Amid the resolutions, laments and aspirations that tend to occupy our thoughts at the turn of a new year, change is usually the leitmotif. And this year, the change taking place throughout the world and within Stratfor has been dizzying. Many are the incantations we could and will utter over what has changed in the past 12 months and what we seek to make different in the 12 to come.
But let me break form and use this moment of annual reflection to salute what remained constant: the curiosity, questioning and loyalty of thousands of Stratfor readers. All of us here thank those who have been with us for many years, as well as those who joined our intellectual journey in 2017.
In an era in which so much of the media has fallen to ever-lower common denominators, to fear-optimized, algorithm-driven news feeds and to nonstop echo chambers, we like to think we've taken the high road. We analyze and strive to never opine. We often write long when all counsel tells us to write short. If the enthusiasm at the top of the news-making food chain is something we feel we should ignore, we do. When we see significance in events others ignore, we tell you. All the while we focus on the overarching mission of forecasting: to provide you, our readers, a first rough draft of the future.
By most conventional logic in the publishing trade, our approach shouldn't work. That it does is the reason for my shoutout here to constancy, to the presence of so many independent thinkers and like-minded readers who are willing to swim with us against so many currents.
Readers need no reminding here of the dizzying change in the geopolitical landscape we cover. Divides are growing in the North American polity; trade blocs and military alliances are forming and transforming; new fissures are opening in Latin American and European politics; computational propaganda, blockchain and artificial intelligence are on the rise; ascendant populism and descendant civility have become the norm. Meanwhile, the generational change internally at Stratfor — particularly here at the flagship of Worldview — has been all but revolutionary.
I'm particularly pleased with our international growth in the past year. As I penned this column last week I checked the flow of data on readership as we published our annual forecast for 2018. My editor's heart warmed at the snapshot of virtual eyeballs peering in the moment at our work in France, Lebanon, Canada, New Zealand, Brazil, Hungary, Chile, Russia, Finland, the Netherlands, Portugal and the Philippines.
None of what we do is easy. Some readers have been enthusiastic. Others less so with the sheer scope of change. But patience and a willingness to give our innovations the benefit of the doubt have been the hallmark of the dozens of conversations I've had with readers.
It is thanks to our readers and viewers that our forecasts and supporting analyses are so alive and that our pulse is so strong. Again, we thank you as we enter a new year that we know will be as animated with change as the one that just ended.
In 2017, you were generous with your encouragement and unsparing with your criticism, both of which make us strong. Let's carry this constant into 2018. Please don't hesitate to reach out.
Happy New Year,
Editor-in-Chief and Vice President of Content