Sniglets, tidbits, and miscellaneous data

   Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays. Seeing your kids shred warapping on thier way into their gifts, eyes lit up with fierce glee and expectation, is priceless.
   But I’m glad they’re over. December and January are rough months at the BBJ. In addition to trying to put out the paper, we also have deadline for the Book of Lists, which you should now have on your desks and in our mailboxes. Attempting to put out the January issue, sandwiched between the December holidays and New Years, and smooshed right up next to the Book of Lists deadline, is enough to drive anyone half nuts.
   But we’ve ridden out the storm, and calmer waters lay ahead, thankfully.
   The Book of Lists is a labor of love. It’s an incredible amount of work, first of all. Gathering data sets from almost 500 local businesses is no easy task.
   Inevitably, there are transcription errors, folks who have gotten left out despite our best efforts to contacts as many businesses as we possibly can, and business owners whose businesses don’t fit within any of our established categories, and are aggrieved about that situation, as well.
   I got a call from one such owner a few weeks ago, demanding to know why she had been left out of the book. As it turns out, it was because her business didn’t fall into any of the categories we have in the BOL. She then asked, forcefully, that this category be included in next year’s Book, which leads us to how we determine which categories to use:
   • There must be a wide dichotomy of listings; in other words, the businesses at the top need to be different enough from the businesses at the bottom to make the list interesting. Ten businesses, each with 3 employees, makes for a pretty boring list — but 10 busineses, ranging from 45 to 5 employees, is far more interesting.
   • There needs to be enough businesses in the category to make it interesting. If there are only three businesses of a given type in the county, odds are that they would make a pretty useless list.
   • The businesses in the category need to be willing to participate and give us meaningful data that we can rank. Many businesses don’t, or won’t, or feel this information is too confidential to be revealed.
   If your business has been omitted from the BOL, we’d love to get you in next year’s Book. Simply go to the back page of this year’s BOL and fill out and fax in the form there. We’ll keep you on file and use this information as we begin to compile this year’s BOL, starting this summer (ack). We’’l also soon be offering online methods to get us your data. We want to make tyhis process as easy and accurate as we can, for all involved.

Get well, Al!
   Beloved BBJ columnist Al Currier, author of the Looking Back column for years, is quite ill. We send thoughts and prayers to Al’s family in this difficult time, and wish him a speey recovery.
   Your spot will be waiting for you when you get back, Al — get well soon!

Another voice
   If you look on the page above, you’ll see installment nuumber one of J.J. Jensen’s new column, called “Off The Clock.” It’s going to focus on the lighter side of business, and what local businesspeople are doing for fun once they close up shop for the day. J.J.’s writing style is perfect for a column like this, and I think he’ll touch on quite a few fun subjects in the months to come.
   If you’ve got a good topic for him to look into — something like “hey, did you know John Doe, owner of Doe Electronics, is an avid skydiver?” — feel free to drop him a line at

Reprint mania
   Over the years, we’ve had dozens of requests for reprints of our articles. The companies typically want to use the stories in their promotional materials at trader shows or as bill stuffers or in their in-house informational packets.
   Now, we can oblige, finally. We’ve partnered with an East Coast firm to get you as many copies of an article as you could possibly want, at exceptional prices. Drop me a note at for more info.

John Thompson is publisher and editor of
The Bellingham Business Journal. He can be reached by calling 647-8805,
or via e-mail at

Related Stories