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It happens but once a year, and now is the time: that rite of passage in which we reflect on the successes, shortcomings and outright failures of the past 12 months.
Bearing in mind the travails of the previous five years, I’d give 2012 a solid B-minus. It turned out to be a relatively quiet, non-panicky, non-bailout type of year. But there is still much work to be done.
The mood seems to be better overall. Something hopeful is hanging in the air. Jobs reports, while not off the charts, are showing modest improvements. Banks are less stingy (although still reluctant) lenders. Domestic production is on the upswing, as companies give a nod to going green. And, as a true barometer of this improving situation, the memes on Facebook are decidedly more upbeat than in the past few years.
It has been a year for armchair pundits to weigh in on the failure of Europe’s collective economies and banks, and to debate the politics and impact of entrepreneurship. And no discourse on the year that was would be complete without mention of one of the great financial anticlimaxes of recent memory: Facebook’s flaccid IPO.
It was a media cluster of a year, with a presidential race, the Olympic Games, a rash of shootings domestically and unrest in Greece and the Middle East. We took part in a divisive election. We watched Michael Phelps rack up the gold. We bore witness as an incredibly talented woman took the lead at Yahoo. Some people occupied Wall Street, but they are gone now. We watched a man drop 130,000 feet from the sky and live to promote it.
Yes, this year’s recap has much to offer in the way of lively conversation--especially if you are part of the economic solution, as you all are. So, now that I think about it, maybe "quiet" is not the best way to describe this latest annum.
Most important, our economy is slowly getting its dignity back. Things are looking up, but at times, I swear, I’m reminded of the melancholy but hopeful words of a song by Tim McGraw: "I ain’t as good as I’m gonna get, but I’m better than I used to be."
For all the ups, downs, quirky and somber moments of 2012, one thing is certain: It was a year of transition, one that laid the groundwork for what is to come. In this issue, we look at the trends that will shape 2013. From the rise of Big Data to the rebound of "Made in the USA" to the simple, low-tech elegance of a bottle of hot sauce, next year promises to be one hell of a hotbed of opportunity.
Amy C. Cosper,
Editor in chief
Follow me on Twitter, @EntMagazineAmy