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Inc. MagazineInc. Magazine

Inc. Magazine

June 2019

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.

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don’t break up big tech

This spring, Amazon did something very un-Amazonish.Across many popular product categories, from batteries to baby food, the retail behemoth quietly discontinued aggressive promotions for its private-label brands, which compete with—and in truth are often near-clones of—independent merchants’ products. It was an uncharacteristic retreat for a company that generally loves nothing more than using every weapon in its substantial arsenal to annihilate its rivals.Call it the Elizabeth Warren effect. Amid growing public wariness of the biggest tech companies and their outsize role in our economy and public life, the Democratic presidential candidate is far from the only politician in her party demanding stiffer regulation. Even President Trump has blasted Amazon as a “no-tax monopoly,” and his Federal Trade Commission is spinning up a tech task force “to ensure consumers benefit from…

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heroes and villains

(GETTY. PROP STYLING: GÖZDE EKER)In business disgrace, Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes is attaining a second celebrity: Her con-artist saga has vaulted from best-selling book to HBO documentary, and, soon, Hulu miniseries and Jennifer Lawrence movie. The needle on the hustle dial for entrepreneurs has long twitched between “legit business owner” and “total fraud.” But, today, Hollywood is landing heavily on the latter. Holmes’s rise as the Dark Steve Jobs (another terrible person, as his daughter’s memoir makes clear) followed Fyre Festival documentaries recounting the sheer audacity of fraudulent “entrepreneur” Billy McFarland. “One of the greatest modern scams,” The New York Times declaimed, “is the entrepreneurial fetish itself.”It’s a bleak time for entrepreneurs in pop culture, which once glorified the likes of Jimmy Stewart’s George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life.…

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STARTUP NEIGHBORHOODSMidtown is “one of the most welcoming areas to the startup community,” says Ted Serbinski, managing director of Techstars Detroit. At its heart sits Green Garage, 1 a 1920s auto showroom-turned-coworking space that houses 50 businesses, including FoodLab Detroit and solar design firm Strawberry Solar.When Gwen Jimmere was ready to graduate beauty brand Naturalicious from her basement, she went to Corktown, 2 Detroit’s oldest neighborhood. “It’s where a lot of entrepreneurs congregate,” she says, noting local incubator Ponyride and the glut of great restaurants. “Brooklyn Street Local is a tiny spot with lots of vegan options, perfect for a let-it-all-hang-out meeting with founder friends.”Dubbed Madison Block, the city’s tech corridor takes its name from the Madison Building that anchors it. You can hardly grab lunch without tripping over one…

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freelancer or full-timer: which worker is ideal?

LIBBY BROCKHOFFCo-founder and creative director of Odysseus Arms, a San Francisco–based ad agencyHow can employers know that freelancers have the expertise their company needs?Freelancers are really good at providing answers, but I rely on my core team to create questions and to solve problems on a much bigger scale. I totally disagree that all the best people are freelancers. If you look at their portfolios, they’re majorly outdated.How do you get freelancers on board with your vision?It takes way too much time to train all of these people. Freelancers tend to stretch themselves thin. They don’t have the level of commitment, and they don’t have skin in the game, to put in the same kind of effort as full-timers.How do you ensure that freelancers are treated the same as fulltimers?I…

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how athleisure conquered the world

1930sThe humble beginningBrothers William and Abe Feinbloom invent the hoodie for laborers in chilly Rochester, New York, launching the $1.5 billion Champion brand and an eventually ubiquitous wardrobe staple.1959The great leap forwardDuPont scientist Joseph Shivers KO’s the athletic “dress trouser” (don’t ask) by inventing the crucial athleisure component spandex. By 2019, $5 billion worth of it will be sold each year.U.S. ATHLEISURE SALES IN 2018 $55 BILLIONNext big thing, ’60s editionGerman entrepreneur Adi Dassler (“AdiDas”) fashions the first sport-to-street tracksuit, thus helping unathletic men appear athletic.1969GalacticStarship Enterprise’s shiny nylon uniforms correctly predict a future in which all will be clad in comfortable synthetics.1978They didn’t really dress like this in the ’50s, but …Olivia Newton-John is the one everyone wants, thanks perhaps to the leggings she sports in the climactic scene…

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skullcandy restores its soul

If you’re over 30, you can recall a time when your phone and music player weren’t the same thing. Sitting on a chairlift in Park City, Utah, in 2001, Rick Alden, a former snowboard-binding and fishing-reel developer, was frustrated at having to unplug his earphones from his tunes to use his phone. His solution was called Link—headphones and technology that paired the two devices. It was Skullcandy’s first product.While in China developing Link, Alden found himself swimming in the achromatic sea of black-and-white audio products and quickly realized Skullcandy’s second big innovation had to be like Dorothy landing in Oz: The audio market needed color.Once positioned as a lifestyle brand in the personal headphones market, Skullcandy made a colorful splash in aisles dominated by the likes of Sony and JVC.…