We started this magazine with two fundamental propositions: there is a genuine revolution changing the the world of business, and there is a community of people committed to new ways of working, competing, and living — a style that fuses tough-minded performance with sane human values. FC2 continues that revolution. From Mort Meyerson's unflinchingly honest look at his own leadership journey; to the struggles of the Miller brothers to contend with the perils of success as they create Myst II; to the outbreak of business democracy preached by John Gage at Sun Microsystems and practiced by John Mackey at Whole Foods Market, this issue highlights people who demonstrate how much change is possible and tools to make it happen.
If It's Good Enough for Netscape
One lesson in FC1 got more comment than any other — software wizard Mark Andreessen's insight, "Worse is better." It's part of Netscape's operating philosophy: get your product to the market when it's 80% "there" and let the market make it perfect.
Our stock price can't compete with Netscape's, and a magazine isn't a Web browser: we actually try to make each issue 100% "there." But we do take to heart the lesson of listening to the market. That's why we emphasized the importance of interactivity through e-mail and an in-depth readership survey in FC1.
The response was phenomenal: we got thousands of e-mails and surveys. The number of responses was a measure of the power of the community and its commitment to the revolution. The substance of the message:
Our community is made up of people young enough to be different, old enough to make a difference.
Our community is looking for new ideas and tools — a magazine that is both a manifesto for change and a manual for achieving it.
And, contrary to conventional wisdom, when offered articles that are authentic, fun, and useful, our community will take the time to read: more than 75% spent over one hour with FC1 and read more than five articles.
We still believe in the importance of interactivity: use our e-mail address, email@example.com to tell us what you think about FC2 in general or about specific articles.
Words to Magazine By
For the first few months, as we created FC1, the immortal words of Hunter S. Thompson hovered over us on a large whiteboard (or what FC stalwart Carol Spencer more appropriately calls a "wipeboard") near the front of world headquarters: "Faster, faster! Until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death."
For FC2, that was replaced by the immortal words of The Boss: "The sun don't shine on a sleepin' dog's ass."
But the real words to magazine by come out of the mouths of the Fast Company team as they go about the work of creating an issue. We save these gems on two other "wipeboards" so we can hear ourselves work. Here's a sample:
- "Have you worked extensively with frogs? Have you worked extensively with frogs in boiling water?" Eric Matson, Consultant Debunking Unit, researching the boiled frog story in FC1.
- "The thing about Fabio is — wherever he goes, there's wind." Patrick Mitchell, art director, laying out this issue's "lose your heart, keep your job" story.
- "My name is Gina — not Ginger!" Editorial staffer Gina Imperato, correcting (again) a cab dispatcher during the research on her taxi story in FC2. Gina is now officially "Ginger" at Fast Company.
- "He's probably still dead under the seat or something." Editorial staffer Kate Kane, commenting on cab driver "Shorty" Jones's bizarre tale, recounted in this issue.
- "If it feels good, sit on it." Senior Editor Bill Breen, Fast Company's standard-bearer of civility and good taste. None of us has any idea what he meant. We all hope it involves a chair.
Want to spread the words of the revolution? Start your own wipeboard collection. Listen to what it's like to work in your shop, write down the most memorable lines, then send us your favorites and we'll post them in the Fast Company Wipeboard section.
A version of this article appeared in the April/May 1996 issue of Fast Company magazine.