When we started Fast Company almost four years ago, invariably the first question that came up was "Who needs another business magazine?" Our answer was (and is) that Fast Company isn't "another" business magazine: It's a fundamentally different kind of business magazine — if, indeed, it's a business magazine at all. (All along, we've tended to think of it as a "work-life magazine" — but we'll save that topic for another occasion.)
Here's Net Company — Fast Company's quarterly supplement devoted to all things digital — and already we can hear the chorus asking, "Who needs a supplement about techie stuff?" At the risk of sounding redundant, we respond by saying that Net Company isn't just "another" techie publication: It offers a fundamentally different perspective on technology, strategy, and work — one that supplements the issues that we explore in Fast Company. (But read it, and then you decide.)
The way we see it, a publication that looks at technology for technology's sake is neither useful nor interesting. What will be both useful and interesting, we believe, is a supplement that does for the new world of digital business what Fast Company does for the new world of work:
>Make new thinking relevant
The Web has opened up whole new dimensions of competitive thinking — new business models, new business challenges, new business opportunities. Net Company aims to extend that process further outward — by exploring fresh ideas that let you out-think the competition — and further inward, by exploring deeper implications that lead you to examine your own assumptions.
>Make best practices transparent
One obvious attribute of the Web: The half-life of any good idea is mercilessly brief. Net Company will show you people, teams, and companies that are executing their ideas with precision — and it will offer hands-on tools that you can learn from and adapt for your own use.
>Make new players known
One of the most endearing aspects of the new world of digital business is the new cast of players that it has brought into the spotlight. And one of the most annoying aspects of the new world of digital business is the fact that, all too often, we find ourselves reading about the same small group of already familiar characters. Net Company will look for techno-talent that has yet to be transformed into over-hyped celebrity.
>Make technology (like work) personal
Net Company shares with Fast Company this fundamental orientation — this bedrock belief: Like the new economy, the digital world must be personal if it is to be relevant, useful, and powerful. Our aim, therefore, is to make sure that each issue brings technology to the level of the individual. In a digital world made up of zeroes and ones, we focus on the unit of one!
We view this inaugural issue of our Net Company supplement as merely a beginning. Think of it as a Web site that we've posted for the first time. (In fact, we have posted it — on the Fast Company site: www.fastcompany.com.) Let us know what you like and what you don't like, and what you'd like to see more of or less of. After all, a real Net company can make change fast!
A version of this article appeared in the Prototype Issue issue of Fast Company magazine.