Back in 1995, when we launched Fast Company, our most valuable asset was our originality. What was different about the magazine? Its message. Its language. Its design. Most important, its promise to readers. Nobody talked about business the way we did - which is why so many businesspeople were eager to hear what we had to say. We'd like to believe that we helped shape a new conversation about the role of business, the value of work, and the nature of leadership.
Today, nearly seven years later, the conversation about business has changed - which is why we are making some exciting changes. The issue you hold in your hands represents the most important creative development at the magazine since its debut. There's a bold new logo, an assertive new design, a radical new approach to covers - a performance that captures the substance of each issue and the energy and enthusiasm that remain essential to who we are.
As for content, there are changes both large and small. Our renamed front-of-the-book section, Next, continues the what's-around-the-corner mission of Report From the Future, but with quicker takes and more-pointed evaluations. Fast Talk, the section formerly called Unit of One, offers crisp and unconventional insights from top leaders and influential thinkers — and will do so reliably, every month. Each issue will include no-holds-barred points of view in three columns: John Ellis on strategy, Harriet Rubin on power, and Anne Kreamer and (for the first few issues) Kurt Andersen on culture. John and Harriet — veteran voices of Fast Company — need no introduction. Anne is a longtime entertainment-and-media marketer and brander; she'll lead a regular email exchange on the culture of business and the business of culture, beginning with a series of columns done in tandem with her husband, Kurt Andersen, the novelist and radio talk-show host.
In the feature well, Fast Company's new editorial architecture delivers a monthly playbook for competing and winning in a tougher, higher-stakes environment. Every issue will present Ideas on the Edge — an impossible-to-ignore argument about the future of business. We'll identify someone Who's Fast — the new breed of business innovator working in industries that matter. We will showcase Business at Its Best — companies and business units that are achieving amazing results. We'll offer hands-on tactics for the effective executive in All in a Day's Work, portraits of people wrestling with success in Personal Best, and glimpses of the darker side of business in Reality Check.
So that's what has changed. Here's what has not. First, our commitment to having a real impact on the lives of our readers. Other magazines are about "them": external events and abstract trends. Fast Company is about you. Our aim is to appeal to your heads, hands, and hearts with high-impact ideas from the world's top business minds and tools that you need to act on those ideas.
Second, we stand for something. In the battle of ideas, Fast Company is not neutral. We are the magazine for business leaders who are looking to bring out the best in themselves — the magazine for companies that believe that you win by doing what's right, not what you can get away with.
That doesn't mean we're not tough or competitive. Fast Company readers play to win — but not with the same old ideas about strategy, leadership, and work. Our readers are the business innovators who are changing the game — and building the future of business. Our job is to help you get there faster than everyone else. That job will never change.
A version of this article appeared in the September 2002 issue of Fast Company magazine.