Inc. Magazine Winter 2020

Founded in 1979 and acquired in 2005 by Mansueto Ventures LLC, Inc. is the only major brand dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies, with the aim to deliver real solutions for today’s innovative company builders.

United States
Mansueto Ventures LLC
6 Issues

in this issue

2 min
saluting the best in business

A few years before I arrived at Inc., I wrote a patent for the technology behind a wellness startup. If you wanted to geek out on, ahem, biotelemetrics and real-time feedback loops directing psychoacoustic content engines and light therapy inducing predetermined brainwave states, I was your guy. Meanwhile, the founder ran the sales program, which turned out to be less about solving customer problems than it was about talking about anything but customer problems. Another colleague worked the business model, constantly revising, trying to jiggle it like an empty champagne bottle to see if there were just a few more drops left, even if that wouldn’t be enough for a toast. We were all enthralled by our brilliant idea. Too bad we didn’t have a reason to exist, really. We didn’t…

2 min
how to leverage intel

Ask What Not to Do When Wagmo founder and CEO Christie Horvath started her pet insurance company, she talked to former employees of rival firms to learn about their pain points. Those conversations informed Horvath’s decision to build her own processing system for wellness claims instead of buying something off the shelf. Automated imaging technology helps Wagmo pay claims in about 24 hours instead of the weeks typical of the industry. “Position it as advice,” says Horvath. “People hesitate to tell you what to do, but asking for someone’s expertise can go a long way.” Leave the Beaten Path Colin McIntosh set out to build a bedding company that zigs when other brands zag. His startup, Sheets & Giggles, regularly uses Facebook’s Ad Library tool to keep an eye on competitors’ Facebook and…

2 min
stop apologizing

TRACY SUN, CO-FOUNDER, POSHMARK: What I have learned from Aileen Lee [founder of VC firm Cowboy Ventures] over the years is to speak without asking for permission. Aileen is not scared to share controversial opinions. It’s not arrogance. She really believes in what she says, and she doesn’t shy away. That sticks with me. I’m a softspoken female in a field that’s dominated by men. And I grew up in an immigrant family where women aren’t supposed to have a career like mine. To break through those barriers, I have had to push hard against imposter syndrome. It’s hard when you look around and not many people look like you, so when I first learned of Aileen, I was like, ‘Oh, it’s an Asian woman! Who’s really powerful! And she looks like me!’ As…

3 min
is this a business?

THE ENTREPRENEUR Portland, Oregon-based serial entrepreneur and Inc. reader Mark Grimes recently launched 31 startups in 31 days. One of those businesses aims to revive drive-in movies, which saw a resurgence in popularity this year. —AS TOLD TO HANNAH WALLACE GRIMES There are just over 300 drive-in theaters left in America‚ down from a peak of 4,000-plus in the late ’50s. The pandemic has presented a way for drive-ins to stage a comeback—we need to isolate, but we’ve seen that people still want to do things together. Instead of using drive-in theaters in fixed locations, I’d make it a pop-up experience with portable screens—or even project movies onto the side of a building or truck. Locations could be a winery, say, or a dead mall or an old sawmill—for anywhere from a weekend…

2 min
the future of finance

At Invisibly, you’re trying to help consumers understand how their data is monetized for ads. Why? I believe that individuals should own their data. We have several very powerful companies whose business is to give you “free” stuff, but you essentially pay them with your identity. Can you tell me about micropayments? Efficient micropayments would be hugely valuable in media, for example, where the current model is a lump subscription fee that doesn’t make sense for most consumers. Other than micropayments, what has you excited? I’m interested in how information can be used to make credit more fair. If you look at a system like Square, we have a lot of information about what merchants are selling. That information allows us to trust customers more than if we didn’t have that information. And because we…

2 min
the wrong way / the right way patagonia’s guide to politics

RYAN GELLERT CEO, Patagonia In today’s polarized political landscape, many brands feel compelled to take a political stance—despite increasingly high stakes. Patagonia’s new CEO shares best practices for navigating tricky terrain. —BRIT MORSE Don’t ask customers what they think. Do what you feel is right, says Gellert, who advises against surveying customers to gauge the effect of political messaging on issues important to the brand: “We pride ourselves on being committed to the truth as we see it rather than the top line of the business,” he adds. Gellert also notes that taking a political stance shouldn’t necessarily be about backing a party or a decision, but about choosing candidates who promote policies on issues that you care about. For Patagonia, that’s climate change: “The climate crisis is an existential threat of our…