Who's Fast? For the third consecutive year, we present a remarkable group of people: men and women of all ages, from all walks of life, and with vastly different backgrounds. Our aim is not to produce another list of "winners" — although each of the 16 people named to this year's Who's Fast list is a winner by any measurement. Nor is our aim simply to recognize outstanding achievement — to put on an Academy Awards ceremony for the new economy.
In a time of dramatic, unpredictable, and persistent change, we are all looking for clear lenses through which to view the dynamic patterns of work, life, and competition. When the assumptions of the old economy no longer seem to apply, when the assumptions of the new economy seem only to apply for one brief Web moment, then we all need to find people who will remind us of what is not changing. We need to find the new leaders of the new economy.
And all 16 men and women in this year's Who's Fast package are leaders. They may lead by building a great company: These are leaders who remind us that a genuinely great company not only creates real economic value but also stays true to its own core values.
They may lead by defining and creating the practices that win on the Web: These are leaders who show us how to harness the revolutionary power of the Net.
They may lead by making change — in a company, in an industry, or in the world: These are leaders who remind us that change happens when you connect with, rather than oppose, the fundamental forces of human nature.
They may lead by embracing the simple title of teacher: These are leaders who demonstrate that the first job of every teacher is to tell the truth — and that each of us can and should become a teacher.
They may lead by connecting social causes with entrepreneurial tactics: These are leaders who show us that we live in a connected world, a world where economic metrics and human experience cannot be disentangled.
Or they may be people whom we've simply dubbed "leaders": These are people who understand that the job of every leader is to help everyone in an organization make sense of change — and to have a shot at success.
In other words, in the new economy, we all need to learn from these leaders — and then to become leaders ourselves.
A version of this article appeared in the November 2000 issue of Fast Company magazine.