Issue 65

December 2002

  • 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. Here's a behind-the-scenes look at a creative powerhouse (and a model of disciplined management) where rappers beg to be hoopsters, war-game designers learn combat tactics from a Marine hero — and a series of complex projects come in on time and on budget.

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  • Too Much Information

    Call it the "echo-chamber effect": the chatter of business-related information (and pseudo-information) that produces brain-dead behavior.

  • In The Hot Seat

    Title: President, chairman, and CEO-electCompany: AT&TWhere: Basking Ridge, NJChallenge: Create AT&T's future<

  • Speedometer

    Best Analysis of business excess
    "It is not that humans have become any more greedy than in generations past. It is that the avenues to express greed had grown so enormously."
    - Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, testifying before a U.S. Senate committee, July 16, 2002.

Fast Talk

  • Fast Talk: One Shrewd Move

    It's easy to look smart when times are good. What separates winners from losers are the moves their leaders make when times are hard. Six CEOs explain their shrewdest move of 2002.


  • Power

    Back in the fat days — the happy mid-1990s — Clifford Stoll, the bad-boy computer programmer, asked me, "What's going to happen to us when electricity is gone?" Short of the apocalypse, I wondered, how could that ever happen? I didn't realize that he meant human electricity: the juice of business ideas, the spark of risk, the jolt of innovation — everything that was making work such a blast back in the heady days when the new economy was really new.

  • Culture

    Anne Let's take an end-of-the-year poll. Which current business miscreant committed the worst sin: Kenneth Lay, Jack Grubman, Sandy Weill, Bernie Ebbers, or the Andersen accountants? Or someone else? And would anyone care if the Nasdaq were now at 7,000?

  • Strategy

    I was standing on the patio of a friend's house in Hastings, New York, talking to a partner at one of the nation's leading law firms. I asked him about his work. "You wouldn't believe how weird it is," he said. "On our side, we've never been busier. Insanely busy. I think that every investment banker and analyst at every major investment firm has hired a lawyer. All of the city's top criminal-defense lawyers are just swamped. They're working 12 or 14 hours a day.

From the Editor

  • The Year of the Cockroach

    According to the Chinese calendar, 2002 was the Year of the Horse. From the perspective of American business, it was more like the Year of the Cockroach. Faced with the aftermath of a terrorist attack, a declining stock market, uncertain prospects for company profitability, a spreading stain of corporate scandal, and the growing likelihood of a war with Iraq, most corporate leaders — make that "leaders" — have done their imitation of the insect most likely to survive a nuclear blast: Find a small crack in the economy and crawl in for safety.

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