Who: Matthew Grant
Company: MacTemps Inc.
Has held title for: 18 months
Previous title: Assistant professor, Middlebury College
Degrees: PhD, Cornell; BA, Stanford
Matt Grant spent years within the ivy-covered walls of academia, where he was surrounded by people seeking enlightenment. But now he's spending time in the cubicle-dominated world of business, offering enlightenment to the more than 270 employees of MacTemps, a $100 million "talent agency."
How do you enlighten people?
Among other things, I'm in charge of running our "Back to School" events. Rather than provide tools for people to use only in particular situations, we provide analytical skills that will be useful in any situation.
How do people become enlightened?
I use many of Immanuel Kant's ideas. Kant wrote that enlightenment is an individual's emergence from his or her self-imposed immaturity. I want to educate people — indeed, the entire company — to think independently. At the same time, we also need a common mission and a common vocabulary.
How do you stay enlightened?
My job is to keep up with trends, to synthesize information about those trends, and to put that information into a usable form. The best way to do that is by talking to people and by studying today's culture — whether it takes the form of music, TV, or comic books.
A version of this article appeared in the May 1999 issue of Fast Company magazine.