I am the Firestarter


By Michael Brown

Greetings, Maximum PC readers. My name is Michael Brown. If you’ve been following Maximum PC since the beginning—way back in 1996 when this magazine was called boot—you might remember me as the magazine’s founding senior editor. I was the guy who took a filing cabinet out into the offi ce parking lot, stuffed it full of gasoline-soaked newspapers and Presto logs, and ignited it in an effort to test a fire-proof software safe. The city fire department wasn’t amused by the resulting conflagration, but the discs inside the safe came through the ordeal with all their 1s and 0s intact.

Whether or not you remember me and my pyro antics, you deserve to know who’s joining the ranks of the lucky few who’ve led this kick-ass magazine. It’s a list that started with Brad Dosland, continued with Jon Phillips, and then segued to George Jones—each of whom, you might be interested to learn, I’ve worked for (and learned from) during my journalism career.

So why would any self-respecting PC fanatic leave boot magazine, just as it was building its legend? Well, I must confess that I was lured by the glowing dollar signs of the Internet boom: I left to join CNET Gamecenter as a technical editor in the late 90s, and I was that site’s director when the Internet bubble burst and CNET decided to shutter the place. I later rejoined Future as editor of EZ Tech Guide: Windows XP, a Maximum PC sister magazine targeted at newbies. But just as you never forget your first love, I’ve never forgotten the unmitigated joy I felt writing for the magazine that was destined to become Maximum PC .

I’ve held editorial jobs before and since my days at boot, but that vaunted magazine is where I learned that the greatest possible service you can provide readers is to not hold your tongue—and that you can succeed in the publishing business by saying what you really think.

So where do I intend to take this magazine, now that I’m back, some nine years later? Don’t worry, I won’t mess with success. Maximum PC has a unique voice and a fantastic staff—including newly promoted executive editor Will Smith (congrats, Will!). But we’re not going to rest on our laurels, either. Over the next several months, you’ll see the magazine continue to evolve in its pursuit of excellence and truth. And as confident as I am that you’ll like the results, I hope you’ll give us plenty of feedback to help us in our quest. Send emails and virtual Presto logs to michael@maximumpc.com . Let’s burn this mother together.

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