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So Long, & Good Luck With ThatSo Long, & Good Luck With That

After almost two decades at Light Reading, it's time for a different optical adventure.

Steve Saunders

September 14, 2018

3 Min Read
So Long, & Good Luck With That

After almost two decades at Light Reading (with occasional time off for bad behavior), it's time for me to call it a day at the company I founded (along with my partner and friend Peter Heywood) in February 2000.

It has been an interesting run. The industry that Light Reading serves today is completely different to the one that we entered, when our remit was to cover just one (1) exciting new technology, called "optical networking," and we had the luxury of a relatively clearly defined market, delineated by industry standards.

Today, as communications technology continues to constantly define and redefine the world, the complexity of what it is that Light and Heavy Reading covers has exploded, as have the opportunities that comms technology presents for companies that operate as part of the communications supply chain, and global users of this technology.

Before I leave, I'd like to share with you my view of how our industry is tracking in bringing next-gen technologies to market.

In a word: Meh.

And that's pretty much all I'm going to say about that here. (Those of you with strong constitutions and a vested, or unvested, interest in where our industry is heading can click here to read my more detailed analysis).

For the purpose of this, my farewell column on LR, let's just agree that the comms industry has never been in a more chaotic or confusing state. In this environment, the importance of maintaining and growing LR's role as the industry's authority on the business and societal impact of communications tech has never been greater.

Covering the next-gen communications market is an overwhelming responsibility, but LR brings a unique advantage to the mission: its commitment to fiercely independent, credible content -- something which is becoming almost unheard of in the age of self-published Internet spume that now passes for "analysis" in our industry.

That unremitting, bloody-minded adherence to the production of high-quality news and analysis, along with our talent for listening to our customers and constantly developing and delivering new products that meet their needs, is what has allowed us to survive and thrive over 18 years. Assuming a continuation of the same strategy by its new owner, Informa, the success of LR and HR are assured. In fact, a huge opportunity awaits…

So where am I off to? Light Reading is a tough act to follow, of course. Companies combining traditional telecom values with disruptive next-gen comms technology are thin on the ground these days, and that's why I'm looking to the sky for my next opportunity.

Laser Light Communications is building a global satellite network that will be the first to deliver unlicensed optical throughout, using lasers rather than radio frequency. Its HALO service will deliver 100Gbit/s connections, anywhere on the planet -- with miltech levels of security -- and at a much lower price than existing terrestrial optical networks.

There's a nice symmetry to this move. Almost 20 years ago, Peter Heywood and myself hitched our threadbare wagons to a wildly disruptive and exciting technology called optical networking when we launched Light Reading. Now, Laser Light is pioneering the work of putting optical networking in space (without the cables yo!).

I'm delighted to be joining Laser Light as vice chairman. You can reach me there at [email protected].

For other matters, or just to stay in touch, please email me at [email protected]

And to all of my friends, both at LR and in the industry beyond, I wish you the very best of luck with this whole next-gen comms thing.

— Stephen M. Saunders MBE, Founder of Light Reading; Vice Chairman, Laser Light Technologies LLC

About the Author(s)

Steve Saunders

Founder, Light Reading

Steve Saunders is the Founder of Light Reading.

He was previously the Managing Director of UBM DeusM, an integrated marketing services division of UBM, which has successfully launched 45 online communities in less than three years.

DeusM communities are based on Saunders' vision for a structured system of community publishing, one which creates unprecedented engagement among highly qualified business users. Based on the success of the first dozen UBM DeusM communities, the UBM Tech division in 2013 made the decision to move its online business to the UBM DeusM community platform – including 20 year old flagship brands such as Information Week and EE Times.

Saunders' next mission for UBM is the development of UBM's Integrated Community Business Model (ICBM), a publishing system designed to take advantage of, and build upon, UBM's competitive strengths as a leading provider of live events around the globe. The model is designed to extend the ability of UBM's events to generate revenue 365 days of the year by contextually integrating content from community and event sites, and directories, to drive bigger audiences to all three platforms, and thereby create additional value for customers. In turn, these amplified audiences will allow business leaders to grow both revenues and profits through higher directory fees and online sponsorship. The ICBM concept is currently being discussed with a broad group of business leaders across UBM, and is earmarked to be piloted in the second half of 2013 and early 2014.

UBM DeusM is Saunders' fifth successful start-up. In 2008, he founded Internet Evolution (www.internetevolution.com), a ground-breaking, award-winning, global online community dedicated to investigating the future of the Internet, now in its fifth year.

Prior to Internet Evolution, Saunders was the founder and CEO of Light Reading (www.lightreading.com), Heavy Reading (www.heavyreading.com

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