The debate over network neutrality and the risks of investing in natural gas. The midterm elections and the economics of Internet advertising. The state of business in Brazil—and the state of sports in Brazil.

Those are just some of the topics that have been explored over the past five months by the bloggers of the new Wharton Blog Network. In other words, yes, we’ve covered a lot of ground.

But we’re just getting started.

When we here at Wharton Magazine launched the Wharton Blog Network back in August, our blog experiment was just that: An experiment. We had only a handful of bloggers signed up. We had no idea what our bloggers would write about, how often they’d write—or who would read what they wrote. We didn’t know, quite frankly, if this thing was going to work.

Well, as I write this in late November, up to my ears in blog copy, I can confidently say: It’s working.

Our contributors—Wharton faculty, alumni and senior staff—have proven themselves to be eloquent and insightful, and our readers, it turns out, are rather eloquent and insightful, too; they have responded to our posts, challenged our ideas, chimed in with ideas of their own. And in December, we learned that the Network had won a Bronze Award in the 2011 CASE District II Accolades Awards.

So now, we’re taking the next step. We’ve recently welcomed several new contributors, and we’re excited to see what they have to say. We’re exploring new sectors—real estate, health care—and hope to further expand our reach in the weeks and months to come. We’re even redesigning our magazine website, specifically to accommodate all of this exciting Blog Network content.

Our ultimate goal is to create a truly world-class conversational space—a forum in which the Wharton community can debate and discuss the most pertinent business issues of our time.

We hope that you’ve enjoyed what we’ve accomplished so far and we hope, too, that you’ll share your feedback with us on what we can improve. Our contact information, as always, can be found at the end of this letter.

But first, here’s a quick rundown of some of the highlights of the Winter 2011 issue of Wharton Magazine.

•  Have you noticed longer lines at your local Starbucks? Well, there’s a good reason for that. As Wharton Assistant Professor of Operations and Information Management Senthil Veeraraghavan explains in “Long Lines Brewing,” a piece he originally wrote for the Wharton Blog Network, the ubiquitous coffee chain recently mandated that its baristas pay more attention to each and every drink they make. The idea was to improve quality. But as Veeraraghavan writes, the decision also has a downside.

• Wharton has turned out Wall Street titans and television stars, Internet pioneers and pro athletes, Hollywood bigwigs and heads of state. But it may surprise you to learn that the School has also produced at least one winner of the National Medal of Arts, the nation’s highest honor for artistic excellence. James DePreist, W’58, ASC’61, HON’76, is now recognized as one of the finest and most accomplished conductors in the world. But as you’ll read in our cover story, his journey has not always been a simple (or painless) one.

• Just how bad is America’s residential real estate crisis? That was the question contributing writer Steven Kurutz set out to answer in his piece, “No Magic Bullet.” The good news? He found an answer. The bad news? It’s not pretty. After speaking with industry insiders and experts from Wharton’s Real Estate Department, Kurutz paints a bleak picture of the nation’s real estate mess—a mess, he writes, that will be cleaned up neither easily nor quickly.

Thanks again for reading, and please feel free to send us your comments, criticisms and more. Letters can be sent via email to or via snail mail to the address at right.

Tim Hyland / Editor