People like Sal Khan are so close to saving the world's working poor ("The 100 Most Creative People In Business 2011"). The greatest obstruction to overcoming economic inequality in our time is the education system. For a while now, the present system has effectively secured the economic status of the rich. Today, even degree programs required for low-paying jobs can drown whole families in student debt, putting the best-paying jobs out of reach for a great portion of our society. Through Khan's creation of a free online university, there will be a truly level playing field. This is certain to unleash an unimaginable wellspring of motivation in the poor, and I believe this will be the greatest disruptive technology to come out of the 21st century. The genius of Khan is that he has shown modern pedagogy a better learning model for the future. Will we have the courage to let him unleash the potential of every single living person today? I certainly hope so.
Montclair, New Jersey
Sal Khan is pure genius, leveling the playing field one free lesson at a time. I am mildly curious why Fast Company didn't think this warranted the No. 1 ranking on the list. Bravo, and keep going!
Just finished your piece on Conan O'Brien and laughed out loud at several of the annotations to the story. Nice touch.
The June issue is one of the best print-magazine issues I have ever seen. I've learned more about innovation from this one magazine than I have in months. The profiles are inspiring, encouraging, and make me want to get creative right away. I actually feel like getting in touch with some of the people featured to tell them how awesome they are.
Greensboro, North Carolina
Chris Cox is one of the reasons why Facebook is still so relevant. It's not about the technology—it's about the ideas. Brilliant.
Victoria, British Columbia
Hats off to Sunni Brown. Not only is she creative in the work she does, but she also shows tremendous creativity in her business strategy—just look at the Ogilvy Notes project at this year's SXSW Interactive Festival, her coauthorship of Gamestorming, and her partnership with Sharpie. Nice pick, Fast Company.
Victoria, British Columbia
I particularly enjoyed the variety of professions and the global inclusiveness featured in your cover story. I wonder if Fast Company would consider doing the same thing about government professionals. All the recent clamor to run government like a business, coupled with the fiscal stress governments are under, has caused high levels of creativity to bubble to the surface in the public sector.
AT&T's effort in the app arena ("Meet The App Man At AT&T") is like a couple with a troubled marriage having a baby and thinking it will solve all their problems. It could work, but doubtful. The biggest issue with AT&T apps will be the same one that plagues all others: shelf life. Add the perception that anything created by AT&T is big, clunky, and expensive. Unless it quickly parlays the apps into some bigger mission, this will all be an expensive experiment.
I find Fast Company's articles to be great sources of information and inspiration. I must, however, take exception to the story that hyped SAGE Labs' genetically engineered rats as the next best thing for research ("The $95,000 Lab Rats"). Much of animal testing inflicts extensive pain and suffering on animals and yields unreliable results (which is obvious to anyone who follows drug recalls). There are a plethora of reliable, nonanimal, computer-assisted alternatives available. These are the companies and products that should be applauded, not the lab touting its genetic engineering and "built-to-order" rats as reliable indicators of anything related to human disease.
Bardonia, New York
Rats are not inanimate widgets coming off an assembly line. These diminutive beings are smart, kind, and very social. Studies show that they care deeply for their young, empathize with their friends who are in pain, and would rather starve than cause harm to a family member. The rats bred by SAGE are predisposed to experience painful and debilitating diseases such as cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, skin disorders, and degenerative brain illnesses. SAGE very literally breeds suffering. Rats may make some people squirm, but they are sensitive animals that should not be treated like disposable laboratory equipment.
Minding Your Business
I love seeing the topic of mindfulness in Fast Company ("Exercising The Mind's Muscle"). In addition to facilitating creativity, I believe that for those who desire their work and life to be infused with purpose, a mindfulness practice is one of the best ways to stay clear and tuned in when the going gets tough.
Nevada City, California
So glad to see Fast Company address the importance of mindfulness in business. In this age of enormous distraction, cultivating the practice of presence will be of increasing importance if we're to navigate through the morass of challenging issues we face in creating a sustainable future, one where sustainable brands (defined as those that serve and delight all stakeholders in current and future generations) will be the business leaders of the day. It will help us create societal norms that support, rather than destroy, humanity and this awesome planet that we call home.
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A version of this article appeared in the September 2011 issue of Fast Company magazine.