With someone like Mark Parker at the helm, it is no mistake that Nike is head and shoulders above the competition ("Artist. Athlete. CEO"). He embodies all of the great qualities necessary to distance yourself from the pack. I was particularly taken by his desire to stay in touch with "every athlete," those whom Nike serves on a daily basis.
Amazing story. All bosses or managers should combine personal passions to truly transform their role into what they love as Parker has done. This was the first Fast Company I have read, but you captured me as a reader. Thanks again.
Your September issue was the best read I've found in a long time. The story on Mark Parker was fascinating. He seems like such an anomaly in the sports business (i.e., no ego). I just wanted to thank you for publishing such a smart magazine.
Ann Marie Gardner
Germantown, New York
The Adman Has Two Faces
In my 44-plus years of life, I've written several letters to the editor supporting or critiquing the content of an essay, article, or editorial. But Danielle Sacks's profile of Alex Bogusky ("The Adman Wants a Soul") motivated me to contact Fast Company for a completely new reason. I want to thank her for the beauty of the article's structure. I enjoyed her ability to tell the story of an (apparent) transformation, but the way she unveiled it really made an emotional impact. As I began the article, I empathized with Bogusky. I wanted to believe this modern-day redemption story and was pulling for him to find himself and make the positive impact he seemed so desperate to make in the world.
But when she laid out the criticisms from his ad-industry peers, I felt gutted — betrayed by the man I so wanted to see succeed. And then to hear Alex's dispassionate responses to the stories made me feel like a mark in the next big con. I can't ever remember experiencing such an emotional shift in a piece of magazine journalism. Thank you for making the experience possible.
Darryl R. Neher
Just finished reading "The Adman Wants a Soul" and feeling a little like I did at the end of Shutter Island. Which version of the person is reality? Which did you believe? Just wondering.
I'm surprised it took this long for your magazine to finally consummate its long-standing love affair with Alex Bogusky. Danielle Sacks's story was a well-crafted and fascinating read. Unfortunately, it took far too long to spot the bogus in Bogusky. He stands out as an insufferable, self-indulgent, childish, Machiavellian narcissist, even in an industry where those traits are more the rule than the exception. It was only at the end of the story, when we heard from the folks who actually worked with Bogusky, that the true nature of this man was finally revealed.
Imagine what could have happened if Alex Bogusky used his superpowers to partner up with a company like Dole, or some other major importer of fresh fruits and vegetables, and exercised his advertising muscle to make these foods really attractive to kids and families. Kudos to Fast Company for writing with an edge.
A Peaceful Coexistence
I don't think there is much of a battle between the Kindle reading device and the iPad (Tech Edge). The Kindle device is just marketing for the Kindle service. The Kindle can survive as a niche device. The device can even die, but the Kindle service will still survive on the iPhone and iPad — and on the Android and many other platforms. The Kindle device is only a small part of the Kindle book-delivery service. I've read many books on my iPhone, all of which I purchased through Kindle, so Amazon has made money on me even though I didn't purchase its reading device. Amazon isn't stupid.
San Francisco, California
Thank you for the fantastic article on the human-egg trade ("Eggs for Sale"). The complex global and ethical aspects of what the fertility clinics can offer are fascinating and thought provoking. The future possibilities of fertility solutions are endless and therefore frightening.
I enjoyed your article on human-egg trafficking, but you should have stated why some countries outlaw it. According to a survey published in The New England Journal of Medicine, a child conceived through in vitro fertilization is more likely to be born with severe birth defects than a child conceived conventionally.
Nelson Hyde Chick
San Francisco, California
Men can get paid many times for a renewable supply of their gametes that are pleasurable to deliver. Why is it an issue for women to get paid a premium for their limited supply of gametes, which require complex, painful procedures to retrieve?
I'm less concerned with women getting paid for their eggs than I am with doctors getting paid to give children to the highest bidder. Wanting to love and care for a child is wonderful, but if there are alternatives to endangering two lives — like adoption — then why don't people take advantage of them? It's unethical and irresponsible for medical professionals to create situations like a 70-year-old giving birth to twins, or a single woman giving birth to octuplets.
Stony Brook, New York
Keep Class in the Classroom
TED's scintillating short lectures are inspiring, but it should not be a model for an elite college experience ("How TED Became the New Harvard"). A TED college would entertain and scintillate, but might produce only scientific tourists, wannabes, and marketing executives.
Calling a collection of online luncheon speakers a "university" is simply insulting. Higher education exists to impart critical thinking skills. This is accomplished with academic rigor, the primary component of which is called "work." TED doesn't assign papers, form student teams, issue research assignments, or conduct lab sessions. TED doesn't provide technical instruction needed by people aspiring to be nurses, accountants, engineers, pharmacists, or information technologists. TED doesn't lead literary debate, open minds to the immediacy and relevance of history, and it certainly doesn't teach the art of informed criticism. TED is merely a collection of entertaining, informative, or useless video clips. Some are very good, and most can be appreciated only by people who completed their formal education some time ago.
Sure, attending TED in person provides great social interactions, but online it's mostly solitary. The experience is also pretty passive. It's only when we pass the ideas on — discuss them, restate them in our own words, argue for or against them, or integrate them into our own narrative — that we get most of the educational benefits.
I love Fast Company and have been a faithful subscriber for years, but I just can't take your cover design any longer! The same gradient blue background with a photograph of your feature topic shot from the exact same distance away, retouched in the exact same manner month after month is so boring. I beg you. I implore you. I kindly ask of you. Please reconsider this direction. I expect more imagination from you, my dear Fast Company.
Cabin John, Maryland
Changing the Channel
I am tired and bored of having architecture, fashion, pop culture, and cable/Internet listings as your main focus for content. I don't get Fast Company to read about "The New Fall Season." Show me innovation, not flash. Give me something I can use in strategy and business innovation. Ask yourself when you're doing these stories, What will the reader walk away with?
In September's "Pocket Change," we reported that eBay expects U.S. consumers to buy $1.5 billion worth of goods using its smartphone app. That figure refers to consumers worldwide.
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A version of this article appeared in the November 2010 issue of Fast Company magazine.