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Fast Forward 2005: Fast Take

Things you need to know about management, strategy, branding and marketing, and technology.

Three things you need to know about . . .


  • No more Mr. Nice Guy
    Who invited Sun Tzu back in the room? Business is war again, and only the relentless aggressors have a chance of surviving in the global business culture. Transform your business accordingly.
  • The morale and productivity mudslide
    On the other hand, the culture's bubbling up with angry tracts about drifting employees crushed by their company's hierarchies. You can try to flatten the org chart, but you're better off trying to imbue the rank and file with purpose before it's too late.
  • The coming smarts gap
    Talented foreigners are starting firms back home instead of in the United States. Creative folks are fleeing for exotic locales. Where's your next talent infusion coming from?


  • Offshoring, the early years
    Sending support jobs overseas? That's just the beginning. More high-skilled jobs will move offshore, and the smartest companies will tap into global networks to succeed in the 24-7 economy.
  • Long-range planning is in, short-term planning is out
    Short-term strategic planning fails because it's disconnected from execution. Ironically, 500-year plans, which will never happen, help focus short-term thinking.
  • No more spaghetti throwing
    Build your marketing and products in a customer-centric way instead of creating stuff and then hoping for the best. Sounds simple, but are you really doing it? Focus groups don't count.

Branding and Marketing

  • Interactivity makes an impact
    Interactive television finally takes off, meaning new ad opportunities. Plain ol' TV spots need interactive makeovers to survive online. And you have to rethink how to market in a world dominated by lean-forward entertainment.
  • Mobile madness
    The phone is the new computer. How do you market to it? Do research via text messaging. Deliver relevant offers based on a user's location. Hope you don't tick off your customers.
  • You're accountable
    No longer will you be able to say you don't know how a campaign performed. Every new platform will have the tools to deliver feedback on the success or failure of an ad.


  • Computer, heal thyself
    Self-installing, self-repairing computer systems have vast implications for IT professionals. They'll have to stop being mechanics and become strategic thinkers about infrastructure.
  • Water, electric, and software
    We're finally learning that the network has power. Why reinvent fire every time you need to add new technology when you can go to the software equivalent of the power company and rent your applications?
  • The mundane can become profound
    The next-generation game systems have supercomputing power behind them. Humble beverage containers will be able to heat up and cool down based on what we need them to do for us. Can your products be transformed with a technological boost?

A version of this article appeared in the November 2004 issue of Fast Company magazine.