The Reading Room

Fast Company

Inspiring “a new breed of innovative and creative thought leaders who are actively inventing the future of business” may sound like a grandiose claim, but it is how Fast Company nails its colours to the mast. A full-colour business magazine published 10 times a year, focusing on technology, business, and design, it has won a slew of awards.

As the intersection of media and the business world goes, it has an impeccable pedigree, launched in 1995 by former Harvard Business Review editors Alan Webber and Bill Taylor, along with publisher Mortimer Zuckerman. In one of the biggest magazine deals in US history, five years later Zuckerman sold Fast Company to Bertelsmann subsidiary Gruner + Jahr for $350 million.

Like so many other modern day media success stories, Fast Company is much more now than its original product. In 1997 it started an online social network. It now operates three different franchises: Most Innovative Companies (creating a benchmark list of the 50 best), Most Creative People in Business (another list of 100 prestigious creatives), and Masters of Design. These lists are widely debated, outside the confines of Smart Company itself, much as the Sunday Times Rich List is in the UK.

A similar approach to diversification and channel labelling exists in the network of sites dedicated to design, innovation, creativity and commerce. Fast Company online topics on the future of work ask “Why Today’s Leaders Should Take A Cue From Cliff Divers” while an innovation story focuses on how a cross between a blender and a cooler earned $11 million on Kickstarter. Fast Company always offers food for thought, utilising the latest eye-catching media bells and whistles to ensure the boardroom need never be boring again.

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