Web Features for Entrepreneurs

An index of Web-only stories from the Build Your Business Career Zone.

Web features organized by Career Zone:


Hard Times in Little Kabul

Afghan businesses in the Fremont, California area are suffering fallout from the terrorist attacks. But patriotic Afghan-Americans are hopeful that customers will return before it’s too late. Fara Warner

Sharper Image

The FBI is turning to a small Boston software firm for help in transforming surveillance video into high-resolution images — and then using the pictures to help track terrorists. Call it the ultimate killer app. Linda Tischler

Raise the Roof

SpectraSite is a small company with big real-estate holdings in the New York area: 1,200 rooftops. After September 11, SpectraSite did its part by searching for more rooftops to house antennas that may ease the city’s communications logjam. Charles Fishman


Building Space

Who can blame people for feeling uneasy now in the workplace? One design visionary says this is the time to rethink the American office — and to design in a new look, feel, and sense of compassion. Anni Layne Rodgers

Miracle Workers

Amid the rubble of lower Manhattan, companies are working miracles to get their operations back to work. Firsthand reports from the New York Board of Trade, a Verizon switching center at 140 West Street, and other places under (re)construction. Keith H. Hammonds

Open for Business

How do the owners and employees of a small restaurant in Brooklyn respond to a world-changing tragedy just a few miles away? Not by fleeing or closing, but by staying open for business and serving the needs of the neighborhood. Ron Lieber

advertisement’s Man in the Hot Seat

David Leip runs one of the world’s largest Web sites for one of the world’s most powerful companies. Here, IBM’s corporate Webmaster offers practical tips for keeping a busy site up and running 99.998% of the time. Christine Canabou

10 Prize-Winning Products

The ballots are in. Some of the world’s savviest designers voted these products best in show at their annual meeting in Boston recently. What gizmos and gadgets would you add to the list? Linda Tischler

Virtual-Reality Check

Bill Buxton’s company helped create the computer-generated characters in the film Final Fantasy. We asked him for his predictions on what our world will look like 10 years from now. Fara Warner


Mogul for a Day

Fast Company senior editor Bill Breen insisted he had the right stuff to lead a new-economy company. So we sent him off to try his hand at running a faux PDA firm. Our advice: Bill, don’t give up your day job. Bill Breen

How the PC Really Got Started

The personal computer turns 20 this month. At a gala party in Silicon Valley, the PC’s original developers, including Bill Gates and Andy Grove, swapped tales of those wild days on the frontier of the computer revolution. George Anders

Educating Michael

Michael Bronner made a fortune as founder of a hot direct-marketing company. His new company helps less affluent Americans save the small fortune required for their kids’ college tuition. Here’s what Bronner has learned so far. Paul C. Judge


On the Eve of Destruction?

Creative Destruction argues that corporate survivors must be flexible — unconcerned by threats of cannibalization, channel conflict, or earnings dilution. In short, they must rethink the Built to Last credo. Keith H. Hammonds

Recipe for Success

How do you launch a software business staffed by Web-wary employees and targeted at a tech-averse audience? Start with passion, add funding, season with experience, and serve. Linda Tischler


Speed Is Life

The former head of Lycos defends his portal strategy, diagnoses Yahoo!’s ailments, and encourages entrepreneurs to study history with a vengeance. Paul C. Judge

Sex Sells

What can X-rated sites teach traditional dotcoms about turning eyeballs into cash? Five profit-generating strategies from an erotic B2C that’s been in the black since day one: Anni Layne


The Day the Wheels Fell off

So this is how the world of a dotcom ends, not with a bang but with some soon-to-expire Fresh Samantha juice. A tale of the last days of, told by one of the last remaining Kozmonauts. Peter Kempe

(No) Exit Ahead?

A leading venture capitalist offers a tough-love survival guide: how to keep your company afloat when the IPO market has dried up. Rekha Balu


In Search of the Perfect Startup

It’s hard enough in this economic climate to start one new company. So why is H. Michael Zadikian determined to start four at the same time? An entrepreneurial adventure story, in two parts. Rekha Balu

Why QVC Is Sold on the Internet

Forget about costume jewelry and vegetable peelers. Today’s QVC is a $3.5 billion retailing juggernaut that knows how to sell online. The lessons it has learned are worth their weight in gold. Paul C. Judge


Feeling Fatigued? Real Entrepreneurs Keep Walking

Recession be damned. Johnnie Walker believes innovators must plod on regardless. Find out why the Scotch-whisky company is doling out cash grants to ordinary people with extraordinary stamina and mettle. Anni Layne


After the Gold Rush

Looking for fresh ideas? The enormous Internet World show in Los Angeles has a few sparkling moments — but mostly a church-like stillness and a lot of worn-out hopes. George Anders

