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The Next 20

“Work Is Personal. Computing is social. Knowledge is power. Break the rules.”

The Next 20
[Photo: Celine Grouard for Fast Company]

This manifesto was issued back in 1995, in Fast Company‘s first issue. Bill Clinton was still a first-term president and Taylor Swift was in kindergarten. Mobile phones were still analog devices. Social media didn’t exist.

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The past two decades have seen tremendous transformation socially, ­technologically, and globally. Business and culture have become inextricably linked. The lines between work life and home life have blurred. Old hierarchies are crumbling, inside organizations and across society. It is an exciting, uncertain, and deeply fascinating moment in history.

This year marks Fast Company‘s 20th anniversary, a milestone that we will commemorate not by looking back with nostalgia but by looking ahead, as this magazine’s founders, Bill Taylor and Alan Webber, did from the outset. During 2015, in print, digitally, and through live events, we will present a stream of special projects and programs that we are calling the Next 20, geared to illuminate and help prepare us for the world we are moving into.

Looking ahead: Our first cover signaled that Fast Company would not be your father’s business magazine.

This month’s cover story focuses on Amazon, the definitive breakthrough e-commerce pioneer. CEO Jeff Bezos envisioned a future of online buying that has now become so ubiquitous it is taken for granted. What’s next for ­Amazon and Bezos may be just as transformative, though getting there will surely test the patience of investors, and perhaps even customers. As senior writer Austin Carr reports in “Under Fire,” beginning on page 64, failure will be an unavoidable part of defining that future.

We also explain the clashing relationship between Twitter and Facebook, how TV and the web continue to merge (through the eyes of Katie Couric, and what the evolving science of microbiomes can teach us about human health. None of these topics would have been predicted by Fast Company‘s founders—a fact that’s perfectly in keeping with our mission.

In upcoming issues this year, we’ll examine other critical businesses—including an exclusive package this spring that will change the way you think about Apple. We’ll also debut a series of 20 “theme weeks” on ­fastcompany.com, new video series via FastCo Studios, and a unique Next 20 event late in the year, to coincide with a special anniversary double issue.

The challenges and opportunities we face as businesspeople and as citizens of the world have never been more important, more laden with responsibility, more brimming with potential. We can’t say for certain what the next 20 years will bring, but we know that the pace of change isn’t slowing. We’re excited to be your guide and partner as we explore and build the future together.

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About the author

Robert Safian is the editor and managing director of The Flux Group. From 2007 through 2017, Safian oversaw Fast Company’s print, digital and live-events content, as well as its brand management and business operations

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