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November 23, 2010

COVER STORY: I Want My Twitter TV! By Ellen McGirt, page 98
Twitter is reviving a shared audience experience around television—and putting the company on a pathway to real revenue. How CNN, MTV, and Google are turning to Twitter, spawning a new era of interactive media. Plus: The long, strange history of interactive TV.

SPECIAL REPORT: Mayhem on Madison Avenue, by Danielle Sacks, page 110
The ad industry is in the midst of creative destruction, propelled by digitization, recession, and corporate blindness. It's the end of the ad agency as we know it—and the dawn of a whole new world.

iCitizen, by Anya Kamenetz, page 116
Want to see where technology is really transforming government? Don't head to Washington, D.C. Try Manor, Texas, and New Haven, Connecticut, where an army of citizen techies is redefining civic engagement on a hyperlocal level.

The Business of Boing Boing, by Rob Walker, page 122
The idiosyncratic blog survived the dotcom bust and the recent recession by refusing to compete with the Huffington Post and Slate. That—along with a healthy appreciation for the absurd—is why it's one of the most popular online destinations. And why it makes money.

What Would Jack Welch Do? By Jeff Chu, page 128
Bill Hybels's Global Leadership Summit attracts world-famous luminaries like Jack Welch, Jim Collins, and Bill Clinton as speakers and regularly sells out a 7,000-capacity auditorium. But this isn't Wharton or Harvard, and it's not for MBA grads or executives. It's Willow Creek, one of the nation's largest and most powerful megachurches, and its audience is evangelicals.

Everyone's a Player, by Adam L. Penenberg, page 134
From IBM to the U.S. Army, video games are sneaking into every aspect of our lives—at home, school and work. Could the biggest challenges we face as a society—global warming, poverty, health care—be solved by gaming? How this emerging discipline can inspire us to work more productively, train smarter, and even eat our vegetables.


EBay Dials M for Makeover, by Dan Macsai, page 42
The online-auctions pioneer is moving into your smartphone—and pumping up sales.

Silent Bob Strikes Back, by Ari Karpel, page 46
Director Kevin Smith nurtures his creative soul with a booming podcast business.

Unraveling at Applied Materials, by Jennifer Kho, page 48
Applied Materials was supposed to revolutionize the thin-film solar business, but it flamed out in three years. An autopsy of what went wrong.

The RadioShack of Renewables, by Greg Lindsay, page 53
How a battery company you've never heard of is perfectly positioned to command a market that's expected to grow to $51 billion by 2013.

Why Charities Should Die, by Nancy Lublin, page 54
Our columnist argues that in the not-for-profit world, death is a hallmark of success.

The Best Minds of A Continent, by Nate Berg, page 56
A South African academy that preps students to attend colleges like Oxford, MIT, Stanford.

Rock Star, by Tim McKeough, page 64
A multimillionaire tech exec transforms a tiny Canadian island into a haven for artists.

Little Citi, by Dan Macsai, page 68
An Austin-based startup called BancVue arms indie credit unions with services that let them compete with Chase and Citibank.

Fast Talk: Dare to Share. Interviews by Stephanie Schomer, page 75
From books to baby clothes, couture to cars, renting is suddenly in vogue—and profitable.

Wanted—59 Perfect Holiday Gifts, page 87
From the most sumptuous of leather suitcases to drinkable gift baskets, luxe paper goods, and a clock with machine-age aesthetics. Plus: Charitable gift ideas across a range of budgets—from $3 for a schoolbook in Darfur to $39,000 for a health clinic in Sierra Leone.

Numerology: College Football, by Rachel Arndt, page 152
The business behind the Bowl Championship Series, by the numbers.

For more of the December 2010 / January 2011 issue of Fast Company, please visit beginning November 17. The December 2010 / January 2011 issue of Fast Company is on newsstands beginning November 30.

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Jocelyn Hawkes

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