Make Your Company More Resilient

It was a life-and-death setback when Odwalla apple juice killed a baby girl. Here’s how CEO Stephen Williamson managed through a tragic crisis. Anni Layne


New Business Boot Camp

The Navy SEALS pride themselves on running the toughest school on earth. Will their work ethic be enough to help a startup succeed in one of the toughest economies in years? ISpheres hopes so. Cecilia Rothenberger


Passion Play

Pallotta TeamWorks inspires intense loyalty from its customers by disrupting their lives, demanding their money, and subjecting them to physical pain. What is Dan Pallotta’s secret? Anni Layne

The Four Horsemen of the New Economy

Xerox, Polaroid, AT&T, and Kodak fell off the bleeding edge of technology innovation because they stopped funding small, speedy companies with good ideas, according to venture-investing expert Joseph Bartlett. Read here about three thorny issues any corporation faces when entering the venture markets. Joe Bartlett

Shopping Sites With Sizzle

Just in time for Christmas, a team of hard-shopping Web analysts hands out eGold awards to the best e-commerce sites — and eBomb awards to those that may deliver a lump of coal this holiday season. Linda Tischler

Have Yourself a Merry Online Christmas

Will this year’s cyber-shopping experience be merry and bright? One expert predicts yuletide cheers from shoppers who pick their sites wisely. Linda Tischler

Perfecting Your Pitch, Part Three: The Overview Overview

The third and final part of’s master class on the art of a pitch: Bill Joos tells you how to wow them with your overview presentation. John Hoult

Perfecting Your Pitch, Part Two: The Horse Race

The business-plan pitch can mean the difference between VC funding and burnout. Bill Joos, vice president of business development for, advises entrepreneurs to keep the pitch short and to focus on three key themes: market, idea, and team. John Hoult

Perfecting Your Pitch, Part One: Assume Short Buildings

Bill Joos preaches the art of the pitch for The soul of his sermon? Brevity brings the best results, so give your elevator pitch a lift. John Hoult

E-tail Evolution

Online home furnishings sites have been plagued with problems from technological glitches to shipping disasters. But one savvy e-tailer found the best way to succeed in this sector was to apply his brick-and-mortar experience to his new virtual business. John Hoult

Stepping Into

Lucy Reid left a safe and successful career to take the next step. Read her plans for the young startup and her reflections on what’s lost and gained in the voyage to the new economy. John Hoult

Ownership 101

Steve Mariotti shape-shifted his way through four careers — corporate suit, solo businessman, high-school teacher, and foundation founder — and discovered his passion giving low-income kids the entrepreneurial tools to bootstrap their way into a new life. John Hoult

Reduce Your Cycle Time

It’s T-minus 10 and counting until launch, and your project is languishing on the launch pad. Will it fly? Will it fizzle? This is a recurring nightmare for change agents and project leaders hell-bent on speed, yet shackled by time-consuming procedures and slow teammates. Astrid Sandoval

Soul Proprietor Scores Big

When Fast Company last checked in with Troy Tyler, the SOHO entrepreneur was desperately seeking a buyer for his smartRay Network. Last month, he found what he was looking for. His story offers a lesson in scoring the right deal … fast. Keith H. Hammonds

Celluloid Shooters

If art imitates life, and life today so closely resembles a high-stakes poker game, then it stands to reason that 21st-century gamblers could learn a thing or two from Hollywood’s greatest onscreen hustlers and card sharks. Anni Layne and Katrina Barnas

The Message Is the Marvel

“Dotcom advertising has launched a creative revolution. It has created a new Renaissance for advertising.” Lauren Heist

Little Dotcom Coupe

Grease-monkey gurus Tom and Ray Magliozzi of NPR’s “Car Talk” answer questions about online automotive research and purchasing — a trend that could forever alter the car industry as we know it. In addition, Click and Clack discuss the importance, functionality, and dangers of evaluating cars on the Internet, and answer the question: Does the Web really put you in the driver’s seat? Anni Layne

Business Without Borders

123 years after Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone, Boston remains home to several forerunners in communications and science. Meet three local companies working to break down global language barriers with their technology, ingenuity, and lovable bots. Anni Layne

Speeding Bullet Inc.

growth company n (1959): a company that grows at a greater rate than the economy as a whole and that usually directs a relatively high proportion of income back into the business.

Meet the fast-growth gurus, leaders and survivors who are making Webster’s definition obsolete. Learn about time-tested techniques and guiding principles that keep them ahead of the pack. Anni Layne

First Annual E-Commerce Awards

MIT honors Web-commerce luminaries with a speed-of-light ceremony. Marla Abramson