In one way or another, every issue of Fast Company has been about one theme: talent. How to develop your talent. How to find work that leverages your talent. How to find talented people to work with you. This issue elevates that discussion to a higher level.
Think of it as our Talent Issue - the logical extension of a series of cover packages. Look back on some of our previous covers: From "The Brand Called You" to "Free Agent Nation" to "You Decide," we've traced a thematic arc that forms a powerful argument. Each of us is our own most important asset, and companies need to work harder than ever to attract, develop, and retain that asset. This issue extends that argument one step further. Whether you think of business today as a "talent market" or a "war for talent," the logic is inescapable: The team with the most talent wins. There are simply not enough truly talented people to go around. The result: Talent Mania!
On one side of the talent bargaining table are free agents who have looked long and hard at what they want to do with their lives. For them, the question is, Where is the best place for me to express and expand my talent? On the other side of the table are companies that have tumbled to this new reality. For them, the question is, Why would the most talented people in the world want to work for us?
Put those two perceptions together, and you have a mindflip of epic proportions: The rules of recruiting, hiring, and retaining people have been turned upside down. Fast companies make it a point never to "lose" a talented employee. Talented people may choose to stop working for a company, but smart companies know that their job is to keep these talented people working with them.
Here at Fast Company, we're proud of our own talent - in particular, the cutting-edge Web team that produces our award-winning Web site //www.fastcompany.com. David Searson, Rob Roesler, Cheryl Dahle, Heath Row, and Ryan Marcin have created a presence on the Web that we believe passes the sanity test for what a site needs to do: It catalogs and makes accessible all of the back issues of Fast Company; it provides an easy-to-use button that lets you send articles you like to friends and colleagues; and it offers a variety of ways for you to become an active member of the Fast Company community.
Our Web site has also become an immediate and powerful source of feedback. It's where we go to hear you tell us - loudly and in real time - about what you like, what you don't like, what you want to see more or less of in the magazine. And it's where you can go to share in the creation of this magazine. To learn more about our Web-based services, events, and feedback, check out the page that we've added to "In the Loop" - called, appropriately enough, "The Web Page." (this month - "News, Views, and Web Tools")
We continue to be gratified by the thousands of talented people who have become active members of the Fast Company community. Almost overnight, it seems, 3,000 of you have registered through the Web site as members of the Community of Friends. But the most amazing collection of talent that we've seen came together recently at the first Fast Company RealTime gathering. More than 450 people, from as far away as Sweden, Portugal, France, Australia, and the United Kingdom, worked their way through big ideas - grassroots leadership, breakthrough thinking, constant change - and brought the pages of the magazine to life. They learned to sing Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" - in German. Most important, they created an instant community based on shared values and shared experiences. A sampler of the gathering is available on our Web site (www.fastcompany.com/realtime).
We came away from RealTime with two big-time realizations: Talented people from around the globe are coming together to create the new world of business. And this community of talent is enabling Fast Company to realize its mission: to be more than a magazine - to be, in fact, a movement.
A version of this article appeared in the August 1998 issue of Fast Company magazine.