is because there was never the shadow of a doubt within the team that we would survive. And, the second, equally important, is because readers gave us strength, time and again, and wrote to tell us how important brand eins was for them. In the days before the term “social media” had even been invented, we engaged in intensive communication and are still doing so today.
Ever since the first issue, our topic has been the transition from the industrial society to the knowledge society – and that will surely remain the case for the next 200 issues. We hope there will be more to it than just technical innovations. To succeed, we must, for example, revamp the education system and the welfare state. And it is time we re-learned how to embrace progress – even if the pace of it sometimes takes our breath away or it does not work out as planned. Without it, everything would remain the same. We are convinced that things can get better.
Editor in chief