When I joined Light Reading in May 2002, the telecoms industry was moribund. The dot-com bubble had burst, early optical wholesale carriers were going to the wall – who recalls the KPN-Qwest blowhards? – and 3G license costs had left mobile operators with little left to invest in their networks. Little was happening. Huawei was a startup.
It would have seemed unlikely at that point that I would work at the same digital publication for the next 18 years, but that's how it worked out and I couldn't be more grateful.
When I handed in my notice in October last year, though, I did not expect to be leaving just as the communications networking and data center sectors were proving themselves as the largely resilient backbone of a global effort to avoid societal collapse: I thought I'd be hosting a leaving party with tales to tell of MWC 2020 and with recent memories of a visit to OFC in San Diego.
So as I pack up my desk, I salute the industry for ably supporting the broader efforts to maintain a digital society in a world increasingly on lockdown. My heart goes out to those in the healthcare sector.
I want to thank my colleagues for making me proud to say I work at Light Reading. I want to say a particular thanks to Light Reading's founders, Peter Heywood and Steve Saunders, who hired me and taught me a great deal about the industry and business. There has rarely been a dull moment in my 18 years here and I've met, worked with and written about so many great people and companies, as well as a few charlatans and dodgy outfits too, of course.
A lot has happened in those 18 years – Nortel, Lucent and Marconi were industry giants when I joined, at which point people were arguing whether it was feasible to get a 2 Mbit/s data connection on a mobile phone. Dial-up modems were still popular. What sticks in my mind? Headline puns. I can't remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, but I remember this headline.
What's next? I can confirm I am neither retiring (I wish!) nor starting my own coffee truck – I love it but cannot claim to be an even half-decent barista. For the few that might be interested, I'll share my plans on LinkedIn in the coming days. But I've promised myself that I'll watch The Irishman before I think about work again, so that LinkedIn post might be a few days in coming…
I wish my Light Reading Group colleagues – which includes those at Heavy Reading and Telecoms.com – the best of good fortune in these uncertain times. It's a great business, staffed with great people and I know it'll do well through the 5G years, into the 6G era and beyond.
So long folks and hope to see you soon!
— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading