Dear APW,

As awful as this year has generally felt, the end of it seemed to come all at once. And as always, this is where we leave you. And we’ll see you again on January 4, 2018.

Ending this year at APW feels a little bittersweet. As I talked about earlier this week, it was a hard year professionally, and it didn’t feel like my most creatively fulfilling year either. (I doubt any of us do our best work when we’re struggling through what was often daily political terror.) So in many ways I leave this year with so much more that I wish I’d done. And also… I’m glad to be done with it. But while our publishing year ends now (though we’ll be back this weekend with a roundup of where to start for all the newly engaged that always join us just after Christmas), our professional year doesn’t.

What I didn’t mention in my huge gut wrenching essay on 2017 is that we’re nearing the end of a massive relaunch project that, frankly, we’ve been struggling to get done for a year and a half. Working with designers and web developers, we’ve been through just about everything at this point—from teams that were not good fits to people who tried to take money and run to good humans just in over their heads. That said, I learned a ton, and I am a much stronger businesswoman than I was before I had to threaten legal action for the first time.  The constant in this whole project has been a tireless staff who is constantly trying to figure out the solution to the problem of being a big-in-our-industry-but-not-funded company (particularly, an extra thank you to our Brand Director Najva Sol for her work on this). But through sheer doggedness, in the middle of this slog of a year, we found an amazing team, and we are at this point just days away from the site that we’ve been dreaming of for years now.

On one hand, I don’t want to oversell the relaunch to y’all. The least sexy but most important part of this project is that we built the code from scratch, getting rid of piles and piles of outdated and broken code that date back to 2010. So site speeds will drastically improve, and this whole place should just work better. Flashy? No. Necessary? Absolutely yes. But on the other hand, I am happier with it than any work we’ve done in a long time. I finally put the time (and money) in with our amazing designer on this project to get the logo that I want to keep forever and ever amen. And the new site gives us a huge number of tools that make accessing all of our content easier. Plus, it’s pretty.

However, like any relaunch of a nearly ten-year-old website, it means practically endless grueling hours tweaking and fixing, and finding problems, and prioritizing fixes, and generally trying to make it all ready for prime time. And we signed up to do it right before the holidays, God help us all. But if this means we end the hardest year in our company’s history with a little bit of fireworks and champagne and a much clearer path ahead, well, I’m here for it.

So here is to 2018, and much more light to guide the way. Till then, everything calm, everything bright.

We’ll see you in the future.



Image CreditKelly Benvenuto

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