Fast Company

Fast Company's Future

It's a strange wait-and-see game at the magazine these days. While we're busy writing, editing, and designing the pages of our next issue (which will be a blockbuster), we're also anxiously awaiting word about our new owner.

A second round of bids from at least five finalists, according to media reports, are now due tomorrow afternoon. The earliest outcome of this auction is now Thursday morning, though it could be even later. The wait has been excruciating. Who buys both Fast Company and Inc. from G&J USA, which is exiting the U.S. magazine business, will largely determine the fate of both magazines.

Some bidders clearly have little, if any, interest in Fast Company. So the staff is quietly and obviously rooting for an acquirer who believes in what we do and wants to support us. The most difficult part of this process is working through the uncertainty with focus and purpose. Luckily, we love what we do here. We take great pride in bringing you a magazine that is unique and different. And we do it as a team and as a community. We're friends as much as we're colleagues.

That's probably why it's also so worrisome. We cherish this little community of ours. Many of my staffers believe they've never worked in as supportive an editorial environment with as many people they genuinely liked. It's hard to even imagine or accept the loss of something that special. So stay tuned. We'll try to keep all our fans informed of the decision as soon as possible. And we're hopeful that we'll land in the hands of an owner who knows our true value and believes in our mission to serve our readers.

Best,
John A. Byrne
Editor-in-Chief
Fast Company

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27 Comments

  • Brenda

    I have the very first copy of FC...and most everyone thereafter. It is the one magazine that I look forward to reading when it arrives. I wish I had the millions to buy this terrific magazine myself. Doesn't the present owner realize that this the trendwatcher of the 21st Century business. For all our sakes, may the buyer be willing and able to let FC be FC. Best of luck.

  • Seamus Phan

    One of the BEST modern business magazines I read regularly, even though I am stuck right now the other side of the globe, in Singapore (Asia). Fast paced, living up to the title of the magazine, and powerfully designed for easy reading and retention. I too wish the editorial and supporting team at FC all the best, and wish that the magazine will continue - there aren't too many good business magazines left, at least those available in Asia. So keep the heads high and know that the readers are with you.

  • Tommy Weir

    So... what's the result? Having stuck with FC since issue 1 (and worked...a little... on the first years issues) i would sincerely hope that you have had a good outcome.

  • Earl Gray

    I've been with you since issue 15. G&J didn't have the heart that reflected FC, or even Inc. I think FC will be better free of that corporate relationship. What about putting together a joint venture with Webber, Peters, Godin and some risk-taking staffers and buying it yourselves? That would be something!!!

  • ALMorawa

    It's wonderful to hear the optimism in most people voices, 'start your own publication, take the team and run!' The desire to see a great thing continue is impossible to resist. So, I join that sentiment and wish for the white knight or the wealthy entrepreneur and of course send humble wishes that my connection to the intelligent side of business stays in tact.

  • Aeijay

    That is disconcerting news. What a difference a day makes--off yesterday. Publications like yours (ours) needs a benefactor-advocate willing to allow FC to reach the heights it is destined for. I am one of those free agent nation subscribers who catalogued all of my issues from 1998 to 2000. They were instant classics. Even with the recession, those timely and innovative ideas should not be ignored. I think that magazines that ride the wave of business will probably always rise and fall with its waves. What is different about FC, however, is that it speaks to individuals who are looking for themselves--their own 'career' identity amidst seas of both paucity and prosperity. It is so much more than another business publication. Hopefully, we'll get an owner who understands that.

  • Jeffrey Ward

    Ah yes, good ole G&J and the world of publishing. I was associate editor of a trade pub back in early 90s that G&J bought and then sold and I think ended up buying again, trouncing the staff in the process. So, first, I feel your pain and wish the staff well. You do great work. But I've never known any publishing house that really cares about the intrinsic value of its magazines. Publishing is a ruthless and cutthroat industry. Anyone who gets into it ought to know that. What companies do value though (or should) is the brand equity of its magazines... as well as loyal readers (read: customers). Both of which are very hard to come by, and both of which you have. If they are blind to that, so be it. You're a talented bunch, and as my fellow Philly COFer David Newman says above... you're in control. Everyone stop worrying about who the new owners will be and keep doing what you do. Good things will happen.

  • Paul Hunter

    Amazing that I am sitting here at lunch reading this after having just read "When Teams Leave." You have been a team for years and as previously written, started by a group of "wild-eyed entrepreneurs". What is keeping a group of people from using offered resources (echoopinion) to do what FC supports so highly?

  • justin hee

    From far-flung Singapore, we wish you well. My colleagues and I love to read your very thought-provoking and inspiring articles. We have always look forward to each issue and we will continue to hope for more!

  • Bill Mosher

    John,
    As the director of the word of mouth marketing and research group called Echopinion, I will gladly lend our services if you wind up having to create something new and need to get the word out about it. Fast Company has been a great publication and I have made it my home page for sometime now. You guys are great at what you do. Let me know how I can be of help.
    Bill Mosher
    Director Echopinion!

  • Jijesh

    John,
    How does an organization stay faithful to its roots unless the owners want to? Sorry, wrong Q.
    Who really decides what FC is?- the current owners or employees?

  • Larry Shallenberger

    Blessings. Your magazine has helped this pastor for the past seven years. May it be seven more.

  • David Newman

    John:

    Dude, FC totally rocks, but I sense a tone of learned helplessness about the "big, bad acquirer" or the "white knight who believes in FC."

    Don't you realize that your fate is in NO ONE's hands but your own? Imagine if Alan Webber and crew were sitting there wringing their hands at the Harvard Business Review hoping that their magazine would become cooler, hipper, and faster, and waiting for someone ELSE to make that happen.

    Look to the roots of the pub, my man... Started by wild-eyed entrepreneurs, with a bet-the-farm attitude and a vision of "HBR meets Rolling Stone." I doubt Webber paid much mind to 'the man.'

    Yes, yes, the economic times and financial environment ARE fundamentally different today. And I also understand that your skills and strengths are your own and possibly different from those of the founders. And all of that is OK.

    Point is, you're wearing the captain's hat, John. You've got the map, you've got the crew, you've got the North Star in your pocket.

    What's stopping you from kicking ass and taking names? I'll back you up. Hundreds, no thousands, of us would gladly help out any way we can. Raise money. Donate in-kind expertise and services and contacts. We're here for you...

    ... but it's YOUR move.

    -- David Newman
    UNCONSULTING | http://www.unconsulting.com
    Bryn Mawr PA
    Philadelphia Company of Friends

  • Sven Cole

    Fast Company is a needed voice in the business world, I have faith that no matter what happens with new ownership that somehow FC will survive! Afterall you are (as a group) a Fast Company and will find a way to not only keep things going but to continue to grow and be cutting edge. As a reader I can't wait for the next issue, and the issues that follow. And as a freelance writer I dream of a byline in FC. Good vibes and stay FAST!