Business at its Best

Who's showing the true nature of business at its best? Who's leading the way through good times and bad? We've hand-picked some of the world's most innovative companies who are combining solid strategy, boldness, creativity, and speed to lead the way in the new business environment.

The Sky`s the Limit
Some 11,000 miles above the earth, 28 satellites beam down data that enables the targeting of locations with once-unthinkable precision. It`s a lethal tool in war -- and a killer app for business. The Global Positioning System (GPS) is transforming everything from auto insurance to agriculture, from hauling freight to trading stocks. Charles Fishman
How Pottery Barn Wins With Style
Plenty of companies compete on price and features. How do you keep demanding customers coming back for more? Pottery Barn`s secret for growth in a brutally competitive business: "Our brand is a state of mind," says one top executive. "And customers can make it their own. Linda Tischler
Who Ever Said Comedy Had To Be Fun?
For Rob Burnett, president and CEO of David Letterman`s production company, Worldwide Pants, comedy is serious business. But long hours and nagging self-doubt are the price you pay to make people laugh -- and to build a company that does distinctive work in an industry where distinctive work is in short supply. Chuck Salter
How Google Grows...and Grows...and Grows
... Its performance is the envy of executives and engineers around the world ... For techno-evangelists, Google is a marvel of Web brilliance ... For Wall Street, it may be the IPO that changes everything (again) ... Keith H. Hammonds
Bank of (Middle) America
Kerry Killinger and his colleagues at Washington Mutual Inc. don`t model themselves after Citigroup or Bank of America. Instead, they look for inspiration to Wal-Mart, Target, and Southwest Airlines -- giant companies that somehow manage to keep costs low and service high and meet the needs of the middle class. Linda Tischler
What`s Selling in America
If you want to convince customers to open their wallets, you`ve got to open your mind to new ways of connecting with them. That`s why we set out on a nationwide shopping spree in search of the fearless companies and breakthrough ideas that are reinventing retail. Here`s what we found. Bill Breen
Playing to Win
Computer and video games are a bigger business than the movies, and the biggest force in games is Electronic Arts -- a company whose blockbuster titles dazzle millions of customers and generate billions of dollars in sales. Chuck Salter
The New Face of Global Competition
Not so long ago, India`s Wipro Ltd. sold cooking oils and knockoff PCs. Now its 15,000 technologists cook up vital software applications and research for Ericsson, GM, the Home Depot, and other giant customers. Are you prepared to go head-to-head with the best the world has to offer? Keith H. Hammonds
BMW: Driven by Design
Chris Bangle and his design gurus are the creative engine inside the hottest car company in the world. But BMW`s most breathtaking design may well be its strategy for growth. Bill Breen
Can TiVo Go Prime Time?
TiVo Inc. has what every young company dreams of: smart executives, a killer product, famous (and fanatical) customers, a huge potential market. But is it a business? Will it ever be? And if a company as savvy as TiVo can`t break through, who can? Scott Kirsner
Miracle of Birth
Looking for inspired leadership, passionate employees, unsurpassed productivity, and grateful customers? Forget the dispirited corridors of corporate America. Look instead to the bursting-with-life corridors of Parkland Memorial Hospital, a remarkable place that delivers more than 16,000 babies per year -- more babies than any other hospital in the country. Charles Fishman