The Y2K Opportunity

A letter from the founding editors.

Where do you want to go tomorrow?


With apologies to Microsoft, that is the question facing each of us as we begin our individual and collective sprint to the 21st century. At Fast Company, we believe that the future is something that you invent for yourself, not something that you inherit. Sure, when it comes to thinking about competition, work, and change in the 21st century, it’s important to ask, “What’s possible?” But it’s far more interesting — and far more rewarding — to ask, “What’s desirable?”

So forget the Y2K problem. We’re facing the Y2K opportunity. Turning the page on a new century gives us an opportunity to begin creating from a blank sheet of paper. What kinds of companies are we trying to build? What kinds of work are we trying to do? What kinds of lives are we trying to lead?

Those are some of the questions that we have posed in our cover package for this issue. Think of it as a special report on “The State of the New Economy.” At Fast Company, we’ve always maintained that the new economy is less about the laws of economics than about the experience of work, less about macro-economics than about individual possibility. That theme, more than any other, runs through the contributions that make up the four sections of this State of the New Economy issue.

If you read nothing else in this issue, be sure to read the remarkable insights offered in Voices, an expanded version of our popular Unit of One section. For this issue, we’ve redubbed it Unit of 21. It features 21 contributors, all of whom embody a core proposition of the new world of work: Increasingly, the new economy is a place where an individual can make a choice, make a difference, make a mark.

But the real value of Unit of 21 lies in the questions that these commentaries prompt: What’s your definition of meaningful work? What’s your approach to creating a great workplace? What’s your contribution to something larger than yourself? And what are you working on that is uniquely yours?

A special note: We are proud to introduce Net Company, Fast Company’s quarterly sibling devoted to all things digital. We hope that Net Company will do for the new world of digital business what Fast Company does for the new world of work. And we hope that you’ll read it from cover to cover.